Sunday, July 31, 2011

First Impressions Matter

Last week we had a lovely guest who looked into her crystal ball and saw innkeeping in her future. Christine was here from Europe, with her German husband, to reconnoiter. Cape Cod had already attracted their attention as the perfect place to open a B&B and now they were honing in on which town might be the most desirable. When I mentioned that two B&Bs had recently closed, they pricked up their ears and I realized Wellfleet was under consideration.

“What’s it like here in the off-season?” Florian asked yesterday morning, before leaving for Nantucket.

An important detail, not to be dismissed lightly. I told him how beautiful winter can be and explained that our public library has always been the hub of all cultural activity, but now we have Preservation Hall as well. "And then, of course, there are the beaches," I said.

Florian works in IT. In the travel field. The day before we had established that innkeepers, in a seasonal economy, need another means of making a living, like a second job that involves the Internet. When the couple sat down to breakfast on the day of departure, I could tell the wheels had been turning overnight, with options for Web sites dancing in Florian’s head.

We discussed how first impressions matter, and all agreed that trendy Wellfleet makes an excellent first impression.

“You turn off Route 6 onto Main and drive past the Wicked Oyster, with its garden, obviously an upscale establishment,” he said. “You have the ocean and the ponds.”

“Not everyone likes to swim in salt water,” Christine pointed out.

Wellfleet does make a good impression, with its mixture of quaint but nicely maintained, traditional clapboard houses along Main Street.

The couple also mentioned having noticed the new sidewalks.

“What would make Wellfleet your first choice?”

Christine raised her eyebrows. “Tax benefits for settling here?”

Florian added, “Yes, the option to invest that money in our new business.”

The perfect incentive. I told them I’d report back to the Economic Development Committee. We should have more young people like Florian and Christine here year-round.

Innkeepers need vigor and charm. Gregariousness, a sense of adventure. An outgoing personality is a plus, as is relative youth. Christine and Florian, in their early thirties, have all of the above.

“I think you two would make perfect innkeepers,” I said and meant it.

Do you have any suggestions for the Economic Development Committee of how to attract this type of young, dynamic businessperson to Wellfleet? What would make you come settle on Cape Cod?