If you're looking to stay at a place with some history, a great staff that will make you feel like family and not break the bank, look no further than the Berlin Village Inn. Located at the west end of Berlin, the Berlin Village Inn was the first hotel built in the village. The Inn has a great reputation of long time returning guests and excellent customer service.
Deanna Rausch, manager, said people often tell her that they can remember when a large big red barn once sat on the property. It's these returning guests that Rausch values most. They return year after year sharing and reminiscing about when they first stayed at the Berlin Village Inn some 20 plus years ago, when it first opened its doors.
Rausch has been with the Inn for seven and a half years and is amazed by how much tourism has grown within the area. Thousands of guests travel to the heartland year after year for shopping, site seeing and enjoying the fine Amish cuisine. At the end of a long day taking in the sites and sounds of Amish country, tourists are looking for a peaceful place to retreat for the evening. Many have found the Berlin Village Inn to be the perfect place to retreat to and return multiple times throughout the year to stay there.
"Guests that we have been close with, come [to Berlin Village Inn] three or four times out of the year," said Rausch. "When they walk in the door we hug 'em because we are excited to see them." One couple visits from North Carolina twice a year and brings fresh vegetables from their garden back home to share with the staff.
It is all fun and games at the Berlin Village Inn. Rausch explains how she has a women who visits with her group of girl friends each year and can be quite the prankster. "I usually find rubber snakes and plastic spiders at the front desk whenever she visits," joked Rausch.
"It's people like that we are really going to miss," said Rausch. "As people get older, they eventually find that they can't make the trip anymore." Rausch gets a little emotional as she recalls a dear couple that used to make the trip to Berlin Village Inn a couple times a year.
"After her husband passed away, I didn't think I would be seeing her again," said a teary eyed Rausch as she recalls an emotional visit from a faithful customer. "When she walked in the door we both just stared at each other." There were no words as she embraced her guest and friend, and they mourned together. It's these strong relationships and connections that keep Rausch's guests coming back year after year.
Berlin Village Inn also maintains a strong and healthy relationship with the Berlin community because they have been in the area for so long. The original owners and builders of the Inn still live in the community as well and keep in touch with the current staff. Rausch stays connected with the community by being a part of the Berlin Merchant Meetings. The meetings are composed of other business owners in the area who come together once a month to discuss how to make the community and their individual businesses better.
Rausch says their biggest success is how low they are able to keep their rates low by only providing the basics amenities. "We're not as fancy as most hotels. We don't have the hot tub or Jacuzzi, we're a basic hotel." Some of the basic amenities and services include; a flat screen, cable-TV, air conditioning, coffee maker and mini-refrigerator as well as fresh linens and daily room cleaning.
The main focus of Berlin Village Inn is "to cater to those on a fixed income," said Rausch. "We are affordable and accessible to those who don't want the fancy." Another key factor into Berlin's success is their focus on building and maintaining strong customer relationships.
The staff also plays a major role in the success of the Inn. "Three of our employees have been here for 25 years or more," said Rausch. With a small staff on hand for the small business, everyone takes on different roles throughout the day. By staying small they keep the costs low and keep from becoming commercialized.
"Because we are the first hotel, there are some updates and remodeling to be done," said Rausch. Dealing with an older building can be a challenge when it comes to making these updates. For instance, while they do provide Wi-Fi, the signal does not always travel through the thick old walls of the building, explained Rausch. It is a slow process but Rausch hopes to refurnish the furniture and update the rooms as much as possible while still maintaining an affordable rate for guests.
When gas prices first began to soar with the oil crisis of 2008, Rausch feared the worst. Surely people would not be willing to make the drive and would be more concerned with saving money. "We were pleasantly surprised that this was not the case," said Rausch. More people chose to stay home and as a result they attracted a more local crowd.
The future of the Berlin Village Inn looks very bright. Rausch hopes to update their logo and give it a fresh new look. To keep up with the ever advancing technological world, Rausch hopes to have an online reservation system in place making the reservation process even smoother.
The Berlin Village Inn is located on State Route 39 just west of downtown Berlin. Office hours are Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday's from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Reservations can be made in person or over the phone by calling 330-893-2861 (toll free 1-800-869-7571.) Berlin Village Inn is featuring its frequent stay program. Stay any seven nights at the regular rate, and receive the eighth night free. Visit www.berlinvillageinn.com for details.