Innkeeping is an interesting lifestyle, like almost nothing else you can experience on the job.
Just today I was commenting that no matter how much “the business” changes (advent of internet, wireless, steam showers and memory foam beds) the more it stays the same. Hospitality is still hospitality after all. And the essentials are still (1) the property (2) the hosts (3) the guests (4) the stay.
If you think you’d like to be on the other side of the orange juice pitcher, read on.
I especially like the subheads on this article. I’d like to add my comments and expand on the advice:
- Patience —Prepare for a learning curve. Don’t buy a property so far out of your skill set or financial comfort zone you drive yourself crazy making it work to fit your dream. Once you buy it you own both the physical property and the direction your dream will take.
- Inn-tern (try it first) – pay an up and running inn to let you “watch them work.” I did it as a journalist. The experience is equally valuable to future and aspiring innkeepers. OR, volunteer. Don’t forget, asking innkeepers to “teach you what they know” has value. With pride I can say that the innkeeper who asked for –and paid for– my mentoring is still up and running.
- Get real—Couples working together, former executives having no one to delegate or dictate to-—the buck stops with the innkeeper/owners. If you want a vacation you close down the business or hire a professional innsitter. Some people do operate their inns on an occasional basis (when they are not enjoying their grand kid’s vacations and activities). If that is you, be sure the schedule you plan is sustainable with the price you are paying.
- Research—What location, what building, what type market is best for you? There is are more diversity to the B&B industry than cute guest rooms in a gingerbread house in “George Bailey” town with a bandstand on the square and picket fences in every yard. Match your dream, the house, the community, the type guests, the local activities and attractions (why people visit the area) with who you are. Where is your passion?
Robert’s and MY passion is renovating old houses, developing B&Bs (the physical plant), adding gardens and getting the place ready for innkeepers whose primary focus is guest enjoyment. We are quite the minority in this industry but very much needed. We also embrace guests who are house remodelers, renovators and builders. If you want to talk houses, Prospect Hill Bed and Breakfast Inn is the place to visit for a great conversation on this topic. We always share our secret weapon for making walls smooth and beautiful. PS I have NEVER blogged about this secret so you really do have to visit to hear what it is!