We're in the midst of another lock down. It's the right thing to do...short term pain for long term gain. I get it. Full stop.
We opened on April 7 and the entire month was hopeful and full of opportunity. We saw lots of interest, traffic to our website and most importantly, we welcomed some of the most amazing guests. All of our hard work was paying off. Then the third wave hit and it all came to a crashing halt. Cancellations, date changes and stalled momentum. I thought that was the worst of it. I was wrong.
We have had a few guests stay with us. Some were local workers coming to the area in need of a clean place to stay and some were locals looking for an escape. All of which we welcomed with open arms.
Before I continue, let me provide some perspective. We have poured our hearts, souls and life savings into this little tiny motel. We have huge plans to bring tourism to the area and find immense satisfaction and reward in welcoming guests to stay with us. We have always been hosts - we love to go over and beyond for people. We are always (I mean ALWAYS) talking about how we can surprise and delight our guests. From unexpected amenities that you'd typically only find in city hotels to complimentary cookies and milk for families checking in. We want to surprise you on your birthday with a cake. or celebrate your anniversary with a bottle of bubbly. So when this lock down happened, we were crushed to refund and move reservations for the guests who were planning to visit. But we understand. Be safe and healthy - that's our first priority.
What no one told us, even though I guess we knew it would happen eventually, is that some people don't care or respect the services and accommodations provided. In the last three weeks alongside the lock down and cancellations, we have had two separate bookings trash our beautiful rooms. Unexpectedly, my reaction has been complete and total heart break. I mean, full on tears and pain. After putting so much into our dream, it has felt like a punch to the gut. What does trashed look like? Let me paint a picture....
Sheets with pizza sauce, chip stains, chocolate stains, baby food squeezed all over the bedding, pizza kicked under the beds, unrecognizable stains all over the towels, crushed food items and sticky fluids all over the floors, stained carpets, ridiculous amounts of sand and dirt all over the bathroom, piles and piles of garbage everywhere and the list goes on. That's what I found in just one of our rooms today. It actually brought me to tears. I wasn't upset by the mess, as much as I was upset by the disrespect. We chose every piece in every room carefully and put time and money into making the most of each guest experience. As a small business owner, we want to welcome everyone to our motel. We are so excited to meet each guest so we can make their stay special. But when this is how we are treated, we can't help but be hurt.
As I sit here looking down at least another three weeks of lock down with only a handful of reservations on the books and dealing with two rooms that have been seriously abused, I can't help but wonder what the heck I am doing. Putting ourselves, our creativity, our passion for hospitality and travel out there for all to share in is the definition of being brave. We are in the arena (if you don't know what I'm talking about, watch this). But this treatment hit us harder than we expected.
There are ups and downs to entrepreneurialism. I will freely admit, I don't like the downs. The ups are AWESOME. The downs will either break you or make you fight harder. I let the feelings hit today, I felt every emotion - all the feelings, and now I'm digging in and pushing forward.
I have a message to those out there who have a complete disregard for other people's property - stop it. We aren't a big fancy hotel chain, we are a family trying to build our life, feed our kids, put them through school and live our truth. If you have no respect for a hard working, small business, don't stay with us. We know that the majority of our guests are not like this and we absolutely adore you all. We can't wait to greet you all when restrictions lift and we can celebrate the summer together. Until then, stay safe and healthy.