Magazin: Alles über Kultur und Freizeit in der Region www.leben-im-salzkammergut.at
So after our forced closure due to ‘you know what’ … we are able to open our doors again from Friday!
It may be a different world in some respects, but we are delighted that guests can once again travel (just from Austria at the moment, but soon to be other countries as more borders open) and enjoy some space, beautiful nature on the doorstep and a chance to relax.
The local cable cars are also opening up, so a visit to the mountain top above Landhaus Lilly is once again accessible:
We have some additional information about changes that we are taking due to Covid, (which could of course change at short notice) – but we will aim to keep you updated!
Totally inspired by one of our lovely guest's amazing pictures - there followed a VERY early () pre-sunrise cycle ride to Hallstatt, the very next day!!
Here are a couple of pictures from this wonderful early morning adventure
It can be pretty busy in Hallstatt - but, pre-dawn, the crowds have not yet arrived - and you can 'almost' have Hallstatt to yourself.
There were a few other dedicated / early photographers (including a professional photographer with a bride in her white gown, and her groom in front of the famous Hallstatt church view) - but it was peaceful, relaxing and altogether a worthwhile trip!
There are a number of options to reach Hallstatt (5 km away) from Landhaus Lilly
(all timings are approximate)
Car 5 minutes drive to Hallstatt. There is no direct vehicle access to the village centre, so use the local car parks, which are all payable. P2 is the closest to the village (not open in the winter months). Parking in P1 and P3 are also available. In the summer, with many tourist visiting Hallstatt, you may wish to go earlier or later in the day if you want to get a parking space … or try out one of the options below …
Bus (7 minutes walk to bus stop + 6 minutes bus journey) *
Walking option 1 (1 hour) walking on the pavements at the side of the road
Walking option 2 (50 minutes) walk to Hallstatt train station, plus ferry (10 minutes) from Hallstatt train station to Hallstatt village
Walking option 3 (20 minutes) walk to Obertraun train station, plus train (3 minutes) to Hallstatt train station, plus ferry (10 minutes) from Hallstatt train station to Hallstatt village
Bike (25 minutes) on the bike pathway at the side of the road (we also rent bikes during the summer and autumn months)
Taxi approx 15 Euros one way for a taxi (up to 9 people)
* NB there are no buses late in the evening and during the summer months, the later buses bring you back to Obertraun Traunbrucke (20 minutes walk from Landhaus Lilly)
Thank you Judith for inviting me to be part of your blogfest, to mark the exciting launch of your first book ‘Your Biz Your Way’. Book number 1 of hopefully many more to come!
The book is a series of 52 questions (and answers!) all about running your own business.
You can find out more at Judith’s website.
Judith’s idea was to link to blogs posted by various people running their own business and I’m delighted to post my blog here … about running my biz, my way 🙂
I was SO keen to be part of the small team of proof-readers for the book that I had to promise that NO! I wasn’t just being nice in offering help and that YES! I really did have / would make enough time to do the task justice! (For once, I thought, perhaps my near OCD for typos may actually be an asset).
To join in with the celebratory blogfest, I’m to answer the question about how I run my biz my way. I’m also a bit nervous if the truth be told about writing down my thoughts, as right at this very moment, I don’t necessarily really know how I run my biz my way! I just do it! And perhaps that’s exactly it – it’s currently out of my conscious awareness. So time spent writing this post will hopefully help shed some light on the matter.
Paul and myself run our B&B together, so in that sense, I’m in a partnership with ‘my biz’. However, we are two very different people, with hugely different skill sets and preferences. For the most part we have naturally gravitated to our own roles and responsibilities, and together we make our business work. When it’s working well, the two of us, us being 1 + 1, definitely equals way more than the value of just 2. Surely this must be the best result possible for any team working together, when the constituent parts can create more than the individuals could do separately.
So … how do I run my business my way … in a nutshell it seems to come down to:-
- having clearly defined roles and responsibilities, as my friend Barbara would say. And
- clear, clean and frequent communications, as Judith would add. And I would also include
- the need for tasks to be easily understandable, rewarding, pleasant and even fun!
Working as a husband and wife team, these principles apply to us working together as well as when we are working with any supplier or when dealing with our guests.
After almost 5 years, we are now much better at knowing the roles we need to play to support the business. I need clarity and am in charge of certain practicalities: check-lists for anything and everything, procedures, online presence, online booking, accounts and customer-facing elements. Oh, and making sure that the towels stay nice and white and fluffy and general quality control.
We also work with various great people who support us in our business, from people who help with website and online booking processes, to the accountant and laundry man and many others in between. Each and every person is valuable in their own right and I view them as part of our team, working in some way to support and deliver our product to our guests. I not only need their professional assistance – but it’s important for me personally to work with them happily as part of an extended team. Working in harmony with others is of high value to me personally and professionally. Judith has also been an invaluable part of my own team, helping me sort ‘fact from fiction’, offering encouragement, making suggestions and generally offering support and a wise sounding-board.
With our guests, we need to be open about what we can (and can’t!) offer. We need to ensure they understand the basic information: availability, room costs, what’s included, how payment works, check-in arrangements etc. We contact everyone after they book and although it takes a while to send everyone a personal email, and perhaps answer any follow-up questions, we believe it is worth it. Hopefully it literally sends a positive message and can help to avoid any misunderstandings or difficulties further down the line. However, difficulties can and do very occasionally still happen. And that’s when the ‘fun’ element is rather more difficult and challenging to maintain from my ‘nutshell’ list!
So, as I mentioned above about being a bit nervous about writing this article, I can be nervous in a different way if there’s an issue that needs to be resolved with guests. This is generally ‘my’ job – but fortunately I don’t have many occasions to practice handling difficult issues with guests. However if I do, I aim to trust my instincts, focus on finding a solution and not be overtaken by uncomfortable feelings.
We are fortunate that the vast majority of our guests do leave with a smile, which is what our job is really all about. This is all excellent news for us – as with happy guests, we can continue our business, we can continue to support our lives here and also provide work to our extended team … so it’s win win all round. We chose to come and run a B&B and both left ‘good’ jobs in the UK, moved to a different country and we are living our dream. It’s been incredibly hard work but it’s great having our own biz, that we run our own way – and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
As with many local villages, Maypoles have been springing up all over the place … and we now have an impressive Maypole in the village square!
It’s great to see the younger (and not so young!) men of the village working together. They clearly had done this before …
Firstly the Maypole entered the village square, using a tractor for the base end and a set of wheels to carry the top end. The bark had already been stripped away, leaving a smooth and light wood-coloured trunk – but the very top of the tree had a few pine branches left on it. Strapped part way down was a separate ‘good looking’ pine tree, with all branches intact, perhaps 3 metres high. This was soon to be the ‘new’ top of the tree.
The trunk was positioned with the bottom end near to the prepared concrete base (sunk into the ground) and the tree was laid out over a couple of stands. The very top of the tree was removed with a chainsaw – and the new separate tree was then attached in its place, using nails and wire to secure it firmly.
The younger members of the Maypole Team stepped into action and decorated the new top of the tree with red and white ribbon. Further decoration along the upper half of the trunk was added, including large circular green wreaths, which end up being suspended once the Maypole is vertical. More greenery was twirled around the tree trunk – and then the lifting began.
Three main elements come together to position the Maypole. Pitch forks, long poles, and enthusiastic and knowledgeable men of the village. The long poles look like over-sized chopsticks with a rope tying the ends not quite together (but which leaves about 25 cm between the top of the poles). It’s the rope part that comes into contact with the trunk, with each top of the chopstick being positioned either side of the trunk.
So – the lifting begins, with men holding each side of the chopsticks to lift the trunk and the pitch forks keeping the trunk of the Maypole, and the chopsticks, in the right place. The lifting sticks get progressively closer to the base, whilst ever-longer lifting sticks appear on the scene to lift the other end and then move slowly towards the base as the Maypole gets higher. A little drama was added when the pole was almost upright and the wind seemed to increase – but everyone kept their heads, and after a good 90 minutes or so the Maypole is eventually lifted into position!
To encourage tidyness in the village there’s a tradition in Obertraun … which means that anything with wheels on, that is left outside overnight on Easter Sunday, may be removed and let’s say – ‘relocated’ – all in order to remind residents to ‘keep Obertraun tidy!’
Fortunately kind neighbours alerted us to this tradition when we first moved here … when wheelie bins can be carted off, and as you can see, bicycles manage to get to the top of lamp posts and wheelbarrows are hung from street signs …
All in good fun and just another interesting tradition!
It’s obviously a big decision to entrust this imporant process to another company and – we’ve been delighted 🙂
The big added advantage for guests, is that we can now offer PROMO codes for returning guests to use – and receive special discounts!
It’s also easy for guests to see the calendar view for an overview of availability. Alternatively, you can select a date and number of nights required and the availability and room costs are shown.
‘Freetobook’ also approached us to be a case study for their newsletter, where they asked us to share the experience of working with them. Many of us have big ‘to do’ lists and once you get a job completed, you tick it off and it’s on to the next million and one other things waiting for your time and attention. It was therefore also a great opportunity for us to stop and pause and appreciate how much value the new booking system can bring to our business. As an added bonus, the process of being interviewed for the case study gave us the chance to thank them for their invaluable help and assistance (and patience!)
We did look at a number of other providers in our search for a booking system. However for us there were a number of reasons we choose Freetobook. I’d already signed up a couple of years prior for their newsletters and felt we’d already built up some ‘history’ with them. They had a product people liked, which they were developing and enhancing over time, often taking feedback from existing customers. We felt confident with their product. The online video tutorials are great and it means you can learn at your own pace and in your own time. We were fortunate also that before / during / after the process of signing up officially, we were quickly and efficiently supported by email (and occasionally on the telephone). It’s so important to have this reassurance – as there are always one or two things that crop up that you’re not sure how best to handle.
So thank you Freetobook! – and we’re delighted to be included as one of your case studies.