We spoke to Debs from The Mercury who was a finalist for Most Creative Name at the recent eviivo awards about their rock and roll inspired B&B in the heart of Blackpool.
How did your property get its name?
Well, we bought an existing business, which had an existing name and it was nothing to do with what we’re about. In Blackpool there are over 2,000 B&B’s and hotels so we had to find a unique name and it had to suit the fact that we wanted to do a musical theme. So we ran through a lot of names and we came up with things like ‘The Rocky’ and ‘Jimmy Deans’ and nothing suited us. My husband Anthony is a massive Queen fan, and we do have quite a lot of signed Queen memorabilia, and one night he said to me “how about The Mercury?” And it made sense because it’s a music awards and it represents Freddie Mercury. And it’s also the God of travels.
What do your guests say about the name?
A lot of them are puzzled because they’re not sure if it’s after Freddie. Most of the time people just come because of our good TripAdvisor reviews and when they get here they say oh it IS after Freddie Mercury! It causes quite a talking point at the bar which is good.
What is it about a stay with you that makes it so unique?
We’re not like the normal B&B in Blackpool because a lot of them are quite old fashioned which suits a lot of people. But we wanted to do something with a modern twist. We themed all the rooms, we’ve got music themed rooms and musical influences such as New York and London. When our guests come they love to be able to look on the website and choose the theme that suits them best. We’ve chosen themes that are different for everybody’s tastes in music.
What is the most important thing about running your own accommodation?
You need to be always looking for ways to improve and be constantly evolving. When businesses stand still, they end up on the scrap heap. You’ve got to be honest, especially on your website, about what you’ve got and what you haven’t got. If you haven’t got parking, don’t say you’ve got parking. We tell them everything, like we’ve got two pet dogs, so people know before they get here. You don’t want guests to be shocked when they arrive.
How did you get into the industry?
It was purely by chance. I was in the police and my husband was an auditor. He was relocated down to Warwick, so we were apart and Antony was in a band as well. So we only got to see each other for one day every six weeks. Anthony said it was the best four years of his life. So we decided as we’re not getting any younger, we wanted to do something together. And it just so happened that one of the girls who worked with me in the police told me that she was looking into buying a B&B in Blackpool. And she was asking me for advice about how to open one. So I was looking at all the facts and figures and going over everything and I suddenly thought, I can do this! So I took my licensing course before I left the police, and we came here and just bought a property.
What’s the best part of running a B&B?
I think the best part is that no two days are the same. You never know who’s going to book in. It’s all about chatting to people at the bar and things like that. And seeing peoples face when they see all the signed memorabilia.
What is the hardest part of running a B&B?
You can make it as hard or as easy as you want to. If you keep your standards high and don’t let things slip then you can keep on top of things.
Do you have any funny guest stories?
The strangest thing I’ve ever had is one of our regulars had been out for a prawn vindaloo curry the night before and he told me that he had some left over and asked if he could have it for his breakfast. So I put it in the fridge for him thinking he might just eat it at the bar. But the next morning he called me up and told me he wasn’t joking about having the curry for breakfast and he wanted a hard boiled egg on the top of it!
To read more guest stories click here.