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

Posts Tagged ‘aspiring innkeeper seminar’

Service with a Smile ;>}

April 4th, 2017 by Janet Wolf

the customer is always right

Service with a Smile

As innkeepers we always provide service with a smile, right? In The B&B Team’s Aspiring Innkeepers Seminars we spend a good deal of time discussing service. We ask our attendees questions like…

Is the customer always right?

After some discussion, our response is NO, the customer is not always right. Thankfully that rude and offensive guest does not rear its ugly head often at bed and breakfasts. But when that occasional guest appears, it is memorable as well as challenging.

When a guest insults you or a member of your staff, makes unreasonable demands and complaints and all with the use of offensive language. Is this person always right? Of course not.

The fact is that some guests are just plain wrong and your business is better without them.

Today innkeepers can flag guests in their property management systems, making sure you or your staff doesn’t make the mistake of booking them in the future.

But how do you handle those guests during their stay? And how do you ‘encourage’ them to remove themselves? Service with a smile?

  • Firmly explain that you do not tolerate certain kinds of behavior at your Inn.
  • Suggest that if they are so unhappy with their stay they can leave and will not be charged.

OK, you may not be smiling during this conversation but you will be calm, collected and professional. As innkeepers, Rick and I only had to ’explain and suggest’ twice. Once to loud and intoxicated couples traveling (or should I say partying?) together. And once to a guest who made a very offensive and discriminatory statement in front of us and other guests. They both took our ‘suggestion’ and departed.

We recently had a conversation with Siobhan Kelly, innkeeper with partner Katja of the Towne Motel in Camden Maine.  She told us a great story. Her mother owned the High Tide in Camden on the coast of Maine in the 80’s. Siobhan helped her Mom at the inn during the summers while in grad school. She remembers the method her Mom used when dealing with unhappy guests at check-in. She would simply take an eraser (remember those?) and erase the reservation in the ledger right in front of them. …

“Mom would try to work with them–offer a different room if she could, for example–but if they couldn’t be pleased, the eraser came out, Mom handed back their deposit, and said she’s sure they’d be happy elsewhere.  Backtracking at this point was in vain: they weren’t staying there!”

service with a smile

Smiling innkeeper, Siobhan Kelly

Read more in detail about the legality of Guest Removal in an article from US Legal.

As I mentioned before, the rude and offensive guest appears rarely. Good innkeepers have a caring attitude, are flexible and have a genuine commitment to the guest. Offering genuine service with a smile means your guests are smiling too. And in 99.9% of the time, they do.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Aspiring Innkeeper Seminar at Iris Inn is a Hit!

August 10th, 2009 by Peter Scherman

One of the things we at The B&B Team enjoy most in our work is introducing enthusiastic aspiring innkeepers to the myriad aspects of this wonderful lifestyle and business. This past weekend we had a terrific group that came from as far away as Arizona and as close as a couple of miles from Iris Inn in Waynesboro, Virginia where we gathered from Friday to Sunday. With Delaware, South Carolina, New York, and Florida also represented, it was a diverse group, and, I think all agreed, we had a great time.

Key to our seminars is bringing a strong dose of reality to the table. We know future innkeepers have dreams and aspirations, and we love to support those ideals with facts, figures, and experience gained from many years on the ground as innkeepers, consultants, and brokers.

A core focus of our seminars is the process of building a model. It's both so easy and so hard to simply take a stab in the dark trying to find a B&B, but a focused idea of what business model, location, style, and income needs comprise makes the process of searching for an inn much more efficient and enjoyable.

In our last post here we wrote about The Basics of Inn Valuation, and our attendees got a (mind swirling!) dose of information on what the difference is between commercial and residential real estate and financing as it applies to the Innkeeping world and acquiring or starting an inn. They learned about the role of cash flow in valuation and how the marketplace assesses the different components of inn value.

We also talked about current marketing trends, the importance of branding by creating a unique and memorable experience, and the basics of hospitality as well as some tricks of the trade.

It's gratifying for us to read comments like this: "Fantastic! Current, cutting edge, frank and honest, not sugar-coated to give a false or misleading impression of all the nuts and bolts of running a successful B&B," or "It took some of the intimidation edge off, as far as feeling capable of running a B&B."

As the seminar leaders, Rick, Janet and I especially enjoy dinners with our attendees, where we all have a chance to relax with a glass of wine, get to know each other a little better, and delve into some of the questions and concerns we don't or can't cover in a weekend-long seminar.

Our thanks to all who attended this weekend and to Dave and Heidi Lanford for being such great hosts! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and hope it was a rewarding experience for you! With our next seminars coming up in October at Candlelight Inn in North Wildwood, New Jersey, and November at the English Meadows Inn in Kennebunk, Maine, we'll continue with our practice of refining our program thanks to the thoughful feedback from our graduates.


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