June 28, 2013

Why PAII is Worth the Price of Admission

Birthdays and anniversaries are a time to look back and reflect, as well as to plan for the future. This month marks 14 years since I launched the BnBFinder.com website! Many of our inns have been listed with us since the beginning, and it means a lot to me that we have grown our businesses together. No matter how long you have been reading this blog, I thought you might get a chuckle out of what the original BnBFinder.com website looked like:

BnBFinder.com 1999

Looking back, you may know we were the first and only site to be on the then-ubiquitous Palm Pilots; the first site to offer RSS feeds; provide guest reviews; have a blog and mobile site; and more. Looking forward, I see many opportunities and challenges for our industry. Some of these challenges and opportunities overlap; and whether good or bad, we need to ban together to seize the possibilities and fight the challenges.

Our opportunities are many, the biggest of which is spreading the word about B&Bs being a place to wake up someplace special and are a better way to stay. We can and should expand our market share because we offer so much in terms of value and experience in comparison to hotels. I am personally a strong supporter of PAII (the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, www.innkeeping.org) and hold a seat on the Advisory Board for the “Better Way to Stay” campaign, pledging my time and resources to promote B&Bs as a better way to stay over other lodging options. I predict the future brings the B&B industry a bigger share of the lodging market as guests discover the experience and value offered at bed & breakfasts.

Unlike other industries, even in the lodging sector, we are fortunate to enjoy many educational opportunities. Of course I hope you have found my book, Running a Bed & Breakfast For Dummies to be a valuable resource. Additionally, each month our goal at BnBFinder.com is to provide marketing themes and ideas in our monthly newsletter; the vendors in our industry are generous with their time; state and local associations offer resources; we have many forums to exchange ideas; and PAII has recently revamped its membership benefits to include a greater emphasis on education and growing your business.

Our challenges are many. Dispelling the myths about a B&B stay is one. Working with review sites that are popular but are set up to find hotels is another. Additionally, we find our industry competing against illegal B&Bs who don't pay taxes and who don't follow local laws and ordinances, but are listed on large sites with deep pockets that include the name B&B (even though they are not promoting bed & breakfasts). As an industry, our best chance to take on these challenges and others is by grouping together in state and local associations, as well as our industry association, PAII. In Chapter 16 of Running a Bed and Breakfast For Dummies, I discuss the important benefits of joining a professional association such as PAII.

Our strength is in numbers and together our voice can be heard.

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