So we think we have this inn keeping thing figured out, after four months. And we are anticipating one of the biggest events of the year for Nelson County: LockN. A “Woodstock”-ish five day non-stop musical event that catapults the Nelson County population from 780 to 36,780 for five fabulous days. Mike and I are not sure what to expect and we have been forewarned. Not your “typical” bed and breakfast guests, who check in, go to bed early, and spend their time visiting all the local attractions. There may even be recreational drugs involved. Oh boy, what are we getting ourselves into???
As we anticipated our breakfasts and schedules, Mike and I tried to think outside the bed-and-breakfast-box….how would WE want to be treated/handled in such a unique situation? Knowing that our guests would be coming in very late and probably not getting up in time for the usual 9:00am breakfast, should we offer a variety of breakfast schedules? What other “rules” should we publicize??
We decided to approach the long weekend the same way we approached parenting: “let’s pick the top 3 rules that our family/business cannot absolutely overlook, and let’s attempt to be flexible with everything else”. Our three bed and breakfast top rules: 1. no smoking (1874 farmhouses and flames do not mix), 2. No unregistered guests (please do not bring any new concert friends back to our property), and 3. No fire on the grounds (reference #1).
So our first guests check in. Three brothers from Richmond. Such an incredible family and we are automatically geeked that our guests are amazing and we are part of their weekend. The other guests continue to trickle in and we are thrilled beyond belief. Several teachers, a caterer, a pharm rep, the music brothers, an agent from LA. So far this is way better than we guessed.
Back to our business plan: our guests took full advantage of our property, as they should, and also took full advantage of the concerts. They came home each night at 4am, and were in no mood for breakfast at the typical 9am serving time. So? We offered cards each night that they could select 9:30/10/1o:30/11am breakfast times. We were doing breakfast dishes still at 1:30pm. Why??? Because that is how Mike and I would love to be treated.
During the very busy LockN weekend, we were also having fiber optic internet installed. As I escorted the tech to our chaos of wires, I said : “Wow, I could NEVER do your job, this looks like an insane mess to me”. And he replied: “Ma’am, with all due respect, I could never do YOUR job….if I had all these strangers all over my property, I would stab my eyes out”. I looked out the window and had to see, from his point of view, the scene: people all over our land: several in the pool, the hammocks, the adirondack chairs, down by the pond, walking through the vineyard.
Then I stepped back and saw it through my own eyes: the Simmons brothers laughing and catching up in the pool, Michele reading another book in the hammocks, Martha/Dean/Emily/Heath hanging out in the Adirondack chairs, and Christy relaxing on the front porch. What could be better than this???
LockN 2016 was way more amazing than we anticipated and we can’t wait for next year. We made several new friends, and more importantly, hopefully we helped our guests enjoy the weekend the way we would have have scripted for ourselves.