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Hostess with the mostest and other reasons to run a bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere.

The most asked question of any of our guests is, “what gave you the idea to run a BnB”? And honestly, I have no idea what we were thinking. It’s all a blur now. An amazing, fun, blurry adventure. The idea hatched out of necessity for farm employees needing a place to stay because they weren’t living locally when they were hired. I have always wanted a big old three storey Eaton’s house as a BnB but as with many farm houses you get the one that comes with the land, and we just happen to get a late 1960’s model bungalow. So, the two storey lodge was born.

Hubby is truly the one with the gift of hospitality. He’s quiet, but he loves to visit and he can be a total over-hoster. He can push food and drinks like none other. His chubby farm wife, not so much. I love to visit but often don’t even think about the fact that someone could be parched and need a glass of water. I’ve learned from Hubby and from travelling and simply asking myself the question, “what would I like if I were the guest”? It can be a multifaceted answer as many guests want something different from their experience but it never hurts to ask and we are always open to new suggestions.

Today’s guest wants personal service that feels like home and most want privacy as well, so there is a continual balancing act and each guest is unique in their needs and preferences. Striving to customize someone’s stay so that they leave feeling rested and valued looks different for every guest and often we have 12 guests with differing preferences. At the same time, over-hosting can backfire. Experience, introspect, empathy, and service are all part of hospitality. If you don’t enjoy a little people pleasing, (and don’t you like it when someone brings pleasure to your vacation?) you may want to consider working as a fire watch in a remote tower in the mountains instead. You have to love people if you have a BnB or any accommodation because guests are at the centre of every decision you make.

Having a boutique hotel has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I love to cook and have served so many unique breakfast selections but most of our guests love a classic Eggs Benny, French Toast, homemade muffins and for our Southern guests, a solid dose of hot sauce! I have discovered how different a Canadian eats breakfast from an American. Hot sauce. That’s the difference, folks. Stop asking if they want hot sauce, just give them a big ol’ tub of that gruel and they’re happy. I’m not sure they can even taste the eggs but, if they’re happy, I’m happy.

Over-hosting can often feel like being the parent of 16-28 children. One brain, two ears, and 50 questions all at the same time. The phone is beeping with texts, emails and Facebook messages all the while you’re on the land line live with a guest asking about farm tours or asking where we buy our fluffy robes. Sure, you could type it all out and put it in a boring hotel binder, but where’s the fun in that? There’s no reason for a guest to ring the door bell and start chatting about life and adventure, and how can you over-host well without great conversation?

We would be deprived farmers without our guests. We are rich with experiences shared with our guests and wouldn’t have it any other way! The people who visit our farm honour us with their choice to stay at Alive Sky Lodge. Whether they stay in our BINcredible or one of our lodge rooms, they have shared a little piece of their lives with us and for that, we celebrate!

Hi, I’m April and I’m an over-hoster.

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