How a small Barbados hotel thrived with hard work and the right attitude

When reading the online customer reviews of Peach and Quiet Hotel at TripAdvisor and other like sites, the first thing that strikes you is the number of former guests who mention how the hotel owners and staff made them feel welcome and went the extra distance to ensure a good stay.

Peach and Quiet’s high occupancy rate and lengthy list of repeat visitors is the envy of the hotel business in Barbados but their success hasn’t happened by accident or overnight. In his latest installment of Tourism Matters, Adrian Loveridge tells how he and Margaret once had to stay up all night licking trading stamps because there was no money to fund the next day’s BBQ and the stamps were buying the food.

Adrian also reports that in our current 11% plus unemployment, the hotel could use a few more employees, but he’s having trouble finding anyone with the attitude to help grow the business. That is an interesting observation in a country where tourism is foundational to the economy, and frankly, is exactly what business owners in other sectors regularly say.

Adrian’s article is well worth your time – and if you know anyone who would be a good fit at Peach and Quiet, well… Adrian says he’s looking for a couple of people.

Tourism Matters: Barbados and Inch Marlow welcomes the world

by Adrian Loveridge - Small hotel owner

Our precious four acres of Inch Marlow has felt more like the United Nations over the last week with guests from Lithuania, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, United States, Canada, United Kingdom and for the first time, Uruguay.

It’s a far cry from 1988, when we purchased a then derelict Arawak Inn and spent just about everything we had in the world, transforming seventeen separate buildings into a functional hotel.

I graphically remember a prominent Barbadian hotelier telling me soon after we moved here, almost with glee, that ‘we were never going to make it with just 22 rooms’. While dejected at the time, I am really glad now that I didn’t take a blind bit of notice of him.

Also the lectures from bank managers telling us that we were undercapitalised or overtrading!

Two decades later, after many financial institutions around the world virtually self imploded, those same bastions of financial prudence are either out of a job or somewhat muted.

What kept us going against the perceived odds?

Largely it was our incredibly loyal guests, who in the initial stages put up with our less than luxurious surroundings. But they came back (and still do) year after year and their support enabled us to improve and enhance with every repeat visit.

Secondly, it was a small group of locals, and in particular, individuals like Sir Fred Gollop, Peter Marshall the late Sir Harold St. John and Peter Morgan. ‘Bree’ if I may respectfully refer to him, was often a daily visitor and gave us words of support and encouragement. There was no political agenda or voting mileage to be gained. He would kick off his shoes, enjoy a cup of tea and we would share our joint passion for tourism.

There have been several milestones along the way that have helped shape where we are today. I recall one period when with an empty hotel, our agreed overdraft limit had been reached and there was no money to purchase supplies.

My wife and I spent the night sticking-in trading stamps from a leading supermarket and that gave us the means to fund a bar-b-q we operated on Sundays. 50 people turned up and that was one of the defining moments that enabled us to remain solvent.

What prompted these revelations at this time, was a statement by the Governor of the Central Bank that the ‘unemployment rate has risen to about 11 per cent of our workforce’. I firmly believe, as many others do, that it will be primarily small businesses that lead us out of the global economic recession. Frankly, we could easily employ another two or three persons, but it is finding the right employees with the attitude to help us grow the business.

Government must be the facilitator to ensure this happens with an enabling environment.

Small businesses that do succeed should not be slowed down with bureaucratic red tape and I think its time that our policymakers take another close look at some of the so called ‘incentives’.

Let them start with the Barbados Small Business Development Act and ask these two questions: how many organisations have applied and what is the average approval time?

Adrian Loveridge

Advertisements

20 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking, Economy

20 responses to “How a small Barbados hotel thrived with hard work and the right attitude

  1. SMALL FROG

    Last night on TV I heard Minister Sucoo-Byer speaking about the poor performance of Bajan workers, generally. This is a “call” we have started to hear a bit more frequently these days. The PM and a few ‘authority figures’ have said something about it, several times, in recent months.

    We even have the NICE program where people are being asked to say “thank you” and all that. (Can you believe it?)

    Here’s the rub: you’ve heard the saying ~ you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. We have a full society where being impolite – with people walking around with their faces ‘set up’ and looking dissatisfied and unpleasant is the standard.

    This attitude is not going to be changed by a few pleading words. This is our ‘culture’ these days.

    As a clinical psychologist, if you asked me, I have no idea how these “mannerisms” that have become the norm, that have taken 40 years to develop – – are going to be changed any time soon.

    Over the years, nothing has been said about it; the “unions” have turned a blind eye; there is no discipline or accountabliity in the Government schools, in the public service and some private enterprises; there is this sour attitude that’s standard even in families…..

    The horse is out of the stable.

    God bless Barbados.

  2. PrettyPolly

    Two points;

    1) Adrian Loveridge & his hotel are built on understanding customer requirements & ensuring that on a day to day basis his business meets these requirements. Any successful business owner is aware that customer requirements are a moving target & needs constant attention. This is why there is never room to ‘rest on one’s laurels’……I noted with amusement yesterday a comment from Sue Springer attributing Peach & Quiet’s high occupany rates to the fact that the hotel has so few rooms!…I beg to differ Ms Springer. You only have to view the heartfelt comments from former guests on websites that reach a global audience, to understand just how blindly dismissive that comment truly was.

    2) Over time the unions have morphed from a vital organisation fighting for the rights of workers, into a tin pot, self justifying fiefdom, desperate to maintain their existence & secretariats. To do this have created a customer base (ie union members), with an unrealistic expectation of what constititutes a fair days work for a fair days pay. The unions are content to take members fees in exchange for filling their heads with blatant nonsense about entitlements to this, that & the bloody other, whilst failing to explain that the only way that employees generate income & revenue to pay their wages is by output & graft….40 years of education & literacy has been squandered. We should be the entrepreneurial capital of the Caribbean, instead have a work force which contains significant amounts of folks who see no good reason why they should have to extend themselves in any way, shape or form to earn a wage…..I do not know the solution to our woes but if we continue on this path then all the back breaking, blood sweat & tears of our forefathers will have been for nothing.

  3. Nostradamus

    “I noted with amusement yesterday a comment from Sue Springer attributing Peach & Quiet’s high occupany rates to the fact that the hotel has so few rooms!…”

    Sue Springer really said that?

  4. PrettyPolly

    Nostradamus….My reference came from the back page of Barbados Today dated 18th Jan 2011. “Springer explained that not all hotels were fully booked from now until April but were recording various levels at different times. She added that the Peach & Quiet Hotel was a smaller hotel & did not have many rooms and was therefore easier to fill.”

  5. Derek

    Much easier to fill 22 rooms than to fill 150

  6. Nonsense

    An unqualified maid quote…………hhhhhhhmmmmmm???????????????

  7. Adrian Loveridge

    Derek,
    Some may question that!
    22 rooms mean 22 seperate individual bookings at least once a week but frequently more often with shorter stays and overnights.

    150 rooms means that the property would have to be somwhat tour operator reliant.
    It could be just 3 allocations of 50 rooms per operator.

    As a small hotel we also have to build and retain our own market.
    We get absolutely NO support in marketing terms from the national marketing agency (BTA) and you only have to look at the latest advertising campaign in the UK (BDS$6 million spent) to see that its ALL tour operator driven.
    Small hotels like ours do not even come into their thinking.
    There is no dedicated BTA SMALL hotel marketing budget, other than the grant given to Intimate Hotels which leaves nearly 70 other small properties having to do EVERYTHING themselves.
    The Small Hotels Product Club (that is meant to represent the BHTA small hotels) has not met for eight months and has absolutely no marketing programme in effect.
    I would actually say that its more difficult to fill 22 rooms, because
    we are totally reliant on the value for money and level of service that we deliver.

  8. caribman

    Visitors still like the intimacy that small islands charm them with. Once well managed with the “personal touch”, small hotesl are almost guaranteed a high level of return business and along with a dedicated staff and kind management , SUCCESS is like magic.
    Congrats to Adrian and Peach and quiet.

  9. New Orleans, Sin Michael.

    De face “push-up” because de body grow up in a shack somewhere wid a mudder –an nuh fadder en around. Ever.
    Four o we sharing a bed, sleeping crossways, bickering in de house is de normal status quo.
    No happiness, except MAYbe Xmas morning, for a short spell.

    You feel ervy body get bring-up like you?
    Nuff o we get draaaag-up,den.
    We grow up hard and hardened. Fighting fuh ervyting in dis life.
    Fighting over ervyting, quarreling and bare confusion in de house, all de time!
    Daz why we does drive so slow gyne hoam after wurk,
    coz when we get hoam, hoam en nowhere to BE, y’onstan?

    An den when we goes to wurk somewhere, we is to pretend like we grow up sweet? and smile? skinnin we teet? fuh who? why?
    I look internally happy to you? How dah cud be?

    You like you never hear bout brought-upsy, versus drag-upsy!
    Hope dis explain why we face push-up so dread: is bitter life experience frum de time we small, comin up in de Orleans an de BayLand, yuh sight?

    And all de lotta N.I.C.E. training in de world cyan undo all o dah childhood and teenage trauma dat is de norm in Emerton an de Erleans.
    We come up HAAARD! Yes please.

    but.. “All o we is one” –who wunnuh foolin doah?

  10. PrettyPolly

    Dear New Orleans, Sin Michael….I can’t argue with you, on some of your points, there are people living thru hell in their day to day existence. I did not grow up with money or big houses or fancy schooling. But I was fortunate to grow up in a close family unit; mother, father & a good set of brothers & sisters. This family unit made me feel strong, confident, independent, loved & happy; this is something that still resonates with me as I head to official middle agedom. ….But with all you write New Orleans, Sin Micheal I would take issue with you about the whole question of training, including the NICE initiative. The roughest stone can be polished to become a precious stone, however it takes time & commitment. If the situation is as you describe it then as an employer i must recognise this reality, & whilst I cannot change a persons home life, I can ensure that I have appropriate training available to my employees, such that they understand the requirements of their roles and can perform their job at the level that is necessary for my organisation. It is called Competency Based Training and is suitable for ALL employees from the domestic staff to the highest levels of management…..This is the sort of subject that union leaders should be demanding from employers as it develops the individual employee & serves to advance the success of any business.

  11. New Orleans, Sin Michael.

    Tom Adams spoke of the employed, the unemployed, the employable and the unemployable.
    I was describing the unemployable -who nevertheless have to be employed at some stage.

    Mercifully, NCC gets most of the unemployable, to clean parks and beaches
    -not the hotel industry,
    although I imagine a few do come the hotel way.

    Be grateful for your upbringing, eh? -no matter how impoverished(monetarily) it may have been.

    Class is class, and lack of class is lack of class.

    Yes time and training can work wonders on un-polished ppl,
    but who the heck has 2-3 years to drag them to a situation of civility
    -just in time for them to say Bye! and go work for someone else?

    Point is: there is no substitute for a decent civilized upbringing,
    and unfortunately about 20% of the people on this island
    do not get that
    by virtue of their sorry life-circumstance.

  12. Barbados Tourist Authority

    ” latest advertising campaign in the UK (BDS$6 million spent)”?

    vestigial, valueless and without accountability

    turn the GEM properties over to Adrian and let him manage based on a % of increase in net sales.

  13. richard perrier

    It is with great interest that my wife and i read on Barbados Free Press the article on How a small Barbados hotel thrived with hard work and the right attitude Jan 19 2011

    Very curious Canadian.Wondering why you cannnot find help.What kind of qualification are you looking for.

    We sure would like to have moore details

  14. dimwit

    New Orleans!!!
    Screw up faces,attitude etc., etc., are not representative of the “so called down trodden,poor black(so I have two chances,a dogs chance and no chance) its a new style or way of expression,which even the “Nouveau Riche Blacks” have acquired,and even those token few whites who seem endeared to potray an “Oh God I’m really into your cause and totally understand your neccesity for racial manipulation”,,,,,,Blah…Blah!!!
    Oh on and on the Politicians have used this now to “Stir the Cou Cou of an Election to create a Tangent force of WE against You and so divided one will rule until time erases Facts and clouds reality and another will come to Power to repeat the process.

  15. Undertaker

    I stayed there with an ex of mine a few years ago had a great time and took some wonderful pictures – still look at them from time to time. The thing is though we were just two locals on a small budget they treated us like we had a million bucks. That is what made my partner an I feel special. It is the little things that count.

  16. Diagenesis

    @Adrian; BFP

    I know we have only have contact through this forum, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, I share your concept. I believe that this latest article is worthy of further dissemination within the Diaspora in the print media. If you’re interesting in a submission, I can be reached at ghgeoenvironmental@gmail.com . When our decision-makers are doing the right thing, the people should know and if they’re behaving badly, the people should also be made aware. The central idea is to get information out there and let a more informed people make their decisions on that.

  17. Hello,
    I happened to find some information about ‘ Arawak Inn’, a charming hotel
    where my friend and I celebrated New Year’s Eve 1976-1977.
    We were from Luxembourg, Europe. Those were our first holidays together and we enjoyed our stay very much.
    Kind regards.
    Christiane Wolwert
    Christi

  18. Adrian Loveridge

    Christiane,

    The Arawak Inn looks a little different now but its still a magical location.
    If you want to be reminded just type in ‘Barbados – Peach and Quiet’ on YouTube. We hope that you will come back one day and we promise to give you a very warm welcome.
    I have spent many happy days in Luxembourg City, Vianden, Enternach etc., over the years.

  19. Pingback: Adrian and Margaret Loveridge shut down Peach & Quiet Hotel | Barbados Free Press