BREAKING NEWS .... YENN b&b kan play in a "superior league" from Februari 2015 onwards: in the past we were licenced as Comfort categorie for b&b's (with categories Basic, Comfort and Luxe) and from now on our licence is within the LUXE category.
A big THANK YOU for this to the inspection division of the Flanders Tourism Board ;0))
In 1996 I bought this book in the Oxfam bookshop in Oxford : "how to start your own holiday accommodation" ...
ever since 1994 we house exchanged for our family summer vacation ...
running my own b&b seemed a challenge for me ... after my retirement.
In 1997 we started living here in this beautiful large town house (we = myself, the husband & 2 sons, still small at that time) at Tiensevest where we rented out 4 rooms to students - typical for Leuven.
In 2003 mom (= me) became 40, didn't cherish the prospect of having the office job till her 65th and realized that if and when she was to realise her b&b, she'd better get started !
A dream is a plan with a deadline: before my 50th I should be up & running - husband agreed, children OK'd and so I started ...
- for myself professionally (can I, may I, do I want to do this ?)
I was still in an interesting fulltime job and I had never been self employed before ...
I never worked in hotel & restaurant business either.
- but also from a pragmatic point-of-view:
I visited the very first b&b fair in Brussels,
took courses at Syntra (Hotelmanagement, 2 years - still grateful for the inspiring teachers!),
I invited the prevention officer of the Leuven Fire Brigade for advice and
I had a meeting at Leuven Tourism office (I still remember my first contacts with Nancy Brouwers).
By then it was early 2008.
Plans were taking form:
interior architect was set to work,
our students were told they could not rent anymore after the summer, etc...
In July the students went out, building contractors came in,
until December 2008 ...
Beginning of 2009 started slow - reculer pour mieux sauter !
If only for the international economic recession and the hotel and travel crisis.
Leuven Hotel managers were in despair.
What did I do ?
But, the point of no return was there.
By Summer 2009 YENN b&b was licenced by the City of Leuven.
Our Fire prevention plan was OK'd and
Tourism Leuven started promoting YENN b&b.
However, there was a new set of regulations worked on on a higher level -
Flanders' Tourism Board was developing a new set of rules and regulations for b&b to live by ... YENN still had time to get the files ready.
Finally, November 2011, all papers & stamps collected and and sent to Brussels -
the deadline was very near now.
Right now YENN b&b is licenced by Flanders' Tourism Board as a b&b with Comfort label, corresponding to 3 or 4 stars hotel services (also depending on the room you consider);
And YES, I'm still happy I dived in, planned this dream, and took the chances: hospitality is a nice sector to work in, for business or for leisure visitors, it's a real asset to be able to offer travellers a home away from their home.