Bringing our pergola business from the city to the country was an easy decision for Peter and I. The thought of leaving behind the city hassles of trafﬁc, leasing an industrial unit and the responsibility of being an employer was magic.
We weren’t seriously looking for a bush change, but when we accidentally found a house for sale in Dowerin it was like a dream –older style, wide verandas, high ceilings and large rooms. Then we thought why not turn our haven into a Bed and Breakfast establishment – the outside looked like a B & B so why not explore our options?
Exploring the internet I found a great support system in Country Cousins, a WA Farm B & B network. An email relationship began with Brenda Bourne who was only too happy to answer my questions and set me on the right track with this new venture.
The biggest expense in running a small hospitality facility is advertising. How do you tell the business traveller and the holiday maker what you have to offer?
Several years ago, the Bournes who run a B & B at Youngs Siding near Albany had the idea to network with other farmstay operators to share advertising expenses and to refer travellers on to other operators in the network – and so Country Cousins was born. We now have Friends of Country Cousins –operators close to Perth who are often the ﬁrst point of call for overseas and interstate travellers –who can help with recommendations for the travellers’ next stop, be it for one or two nights, a week or longer.
It’s a great network keeping Country Cousins from the Murchison, Mount Magnet and Mukinbudin areas to Albany, Esperance, and all points in between in touch with each other, sharing advertising expenses and word of mouth referrals. We are all conﬁdent that although the accommodation differs from place to place, the high standard of hospitality offered will be the same regardless of which Country Cousin you choose.
Running a B & B in the country is a wonderful way to share local knowledge and make the stay for all our visitors, whether on holiday or business, a special event with country style hospitality.
As with all Country Cousins, I love making our visitors feel our home is their home away from home. I love the interaction of learning a little about them, telling them a bit about me and my life and how we came to make our Bush Change!
We are only a couple of kilometres from Dowerin – many Country Cousins are far removed from the proximity of a town, but wherever we are, we welcome our visitors and the perspective of life they bring with them. Friendships are often made, with return visits cementing that friendship.
Country Cousins B & B’s have websites, many courtesy of Brenda Bourne who is so passionate about our network she will establish our webpage from information we give her and keep it updated au gratis!
This year Country Cousins will be meeting in the Ferguson Valley for our third annual Country Cousins conference. It’s a great opportunity to meet our Country Cousins, to share and discuss our experiences and with the help of guest speakers learn ways to improve what we regard as a fun lifestyle in country WA.