We have owned At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn for very close to 12 years. In that time, the changes that have occurred in accommodations, guest preferences and tastes and even the guest themselves are exponential.
One thing has stood out as a constant.
When our guests are visiting our place and it is the very first bed and breakfast they have stayed in... They are, without exception, blown away...In a good way!
When they are so impressed and in the mood to talk, considering this a learning opportunity, I use their revelation to sit down with them if they have time to chat.
If this was their first bed and breakfast experience--- Why?
What reason caused them to choose hotels as their primary lodging option in the past?
What was the primary factor that caused them not to pursue accommodations at a bed and breakfast?
I have gotten some spectacular answers to these queries.
The response as to why this was the first time they chose to stay in a bed and breakfast for their accommodation need was nearly always the same. They simply hadn't thought about this option. They have a lot of company as it is estimated that approximately 5% of the traveling public choose bed and breakfasts.
When asked what caused them to choose hotels as their primary option in the past the responses were mixed:
1.Drove till they decided to stop and it (the hotel) was right there on the interstate or turnpike indicating kind of a destination mentality rather than the entire vacation (including stops along the way) being the vacation.
2. Didn't have to reserve ahead of time.
3. They've always used hotels. (Refluxing to, THEY SIMPLY HADN'T THOUGHT ABOUT IT.)
The last question I asked regarding potential concerns about choosing a bed and breakfast basically was designed only to gain information from the meager 5% of the traveling public that at least had the term: bed and breakfast in their mindset at all.
Factors that might have deterred them from seeking out a bed and breakfast for their lodging needs.
Now, that question sparked the most startling and amazing answers of all.
They expressed concerns of varying types:
Much discussion regarding their potential innkeepers e.g. rude, intrusive, too personal, too needy or requiring personal interaction they might not desire.
Fear of outdated properties fraught with doilies, oppressive curtains and falling down bathrooms in disrepair coupled with no hot water.
Annoying pets belonging to owners.
Dealing with pressures of being social with a group of unknown folks at breakfast.
After hearing some of these responses.... I was the one who was blown away.
I will not tell you that none of their concerns have merit but what I will tell you is that most of them are likely to be more an issue in a hotel environment than in a bed and breakfast.
We'll begin with the innkeeper issue. Most innkeepers are inn owners. They have every possible vested interest in meeting their guests every expectation. As a group of people they spend a great deal of time doing just that. Most of these folks come from business or the professions (many of them from the helping professions) and you will likely find them very intuitive and insightful regarding each guest's need. That is to say they are observant, mindful people who generally don't have to be hit over the head with a brick to know if privacy, quiet, and less conversation is desired by their guest. They want what you want. Further, they understand that their efforts on behalf of your total guest experience being positive will encourage bed and breakfasts being your choice the next time. Maybe even their bed and breakfast. I always tell my guests that a Repeat Guest is my favorite and most highly prized compliment. It is is referendum on your job and everyone enjoys a good review.
While I have often experienced tattered furnishing, stains on furniture, rugs and bedding the ORIGIN of which I try very hard not to contemplate... in hotel settings.... This is not the case in any bed and breakfast I have ever booked. We do not have hundreds of rooms; even those of us managing larger than average bed and breakfasts. We have comparatively small numbers so each room is decorated and maintained to present well to be a showcase in fact. Our business depends on that and our guests expect it.
We are not able to be cloaked in corporate anonymity but rather we stand with our few "well dressed rooms" awaiting your inspection and prepared to deliver guest enjoyment.
For those not of the "pet loving genre" or those who have beloved pets of their own at home but wish not to have to interact with owner pets- We have many pet free properties. Even those innkeepers owning pets often restrict them to owner areas unless their presence is specifically requested by a guest.
For those of you traveling with your beloved furry friends...We'll we've got that covered in spades too with many Pet Friendly inns not only allowing pets but welcoming them as part of your family.
For those not wishing large guest interaction for the morning meal, most inns accommodate for that in one fashion or another either by staggered seating times or other means of making it all ok for our guests. Guests are our focus in the bed and breakfast industry.
Stay tuned to learn more about A Better Way to Stay in our Next Blog!
Hoping this finds your Thanksgiving having been wonderful, your Christmas Tree up and ready and all moving full steam ahead to a most blessed Christmas!
Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast