Innkeeping Mistakes #1: Avarice, Lust, Envy and Pride

The Seven Deadly Sins Of Innkeeping

Part 1

Several years ago my husband addressed an annual Mensa meeting, using the theme, the 7 Deadly Sins, for his speech. It was a humorous and well received talk and it planted a seed for this Innfo. As I folded my clean Seven-Sins t-shirt last week I decided it was time to write about how the Seven Sins relate to B&B innkeeping — for both aspiring and perspiring innkeepers.

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Architectural House Styles and B&Bs

Dispelling Myths:

B&B Styles: The Painted Lady vs The Modern Gal

Do you think that a B&B “must” be in a Victorian house? Does that attract you to the business or repel you? I have heard many people comment that they would love to be a B&B innkeeper, except they hate Victorian so just can’t bring themselves to pursue their dream further. What a shame! I also have heard many B&B guests comment on the challenge of finding non-Victorian B&Bs to frequent. That sounds like an opportunity to me!

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B&B Marketing

Marketing 101 for Bed and Breakfasts
The basics of marketing is to build awareness of your inn so that business will follow. Do you advertise or publicize — and what’s the difference between the two activities? Advertising is a message you pay for. You control the message and thus it’s less credible. Publicity is free; it’s what someone else says about you and thus is more objective. You have minimal control because it’s the truth from the author’s point of view and thus has high credibility. How do you know what to do when? That’s what my whole marketing e-book is about: helping you know what to do.

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B&B Bull Market

The Receding Recession

The two topics I’m covering in this newsletter are about occupancy and room rates starting to rise, and how the recession has affected the meetings industry. Let’s start with the aspect that impacts all of us regardless of additional sources of income — the increase of room and occupancy rates.

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Bed and Breakfast Model For Success

Do you wonder what the difference is between B&Bs and other types of lodging? Why are some people “B&B people” while others are “non-B&B people”? This discussion is my explanation of what I see is the difference. This will help you better understand the importance of your role as an innkeeper and the guest experience you create for your market niche.

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Corporate Owned Bed and Breakfasts

The Corporatization of B&Bs

I recently was asked how I felt about the franchising or corporate ownership of B&B inns and decided that was a good Innfo topic. To me corporate-owned (which includes franchises) and B&B are mutually exclusive concepts. I have seen a trend towards corporate-owned inns and have heard about some big franchise/corporate projects. For many years I’ve watched innkeepers move out of their inns, often turning their room/apartment into more guestrooms. Sometimes the change works and sometimes it doesn’t; “working” meaning that it feels like a B&B rather than a hotel.

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Improve Your B&B Business

Inn occupancy is a point of conversation among innkeepers and a big question with inn buyers these days. One trend I had observed since 9/11 is that urban inns tended to be suffering a lower occupancy while many rural inns are seeing a stronger occupancy rate. Based on what I had learned in various hospitality and real estate conferences, that is what I expected to see. But for the past few months I’ve been observing conversations among innkeepers which indicate that trend hasn’t held across the board. Why? Lack of, or inconsistent, marketing is my conclusion.

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Invest in Your Investment

A B&B inn purchase may be the biggest investment you ever make. Don’t ignore the little things that can make the difference between a positive investment and bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a harsh reality I’ve seen with several inns, especially in recent months.

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Buying the Right Bed and Breakfast

Matching Your Personality to Your Inn Location

In July I attended my high school reunion. It was an incredibly good time. My hostess and her husband are CPAs and commented one night that one of the biggest reasons they see their client businesses fail is people not matching their personalities to their business location or style. As I pondered that I realized I had both experienced that personally and observed it in some of my clients.

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Your Best Marketing Secret

or… Your Best Marketing Tool

During a B&B conference session on using Press Kits for your marketing, we tossed around lots of ideas about using press kits effectively. After more than half of the session had elapsed someone asked how effective press kits were for people in the room. Essentially the answer was, not at all. One innkeeper did succeed in getting an article because of a press kit she had sent, but not the article she had been fishing for.

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Performing Due Diligence and Making an Offer

The Forbes article shares seven tips for buying seven-figure homes. The information is pertinent for buying a B&B of any price. Forbes’ seven points are to get a good agent, get your finances together, make contingency plans, look for termites (conduct a Due Diligence), what’s next door, prepare to negotiate, and take it easy. From the B&B industry perspective, let’s look at the remaining four points.

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Being Ready, Willing and Able

When a Forbes magazine article on buying high-priced homes came out recently it reminded me of the variety of Buyer interactions I’ve had this year. I felt that the Forbes points were valid for buying any real estate, so thought I’d adapt them to buying a B&B because I see so many Buyers who are not ready, willing, and able.

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B&B Guests Migrating to the Country

I attended both the National Association of REALTORS fall conference and the B&B Innkeepers of Colorado (BBIC) annual conference in November. The message I heard in both places related to the general U.S. population migrating to the country for both living and vacationing.

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Surviving the Recession with your B&B

September 11 Attacks And The Recession.

I mentioned last month, As I mentioned last month, I attended the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) meeting in Santa Fe, NM. You can imagine, there were several points of view shared. Most people were positive about the travel industry’s future, near and long-term, and predict that the impact of the attacks will have minimal affect on the lodging industry. In fact, according to Smith Travel Research, occupancy and room rates have returned to almost the same point they were before the attacks. What can’t be quantified is what the recession will do to the industry. For this issue, I’ll focus on the group’s consensus on how to survive in a down market.

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Exceeding Your Standards

In the last issue we talked about meeting minimum standards of inspections. This month, let’s talk about exceeding your inn’s standards. Your standards are: the style you intend to use in your business; what your guests look for as part of their experience at your inn; how you respond and react to your guests needs and comments. Exceeding your standards ensures you’ll be the best you can be. That is part of your formula for success.

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Will You Pass Your Inspection

It’s inspection time at your inn. Will you be ready mentally? Will your inn be ready? Let’s talk about getting you and the inn ready so you can make the most of the experience. My credentials for sharing this information are that I am a former innkeeper, an active guest, and a former B&B inspector. I understand this topic from all angles.

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Europe and Tourism in the 21st Century

In October, I travelled to Budapest, Hungary, to be initiated as a new member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants. This is a group of senior independent consultants, working in various and diverse areas of the hospitality field. The members work worldwide and represent countries in all corners of the globe.

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Environmental Innkeeping

Have you ever wondered about B&B innkeeping and waste? I’ll tell you that my environmental heart was tugged at daily by the amount of waste I perceived in running my B&B. Now, I managed an inn 12 years ago and technology has come a long way since then, but there were still a few things I could do even “back then” to help minimize waste.

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B&B Market Niche Definition

In reading an article on marketing, I saw a statement that got me to thinking about market niche and its value to B&B innkeepers. The statement, made by Peter Yesawich of Yesawich, Pepperdine, and Brown, who does market research for the travel industry, was that consumer activism has risen to an all-time high.

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Financing A Bed And Breakfast For Sale

At the conference I attended this spring, I sat in on Feasibility and Appraisal presentations, which gave me a better understanding of why financing B&Bs is challenging for so many buyers. There were several interesting points which I can share with you which will help you in your B&B acquisition quest. This information also applies to sellers, since if buyers can’t get financing you can’t close the sale.

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Bed and Breakfast Market Research

I recently attended a conference of hospitality consultants. One session I sat in I thought was important to share with you. The statistics are from the hotel industry but I believe they are just as valuable and pertinent for the B&B industry. STR (Smith Travel Report) tracks lodging trends and Randy Smith, STR’s founder, presented this information.

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Hiring an Expert To Help You Buy A Bed Breakfast For Sale

In both my residential and bed and breakfast real estate practice, I see Buyers and Sellers choose to not hire professionals so they can “save” money. What both sides of the transaction are thinking is that they will save the commission that would be paid to a REALTOR. There are several fallacies I see in that approach to buying real estate.

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