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

Archive for the ‘Innkeeping Events’ Category

A Smile of Innkeepers

April 24th, 2016 by Janet Wolf

A smile of innkeepers

Opening Session and the smiles begin

After spending the day with all these great innkeepers I was thinking about the best group noun for us all – and it’s obvious: “A smile of innkeepers”!” Reflections of The AIHP Summit and Marketplace by Peter MacLaren, innkeeper of the West Hill House B&B in Warren Vermont.

A smile of innkeepers

Innkeeper Peter MacLaren with some of his signature single malt

The first AIHP Summit and Marketplace in Nashville TN ended with a huge round of applause. I can say, and many others who attended would agree that the conference’s success rate…five star.

CEO Rob Fulton released a newsletter on April 18th post summit, and shared some innkeepers and allied partners comments. I thought Peter MacLaren expressed his feelings so well. So much that it is the title of this blog. I wish now that I had taken some time to take photos of all those smiles. Luckily others did.

A smile of innkeepers

Rob and Kelly Fulton and some smiling AIHP summit attendees

Those of you who did not attend may ask; why was this conference so successful and why did it evoke so much emotion and enthusiasm? We were all attending for one core reason, to become better innkeepers and partners with innkeepers. We do this by learning new skills to help our businesses grow. We also do this by developing relationships which requires give and take, we learn from each other. And what better way to do this then face to face, smile to smile.

A smile of innkeepers

Twyla Sickmiller (isn’t she always smiling!) Helping innkeepers with orders. Founding AIHP Member The Turkish Towel Company.

There was an ‘energy of solidarity’, if you get what I am trying to say. We were all working together. This is what I believe helped create all those smiles.

There was of course a lot of planning and investment in time to create the summit. From the time of AIHP’s conception to the opening of the summit it took only 18 months! I think this is incredible. A total positive and forward thinking group of individuals formed the foundation of AIHP that resulted in a CEO search and hire, board creation and staff hire and recruitment of membership.  Then a wonderful group of volunteers completed the package. With CEO Rob Fulton and a strong board of directors at the helm and an experienced crew in support, the future looks very bright.

A smile of innkeepers

All Aboard! Queen Mary, Long Beach -San Pedro California

Speaking of helms and crews. These terms will come in very handy at the next summit. If you haven’t heard already, the 2017 Summit and Marketplace’s location will be on the solid foundation (docked in Long Beach) on the original Queen Mary in Long Beach CA. CABBI (California Association of Boutique and Breakfast Inns) and Select Registry have come on board as partners with AIHP for this conference. Forging relationships like these make all of us stronger.

Mark your calendars Knowledge Sharing Summit, Marketplace & InnSpire Conference January 29 – February 1

More smiles to come and…

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

A smile of innkeepers

The B&B Team-most of us- adding to the smiles!

B&Bs for Vets – Our Industry’s Way of Saying ‘Thank You’

October 6th, 2015 by Janet Wolf

B&Bs for Vets

Gillum House B&B Veterans Day 2014

This past weekend Rick and I went to a Peter and Paul concert. They are still on tour, unfortunately without Mary, but still sounding strong and with the same strong message delivered in their songs. When it came time to sing ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’, written by John Denver in 1966 which later became a hit by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1969, Peter gave a little background story which I was unaware of. He said that the song came to be associated with soldiers leaving for Vietnam. Think about this when you read the beginning lyrics.

All my bags are packed I’m ready to go

I’m standin’ here outside your door

I hate to wake you up to say goodbye

But the dawn is breakin’ It’s early morn

The taxi’s waitin’ He’s blowin’ his horn

Already I’m so lonesome I could die

Leaving on a jet plane

Makes you think about the song a bit differently. This made me recall a story Kathleen Panek told me about her first veteran guests she welcomed to her Inn, the Gillum House B&B. She and some of her fellow West Virginian B&Bs started the grass roots B&B’s for Vets program over five years ago. From Kathleen:

“Early on in the B&Bs for Vets program (before it went viral), as I was showing my Vet and his wife the room, I told her what this program was all about – to me. I told her that this was a way to not only say thank you to our Military and Veterans, but to thank the unsung heroes, the person no one ever thinks of to thank you to – HER.”

She went on to say:

”This is my way of saying thank you to YOU. The spouse/partner is the one who takes care of everything while their soldier is on TDY or deployment. YOU are the one taking care of kids, house, bills, school, sports, the animals, taking out the garbage and everything else and the whole time, keeping a smile on your face so your soldier does not worry about anything other than staying alive and coming home. And when it comes time to move to the next assignment, YOU are the one who packs up, stops utilities, starts them in the next place, gets the kids registered in school, and deals with the kids up-rooting issues. So this is for you as much as it is for him.”

“When I finished, my Vet had tears in his eyes and was thanking me for telling her that. He said he had been telling her how much he appreciated all she had done and it was so good to have someone else tell her.”

Now the time has come to leave you

One more time Let me kiss you

Then close your eyes I’ll be on my way

Dream about the days to come

When I won’t have to leave alone

About the times, I won’t have to say

Oh, kiss me and smile for me

Tell me that you’ll wait for me

Hold me like you’ll never let me go

‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane

Don’t know when I’ll be back again

Oh babe, I hate to go

The B&B’s for Vets program is our industry’s way of saying, “thank you for your service.” But also a way of saying, “thank you BOTH for your sacrifice as a couple and a family”. Innkeepers have so much to offer and what a great opportunity to give something back.

Hope you have signed up and joined your peer innkeepers.  And for all the innkeepers who have been giving over the past years, I would love to have you share some of your stories on B&Bs for Vets Facebook.
Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

A Better Way to Attend the PAII Innkeeping Conference and Trade Show

December 31st, 2013 by Janet Wolf

PAII live business conference

2014 PAII Innkeeping Conference and Trade Show

Found a good article titled ‘5 Reasons to Attend Live Business Conferences’. Some great tips to remind us all why it is a good and healthy business choice to attend a live business conference. A great way to start the New Year!

Here is my spin on these tips.

1. Learn. The opportunity for education is incredible. There are some great online webinars that PAII and others make available. But the opportunity to get your face away from your computer screen and connect face-to-face at a live business conference. Priceless. See, feel, touch and absorb. Be a sponge!

2. Networking. With your fellow innkeepers which is most valuable, but also connecting with vendors. Building relationships with them that will be ongoing throughout your career. It is not only the product that fits your business brand, it is also the confidence you have for the people who represent the product. Find vendors that you connect with on an emotional level, the product and the people.

The B&B Team at live business conference

No better place to meet Face to Face

3. Discover your strengths and weaknesses. Networking with your peer innkeepers can help you discover what other innkeepers are doing well. Gather information on what you see as their strengths and incorporate them into your business. You can also pick up on mistakes that innkeepers have made and file them away, making sure you don’t make the same mistakes.

4. Be open minded. When you decide to attend you are probably already in a learning and networking mode. Keep that attitude throughout the conference. Be that sponge.

5. You are taking a break from your day to day innkeeping routine. That is reason enough to attend! The activity and buzz of a well-run conference can stimulate and ‘can help you spark your creativity, develop new ideas and think in innovative ways.’ One of the first tips Rick and I got as newbie innkeepers at our first conference was… if you come away with just one idea to stimulate and ultimately improve your business, it is worth the trip.

Conclusion and final advice from the author.

“If you invest the time and money to attend a live event that offers value for your small business, you can almost guarantee that you will return home with new tools, valuable contacts and a renewed approach that will help you manage and grow your business better than before.”

If you can embrace all these 5 tips you will be on the road to improving your business. Just one idea! But I bet you will come back with more. The B&B Team will be there, stop by our booth. We love sponges!

6. I forgot there is another reason. You get to go to Charleston, South Carolina.

Charleston SC location for PAII live business conference

Beautiful Charleston, South Carolina

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf


PAII Innkeeping Conference and Trade Show of Shows

January 21st, 2013 by Janet Wolf


The PAII ‘Rat Packer’ Staff


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


V is for B&B’s for Vets

August 14th, 2012 by Janet Wolf

As many of you already know, over the past few years on Veterans Day, B&B’s and Inns across the US have offered active and retired veterans free lodging for one night. This was started a few years ago as a grass roots program by an innkeeper in West Virginia that has taken off. 2012 should be a zenith year with PAII taking the lead with listing all participating properties on the ‘Better Way to Stay’ website.

Kristie Rosset, the new Chair of the PAII Board of Directors recently commented on the PAII Forum:

“B&B for Vets, is an ever-evolving process. The BWTS campaign is ever-evolving, with new video recently filmed across North America to highlight the diversity of the B&B experience. Where we are today is not the final product–just like our inns. We keep striving to improve and grow!”

Striving to improve by reaching out and connecting to more and more vets each year, thanking them for their service, one inn at a time, doing what innkeepers do best, providing comfort and service with a smile to those folks who really deserve acknowledgment for their service and sacrifice.

Here is a brief story of one vet The B&B Team is proud to be ‘connected’ with.

“I joined the Air Force in my mid-twenties. I was active duty Air Force from 1984 to 1988 and the Air Force Reserve Component from 1988 to 2007. I was on active duty orders from 2002 to 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, assigned to Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. I was instrumental in the development and implementation of Northern Command and in support of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, pre- during and post landfall. During my time with NORTHCOM, I was responsible for numerous officers; their schedules, travel arrangements, lodging, orders and travel vouchers. During the hurricanes, I was responsible for standing up the command post and the outreach of hundreds of local, state, federal and international personnel. During my military career, I have coordinated hundreds of ceremonies and been responsible for coordinating meetings on the commander’s behalf. Among all the things I did in the military I also got to travel to many places around the world.”

Before I reveal who this ‘mystery’ vet is I would like to share a quote. For those of you who follow my blogs, you know I love quotes!

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heros and she-roes!” Maya Angelou

Well our ‘she-roe’s” name is Donna Pearce, new innkeeper of  15 days of the Admiral Peary Inn in Fryeburg Maine.

After retiring from the Air Force to early 2012, Donna’s story continues.

“One weekend I stayed at an inn in Maine and fell in love. Drove to their broker’s office in Kennebunk and met Rick Wolf. I had him put a letter of intent on the property the next day. After negotiating back and forth, the deal was made. UNTIL, a higher bid with no contingencies (like selling my house in Colorado!) was accepted. I sure was disappointed but could not blame the owners one bit. So Rick started searching for me and working with me on different aspects of owning and operating a bed and breakfast. The consultant extraordinaire that he is taught me a lot in a short time. He discovered a place that had been on the market for quite some time and called me. I saw the Admiral Peary House the first time in March 2012. A mere two months later I passed papers on the property and spent my first night in my new inn! Since then I have had several family members and friends, old and new, help with making the inn mine. We took down wallpaper, ripped up carpet, laid new floor, moved furniture around, painted, and tweaked. On August 1st I was issued my license by the state of Maine to open the Admiral Peary Inn. Oh and I must tell you, it is seven rooms, my own living quarters, HUGE kitchen and guest dining area, two acres of land (great for my VERY dog friendly inn), formal dining room, formal living room, great room, game room, three season porch, two decks and a library and a mile from the Saco River.”

So you think Donna will offer free nights at her B&B for Vets on Veterans Day? You bet. She also offers like many innkeepers, specials for vets throughout the year. We love Donna’s story and wish her the best in her efforts to strive, improve and grow as new innkeeper and ‘she-roe’ at the Admiral Peary Inn.

Thanks for listening

Janet Wolf


Donna and Friends

P is for PAII Innkeeping Conference and Trade Show

December 20th, 2011 by Janet Wolf

In case you haven’t heard 2012 is just around the corner and the PAII Innkeeping Conference and Trade Show in Little Rock, AR. January 23-26. The B&B Team is really looking forward to attending in Little Rock, a town I for one have never been to. The Peabody Hotel looks like a fun place also, love the ducks!

Show Time

As innkeepers and currently as partners with The B&B Team, we have attended dozens of conferences. The PAII conferences became an important part of Rick and my Innkeeping life. Keeping up with the latest trends and implementing them into our business was probably the most important aspect but meeting and networking with innkeepers from far and wide as well as loyal PAII vendors was and is today equally important. Another plus with conference attendance is just plain fun! Never underestimate the importance of fun.

We have asked ourselves over the years why more innkeepers don’t attend. We know there may be some legitimate reasons for not attending every conference but I believe way too many innkeepers just don’t see the benefits of professional conferences. Or maybe they don’t want to have fun!

The B&B Team and Friends

So…for those naysayers out there let me try to change your outlook.

  •         Return on Investment – Yes there is expense, you can do the math. But if you view it as an investment in the future growth of your Inn, the return on this investment can be a huge benefit. View the money spent as a marketing expense not as an expensive trip.
  •        Networking – Where else can you find so many industry contacts and friends under one roof who face the same issues you do? These contacts, innkeepers as well as vendors and PAII staff may become lifelong friends and great sources for information and advice.
  •      Education, Education, Education – The conference sessions will be led by industry experts and experienced innkeepers. The opening day sessions are led by inspiring keynote speakers.  Here is the opportunity to take the pulse of what is happening in our world. Your benefit is real practical professional development for three action packed days.
  •      Vendor Contacts – The conference will showcase vendors with the tools, supplies and amenities you can use or evaluate for future use.  You have the opportunity to compare the values of competing vendors, evaluate their wares, hands on and face to face.  Where else can you do this?
  •      Take a Break – Away from your daily routine. This can be refreshing and energizing and invigorate your calling to innkeeping! An opportunity to reflect, look at the bigger picture and go outside the box (Inn) and explore.
  •      Give and Share – Sharing your thoughts and experiences (war stories!) with others is beneficial to your innkeeping soul. You become aware that you are not alone. A professional conference is also an excellent opportunity to give back. You can become a mentor to aspiring or new innkeepers, become a session introducer, participate on a panel discussion or create and present your own workshop/session.

Networking, education, making friends, R & R, giving and sharing may be hard to quantify on an expense sheet but to our way of thinking these are benefits that far outweigh dollars and cents. And the fun you will have, priceless!

An Innkeeping Conference to Remember

January 14th, 2011 by Scott Bushnell

It’s early Friday morning and the PAII Innkeeping Conference and Trade Show just ended with a spectacular finale.  The Better Way to Stay effort raised about $100,000 from donations, a silent auction, raffle, auction of two vacations, and three year commitments from a number of sources including The B&B Team®.  The target of this creative new marketing program is to create new awareness for the American traveler.  When TripAdvisor polled a number of potential travelers as to why they do not book at a B&B, the typical answer was “We didn’t even think of it as an alternative”.  With creative, funny, and “edgy” (as Jay Karen put it) promotional features, this effort will change that traveler perspective.  And the hundreds of innkeepers and vendors at this conference BELIEVE it and recognize the VALUE to the B&B industry.  Thanks to all who contributed and for having the vision of what a remarkable and effective marketing effort this will be for the industry.

Here are a few highlights and photos from the conference. 

The B&B Team® sponsored the Aspiring Innkeeper Seminar to continue to develop that next generation of innkeepers.  Here Marilyn Bushnell of The B&B Team®,  Bushnell & Bushnell Services (right), leads one of the roundtable discussions about Staffing the Inn.  Peter Scherman, Rick and Jan Wolf, and I all had key parts in the session.  We had a total of 18 aspiring innkeepers…a bit disappointing over some of the numbers we have had in the past…but a group filled with enthusiasm and a real commitment to realize their dreams of inn ownership.

The Secrets of Packaging Success, Simplified, was a popular session presented by The B&B Team® and Joe Veneto, The Opportunity Guy, as innkeepers learned to differentiate their packaging offerings to gain competitive advantage in their marketing region.  Filled with classroom activities and hands on exercises, a trademark of the Joe Veneto style, the attendees left the workshop with an actionable plan to improve the sustainable results of their businesses.

Creative packaging with area attracti0ns, marketed effectively on your website and other media outlets, can increase the length of a guest’s stay…but more importantly…fulfills the total guest experience and links that memorable stay with YOUR inn.  That is a key to generating repeat guests.

The trade show at the conference was a success as well as scores of vendors displayed their products and services useful to innkeepers.  Large periods of time during the conference allowed in depth discussions and discoveries, including one-on-one intensive for website planning, visits with the vendors of bedding, vacuums, pottery and artwork, and photography.  Everything from A to Z!  The trade show was a hit with the innkeepers as they sought out those products and services useful to their success.

Overall…by far one of the BEST conferences ever.  If you were able to attend, please let us know your favorite or most useful learnings at the conference.  If you were unable to attend, the 2012 conference will be in Little Rock, Arkansas, next January.  You don’t want to miss out!

Marilyn and I had the privilege and opportunity to serve on the conference staff again this year and look forward to serving the industry again next January.


PAII Conference 2011

January 13th, 2011 by Peter Scherman

What a conference this was! Despite terrible weather that prevented some from getting to Charleston, the turnout was excellent. The B&B Team®, like all the vendors, found it to be a very successful show.

A highlight for Rick and myself was at a session we presented called, “Thrive, Make More Money in 2011.” In a room set up for 50, we had to bring in extra chairs and had folks sitting on the floor and behind the podium for over 75 with many listening from the halls. Do you think they wanted to get some money-making tips?

We discussed ideas to raise room rates and occupancy by updating the rooms themselves, providing today’s guests with the services and amenities they want, and communicating with them using the tools and vehicles that they prefer. We can almost hear the credit card machines in a few inns going “Ka-ching!” Thanks to all who attended.

One of the vendors we know, having heard about the throngs in the hallway, pulled us aside the next day and said, “You know, it’s really not appropriate to show porno films at a PAII conference!” We couldn’t agree more!

A Better Way To Stay got a HUGE boost here, as PAII‘s CEO Jay Karen offered to have his beard shaved if they could raise $35,000 by the end of the conference. Well, in an effort headed by Twyla Sickmiller and supported by many volunteers and the innkeepers, vendors, and associations who contributed, PAII raised nearly $100,000! The campaign is aimed at raising awareness among the general population about bed and breakfasts as a “better way to stay” when traveling. Needless to say, Jay got a “beard-cut” in front of 500 diners today.  The B&B Team® as a group, including Scott and Marilyn Bushnell of The B&B Team® Bushnell & Bushnell, Inc., have committed to donating $3,000 a year toward the campaign. We are pleased to be a small part of a big effort.

There were many other events worth discussing, but enough for now. How did YOU like the conference? Weren’t here? You missed a great event. Join PAII for a mere $89.00, and next year come to the greatest Innkeeping Show on Earth!


The Battle of the Bulge and Innkeeping

December 16th, 2010 by Scott Bushnell

I don’t mean that spare tire around my waist!  It was 66 years ago today,December 16, 1944,  that the German offensive into the Ardennes Forest of Belgium and Luxembourg, to recapture Antwerp, was repelled by American and British forces.     

I had the opportunity to visit the reunion of the Veterans of The Battle of the Bulge, South New Jersey Chapter,  at

Capt. Bill Kelly and Cmdr. Mike Senecal (USCG Training Facility) and Ed Steinberg and Marty Walker (veteran of the Battle of the Bulge)

the Carroll Villa Hotel in Cape May, NJ.  Mark Kulkowitz, owner and operator of the inn, invites the veterans…all of them pushing 90, to share their stories and to meet and greet family and friends of these soldiers of the Greatest Generation.

Combat soldiers do not talk much about their combat experiences…emotionally charged and often with memories of lost friends and misery.  But the South Jersey chapter has taken on the mission of visiting school children and museums to share their stories.  As Gus Epple, Chapter president put it, “If you don’t tell your story…who will?”

That comment stuck with me… “If you don’t tell your story…who will?”

As Peter Scherman stated in the last blog posting, “Voila! It’s all about perspective and the choice of words”.  If you don’t tell your story…who will?  Many inns are slowing down for the season which offers an excellent opportunity to get into your website, your policies, and marketing materials to ascertain how they can better tell your story. 

  • Are you still using a tri-fold brochure that you printed out yourself?
  • Could your website benefit from professional photography?  (Guests don’t just want to see a photo of the bed)
  • Do you have restrictive signs hanging around the inn that can be reworded (or removed)?  They usually send messages that may be counter to your story of hospitality.
  • Does your staff represent your story when you are not around?  Are you sure?  Training is critical.
  • Does your breakfast “fit” the character and style of your inn?  It’s your biggest marketing story.

Telling your story and having a brand consistency woven throughout your marketing plan is a lesson we can all learn from the veterans of the Battle of the Bulge.      Scott

A Veteran’s Boat-Load of Thank You’s to Caring Innkeepers

October 7th, 2010 by Scott Bushnell

I was prompted by Jay Karen’s posting in PAII’s monthly Innkeeping Newletter last week (Thanks, Jay!) about an inn’s thoughtful participation in the BnB’s for Vets program, a West Virginia B&B Association initiative championed and promoted by Kathleen Panek (Great effort, Kathleen, thank you) at Gillum House B&B in WV.

In my own blog posting of July 16, “Please Touch and Go…and an Innkeeper’s Request”, I sought innkeepers who

The USAF Thunderbirds at the Ocean City Air Show

regularly give discounts or special packages to veterans as a matter of routine patriotism and thankfulness.  I received a number of responses and would like to mention them here (follow the links to see their offer) as my thank you to each of them for their thoughtfulness:

There are hundreds of inns across this nation participating in such programs.  Click here for the list of inns participating in the BnBs for Vets program…better yet…click here and sign up to participate!

We all a great deal of gratitude to these American heroes.  Thank you to all of the caring innkeepers that participate.

Big question for everybody:  How do you get the word out to veterans about your offer?  Putting it on your website is great, but is anybody doing other channels of marketing such as contacting local VA offices or through military support organizations such as USO, the Wounded Warrior Program, or your local military base?  Let us know your actions! Scott