Category Archives: Awards
BedAndBreakfast.com recently announced another level, the Diamond Collection, to their B&B listings. BedAndBreakfast.com is a real powerhouse in the B&B directories so we looked into this new, higher level of listing.
Most listing levels (Gold, Silver, Bronze….) with most on-line directories are based only on how much per month you are willing to pay for your on-line listing. Of course, the more you pay, the more bells and whistles your listing will have. The part we liked about the Diamond Collection listing is that it requires inspection by a third party to determine if we really are to the Diamond Collection standard.
Most of you, including me back when I had a real job, have someone (the Boss) who is more than happy to tell you if you made an error, are late on a schedule or have fouled up a report. As innkeepers we do not regularly get that critical feedback. We get a ton of positive reviews from our guests (Thanks again, glad you liked it!) but an occasional operation review from an independent party who has worked in the B&B industry would have to be a good thing. We get set in our ways, bask in the good reviews and may need a good shake once in a while to instigate some fresh thinking.
Our inspector stayed with us in April and gave us a few suggestions before departing. Many of his recommendations have already been incorporated into our daily routine. We now offer our regular breakfast plus alternate breakfasts for those with lighter appetites and we have more juices to choose from. We have de-cluttered the front hall by installing a wall-mounted rack for brochures that advertise local events and activities. Monogrammed bathrobes are on the way! We may even get polo shirts with the Addison logo for our staff to make them more visible and accessible to our guests (Me? I’m sticking with Hawaiian shirts). Many little things that we look at every day (worn Welcome mats for example) were pointed out and have since been replaced.
The inspector stuck a bee in Shannon’s bonnet about a venture that he ran quite successfully at his B&B. Shannon has been researching and planning and we may end up making a significant change at the inn based on this idea. It is too soon to tell so I’ll just leave that hanging for now.
We received our official Diamond Collection report today and we scored 184 out of a possible 195 which is apparently enough to be in the Diamond Collection on BedAndBreakfast.com. We certainly hope that you, our guests, are pleased with our efforts and we thank you for all of your positive feedback on the Addison experience.
Tomorrow is the second anniversary of when Shannon and I bought the Addison. We bought it December 21st, 2007 and re-opened the Inn on January the 15th. Our first guests checked in on the 15th, stayed in Room 4 and their last name was Addison. The rest is history.
The first couple of months were frantic as we had two big deadlines to meet. In the first week of March the photographers were scheduled to re-shoot the inn. Right after they left we had our first full house for the annual Concours d’Elegance. Everything had to be ready by then.
What could possibly be standing in our way? We bought a foreclosed, distressed property and there was work to do. Two bathrooms had to be gutted and re-built, wallpaper was peeling, towel racks were hanging off the walls. The landscaping was a mess.
In the first week I replaced over a hundred light bulbs. At first I was walking around the courtyard trying to turn on the courtyard lights. I was looking for sensors, looking for switches and even clapping as I thought the lights could be on a Clapper. It turns out all of the lights were burned out and just needed replacing. Side note: Two years later and all of the compact flourescent bulbs I put in are still burning.
The work got done. I think the paint was still drying on the walls as we were checking people in for the Concours but we had all 14 guest rooms open.
We keep painting, redecorating and repairing. When you own a 133-year old house there is always something to do. We have painted 3 bathrooms and 4 guest rooms including their bathrooms. We have replaced the original 132-year old roof on the historic structure and we have completely repainted two of our buildings and have partially repainted the third. We have replaced 5 of the small AC units in the courtyard rooms and one big AC unit that runs the upstairs of the main house. The landscaping keeps us busy as it always changes with the seasons.
Promoting the inn also keeps us busy and so far our efforts have been rewarded. In two years we have achieved top B&B in Florida according to TripAdvisor.com and have been awarded one of Top Ten B&Bs in the USA by BedAndBreakfast.com, an industry leader in B&B directories.
Any regrets? I wish we had done this sooner but good plans take time to come to fruition.
Any surprises? I am pleasantly surprised at the number of guests who keep in touch with us, send us e-mails from their travels and send us pictures of their stay at the Addison. We stayed at hundreds (as previously mentioned, I do tend to exagerate) of B&Bs during our reseach years and I can not even remember our inn-keeper’s names let alone come up with a reason to e-mail them. I am also surprised by the number of toilet seats we need to replace. I had to replace 3 in one weekend and I have to keep a stock of them in the garage.
A lot of our guests seem to think that what we do is hard work. You know, the hours are long and there is the responsibility of running a small business where your employees and vendors expect to be paid on time. On the other side of the coin, this is fun work. I get up early, do some paperwork, prepare and serve breakfast with Shannon and the day moves forward. I spend a couple of hours a day on maintenance and landscaping, a couple of hours on propmoting the inn, a couple of hours on Happy Hour and and I get a break a few times a day to walk Maggie Doone and One-Eyed Louie. The wrinkles on my forehead are actually getting harder to see and my smile lines are getting more pronounced. This is a good life and we both enjoy it.
We have had great news here at the Addison this week. BedAndBreakfast.com (the industry leader in B&B directories) has announced their annual award winners and the Addison was one of the Top Ten Overall in the USA. The really cool thing about this award is that it is all based on guest comments! We received so many positive comments from so many guests that we are in the Top Ten of all the B&Bs in the US. Guest comments have also driven us to be the Number One B&B in Florida on TripAdvisor.com. So, on behalf of Shannon, Lee, myself and the Housekeeping Staff… THANK YOU for visiting us and giving us such great reviews.
We have had some really interesting guests lately, too. We even had a celebrity but we can’t really say anything about her without giving it away and as my good friend Bob used to say “Discretion is my middle word”. Another guest, Will, was with us for a few days and we shared foreign travel stories. After he left he sent me a picture of his time (1958) in Saudi. He was such a handome young Air Force officer back then and you can still see it in him now. Another of our recent guests was an engineer in the Apollo program. I tell you, my friends, Happy Hour has had some really interesting conversations flowing lately.
All bloggers know that you have to include a photo. Although entirely unrelated to our award, our celebrity guest or anything else I have rambled on about I present you another photo of Maggie Doone sitting at the bar at the Green Turtle. That is Maggie on the stool, Louie under the stool (he doesn’t like sitting on the stools) and the hulking mass on the stool next to them is yours truly.
Balance is important in our lives. If you can find that balance between work life, social life and family life then you have the start to a happy life. If you enjoy going to work and enjoy coming home after work then you have a pretty good start. I think that Shannon and I are on that path through the good life. We both thoroughly enjoy what we do, we get along well together (25 years of marriage in November) and people we meet every day seem to be enjoying it too. To all of our guests who have stayed with us, enjoyed the experience and have posted such great comments, again THANK YOU!