Now almost a year has passed when we posted in our newsletter an article called “Winds of Change” (https://www.blackberrycreekretreat.com/blog/winds-of-change. In that article, we spelled out, amid the COVID craziness, our prediction of business looking forward. If you read that, you might recall we forecasted a cautious approach to future bookings as WE grow older and more challenged with the day-to-day tasks of running our Bed & Breakfasts.
We continue to evaluate the pluses and minuses of our business and strains upon us. We are entering our 15th year in “retirement” running Blackberry Creek Retreat. As most of your know, this has become a sole Innkeeper upkeep business as Dixie herself faces a number of health challenges.
Personally, and often expressed, I (Mark) plan to keep running it as long as I am physically able, finding it the thing that keeps me busy and healthy, while providing something in return to this family. However, this body does provide hints as to my age and restrictions, and a recognition to how much is too much, and where the healthy medium is. We have been blessed with a wonderful business, rewarding friendships, and a most memorable lifestyle.
This year, while COVID still lurks about, but certainly a change (for us, our area, and business) over last year, we have seen business boom again. This year’s business model from that Winds of Change report saw many corrections and possibly something unexpected. For example, retreats are not as challenging as overnight guests here and there staying an evening. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy these guests and WERE what we expected from the beginning. However, a retreat of ten ladies staying 2, 3 or 4 nights is less a toll on this Innkeeper than a couple here and there, staying one night. Why? Room flips for a single night versus flipping all rooms after say 3 nights . Breakfast for 2 or 4 is not any more a task than for 10-12. So, we have found retreats not the wearing business as I had thought.
In addition, we are “blocking” dates before a multi-night retreat and after so that time is allowed to flip the rooms. No more back to back retreats with a day between. Finally, we have to have family time to ourselves, and this includes holidays, something we put business first. Why book an overnight room Christmas Eve, when we could spend time with our family at that time. I am exposing myself here, but want you all to understand if you have not heard me express this recently.
So, 2022, what’s planned? Business as usual. I have “penciled in” retreat dates as requested by this year’s and some new groups. Penciling in means I am blocking their dates without deposits this far out, we’ll see how this sole is doing (feeling great right now) and as we get closer, request deposits to lock in. We’ll have weekend availability for overnight guests, but not cutting back on the retreats. We’ll block days for personal time, and catchup time (flipping rooms) between booking loads, and see how well we navigate 2022.
I hope this transparency is clearer more than opaque. If not, feel free to reach out to the Ol’ Innkeeper and we can discuss. Looking forward to the year ahead and new memories being made.