Success on the Fundy Shore
Photo: Asrar Haq-Montford and Nicholas Montford-Haq, co-operators of Shangri-La Cottages
When asked if they had any advice for someone considering opening a new business, Nicholas Montford-Haq said “just go for it”. This is what Nicholas Montford-Haq and Asrar Haq-Montford did when they became the operators of Shangri-la Cottages just over a year ago. Shangri-la Cottages’ three cottage rentals over look the Bay of Fundy and are located beside Burntcoat Head Park, which is known for the world’s highest tides and sees over 30,000 visitors annually to the Park.
Investing in the future of tourism
In August of 2021, Nicholas and Asrar brought their previous experience as vacation home hosts in Halifax to the East Hants region. When looking for a location to invest in, Shangri-la Cottages’ unique offering, directly on the Bay of Fundy, and nearby to the welcoming communities of Noel and Maitland, made it an easy choice. Now residing onsite, Nicholas and Asrar welcome guests to the property with the assistance of three casual staff.
Over the past year, Nicholas and Asrar have been working to find ways to grow business operations and expand their product offerings. Understanding their target markets, and how those potential guests make decisions on booking accommodations led them to the digital adoption of an online booking platform. Guests can now check availability and make reservations directly online. They also spent time gathering guest feedback to help understand what their target markets were looking for in a vacation booking. As a result of this research, they have now expanded the cottages to include hot tubs. This upcoming winter will be the first off-season that they are operational and Nicholas and Asrar are anticipating that this new offering will increase non-peak season bookings.
A passion for building connections
Nicholas and Asrar’s passion for people shone through when asked what they enjoyed most about being the operators of Shangri-la Cottages. Being connected with the community, meeting new people, and providing memorable experiences for guests are top of their list. With many repeat customers from across Canada and the United States already booked for next year, their dedication to the business and their guests is helping to drive their business plans forward. The next improvement is already underway with expansion plans to add more cottages to the property. Nicholas and Asrar look forward to seeing familiar faces and welcoming new guests from all over the world as the Halifax Stanfield International Airport continues to increase its flight paths.