March 4, 2014

Starting With YES

At the moment, I am currently preparing to give the keynote address at the Mid Atlantic Innkeepers’ Conference and Trade Show outside of Philadelphia, PA March 9 – 11. Months ago, when I was asked to open the conference with the keynote address I gave my usual business answer of “YES” (and then I work backwards to figure out how I am going to do it). I am humbled to have been asked to motivate, inspire and entertain such a distinguished group. As entrepreneurs, innkeepers motivate, inspire and often entertain me on a daily basis; and preparing for this session has enhanced these feelings.

I constantly see Innkeepers starting with “YES” to guest requests and then, within reason, work backwards and figuring out how to accommodate said requests.

I also see many inns ahead of the curve and embracing the new trend in travel – offering experiential getaways. Guests of all ages have figured out hot tubs, Jacuzzis and free Internet are standard. Guests want experience and pictures they can post, tweet, pin and Instagram. (If you’re not familiar with Instagram I think you should take some time to become familiar with it). Instagram is not popular among innkeepers because they don’t promote business pages (but you can set one up), and because it is not indexed by Google, however, guests are using it big time! In fact, when guests are glued to their phones at breakfast, many are taking pictures of the delicious dishes or the beautiful ambiance surrounding them and posting their pictures on Instagram. These posts are free advertising as they tell and show their friends, family, coworkers, etc…the experience and hospitality that you offer.

I recently enjoyed a video of a session that Barry Werner of Scarborough Fair B&B did at the Professional Association of Innkeepers International Conference. In his humorous Ignite Session he entertained the audience with some of the negatives of innkeeping (he doesn’t say it so gently), and he effectively makes the point that innkeeping is the most rewarding career for the right people. Barry points out the pluses and minuses of innkeeping. Innkeepers are accomplished business owners and guest pleasers, and most importantly people that are the masters of multitasking and the jack of all trades. As resourceful as they are, one thing they cannot do on their own is to successfully network and learn from peers and the experts in the industry. For this, Innkeepers need to venture outside of their inn and the easiest way to do this is to attend a local, state or national innkeeping conference. These conferences provide the opportunity to reinvigorate, find a knowledge base and a support system. Please be sure to read Chapter 16 of Running a Bed and Breakfast for Dummies for some additional Professional Development insights.

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