SEASON IN REVIEW
Now that it is officially autumn in Canada, it is time to review and evaluate our first season at Valley Hideaway Guest House (a B&B in Clearwater, BC).
We launched later than we had hoped. Renovations took longer than planned and we did not open until early July rather than the anticipated May long weekend. That was just in time for the busiest forest fire season on record in British Columbia. Our community spent time on evacuation alert (meaning we could be called to flee at a moment’s notice) and many communities through the province were evacuated.
Wells Gray Park was closed in its entirety for part of the summer due to wildfire risk. When it did finally open, all the back country was closed. Those closures, combined with the fire danger and smoke from seemingly endless fires some hundreds of miles away, slowed down tourism … a lot.
With the September rains fire bans have now been lifted and the park is once again reopened. It remains open in the winter for those tourists who want to see another side of the beauty of this area.
We had some battles with technology and a list of administrative duties to attend to. There were booking agents (OTA’s, online travel agencies) to be worked with, channel managers to be set up (those are the companies that coordinate the calendars for the various OTA’s and our website. Merchant accounts (to accept credit card payments), bank accounts to open and insurance to obtain.
The drought and the deer played havoc with the garden but we were able to provide some garden fresh fruit and vegetables to our guest. Next year we hope to do more. The work on the grounds continues but we are making progress. There will be some minor fine tuning projects indoors over the winter, but nothing that should hinder our guests.
The menu was fine tuned repeatedly. Follow up emails, and various record keeping systems were developed and revised. All in all it was busy.
HOW DID WE DO?
So in the end what did it look like? More than 80% of our available dates were booked (I haven’t calculated the exact number yet but I suspect it will top 90%). Visitors came from at least 14 different nations. We met wonderful people and enjoyed hosting them and blessing them.
Misty Mountain Dog made many new friends and now considers entertaining the guests to be part of her job description. An informal review from her rated her as delightful.
At booking.com we stand rated at an exceptional 9.8 out of possible 10 by our guests. At Expedia our reviews show us at 5 out of 5. Facebook reviewers give us 5 stars and several ratings at Google maps give us 5 stars as well. There is room for improvement, but I think we can call that a good start.
It was a tiring season, but worth ever moment of it. We will remain open through the fall, winter and spring and are delighted to be seeing the bookings already coming in for summer 2018.
There is plenty to do all year round in Clearwater, so don’t let our summer wrap up fool you. We are here all year, ready willing and able to host your stay. Come Rest, relax, restore and explore.