Eriksberg Hotel & Nature Reserve
THE NORDIC REGION’S LARGEST SAFARI PARK TARGETS REACHING 200,000 VISITORS
Eriksberg Hotel & Nature Reserve is Nordic region’s largest safari park. Over the year, 60,000 guests visited Eriksberg to stay at the hotel, attend conferences, eat from the restaurant’s game menu or to take a safari among the approximately 1,500 wild animals. Eriksberg is now investing to increase the number of visitors, with a target of 200,000.
“We are continuously developing the operations to make the facility and the reserve a superior experience in every detail,” says Eriksberg’s MD Per-Arne Olsson. “In recent years, we have invested about SEK 300 million and in the summer of 2018 we completed the year’s largest individual investment, a brand new entrance building, Outdoor Eriksberg.”
The wild animals and the nature reserve are the foundation of the operations. The animals are included in all aspects – being depicted in the furnishings and the decor of the rooms, as well as on the menus in the restaurants. Over time, the animals develop the biodiversity of the reserve and evolution continues relatively undisturbed at Eriksberg. Accordingly, Eriksberg is now a site of national importance with regard to biodiversity and is one of the areas in which most studies are made of different organisms, birds and animals. Eriksberg is a “gene bank”.
“Mellby Gård has now owned Eriksberg for ten years, contributing long-term cultural benefit. Through extensive investments, we have created something unique, and the experiences we offer are constantly improving. Such operations are of increasing importance for modern man. Many customers describe their annual visits as an opportunity to unwind and reenergize,” says Per-Arne Olsson.
Eriksberg has a broad target group. Today, most visitors are Swedes, but an increasing number come from Germany and Denmark. Tourists visit Eriksberg with bus excursions, travelling around the park for a couple of hours or eating in the restaurant. The nature reserve also receives families with their own cars, as well as companies of varying sizes that visit for team building or business planning. Private hotel guests and experience seekers from abroad are becoming more common and are in focus for Eriksberg.
Since Mellby Gård took over in 2008, the number of visitors has tripled, with sales increasing more than tenfold. The watchword is “long-term”, which permeates everything. The target is to achieve annual sales in the region of SEK 65-70 million within a few years.
The largest investment during the year was the new entrance building, which was completed at the end of June 2018. Architect Thomas Sandell was commissioned to create a building reflecting Eriksberg through modern architecture. The objective is for this to help increase the number of visitors to 200,000 within a few years. The number of days during the year on which Eriksberg is open increased to 360. The entrance is now continuously manned, allowing Eriksberg to welcome visitors in an even more personal way.
“We have named the new entrance ‘Outdoor Eriksberg’,” says Per-Arne Olsson. “It houses a café and a shop offering Eriksberg’s own game produce, souvenirs and outdoor clothing from Chevalier.”
“In the longer term, we want to use the value of the reserve even more effectively, offering new options for spending the night close to nature, barbecue huts and movable camera huts for getting close to the animals. Another trend is ‘glamping’ – glamourous camping in a hand-sewn tent in the same sail cloth as an East Indies clipper and with architect-designed beds.”
“We also want to develop spectacular feeding houses in designs based on Eriksberg’s ‘soul’. Architects will be able to interpret this in their own way,” Says Per-Arne Olsson.
“It’s important to create locations in which genuine experiences always occur and where there are photo opportunities, regardless of the season and the weather.”