Response from the owner - a month ago
Thank you for choosing the Terra Nova House Bed and Breakfast (TNHBNB) instead of a hotel for your Grove City stay. We are glad you enjoyed the experience, the fruit/chocolate/cheese plate and the gluten and dairy free brownie. We were pleased to share the "secret" gluten and dairy free brownie recipe. We are very happy to hear that you would stay again and recommend us.
I am going to elaborate on a few of your points regarding "the details" as many people who just stay in hotels (or even some B&Bs) may feel the same way you did about the "over communication" prior to their stay at TNHBNB. You do have valid points and they are worth sharing for others to be informed.
B&Bs are different than hotels in that they are not staffed 24 hour a day. The innkeeper is typically the only person doing everything (cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, checking-in, finances, marketing, etc) and runs a very tight schedule. Every innkeeper and B&B is different, which makes B&Bs exciting places to stay. At TNHBNB, although I have several part-time employees who mainly take care of the cleaning, I do almost everything else while trying to balance my family life (wife and 2 children -- 11 and 8). And, since I tend to do things a little different than most B&Bs when it comes to check-ins and breakfasts, I have found that it is extremely helpful for me to have breakfast selections and arrival times in advance. Also, my prior career (15 years) was as a software engineer where I had to be very detailed and think of every possible scenario, so I have carried that mentality over to running TNHBNB.
For breakfast, we give you your choice of time, main dish, sides and drinks. We make almost everything individually so that we can accommodate dietary restrictions (gluten free, dairy free, etc) by making substitutions without imposing these restriction on all our guests. Many of our dishes require 15 minutes to prep and 45-60 minutes to bake. Without knowing your breakfast selections in advance, it would be impossible to do it the way we do. Some innkeepers simply serve you what they want to make because they make large batches; however, although easy for the guests and innkeepers, we have found this to be wasteful as people have different likes and tastes. It also ensures that you are 99% likely to enjoy your breakfast because you selected it yourself. As to the format that we recommend you send it to us, that is for efficiency of the guests. Simple text via an email is sufficient. Some guests have thought they needed to print out the menu, write all over it, scan it back in and then email it to us --- that is wasteful and not our intention.
For the check-ins, we do ask that you communicate your estimated arrival time (typically between 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM) and also communicate with us during your travels if your estimated arrival time varies by more than 30 minutes or when you are 30 minutes away. This is not a requirement, but is greatly appreciated. The "after 6 PM late fee" is only applied to those who have not prearranged a later check-in or who do not communicate that they will be arriving later than originally planned. It is there to deter guests from saying they will arrive at 3:00 PM, but then decide to go shopping, then to dinner and then show up for check-in after 10:00 PM without letting us know at all. That scenario is very disruptive and has occurred quite frequently before implementing this policy.
For those considering THNBNB, think of it like you are staying at a friend's house. You would tell your friend what time you would be arriving and if you were going to be early or late. A good host would ask you what you would like to eat. And, a good host would show you around their house if you were unfamiliar with it. In other words, they would show you hospitality.
Thank you again for your stay, your review and for bringing up these points.
Ryan Mercer, Owner/Innkeeper