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 ‘Kennebunkport’

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!


Give Me the Simple Life

May 11th, 2011 by Janet Wolf

Ahh…the simple life of an innkeeper. Well maybe not so simple these days with social media, online reservations, website updating, conferences, webinars, the list goes on. So let me tell you a story of a couple of innkeepers of yore. Their names were Maryline White and Louise Shangle, partners in business and life. They owned a house on Goose Rocks Beach on the ocean in Maine. Many friends came to visit being that they loved to cook and entertain and the location was grand. So they say one day,”why not open for business, share our lifestyle with guests?”  So they did and The Snow Goose was opened.

Maryline now lives in Oregon and just celebrated her 90th birthday. Unfortunately Louise passed away a while back. Rick knew Maryline and Louise when they had a small restaurant in Carmel, California. They moved there after closing The Snow Goose.  The two of them were very adventurous and nomadic for a while!  Rick bused tables for them when he was in junior high school. They eventually moved back to Goose Rocks Beach and when Rick and I vacationed in the area and eventually moved and opened our bed and breakfast in Kennebunkport we reconnected.

I recently called Maryline and asked her a few questions about her and Louise’s experience as ‘simple innkeepers’ in the early 1960s.

Q  What are your memories of the worst guest?

A  I don’t think we had any bad guests. There was one that was unusual, he would bark at our two Scotties, maybe trying to communicate with them? They would just bark back. They had a great conversation.

Q  What did you do to market your inn?

A  My career in NYC was advertising and PR and Louise’s was graphic arts. We purchased a mailing list of companies related to these two fields and sent out mailings. Then we had these cards printed and distributed them in the tourist centers. That was about it in those days, but it worked. We would also make friends with the other innkeepers in our area. The Colony Hotel would send us people who didn’t want to pay their rates. We would also send people to The Colony who we thought would not be happy with our type of lodging.

Maryline wanted to say that she is still actively organizing and promoting. She started a ‘Poetry Jam’ at her senior living center where she lives. She says, “We keep it simple, no rules, just don’t recite for too long so you won’t embarrass yourself. It is a very popular event, in our first session we had over 40 attendees.”

Reading their clever ad says it all. You know exactly what kind of experience you will have at The Snow Goose. Can you imagine taking a reservation on a party line? Do any of you recall what a party line is?

Well I’m not going to make this a long blog, just going to keep it simple. But first a line from the song ‘Give Me the Simple Life’, words and music by Harry Ruby and Rube Bloom.

‘A cottage small is all I’m after

Not one that’s spacious and wide

A house that rings with joy and laughter

And the ones you love inside’

I believe this is what The Snow Goose was all about, simple hospitality from the heart. Thank you Maryline and Louise for your memories.

Janet Wolf

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

Travel Packaging-Wrap Up What You Do Best

October 26th, 2010 by Janet Wolf

Here in Kennebunkport we have a local family owned restaurant Alisson’s that runs a great business and has been doing it for about 30 years. When we have our Aspiring Innkeeper Seminars here in the Port we always treat our attendees to dinner on Friday to kick off our seminar. Alisson’s serves the locals and tourists alike with casual dining fare, great service and another important part, fun! They wrap up all three of these important components and do a fabulous job packaging what they do best.

As an example their October calendar offers live music on Wednesday nights and very reasonably priced comfort food specials. Their Tuesday nights have become very popular, packaging ‘Pub Team Trivia’ and $9.95 Prime Rib. Every mid-week night has a reason to go there. They continue to create new value added packages to keep things new and fresh and customers coming through the door.

There are many B&B’s out there that also do a fabulous job of packaging. One example of a B&B that does an unusually good job is the Munro House Bed & Breakfast and Spa in Jonesville, Michigan. Innkeepers Lori and Mike Venturini have created a wide variety of packages that wrap up what they do best. Just like Alisson’s, they have created a package for ‘any day of the week’.

In addition there are many of you out there that want to do more packaging but may feel paralyzed at the thought of where to start. Many of you also may feel  you would like to increase the number of packages you offer or do a better job of it. Help is on the way! The B&B Team and Joe Veneto, ‘The Opportunity Guy’, will be presenting two PAII pre-conference sessions; The Secrets of Packaging Success, Simplified.

The first will be a half day session on Nov. 15 from 1 pm to 5 pm at the PAII New England Conference and Trade Show in Nashua, New Hampshire. The second will be at the PAII 2011 Innkeeping and Trade Show, a full day session from 9 am to 5 pm on January 10 in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. For those innkeepers out there who would like some help packaging ‘what you do best’ we hope you will be able to join us for either one of these sessions. You will come away loaded with information, ready to ‘wrap’ those packages, make more money and have fun along the way.

Janet Wolf

A Good Table

June 17th, 2010 by Rick Wolf

After Peter’s recent posting about the simple joys of sitting on the porch and the numerous comments it elicited, I thought I would share a brief ‘reading’ with you…one I wished I had written, but will be pleased to share with you instead.

A couple of weeks ago, Jan and I went to the wedding of Kate Lindblom, the daughter of Innkeepers Sarah and Erik Lindblom of The Captain Jefferds Inn in Kennebunkport. It was a beautiful day for the wedding, Kate was a lovely Bride and Sam the handsome Groom, and it was so nice to spend the afternoon with friends and colleagues in a wonderfully non-business environment.  There was an abundance of food and wine after the ceremony and we were all enjoying an early summer afternoon in Maine.  There were toasts from the best man, the maid of honor, and another from Kate and Sam’s friend, Finn MacDonald.

Finn is one of the Owner/Innkeepers at our old inn, the Captain Fairfield Inn. Finn’s toast brought a thoughtful hush over the crowd with its simple elegance and heartfelt meanings.  With Finn’s permission, I would like to share it with you now…and share a photo of us with family at our Good Table when we were Innkeepers.

“A Good Table

Beginning tonight, let there always be a good table for you both to gather around.

Let it host friends and family.

Let it present birthday  cakes, Thanksgiving Turkey, everyday meals, leftovers, your new best efforts and your burnt best efforts.

Let milk spill.  Let fists pound. Let hands unite in prayer.  Let the wax of candles drip.  Let the rings of beer bottles multiply.  Let the day’s trivial gossip and life’s great questions speak freely.  Let others bore you to tears.

Let the sturdy legs and a strong surface absorb frustration, pain, uncertainty, and fear.  Let it be the stage to let it all out on…then, let it be the foundation to build from.

Let date nights, late nights, anniversaries, picnics, pizza, salad bowls, super bowls, chowda, chili, ice cream and cake bring you together. Let your focus, for just a moment, be on the person next to you or across from you.  Let the rest of life wait until you’re finished.

Let this table take some responsibility off of your love for each other.  Let there always be a good table in your life.

No matter what distance or disturbance may exist in your life, let the table be a bridge or a barrier.  Let it be a functional bond.

Let that Good Table bring you both together.

Thanks Finn for allowing me to share your words.  My wish to you all is that as you charge through your busy days as Innkeepers, taking care of your guests and your business, that you allow time into your day to take care of yourselves and to enjoy the ‘Good Table’ in your life.