Inn Consultants and Brokers Since 1993

The B&B Team

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


Archive for the ‘Packaging’ Category

K is for the 5 Keys to a Strong Business at your Bed and Breakfast

February 28th, 2012 by Scott Bushnell

Marilyn and I had the good fortune this past weekend to work with 9 excited aspiring innkeepers at our A Better Way to Learn InnkeepingTM  seminar held at the Wayside Inn B&B in Ellicott City, Maryland.  What a great group!  We laughed and networked with Bill and Charlotte Schmickle of the Flag House in Annapolis but the real focus was on the KEYS to a strong business at your inn.

  1. Location, Location, Location
  2. Understanding WHO will be coming to your inn
  3. Wrapping your inn AROUND those guests
  4. Think Sunday-Thursday
  5. Being the Best

Each of these Keys can be put on a continuum numbered, say, from 1-10 with 10 being the strongest.  Let’s look at each one:

  1. Location, Location, Location:  This has been the buzzword for any real estate purchase but for a Bed & Breakfast EACH word has a separate meaning:  The first definition is the Macro-location…is the inn located near major metropolitan areas from which to pull guests?  The more population close at hand (gas is getting more expensive!), the higher on the continuum the rating.  For the Wayside Inn, being located nicely in the Baltimore-DC corridor, this inn ranks high on this Location…perhaps a 9.  The second definition of Location includes the area attractions in that region which will draw guests to the area.  And the broader the diversity of attractions (historical, antiquing, entertainment, soft adventures, etc.), the higher the likelihood of drawing folks out of the nearby metropolitan populations.  The third definition of Location is the Inn itself…its attractive location in the town, its curb appeal and its accessibility.
  2. The second KEY is identifying the guests who will be coming to those area attractions…and what their needs would be.  If the attraction is an amusement park or college, children will be coming.  If there are businesses in the area, corporate travelers have particular needs as well.
  3. Wrapping your Inn around those guests’ needs is the next KEY.  Room features, amenities and services must satisfy the needs of those identified guests.  Business travelers need desks, Wi-Fi, multiple outlets, a forgiving cancellation policy, early breakfasts, and NO advanced deposits.
  4. The fourth KEY can often be a difficult one…Thinking Sunday through Thursday.  Any inn can fill up on the weekend, but that is only 28% of the week…an occupancy not high enough to pay all the bills.  Marketing to corporate guests, elder-travelers, quilting and scrap booking groups, or offering discounts to weekenders to encourage them to stay an extra day or two becomes a high priority targeted activity.
  5. Being the Best.  This KEY is what will keep your parking lot full while the inn across the street wonders how you do it.  Investigate what the competition is doing (and NOT doing!) and Beat Them!  Have the best breakfast in town, offer a welcoming warmth that guests enjoy, and make their experience complete.

This dynamic group of aspiring innkeepers heard this important message and are currently defining the profiles of the inns that are RIGHT for them.  Congratulations to all of them as they continue their journey into the world of inn ownership!      Scott


The Packaging Guys

November 5th, 2010 by Peter Scherman

Innkeepers know that packaging is an indispensable part of marketing. Effective packages help extend the average stay, encourage guests to return for multiple visits, help protect rates, and foster long term relationships.

In preparation for the upcoming PAII New England regional Conference, Joe Veneto, “The Opportunity Guy,” and Peter Scherman and Rick Wolf of The B&B Team met at the world headquarters of Opportunities Unlimited to plan the pre-conference session on packaging. In this short video, they are discussing the “4 T’s,” themes, threads, trends, and traditions of travel packages.

Want to know more about how to create effective packages? Join The B&B Team and The Opportunity Guy at pre-conference sessions in Nashua this month and Charleston in January, 2011. For details, visit The Innkeeping Show!

Travel Packaging-Wrap Up What You Do Best

October 26th, 2010 by Janet Wolf

Here in Kennebunkport we have a local family owned restaurant Alisson’s that runs a great business and has been doing it for about 30 years. When we have our Aspiring Innkeeper Seminars here in the Port we always treat our attendees to dinner on Friday to kick off our seminar. Alisson’s serves the locals and tourists alike with casual dining fare, great service and another important part, fun! They wrap up all three of these important components and do a fabulous job packaging what they do best.

As an example their October calendar offers live music on Wednesday nights and very reasonably priced comfort food specials. Their Tuesday nights have become very popular, packaging ‘Pub Team Trivia’ and $9.95 Prime Rib. Every mid-week night has a reason to go there. They continue to create new value added packages to keep things new and fresh and customers coming through the door.

There are many B&B’s out there that also do a fabulous job of packaging. One example of a B&B that does an unusually good job is the Munro House Bed & Breakfast and Spa in Jonesville, Michigan. Innkeepers Lori and Mike Venturini have created a wide variety of packages that wrap up what they do best. Just like Alisson’s, they have created a package for ‘any day of the week’.

In addition there are many of you out there that want to do more packaging but may feel paralyzed at the thought of where to start. Many of you also may feel  you would like to increase the number of packages you offer or do a better job of it. Help is on the way! The B&B Team and Joe Veneto, ‘The Opportunity Guy’, will be presenting two PAII pre-conference sessions; The Secrets of Packaging Success, Simplified.

The first will be a half day session on Nov. 15 from 1 pm to 5 pm at the PAII New England Conference and Trade Show in Nashua, New Hampshire. The second will be at the PAII 2011 Innkeeping and Trade Show, a full day session from 9 am to 5 pm on January 10 in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. For those innkeepers out there who would like some help packaging ‘what you do best’ we hope you will be able to join us for either one of these sessions. You will come away loaded with information, ready to ‘wrap’ those packages, make more money and have fun along the way.

Janet Wolf

Strategic Partnerships, Lasting Friendships

February 1st, 2008 by Peter Scherman

Rick and I are just back from the Conference of the Carolinas in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Hosted by the South Carolina Bed & Breakfast Association (SCBBA) and North Carolina Bed & Breakfasts and Inns (NCBBI) it was three day gathering of innkeepers, vendors, and aspiring innkeepers to learn, network, and have fun. We certainly had fun, but we also learned and shared a lot.

Rick Wolf addressed a group about "Inn Branding, Market Positioning, and the i.guest." I spoke to another group on a topic called "Your Inn’s Value and the i.guest." We continue to focus on the importance of recognizing the contemporary traveler. Together with Rick Newman of Commercial Capital Network, a lender who focuses on the bed and breakfast industry, we spoke about the importance of a standard, industry-specific chart of accounts both for tracking your business and for obtaining a loan or refinancing.

The keynote speaker at the conference was Berkeley Young of Young Strategies and Randall Travel Marketing who talked about travel trends for 2008. The consensus is that travel expenditures will increase 6-8% in 2008 with leisure travel outstripping business travel. Not surprisingly, boomers will dominate the market. ADR (average daily rate) and RevPAR (revenue per available room) are both up, which, as Jay Karen from PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International) pointed out, is good for the bottom line. Occupancy was flat in 2007, due in part to increased capacity nationwide.

Berkeley talked about some of the things we at The B&B Team have been discussing on this blog: time poverty, the Internet as the #1 source for travel planning, and the new consumer, whom he calls "transumers." The "transumer" is catered to in a variety of ways from malls in airports, retail sales generated from lodging rooms, to visitor centers becoming "heritage centers" to cater to the demand for education in travel.

But, the bottom line takeaway from Berkeley Young was that innkeepers need to IDENTIFY their guests. We’ve been saying this, and he talked about researching your guests to learn who they are. We are pleased that Berkeley Young and Young Strategies have decided to form a strategic partnership with The B&B Team to bring some of the high level, comprehensive research that they have been doing for years down to the level of smaller, unique lodging properties. Stay tuned for more about this exciting venture!


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