Man in E China runs B&B, embraces happy, well-off life
By He Cong, Yao Xueqing, People’s Daily
A rain moisturized and chilled the air in Taihu Lake, one of the largest freshwater lakes in east China’s Jiangsu Province.
Returning to his B&B after sending a group of guests to a nearby scenic area, Song Qiming, who runs the B&B, picked up his mobile phone to deal with incoming orders.
Song’s B&B is located in Heping village, Binhu district of Wuxi, Jiangsu. The three-storey facility is elegantly decorated in vibrant colors, which is both simple and fashionable. It is always turned ebullient by the hustle and bustle at mealtimes.
“With the view, the tea and the friends from across the nation, as well as my passion and decent income, I’m quite satisfied with my life,” Song said, laughing.
The man, a native-born resident of Heping village, worked for a nearby heat exchanger factory after graduating from college, where he was promoted to a workshop manager from a plain worker. Six years later, with an ambitious mind, he hopped to a major enterprise for foreign trade marketing.
The new job opened a door for him, enabling him to visit a number of countries and regions, where he delivered outstanding work performance and made a lot of friends. In his spare time, he liked to observe and experience exotic customs and accommodation environments.
“Italian guesthouses are decorated with oil paintings and ornaments, which makes them artistic. Those in Switzerland are often built on hillsides, so they bring leisure and relaxation. Russia’s B&Bs provide hearty breakfasts,” the man told People’s Daily.
Thanks to his hard work, the job significantly improved the livelihood of his family. In order to keep his family more company, Song and his wife decided to go back to Heping village.
Fortunately, the opening of a nearby tourist site offered an opportunity of development for the couple. Upon research, Song determined to run a B&B, saying there’s nothing better than to live a well-off life in his hometown while pursuing a poetic career.
In 2018, both Song and his wife quit their jobs. They raised a total of 2 million yuan (about $306,300) which came from their saving, borrowing, and interest-free loans to renovate and decorate their old house. In September that year, their B&B Heping Xiaozhu officially started operation.
Song’s B&B is always in a leading position in local B&B rankings. Though he is still a green hand in the industry, the man has his own philosophy. He knows he must make his B&B special.
“Social contact and entertainment are vital today, so the pattern of public space is more important than the number of rooms,” Song explained.
In the living room on the first floor of his B&B are placed two long tables, where guests always sit together chatting. There is also a photo wall that records the memory of the guests. The roof of the building is made of glass, so guests can spend their time watching the sky. The front desk is placed with drinks, dessert and candies, as well as hand sanitizer.
His B&B always receive positive comments and reviews on major platforms, which makes his business hot and brought a turnover of more than a million yuan last year.
Four of his twelve guestrooms are very popular, as the mountain view outside them is like a painting. In these rooms, there are tea tables by the windows, where friends can gather around for a talk over a cup of tea.
Song also invited photographers to take photos of these rooms for better advertisement, an idea from his customers. Though the four rooms are slightly more expensive than the rest, their occupancy is 50 percent higher. “It comes from the great ecology,” Song said.
In the spring, the sunshine sheds on the ground after going through flourishing crape myrtle trees while flowers are swaying along the roadside. In the summer, cats play by the trees as waxberries and pears hang on branches. When it comes to autumn, the ground is covered by golden and gingko leaves. In the winter, the Taihu Lake glistens in the sunlight under the blue sky. The sound ecology has greatly boosted the confidence for local B&B industry.
Impacted by COVID-19 this year, Song’s B&B once suspended operation. “After resumed work in April, the visitor flow gradually climbed up. Now it’s basically recovered. The policy support makes me more confident,” Song told People’s Daily.
According to him, over 90 percent of his rooms were booked during this year’s National Day holiday, a bit higher than that in the previous year. The man has paid off his debt, and his income is also decent.