All inclusive holidays have only really taken off in Turkey in recent years. It's never been something that has appealed to me, particularly when holidaying in a different country. I always think it's a bit of a shame to spend an entire holiday confined to one hotel, and being restricted by mealtimes etc. Surely the joy of travelling abroad is to experience as much of the country and culture as possible. And that means getting out and about and just using the hotel as a base.
It would seem however that the all inclusive holiday is popular with lots of people. I suppose those on a strict budget, will find it easier to pay one price, and know that they don't need extra money for food and drinks.
Turkey has given in to the demand for all-inclusive deals, but a little reluctantly I think. It's certainly an unpopular concept with local businesses...restaurants, bars, shops, etc and as a result many have closed down in recent years.
When Mr Ayak negotiated the deal on his Hamam business with the hotel in Bitez, he was of course aware that this was an all-inclusive hotel. It would, you would think, be to his advantage....the hotel guests being on site for the duration of the holiday, would provide him with potential customers.
Unfortunately, things are never quite what they appear to be.
Firstly, without wishing to offend any nationality (so I won't mention any specifically), it is well known in this country that certain nationalities don't like to spend money when they are on holiday. Naturally the all-inclusive deal suits them fine. Mr Ayak is aware of those nationalities who are likely to spend money on Hamam, massage, etc...and those that are not. All of this was discussed before signing the contract. The General Manager, who knew exactly which nationalities had booked for the season, assured Mr Ayak that the majority of guests were from countries who would spend money.
He was lying...the majority are in fact those people who don't spend money on extras. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, Mr Ayak and his personnel have at least managed to sell their services to as many hotel guests as is humanly possible...but considering the very high rent being charged by the General Manager, they are struggling somewhat.
Another issue has arisen. It would seem that the General Manager has instructed his staff to encourage guests to go out of the hotel. Well...from a personal point of view..this is not a bad thing, because they will at least see a bit of the area. However...this is not the General Manager's motive for doing this. He is trying to restrict the dishing out of "free" drinks. Well of course they aren't free as such...they are included in the package.
He has taken it one step further. The bar is now closed at 9.00pm every evening. Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous? As if people on holiday would be happy to stop drinking at 9.00pm! So from this time onwards the hotel is empty. It's a blow for Mr Ayak, because a lot of their customers were coming to the Hamam mid-evening, finding it a relaxing way to end the day.
Mr Ayak had a meeting with the General Manager today, who insisted that Mr Ayak close the Hamam at 9.00pm every evening. Mr Ayak said he was not prepared to do that. He also pointed out that the GM had misled him about the type of customers, and had certainly not made it known that guests would be encouraged to go out of the hotel as much as possible. Mr Ayak is being charged a very high rent for the premises...and there has been downright dishonesty at play here. In a nutshell...Mr Ayak is being ripped off...big time!
The meeting today brought no satisfaction or even compromise on the part of the GM..so Mr A has reluctantly given a month's notice to terminate the contract.
Naturally he is extremely disappointed, but he is already starting to look around at other possibilities. He had planned to go to Istanbul to rent similar premises for the winter...but he may well bring this forward. At least Istanbul has year-round tourists.
Nothing is ever straightforward in Turkey. There are always disappointments and setbacks. I am trying not to worry about it all. Mr A could of course have bowed down to the General Manager, but someone has to make a stand and stick with what is right. And in spite of the problems we will no doubt face soon, I admire him for standing his ground, and he has my full support...as always!