Inn Consultants and Brokers Since 1993

Rick Wolf and Peter Scherman (that’s Rick on the left and Peter on the right) are both experienced speakers who have presented on a range of innkeeping related topics at the state, regional, and national level. They gather and analyze research for the Innkeeping industry and welcome the opportunity to share it with others. Contact Us

The B&B Team
 

Posts Tagged ‘Jay Karen’

PAII Innkeeping Conference and Trade Show of Shows

January 21st, 2013 by Janet Wolf

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The PAII ‘Rat Packer’ Staff

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Jay welcoming us all to Las Vegas, great hair Jay!

Whether this is your first PAII conference or your umpteenth, the upcoming 2013 conference in Las Vegas promises to be be quite entertaining. I know that Jay Karen and the entire staff are gearing up and making last minute plans. Take a look, here they are looking so cool, ready to take over Vegas.

There is a rumor that Jay is planning a very special welcome for this year’s conference attendees. Here is my crazy guess.

 

 

Now I know that according to the ad campaign ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ but for innkeepers attending this conference you will be taking some things home with you to your Inns, like knowledge, great ideas to implement, new amenities, media tools and lots of great memories. The B&B Team would like to be a part of the education that you take back with you. Peter and Rick will be presenting sessions as will Dana Moos, one of our newest additions to our team. Scott Bushnell will be in charge of Audio/Visual and room set up as well as presenting at the Aspiring Innkeeper Day. Marilyn Bushnell is heading up the coordination of Food and Beverage for the conference. But wait there is more, our latest addition, Eliot Dalton will also be there swingin with the team. Oh and Peggy Scherman and I will also be there, you’ll find us at the tables…our booth tables of course.

To top off the festivities, The B&B Team is celebrating our 20th Anniversary this year and would love to welcome all our old and new innkeeping and vendor friends at our booth on the trade show floor. Stop by and help us celebrate. So get out your bangles and beads, get ready to recharge your batteries and meet us at the Tropicana on January 28-31. Can’t wait!

Thanks for listening,

Janet Wolf

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Airbnb – In the Air or Your Backyard?

October 9th, 2012 by Janet Wolf

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Great experience,NOT.

There was a recent thread on the PAII Forum initiated by Scott Thomas, innkeeper at the Brewster House Bed and Breakfast in Freeport, Maine. Quoting Scott; “Just received a solicitation to become a member of Airbnb (for “free”). …they offered to create a free listing for us, then we could log in and change things.” This really got my attention. I didn’t realize they were soliciting legitimate lodging businesses. What next, door to door solicitation in residential neighborhoods? Here is a bit of background on this groundbreaking ‘collaborative consumption’ business.

Airbnb was born in September ’08 and has grown in leaps and bounds. Just like the concept of Airbnb is troubling to the hospitality industry, its growth is scarier. They are in 192 countries and 24,693 cities. The statistics change daily but the latest from their website claims 10 million nights booked since their conception. Their recent bad publicity, (a host’s property was trashed), is being addressed aggressively. They make it very clear to all about their 1 million dollar insurance guarantee for their renter client’s assurance. It sounds like they are really trying to cover their proverbial derriere big time. Here is a statement from their website. “Please note that Airbnb assumes no responsibility for a host’s compliance with any applicable laws, rules and regulations.” So who is responsible? Who gets blamed when things go wrong?

Here is the problem as I see it and I am sure most innkeepers will agree. Airbnb is getting away with murder. The website is slick and professional and the process of booking is streamline, so nothing appears illegal or problematical on the surface. I hope legitimate bed and breakfasts innkeepers don’t get enticed. Scott Thomas certainly wasn’t. He received a follow up email stating they had created a draft listing for his approval and stated he can edit it at any time and quote:”If you like the listing, we can make it appear in search results allowing people to discover the Brewster House.” Again the process for the host property appears to be slick and streamlined as well.

The legality of Airbnb has been speculated on and addressed by municipalities since its beginning but what is disturbing is that it not only continues to operate but thrives. Cities like San Francisco (where the company’s headquarters are) are actively attempting to deal with the problem. They know that Airbnb represents a loophole and that the owners of the host properties listed on thier site fall under the city’s definition of a bed and breakfast, and thus are breaking the law. From their statement on their website,”…they assume no responsibility for a host’s compliance with any applicable laws.” So again we ask the question, who gets blamed and in turn gets punished? As in many cases when a powerful  phenomenon like Airbnb prevails and prospers the law abiding businesses often suffer. We have seen it happen in New York City. Last May Jay Karen testified on behalf of the B&B industry before the New York State Assembly Committee on Housing with a NYC innkeeper, Vanessa Milando. Like San Francisco NYC is attempting to crack down on the illegal ‘hotels’ operating outside the perimeter of state regulations. All good on the surface but in the process the legitimate B&B’s in the city were fined a very large and punitive amount of money. Please read the press release detailing Jay’s involvement and testimony in this case.

Airbnb claims they will work closely with city and town officials and here is their unbelievable spin on why ‘collaborative consumption’ is good for municipalities and consumers. “Airbnb seamlessly integrates travelers into a neighborhood’s existing infrastructure, relieving congestion in tourist zones and distributing their economic impact to new neighborhood economies – which is a win-win for residents and businesses in those areas.”

Ask any innkeeper and I believe they would love a share of that tourist ‘congestion’ on their reservation books! Also what about the tourist who prefers to stay in a ‘tourist zone’, it is called a destination location. And about the win-win, all on the side of Airbnb in my opinion. So be alert and fasten your seatbelts, there may be a bit of Airbnb turbulance coming.

Recent article on the issue worth reading. Read more on the subject.

Thanks for listening

Janet Wolf

C is for Cost of Doing Business

September 27th, 2011 by Janet Wolf

HangersHangersJay Karen’s Video Blog and the following posts on the PAII Forum got my brain a racin’. Like Jay we at The B&B Team visit many Inns and are also a witness to the good, the great and the not so terrific.  On the subject of hangers let me first reveal a story from my innkeeping days. We had a ‘Housekeeping Checklist’ that included two check points, one to check to see if all six wooden hangers were present and two, to bring all wire/plastic hangers left by the guests down to the laundry room.  When I would do the daily guest room checks I would sometimes find an ‘evil’ wire hanger and recall a scene in the biographical film about Joan Crawford, ‘Mommy Dearest’. The scene reveals Joan, a compulsively clean housekeeper, finding a wire hanger in her daughter’s closet, she then commences to beat the daughter with the hanger while screaming, “NO WIRE HANGERS!” Now understand, I did not beat my housekeepers but would on occasion perform my best Joan Crawford imitation for my housekeepers, just for comic relief.

Now we know that those wooden hangers do disappear on occasion but replacing them falls under the category of the cost of doing business, CODB. This term is generic for ‘expenses that covers all monetary expenditures necessary to operate your business on a day to day basis’. The fixed costs are your mortgage, utilities, insurance, wages, payroll taxes, etc.  Any incidental materials you provide for your guests in the process of doing business in which you really can’t charge extra for have to be absorbed and covered by your profit margins.

We all want to control our costs and price comparing online has become the best way to help keep costs down. I googled ‘wood hangers’ and the best price I found was from storesupply.com. A case of 50 nicely finished wooden hangers cost $39. The cost per hanger comes to $.78. I am sure you could find a better price with a little more digging.

 We must always remind ourselves, it is all about the guest. The simple offering of a set of wooden hangers neatly placed in your closets shows you desire to provide for your guests a thoughtful guest room experience.

Now as for the subject of laundry bags, I believe this offering is also very thoughtful. They are standard in hotels, why not B&B’s?  A few innkeepers on the PAII Forum explained they did not want to use plastic bags because of the environmental impact.  I found biodegradable plastic laundry bags on usfi greenworks. A drawback is the minimum purchase is 500 at $.49 per bag. This may present the opportunity to contact your neighbor B&B and share the cost.

Sometimes the simple little offerings innkeepers provide turn out to be very big in the eyes of an appreciative guest. It is all about them.

Janet Wolf

Inn Tune-Up – Better Way to Improve

April 15th, 2011 by Janet Wolf

If you check out your Thesaurus (thanks to Microsoft Word it is just a few clicks away) the word ‘better’ offers a few similar adjectives and one is ‘Improved’. Innkeepers are constantly improving their properties, at least they should be. In Jay Karen’s recent Key Notes article in the Winter IQ magazine he boldly and justly spoke of the below average B&B’s. It is unfortunate but oh so true when he said…”there are a lot of B&B’s out there that might not be a better way to stay.”  The Inns that are not constantly searching for ways to improve usually end up on the below average list.

In my research for this writing I decided to read reviews on Trip Advisor from a random choice of Inns. I wanted to come up with the top 10 complaints.  I didn’t have to go very far before I realized the complaints were the same ones we see and talk about all the time. No need for a list of 10.

No.1 complaint is still lack of cleanliness!

 No. 2 complaint is still inhospitable innkeepers!

 Another complaint is outdated décor which usually is accompanied with phrases like, ‘run down’,’ worn carpets’ and one I really thought was revealing , ‘…antique bureau drawers were hard to open and impossible to close’.  The outdated décor is usually not the real issue; it is the underlying fact that the décor is old, tired and not well kept.

The B&B Team has been consulting with innkeepers on how to improve their overall business for years. Recently we decided to put a title to what we do. We call it our ‘Inn Tune-up’. We created a very extensive check-list that starts with the property’s first impression when you drive up and continues through the Inn looking at guest rooms, marketing, and operations.  We have outlined over 250 check points. The final analysis comes with a report with suggestions for improvements.  We strive to be honest and forthright (oh I just checked out the word forthright and the adjective’ blunt’ came up). Many innkeepers we have worked with have thanked us for being blunt! They have told us they just needed another set of eyes. The old saying, ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’, we believe we can look up, down and around those trees and give innkeepers a complete picture of their valued forest.

The B&B Team realistically visits dozens and dozens of properties nationaly a year. That would include all six of us on the team. I believe this gives us a good perspective from which to work  when doing our ‘Inn Tune-up’. We believe we can offer innkeepers a Better Way to Improve.

To conclude I would like to make another observation from a review I read for an Inn with new owners that had recently completed an entire makeover. A quote from the review was…”we were looking for an experience, not just a bed. The living room was more like a lobby”. I found this comment very telling, because one can go too far opposite  from broken antique bureaus and dusty doilies. Decor can be minimalist with clean lines but not at the expense of becoming stark and cold. Again quoting Jay, “…we are posing ourselves to tell the world that B&Bs are better than hotels.”  A hotel lobby look is not what B&B’s need either.

So thanks Jay for being blunt and for your continued care and upkeep of our industry. We all need a new set of eyes and a good ‘kick in the gas’ with a tune-up once in a while. Ha!

Janet Wolf

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