I wrote this and sent it to our VIP Rewards Group, aka our Database. It’s not really a Christmas message, it was just some ramblings but I was overwhelmed by the response that I got, with so many incredible positive messages, that I thought I’d share it on the websites and Social Media. You can read it. Or not. If you don’t, then I just wish you a Happy Christmas.
Wow! That was some year! You might find this interesting, you might not. But for my last newsletter (traditionally the Christmas one) of 2017 I just wanted to share some thoughts with you. No pretty pictures, just some thoughts.
It’s a bit long but I’d really appreciate you taking a minute or two to ‘hear’ my musings on where we are at. You might (I say might) find it interesting. Even if it isn’t much about Christmas.
Firstly, thank you to all of you who’ve been to stay, been back again and recommended us to everyone you know. We had our best year ever. Again. And we gave away quite a few breaks; some as competition prizes, some for charity. So we’ll keep doing that.
The way I see it is that I’m just an ordinary bloke making a living by running a business that I built from nothing, to one that now contributes almost one and a half million quid a year to the economy of Suffolk. That’s not all mine by the way!
How? Well, you spend money to come and stay and you spend money around our local area in pubs, restaurants, shops etc. East of England Tourism state that the spend elsewhere is around double that spent on the stay itself. Then, all of those businesses have suppliers and staff so the money goes round again. There’s an awful lot of money going around the rural community simply because we now exist, where we didn’t before. I tell you this only because I’m proud of the teeny part my business plays in the economy. Every little helps and all that?
We have had another record-breaking year. Every single year since I started this business on 2009 we have had more and more guests come to stay. And in 2017 I expanded the business onto the water by buying two beautiful Dutch Barges as I didn’t have any more room on the land. And that’s going well too. Oh, and we seem to have rather a lot of Hot Tubs now as well!
I never knew it’d be this successful. All I did was work really hard to try and give everybody the best possible memories and an escape from the norm. That’s all I’ve ever done. I have an amazing team around me, who have been with me for years and I’m very grateful. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very hard work and I keep having to think of new ways to let people know what we are about but it is getting easier and more enjoyable.
So what’s this got to do with you and why are you reading this? Well, at some point you subscribed to read this stuff and most of the time I try to tell you about things going on in Suffolk that might interest you, most of the time I try to inject humour as frankly, what’s the point otherwise?
We all get bombarded every day by advertising messages by companies large and small trying to persuade us to buy their wares. I try to think of ways of doing it too. My little creative brain comes up with all sorts; some of it will appeal to you, some of it won’t. We are all different. But all I am trying to do is make you think “Yeah, that looks nice, we’ll give it a go”.
As I write this just before Christmas 2017, hundreds of people have taken the trouble to write a Five Star review on TripAdvisor and Facebook. Hundreds of them. Giving me their valuable time, just to say thank you and let others know what we are about. I’m really grateful for that and it’s very humbling to read those reviews.
The nice people at VisitEngland have rated us with Gold Awards for everything we have since we started so that keeps us in check too.
Sometimes people unsubscribe and some people vow to never come here for whatever reason. But I can’t let that bother me. I just keep doing what I’m doing because it works.
My focus has never been about making money. Ever. Of course I want to, that’s why I do it but I have never aimed at the money in what I do. All I have ever tried to do is make guests happy. I’m not stupid though. I know if I make enough guests happy, that they will come back. And they will tell their friends and family. And they will come. And return. And tell their friends and family. And you know what? It works. So I’m really not as daft as I look.
So if I write something in a newsletter or on social media that doesn’t chime with you every time, so what, I’m just trying. If you really don’t like it then don’t follow us any more and have a nice life, along with my best wishes. We are all different and like different things and I totally respect that. But if you like most of what we do, then please keep following us, keep telling people about us and please come to stay whenever you can. I’d really like that.
And do tell me if there are things you would like to hear about too. I can’t guess all of this stuff and I’d love some new ideas from other people.
I just wish we lived in a world where ordinary, decent people ruled and we didn’t have terrorism, sexual predators, inept politicians, corruption and hatred. Oh, and Trump. But we don’t. So I’ll just keep doing my thing and earning a living by making people happy. And making some really nice friends who come and stay with us. I am a simple human but a contented one and this is just what I do.
I want to say a genuine thank you to each and every guest that has ever stayed with us and there have been countless thousands now. It doesn’t matter what we do or what our ethos is; if you don’t come, we’ve got nothing. Zilch. I’m very grateful for your past custom and your (hopefully) future custom too. And I really hope that many of you who haven’t yet been, will do so in the future.
Thanks for reading this to the end too!
Have a great Christmas and New Year and I hope to see some of you in 2018.
Oh, and sorry I lied about not having any pretty pictures. Here’s a Robin in the garden of Orwell Barn.