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A Bed and Breakfast, Wedding and Events Retreat on Watts Bar Lake, Tennessee

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“Wintering” at the Whitestone Country Inn

December 18th, 2014 by Whitestone

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By: Valerie Bryant Bennett

For many people, winter represents a time of cold dismal days…simply a cycle of seasons that must be endured until the grass turns green again, and trees clothe themselves liberally with new leaves. On my way to visit Whitestone this week, I passed through wheat-colored fields and forests of naked trees, and I realized that winter, for me, is a calming time. The fields rest from their production of grass for livestock and crops for people; the trees drop every leaf they have nurtured and clung to, relieved of all duties to shelter birds, or shade lethargic cattle.

winter retreat in east tennessee knoxvilleI often arrive as a guest at the Whitestone Inn full of stress and cluttered thoughts, worn-out from tasks done and un-done. But something happens here that quietly brings a sort of “winter” to my soul. I sleep soundly, and wake to eat breakfast against a backdrop of rolling hills and Watts Bar Lake, and I discover that somehow, my anxieties have lifted. Like the trees, I’ve dropped all those worries and responsibilities that I’ve held onto, and my heart and head are emptied, for a season, of the belief that I must maintain control.

A tree is no less a tree because it stands serene and bare, sensing that this season, too, is part of God’s design. Somehow Whitestone “winters” my spirit, and I leave refreshed, and ready to meet the challenges ahead.

The Difference Between “Cheap” and “Value”

December 11th, 2014 by Whitestone

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By: Paul Cowell

“Cheap” is seldom valuable!  Being the cheapest is quick and easy.  It does not require creativity.  But it is often not valuable.  The challenge in any business is finding the balance between price and value—e.g. what are you charging?  What are you giving your customer?

motel_cheapMy offices in Knoxville were near an interstate motel that advertised “Rooms $19.95”.  Even back then the price was really inexpensive.  One of my employees had previously worked at that motel.  I asked, “How many rooms were available at $19.95?”  He answered, “None.”  Apparently when a potential guest got off the interstate and asked for a $19.95 room they were always told “There are no more rooms available at that price.  However…”

When I asked what price would then be quoted, he said that he evaluated the kind of car they were driving and priced the room accordingly!  I believe that is called “Bait and Switch”.

With the ascendancy of the internet, so many businesses seem to be “racing to the bottom” (the cheapest).  This is not a sustainable business plan. By the way, the motel closed. Cheapest only works if you are selling eggs.  Being “cheapest” usually does not translate to satisfied repeat customers.

You should always give more value than the price would imply. Nobody should have to pay for “cheapest” or even “average”.  Value requires creativity and effort.

So what “value” do I want to offer my guests? And does the “value” of a Whitestone experience justify the price? Here are some quotes from previous Whitestone guests that speak of the value they received:

  • “Our marriage was good.  But after celebrating our 21st anniversary at Whitestone we are leaving with the enthusiasm of newlyweds!  What a difference a weekend makes.”
  • “I needed to find a place to rest and think.  My husband gave me this incredible gift of 2 nights here as a reward for not killing our 3 teenagers.  This was a sanity break.”
  • The business was at a crossroads and we were not sure which road to take.  The face-to-face time at Whitestone allowed us to “speak the truth in love” to each other.  We came to a consensus agreement and the path to take was clear.”
  • “We talked about buying a second home on the lake.  After coming here we have decided it will be less expensive and more enjoyable to just come to Whitestone and let someone else clean, paint, cook, and mow the yard!”

My goal is to give our guests greater value than cost. I hope that what you receive while at Whitestone will be of far more value than the cost. If you are going to invest the time to get away, don’t go to the cheap motel by the interstate.

Remember: cheap is seldom valuable!

Your Words are Not Enough!

December 3rd, 2014 by Whitestone

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By: Paul Cowell

Actual words are only 8% of communication.

wordsThat is the conclusion of a recent study released by a business review journal. The communication connection as we receive it is 57% non verbal; (facial expression, body language) 37% tone; and only 8% is the actual words used.

Just look at the words “Whats wrong with you”.

  1. A look of concern, and arm around your shoulder or a tender tone.
  2. A scowl, arms folded across your chest or hands and hips, an accusatory tone, the words are not a question but a judgmental statement.

Regardless of the actual percentages, this extensive study shows the importance of face to face. Some of the frustration in the world today stems from misunderstood communication. Emails, texts, even phone calls and GoTo Meeting restricts communication to a much smaller percentage than 100%.

Off site meetings and face to face talks are vital to insure clarity and understanding. Whether its agreed upon vision statements, strategic planning for the new year, or a couple agreeing upon their plans and goals for 2015, its critical that important communication be face to face.

Whitestone is a great place to meet and really connect. To talk until there is mutual understanding and consensus agreement. Words by themselves are not enough!

View our conference facility to begin planning your off site meeting or retreat.

photo by: John Fife

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