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It's Crunch Time...

We're on countdown to opening the SML

It's 6:33 am. I've been up since 2:30. I'm sad to say, this is typical these days.

We're on the tail end of getting the hotel done and we have to be ready by June 3rd. I'm not worried, we'll get there, but the amount of details is admittedly overwhelming. We're juggling the rehab with managing two crews, coordinating design decisions with getting materials ordered and out to the hotel, while trying to keep to budget. We've received about 70% of our large furniture items, alot of it custom made. Headboards, vanities, chests, nightstands, tables, chairs, linens, and lighting are all in.

Here are some current state photos - exterior painted, windows in, even a view of what it will look like with the cedar on. Inside sheetrock done, interior paint as I write. Bathrooms walled in and tile starts next week or so. We spent a lot of time thinking through the rooms and bathrooms. Where would our guest want their plugs, including a smart plug for USB access? Where are we needing support behind the walls to hang things like handicap rails, shelving, etc? We didn't want to come back after to make any changes. Hopefully we got it right the first time!

Our new signs are being made as well. We've decided to completely scrap the current 4x10 sign and install a 6x15 sign and take it up about 10 ft so it will be more visible from the highway. We also opted to add a sign to the front wall, so when you drive up, it hits you. Love this small odd square sign. It will have a neon trace to make it pop. Very retro to me!.

We've hired a super team to manage the property, and they start this week. I'm anxious to get them going and know they will help get us across the finish line. They'll be tasked with getting all our vendors set up, cleaning and organizational needs and processes defined, learning our reservation system, and anything else we need to get us out of the gate.

The technology side of the business is coming along, although not as fast as I would like (Nothing is ever as fast as I'd like! Ask my husband.). Internet installed today, then our tech guru (who is also a partner on the hotel) comes in to set up our network. Cameras then follow. The door locks were received, but we received the wrong color, so that slows things down a bit. We'll get there!

Now comes the fun part, but also the part that wakes me up at 2:30 am. The details.

The experience for our guests is key, and the decor and aesthetics are a huge part of that. Everything from the choice of paint color to the shade of blue in our custom blankets, from the thread count in our sheets to the smell, packaging, and quality of our toiletries. In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a detail oriented person and a bit of a perfectionist.

We're also spending ALOT of time on marketing. I learned some valuable (and expensive) lessons over the years as I've launched businesses - if you build it, they DON'T always come...without marketing.

First, the website. We hired a super brand agency in San Antonio called Deux South. Tanner Freeman and his team have been busy laying out our new website, planning for photoshoots, and developing The Official SML Guide to the 290 Wine Trail (more on that later, super excited about this one!).

I wanted the website to be clean, light, a bit old school, graphic and photo heavy, and the "voice" to be casual and sound like a place you'd want to plan your weekend around, sipping a glass of wine up on the deck. We hired a copywriter, Kate McDermott of Eat Drink and Write Copy, to help with that. I love writing, but I just don't have the time to develop the witty repartee that is needed! We're in good hands with Kathryn. I'm meeting with the team on Thursday to see the final website and learn how to use it so we can update things as needed. But, since you've made it this far into the blog, here's a sneak peek. Photos will be dropped in as we get them done. ❤️the icons!

Behind the scenes, we're learning our new reservation system, defining the communication and touch points for our guests, installing some technology that will make checkin super easy and efficient, and more.

What success we have so far, considering we aren't open yet, is owed to our PR maven, Katie Rose Watson. She came highly recommended by one of our partners, and I'm gonna be honest when I say I didn't have high expectations only because of past experience. But, I tell you this gal has it going on! She's not only gotten us written up in several online articles, but also is busy planning three travel blogger visits in June. We have over 25 committed Instagram stars coming for two day visits where they will be shown Stonewall, the SML, and some really great local business/wineries/restaurants/distilleries who have partnered with us to get some publicity. They'll be off to visit Grapecreek Winery, Garrison Bros Distillery, Perdernales Winery, Hye Market, and more. AND, we've got a HUGE attendee coming to the last one that will put us in front of over 1MM viewers, but I can't jinx it because anything can happen! I need to quit real estate and become a blogger, traveling around to some really cool places and being spoiled.

I'm also just ordering the fun stuff - SWAG! Tshirts, caps, tote bags, cups, and more to share with our new guests to celebrate our opening. Like?

I won't bore you with the other 1 million details we are trying to get checked off. Everything from supply vendors, designing our new coffee station, getting the managers apartment ready, laying out landscaping, getting our signs installed, yada, yada, yada. It's alot, but it has to be done. We accept guests starting June 3rd, so we HAVE to get it done!

Chat soon!

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