‘It was a little bit weird,’ he said as he turned to walk out the door.
I am sure it was meant as an insult but actually, we took it as a compliment. Even since we opened we’ve sought to be a little bit different, bucking trends and shying away from the norm. While weird might not be a word we’d ever use in our marketing it sums us up in many ways. We have always aligned ourselves with marketing partners who seek to disrupt the Status Quo. In the 1990s and 200s it was Sawdays, bringing a new breed of special places to stay to a new breed of special guests who ‘got’ what we were trying to do – be different and authentic. Latterly it has been AirBnb which has been singing our tune – connecting like minded travellers and hosts to create a sense of belonging – putting the humanity back in to hospitality.
This all works hand in hand with the internet and appeals to people looking for a more authentic experience and genuine form of hospitality than that offered by branded chains and the ubiquitous beige hotels calling themselves boutique which are too often anything but.
Of course, our way is not everyone’s and it was perhaps inevitable that the guest in question came to us via Booking.com which invariably brings us guests interested in nothing other than location, amenities and price. This behemoth of a website does not deal in intangibles such as atmosphere, personality, history or authenticity. It takes the humanity out of hospitality at a time when most people, whether they know it or not, are craving more personal interaction, not less.
On balance we are very happy to be described as weird and a poster in our son’s bedroom explains why:
We are all a little weird
And life’s a little weird
And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours
We join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness
And call it love
So, if you’re looking for somewhere you’ll love and are open to a little weirdness, the castle may be just for you. If you’re looking for bland predictability, take a look at Booking.com (you can find your own link though).
Wishing you a happy and weird New Year.