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

Posts Tagged ‘Better Way to Learn Innkeeping’

What is your Field of Dreams?

July 21st, 2016 by Janet Wolf

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams Movie Site, Dyersville, Iowa

Last week Peter and Rick were visiting clients in Iowa and had some free time. Can you guess where they headed? Field of Dreams Movie Site in Dyersville, Iowa. This attraction is NOT a replica, it is the actual century old farm house and surrounding corn fields and ball field where the movie was filmed. Rick said the site is not commercialized. It is simple, serene and very green.

Why has Field of Dreams become a world wide iconic film? Why do 65,000 tourists drive down the long road to the movie site to visit every year?  I believe it is the message the film gives us. We should listen to our ‘voice’ and pursue our dreams.

Rick Wolf at the Field of Dreams Movie Site

Rick Wolf at the Field of Dreams Movie Site

I  started to think about this message and how it relates to the dream of starting a bed and breakfast.

In our ‘Better Way to Learn Innkeeing’ seminars we often use the most quoted line from the film to make a point. The first voice that Ray Kinsella hears in the corn field; “Build it and they (he) will come”. We tell our aspirers that it is a great line from a great movie but…reality check! You can build or purchase an established inn, but it doesn’t stop there! Guests will not just show up at your doorstep.  After Ray built his baseball field the voice told him; “go the distance”.

This is what The B&B Team ‘voice’ says:

Never stop working on the following.

  1. Operations
  2. Marketing
  3. Infrastructure

Go the distance and you will continually learn new and exciting ( yes, challenging too) ways to improve your business and reach your goal. Which is increased revenue and eventually, selling your inn. The outcome will be rewarding.

Field of Dreams

Another reward…Playing catch with your grand kids at the Field of Dreams Movie Site

From the brochure that Rick brought home, another line caught my attention.

When visiting Field of Dreams you have the opportunity to “get together with other people who have gone the distance and become acquainted.” Here is an analogy for you…attend the 2017 AIHP InnSpire Conference, Knowledge Sharing Summit on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. Connect and learn from innkeepers and Allied Partners who are on the same path as you. Those who have gone the distance. Sound like a good plan?

“Some have called me a little piece of heaven on earth. I am a Field where reality mixes with fantasy, and dreams come true“. Ahh, wouldn’t you like to think that your guests say the same thing about your Inn?

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

How to Make Your Dreams Come True

December 31st, 2014 by Janet Wolf

Make Your dreams come true

Jiminy Cricket
‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ Song by Leigh Harline & Ned Washington. Sung by Cliff Edwards for Disney’s 1940 adaptation of Pinocchio

When you wish upon a star…your dreams come true.  Thank you Mr. Disney for that wonderful sentiment and beautiful song. We should never stop wishing and dreaming but…wishes and dreams have no substance unless they move beyond the dreaming stage. How to go about making your dreams come true in 2015?

The B&B Team believes that dreams can turn into reality if you pursue those dreams with a lot of thought and planning. That includes education. Will 2015 be your year of action? As in all things, your dreams will need capital to make them happen. 2015 has a good feel to it. Economically speaking here are some forecasts that may give you some confidence to venture forth beyond the dreaming stage. The following information comes from ‘Looking to 2015, Economists See 5 Reason to Celebrate’, by Marilyn Geewax.

  • GDP will keep growing quickly. The commerce Department’s latest revision shows GDP advancing at an astonishing 5 percent over July, August and September. Lower energy prices will give consumers more money to spend, and should help boost revenues for stores, restaurants, hotels and more.


  • Inflation will be exceptionally low. The Federal Reserve has sharply cut its forecast, saying that inflation will run between 1 percent and 1.6 percent in 2015.


  • Interest rates will inch up. OK, you’ve heard this before. Nevertheless, economists think this time is different and that rates really will rise in 2015. It will lead to a slow, steady ratcheting up of interest rates to more normal levels. (Key words here are ‘inch’, ‘slow’ and ‘steady’.)


  • Stocks will go higher. The stock market has been zooming for years now. Some skeptics think the stock market is due for a “correction”. But the more typical prediction is that oil prices running so low, investors will want to keep putting money into companies that stand to benefit from increased consumer spending.


So the ‘feel good’ for the New Year has some good stats to back it up.

Suggestion. Take a few minutes or an hour and sit down with a pad of paper and write down your dreams for 2015. Are they ready to take a leap off the paper and be put into action?  If so, what is your next step?

  • If you have been dreaming of becoming any innkeeper then The B&B Team offers over 23 ‘Better Way to Learn Innkeeping’ seminars. The best first step any aspiring innkeeper can take.
  • If you have been dreaming of an innkeeping ‘afterlife’ then we can also help you plan your exit strategy. Just give us a call.
  • For innkeepers that have been dreaming of adding to their business to help it grow, we can help with a feasibility study.

We at The B&B Team are not economic strategists with global insights. We leave that up to the experts. (Bloomberg Radio on satellite radio is a great way to keep abreast of what is happening).  But we do know the innkeeping business and we really like to share our knowledge. Dreams can turn into reality but again as mentioned before with a big dose of education to start the process. Once you aquire that you can make good and sound decisions about your future. 2015 is here, the wishing stars are bright, let’s see them soar.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf




An Innkeeper’s Journey

November 29th, 2012 by Janet Wolf

The B&B Team loves to hear from our Better Way to Learn Innkeeping Seminar graduates. Especially when they have made the journey from aspiring to real time! We got an email from Yoshio and Diane Endo, new innkeepers of The Inn at Ormsby Hill in Manchester Vermont that tells a great story. One year from Seminar week-end to paper cup. Paper cup?…read on.

Hi to The B&B Team,

It’s been a year of wild and exciting events since we took the Aspiring Innkeeper Seminar in Kennebunkport in November 2011. Follow our exciting time line:

November – Wow we are the oldest couple at the seminar…Anders Greta Lisa this is not a retirement business, Rick says.

December – Put Hawaii condo on the market and we will use proceeds of the sale for down payment on a B&B.Aloha

January – Sold! It took 37 days and 55 showings.

February – Our first search took us to the Berkshires and Southern Vermont. Think we found one.Flight

March – Financial due diligence and letter of intention sent to seller.

April – Purchase and sale agreement signed by both parties.

May – Inspection, inspection, inspection.B´elton John

June – Bank financing. It’s not over until the fat lady sings…

July – The sellers served breakfast and did check-outs in the morning. We came in the afternoon and did check-ins and served breakfast the next morning. We’re innkeepers!

August – Central air conditioner failure in 90 degree weather…quick go get three window units by 3 pm.

September – Water pump stopped working last night…It was determined that the well pump failed at 7am on Friday…Well is 520 feet deep! We are expecting a full house this week-end…Panic time! Can they fix it by 3pm check-in time or must we turn away guests? The incredible plumber’s team replaced the well pump by 3:20 on Friday!Plumbers Crack

October – there are never enough Ormsby Hill mugs as everyone is taking them to their room for their first cup of coffee in the morning. Solution…provide a paper cup so they don’t need to bring cups back. Brilliant!Day 141/365 Coffe

November – Successfully finished the peak foliage season with October occupancy of 73%

Thanks to The B&B Team for introducing us to the wonderful life of innkeeping! this was certainly a year to remember. It was not possible without your help and friendship. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and passion for B&B’s. Many Happy Returns, Yoshio and Diane

We are so thankful for our many clients who become successful innkeepers, thankful for their faith in The B&B Team and for their friendship. It is a wonderful and exciting journey for us to participate in and witness also.  For those who take our seminars and decide not to take this journey we are also thankful. Innkeeping is a wonderful profession but is not for everyone.  We want our seminar graduates to become educated and well informed so they are able to make informed decisions. So when we receive such positive feedback like this email from Yoshio and Diane our paper cup runneth over!

Thank You

Photographs were added by blog author and don’t represent any real plumbers from Vermont!


H is for Hipsters, Hepcats and Hippies

May 11th, 2012 by Janet Wolf

Travel & Leisure Magazine publishes an annual survey where their readers are invited to vote on ‘America’s Favorite Cities’. Recently the ‘winners’ of a sub category ‘America’s Best Cities for Hipsters’ was revealed. The survey participants were asked to rank 35 metropolitan cities on culturally relevant features like live music, coffee bars and independent boutique businesses. They also included the best micro-brews and the best places to view and connect with ‘offbeat’ and ‘tech-savvy’ locals. Remember when those ‘offbeat folks’ were tagged hepcats? A bit later in our history we got the hippies, thus the evolution to the term hipster. So who are today’s hipsters? Are they the Gen X & Y youth culture customers that is the hot topic of discussion among innkeepers as of late. Let’s take a look.

Every generation has a ‘youth culture’. In other words, hepcat or hippie we were all young once! But cultures evolve to what eventually becomes mainstream culture. For the Gen X & Y technology and the internet are at the center of their culture, they are intensely intertwined with their life. Technology unifies the culture of this generation and makes their life efficient.

Today’s youth culture is also seen as consumers. The focus here is to look at the Gen X/Y Hipster consumer’s wants and needs. We want to identify the how, what and why. This is tough because remember youth culture is continually evolving. The ‘how’ is pretty easy to identify, the internet, social media. The why and what is the moving target. Let’s go back to the Travel & Leisure survey, look at a few of the results which may give us a window into this generation’s consuming mind.

#1 – For those innkeepers located in and around Seattle you are once again at the top of the ‘where’ hipsters like to visit and live. Congratulations! You Seattleites have the edge on the smart and tech-savvy folks as well as high octane coffee. Example: The Walrus and the Carpenter, an oyster bar owned and operated by three Gen Yers offering ‘high quality food in a space that is stripped of pretense and feels like home.’ A hipster magnet!

The Walrus and the Carpenter owners Jeremy Price, Renee Erickson and Chad Dale

#2 – If Seattle is smart, Portland, OR is quirky with great beer, creative street food mixed in with bicycle enthusiasts. Example: Hopworks Bike Bar features stationery bikes that generate electricity for the pub and it is kid friendly. Tinker Toys is the proud sponsor for their pub’s play area. Quirky? Yes but in a real positive interpretation. It can be what makes Portland unique and fun to explore. So to all you quirky (and smart) Portland innkeepers, congrats on your #2 status.

Family Friendly Hopworks for Generation Z

#5 – The other Portland in Maine is a top winner in the food and beverage category which includes coffee and micro-brews. Example: Coffee by Design, a business started by two local Gen Xers with a focus on two of their passions, coffee and community. From a humble street front coffee house to five local shops and a flagship coffee shop in LL Bean, they have created a reason and multiple places for the hip to sip.

#6 – Providence ranks high in its mix of nerds and artists. Performance art and cafes are a great draw for RI hipsters to connect. Example: The Providence Geeks hub AS220. This is a center for concerts, lectures and classes. The Geeks goal is to ‘help RI digital innovators connect and collaborate’. To all the innkeepers in this small but mighty state, your nerd status is dully noted and appreciated. Nerds can be hipsters too!

A Happening at As220

A very interesting thread that runs throughout this survey is that this generational pull is toward places that have thriving and innovative entrepreneurial businesses. William Deresiewicz in his article ‘Generation Sell’ says; “Today’s ideal social form is not the commune or the movement or even the individual creator as such; it’s the small business. Every artistic or moral aspiration – music, food, good works, what have you – is expressed in those terms. The characteristic art form of our age may be the business plan”.

This says to me that the Gen X/Y Hipster is drawn to the new and innovative micro-brew, restaurant, coffee shop/barista and art gallery business because they may be or aspire to be entrepreneurs themselves. I find this very interesting. We know that it is imperative for the future of the small lodging business to market to this generation of youth consumer. We also see them as the innkeepers of the future. The B&B Team notices the interest in innkeeping increasing in this generation and it is very exciting to us.

To all the hepcats and hippies of the past who once claimed the realm of the hip, it’s not over yet! We may appear a bit mainstream to the Gen X/Y Hipsters but we recognize their innovation, their enthusiasm and their desire to view the future as a positive force. I see the entrepreneurial spirit in the Gen X/Y folks that attend our Better Way to Learn Seminars and the PAII Conferences and its real groovy.