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 ‘Lookout Point Lakeside Inn’

Weddings at the Inn-Intimate or Ultimate

June 13th, 2014 by Janet Wolf

Weddings at the Inn

Blessing of the rings-Kristie Rosset officiating at Lookout Point Lakeside Inn

Many Bed and Breakfasts have great settings for weddings at the Inn. Most innkeepers say they have been approached at least once by couples inquiring about their Inn as a possible venue for their nuptials. Whether it is a rustic picturesque barn, landscaped garden with views or perhaps an outdoor amphitheater or gazebo, it is the uniqueness that is appealing.  Bed and Breakfasts and country Inns are a natural. With larger banquet halls and hotel event spaces, the ‘natural’ has to be artificially created. Not so appealing!

If you are an aspiring innkeeper that has pondered the idea of adding weddings to your business plan, read on.

In the 2010 Innkeeping Quarterly, the cover story was ‘The Rise of the Small Wedding’. In 2014 the trend is still around and growing. The B&B Team has a number of properties listed for sale that do weddings from small to large, the intimate and the ultimate. I talked with a few experienced innkeepers about their weddings at the Inn. Here is what they have to say about the subject.

Kristie Rosset is the owner/innkeeper with her husband Ray of Lookout Point Lakeside Inn in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She is also an ordained United Methodist clergyperson. A quote from Ray; “She truly enjoyed officiating at weddings. With her experience, she understood that she could help couples create a meaningful and beautiful wedding that might ‘feel’ like a church wedding, but the setting would be outdoors in a beautiful lakeside garden.” Their specialty is small intimate weddings, nothing over 50 people.

Having policies and contracts in place before the first wedding is booked is very important.   From the Rossets; “A solid contract is critical-even for elopements! The only way weddings can work well and efficiently is through great communication in writing through a rock-solid contract that both parties sign. When we are clear (and caring!) from the beginning of the wedding conversation, we protect ourselves and our inn from being taken advantage, we are seen as professionals, and we expect the highest standards of behavior from our guests. It’s a win-win.” Tip: They say they are happy to share their contract with anyone!


Weddings at the Inn, hawthorn Inn, Camden Maine

Hawthorn Inn wedding setting

Innkeeper Maryanne Shanahan of the Hawthorn Inn in Camden Maine did not plan to have weddings at her Inn when she became an innkeeper over 12 years ago. But her first guests often told her that the Hawthorn Inn would be perfect for weddings. Voila, June 2002 twenty-two people booked the entire inn and her wedding business began. She advises to communicate with the couple face to face about what type of wedding they want, aka, their vision. If Maryanne doesn’t think she can deliver she will be forthright and gently tells them they may want to look elsewhere. Tips: She likes to encourage afternoon weddings followed by a brunch. Easier and less expensive for all involved. The smaller groups of about 20 are more manageable but her outdoor weddings can accommodate up to 80.

Weddigngs at the Inn

Wedding setting. Rustic and picturesque barn at the Brampton Inn, Eastern Shore of Maryland

Danielle Hanscom, innkeeper of the Brampton Inn in Maryland started ultimate and ended up only doing intimate weddings of up to 20 people. She said her earlier experiences with large weddings were not only stressful for her but stressful on the property. Innkeepers must respect their septic systems! She also commented on stiletto heels on old original hardwood floors that caused significant damage. Something she said she had not thought of. Live and learn. Temporary runners would be a suggestion. She books about 30 small weddings a year. She says this is a manageable number for the Brampton Inn. Tips: Make sure your electrical system is up to date and can handle extra loads for outdoor lighting and music amplifiers. Control the noise levels and adhere to any local ordinances.

The three inns interviewed have chosen the intimate wedding venue route. For the property and for the innkeepers this was their choice.  Not that a small wedding can’t be the ultimate in experience as well as a great source of extra revenue. The celebratory nature of the bed and breakfast business is both fun and a profit maker. Return guests, you bet. The married couples often return year after year on their anniversary. The celebration continues at the Inn well after ‘I do’.!

A wonderful side note: Maryanne and now husband Bill were married at the Hawthorn Inn in 2007. They call it ‘a perfect partnership for the Inn’.

Weddings at the Inn

Maryanne and Bill. Love is lovelier the second time around at the Hawthorn Inn, Camden Maine


The goal is not the size of the weddings but the commitment to make your Inn’s intimate weddings the ultimate in experience as well as revenue and good will.  As the Rossets said. It’s a win-win.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Facebook 2014

March 13th, 2014 by Janet Wolf

Facebook 2014

Facebook 2014. Let’s take a look at what some marketing gurus are saying about Facebook. What is the outlook for Facebook 2014 for your bed and breakfast business? In an article by Daniel Edward Craig in a recent Hotel Marketing newsletter. Is Facebook a sales, marketing or customer service channel?  Good question. I have taken some quotes from the article that I  found interesting and may give some insight into how Facebook 2014 could become more powerful and profitable for your B&B.

Engaging Your Fans

“The real power behind Facebook is its sharing features. A comment is worth seven times more than a like, and a share is worth 13 more times than a like.” The article’s suggestion is to…”Hold an onsite contest such as asking a guest to post a selfie or a photo of the view from their room or to vote for the best local bars, restaurant.” I would also add to that list. i.e. favorite ski trail, museum exhibit, or hiking trail. The list could be endless. This type of activity engages the guests to share their experiences.

A good example of a Facebook post is from Norumbega Inn in Camden Maine.  In the “spirit” of the season we bring you: Chef Phil’s Drunken Irish Soda Bread! Enjoy and if you make it, share your photos! The post includes this great photo and the recipe. Another interesting point from the article is…”pictures of food get shared the most, photos of local scenery get liked the most and promotional posts receive low engagement rates.”

Norumbega Inn Facebook 2014

Norumbega Inn’s Chef Phil’s Drunken Irish Soda Bread with enhancements!

Facebook as a Customer Service Channel

“More travelers are using Facebook to share feedback and make inquiries directly with hotels. Facebook can be a channel for helping guests to plan their stay, for connecting with them onsite and for keeping in touch post-stay.” The key here is ‘helping guests plan their stay’.

Example: Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore became a tourist destination as Lake Superior was frozen over enough this winter for people to walk the ice caves. The Pinehurst Inn in Bayfield WI kept their FB followers informed through posts on the opening and the conditions. The event increased tourism and guests flocked to the Pinehurst Inn.

Pinehurst Inn good use of Facebook 2014

The Pinehurst Inn kept their guests informed and the post was shared

Facebook as a Marketing Channel

“…people go to Facebook to socialize, not plan trips.” This sounds like a contradiction from the advice just mentioned but the article goes on to say…”the path to purchase is increasingly social, and more customers are checking out lodging Facebook pages and inquiring with friends before making booking decisions.” If you post current events (like the example of Pinehurst Inn), activities, new restaurant openings, culinary classes, added amenities, guestroom makeovers, anything that will spur interest and help them make a decision to book with you.

Another example of engaging (pun to follow) your FB followers. From Lookout Point Lakeside Inn, Hot Springs, Arkansas. ‘Mathematicians, we have an exciting announcement! We are giving away a FREE Sapphire Elopement to take place on Pi Day (March 14, 2014)! Check out our blog for more details on how to win this intimate ceremony: If you recall it was mentioned in the article that ‘promotional posts get low engagement rates’. But the Lookout Point Inn has a strong wedding business. Couples looking for a wedding venue for their  elopement would find this giveaway offering on Facebook, their blog, their website as well as local press and a popular national bed and breakfast blog. The word got out. This activity on all these marketing channels had the opportunity to engage and then hopefully get shared.


Sapphire Elopement Package Giveaway Lookout Point Lakeside Inn, Hot Springs Arkansas

Facebook: A Little of Everything

“So it seems that a well-managed presence on Facebook 2014 can be a modest hybrid of all three channels: marketing, guest service, even revenue. The key is to stay disciplined, to make satisfaction the priority.” I think the key word here is discipline. Post often. Encourage comments and respond to them. Engage in the conversation like you would at any social event. Have an FB party!

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf