Peter and Rick on TV? Really? Wow! I can’t wait to see that…. Alas, you might have to. Please, read on.
In mid-2009 Buck Davis contacted PAII with the idea of wanting to create a reality TV show about Innkeeping. He wanted to showcase the industry in a positive light, but he also wanted to create something entertaining. Having been mentioned in a PAII newsletter, we at The B&B Team® contacted Buck to offer our assistance in any way we could. The ensuing phone calls were very interesting.
Buck picked our brains about different topics. He wanted to showcase really beautiful and interesting inns. Could we direct him to some really nice ones? We did, and he was thrilled. He wanted to feature a variety of inn owners, including minorities and gays, could we direct him? We did, and he was even happier. He wanted to do a show that followed inn buyers through the process of acquiring an inn along the lines of House Hunters on HGTV. Oops. If he had a few years to follow someone around the country while they looked, and then weeks (or months) while they did due diligence and got financing he could do that, but maybe not. Well then, how about following an Innkeeper as they readied their inn for sale and sold it? Double oops. If he had the typical 2-3 years to hang around while the right buyer arrived, he could do that, but maybe not.
Poor Buck was getting discouraged. What did we do with innkeepers that he could film and make into a TV show, he wanted to know? It had to be a shorter term proposition. We discussed some of our different consulting arenas and suggested that an Inn Tune-up™ might be something he could track. After all, for an Inn Tune-Up™ we go through an inn in great detail, make recommendations, and hope that the innkeeper will implement and enjoy an increase in business. That sounded like a good idea. Of course, we reminded him that sometimes success only shows up on a spreadsheet, which isn’t exactly great for TV, but at least we had a plan.
As a test run Buck and Suzan Satterfield, the producer at Picture Window Productions, traveled to Bruce, Mississippi to observe Rick and Peter do a Marketability Assessment and Valuation (including an Inn Tune-up™) at the Cart Barn Inn @ Yoda Creek. After that, they were sold on The B&B Team!
Since the production company Buck was going to work with was based in Atlanta (they had produced Ground Breakers for ten years for HGTV) he wanted to find an inn in the region for their “sizzle reel,” a short piece they would use to pitch the show to networks. They found the Ashford Manor B&B in Watkinsville, GA. Picture Window Productions flew us down to the location. When we arrived at the B&B, there were a pile of vehicles and a van in front. No sooner did we knock on the front door when we were greeted with a smile and a finger to the lips to keep us quiet. Lights blazed in the parlor, people were standing around, and we were told (in a whisper), “Make-up!” as we were rushed to the kitchen. Wow, this was real stuff!
We spent a fascinating weekend with a bunch of fun and extremely talented professionals. Everyone from the makeup artists to the producer, cameramen, sound folks, and hands were amazing. Dave and Mario, the innkeepers, were real sports, hamming it up as needed. Sadly, the sizzle reel, which was presented at a major TV convention, wasn’t picked up. Probably a good thing, since they needed to do 16 episodes, and the problem was, as soon as we would start to get into any real substance with Dave and Mario we’d hear “Cut!” and we were moved on to the next scene. This was TV, not real consulting.
Earlier we had put out a call to ask for volunteer innkeepers with ideas on how their inns could be used in the show, and we had a great response. To all of you who did email us (some with terrific ideas), we thank you. And to those of you who were wondering whatever became of it, here it is. Peter and Rick are NOT big TV stars, but these guys sure made us feel like it for a weekend. Enjoy!