Why would you run a B&B? Long hours; continuous cleaning; getting up early to prepare breakfasts; pandering to the whims of guests. It’s not something that appeals to me. In the UK we are using to seeing B&B signs in seaside resorts and at farms. But it is becoming increasingly popular in America. Except that there it’s slightly different.
Matt and Susan Vogler (not forgetting the dog, Charlie) run a two bedroomed B&B in the heart of cowboy country- Pendleton, Oregon called The RiverWalk B&B. It took them four years to take one of the oldest houses in the Historic District of the town into something they liked. They did the work themselves and decided to let out the rooms just a few years ago. Why?
It wasn’t for the money because with just two rooms you’re never going to be millionaires. In America B&B’s have a different appeal to those in the UK. There, they can be slightly higher in price than the average hotel. They appeal to a slightly older person who likes home comforts rather than the bland anonymity that most chain hotels have. Families like them because they can seem like home.
So why does this couple do it?
They like the social side. Chatting to people for a little while when they come down in the evening where, in my case, a slice of chocolate banana cake and a mug of tea, awaited me. They can talk about their town and give you an insider’s slant as to what is worth seeing and where those hidden gems are. They know the stories and can explain why a seemingly uninteresting building hides a secret only a local would know.They also like to learn about their guests. I’m not sure who talked more; them or me. And sharing their home. They are proud of the effort that they have put into the period furniture they have found such as the bathroom sink and the wardrobes and will readily give you a guided tour throughout the whole house.
And pride in their achievement makes them want you to be proud to have stayed there. It’s customer service of a very quiet, subtle kind. Like the home-baked chocolate banana cake rather than a mass-produced one. It’s that little bit extra they offer to make you want to go back.
For more information about the RiverWalk B&B click here