Lipscomb University's new Bison Inn open for reservations
Kasie Corley |
Lipscomb University’s Bison Inn provides guests with the “VIP” treatment while feeling at home. With nine rooms available, the team at Bison Inn embodies the tenets of Lipscomb: Faith. Community. Knowledge. Innovation. Service.
Bison Inn Hotel Manager Bodhi Dark’s experience as a Housekeeping Manager equips him with the knowledge of what it takes behind the scenes to make a hotel successful - Service.
“This is going to be a VIP experience, and you are going to feel at home. We are comfortable with mixing hospitality and discipleship. Our sole purpose is to serve our guests – we have no hidden agenda. We are unique in that at Lipscomb and the Bison Inn, we want to serve our guests – not meet a bottom line.”
With around 3,000 rooms under construction in Nashville, the hospitality industry is experiencing an inundation of guests coming to the Athens of the South. This harsh competition begs the question, how does a university hotel with only nine rooms compete?
“It’s about experience,” says Dark. “Guests come to a college for a reason and they’re at Lipscomb. A big part of Lipscomb is students. Guests are right in the midst of it. Being in a residence hall, guests cross paths with students all the time. They see that culture and that energy that people bring. It’s the live-college experience in learning and discipleship here at Lipscomb.”
Dark, a graduate of Vanderbilt University, has always felt more connected to Lipscomb than his own alma mater. “I think I’ve spent the most collective time on this campus. Lipscomb is an incredible environment and almost atmospheric in the sense that you can lose track of what is happening outside of it while you’re here.”
Amid his love of Lipscomb, Dark brings his passion to serve others. “If you’re looking to serve people, you’re going to run into a lot of challenges and hardship, and you’re going to have to fight for some things. I have this knowledge pretty nailed down in my head and just hope that I can share that with people and work with my team to do that. I think one of the best bonding things you can have with people is that you’ve struggled together.”
Struggle he did at the start, with nine newly constructed dorm rooms, which were just that – dorm rooms. “This was a really cool concept to me. [The job] was posted as a brand new hotel, and when I walked in, all that was in there was dorm furniture. It was very bare bones. “
Dark, with the help of his team, created the rooms. “It was, ‘You’ve gotta put this together.’ It was a completely unique experience. I built the rooms, ordered all the parts, hung all the headboards, drilled in all the safety locks, and put all the curtains up. At one point we were putting together all of these cabinets, and had them all lined up down the hallway building them. It’s been a really amazing process.”
Despite his hard work, Dark continues to hear the perception that the Bison Inn is just a dorm.
“We want people to know this is not a dorm, but that we do provide a unique hospitality experience. It’s a very personal experience for me versus being responsible for 150 rooms. Here, guests have probably spoken to me on the phone before their stay. They have my personal number and get to interact with a person a lot more, even to just make the reservation,” says Dark.
“We want everyone to know that this is a real hotel. We are providing exemplary service, and we’re doing it on Lipscomb’s campus. Bison Inn’s purpose is not to make money; it is to serve the guests of Lipscomb. We want to provide amazing service.“
Part of which is the personal touch of Dark and his team. “Every interaction you have is one-on-one with a member of our team. I am very accessible to guests and am often a personal guide to what they should do at Lipscomb and in Nashville.”
At Bison Inn, it is more than just a hotel stay. “We want this to feel like home. We want to create a moment for guests during their stay here. We want to create a really memorable moment for guests.“ The team does this down to the smallest detail, to include stocking a snack bar guests can liken to their own pantry at home, or the opportunity to get a shoeshine.
While feeling at home, each guest is treated like a VIP, receiving personal interaction not possible at larger hotels in Nashville. “I’ve personally met guests on campus and walked them over to Bison Inn. Soon we’ll have reserved parking spots with name placards for guests to alleviate the stress of trying to find parking. Guests have a unique individual experience. I know the name of every guest that comes through these doors,“ says Dark.
This makes a stay at the Bison Inn unlike anywhere else. Along with being located on the beautiful Lipscomb Campus, Dark and his team encourage guests to take part in campus amenities such as the athletic center.
Prospective guests should hurry and reserve their rooms for their upcoming stay as they are filling up quickly. Since its’ opening in October 2017, the Inn has now achieved its first day of zero vacancies, and looks to keep with this theme.
“Summer time is going to be crazy this year,” says Dark. “We are going to open up the dorm for luxury summer event housing. An additional 76 rooms will be available.”
Visitors will be hard-pressed to find accommodation, hospitality, and personal service to this degree elsewhere in the heart of Music City. Room rates are variable, peaking at $150.00 per night. Interested parties may call 615-966-7031, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, to make reservations. Dark will be glad to speak with you or will reply to your email with a phone call.
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