The two questions most resounding in my life since late last year: Where have you been? And what do you envision for the future of The B&B Team®?
From a distance, the first question can be answered plainly. I have not sat still over the course of the pandemic. In fact, even before I took over the reins of The B&B Team® in December, my work with current and aspiring Innkeepers led me from California to Michigan to Florida to Maine (with quite a few stops in between).
While all my conversations during these trips were colored by the pandemic, most were surprisingly familiar in nature. There were Innkeepers driven by the age old “grandparent syndrome” looking to gracefully trade their career in hospitality for unadulterated time with family. Others were simply looking for a temperature check on their business in an effort to improve their profit margins. A turn to Virtual Seminars in early 2020 led to one of our most active years of aspiring Innkeeper workshops, with well over 150 attendees joining us for this new iteration of our long-time entrée into the world of Innkeeping. Clearly, the appeal of the Innkeeping lifestyle (at least in its theoretical form) was only buoyed by the pandemic.
With a few exceptions, we found that there was a pervasive positive energy driving most current and future Innkeepers through the perils of the pandemic and keeping their focus on the constant stream of guests seeking care at their Inns.
Les yeux qui ne voient pas, the eyes which do not see the beauty of individual, selfless acts of hospitality will never truly recognize how bright and bold the future of our industry should be!
An Innkeeper in Maine recently described her small coastal community as a town of true iconoclasts. The comment was well taken, and I believe reflects most members of our tight knit coalition of Innkeepers and hospitality professionals. At their best, we fit some similar, yet indistinguishable mold of craftspeople, caretakers, cooks, cleaners, healers, designers, spiritual guides, and marketing mavens. And in this highly choreographed scramble of our daily lives, we somehow remain highly attuned to the needs and desires of others. These acts of transcendent hospitality make hospitalitarians (to quote restaurateur Danny Meyer) out of former teachers, attorneys, pilots, nurses, professors, accountants, engineers, senators, builders, and beyond. Seeing these acts unfold is what makes our lives as guests and Innkeepers so profoundly rewarding.
As with all lasting works of architecture, the future of The B&B Team® is based upon historical practices driven by integrity, honesty, and a quality approach to all of our work on behalf of aspiring and current Innkeepers. We plan to build upon this strong foundation to not only guide the transition of Innkeepers and hospitality owners in our community, but to do so in a way that moves our industry forward and keeps the conversation around the Innkeeping trade vital, self-possessed, and enticing to the droves of travelers seeking authentic, subjective, shareable, and safe experiences.
Bigger has never equated to better in our industry and there are thankfully thousands of aspiring, current, and emeritus Innkeepers and professionals that give cause for constant celebration.
I look forward to carrying forward the mantle of The B&B Team® and our affiliate organizations and continuing the conversations that will ferry us all into the future.