When I hand him our business cards, he looks at them critically. “This font is much too small,” he says sternly. I nod meekly. I know. Pascual, the local pub owner, is just as direct as the average Dutchman. “Our address is not on it either,” I answer. “I forgot.” He shakes his head. Although he is not completely satisfied with the business cards that I may have made and ordered a little too hastily, he still places them visibly on the bar. Relieved I take a sip from my glass of wine.
Putting a new Bed & Breakfast on the map is easier said than done. It’s not just finding a suitable (and affordable) property. Renovating it. Or applying for the permit. That’s just the first step. A step that took five years to complete. No. Creating something from absolutely nothing is more than that. After we welcomed our first guests in our brand new Bed & Breakfast just over two months ago, it remained remarkably quiet (with the exception of the holidays). Something that, as a true control freak, I perhaps find the most difficult of all. Because it is something that I have no (complete) control over. It takes time. Patience. Trust. Reviews. Beautiful pictures. And maybe a business card. Or two thousand. I hoped.
A large part of it I gave to my sisters. When they boarded the plane again a month ago. Ready for another winter season in Zermatt, Switzerland. After all, money had to be earned again. I could easily run the winter season in Spain alone. And if not, our parents, who are currently living one block away from us, were always willing to help. However, I did not expect that, instead of cleaning the rooms and preparing a fresh and delicious breakfast, I would spend the majority of my time trying to advertise our place. Because while my sisters, who work in hospitality, are still busy trying to get all of Zermatts tourists to come to Benialí, I mainly spend my days behind the computer. Determined to gain fame among a larger audience. I check everything off my list one by one. Website. Check. Facebook. Check. Instagram, Google, TripAdvisor. Check, check, check.
Advertising our place to the locals I left in the capable hands of Isa and Pascual. Great call. Because when I walk into the bar again a week later, Pascual greets me enthusiastically. Before I can take off my coat and order a glass of wine, he has already taken an information booklet from the brochure rack installed by the municipality, which is located a little further away in the bar. Just like ours in the entrance, their rack is also filled to the brim with brochures and information booklets. Booklets that the municipality had printed not so long ago, but before we were allowed to open our doors and therefore without reference to our brand new Bed & Breakfast. Thank God that is something that neither Isa nor Pascual cares about. Armed with a stapler, Pascual carefully staples one of our business cards into the information booklet he has just taken. Satisfied, he lays it down in front of me. Problem solved. I smile gratefully.
Because thanks to Isa and Pascual, there is not a local who hasn’t heard of us yet. If it were up to my sisters, the whole of Zermatt will come to Benialí this summer. And I? I briefly glance at the large stack of business cards we still have left here in the office. Then I let my eyes slide over the screen again. My fingers move rapidly over the keys. My business card is our story. I may not have two thousand of them at the moment, but I have enough to put us on the map once and for all.