April 9, 2013
Dear Honey Run Friends,
As the proprietor of this beautiful inn, I have the distinct honor and duty to read each and every comment, suggestion, and email that is sent to us. Not coming from a hospitality background, this task was overwhelming early on in my tenure. While we receive thousands of incredible stories, praise, and sincere thanks for all we do, there are also a few that we clearly failed to deliver our signature Honey Run experience during their visit. These can range from helpful suggestions to downright vulgar and malicious verbal attacks on my team and me. It is always the failure that I latch onto and if two out of a thousand are disappointed I allow those two to have more weight than all of the praise. Why? I think it is because I am a perfectionist and I know the effort that is put forth to provide the perfect experience that causes me frustration. All of our guests deserve the perfect experience and it pains me when we do not achieve this goal. But we march on. Marge Stock, our founder, always says “to look at a complaint as a compliment. Only God is perfect, and you will mess up, but you must use these failings to correct the problem and grow”. Her wisdom is not lost in me. So, as I read the daily emails and track the notes left behind with our team, I look for common themes of areas for improvement. I gather the “praises” and see the common denominator so I can duplicate our successes and continue providing and creating the services that our guests enjoy. I personally respond to emails that warrant a response and my team of Directors and I review all of the information weekly in our Director meeting.
Marge is right, your suggestions are compliments. Silence is the only indicator that a guest does not care enough to extend the energy to share their pleasure or displeasure with us. We are continuing to grow and cultivate our culture within our team members to see this gift that you share. My promise to you is that if you do care enough to share with us your experience, we will honor and respect you with the promise of not only reading your thoughts, but also in discussing them internally and looking for a proper response. Our success is solely a result of you. If we deliver our mission to create and provide a first-class, loving, and memorable experience for each of you, then we are living into our purpose and serving you as you honor us with your time and presence.
I look forward to serving you soon during your next visit,
20 responses to “Letter from Jason – April 2013”
I read your letter with interest and was pleased to know you take guests’ comments to heart. I realized I should give you some feedback from my dinner at Taragon this past January (2013). I was in the area on assignment for “Midwest Living” magazine (I’m a travel and food writer) and had no plans for dinner, so my husband and I ended up at Taragon. And I was so glad we did. I was extremely impressed with the service and the quality of the food — surprisingly sophisticated for rural Ohio yet approachable. I had chicken coq au vin – a dish I seldom see on restaurant menus but a long-time favorite. It was delicious with rustic, earthy notes. Wonderful! My husband’s mahi mahi was also a delight. Your chef is to be commended (hang on to him!). We seldom find food of this quality in Columbus (our home). Your wine list was also impressive. If I had one criticism, it would be that the lighting in the dining room was a little too bright. Dimmer lighting and perhaps candles on the table would fit in so much better with the refined aura of your professional servers and exquisite food!
I think we are too often quick to offer criticism but heistant to bestow praise. Please know our dining experience at Taragon was a wonderful surprise and we hope to be able to return soon. Kudos to your kitchen and dining room staff!
Thank you so much for your affirmation of our hard work at Tarragon. I am truly proud of the quality of food and service that we provide. It pleases me even more when a professional travel and food writer recognizes what we already know; that Tarragon is approachably sophisticated. I agree with you concerning the brightness level of the lighting during our dinner service. We have a standard set that we miss at times. I will be sure to address this with the team and insure that the lighting level is adjusted to accommodate the ambiance if the room and dining experience.
Thank you for sharing with me your thoughts.
I find it hard to believe that anyone would find anything bad to say about The Inn at Honey Run. I’ve never been to a better place! I’ve noticed that there are always people who have nasty and untrue things to say about terrific places that I have visited in online reviews. Try to ignore them and focus on the vast majority who are appreciative of all you do.
Thank you for your support and sharing with me your experience at Honey Run. I will try to heed your advice and focus on the thousands of appreciate guests such as yourself.
Hi Jason: What a lovely email for you to write and send out to your patrons. It shows you really care about the Inn.
Seeing your email, made me think about why we have not returned to the Honey Run. We honeymooned there and spent all anniversarys there, up until when it was sold.
While what I am about to say may seem upsetting, I preface it by saying that we had a specific experience at Honey Run in the past and came to expect that experience each time we went. When we returned after the new ownership, it was “different”. Sometimes, it is just that our expectations are different and that is the reason for disappointment, not necessarily anything that you are doing. People don’t like change!
For us, it was the loss of the private house. That is where we stayed every time. I know that wasn’t included in the sale. We still visited the Honey Run every year when we come for our bi-annual visit to Berlin, however, we noticed the dining experience changed significantly, as well. We waited several times to be seated, the host on several occasions was not exactly pleasant, the new chairs were SO uncomfortable (side of wood dug into sides of legs) that I could barely finish my meal. The decor (missed the wall waterfall….I heard about the mold!) and experience as a whole was very disappointing…not to mention the changes to the menu. A simple turkey croissant sandwich for lunch…removed? Such a great standard lunch item!
I wish you and Honey Run all the best and am sure you will continue to thrive and provide an enjoyable, memorable experience for many more.
Thank you for sharing with me your thoughts and your experience from your most recent visit to Honey Run. I must admit we had a rocky patch in the dining during the transition from the past ownership to our current ownership but I am proud to say that we have worked out those issues and our new restaurant named Tarragon is a completely new and enhanced experience. Service levels are up, food quality is at its highest level, and Tarragon has been completely renovated while also removing the original wooden dining room chairs with new cloth covered seating. I recognize that change is hard but I hope if you are in the area you would stop by and see the transformation for yourself.
I wish you the best in the future and will remain hopefully optimistic that I may see you again at Honey Run some day.
I’m sure many people who’ve stayed at the Inn and read your post will email you. Silence may be an indicator that a guest does not care enough, but often guests are too busy with life to send emails or access facebook. When I’m at the Inn, I try to soak up as much as possible from the Inn, the people and the surroundings while I’m there. When I leave, my mind goes back to all the responsibilities I have, but I am so much better for having spent time at the Inn. Those that are vulgar or make malicious attacks on your team can only be individuals with a lot of anger or grief inside them. I don’t really know if they’ve been mistreated at the Inn, but I cannot imagine it for the life of me. The Inn is tranquil and your team members are all beautiful people. I don’t see the Inn as a place that pampers people but a place gives people some comforts and gentleness so they can find some peace in this world.
I love your letters…would love to meet you when I am there sometime!
Please run another special sometime…I promise I won’t let it go unused! It seems like whenever you do (like the last one, buying a gift card) the time period is up before I can get to it! How about lasting at least a day or two longer? I’m not a facebook frequenter and I just don’t see them quick enough sometimes!
Thank you for appreciating my letters. We will continue to do periodic specials in the future but all of our specials are time sensitive. I encourage you to keep an eye out on our Facebook page and website to watch for the next special. We try to offer these a few times a year to reward our loyal guests with a gift from Honey Run. I hope to have the opportunity to meet you during your next visit to Honey Run.
Dear Inn At Honey Run Folks: I only have praises for the Inn and those who run it. In the 30 years we’ve visited – a time or two each year, we have come away refreshed, our marriage better than ever and we carry those good feelings of the Inn for weeks after – as if we had been there yesterday. I remember a kind word from a housekeeping maid in March, a friendly conversation with several of the dining table servers and a laugh or two with the people at the front desk. There was still plenty of quiet time just for us; a quiet walk outside and visiting the animals up the hill, enjoying the amish buggies trotting down on the road, the woodland decorations of the Inn give me a unique and calming feeling after just rushing around at home in “all directions”. Thank you for several specials that made it possible for us to come in January and March for an overnight! Our 43 Wedding Anniversary celebration was in March, with you. Thanks again,
Miriam and Robert Miller
Though a guest in the past and ever so pleased, this year was a disappointment when making a hoped-for visit. Now only King sized beds are available which is distressing to me. Somehow that is a bit uncomfortable for me as a woman traveling with another female. I did cancel our resservations as the weather this winter was incredibly bad and somehow that is not what I had in mind when introducing my friend to Inn at Honey Run. Hopefully when the weather remains certain, those arrangements can be made once again. However, I will again stress the disappointment of sharing a King bed with another female. Seems there is already the flaunting of homosexuality and it seems an unusual way to market the always amazing Inn. So be it!! When with my late husband, we shared a bed; when traveling with a female, we had twin beds as I recall.
I am sorry to hear that you are disappointed with our new King Beds. After careful consideration and planning we opted to go with all King Beds on the property due to an overwhelming request from our guests. The split bed option gave an inferior experience to the majority of our guests who were seeking a single bed option. We have made strides to offer lower rates on low demand weekdays so that guests seeking a double bed option could elect to reserve two rooms instead of both being in the same room overnight. Your comment concerning anything that we are “flaunting” is flawed. We love and respect all people at Honey Run but we do not endorse nor is it any of our business what ones personal sexuality or sexual preference may be. I would encourage you to be more careful and respectful of such public statements.
I hope you do decide to visit Honey Run in the near future and experience the peace and serenity our establishment offers while reconnecting with your Creator.
This had just been a recent topic of conversation with my husband.
A couple of years ago we stayed in the Honeycombs to celebrate my birthday. In the year since our last stay, the Inn had come under new ownership and many changes had taken place. Service seemed much less personal and not as welcoming.
One of the biggest disappointments was being told at check in that room service breakfast was no longer included with the Honeycombs, but we could come go to the restaurant for a complimentary breakfast instead. All these years, one of our greatest pleasures had been having fresh coffee and warm oatmeal on our honeycomb patio in the morning. We were told something about not having enough staff to continue including it with the room, and that we were welcome to order room service but would be charged for it. At checkout I completed a comment card expressing our disappointment. Shortly thereafter I received a not-very-nice letter from the Inn defending the changes and pointing out all the “improvements” I’d neglected to appreciate (new robes, one cup coffee makers, flat panel TVs…). We were stunned by the response and decided we would not return as long as the Inn was under their management.
Recently we were talking about how much we missed the Honeycombs, and whether the response we recieved should continue to keep us from going back to a place that’s so special to us. I was still on the fence about it, until reading your timely email and blog post today. Clearly, it’s time for us give it another chance. Hope to see you soon.
I receive the monthly HONEY RUN NEWS LETTER, in the letter there was special listed as SPRING GET AWAY CLUB LEVEL HONEYCOMBS -RATES STRTING AT $142 WHEN RESERVED ON LINE. As I proceeded to select a room no where was that price listed, I called the inn and talked to a very nice associate but I was told that rate was for certain dates in April, I requested dates of april-17 & 18th but was told rate would be around $225,we were excite to visit and stay at honey run, but are disappointed that you would not honor this special. It seams there is always a exclusion or specific days or black outs.
I have been staying and dining at the inn since the inn opened for business when Marge owned it they used to offer what they called GAMBLER RATES it was there effort to show they valued there customer. Honey run is a very special place. I know the cost of doing business has increased but I feel customers like me are being excluded, I was a very loyal customer.
JUST THOUGHT YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW.
Thank you for your letter. I am thankful that you had a positive experience with our team as you called in inquiring about our current special. We are working hard to offer unique specials throughout the year. Of course with such a great deal restrictions must apply. I am sorry that your current travel dates do not allow you to take advantage of this wonderful offer. In an effort to offer a better deal than the past “Gambler Rates” we created our Guest Loyalty program that always offers our loyal guests the best rate plus a 10% discount when booked during checkout of your past stay. This allows you to plan for your next visit and rewards you for being a loyal guest. I hope you will be able to take advantage of one of these programs and find a date that works within the requirements of the special. I am deeply saddened that you feel excluded by our current promotional efforts and I will discuss this with my team at our next meeting to analyze our marketing efforts for fairness to all of our guests.
I hope to see you at Honey Run soon,
Having managed and run businesses successfully for 40 years, perhaps the best advice I can provide to you is to realize that no matter what you do, there will be people that are by nature basically unhappy and critical of others as well as those that simply cannot deal with change.
No matter! The Inn at Honey Run is a very special place for us and one that we have continued to return to from time to time. We love it there and have always found the staff friendly and willing to accommodate any reasonable request. We have recommended The Inn to family and friends and will continue to do so. Keep up the good work and know that the huge majority appreciates the exemplary efforts that you and your staff demonstrate every day. Illiigitimi non carborundum!
Thank you for the advice, kind comments, and the new phrase. It brought a smile to my face and even caused a few chuckles to come out once I looked it up.
Dear Jason, my first experience at the inn was on Dec.18,1993. My dear wife and I had just been remarried and celebrated our wedding honeymoon at the inn. What a wonderful experience Down through the years we have enjoyed our visits to the inn with friends and family. I think we have stayed in all of the inn’s accomodations except Marge’s parents house. My dear wife Jean died four years ago and next month I will turn 86 years old so, my traveling days are about over. My son and daughter and I did have lunch recently at the inn. One of the more enjoyable experiences we had was when we were invited to an open house by your predecesser at the Stock house. My daughter, an accomplished pianist was persuaded to play for us,a wonderful occasion indeed.
You have a terrific place, Jason. Keep up the good work!!!
I’ve not had the pleasure to visit yor Inn yet, as I am running in to a little problem. But I already feel the kindness from your staff.
I had just sent an email, and within 10 minutes, received a call from Christina to let me know that she had got my email and will do what she can to help me.
I can tell you are good people, and I thank you all to take the time to call me.
We will be leaving in a couple hours for our trip there for the next couple nights – in the Honeycombs! We are so excited and can’t wait to experience them. We’ve stayed at the Inn and loved it so very much, and this is a needed treat for us now. I’ll drop a line after our stay to tell you what we thought. See you soon!