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 ‘innkeeping seminars’

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


Starting a Bed and Breakfast – Dream vs Reality

March 18th, 2011 by Janet Wolf

In a recent blog post I talked about how important education was in the pursuit of starting a bed and breakfast.  My analogy was that taking a seminar as the first step in exploring and learning about the world of hospitality is just like your first steps as a toddler where everything you explore is at a newer and higher level.  Our seminars cover so many important aspects of the bed and breakfast industry that our attendees end up viewing their dream from many different angles.  Reality does not squash the dream, it just brings it into focus.

One aspect of our seminars helps our attendees focus not only on the location of your bed and breakfast but the important question; “Do I/we want to live in that location”? Many people fall in love with a building which may be set on a beautiful piece of land but don’t think of the overall area, town or village which may not meet their personal (or business)  needs. This is just one of many topics we cover. Another is how to assess and value a property.  Quoting from our seminar book, “You MUST understand what you are buying and why, so you will know what to pay.”  We go over, step by step, the process we use in our bed and breakfast valuations. This reality check helps prospective buyers avoid costly mistakes, mistakes we see all too often.  I called these mistakes the “ouchies” in my recent blog.

We at The B&B Team offer our seminars in a wide variety of locations throughout the year. We choose wonderful inns in wonderful locations to host our seminar guests. We have two upcoming seminars, one at The Inn at Turkey Hill in Bloomsburg, PA taught by Scott Bushnell.  The next seminar is in Kennebunkport, Maine at the Captain Jefferds Inn taught by Peter, Rick and myself. Everyone on the team loves to teach and we believe our graduates have a great time while learning.  As you know in hospitality it is all about the guest!  In our seminars it is all about our attendees!  

So which is it, a dream or a reality, in your pursuit of starting a bed and breakfast?  We believe both are equally important, but as a future innkeeper, you can’t have one without the other. The entrepreneurial spirit is all about pursuing your dreams. Go for I, but take that first step and learn the realities or you may have a nightmare on your hands, especially if your location is on Elm Street…get it?

Janet Wolf

Innkeeping Seminars – A First Step

February 28th, 2011 by Janet Wolf

Education is a key component in any endeavor we choose to pursue in our lives. As toddlers we rise to a new level and explore new heights.  We look, touch, feel and then store in our memory banks everything we learn.  We also learn a few things not to touch, the ouchies?  Hopefully as adults we have gathered enough knowledge to avoid the ouchies, especially monetarily. But do we?

We at The B&B Team believe so strongly that everyone looking to pursue the innkeeping profession should (or to be more emphatic, must!) take an aspiring innkeeping seminar. Can you imagine entering into a new career without being trained? NO. So why do so many aspirers make that plunge without the education?  We don’t know but what we do know is that we try very hard to convince our potential seminar attendees and clients the importance of this very important first step.

Of course we would like them to take our Seminar for Aspiring Innkeepers because we believe we offer our attendees a very comprehensive group of sessions that cover a multitude of steps to guide you towards your goal. But…we feel so strongly about education that if you take someone else’s seminar, well at least you took a seminar!

Another point we make with our attendees is that if they walk out the door after taking our ‘information packed, mind blowing and fun filled seminar’, (shameless plug), and say …”no way”!, then we have done them a great favor. Uneducated innkeepers often become unhappy innkeepers and as a result may drive a perfectly good business into the ground. This does NOT do anyone any good. But if they leave our seminar with a smile on their face and a big sigh of relief and say…”now I think I’m ready to take the next step”, then we have also done our job and everyone is feeling good.

So to the aspirers out there who dream of owning and operating a bed and breakfast we would love to guide you through your first steps. We promise we will help you to avoid the ouchies! We look forward to seeing you seated before us with our seminar book in hand, with an open mind and an eager heart. As a final thought I would like to leave you with this. A friend and colleague, Dick Matthews, wrote a wonderful book about innkeeping entitled ‘Notes from an Innkeeper’s Journal’. The first chapter is called ‘A Noble Occupation’,we agree.

Janet Wolf

A Soothing Sanctuary: Room Design That Works

July 27th, 2010 by Janet Wolf

by Janet Wolf of The B&B Team

A warm and inviting, well appointed and soothing sanctuary. Isn’t that what every innkeeper wants to provide for their guests?  How do you achieve that?  Interior design can be a daunting task and choosing the right style for your inn is a very personal and individual journey.  I have come up with a few basic guidelines to consider when redecorating a guest room or when you start the process of making your newly purchased inn your own.

o   Clean Lines

o   Classic Style

o   Balance

o   Absence of Clutter

o   Gender Neutral

o   Thoughtful

To help define these terms I have chosen examples of guest rooms from two different inns.  The innkeepers of these two inns were graduates of our Aspiring Innkeepers Seminar and have created some exceptionally beautiful rooms as well as becoming very successful innkeepers.  We at The B&B Team are very proud that we could play a part in their success.

Maury Place at Monument is a newly opened urban bed and breakfast in Richmond Virginia.  Innkeepers Jeff Wells and Mac Pence have lovingly restored and decorated their urban inn in a style they describe as “both sophisticated and refreshingly modern, while still taking cues from the dramatic neo-classical architecture.” Go to their Rooms Page, and while viewing the rooms read the following comments.

·         Their window treatment choices enhance the classic lines of the window frames by not covering up the beautiful details of the woodwork.  The shutters, shades and fabric have either vertical or horizontal lines which give the windows a streamlined clean look.  The use of less instead of more fabric in the window treatments emphasizes the architectural elements and the views.

·         Many of their major pieces of furniture are classic traditional reproductions or antiques. The beds, dressers, desks and chairs are all timeless designs, not trendy.  This classic style creates a stately quietness and a visual balance to a room.  The beauty of these pieces will be enjoyed for a long time without going out of style.

·         A good example of the use of symmetrical balance is found in the Fontaine Suite with the elegant elongated mirrors placed behind the bedside lamps.  The bedside tables are not a matching pair which is an example of the use of ‘near’ symmetry.  The tables are the same height and wood tone which creates equal visual weight and complement each other.

·         The bedding in all their guest rooms provides a neutral background for a few well placed accent pillows.  This is another example of creating clean lines.  The classic style of the beds is a perfect silhouette for the clean, fresh, crisp linens.  Their beds make a guest want to slip into their comfortable depths!

·         Another good example of balance is the wall prints that are placed in harmonious groupings in all of their guest rooms.  Many of the groupings consist of lovely, classic old prints that create interest and color to the neutral background of the walls.  You will also notice that the colors in the prints and paintings compliment the pillows, window treatments and coverlets.  The eye picks up on these accessories and helps bring the rooms together.

·         There is clearly an absence of clutter in these rooms.  An uncluttered environment is very conducive to a good night’s rest.  Using a few well placed decorative items that do not take up a lot of room on the bedside tables and dressers is also thoughtful.  Guests need enough space for their stuff!

·         Providing a desk or table with comfortable seating is also a thoughtful addition that guests appreciate and may require, especially in an urban setting where the possibility of having business travelers is higher.  You can see in the floor plans they provide that three of the four suites have desks.

·         When viewing these rooms you can see very clearly that they would appeal to both men and women.  The clean lines, neutral colors, and absence of clutter and inclusion of well-appointed accessories would appeal to all, thus the term gender-neutral.

2.       Addison on Amelia is a beautiful inn in the historic district of Fernandina Beach, Florida (Amelia Island).  There are three separate antebellum style buildings that surround a fountain courtyard with many architectural details inside and out.  Innkeepers Bob and Shannon Tidball have decorated the guest rooms in a style they describe as “Old Florida elegance with understated hints of the tropics.”  Again, view their rooms on their website while reading the following comments.

·         The neutral and occasional bolder accent colors in their rooms reflect the inn’s tropical location.  Corals, leafy greens, sky and ocean blues, sunny yellows, and sandy beiges are used to create a clean, restful, and soothing environment.  The color scheme is repeated in each of their guest rooms as well as the common rooms, which provides a common harmonious link from room to room.

·         The bed treatments in their rooms are very ‘spa’ inspired.  Natural textured cotton or bamboo coverlets and luxurious and tailored linens are used to create a clean and inviting effect.  A guest can definitely see themselves slip between these cool , crisp, and clean lined linens.

·         The use of ceiling to floor drapes in many of their rooms enhances the 11 foot ceilings, delivers elegance and adds accent color that is artfully repeated in other areas of the rooms.  The use of the drapes and the wooden blinds produces the vertical and horizontal lines that create the clean streamlined look that is so pleasing to the eye, allowing the guest clear and unobstructed views.

·         Not having everything in the room match does not throw off the balance.  As an example many of their rooms have fanciful tropical style bedside lamps that do not match.  Yet they are of equal visual appeal and weight and attract your eye which achieves a balanced look.

·         Some of the rooms at the inn have more traditional classic four poster beds, armoires, and bedside tables that are timeless in their design.  These pieces help create the “Old Florida elegance.”  Other rooms have more modern rattan and woven wood pieces which reflect the “hints of the tropics.”  They have done a wonderful job of blending these two styles to create an easy, relaxed atmosphere.

·         There is a definite absence of clutter in these rooms.  Their guest rooms are accessorized with a light touch.  A well placed orchid plant and jardinière on a mantel piece is just enough.  A potential guest can view these rooms online and picture themselves in the calm uncluttered environment that has been created.

·         Besides providing desks and comfortable seating for your guests, another thoughtful and often times neglected necessity is providing enough lighting in a room.  As you can see in these rooms there are always two bedside lamps, a desk lamp, and a lamp beside a seating area, at least four sources of illumination.  The height and size of a bedside lamp is especially important.   The illumination from the lamp must cast enough light on the bedside so a guest can read comfortably.

·         The successful use of cool, soothing, and restful colors, natural textures, clean lines, and uncluttered environment that has been created in these guest rooms would be pleasing to all, definitely gender-neutral.

Interior design is the art of shaping the experience of interior space.  When you have created a warm, inviting, and well-appointed (thoughtful!) soothing sanctuary you have succeeded in creating an experience for your guests that they will remember in their hearts and minds and return for more! As seen from their guest comments, I believe Mac and Jeff, and Shannon and Bob have most assuredly succeeded in creating sanctuaries any guest would come back to experience again and again.


The B&B Team is Growing!

January 4th, 2010 by Peter Scherman

Peter Scherman and Rick Wolf of The B&B Team® are pleased to announce the affiliation of Scott & Marilyn Bushnell of Bushnell & Bushnell Innkeeping Services as new Affiliates of The B&B Team®. Bushnell & Bushnell Services is based in Berlin, MD, complementing our offices in Kennebunk, Maine and Scottsville, Virginia.

The B&B Team®, founded in 1993, caters to the Innkeeping Industry with consulting and brokerage services nationwide. With the affiliation of Bushnell & Bushnell Services, Inc., the company continues to evolve its business model and add resources to better serve our clients. Founding partner and CEO Peter Scherman said, “Experience in and commitment to the Innkeeping industry are essential to success. High ethical standards are core to our company’s mission. Scott and Marilyn meet the expectations we have of our associates and our clients have of us.” Partner and COO Rick Wolf said that “bringing Scott and Marilyn onboard early in 2010 speaks volumes to how strongly we believe in the business and how much confidence we have in the Bushnell’s to join us and better serve our friends and colleagues in the Innkeeping industry.”

The Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Conference and Trade Show at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia in January will be the regional kick-off of this new collaboration, followed shortly by the national launch at the Innkeeping Show hosted by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) and Select Registry®, in Austin, TX in March, 2010.

Peter and Peggy and Rick and Janet welcome Scott and Marilyn to The B&B Team® and look forward to advancing the Innkeeping industry and our clients’ interests in 2010 and beyond.

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