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 ‘Inn Tune-Up’

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




Love is in the Air

February 13th, 2013 by Janet Wolf

Lemon Curd Mascarpone Ebelskiver (Filled Puffed Pancakes) with Wild Berry Topping - A Perfect Valentine´s Breakfast

Valentine’s Day Breakfast
Lemon Curd Mascarpone Filled Puffed Pancakes with Wild Berry Topping

February is for lovers…such a familiar line for every bed and breakfast that offers a Valentine’s Day special for the entire month or for the Valentine’s Day weekend. Chocolate covered strawberries, champagne and red roses and that special breakfast. Romance and s__ that’s what you sell! But what about love? I find this a good time of year to reflect on love. What and who we love.

I love old things. Old things that have been loved. I love finding old books. We have a small collection that is cherished. I especially love the books that have something left in them by the original owner. Like the original book of Bambi by Austrian author Felix Salten translated into English in 1928 I found in one of our favorite used book stores.  Among its pages was a newspaper article about the young doe located in the Maine woods that became the model for Disney’s animated Bambi.bambi-12[1]


Celia Thaxter in Her Garden by Childe Hassam 1892

Or a recent book of  Celia Thaxter’s poems that I found among a group of musty collections at an antique mall. Celia and her family were innkeepers of the once thriving Appledore Inn on Appledore Island off the coast of Maine. Like many old inns of this era it burned down in 1914. This book contained among it’s pages an old postcard of the Inn and a pressed flower from Celia’s beloved island gardens. I am sure these books were once loved and cherished by their owners. How long had this book been abandoned until I found it?   When Rick and I go through our books from time to time to donate, the old ones stay, they are loved.

I love old houses. Our Inn was a 1813 ship captains home. I know that many of you own or aspire to own old homes that  now welcome guests in their most recent renewed life as bed and breakfasts. Many of these houses have in their past been abandoned and left empty and unloved.  But once they are bought and transformed into bed and breakfasts, the atmosphere becomes lighter, the rooms become fresh and welcoming and the love is apparent and well received by all who enter. The challenge to innkeepers is how to keep that love alive!  All of us at the  The B&B Team visit Inns from time to time that have ‘lost that loving feeling’. It may sound corny but you know what I mean. Something is missing and has left the building. We find it may take some outside eyes to help innkeepers find and rekindle their passion and ‘bring back that loving feeling’. The B&B Team and our ‘Inn Tune-Up’ program loves to play cupid. Take a look at what we offer that may help you bring the spark  back to your relationship with your Inn and your business.

So what do you love? Your family, your husband, wife or partner (old or not!). Love you Rick! Your pets, your cherished collections. Do you love your bed and breakfast/Inn and the business of running it? Hopefully the answer is still yes. The love you feel shows in everything you do in your daily care for your property. It will also show in the value of your Inn. Once you come around to the time to sell, to let go, you want your property to be at its best. You want the next caretaker of your cherished Inn to feel the love and the value you have lovingly created. So keep that love alive. Don’t lose that loving feeling!

Quick side story. We had a guest once ask us if we could ‘guarantee romance’ with his stay at our Inn. Rick answered, “Nope, can’t do that, we can give you a nice room, great bed and all the amenities, the rest is up to you pal!

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf


Are You Nearsighted?

July 31st, 2012 by Janet Wolf

myopiaAre you nearsighted? If you think you may be, you would probably go get your eyes checked, then go to the optometrist and get some glasses. Easy! But what about your business? How do you see it, from near or far, or both? The B&B Team talks a lot about how important it is to have an eye for details, from housekeeping to plate presentation and beyond. We also talk about the ‘big picture’, knowing where your business is headed and knowing that your actions are all working towards your business goal. With the big picture clearly in mind, every decision you make is made with your business goal in mind. These decisions must support and advance your business, not hinder it.

Successful innkeepers need to be detail oriented AND goal oriented. But you don’t want the details to get in the way of seeing into the future, you don’t want the future to become blurry. It is all about clarity.

Some innkeepers often get so close to their everyday ‘detail oriented’ work that they don’t see what is obvious to someone else, especially their guests. They put on virtual blinders and charge ahead doing the same things they’ve always done, getting the same results. Is this you? We have all done this in our lives at times, in school, in sports AND in business. But we can’t afford to keep doing the same ol’ thing over and over again even if that ‘thing’ was successful at one point in time. When do you know this is happening? When you start feeling stale, stagnant, bored and when your Inn starts looking tired, old and saggy. Pretty harsh words but you get the point. Time to get moving, take off the blinders and change the view.

The B&B Team is often called by innkeepers who know their business is in a stagnant mode but don’t know why or how to move forward. We have gone in and done what we call our ‘Inn Tune-Up’. Here are just a few of the details we cover.

  • We will observe your property on the outside just as a new guest would to improve your visibility.
  • Operations efficiency observations include housekeeping, laundry and repairs and maintenance.
  • We will look at your financials for efficiency in the areas of record keeping, tracking systems, chart of accounts and expenditures.

The list goes on. But what about the ‘big picture’ mentioned before? If your vision has become blurred you may want to go back and take a look at your business plan, look it over and even rewrite some parts. Some of the goals you wrote down may have changed. You may need to refocus those goals. If you never wrote a business plan it is not too late.

In any business it can be perilous to take your sight off the ‘big picture’. We are in the hospitality business, which covers a much broader spectrum, a much bigger picture. Even though your bed and breakfast  may be small in size it doen’t mean you have to think small. This nearsighted mindset will lead to complacency and eventually lead to loss of sight of what your guests want. So take a look inside and out and if you want another set of eyes you know who you can call, and it is not the Ghostbusters.

Thanks for listening.

Janet Wolf


Inn Tune-Up – Better Way to Improve

April 15th, 2011 by Janet Wolf

If you check out your Thesaurus (thanks to Microsoft Word it is just a few clicks away) the word ‘better’ offers a few similar adjectives and one is ‘Improved’. Innkeepers are constantly improving their properties, at least they should be. In Jay Karen’s recent Key Notes article in the Winter IQ magazine he boldly and justly spoke of the below average B&B’s. It is unfortunate but oh so true when he said…”there are a lot of B&B’s out there that might not be a better way to stay.”  The Inns that are not constantly searching for ways to improve usually end up on the below average list.

In my research for this writing I decided to read reviews on Trip Advisor from a random choice of Inns. I wanted to come up with the top 10 complaints.  I didn’t have to go very far before I realized the complaints were the same ones we see and talk about all the time. No need for a list of 10.

No.1 complaint is still lack of cleanliness!

 No. 2 complaint is still inhospitable innkeepers!

 Another complaint is outdated décor which usually is accompanied with phrases like, ‘run down’,’ worn carpets’ and one I really thought was revealing , ‘…antique bureau drawers were hard to open and impossible to close’.  The outdated décor is usually not the real issue; it is the underlying fact that the décor is old, tired and not well kept.

The B&B Team has been consulting with innkeepers on how to improve their overall business for years. Recently we decided to put a title to what we do. We call it our ‘Inn Tune-up’. We created a very extensive check-list that starts with the property’s first impression when you drive up and continues through the Inn looking at guest rooms, marketing, and operations.  We have outlined over 250 check points. The final analysis comes with a report with suggestions for improvements.  We strive to be honest and forthright (oh I just checked out the word forthright and the adjective’ blunt’ came up). Many innkeepers we have worked with have thanked us for being blunt! They have told us they just needed another set of eyes. The old saying, ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’, we believe we can look up, down and around those trees and give innkeepers a complete picture of their valued forest.

The B&B Team realistically visits dozens and dozens of properties nationaly a year. That would include all six of us on the team. I believe this gives us a good perspective from which to work  when doing our ‘Inn Tune-up’. We believe we can offer innkeepers a Better Way to Improve.

To conclude I would like to make another observation from a review I read for an Inn with new owners that had recently completed an entire makeover. A quote from the review was…”we were looking for an experience, not just a bed. The living room was more like a lobby”. I found this comment very telling, because one can go too far opposite  from broken antique bureaus and dusty doilies. Decor can be minimalist with clean lines but not at the expense of becoming stark and cold. Again quoting Jay, “…we are posing ourselves to tell the world that B&Bs are better than hotels.”  A hotel lobby look is not what B&B’s need either.

So thanks Jay for being blunt and for your continued care and upkeep of our industry. We all need a new set of eyes and a good ‘kick in the gas’ with a tune-up once in a while. Ha!

Janet Wolf