You know, the B&B industry is old – in Europe. And it’s been around for awhile in the US too, though the B&B industry we know today is very different than it was even 25 years ago. It’s powerful to look back at the changes so you can appreciate just to see how far it has come so you can appreciate what you are doing today.
Should a bed and breakfast go through a green certification process or not? I can, and have, argued both sides of that question.
Want to know what you’re in for during the next 6-18 months? When the statisticians who look at lodging trends all the time say they don’t know what to expect you know we are in for some interesting times. And I hope this use of interesting isn’t like the old Chinese curse.
I have stood on my soap box for years talking about the wisdom of running a green B&B. I’ve been asked several times to review how much money is saved by conserving water and energy, only two of the resources I urge innkeepers to conserve. Here is a list of statistics about the actual resource savings for you to apply your water and energy rates to for coming up with how much you will save by implementing an environmentally friendly operations program.
The B&B industry is in transition: from young to maturing, from “build it and they will come” to targeted marketing, and from undefined to defined market niche. Defining the inn’s brand — or market niche — gives innkeepers the competitive edge they need to flourish, not just survive. Guests’ wants and needs have changed through the years; it’s important to understand those changes so the innkeeper can react and the B&B can thrive.
You know it when you see it and use it, but what is it about a bed and breakfast website that makes it good? Your website is an imperative B&B marketing tool. The quality of the website creates the first impression of your inn and hospitality; it sets the tone for the guest experience.
Perspective on the industry changes with your longevity in the business. For those who’ve been around awhile now, you’ve seen tremendous changes in the business approach and the guest experience. What has changed and what has stayed the same? You may be surprised by my observations. Even more important, all of us will see lots of changes in the coming years. Having some perspective on the past will help you prepare for the future.
The hospitality conference I attended in London was the usual eye opener for me. Being in Europe, the conference had a distinctly European focus with shared information regarding how the ten new members of the European Union are going to affect the economy and business.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.