1000 Guests Are RIGHT
Sophie Tucker’s record ‘Fifty-million Frenchmen can’t be wrong’ alluded to the comparatively free and easy attitude to drinking in France seven years into Prohibition in the U.S. which began 100 years ago yesterday. I was reminded by a guest historian of her Tucker’s hit, after mentioning a number of weeks ago our 1000th guest vacation checked out. 2020 marks our tenth season … a decade of welcoming vacationers, practicing the skills of hospitality and offering a relaxing, inspirational home base from which to explore Tampa and the wider central Florida region.
A thousand vacations … what makes Erehwon Retreat so special?
I’ve worked hard over the past decade to make Erehwon Retreat something quite unique. Florida is full of places to vacation, it’s been our mission to combine the traditional charm of a vacation home rental with the best features of more space, safety, security and white glove cleaning and disinfection with personal welcome and on site concierge.
When Wilcox Nursery and I started to plan to convert all turf to a Florida native plant garden, it was with the desire to show my visitors a range of native plants and wildlife that they would then be able to recognize in local hikes. And for those in Executive Transfer who would stay for a month while looking for a Florida home how to avoid landscaping that damages the environment and fails to support bird life and pollinators. My dream became a reality, delivering dozens of different varieties of native bird and butterfly life to Erehwon Retreat’s doorstep, and this year the garden was designated as a Wildlife Habitat by no less than the National and Florida Wild-life Federation. It’s a huge honor, but more importantly, it means that the vacationers who stay with us get to experience the very best of Florida, right on their doorstep. My Grandmother used to say “planting a garden is to believe in tomorrows.”
The universal language of hospitality
My life was spent working in the performing arts – so I have always known that music and dance were international languages, a way to communicate across boundaries. Since developing Erehwon Retreat in my retierment, I’ve come to truly appreciate that hospitality is also a universal language. When Erehwon opened it was mainly aimed at American, but today 12% of our guests are from overseas. Their expectations are different. Whether they come from America or Asia, it’s important to know what their particular likes and dislikes are – that makes for so many fascinating new discoveries.
Offering a shared experience of the 1920’s to people from all around the world has been a real joy to me. As part of our 10th Anniversary, I decided to develop a stronger guest experience, which is why, since December 8, www.erehwonretreat.com has been available in 25 languages in addition of English. I chose the languages based on having hosted at least one guest from each language represented. As an example, Erehwon Retreat has hosted two guests from Argentina, and one each from Spain, Paraguay, Mexico and the Dominican Republic – hence our Spanish language site is likely to be very popular! When one looks back its hard to believe we’ve hosted guests from so many countries.
The Erehwon Retreat perspective
From period decorative details to wildlife-watching opportunities over breakfast on the deck, I’ve tried to design my holiday house to be something truly special and utterly unique. Luxury used to be associated with three-piece-suits and starched shirts, that was really the reputation of a five-star hotel, but that is changing and we see that our guests want that genuine approach to service rather than formalities. It seems that many people agree that I’ve achieved my aim.
This year, Erehwon Retreat was selected winner of the Tampa Award for Vacation Rental Agency. What makes my vacation home unique is my commitment to service, and just as AirBnB is moving to AirBnB Plus to offer guests a more valuable, unique rental experience, I know that when you visit you’ll discover just what makes 1000 Guests right. Erehwon Retreat is special, and whatever language you speak, I’m certain that we’ll share the language of hospitality.
Give it up for Sophie Tucker