Indigenous Tourism Business Feature: Red Bank Lodge, New Brunswick
Red Bank Lodge
Patricia Dunnett’s phone isn’t ringing off the hook anymore and she couldn’t be happier. The manager at Red Bank Lodge and Metepenagiag Heritage Park in Red Bank, N.B. used to get calls day and night from people in different time zones wanting to book one of the lodge’s 10 rooms, just outside Miramichi. But with new online capacity funded by a grant, people book and pre-pay their rooms over the internet.
“I can’t even tell you how excited I am for the lodge,” says Dunnett. “We’ve been in business in for 15 years and we’ve always relied on paper. In the last few years it’s been so frustrating because we we’re trying to manage so many calls and emails seven days a week, 24 hours a day. We had the office phone transferred to our phones and had to answer in the middle of the night.”
Now, staff just wake up to more bookings. The grant included $4,000 for a point of sale system that increases the lodge’s presence on the internet, $3,400 for software and IT support that makes it easy to update the website with new information and photos, and $600 to change the website so guests could enter their credit cards and pay online. The system went live June 1 and within weeks the lodge was already seeing an increase in revenues.
The Metepenagiag First Nation owns the year-round lodge, dining and conference room facilities and the Metepenagiag Heritage Park next door. “This is a game changer for us,” says Dunnett. “I feel like we’ve just jumped on the train and we are moving right along with everyone else now.”