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Do You Have A Cabana?

Jan 10, 2023

Over the holiday break, my wife and I took our daughters to Maui. With our daughters now at the ages of 5 and 8, we thought they were ready for the long flight over the Pacific Ocean. And they did great. We went whale watching one day, and got within 50 feet of a whale with its new born baby. We also went to a traditional luau, explored different parts of the island, and went to some really great restaurants.


The rest of the time, we spent a lot of time relaxing and swimming at the pool. I had found a VRBO home in the Wailea Beach area that overlooked the ocean from the balcony, and it sat between a Four Seasons Resort and a Waldorf Astoria Resort called the Grand Wailea. Fortunately, by staying at the VRBO, we received access to all of the pools, water slides, lazy river, rope swing, and beach chairs at the Grand Wailea.


Although we didn’t stay at the resort, you could tell it was really nice. You stepped out of your car, and they offered you chilled washcloths to cool off with. All the walkways and floors were a beautiful marble. And there was a very low ratio of guests to resort employees. The owner of our VRBO recommended going down to the pool early in the morning to save some lounge chairs. So we took turns walking down there each say between 7am-8am, and we got great seats around the pool.


The third day we were there, my wife asked me about all of the cabanas they had around the pool. There must have been at least 100 of them. And they all had TV’s, Wifi, cold drinks and fruits all day, comfortable lounge chairs, and a drape you could close if you wanted to take a nap. I told her that I didn’t know any information about them and that I was totally fine with where we were sitting, and the shade from the umbrella. As the day went on, we got more curious, because they were all full.


The curiosity really started driving us a little crazy wondering what these daily cabana rentals cost, or if they went along with a certain room category or something like that. So my wife headed up to the Cabana Window (there was a line), and they showed her a map, and gave her the prices for the only 5 cabanas that were available the following day. The other 95 were already reserved!


The cost of the cabanas went from $1,200 - $4,000 per day!! The different prices were based on the size of the cabana and the view it had. Wowzers! And they explained there were no discounts for these cabanas, and they did not come along with any of the rooms at the resort. When my wife told me this, I did some quick math in my head, and thought ok.... let’s say the average cabana is $2,500 times 100 cabanas. That is another $250,000 in revenue per day that they fill them up.


And perhaps what really got me thinking is trying to understand why people would pay this? I know the flights over there were not cheap, I know the rooms at the resort were not cheap, and all of the food and beverage was really expensive too. But these people..... who looked a lot like our best clients, didn’t mind paying those big bucks for the additional expense of the cabana!


It made me think that every business should have their own version of a cabana. An extra level of service or product that makes someone feel extremely important, and represents the very best.  As specialist in dry cleaning and laundry, we can do the same. Perhaps it is an all-inclusive subscription with a dedicated concierge. Maybe it is delivering one bouquet of flowers per week as an additional service.


Will everyone take advantage of these high end services? No. But a fraction of your best clients will if it is presented to them in a way that makes them feel important and has a status component to it. That is why American Express has at least 4 levels of cards – green, gold, platinum, and centurion (also known as the black card). And interestingly enough, they do each make you feel different. I have carried each of these cards and you do feel important when you have a black titanium card from American Express in your wallet. I eventually gave it back because I didn’t like how it made me feel.


A lot of our clients are seeking status, and want to feel important. They want the very best. Think about how you can offer them the very best. And if it doesn’t feel a little outrageous to offer it, then it probably is not opulent enough! Don’t leave extra money on the table by not offering high end services.


Have a great week-


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