Friday, September 27, 2019

Bernerhof Inn Sold to Fryeburg Native Nick Panno

Bernerhof Inn Sold to Fryeburg Native Nick Panno

After a decade of ownership by the late Dick Badger, the torch is passed

NORTH CONWAY, NH -- The torch has been passed and the historic Bernerhof Inn in Glen, NH is now owned and operated by Fryeburg native Nick Panno. Panno has been innkeeper since January, 2019,  and bought the inn from the previous owner, the late Dick Badger, on September 12, 2019.

10 years ago, Badger purchased the inn at auction and invested over half a million dollars in restoring the distinctive 130-year-old building, which was renovated from top to bottom by Richard Leavitt Contracting. Panno plans on continuing to invest in the business in the spirit of Dick Badger, whom he cites as a mentor and an inspiration for keeping this landmark bed and breakfast vibrant for another generation.

Panno, 34,  is a familiar face around Mount Washington Valley, having started his hospitality career at local Dunkin Donuts franchises in 1998 working for Brian and Maria Fram. Panno  shared that the Frams were instrumental in helping him learn the ropes in the hospitality business, skills that have served him well since taking over operation of the Inn earlier this year. He grew up in Lovell, Maine, across from Kezar Lake. He went through the Fryeburg school system, graduating from Fryeburg Academy in 2005.

Nick stated, “I came to know Dick Badger in 2009 through a business venture. I connected through Brenda Leavitt of Badger Realty, who asked me to become innkeeper December of last year.”

Badger and Leavitt saw the potential in the hard-working Panno. Nick said, “I never worked at an inn, never thought I’d buy an inn, but I came to love it here. It’s a wonderful piece of property in the White Mountains. Dick taught me how to sell a room. That was his main goal - how to sell a room. His techniques work because our occupancy is at 93% since June! We were almost completely sold out every week in July and August. That’s a testament to his know-how and it worked. He also taught me the importance of having fun with the guests. It’s all about making memories.”

Dick’s mentorship of Panno quickly paid off. Nick stated, “Dick would pull the P&L’s and see the numbers increasing and he couldn’t have had a bigger smile on his face. He wanted to see this place reach its potential. His last words to me on the phone on the Thursday before he died was that he thought the Bernerhof was in good hands, and that he couldn’t be more proud of the way it was running and the guests’ reactions and comments. He was a pillar in the community, the top tier of real estate here for 40 plus years. I’ll always remember that.”
The future looks bright for both the Inn and Panno, who has ambitious plans for the property, ones that build on its past and take advantage of its potential. “In the near future I would like to add on to the property, but I’m not going to touch the original inn.” He plans on making investments in keeping up repairs and maintenance including a new roof next year, a substantial investment for the curving victorian roof lines of this historic structure.

Panno’s investment in the building will mirror those of Badger, who bought the Inn during the Great Recession and economic downturn. Leavitt explained, “It was a time, 2010, when the market was very tough financially for everyone, and Dick was so proud of the fact that he could take that building and utilize all the local talent in the community and provide jobs. So that was so important to him, to help the community in some way and not to leave this building to fall into disrepair.”

Reopening the restaurant is also in the works, including bringing back some of the original menu items that were popular in the 1940s like wiener schnitzel and fondue. Panno also will be bringing back the inn’s signature Taste of the Mountains Cooking School and will be announcing a new chef and a schedule of classes by the end of the year. 

The Inn’s signature Murder Mystery weekends will continue as well. The next one is December 6, but is already sold out. Look for more dates in the future for these popular themed weekends. He also plans on continuing the on-site Serenity Wellness Studio and Spa, which offers massages and other spa services.

The lobby of the Inn features a large portrait of Badger pictured on the front porch of the Inn, a memorial that Panno put on display the day of his passing. He intends to honor what he started and ensure the continued success of the Inn. Leavitt shared, “He was so proud of that inn. He wanted it to thrive and was proud that it still stands today. He saw a bit of himself in Nick. He wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, he knew that as an innkeeper, he has to be hands on. Dick thought that Nick was that person. In that short time, he loved what he saw in Nick.” The respect was mutual, and Panno stands ready to honor Badger’s legacy while also continue to build on the success of the business in the future.

For more information, go to or call 603-383-4200.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Adventure Suites and Cranmore’s The Ghoullog Team Up to Host a Haunted Happening

NORTH CONWAY, NH –A new haunted happening is coming to North Conway, NH this fall, when The Ghoullog, Cranmore’s long-running Halloween event, joins forces with Adventure Suites, to host the party to end all parties in their Haunted Castle Suite on Fri. Sept. 27, 2019, from 7-10pm. Tickets are just $15 plus fees when ordered online in advance, or $25 at the door, if available.
Revelers will party down in the 3,500 square foot Haunted Castle Suite, the $800,000 addition to Adventure Suites, which has been rated as one of the world’s best themed hotels. The suite is three stories tall and features an expansive dining room, living room, multiple state rooms, a dormatorium and other spaces that will provide plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the happenings. The Suite is fully automated and programmed with surprises around every corner. Ghouls from The Ghoullog will also make an appearance, sure to frighten and entertain all guests.
The two institutions are partnering to offer this party as the final chapter of The Ghoullog, which is calling this year, its 13th, the final chapter. It will also serve as an introduction to Adventure Suites’ Haunted Castle Suite and its new White Horse Saloon and Gringo Bar, along with a function room. These new additions will allow for Adventure Suites to host weddings, family reunions, groups and other functions.
Party-goers will enjoy appetizers and a cash bar as part of the admission fee. Those wishing to embibe should bring an ID to receive a wristband to purchase alcohol.
Advance ticket sales are strongly recommended. Go online to to order today. For more information on Adventure Suites, visit For more information on the Ghoullog, go to

Thursday, September 12, 2019

How to Respond to Online Reviews

Love them or hate them, online reviews are here to stay. Here is a compilation of tips for dealing with online reviews. I found many blogs that listed for each individual site (Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google), but I put this together into one document for my clients. This is geared towards restaurants but applies to any business. Enjoy!

How to Respond to Reviews

Why Respond to Reviews?
Nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase (Spiegel Research Center, 2017) Online customer reviews are becoming one of the most powerful tools for marketers while promoting their product or service. In fact, 95 percent of consumers read online reviews before making a buying decision in 2017. Meanwhile, 85 percent will trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That being said, it’s important for businesses to leverage customer feedback, both good and bad, to build their brands and stand out from the crowd. 
Responding to reviews is an important step to take toward fostering trust with your customers. A heartfelt, well-written response coming from a real employee can humanize a brand much more than just a “like” or a “share.” Additionally, consumers are relying on it. ReviewTrackers found that 52 percent of customers expect to hear back from brands within seven days of writing an online review—that goes for negatives and positives.  
Be Prompt

More than 80% of consumers believe getting their issue resolved quickly is the most important part of a great customer service experience. 

Start With a Thank You

Always thank your guests for coming in and trying out your restaurant, even if they’re regulars. Showing your gratitude for coming in underlines the hospitality you offer in-person. It’s the equivalent of your host thanking them on their way out the door.
Example of a response to a good review:

“So glad to hear you enjoyed your dinner here, Treesha! Thanks for checking us out and taking the time to share. Hope to see you again if you're ever back in town!”
If the review is less positive, thank them instead for coming in and for taking the time to share feedback. Here’s a response to a review that contained a noise complaint:

Thanks for sharing! We always appreciate honest feedback, and it does indeed get pretty lively in here. Glad to hear you enjoy[ed] the drinks!”

Show Customers You’re Listening

Most of the time, when someone posts a review, they want to be heard — so make sure that you’re listening. Acknowledging and echoing the feedback you’ve received in your response — positive or negative — shows that you care about what people are saying and that you’ve actually heard what they wanted to share.

Take this example from a review thanking the restaurant for explaining the menu to their party, who didn’t speak French:
“Many thanks for your post. It was a pleasure to translate our daily menu to you (hope my accent was not to difficult to understand :). We really hope to see you next time you are around. We wish you the best!”

Use Keywords in your Favor

When you respond to a review, you’re adding to the discourse about your restaurant. When someone is searching for your restaurant or restaurants like yours on Google, the reviews people write — and your responses — show up in search results. In your Management Response, be aware of the words you’re using.
So while it’s great to echo the feedback that your diners give you, think about what keywords you use and whether or not you want those words associated with your restaurant. If you’re known as a family-friendly restaurant, for instance, reiterate that in your Management Response.
Be Positive, Professional, and Courteous

While a negative review can be incredibly frustrating, it’s important to adopt the “customer is always right” mentality in your Management Response. Apologize for what the customer disliked and be sure to note that if it was an unusual occurrence so that future customers know that’s not what your brand is truly about.
Here’s a great example from James Hook and Company in Boston responding to someone who was a little disappointed about a lobster roll. They highlighted what they’re known for, acknowledged their shortcomings mentioned in the review, and asked politely for another chance:
“We're sorry if any of our staff seemed short with you on your visit, Sheila. We want you to feel welcome in our place, and you shouldn't feel rushed when deciding on your order. It's disappointing you didn't enjoy the lobster roll. As a proud member of the Boston community since 1925, we'd never want to be considered a tourist trap. We build our rolls the classic way, with only a touch of mayo and celery, and believe the quality of fresh lobster in every roll reinforces our price point. We hope you give us another chance the next time you're in town.”
Be Human

Being professional and courteous doesn’t mean you have to sound like a robot. Don’t be afraid to be friendly and open, just as you would in person, and remind them who you are:

“Thank you so much for taking the time to review us! If I remember correctly, I might have served your group. We're thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your experience and are planning to visit again. Until then, hope you're enjoying your holidays, and Happy 2016!”
When it comes to a negative review, make sure you respond as yourself and what you personally are doing to rectify the situation. Take this example from the Lounge and Bar in Hong Kong. They thanked them for reviewing, acknowledged the feedback, and made it clear that they were personally addressing those concerns to the larger staff. They even went above and beyond and included specific contact information for when this reviewer returns in the future to make sure they have the best experience.

“Many thanks for taking the time to review the Lounge and Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong.
I am sad to read that although you enjoyed the view and apple pie, the rest of your experience were not up to your expectations for which I would like to offer my sincerest apologies. At The Ritz-Carlton we constantly strive to ensure the food and drinks offered and also service is kept to a high standard. Following your comments I will be personally addressing these issues with the Lounge and Bar team to ensure that we provide a 5 star experience to all our guests.
We do hope your experience will not deter you from coming back to The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong where we hope to offer you a much heightened experience. I would highly recommend our Dom Perignon Brunch served on Sundays at Ozone, the highest bar in the world, 16 floors higher than the Lounge and Bar.
Please contact our Lounge and Bar manager Mr. Philip Howard (Email address below) when you are returning to visit us so that we can ensure you have the best experience.”

Invite Them to Come Back

Regardless of the type of review, make sure to invite them back!  

“Hi, Thank you for writing a review and highlighting your favorites. I will make sure our Chef Stephanie sees your wonderful compliments on her food. Hope to see you again soon.”
If they mentioned a particular dish or type of cuisine you offer, make sure to let them know in your response if you’re running a special event or discount around that type of food. If you offer a seafood special on Mondays, for example, or serve a particular dish seasonally, you could highlight this information for other diners reading your response.

How to Post a Management Response on TripAdvisor

Now that you know what to say, responding to a review is easy:

1.   Log in to the Management Center. If you haven’t already claimed your listing, you can do so here.

2.   Choose “Respond to Reviews” under the “Reviews” tab.

3.   From there, you’ll be able to look at every review you’ve received. You can filter them by bubble rating, title, and whether or not you’ve already responded to them.

4.   Type your response into the text box, choose your business role for your signature, and press the orange “Submit” button.

5.   Your response will then appear below the review.
How to Reply to a Yelp Review
To respond to a review via Public Comment
1.    Go to the Reviews section of your business account

2.    Locate the review and click Add Public Comment

3.    Enter your text and click Preview

4.    Review the text and click Post Comment
If you would like to edit or remove your comment, click on the overflow menu (three dots) to the right of the comment, and select Edit Comment or Remove Comment.
​To respond to a review via direct message
1.    Go to the Reviews section of your business account

2.    Locate the review and click Send Direct Message

3.    Enter your text and click Send
To respond to a review from the Yelp for Business Owners app

1.    Tap Activity in the bottom navigation bar

2.    Tap Reviews

3.    Tap the review you'd like to respond to

4.    Tap the bar at the bottom of the screen that says Write a response...

5.    Write your response and tap Next

6.    Preview the response. Toggle the Make Reply Public switch to ON if you'd like it to be a public comment on the business page (OFF will be sent as a direct message to the reviewer)

7.    Tap Post
To thank a reviewer
If you’d like to thank a user for their 4 or 5 star review, you can send a quick thank you note by clicking or tapping the Thank button underneath the review in your Business Owner Account. This will send a direct thank you message to the user that will not be displayed publicly on the site, but will be visible to that user only.
How to Reply to Google Reviews
  1. Sign in to Google My Business by navigating to
  2. Click the three horizontal bars in the top left-hand corner to choose your listing.
  3. Click "Manage reviews." Once you find a review you want to engage with, click "View and reply" to type out a response.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Adventure Suites Celebrates 45th Anniversary with Live Music and More on Sept. 21

Motor Booty Affair to Headline Free Concert at the North Conway Theme Hotel
45 years ago, a concept new to North Conway took shape, and nothing has been the same again on the hospitality landscape in this popular White Mountains resort town. Adventure Suites, The Theme Hotel, is marking a special anniversary of exceeding guests’ expectations and imaginations on Sept. 21, from 6-9pm when owner Kathy Brassill-Doucet opens the doors to the public with a free party featuring Motor Booty Affair, and other fun activities and appearances marking the day.

While today Adventure Suites features 16 themed suites, including the over-the-top 3,500 square foot Haunted Castle Suite which sleeps 15 and cost over $800,000 to design and construct, it had more humble beginnings 45 years ago when Kathy’s parents first purchased it.  Known as the Presidential Water Bed Hotel, the “Poconos of the White Mountains,” the hotel offered guests rooms with a waterbed and hot tub in every room. It’s a far cry from the aesthetics and amenities of today’s suites, which were constructed with fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs, themed decorations, sound systems, lighting and programmable elements that were unfathomable back then.

Kathy and husband Alan Doucet have consistently invested themselves in the property since they took over in 1998, both in terms of their vision and their capital dollars. Glancing at a photo of the photo back in the 1970s, it’s hard to see its original structure. But suite by suite, year by year, they have created what can only be described as a “Disney-esque” sense of imagination, whimsy and attention to detail that inspires awe in its visitors every day.

So it’s only fitting that they are pulling out the stops to offer THE party of the season on Sept. 21 from 6-9pm, as they bring in Motor Booty Affair, the ultimate 70s disco funk band. The party will take place outdoors in the “back yard” of the property, with rolling greens and mountain views, as well as an outdoor fire pit, chairs and a stage for the band. The event is free and open to the public.

There will be a cash bar available. Guests are asked to bring ID to receive a wristband to purchase alcohol. All ages are welcome.

For more information, go to, or visit them on Facebook at