Goldmoor Inn owner Brigit Radin highlights new programs she and her husband have tried at the hotel to provide guests with unique experiences that bring in profits for the hotel.
If you own your own business, you can quickly adapt when business fluctuates and introduce new reasons for guests to choose your destination.
When you have the luxury of independence, you can make these changes without going through a laundry list of corporate directives. While you have permission to be creative, you must follow through with an eye towards ensuring you provide a consistent level of service and an experience that matches the style of service you want to deliver. We have tried many new ideas and walked away with key learnings. Some work, and some do not.
Last winter, we researched the region’s highlights and found a highly regarded naturalist who leads daylong tours to American Bald Eagle’s habitats in the lower Mississippi River Valley. We built a package that included this adventure and combined it with a chef’s table dinner, paired with spirits from the local Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. Both Chef Valdez and the owners of Blaum Bros., Matt and Mike, were at hand to explain their craft and explain how the spirit and food complement one another. It provided great learning for all participants, and we had a lot of fun.
While it was a bit of a challenge to satisfy a VIP event in the kitchen while running the restaurant simultaneously, it was a great success. With some timing adjustments, we will do this again in the 2017 winter season.
During the summer, we wanted to introduce an activity that would draw in local patrons and offer guests an on-site activity that spotlighted one of our unique venues. We introduced Classic Movies Under The Stars, a monthly event where we took advantage of our covered, open-air pavilion to offer double features in an alfresco setting. We charged $12 per person, which included popcorn, and the idea was greeted warmly by locals and guests alike. This promotion also provided an easy incentive for local community members to dine in the restaurant prior to the movie while others purchased cocktails and hors d’oeuvres prior to the screening.
Again, we learned and adapted the program as we went along. With sunset at 9 p.m., we changed our program from a double-feature to a single movie and adjusted pricing. We did attract a fair amount of customers, but it was not what we had hoped for. The effort and expense for movies plus the setup of equipment was quite high, thus for the next summer season we will have to reevaluate how we can adjust.
Right now, we are solidifying new ideas for the winter season. Winter is traditionally a slower season but absolutely beautiful. We have decided to bring the beauty of winter to life through art by introducing a new artist-in-residence program this January. We believe we can add creative energy to the season by providing talented artists’ inspiration and art-loving guests a reason to visit.
Our first artist-in-residence program includes four one-week residencies, and we are currently accepting applications from artists from across the nation. We will soon announce our selected artists and promote the opportunity to observe, meet and learn from these talented individuals. Each artist will stay with us for one week, Monday through Saturday, working in a new destination and, we hope, finding inspiration at every turn. Plein air work may be the best fit for our location, and we will offer our four-season gazebo with 360-degree views for those who need a bit of protection from the elements. As each artist captures their impressions onto canvas, we will encourage our guests to interact, observe and embrace this opportunity to learn something new.
We believe this program will be a positive experience both for the artist and the Goldmoor guests.
By offering this residency, we are introducing our property to a new audience across the nation and offering our guests an opportunity to see the Goldmoor Inn through new eyes when they venture out into the country. The goal is for each artist to conduct a class in the medium they choose, and then participate in a champagne reception where guests can meet the artist and review the gallery of work completed.
This program will allow us to focus on our public relations outreach on four individual artists, and will also serve as an art lovers’ escape for our guests. Both Slobo and I greatly appreciate art and we are excited to see where this cultural pursuit takes us. I’m sure we will learn from this experience and we welcome the challenge.
We are constantly looking for new innovative ideas that can be interesting for our guests, take advantage of the property and involve the community. By evaluating each with regards to logistical requirements, expense, staffing, profitability and positive exposure, we feel we can maintain and build upon successes.
You know the saying, “it’s not the destination but the journey.”
We’re well on our way.
After 25 years operating corporate hotels and food and beverage entities, Birgit Radin and her husband Slobo pursued their dream of inn ownership. Birgit earned a certified hotel business and management degree from the Hotel Business and Management School in Villingen, Germany, and has worked in key management roles on three continents, led several transition teams throughout her career, and managed hundreds of millions of dollars in renovation and repositioning projects along that path. Today, she and Slobo operate an 18-suite property which includes two log cabins and three English cottages plus indoor/outdoor event venues all situated on 21-acres overlooking the Mississippi River Valley in Galena, Illinois. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Goldmoor Inn, visit www.goldmoor.com.
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