What are Professional Interim Innkeepers or Innsitters?

Innkeepers are always on duty 24/7. So what does an innkeeper do when they need to get away for a vacation, a special occasion, or an emergency? Who do they get to replace themselves for a few days, weeks or maybe even a few months?

Many innkeepers are unaware that there is a group of men & women who are of professional Interim Innkeepers or Innsitters. These professionals are individuals or couples who have either owned their own bed and breakfast at one time, or have taken training in how to act as replacement innkeepers. An Interim Innkeeper comes in and after a day of training on the particulars of your bed and breakfast, steps in and takes the place of the innkeeper.

The reason to hire a professional innkeeper instead of just closing the bed and breakfasts doors are numerous. First and foremost is that someone will be there at the inn to answer the phone and not only take reservations for the time that they are staying at the inn, but also book rooms for future reservations. In addition, having a professional innkeeper at your inn while you are gone, allows you to continue to have guests and generate income. Finally, the interim innkeeper can take care of any animals you may have and provide security for your bed and breakfast.
Interim Innkeepers may be found throughout the United States. Many will even travel to international areas.

Innkeepers – don’t be a slave to your bed and breakfast any longer Plan your time off now and hire a Professional Innkeeper to act in your stead.

4 thoughts on “What are Professional Interim Innkeepers or Innsitters?”

  1. Lynda,
    Great posting about a viable way of covering your B&B business when you need to get away. I have lots of questions, but hope others will ask some of them so I’m not hogging the “limelight”.
    Do innsitters have formal training? How can you tell an experienced and good innsitter from others? It seems to me leaving your inn with someone is comparable to leaving your baby with someone — you want to be careful.

  2. We didn’t get off the island often but when we did go on a vacation. it was 3 to 6 weeks at a time. We did have slow seasons in Hawaii and when weighing two factors of having the expense of an innsitter there at 150 per day, it didn’t make sense to keep the inn open. We still were connected by phone and email and once took over $12,000 of bookings while off island.
    The other aspect is the time necessary to train your substitute innkeeper in your daily operations and the very real possibility that the sub may not meet your standards or be able to provide the info on the area that is typically provided by innkeepers to the guests.
    Our feeling that is if you only cover the costs of the innkeeper, I would question the validity of keeping the inn open unless you must make a trip at a time when you already have bookings.
    This whole scenario would be different when you have a “managing innkeeper” of a larger inn though.

  3. Training is vital for an Interim Innkeeper. The way we handle this situation is to send our client a manual (by e-mail) that the innkeeper can fill out and return with all sorts of answers to things that we might need to know. We not only have a copy, but the innkeeper also has a copy in their own computer. They only have to do this once and it is there for anyone that have come in to take their place.
    When we arrive, it only takes a half day to one day to actually see where some of the things are located. If you hire a professional, they are pros and will be able to pick up your particular style easily and quickly.
    Sometimes, small inns would not generate enough money in a slow season to warrant staying open. If the innkeeper doesn’t mind being bothered with phone calls or e-mail while on vacation this doesn’t present a problem.
    However, even small inns have emergencies when they need to stay open because it is high season, people are walking in and the phone is ringing off the hook. This is when a knowledgeable interim innkeeper can lend a helping hand.
    Most Interim Innkeepers have been full time innkeepers sometime in their lives. However, there are more and more situations where individuals are taking to this career field without prior experience. In cases such as these, there are a number of us who offer hands on training to aspiring interim innkeepers. Our own class is a hands on 4 day workshop and covers everthing from soup to nuts. It is also suggested that the aspiring interim innkeepers take a food serve safe class and have cpr training. Finally, we suggest to our aspiring interim innkeepers to help out at some local inns near where they live. They get some hands on experience and the innkeepers get some volunteer help.
    In all cases, an innkeeper should ask for references and experiences of those that they intend to leave their inn with. Finally, the innkeeper has to determine if the expense is worth having someone keep their inn open, safe and secure.

  4. I think you just need to get referrals. I hear we have one here in Virginia that is so good, when the innkeeper came back home to the inn the dog didn’t even look up to notice they were gone and came home. Now, THAT’S INNSITTING! I have kept their name in my reference file! The concept is fantastic, I think. I spend just $30 per day to kennel the dogs alone. It is more secure to me than trying to find a college student to stay in my home and dog sit. Plus many of them are former innkeepers who are retired and like to travel.

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