For five full years, we have kept journals in the guest rooms. They are there as an option for guests to share their likes and dislikes about their stay in our B & B. It is hard to read them on a day-to-day basis, so after five years of guest journal notes, I decided to put my qualitative analysis skills to the test and see if there were trends in the open-ended comments.
There were 210 journal entries representing approximately 654 people. Most (163 entries) came from the journal in the Fourth Room, which is our largest and most expensive room. The second greatest numbers of comments were found in the Fishing Room journal, which is considered our smallest (but often referred to as “cozy) room. We have had visitors from China, Canada, France, Italy, England and points far and near. Some are here for vacations while others are just passing through as they travel north or south.
Most of the comments were simply saying “thank-you for opening your home.” The words used to describe their experience at Bedford Landing were positive and varied but the most used word was “beautiful” (55 times). Many indicated that they wish their stay would have been longer (17) and nearly everyone said they would refer others to stay with and that certainly they would return for a visit in the future.
• Delightful, charming, great ambience, unique exceptional, 5-star (29)
• Relaxing, quiet, peaceful, a respite, great get-away, felt pampered, I am recharged, great escape (27)
• Comfortable, feel at home, comfy beds (24)
• Amazing, remarkable (21)
• Romantic, breathtaking, wonderful, magnificent, fabulous, superb, (18)
• Great attention to detail and room décor (12)
Aspects of the house that were mentioned in a positive light included the hot tub (8), the theatre room and movie selection (4), the comfy beds and sheets (4). It was interesting how many people mentioned our previous dog Kramer (RIP) and current dog, Bella (16). One person said the house was “clean and fresh” and at least four people mentioned our fortunate we are to have a housekeeper like Patty.
Regarding the breakfast, all comments were positive with the exception of one person who had stayed a full week for a family reunion close by. The comment was “there was a little too much food but we love that there is a cookie platter out all day long!” We were a bit perplexed by this comment!
• A delicious, divine, yummy, or incredible breakfast (48)
• The bacon was out of this world (7)
• The French toast was scrumptious (6)
• Loved the truffles in the room (5)
• Awesome biscuits (3)
• Very filling breakfast, plenty to eat (2)
• Memorable, an adventure (10)
• Perfect, would not change a thing, lovely stay (6)
• Appreciated the extra attention, appreciate the attention to my dietary needs (4)
• Gracious and warm hosts, wonderful hospitality, felt welcome, perfect hosts, kindness, thanks for the maps and local information (67)
• So enjoyed the conversation with Karen & Jack (22)
• Made new friends (2)
• Enjoyed the hangar tour, loved flying over the lake (15)
• Exceeded our expectations
• I slept like a log
• Your house is an oasis
• This is truly a gem
• This is a slice of heaven
• You and Jack have boiled inn keeping down to a perfect science
• The breakfast was fit for a king and queen
What should we make of all of these delightful comments? Jack and I enjoy pampering people who appreciate it! Through trip advisor, we have a 5-star review track record and many of the comments in the journals are also reflected in the Trip Advisor, Google Business and Facebook reviews. We strive to maintain all five stars! Our motto is “comfort better than you will find at home.” Our job is to make our guests feel welcomed and pampered. We do have few additional insights into what this data seems to tell us.
First, it seems that the dog is a therapeutic touch, especially for those who have left their pet at home. We are not dog friendly in that we know that people who love their pets enough to want to travel with them want also to sleep with them so that policy will not change. Bella does not go to the guest room level on the second floor so there is no dog odor, nor dander on that level. She is a small non-shedding dog and that helps us keep our home pet odor-free.
Secondly, we often just “click” with our guests in terms of personality and tastes. Their overwhelmingly positive comments about the warmth and friendliness of Bedford Landings may come about because we enjoy what we are doing. We live on site and can be helpful if needed but we “read” our guests to try to determine the extent to which they want or need interaction and attention. We offer personal touches to attend to dietary needs as long as we know in advance. We find that people are grateful for attempting to meet their needs.
We work well together in the kitchen making this a team effort and people seem to appreciate that we both are present and interact with them asking about their lives and answering questions about our lives and our home. We have implemented many unique aspects to our business including a mouse hole, a bedtime story book, local artisans, a giant chessboard, sight seeing flights and more. People find these things charming and they add to their “get away” experience.
We have met many people who were just visiting the lake area who in time decided to buy a house and settle here. We often feel very must like ambassadors to the lake as we respond to questions about things to do, Internet, golf communities, how to rent property, distance from attractions, realtors to use, how to get a boating license, and more.
All in all we will continue to be innkeepers until we don’t want to do it any longer. As long as we enjoy sharing our home and have gracious guests, we will be here!