SUMMERSIDE - Just last summer, Ken and Jenny Meister had a dream fulfilled with the opening of their bed and breakfast in Summerside.
In that short span of time, they have already been ranked second in North America for all accommodations by Booking.com.
Ken said he and Jenny first heard the news over Twitter and were pleasantly surprised.
"We were shocked. We thought that was quite the accomplishment for our first season," said Ken.
The Summerside Inn Bed and Breakfast ranked in the top three list of best North American properties, as determined by Booking.com through an analysis of 20 million customer reviews. The Summerside Inn received a multitude of positive reviews, which contributed to landing them the impressive ranking on the travel booking website. Although, the Meisters believe another component laid the foundation for their success.
"I think one of the key factors was the article that was written by the Journal Pioneer last year. We have a copy of that in each of the rooms," he said.
The article created a personal connection with the guests that helped them do well in the rankings, suggested Ken.
"They read the article and they're familiar with us. It's like they know our story and are quite intimate with the challenges and the dreams that we had making this bed and breakfast.
"When we have discussions at breakfast, we already have that relationship built, and they leave with a more friendly feeling that they know us."
Jenny said it's wonderful how many reviews their business received.
"I think a lot of it is guests being willing to post comments. Without the comments, we wouldn't get ranked."
Ken said some businesses are passive when it comes to asking guests to leave a review.
"We like to talk to them about it at breakfast and the help it has towards the business. When guests leave, I like to send them a personal email inviting them to leave a review and that really helps."
Jenny said their bed and breakfast has seen guests come from as far away as Australia, Germany, and Japan.
They enjoy helping guests make the most of their stay on the Island.
"There are many bed and breakfasts and hotels that cater to tourism on P.E.I. and we're very lucky and fortunate to be among them. I'm quite surprised we topped the list," said Ken.
Last year at the beginning of June, they were 95 per cent booked and were 98 per cent booked in August.
"It looks like we'll be that way for most of the summer again this year," he said.
Ken said the reviews have been very positive and they are so grateful to their guests.
They find they have settled in nicely and are happy to be living in Summerside.
"We're newcomers to the city and after retiring from the Air Force, the city has been very welcoming and helpful getting us set up. It makes us feel at home here in Summerside."