Thursday, February 3, 2011

Another Anniversary for This Bed and Breakfast and Another Year Begins!

Our Eighteenth Anniversary for Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn is today! And now,the start of our 19th year!

When I started this bed and breakfast in 1993, renovating this historic home from top to bottom, nine other bed and breakfasts were already open in the Montford Historic District here in Asheville... Abbington Green was the 10th one to open. I remember that one of the Innkeepers asked me how long I expected to stay in Asheville as a bed and breakfast Innkeeper. As I recall, I replied, "I'm in this 'for the long haul'....whatever that turns out to be." Well, today a couple of those inns are owned by their 5th set of owners, some are on the 4th, while others are on the 3rd owners. This job, as they say, 'is not for everyone'.

Even I probably would not have guessed I would be here to start the 19th year today! But here we are. And so many things have happened since 1993 to change the way our guests find and choose where to stay.

Over that time, technology has changed enormously. Imagine, if you can, a world without cell phones! A truly portable phone in 1993 was a big heavy thing called a 'bag phone' that you could carry in your car...but it would have been really difficult to lug around on the golf course or in a restaurant. Yep, no cell phones then! They came along a couple of years later.

So how did you find a bed and breakfast in Asheville in 1993? And how did you make a reservation? First, you went to the library or book store, and picked out one of the many publications that had 'Asheville bed and breakfast' somewhere in the title. You read the descriptions, looked at the single (tiny) picture of the B&B (usually a black and white artist's sketch) then made a phone call to the Inn of choice and asked for a description of every room...and based on those descriptions and the answers to your questions, you booked your reservation...the Innkeeper wrote it on a piece of paper, then sent you a confirmation via "snail mail", complete with a postage stamp!

Why books, why "snail mail"? Also imagine, no easily available internet? Why? Because in 1993, almost all computers were in your office...almost none were in your home. And the internet, as we know it today, was barely there. AOL and a company called Prodigy were the first huge investors in the technology that laid the foundation for the internet. They battled it out in the late 1980s and into the early 1990s...and you know, since you probably never heard of Prodigy, that AOL was the winner in convincing the public they should use their service to do banking online, to find services and send their friends email...and personal computers were becoming more affordable every year.

For a portion of my 'previous lifetime' as a banking executive, I had been product manager for telemarketing, ATMs, debit cards and "PC Home Banking"...from 1988-1993! It was all new technology in search of a market. And at Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast in the Spring of 1996, when I asked a guest who had booked a reservation, "How did you first hear about us?"...the answer started to be, "At AOL".

Nowadays, I'm sure you can't imagine booking a reservation at a B&B without first looking at lots of bed and breakfasts and examining dozens of photos of different rooms or suites on the 'short list' you've developed from all your internet exploration. Then, peruse dozens(or hundreds) of reviews posted on TripAdvisor and other such sites to see what other travelers have said about your possible bed and breakfast choice. And then, technology allows you to book your choice online...the exact Inn, the exact dates, the exact room and put your deposit on your credit or debit card..any time from anywhere.

Lots of other things, including technology, have changed since 1993...including lovely updates to Abbington Green. We love and look forward to new developments and new technology. But one thing that hasn't changed is our desire to make your visit to Asheville and your stay at Abbington Green Bed and Breakfast Inn relaxing, comfortable and memorable...and oh yes, yummy!

Happy Anniversary, Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn!!

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