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A B&B Success Story

publication date: Jul 23, 2012
author/source: Brian Casel

How Abadin B&B Overcomes Seasonal Ups and Downs, Uses Online Booking, and More

This week’s hotelier interview is with Ed & Shirley, owners of Abadin Bed and Breakfast in L’Orignal, Ontario, Canada.  Their story takes across oceans and across industries (from healthcare, to a motor Inn, to a B&B!).  I found their thoughts on relying heavily on online booking very insightful.  Read on to hear it all…

This is part of our Hotelier Interviews series, where we’re inviting Hotel, B & B, and Resort operators on to tell their story of how they run and sustain their business.  If you’re interested in being interviewed, submit your request here.

Ed & Shirley

Welcome Ed & Shirley…

Can you briefly introduce your hotel, where it’s located, the local attractions, etc.?

We chose the Ottawa valley area as the perfect place to fulfil our dreams. For the last three years we had looked for the right place and we are convinced we found it in this house on 612 Bobois Street in L`Orignal, Ontario.

The proximity to two of our major Canadian cities was an important factor in our decision to purchase this place. The ABADIN B & B is conveniently located midway between Ottawa and Montreal on Hwy 17 and just an hour North of the US border as well as a stone’s throw from the bridge over the Ottawa River to Quebec.

This excellent location combines all the elements we had in mind. It is located on a cul-de-sac with access to the Ottawa River. Guests have a beautiful view at the River from all front rooms. We had guests falling asleep for hours, lounging in their chairs at the river bank while watching ships go by.

Guests enjoy visiting, the local all natural Vinery, Beau Beer Brewery, Parc Omega Montebello (wildlife park), Lachute Flea/Farmers Market, White Water Rafting, Kiting and Kayaking, Water Park and lots of winter activities are also right in front of our door.

How long have you been in operation? What led you to the decision to start your hotel?

We owned and operated a Motor-Inn for just under 11 years before we decided to semi-retire and build a B&B. We are from a different kind of profession being a Social Health Supervisor and Pedagogue and my wife is an Art Therapist we worked in psychiatric facilities for 25 years. To change to the accommodation business came to mind after we had moved from Europe to Canada.

What has been your most effective method of marketing your hotel and attracting guests?

“Here with the B&B we are still in infant shoes and testing the different platforms of exposure but everything goes through online bookings.”

During the time we owned the Motor-Inn our website and the membership with AAA/CAA brought a massive increase in booking. Here with the B&B we are still in infant shoes and testing the different platforms of exposure but everything goes through online bookings. Even when guests inquire by phone we will send them to our online booking website to complete the booking and we do this for several reasons. 1- through the booking engine we have a valid and confirmed credit card supporting the booking. 2- customers have to read (check off) our cancellation policy and we therefore have a legal contract with them and 3- we have all the contact info in writing which leaves little room for error on our side.

How have you used the web and social media to promote your hotel?

We use FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, WordPress (Blog), Flickr, and LinkedIn (more to connect and mingle with other Innkeepers). When we started we used coupon and voucher companies on the internet to promote our NEW B&B but this is a whole different ball game and would need and article on its own to talk about.

What is the most challenging aspect of running your hotel business? How do you overcome this?

The thing one has to get used to when running a business like accommodations is the seasonal aspect of it. We had a bit of a hard time in the beginning to adjust to the uncertainty of income when we bought the Motor-Inn some 12 years back. Coming form a regular income of being employed to being in your own business and one that shows very little income during winter months especially being located in the Northern part of Ontario Canada was a little disconcerting to us. But after the first 2 years we understood the system and that the majority of our income was made during high season.

What was one thing you learned from your experience operating your hotel, that you didn’t know or expect before starting out in the hospitality business?

That our professional training in therapy and social work would come very handy :) and that we would experience things we never thought would possible.

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