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Indy Inn Surveys Millennial Guests

An old Purdue friend attended a small wedding at a Marriott Beach Resort on St. Thomas. Scott was the general manager of an Indianapolis-area inn, owned by his family. He decided to sell his relatives on the benefits of marketing to millennial-age independent professionals.

 

At the wedding, he met some younger friends of the bride and groom. All shared these traits:

 
1. They were between 20 and 34.

2. They were employed by other people.

3. Also, they were involved in group entrepreneurial start-ups.

4. They stayed employed, while launching their new two-three person businesses.

 

“These people travel for their employers, on established business expense accounts,” Scott told me. “Then, for entrepreneurial things, they travel on personal, or new and separate, small business expense accounts.” Low budget, limited credit card, multitasking electronics.

 

“In the Indianapolis area, we get a lot of them. Where can they stay?” he asked. “They need to be near the city’s hub of transportation connections, business networks, popular eateries, and financial resources. They need places to stay, with amenities that combine technology, work, social networking, comfort, and healthy eating. They need affordable room and service rates.”

 

Scott has two millennial-age sons. At the inn’s annual July 4 party in 2016, he “surveyed” the guests and visitors, also his younger relatives. Here’s a sampling of that survey.

 

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Intro: You are a millennial between ages 20 and 34. You travel for your employer at least once a month. Also, you are starting a group business. You travel for that one or two times a month.

 
1. What amenities do you need available when you stay here? Be specific, please.

2. What connectivity resources are a necessity when you stay here? Be specific.

3. What foods, snacks and beverages do you need and/or want available when you stay here?

4. What special services are a necessity at no extra cost, when you stay here? Be specific.

5. What is your inclusive budget limit for staying two nights, on employer’s expense account?

6. What is your inclusive budget limit for staying two nights, on your own or group business account?

7. What color schemes do you prefer in your guest room? Public areas? Eating/snacking/pub areas?

8. What things don’t you want present, whenever you stay overnight here?

 

It took Scott over six months to report back to everyone on his “Boilermaker” list. He called the survey responses “mixed.”  He called the responders “decisive” overall, “wishy-washy” when their answers were compared to their actual requests and uses while visiting the Inn.

 

“I’m still trying to figure this out,” he e-mailed us. “And my own sons and their wives, all millennials, gave different responses on that survey every time they completed it.”

 

So what happened to marketing to the millennial entrepreneurial professionals that stay at the Inn?

 

“We give them the services they need when they’re here,” explained Scott. “Even when it requires us to scramble to outfit their space in time for check-in…. So far, our off-season bookings are up 26 percent….Not bad!”

 

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Market to the people that  you and your people are cut out to best serve.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

SHORT STROKES: CREATIVE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

1. An inn in the southeast installed a “rock climbing” wall, to keep active 2-3 year olds occupied. Its features include:

A. Solid oak construction, dimensions: 4-feet high, 9 feet long, 3 inches thick.

B. “Wall” screwed into 2-inch by 4-inch wall joists, 8-inches apart, behind finished drywall.

C. Random rock pattern hand-painted on oak surface, then clear, vinyl-coated.

D. “Rock ledges,” 4-inches wide by 6-inches deep, formed from heavy, smooth rubber tires.

E. Numerous vinyl-coated gripper handles placed on either side of each “ledge.”

F. Grey foam pad, 10-feet long, 8-feet wide, 3-inches thick, stretches out at foot of wall.

 
A retired playground designer created the wall. At the request of the inn’s owners: his sons and daughters-in-law. The need for a safe, indoor “energy” outlet apparent. Between them, they had five children.

A sturdier “rock climbing wall, for older/larger children, ages 4-6, is under construction. Completion date: October 2015.

 

2. A rescued 110-room Days-Inn features a do-it-yourself kitchen and snack bar, for children 5 to 10 years old. It features:

A. Child/young junior sized appliances – all with clear, see-through doors, globes, surfaces.

     . Refrigerator    . Smoothie/Blender    . 2-Burner, built-in cooktop

     . Microwave      . 4-Slice toaster, battery-operated

     . Portable mixer, battery-operated

     . Utensils: coated, non-sharp, non-serrated.

B. All food products are fresh, frozen or baked.

C. All foods are gluten-free, no-sugar/no-salt added.

D. Cost: Free – all food products, cooking privileges, and “classes.”

E. Hours: 9-10:30 am, 12-1:30 pm, 4-5:30 pm, 6 days a week.

F. Cooking and baking “classes” – supervised assistance – 5 days a week.

G. Kitchen is supervised by at least two hotel kitchen workers, specially trained for the job.

H. “Rain days” – Innkeeper’s version of his “snow days” in Michigan when schools were closed.

 

3. A third-generation fishing cottage business, on Lake Michigan’s western shore, has its own mini-ice fishing “pond,” for guests 4-8 years old.

A. A 70-feet diameter shallow fishing pond is frozen solid, November to February.

B. Eight, 2-person fishing “huts” are pulled onto the ice.

C. Construction: One-half inch plywood sides, floor, roof, joist frame; shingled roof, insulated walls; 2 eye-level windows/cased; wood doors.

D. Paint/Exteriors: Walls: Color- Bark brown, satin finish; Doors: Color – Bright red, high gloss finish. Both products: Sherwin-Williams Heavy-Duty latex.

E. Interiors: Built-in double seat; fire-proof portable heater/battery; clear plexi-6-inch high encasement around fishing “hole” in floor.

F. Cost: Free to child guests.

G. Fishing contest: Alternate Saturday afternoons, November – February. Free: Guests. Open to local children, 4-8 ($2.00 entry).

 

A Central Florida M.D. told me that he used to take his family to the Lake Michigan site. “We were young, and on a tight budget. Natives of the Sheboygan area. What you’d call ‘millennials with a marriage license, and kids.’”

 

He oriented me to the following 21st Century hospitality facts about millennials:

 

1. Millennial guests may have children, too.

2. Millennial guests expect the hotels where they stay to accommodate their children.

3. Millennial guests expect the hotels to provide their children with qualitative, safe, and age-appropriate full services. Commensurate with those offered to the millennials themselves.

4. Millennial guests’ budgets come in all sizes, and credit cards with all levels of buying power.

 
A hotel/facility painter’s millennial tips:

 

1. Treat millennial guests well, like guests in any age group deserve to be treated.

2. Treat the children of millennials special. Like guests in any adult age group want their children/ grandchildren/ great-grandchildren to be treated. Whatever the children’s ages.

3. Remember, the millennial guests’ children are away from home. In a different environment.

4. Say “Hi” to millennial guests’ children. Smile naturally. Look them in the eye.

5. Ask them what they like about your hotel, and their stay there. Ask nothing personal.

6. Encourage them, from a distance, to watch you paint. Ask, “Have you ever painted anything?”

7. Chat briefly with them, while you work. Tell them what you are doing. Point out to them the WET PAINT sign you’ve posted nearby. Explain why wet paint should never be touched.

8. Encourage them to ask you a few questions. Always answer them, briefly and respectfully.

9. After a reasonable time, encourage them to move on. To check back in with parents or family.

10. Say goodbye. “Thanks for stopping.” “Have a great vacation.” “Have a good trip home.”

 

Recently, I stopped to watch a hotel painter. He was applying a bright cranberry exterior enamel to a park bench in a children’s outdoor play area. Several children and a young family watched him work.

 

Everyone else moved on eventually. I asked the painter if he enjoyed his “little audiences.” He grinned. “They make my days. Make it all worthwhile.”

 

Yeah. “Go ahead and make my day.”  Clint Eastwood.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.” Copyright 2015. Robert Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting Them: Inns and Bed and Breakfasts on Rue de les Fleurs. Part 1: Exteriors

An inn or bed and breakfast (chambre d’ hôte) occupies every building on the row of this Haute Alpes village, in southeast France. Each property’s owners live in a third or fourth story attic, or a small apartment behind the kitchens. Originally, each property was what we might call a “row house.”

 

Jean-Paul, my mother’s cousin, e-mailed about the property owners’ problems. “All of the buildings are in disrepair. Business is très mal (very bad). Soon, travelers will stay in other villages, or in the city.”

 

He e-mailed a detailed description of “les maisons pour les touriste stays” (houses for tourist stays). He drew a mental picture of the condition of the seven, tightly sandwiched structures. Cell phone photos followed. Red roofs canopied the five towers.

 

“What can we do?” he asked. “I’ve staged original productions in small theatres, including here. These touriste stays must not crumble to ruin. Tourism is the village’s main source of revenue.”

 

At first, I had no clue how to answer Jean-Paul’s question. How could we help? That French village was located over 4,480 miles away.

 

Then, an image appeared of the Seralago, a historic hotel in Kissimmee, Florida. Scaled down and reconfigured, it could have been the buildings on Rue de lès Fleurs. Their red-painted tower roofs announcing their formidable presence in the community.

 

The Seralago became the inspiration for an idea that sparkled with possibilities.

 

In June, I brainstormed with two painters at different Marriott-managed hotels. I mentioned the idea to my mother. (Caution!) And, she and Jean-Paul took it from there.

 

OVERALL PLAN – A Capsule Version

 

1. Designate two project leaders. One, for the exteriors of the buildings; the other for the interiors. Each will work with the owner(s) of each row house, to oversee and help with every phase of the exterior, or interior, part of the project.
2. Arrange for photos to be taken – before, during, after each phase of the project. And, with every row house.
3. Hold a “Rue de les Fleurs” la fête (party) to launch the restoration project. Publicize the event, and the project. Contact the media.

 

SELECTING EXTERIOR PAINT CREWS – A Capsule Version

 

1. Find a very skilled and agile commercial painter in the area.

A. Engage him to give the tower roofs a fresh coat of red paint. Urge him to donate his services.

B. Try to get his employer – l’contracteur – to donate the paint.

C. Let the media know about their generosities.

2. Line up the work crews – all local villagers:

A. Paint crew. Persons skilled at using a paint brush, and at least two able to use a roller.

— Find one or two skilled in using a spray system. Five able to work on ladders, and scaffolding.

B. Repair and prep crew. Fit persons: out-of-work, retired or unoccupied. Men and women.

— Include a few that are able to work on extension ladders.

C. Ground crew. Teenagers and adults, willing to help with work on the street level.

 

NEW LIFE FOR EXTERIORS OF BUILDINGS

 

1. WALLS. Clean. Scrape off old paint and loose masonry. Patch and/or fill all areas that need it. Lightly sand surfaces when dried.
2. FRONT DOORS. Clean, and scrape off old paint. Sand, patch, and paint all. Paint each door a distinctive and complementary color. TIP: Alternate deep bright blue, extra white, and crimson red (or, colors close to those of the nation’s flag).
3. HARDWARE-FRONT DOORS. Clean and polish each door’s hinges, knocker, and handle. (In the photos, they look like brass.)
4. WINDOW FRAMES, INSETS, and CORNICES. Clean, scrape, patch, sand, and reseal frames and insets of all windows. Also, window cornices and ledges. Paint to match the respective doors on street level.
5. WINDOW SHUTTERS. Remove from the buildings. Be sure to mark each shutter for building, window, and side of window. Clean, patch, fill, and sand. Paint the shutters to match the respective doors on the first story. TIP: Spraying shutters produces a much better finish, and longer-lasting coatings.
6. FLOWER BOXES. Put a few retired carpenters to work building a flower box for every window, including on each end of the row. Paint to match the respective front door on street level.
7. SEATING. Find a park bench for each front entry. Used ones are fine. Repair each, as necessary. Scrape off loose, old paint or finish. Sand till smooth. Paint all with gloss black. Or, paint each in the color that matches the respective door.

 

NOTE: Area steps 3 through 7 have entailed more than what’s outlined here.

 

PROGRESS ON THE RUE DE LES FLEURS.

 

Work on the row of inns progresses. Jean-Paul says the spirit of villagers grows. “Like the crops on surrounding farms… The townspeople prepare for a busy touriste stay season. And, the little theatre will be ready to reopen on October 16. Très bonne.”

 

PLEASE READ: Painting Them: Inns and Bed and Breakfasts on Rue de les Fleurs. Part 2: Interiors.

 

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“Buildings, like persons, deserve special care – outside, and inside.” Jean-Paul.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.” Copyright 2015. Robert Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

HIDDEN TOXIC MOLD AND MILDEW: A PAINTER’S VIEW

Toxic mold and mildew can hide in the most unsuspected areas, and on the most surprising surfaces. Given the right conditions, it can grow nearly anywhere in the world.

 

In the tropics and other moist, humid climates, the challenge of finding and keeping up with their mitigation and remediation tends to be relentless, exhausting, and costly, also dangerous health and safety wise.

 

Where does BLACK and GREEN MOLD – eg. stachybotrys chartarum – like to hide?

 

Short list of potential sites for hidden mold and mildew: *

 

  1. Wallpaper, drywall, paneling, cork: back side
  2. Ceiling tiles: top side
  3. Carpet, padding: underside
  4. Walls: inside, especially around piping, wall joists
  5. Furniture: surface facing wall behind, and/or adjacent
  6. Ductwork: inside
  7. Roof materials: above ceiling tiles
  8. Refrigerators: under/behind/around pans, door seals, ice cube maker connections, motor.
  9. Air conditioner/heating system: inside/under/behind covers, vents; around tubing, hoses.
  10. Drapes/linings/valances/swags: back side, folds; around/inside rods, around hardware.
  11. Bedspreads/skirts: undersides/backsides, especially edges touching flooring.
  12. Shower curtains/liners: behind, between, in folds.
  13. Tiles – wall, ceiling, floor: behind/around/under ceramic, vinyl, plastic.
  14. Exterior tiles and borders: on top/under/around.

 

* Note: This list represents a small number of potential hidden sites.

 

How do you INVESTIGATE for the PRESENCE of toxic mold and mildew?

 

1. Wear protective gear:

A. Preferred: Disposable hooded full-body suit, including shoe covers; also, gloves, free-standing breathing apparatus, snug eye goggles.

B. Basic: Long sleeved shirt, long pants, disposable long plastic gloves, snug fitting eye goggles, breathing mask.

 

2. Follow basic procedure:

 

  • Temporarily TURN OFF all systems that will move or stir the air in the area where you are checking, also all electrical systems.
  • Rely on your sight. DO NOT touch or disturb the area.
  • Try to shine a flashlight into and behind the area.
  • SLOWLY and gently pull back two edges/corners (in different spots) of wallpaper, drywall, tile, paneling, carpeting, pad, etc.

 

How to REMOVE hidden black and green mold and mildew.

 

Call a licensed mitigation and remediation specialist.

 

***WARNING: DO NOT try to handle any hidden mold and mildew problem on your own.

 

How to identify YOUR EXPOSURE to hidden black and green mold and mildew.

 

1. Watch for exposure to bio-contaminants (black mold, fungi, bacteria, virus) caused by exposure and moisture problems, poor maintenance and inadequate ventilation.

2. It can cause serious, life-threatening effects, disease, damage, and impairments.

 

Know the signs and symptoms of exposure to hidden mold and mildew.

 

1. Discomfort level – Associated with climatic conditions, especially when building contamination may be implicated (eg. “Sick Building Syndrome”).
***SYMPTOMS: Feel too hot/too cold, eye/nose/throat irritation; air too dry, stuffy, strange odor; feel sluggish, body aches, fatigue, odd taste in mouth, coughing.

 

2. Acute effects level – Within 24-hours of exposure.
***SYMPTOMS: Headaches; blurry vision, difficulty focusing; red/watery/burning eyes; difficulty breathing/getting air; nasal congestion/burning; dizziness; sore chest, lungs, rib cage; itchy skin/rash; fatigue; odd taste in mouth; upset stomach.

 

3. Chronic effects level – Long-lasting response to long-term/frequent exposure, even low concentration.
*** SYMPTOMS: Respiratory disease, skin disease, chronic/acute sinus infections and sinusitis, cognitive impairments, CNS damage, strokes, cancer, vision loss, hearing loss, hair loss/graying.

 

Important Note: Hair graying tends to be rather “sudden” and very noticeable.

For more information: www.epa.gov; www.osha.gov, www.sickbuildingsyndrome.gov.

 

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“Your world – your environment – includes every cell, tissue, neuron, fiber, muscle, tendon, bone, etc. of your body. PROTECT IT!  PROTECT YOURSELF!” rdh

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Many thanks for keeping in touch, and for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2013, 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

 

THE CARING PLACE! EVERYONE HAS TO START SOMEWHERE.

THE CARING PLACE was one of the first domestic violence shelters, where women could take along their children.

 

It took over two years for “The Task Force to Prevent Domestic Violence” to establish The Caring Place, and set up the services that would be provided there. My mother served on that task force.

 

Located in Indiana, its first facility had been used previously as a convent in the Gary diocese of the Roman Catholic Church.

 

Local craftspersons in the construction industry volunteered their services to remodel and retrofit the three-story, yellow brick building for its first shelter residents. It had to meet numerous codes and standards.

 

Just as important, the building had to meet the special needs of women and children in severe crisis and danger. Women and children who had given up everything they had to reach safety – and help.

 

My father and several IUPAT/IBPAT friends handled the painting and decorating part of the project. That included the repair, preparation, painting, finishing, and wallcover installation in the living, dining, cooking, play and recreation, and sleeping areas. Also, it required extensive work in the offices, and the security, storage, and entrance/exit areas.

 

My “work” time was limited to weekends and a few vacation days. I was in junior high school.

 

I remember the list of tasks, which an IUPAT/IBPAT foreman handed me on the first day.

 

 Overall duties: Assisted the painters in setting up, prepping, painting, finishing, and cleaning up all rooms and areas.

 

Specific duties:

1. Stretched dropcloths out on floors of rooms/areas to be worked on that day, or the next day.

2. Helped carry, place and move prepping and painting supplies into and out of each work room and area. Note: The painters handled the transportation and set-up of full containers of products and materials. Examples: Primers, paints, stains, varnishes; boxes/rolls of commercial wall vinyl.

3. Helped remove and tag all wall outlet covers and baseboards.

4. Cleaned and covered smaller tools; wiped off/cleaned, then replaced can lids, container caps, box covers, etc.

 

Working on that project was not fun, really. Still, it tapped into interests, traits, skills, and abilities that I did not know I had.

 

THE GREATER TASK: Helping to provide a clean, aesthetically pleasing and relaxing, and safe home for 15 women and at least 18 children at once.

 

That was good training for my soul. An important part of my development, as a responsible adult, and responsive member of the universe.

 

WHY PLACES LIKE THE CARING PLACE STILL MATTER

 

In April of 2013, I became deathly ill on the job, at the hotel. (See linkedin.com.) “911” was not called.

 

Instead, a while later, hotel guests – a woman and her children – came to my rescue. The family lived temporarily at the hotel, because they had “lost” their “home to foreclosure, near Windermere in South Orlando.”

 

The woman and her children saw me staggering across the lawn. I was about halfway between the front building holding the offices, where the incident occurred, and the back building and the engineering department.

 

The woman and three children ran out. The woman helped me sit and sip lots of water from a pitcher. One of her children broke a candy bar into small pieces. The girl pushed them, one at a time, into my mouth. The mother and children helped me to my feet, and led me to the back building.

 

A month ago, that woman recognized me in a local store. She introduced herself. A teenage girl smiled nearby. “I fed you my candy bar.” “That’s right,” I said. “I owe you a Hershey’s.”

 

What I learned is that, two years earlier, the woman and her children were “hiding” from her abusive husband. A well-known local businessman, and leader in the community.

 

She said, “He’d never think to look for us in an older hotel like that. I was trying to wait a couple of weeks, then catch the Amtrak to my family up north…”

 

I asked if she’d considered going to the women’s shelter in Orlando.

 

Her face turned pale. “YES! But the lady on the phone started to ask me a lot of questions. I didn’t have that kind of time!”  Tears formed in her eyes. “Besides, they didn’t have room for my children…”

 

I thought of The Caring Place.

 

THE CARING PLACE! If only the woman and her children could have gotten to Northwest Indiana. To the huge and beautifully restored three-story circa-1930’s period home where that shelter was located then. The Caring Place would have made room!

 

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Special thanks to the G.M. and staff of the Seralago Hotel and Suites Maingate East in Kissimmee, Florida, for giving special women and children safe shelters – and security.

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And, thank you – everyone – for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

 

Creative Couple Retrofits Hotel for “21st Century Fifty-Plus Year Old Guests.”

On a return flight from London, a relative sat next to the new owners of a South Florida independent hotel. They had settled for coach seats on the “next flight,” rather than wait for “first class” seating the following morning.

 

The couple spent much of their flight time looking at color chip books from paint and stain/varnish manufacturers. Their attaché also contained photos of wallcoverings and swatches of fabric.

 

By the time the plane landed at New York’s J.F.K. Airport, the couple had chosen their color scheme for the hotel property. Also, they’d set a “tour and lunch” date with my relative and her spouse.

 

What fascinated me were the couple’s plans for upgrading the hotel. Especially considering the fact that both husband and wife were in their early forties, versus over 50.

 

Here’s the list of plans that the couple shared with my relative:

 

  1. Target market: Guests 50 and older.
  2. High WI-FI connectivity property wide.
  3. All amenities included, and available to all guests.
  4. Acoustical ceilings throughout.
  5. Guest room amenities: Two armchairs, reclining/revolving; adjustable queen-sized beds (phase-in); carpeted bathroom floors, bathtub rails and seats; one-way privacy window shades.
  6. Dining: Dining room and buffet, all meals; “Surf and Ale Pub”®; indoor/outdoor café; F & B Deli and “S & S Snack and Pack.”®
  7. Property-wide public phones and phone service.
  8. Front-Social lobby: Seating clusters; firm-cushioned, 2-seat sofas, arm chairs; reading lamps.
  9. Corridors: Firm-cushioned “park seat” settees.
  10. Small library: For reading, writing, computer use, quiet games.
  11. Billiard and Game Room.
  12. Connectivity and computer room in each building.
  13. “Techy Show and Go Shop.”®
  14. Small movie theatre.
  15. Gift shop: All merchandise home-crafted or home-made.
  16. Exercise and Massage room in each building.
  17. “Children’s Day and Short-Stay”® guest areas: Indoor activity/game/movie room; outdoor playground.
  18. Outdoor bird and nature sanctuary, with pond.
  19. Outdoor amenities: Pool and spa, two tennis courts, three garden parks; small European-style wood/wrought iron game tables; “under-roof” Boule courts, shuffleboard courts, outdoor bowling; archery range; golf putting range.
  20. Small 3-chair Hair and Barber Salon.

 

By the way, all preparation and finishing products used on the property will be odor-free, fume-free, allergy-free, toxin-free; also quick-drying. All surfaces and areas will be smooth, with minimal reflectivity.

 

What the hotel would not be offering to guests and visitors:

 

  1. Full-service restaurants
  2. Special kidsuites and children’s sleeping areas.
  3. Room service
  4. Basketball, volleyball, and racketball courts. (A nearby park offers all three.)
  5. Clothing, shoe and jewelry shops

 

“We want to accommodate the 21st Century 50-plus year old guests.” The couple said that they want to offer this group of guests what they need at a tropical hotel.

 

“Then, we want to “nudge them out of the hotel’s doors.” And, into their neighbors’ restaurants, shops, galleries, stage theatre, etc.

 

“Why have a full-service restaurant in the hotel, when we have at least five in the neighborhood? Within easy walking distance. Even for the 50-60-70-80 plus year old guest.”

 

This couple’s philosophy coincides with a trend that more hotels, spas, inns, and other lodging businesses are following.

 

Their focus: Provide accommodations and amenities that guests need and expect.

One of their aims: Be a good business neighbor, by sharing customers.

Their bottom line: Streamline operations, contain costs, and expand capital reserves.

 

By the way, the couple has a waiting list of over 250 couples, ready to sign in as inaugural guests.

 

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Have a great day! Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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