Lessons Learned as a New Business Owner
Before we built and opened our Bed & Breakfast business, we read “B & B for Dummies.” The main thing we both remember is that running a Bed & Breakfast will not make you a fortune, but it will afford you to live where you want to live. I wanted to move back to the beautiful mountains of Virginia. Jack wanted to live at an airport; so when we discovered Smith Mountain Lake we knew this was the right location.
Opening your home to people to come and go is a little different from a business that can operate under standard hours and lock the doors at night. We designed our house to welcome guests but also with privacy for ourselves. We try not to post a bunch of rules but we do invest in a full tour once guests arrive. We don’t just leave a key. We want to start building our relationship with the guests when we confirm their reservation then when they walk in the door.
We have also learned that customer service is about the relationships you form. Guests love to hear our story and ask us questions. When people seek out a vacation destination, they want to walk away with something memorable. They want an “experience.” We designed the house with lots of common areas but with unique touches like themed rooms and fun knick-knacks. Each room has a theme and we have added special events that gusts and the community can enjoy. We have offered happy hour painting parties, biscuit school and Murder Mysteries. These supplement our income slightly but also in the long run help market the experiencing of spending time and money at Bedford Landings. We also tell them that they can see Smith Mountain Lake by air if they want to book a flight with Jack
Guests love that we pay attention to details - from the cleanliness of our home to the way the food is presented on the plate. We try to attend to special dietary needs, leave sweet treats in the rooms, and sell inexpensive souvenirs like t-shirts, books I wrote, and honey from our bees.
Our mission is to offer guests “comfort better than you have at home” and we hope we are fulfilling that. Enjoying a Trip advisor five-star rating tells us we are doing something right.