“With a long-term and caring business relationship, Dana expertly guided our B&B buying process from dreaming to consideration to researching/shopping to negotiation to ownership and – even now – to operation. Even as we distantly consider our end-game exit strategy, Dana figures into those thoughts too. I easily write that without Dana, I don’t know if we ever would have progressed beyond the dreaming stage. Dana eased our acquisition of Coach Stop even more by being the disclosed dual agent (DDA) for the transaction. The admittedly complicated transaction was greatly eased by the close DDA relationship shared amongst Dana, the previous owner and us. I believe the DDA arrangement overwhelmingly contributed to our win-win-win outcome. If you are considering any aspect of the B&B acquisition or ownership process, you owe yourself a contact with Dana Moos! You’ll be happy to did.”
-Jim Brown, Coach Stop Inn, Bar Harbor, ME
July 18th, 2017 by insideout
“Dear B&B Team! THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for a wonderful, informative, impacting and inspiring weekend! You are truly a talented, successful and AMAZING team. I learned so much from your seminar and feel prepared to take on some very ambitious goals. You covered so much in such a short amount of time…I was impressed!!!! I am sooooooooooooooooo glad I met you and look forward to continuing our relationship! You have inspired me to go for my dreams! My vision of a B&B had been in my head for 5 years! Time to get it out and make it a reality!!”
– Lisa-Marie from Massachusetts
July 18th, 2017 by insideout
“Peter, thank you again for taking your time to talk with me and my wife today. I know very well how valuable time is, and you setting aside as much to talk to someone under qualified to make the purchase, is above and beyond. Your insight was very valuable– you were able to paint a very realistic picture of the goals we need to meet to make purchasing a B&B a reality.” -Jason from Georgia
July 17th, 2017 by Janet Wolf
In our ‘Better Way to Learn Innkeeping’ seminars for aspiring innkeepers we talk about branding your inn. This can be confusing to innkeepers and aspiring innkeepers as to what that means and how to do it. Branding your B&B does not need to be difficult or confusing. It may just need one simple idea, but it must be authentic, and you must be passionate about it. Let us take a look at a branding concept that I believe can clarify the ‘how to do it’.
Hundreds of books on branding have been published for decades. A recent publication, Passion Branding: Harnessing the Power of Emotion to Build Strong Brands by Neill Duffy and Jo Hooper, takes an interesting approach to an old component to branding, the “emotional connection.”
“Centered on a passionate relationship between brand and consumer and the leverage of that passion in order to create value for all involved in the relationship.”
Relationships between you and your guests, (“brand and consumer”), is an important part of hospitality. Maybe the most important. Creating that value to “all involved in the relationship” between you and your guests is key.
Here a two examples Scott and Marilyn Bushnell, affiliates of The B&B Team, shared with me.
- Jacob-Rohrbach Inn, Sharpsburg, MD: We worked with Amy and Chris Vincent when they purchased the inn near the Antietam Battlefield in 2015. Chris is an avid Civil War buff and their search for an inn near a battlefield brought them to Sharpsburg. He is now a licensed battlefield guide and sponsors the Civil War Summer Lecture Series bringing guests to the Inn and Sharpsburg. They have turned passion and personal interest into a growing business.
- Jay and Gaylen Matlock own Carriage Corner B&B in Intercourse, PA. We worked with them in 2016 as they moved from Washington state to the hub of Amish activities…Lancaster County. Gaylen brought her love of sewing to the Inn and now conducts Sew Camps retreats at the Inn, bringing like-minded enthusiasts to the Inn for sewing interaction and laughing as well as visits to local fabric and supply stores.
“These are innkeepers who have taken their passions and are using them to build their brand…and enjoy exercising those passions and building business at the same time. Word of Mouth marketing grows with these experiences and since they are the passions of the innkeepers, there is “staying power” for the long-term. They are not just “oh, we tried that once and it didn’t work” ideas. If it is of personal interest, it will have longevity and build a branding ‘personality’ to the inn.”
Thank you Marilyn and Scott.
Another key point on Passion Branding was to “align with an activity that one’s target customers are passionate about.” These innkeepers are doing just that, and it is not complicated or confusing! Passion is catching, in the most positive way. It creates an emotional connection with your guests that is both powerful and long-term. Can you spell repeat guests?
Thanks for Listening,
July 4th, 2017 by Janet Wolf
241 years ago today, July 4th, just after the Declaration of Independence had been adopted by the Congress earlier that day, a committee took the manuscript document, possibly Thomas Jefferson’s “fair copy” of his rough draft, to printer John Dunlap. Could it have been Thomas Jefferson himself who took his handwritten copy to Dunlap’s print shop? I like to think that it may have been.
Printer John Dunlap’s shop was located a few blocks from the State House (now Independence Hall). It is surmised he worked through the night printing a number of copies (possibly 200). These copies, known as the “Dunlap Broadsides” is the version that spread the Declaration of Independence to the rest of the world.
Just picture in your mind Thomas Jefferson walking down the streets of Philadelphia in the twilight hours of July 4th with his ‘fair copy’ version of the document in hand. He then walks through the door of Dunlap’s shop, most likely a bell on the door rings to announce his presence. Jefferson hands the document to John Dunlap. The printer works through the night by lamplight…typeset, print.
The rest as they say is history. Our history. These copies set into motion the start of our nation, our independence.
It wasn’t until August that the signing of the famous engrossed parchment copy that we all can picture (with the iconic large John Hancock signature) took place. The famous painting by Trumbull depicts the Committee of Five, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman and Thomas Jefferson. Those five took on the task of composing the document. Jefferson alone took on the task of writing it.
In many of my blogs I link to articles and blogs that I believe are worth a read. Here is a link to the Declaration of Independence. Definitely worth a read. I think you will hear the power of persuasion in Jefferson’s words. I think you will hear the clear intelligent use of language from our five forefathers who drafted the declaration. I think you will hear words that well-define the resolve for separation.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Powerful words to live by.
Take a second to print a copy. 241 years later all we need to do is move an arrow and click print. Ol’ John Dunlap would be so impressed.
Thanks for Listening,
June 27th, 2017 by Janet Wolf
Ever thought of doing Pop-Up dinners at your bed and breakfast? If you love fun food experiences, this is a great way to express that love. It is also another way to expose your Inn to a wider audience. In addition it is an opportunity to invite your community, business friends, and locals to your property. A great way to connect.
Once again, I found a great source for information. From Eventbrite:
“Pop-up dinners are one-time food events that offer guests a taste of something different. Whether it’s an unexpected location, a personal interaction with the chef, or a unique menu or theme, these events cater to the ‘Experiential Diner’ — who craves not just an amazing meal, but a new and exciting dining experience.”
The “unexpected location” could be your Inn! The Inn at English Meadows in Kennebunk, Maine started doing Pop-Up dinners this year.
They have grown in popularity and are now offering them monthly. Featuring sous chefs from your favorite restaurants is a great way to promote local chefs. They have the opportunity to create their own menus, do their own thing. A win-win collaboration.
“There are so many chefs out there — they have their restaurants, their day jobs, but they’re looking for something more. That’s what the pop-up culture offers them. They are able to take over someone’s space for only a few hours and convert it into their own identity. It’s not just about the food, it’s about creating a memorable experience for the guests.” Chef Melissa King, Top Chef Season 12
Eventbrite has a free download guide that gives you some good tips for pricing, promotion and general industry tips. Worth downloading to get some good insight.
Pop-Ups are one of the fastest growing food trends, experiencing an 82% growth.
And don’t forget the cocktails!
“Locally made bitters, local honey, simple syrup, infusion kits, Mule Mugs or antique cocktail glasses.” Curate Maine.
I’ll drink to that!
There are many articles and blogs out there with tips on taking good food photos with your I Phone. Take a look at this one from New York Times. 11 Way to Take a Better Food Photo on Instagram.
Some advice before you start. Find out IF you can offer expanded food service like a Pop-Up at your Inn. Remember, assume nothing and ask everything when it comes to regulations.
Thanks for Listening,
June 22nd, 2017 by Janet Wolf
“…according to eMarketer’s latest forecast on digital and mobile travel. This year, digital travel sales in the US will reach $189.62 billion, 40.0% of which will come from mobile devices.”
Now not all of those billions are room rentals. This includes airlines, cruises, all travel related bookings, including AirBnB.
More stats for those who love this stuff:
“US mobile travel sales will total $75.85 billion in 2017, up 16.7% over last year. On the flip side, desktop and laptop travel sales will decline 1.6% this year to $113.77 billion.”
What does this mean for our industry? If your website is not responsive, you run the risk of being deemed irrelevant. Ouch!
“Google holds nearly 70% of search market share, so when Google talks, we listen. Google states that responsive web design (RWD) is its recommended mobile configuration and an industry best practice. Google prefers RWD because content that lives on one website and one URL is much easier for users to share, interact with, and link to than content that lives on a separate mobile site. It also makes managing your site and SEO easier, as you have one site to maintain and market.” InsideOut Solutions.
Responsive website design has been a ‘must do’ upgrade for a while. Nothing new but…with the newest stats like the 16.7% increase in mobile bookings, the importance of a good responsive site just keeps growing.
“It’s important to have a responsive website, one that can adapt to screens of any resolution, for several reasons. The most obvious reason is that it allows guests who found your inn on their mobile device or tablet to easily navigate your website. If they can navigate your site, they will stay on your website longer. They will learn more about your accommodations and will be more likely to make a reservation.” Q4Launch
The most important point I want to make in this post going forward is: GO WITH WEBMASTERS WHO KNOW THE LODGING INDUSTRY. I know I just shouted at you, no apology, because this is important!
“Keep in mind, “Local” webmasters who are not well-versed in the Lodging industry simply do not have the knowledge to build a Website and include all the necessary parts required to make it into a successful online presence.” Acorn Internet Services, Inc.
“We take a holistic approach to bed and breakfast marketing, but a key tool for success is a professionally designed website that converts “lookers into bookers.” White Stone Marketing
The folks I have quoted here know their stuff. They have all been working with and for our industry for quite a while (except for Q4, the newbies… but good!) They are all knowledgeable, dedicated and passionate about our industry as are we at The B&B Team.
You want your share of the $75.85 billion US travel sales in 2017. If you are not responsive your share will be miniscule. You want those lookers to become bookers but…if they can’t even look on a mobile device. Ouch!
Thanks for Listening,
June 13th, 2017 by Janet Wolf
Did you know The B&B Team conducts around 30 ‘Better Way to Learn Innkeeping’ Seminars annually? Many aspirers sign up to learn the “ins and outs” of starting a bed breakfast. In addition we also learn from them, something very important. Where do they want to live? Location WILL affect your business and lifestyle.
Is it in the country with some acreage?
Is it on the shore, beach or lake?
In a quiet country village?
Or…an urban setting?
Urban Bed & Breakfasts. Large cities or smaller metropolitan cites. Let’s take a look at some advantages.
- Can have higher occupancy rates. Why?
- Oodles of corporations that bring their travelers to town.
- Typically enjoy mid-week business travelers.
- Usually have colleges and universities…always magnets for parents, future student families, reunions and corporate guests working at the school.
- Colleges and universities build repeat guests for 4 years with each entering class.
- Less year-round occupancy volatility. Typically weather does not affect urban travel.
- Average Daily Rates (ADR) can typically be higher in a city. Why?
- Higher occupancy rates allow for effective revenue management practices.
Thank you Marilyn and Scott Bushnell, members of The B&B Team for their insights, cited above. As innkeepers (in their former life!) their Inn was located in a vibrant urban location.
“We realized that the value of multiple types of travelers would provide better occupancy, stronger income, and lower our risks in the marketplace. And, we had the personal conveniences of access to all that in town inns have to offer (dining, shopping, culture).”
Another feature is that they are often located in beautiful renovated in-town historic manses, homes where prominent families lived before suburban sprawl. In addition, it is not all cement and asphalt; there are often secret gardens and patios, even swimming pools.
Here are a few examples of successful urban Bed and Breakfasts The B&B Team is currently offering for sale.
- Cornerstone Bed & Breakfast, Philadelphia PA. Walk to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, fine dining and events. Yes…it’s urban!
- Located in University City adjacent to both the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel.
- Occupancy exceeds 70% (national average for B&Bs of this size is about 41%.
- ADR is over $190 (national average for B&Bs of this size is about $160).
The Cornerstone Inn is a beautiful 1865 Victorian ‘painted lady’ set on a quiet Philadelphia street among towering trees and other historic buildings. Highlights of the Inn include original architectural carpentry, original wood flooring and 7 glorious stained glass windows.
- A Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania Inn. 18 guest room Georgian Mansion Inn located in an historic neighborhood in Eastern PA.
- Near a world renowned liberal arts college. Includes all the advantages an urban property can offer.
- Occupancy and ADR plus complete financials are available to qualified buyers with a signed NDA.
An elegant Georgian mansion originally built in 1895. In 1986 the building was fully restored to its former glory and has welcomed guests ever since. Over the years it has evolved into what is now the stately eighteen-room Lehigh Valley urban Bed & Breakfast.
Take a look at The B&B Team’s additional Urban Bed & Breakfasts for sale offerings.
- Historic Mansion with 9 guest rooms in the middle of this dynamic city. A few blocks from Heinz Field, PNC Park, and Andy Warhol Museum. Urban neighborhood at it’s best.
- Amid dozens of diverse area attractions that bring visitors to town such as the Naval Academy, St. John’s College, city Dock with its showcase Harbor, the State Capital and surrounding businesses, plus boutique shopping, pubs and eclectic dining offerings that are ALL within a short walking distance. In the historic district of Annapolis.
Still interested? Follow the links and give us a call. We can help.
Thanks for Listening,
May 19th, 2017 by Janet Wolf
Beach Boys didn’t sing about it but Duluth was recently listed by Tasting Table as one of 11 Best Beach Towns in America. Yes, Duluth Minnesota on the North Shore of Lake Superior. There are sandy beaches complete with a picturesque lighthouse, piers and wind filled sails on blue waters. And surfers.
Along these shores they sing, ‘I wish they all could be Minnesota girls!’
You can imagine that Tasting Table (one of my new favorite websites) focuses on food and food travel. Besides the beaches, Duluth has some great food choices, innovative and fun.
When a man falls in love with smoking meats and fish, the result is Northern Waters Smokehaus. “Along with kippering and smoking fish, Northern Waters Smokehaus has continued to push the food envelope with a pioneering and award-winning charcuterie program and a variety of cured muscle meats and fresh sausages.” In 2016 a restaurant was added. Picnic on the beach with one of their smoked meat filled sandwiches? OK
Drive along the North Shore of Lake Superior between Duluth and Two Harbors and you will run across a “cozy building nestled behind a gorgeous garden filled with herbs, vegetables and fragrant flowers.” The place is the New Scenic Café. Located along the North Shore Scenic Drive, one of the most scenic roads in the country. Often called the All-American Road. The café’s menu looks exceptionally creative and scenic! You know you eat with your eyes first.
I am pleased that Duluth has been touted as a ‘beach town’ but if you stay at the A. G. Thomson House Bed and Breakfast you can learn about and discover the four season Duluth. The A. G. Thomson House is a beautiful stately Inn located in a quiet historic district neighborhood on a hill overlooking Lake Superior. Getting to know and experience Duluth is what it is all about at the A. G. Thomson!
The Duluth Experience is an incredible website that shows and tells it all. Experts lead tours of all kinds, outdoor adventures, indoor and up in the air. It was recently voted Outside Magazine’s best city to live in!
“Duluthians have a tenacious ‘make it happen’ attitude. One commenter on the Outside Magazine contest page stated, “you can’t be a wimp if you live here”.
“The city of 86,000 stretches for 26 miles along the westernmost tip of Lake Superior and has 6,834 acres of city parkland, 178 miles of wooded trails, and 16 designated trout streams.”
So what do tourists to Duluth want after all that activity? Ice Cream. It all comes back to food doesn’t it? At least in many of my blogs! Innkeeper at A. G. Thomson informed me that The Portland Malt Shoppe has lines around the block. How about a Hot Fudge Raspberry Malt and then a stroll on the Lake Walk!
Looking for Minnesota Inns for sale? Our Duluth Inn for sale listing is a wonderful choice which may work for you. The B&B Team can help you with your search here, right now! If you have any questions or even doubts about our services, please take a look at our testimonials page.
“Your insight was very valuable– you were able to paint a very realistic picture of the goals we need to meet to make purchasing a B&B a reality.”
Surfs Up! and…Thanks for Listening,
May 8th, 2017 by Janet Wolf
Pennsylvania has a sizable number of B&Bs. You may ask why? There are many reasons to travel to the ‘Welcome’ state. Pennsylvania-heritage tourism is widespread as well as the state’s dedication to historic preservation. The B&B Team has 10 properties for sale in the ‘Welcome’ state of Pennsylvania. In this writing I will focus on a selection of heritage destinations near a few of our current bed and breakfasts for sale in PA. More to follow in future blogs.
First let’s take a look at the definition of ‘heritage tourism’.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States defines heritage tourism as “traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past,” and “heritage tourism can include cultural, historic and natural resources.” Got it? Good. Here we go…
- Gettysburg National Military Park. 3.8 million Visitors per year. That is powerful. Touring trough the battle site is a very sobering and haunting experience. Using a Licensed Battlefield Guide, in my opinion, is essential. You can learn from these passionate and knowledgeable guides 10 times more than you learned from your High School history books! A visit to this National Park is on many bucket lists. Rick and I visited and took the guided tour, twice!
The Gaslight Inn is located in downtown Gettysburg. And the town is charming. I know that word is used way too much. But…it really is. Walk to everything downtown from the Inn. Guests love that.
- N.C. Wyeth Home & Studio, Chadds Ford in the Brandywine Valley. “Everything in Chadds Ford is linked to the past.” Makes sense, the town was established in 1684. The rolling hills are dotted with well-preserved buildings. Many have become museums like the artist N.C. Wyeth Home & Studio. The location of the home and museum overlooking the valley is glorious. Touring this heritage treasure tells a story of ‘once upon a time’ in the valley. Thanks to excellent preservation, time stands still. This is on my bucket list.
Pennsbury Inn is located in Chadds Ford on eight acres of landscaped grounds and flower gardens bordered by woodland trails. The building, built in 1714, is a beautiful example of colonial American architecture. Just across the road is Longwood Gardens.
- Longwood Gardens. Over a million visitors per year. “The Gardens are a living expression of all that our founder, Pierre S. du Pont, found inspiring, meaningful, and beautiful. From the intricate fountain systems to the meticulous gardens to the architectural grandeur, awe-inspiring discoveries await at every turn.” Open year round and dedicated to horticulture, education and the arts.
- Fallingwater House. Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece is located in southwest Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands and 90 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. “Why is it so famous? It’s a house that doesn’t even appear to stand on solid ground, but instead stretches out over a 30’ waterfall. It captured everyone’s imagination when it was on the cover of Time magazine in 1938.” A true heritage destination with a glimpse into Wright’s genius.
Inn at Watson’s Choice is located in Uniontown in the Laurel Highlands. The inn is comprised of multiple historic and contemporary buildings situated on 41 acres of rolling countryside. Innkeepers have put together a very complete Tourist Guide Book with over 100 places to visit. Fantastic!
I have said this over and over, but the more I research areas of our beautiful country, the more I am amazed at the amount of fascinating places to discover. That is why staying at a bed and breakfast with local experienced innkeepers is so meaningful.
Heritage tourism is thriving in Pennsylvania. If owning an Inn and living the innkeeping lifestyle is something that you are seriously considering, take a look at our Pennsylvania bed and breakfasts for sale.
The B&B Team® can help! We invite you to start your search for bed and breakfasts for sale in Pennsylvania with us. There may be other inns for sale in Pennsylvania we are aware of. Learn how to get in touch with a specialist in finding Pennsylvania inns just right for you.
The B&B Team and Pennsylvania welcomes you to explore. Want to learn about innkeeping? Take a look at our Seminars for aspiring innkeepers. ‘We don’t sell the dream. We help you live it.’ ™
Thanks for Listening,