Had a most interesting conversation with Taittinger Champagne's National Director of the Americas at the opening event of Kennebunkport's 5th Annual Arts In The Inns last night. Strange intro to start off with Champagne and the demise of bling…but bear with me.
Jerome is a charming gentlemen and we wound up next to each other in line for a glass of bubbly. After brief introductions, the conversation began with the obligatory, "how's business?" He responded that he was pleased to see a public return to desires for value, quality, and integrity of product. This equated to a positive answer for him as the public's desire was showing the beginnings of a re-emergence and re-interest in, by almost any ones standards, a luxury product! By the way, Taittinger is the third oldest producer of Champagne and has been around since 1734.
As a writer put it, "Champagne is a celebration….but the truly impressive choice doesn't need a second mortgage to afford and therefore can be enjoyed all the more. This seeming paradox of Champagne is found in a bottle of Taittinger."
The point of this homage to Champagne? Our industry and all of us as Innkeepers offer our guests a celebration too! Times together with someone special are times to celebrate. A well deserved getaway is a time to celebrate. Staying with hospitable Innkeepers in a glorious Inn is a celebration too. Just as Jerome suggested that Champagne can be enjoyed on a regular basis, instead of just on birthdays, anniversaries, and so on…your Inns can also be enjoyed too on a regular basis. We offer a similar paradox to the public in that we offer value, quality and a luxury product that doesn't require a second mortgage. The challenge is for us to continue to communicate this message to the public in frequent, convincing and compelling ways. We can be enjoyed regularly too!
Inns today are catering to those travelers looking for a more authentic experience…and leave the bling behind! This new (at least new within the past few months?) sensibility bodes well for us on multiple levels. Leaving aside the more sensitive issues of politics, religion, and the world, let it suffice to say that this new sensibility does bode well for B&B's and Inns as we are the keepers of the keys to creating an authentic experience for our guests. One that is driven by the basics of hospitality, value, authenticity and integrity of experience. The Bling in our lives during this decade has been shown to be flashy, transient, transparent, and of little real lasting value…no room at the Inn for bling in 2009!
So to all of us in the unique lodging industry, I propose a toast, with a glass of Taittinger of course, and wish you a summer of blue skies, full rooms, and a lasting legacy of gracious hospitality. Cheers!