Our Pizza Oven
It's been a week since my last post -- a busy week, which ended yesterday with my first breakfast free day since the summer. I had been moving pretty slowly the last two weeks, and yesterday I felt all the aches and pains which I had sort of pushed away for a long time, while things had to get done. It's funny how that happens -- as soon as we allow ourselves the luxury or relaxing after a very long stretch of hard work, everything hurts-especially at this age. But it was only one free day, and today we have arrivals from the north and that will continue until the beginning of November.
Back in the spring, I never thought we would book out this season. Inquiries were scarce and reservations were scarcer. I was worried -- that had never happened before, and I did not know what to do. We had shortened our season because of ongoing renovation work, work that had not gone well and could not get finished in time and was more complex than anyone had realized. The change in dates on the website caused people to not really know what was going on with us. The economic crisis did not help my sense of foreboding. I was definitely in a panic.
Well intentioned people came up with all kinds of suggestions when they sensed my anxiety: half the room rates, cut out the brunch style breakfast and the service levels. We knew as experienced business people this would essentially ruin our business forever- we might gain reservations, but we would lose our target customer, and would never really be able to get that customer back. We had worked four long seasons to establish a quality product with good value for our guests. We did not want to lose that base.
I finally turned to the people that I knew and understood the best -- former guests whose visits had shown that we were on the right track with our concept. I explained our dilemma to them. They rallied, got fresh reviews on to Trip Advisor and Slow Travel for us. Positive reviews on those kinds of websites really help tiny places like ours which are otherwise very difficult to find. Our former guests made it clear that they wanted Baur B&B to be around for a long time. The new reviews gave us new life; unbelievably, the second half of the 2009 season was our most heavily booked ever, at almost 100%, give or take a night here or there, like yesterday.
So while I have a sore back, it is because we have been fully booked. That is something I am so grateful for. Thank you, my dear guests, for helping us out with the 2009 season, for doing so with so much positive energy and for helping to really give me the emotional boost I needed when things seemed so bleak.
I am fielding lots of requests for 2010, which is a much different story than what happened so far in advance of the 2009 season. I feel really positive about the future, and that is in no short part due to my wonderful, wonderful guests.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.