Author Archive for Judy Hotchkiss

We love last minute guests, but….

Just the other night (a Sunday night, in fact), we had no new arrivals scheduled, and those who were scheduled to check in had done so. So….. we went to dinner in Boone, NC, about 25 minutes away.Dusk at shingle style Victorian inn

Nice dinner. While returning home, and with only  12 minutes from turning into our driveway someone from Central Florida called and wanted a room for the night.  “Where are you?” I asked.  “In your driveway,” they said.   Since we had a room I said “Sit tight; we’ll be there in 12 minutes.”

When we got there, guess what?  They had gone.  Guess we weren’t  worth waiting 12 minutes. I also suppose that they were offended that we were not right there, ready to answer the doorbell when they strolled into town.

Let me tell you a truth or two.  Innkeepers work 18 hours a day 7 days a week UNLESS they manage to get off the property for some free time.  We don’t have relatives willing to “guard” the door (for free)  when we take a few hours away, so we pick the least busy time (no arrivals scheduled), lock the doors and go.  Sometimes, the “escape” is scheduled and our coats are on but a “walk in” phones to announce they are 5-10 minutes out. Or they just show up. So, off go the coats and our car keys go back on the hook. Dinner is created from our pantry and our refrigerator and we cheerfully greet those last minute guests at the door.  They are none-the-wiser that they almost missed us.

Some do miss us.  We are NOT mind readers!  And we also wonder how someone can drive all the way from Orlando and NOT know they need a room prior to “right this minute.”  We are magicians and manage many wonderful things, but manning a 24/7 front desk isn’t one of them. As a small property, we simply cannot PAY someone to sit and wait for hypothetical guests.  I’m sure nobody wants their room rates to go up $35 just to pay for someone “on call.”

We also cannot see our way clear to NEVER having time away. We are also betting that “spontaneous travelers,” −if they work in “corporate” America−would have a cow if someone asked THEM to give up THEIR dinner hour or their “date night” every day of the week (and weekends, too).

So, let’s find the mid ground between over planning and finding yourself in my empty parking lot.  IF you know you are headed our way (or toward any B&B for that matter), call ahead!  We’ll work out being 100% ready for you when you roll into town, and yes, we’ll have the lights on!

How to Get the Most Out of Your B&B Stay

Rocking chairs on front porch with brick arches

Rocking chairs on the front porch, just outside Room 1’s door.

Much of the charm–and the allure–of a stay at a bed and breakfast has to do with the “things” hotels and motels don’t have.  Rockers. Porch swings. Views. Special treats.  Interaction with hosts and guests.  It saddens me when couples miss out, simply because they arrive late or sleep through breakfast or are not comfortable letting the innkeepers “tell them things.

A couple this week arrived about 10 pm after a long, active day. They were tired and the day was almost over so they received the abbreviated “tour” so they could enjoy the rest of their evening.  We were sure we could fill them in at breakfast.

Alas, in the morning– Read More→

How we welcome business travelers

Craftsman style furniture in inn's living room, dining room

Parlor and dining room

A guest can be interesting, self sufficient, well-traveled–Often they are a business traveler. He or she could be YOUR guest.  They are often mine.

An inn’s location drives its potential for hosting business travelers.  At our first inn–near downtown Atlanta–we could stand in the street and see the state capitol. The nearby subway traveled under three miles to the World Congress Center (conventions) and CNN Center. Read More→

How the Best Fans Had the Most Fun

Last Saturday, Amy and Rob got married in Seattle. By Tuesday they were on a cross-country flight to Charlotte and Bristol, TN and a honeymoon at Prospect Hill B&NASCAR checkered flagB Inn.

Amy and Rob are NASCAR fans. In fact, they adore “their man” Dale Earnhardt Jr.  By the time they arrived at Prospect Hill B&B Inn in Mountain City, TN, they had visited the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte and stayed late visiting the home locations of several racing teams. They even blew off a free night in a relative’s mountain cabin so they could stay in a motel closer to the NASCAR sites.

By Thursday they were arrived at my inn where their family bought them a honeymoon stay in our Mountain Sunrise/ Romance Room  while they attended the March Bristol Motor Speedway Food City 500.

Every day they were out the door first (7 a.m.) Read More→

Aspiring: So You Want to be an Innkeeper

Innkeeping is an interesting lifestyle, like almost nothing else you can experience on the job.

Bits remain on wallpaper removal project

Wallpaper removal – Room 3 bath

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. Read More→