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 ‘The B&B Team Inn Consultants and Brokers’

Are You A Connector?

September 20th, 2012 by Janet Wolf

In Chapter 2 of  The Tipping Point – How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell  (a must read in my opinion), he writes about three personality types; Connectors, Mavens and  Salesmen. A quote …”What makes someone a Connector? The first–and most obvious–criterion is that Connectors know lots of people. They are the kinds of people who know everyone. All of us know someone like this.”  From what I understand  this is not about your BF’s.  It is more about having the knack or instinct that helps you relate to people you seek out and meet. Connectors are curious and get excited about meeting people from all walks of life. Another quote…”The point about Connectors is that by having a foot in so many different worlds, they have the effect of bringing them all together.”

I contend that good innkeepers are good connectors. Innkeepers welcome guests from an array of social, cultural, professional and economic circles.  ‘Arrive as guests and leave as friends’? The B&B Team often sees this phrase on plaques in the many inns we visit as well as on B&B websites.  Those guests  who leave as friends will be your most loyal return customers. I may be stating the most obvious here, but think about it for a minute. Gladwell attributes the social success of Connectors to the fact that “their ability to span many different worlds is a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.”  If you possess those four attributes in any combination people are naturally drawn to you, thus the connection. It does take two to tango, so those guests who connect are willing partners and are usually the guests who have the best time.

What about the grumps, complainers and ‘I wish they’d go away’ guests? Do you go out of your way to connect with them? It is hard but sometimes just a little bit of TLC does the trick. After one of those tired road weary grumps would check in to our Inn, Rick or I would make a bet with each other to see who could turn them around first. We had the assurance or self-confidence that the seemingly unwilling partner would relax and have the best  time once they connected to us and our Inn. It worked probably 99% of the time as I’m sure it does for most successful innkeepers who make the effort.

The guests you successfully connect with on a daily basis Gladwell calls acquaintances,  the ‘weak ties’. He contends that these ‘weak ties’ are more important than the strong ties, your real friends. “Acquaintances, in short, represent a source of social power, and the more acquaintances you have the more powerful you are.”  This principle holds for anything that “moves by word of mouth”. And we know our industry moves by the power of social media as well as the old fashioned WOM. If you think about it, this is the principle behind Facebook. The more connections  (likes and followers) we make on Facebook, Twitter, the more WOM exposure you acquire.

In addition to the Connector there are the other personality types, the Mavens and the Salesmen.  Mavens are “information specialists”. “They accumulate knowledge, especially about the marketplace”. Boy does this ring a bell. Successful innkeepers must keep up with the trends in marketing their Inn or be left behind and be deemed irrelevant by the public. Pretty scary! A Maven is also someone ‘who wants to solve other people’s problems, generally by solving his own.” Another bell ringer. Innkeepers are constantly working to solve problems which in turn improves the Inn’s  physical property, operations and the profitability of your business. 

Salesmen are ”persuaders, charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills”.  We all know people that have that special knack, you may be one of them. But if you are upbeat and enthusiastic about your Inn and love what you do that may be all you need in the persuasive and charismatic department. No one can ‘sell’ their Inn as well as you do.

Your ability to connect is the most powerful tool you can have as an innkeeper.  And if you possess the drive to acquire all the knowledge that is available through education (conferences, our blog and Facebook feeds, webinars, just to name a few) this will help you make knowledgeable and prudent decisions and improvements. And if you enthusiastically deliver service with a smile (even to those grumps). Man you have got it and you get it!

Thanks for listening.

Janet Wolf

D is for Due Diligence

April 9th, 2012 by Janet Wolf

Leaping Atticus

Cold Feet


Have you ever made an important purchasing decision and then gotten cold feet just before everything was signed, sealed and delivered? Hope not, because this act of retreat can be costly. The reason for cold feet usually results from the lack of doing due diligence. In general terms due diligence is defined as ‘a voluntary investigation and evaluation of a target business of its assets for acquisition’. (Once again thank you Wikipedia for this definition).

It helps to know what questions to ask and where to find the information you need to move forward once you have identified a property you believe you want to purchase. There is a strategic process  experienced hospitality brokers and consultants can guide you through. The B&B Team takes pride in working very hard for our clients and being very diligent and persistent in the ‘digging in’ process.

If you are planning to purchase an existing bed and breakfast you may assume that all the regulatory requirements are current and all information will be provided to you in detail. Well you know the rule, don’t assume anything! Here is a ‘Regulatory Checklist’ we have put together.

1. Zoning Compliance and Issues – Sidewalks/Trees/Permits/# of Rooms/Parking/Signage

2. Health Codes and Requirements – Kitchen/Grease Traps/Serv-Safe/Records/Permits

3. Environmental Concerns – Asbestos/Radon/Underground Tanks

4. Fire Codes and Regulations – Fire Escapes/Sprinklers/Alarms/Carbon Monoxide

5. Governmental Agencies, Licenses and Taxes – Local/State/Federal/Occupancy Permits

6. Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) – Sidewalk Cuts/Ramps/Room Features

7. Alcohol Licenses and Taxes – Past Taxes Due/Renewable Licenses

8. IRS Requirements – Personal Space in Inn/Filings Done

9. Past Records of Violations and Convictions – ADA/Better Business Bureau

10. Local Historical Agencies – Décor/Design Requirements

One of the most important parts of due diligence that we provide for our clients is a thorough and intelligent set of numbers. You want to know exactly what you are buying in terms of $$$. P&L (profit and loss) statements, number of nights sold, true 365 day occupancy rates, detailed expenses, and tax returns. This is the window into how profitable the business is and how successful or not the current innkeepers have been running their business. Extremely important information for you and for the bank where you may be applying to for a loan. The banks don’t just want to see some of this information, they require it!

Just like in any real estate transaction you want a good building inspection. Again knowing what you are buying. You don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night wondering about the age and condition of the boiler, you want to know how often it has been inspected and serviced and the approximate time you will need to replace it. No surprises, no cold feet from lack of heat. Ha!

Another important part of the process of due diligence is making sure you receive a detailed ‘inclusion, exclusion list’ from the sellers. You don’t want to walk into your newly purchased bed and breakfast and find out the pots and pans have disappeared. Believe me we know of innkeepers this happened to.

Even dogs need warm feet

Warm=Happy Feet

This isn’t by any means a complete list of information that needs to be gathered before your decision can be made on a property purchase. The expression ‘but wait there’s more’ is very relevant here. The B&B Team is experienced in guiding future innkeepers through this process. We know how powerful a knowledgeable buyer is vs. a buyer with ‘cold feet’. We love to warm those tootsies up!