Author Archive for Prospect Hill Bed & Breakfast

B&Bs Far More Than Teddy Bears & Lace Curtains

Part I of a series on what is a B&B and why own one

The term “bed-and-breakfast” is no longer code for teddy bears, floral bedspreads and doilies.

There are nearly as many types of bed and breakfast properties and businesses as there are innkeeper/owners. The Wall Street Journal in 2013 ran an article about people turning historic homes into high end B&Bs, the top 10% of the market.


In reading this nearly year-old article in light of the fact my property is now for sale (yes, I’m one of the older ones wanting to retire), I am heartened. We have done A LOT of the things the high-end properties do to enhance their market share. These items belong to the inn and ready for the new innkeepers to use to their benefit and for the enjoyment of their guests.

What follows is where I’ve excerpted parts of the original article and added my view of the topic.
The excerpted parts of the article are shown in BLUE TYPE.
The couple [profiled in the Wall Street Journal]  bought the 97-year-old home for $550,000 in 2004.
Like many in the article they did a serious updating of the property, from style changes to important furnishings from around the world. For the upper 10% of the market, it is no longer just about “nice sheets” and terrific muffins. In our opinion, this is an absolute necessity so people can enjoy all the history an antique house affords but not be inconvenienced by out-dated technology. We began our renovations in 1999 and began building our party room complex in 2004.

The fresh look reflects the vitality of the bed-and-breakfast industry, which is attracting a new breed of innkeepers who, instead of being hobbyists, are looking for sustainable businesses.

At the same time younger people are getting into innkeeping as a serious for profit business, more and more baby boomers and post-baby boomers are looking for a home-based business but NOT looking to be corporate tycoons–they’ve been there and already done that!

Prospect Hill’s market niche (and we can only guess for potential new owners since every couple to look at it thus far has had a different “take” on how it should be used and marketed) could be more upscale than it is, depending on changes to the menu, some of the furnishings and amenities, offerings and focus. That would place it near that top 10% of the  US market.

In some cases, the inns profiled in the Wall Street Journal added suites and other out-building amenities, such as spas. Prospect Hill’s 3-acre site would support expansion unlike tight, urban properties or those on the side of a mountain. We have 5 out-buildings, one ready for spa or guest-room conversion.

Bed-and-breakfasts, which grew in popularity as mainstays for travelers, usually were family-run enterprises offering a handful of rooms. They cropped up in rural areas too remote to support larger hotels and often distinguished themselves with homey vibes. “People liked the idea of welcoming the weary traveler and showing off their cooking skills or the antiques they collected over the years,” says Jay Karen (former CEO of PAII and now CEO of Select Registry, a marketing organization representing “the top 10%”).
The number of B&Bs reached a peak of 20,000 between 2000 and 2005, until a generation of aging innkeepers retired and the economic downturn made it more difficult for aspiring new owners to secure financing. But the category proved remarkably resilient in terms of demand. While hotels suffered, the average daily rates at bed-and-breakfasts have increased each year for the past seven years. The median average daily rate in 2012 was $161 a night, compared with $138 in 2006, according to the innkeepers association.  Prospect Hill’s average daily rate is a bit lower than this national average.

While many bed-and-breakfasts [remain] budget-priced, more newer B&Bs are focused on upscale travelers, with rates easily running upward of $1,000 a night. Around 10% of B&Bs have rates that top $300 per night,[ according to PAII].

While the market may have slowed during the recent recession, inn brokers are saying interest in buying inns is increasing. Our broker has certainly found it so. The Inn Partners classes are always sold out. Inquiries are strong and inns seem to sell almost weekly.



An innkeeping business really is far more than furnishing a guest room and planning a breakfast meal.  For upscale service as outlined

Service and upscale amenities plus a unique selling proposition (what’s your passion? Your interest?) have become what it is all about. Taking this route with an inn clearly depends on the vision of its owners as well as its market. Our own perception is that we are the upper 1% FOR OUR MARKET.   We provide really nice accommodations to people who expect something well above average. On a national scale, our pricing is still about half or even 25%  that of swanky tourist destinations.

Prices for rooms at this inn are, in some cases, almost double motels in the same town.  That’s because the amenities, the furnishings, the personal service, free items, excellent cleanliness and size of the rooms far exceeds a standard motel room.  We work with people’s budgets but we are not the “cheap alternative.”  And we prove over and over again, you get what you pay for.

Those new to going to B&B need to understand that bed and breakfast lodging is NOT synonymous with youth hostel.  It is also not in many ways, similar to B&B in England and Europe where the lodging is functional but not “upgraded.”

If you are in doubt as to what a B&B is offering, PHONE US. Ask questions. We are happy to tell you what we offer, how much it costs and what we don’t have. There’s a match for you at a B&B somewhere; unlike hotels it is NOT one size fits all.

Why You Can’t Check in at 10 a.m. and Other Requests

Cast heads to Emerald City

Think of the B&B inn as the Emerald City. Our inn even has a green roof!

Attempting to check in to a B&B in the morning, or lunch time in order to “get your money’s worth” is not a good plan.
Hint:  Check out for the previous night is usually 11 a.m.
Hint #2:  Rooms must be cleaned and public spaces maintained, generally between 11 a.m. and check in time (usually 3 or 4 pm). That’s a mere 4-5 hours.  It’s a scientific fact two objects can’t occupy the same space at the same time.

Innkeepers Hate to Say “No.”

We hate to say ‘no’ to early check in requests. However,  when it comes to letting guests check into rooms many hours early, or staying many hours later (before and after the standard times which are 3 pm and 11 a.m. at my inn), we may have to decline.  It’s not that we don’t want guests to make full use the facility. And it’s not that we want to “take as much and give as little” as we can. Read More→

Red Chair Changes Innkeeper’s Viewpoint

Red Chair Travels visits Prospect Hill - russet, dried hydrangeasThe Red Chair was “found” in New England and is spending 2013 being handed from innkeeper to innkeeper down the East Coast Read More→

The great outdoors–without crowds

Just the other day we had the opportunity to check out Asheville’s many riverside parks. The weather was great and people were everywhere, enjoying the lawns, trees, water and views.
When we returned home to Prospect Hill B&B Inn, to Johnson County, TN, and to Mountain City I was struck by how much we have here of what people around Asheville want–scenery, fresh air, places to be outdoors to walk, run, bike or just sit and relax.  What also struck me was how much people there have to share these wonderful things. In contract, around here the area is so rural and the crowds so few and far between that you can have it all–and have it all to yourself.
This summer we are directing our guests to the soon-to-open Laurel Creek Trail which will one day connect with the Virginia Creeper Trail. It is a shaded, rolling path beside a rushing creek. Laurels and rhododendrons have recently been in bloom. With a Tennessee fishing license you can throw your lures in this creek, pulling out only “natural” trout. The Virginia side is stocked but we are sure the Tennessee fish sneak on down there, too. This trail is about 8 miles from the inn and under 4 miles from A Cottage in the Woods, our self-catered vacation rental house.

Also new this summer is the Doe Mountain all terrain vehicle park whose “soft opening” is days away as  I write. We at the inn are the closest lodging to the park entrance–just 2 miles away. We have great parking for any trailer you might tow with your ORV or ATVs. We serve a hearty breakfast to get you started, too!

Take note:  July 4th fireworks in Mountain City–seen from our front lawn–will be June 29 this year. We’ll have snacks on the porch. Come stay at the inn or cottage and enjoy the spectacle of professionally set off fireworks. It’s a great show.

Pansies and Weddings Go Together

Pansies are such a Roadside flowers in the mountains compete with pansies planted at Prospect Hill Tnsimple flower. They speak to me of the simplicity of love (and marriage). Pansies and weddings go together well. Here’s how I’d use them.


This is a new version of this post. Read More→