You may have noticed a bit of a facelift to the KI Central Backpacker's premises in the past few months. This budget accommodation - central to tourism on the island - has changed hands and changed focus, with exciting opportunities ahead!
"We took every opportunity to explore the island and its attractions as quickly as possible after arriving, in order to be able to personally recommend other businesses to our guests"
Briefly tell us about your business
We moved to KI in late November 2016, having just bought KI Central Backpackers from the Bluchers. We had decided a few months earlier that we would like to move to Kangaroo Island and it was while we were house hunting that we stumbled on the fact that this place was for sale.
Hot on the heels of working (and surviving) our first summer, we closed our doors in order to undertake renovations, and reopened in late April. In addition to upgrading the kitchen and bedroom facilities, we changed the name of the accommodation and became a guesthouse.
A quirky fact: we chose the name “Dragonfly” because Susi has a daughter called Rori. You would need to be a fan of the TV show, The Gilmore Girls, to make the connection - the lead character, who has a daughter named Rory, owns an inn called The Dragonfly. Susi's daughter has lent her name to the cabin in the rear garden, which also underwent a facelift during the renovations.
We have quite a few plans for future development of the site (subject to Council approval) that will see the addition of a large undercover outdoor area, and a front porch, but for now we will catch our breath and work on finalising our website and increasing the number of guests who walk through our doors, particularly during the quieter months. We're also looking forward to developing the rear garden and planting it out with a herbs for guests to use in the kitchen.
Although we have renovated, we continue to refer to ourselves as budget accommodation, largely because the bathrooms remain as shared facilities. We still cater for backpackers, albeit in a smaller dormitory, as we decided to turn the largest room in the house into a spacious family room. This allows families to enjoy the benefit of budget-style accommodation and mixing with guests from all over the world, while having sufficient space in their private room to chill out privately, together.
How does or can your business contribute to the business community?
We are still finding our feet in our new community, but will always look for ways in which to contribute, in any way we can. We took every opportunity to explore the island and its attractions as quickly as possible after arriving, in order to be able to personally recommend other businesses to our guests - we still have a lot more to see and do. Susi worked at the KI Races, and we both became members of the Yacht Club (we always invite our guests to join us on Friday nights - they really enjoy the opportunity to indulge in a local experience).
If a group or individual would like to use our venue to host a small function we would be open to doing this (taking into consideration that we are an accommodation venue with guests, but if it is possible to work around this, particularly during the quieter seasons, we would certainly consider the possibility). We have been approached to host scholarship students for the Islands of the World Conference and will meet with the coordinator later this week to discuss the finer details.
We are currently hands on with the business, but would like to get to the point where we would hire staff, most likely a cleaner.
Why did you join Business Kangaroo Island and how do you see it helping your business?
We thought it would be useful way in which to network with other KI business operators, to share ideas to help overcome the challenges of living and operating a business on an island. It will also provide us with the opportunity to get to know more members of the community.
What are some positive opportunities you see for Kangaroo Island businesses in the future?
As an accommodation provider, the airport expansion and the possibility of another Glenelg to Kingscote ferry are of great interest to us. It is not just tourism service providers who will benefit from a growth in tourist numbers, and a boost to these transport services.
~ Susi Whitehead & Bruno Beltrame
More info: www.kidragonfly.com
[Apologies to Susi for the use of the wrong image on the BKI June Newsletter]