July 17, 2012

The “Inns” and Outs of an Innkeeping Conference

If you’ve never attended an innkeeping conference, it’s difficult to describe how invigorating and motivating it is to be surrounded by the enthusiasm and educational opportunities conferences offer; and, if you’ve attended just one or many conferences then you know what I mean. It’s hard to pick the most important takeaway from a conference, but if I had to choose I think motivation and education would be tied. With so many regulations, differing opinions, products to choose from, advertising choices (along with constant budget considerations) and ways to do things, an innkeeper’s job of learning is never complete. The old adage of “the only constant is change” certainly applies to our industry!

Heron Haus, Portland, OR
 Fun is also a big part of a conference as innkeepers enjoy networking with each other. In Chapter 8 of my book, Running a Bed and Breakfast For Dummies, I discuss the importance of networking and list a few different opportunities to connect with people who can help build your business. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy visiting with all of you when I’m there, many whom I’ve known for years either personally or virtually and those I’ll meet for the first time. Educational sessions on technology, marketing (and, yes, lots on social media) as well as operations are usually part of a full program. Innkeepers get answers to questions and discover many ideas they hadn’t considered before.

I am always pleased to meet the many aspiring and new innkeepers who have read my book. Being able to answer your questions in person is my favorite part about attending conferences. Frequently conference sessions are available on tape; and, if you’re a member of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) you can attend workshops from the inn through the strong webinar program that is part of your membership. If you’re not a PAII member you should consider joining this energetic association that promotes our industry as a “Better Way to Stay” in a very effective way. Again, in Chapter 8 of Running a Bed and Breakfast For Dummies, I explain how joining up with local, state and national B&B associations can help get the word out about your inn.

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