Nation Valley News
WINCHESTER — The online universe has been good to Terrace Green Bed & Breakfast — recently recognized by Amsterdam-based Booking.com for high ratings registered by guests who have stayed at the Winchester venue from all over the world.
By mail last week, Terrace Green proprietor Annette Angus received a crystal plaque acknowledging the 10-year-old establishment’s 9.3 rating in 2016 — complete with European-style decimal point indicated with comma instead of period.
“It was a surprise,” says Angus, looking at the swoopy piece and accompanying letter of congratulations from Booking.com. Only a small minority of places listed with the well-known accommodation-booking website manage to achieve a ranking of 90 percent or higher, she points out.
Having built a reputation as a great place to stay, Terrace Green Bed & Breakfast was head-hunted by Booking.com, which signed them up last March. The County Rd. 43 establishment has also taken reservations via expedia.ca for the last couple of years — which may have put them on the radar screen of the competing behemoth with over one million properties under contract worldwide.
Angus credits her membership in Booking.com for really making a difference in the number of visitors hosted at the rural country home she shares with her husband, Jim, south of Ottawa, in the Township of Norht Dundas. “It’s really increased our business.”
In particular, the smallest one of the local B&B’s available five rooms has attracted the most attention from online users of the service and has seen a 50 to 60 percent increase in usage. “Mostly that room seems to be rented online. It’s booked a lot,” she observes.
She adds, “The customer books online and I get a notice that they’re coming, and they’re great to work with,” she says of Booking.com, which collects a percentage. Clients now visit from all over the world, she says, rhyming off a cosmopolitan inventory of nations and cities ranging from Korea to Japan, Australia, Iraq, Italy and Spain.
Many choose the establishment over hotels in Ottawa because of its comparable affordability. And European guests seem to be looking for the bed-and-breakfast experience as well, according to Angus, who loves to cook and dine with her guests. “It’s a good thing to sit down with the people and have breakfast with them.”
She often delivers regular, popular updates on Facebook briefly describing the breakfast she mostly recently prepared for an unidentified visitor from some faraway place.
The rural hospitality has occasionally extended to loaning a personal dress or sewing a groom’s pants, she laughs. On more than one occasion, she’s also driven out to meet guests led astray by GPS systems. It’s just par for the course of the friendly service where visitors conclude their stay with a complimentary bottle of wine from Smokie Ridge Vineyard in nearby Mountain.
Angus and her husband built Terrace Green a decade ago, one kilometre west of Winchester, amid the “soybeans and corn fields.” And although they were quick to set up a website and list their contact information with a Canadian bed and breakfast site, when compared with today, more of their business was locally generated and involved guests visiting local family, says Angus.
That’s now changed to reflect the broader global appeal of being part of a highly effective online presence and booking service. Angus has embraced the new reality of the modern, flexible, mobile online consumer. And the strategy has embraced her back.
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