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’

Virginia is for Lovers –All of them!

July 24th, 2017 by Janet Wolf

 

Virginia is for lovers

Virginia is for Lovers-All of Them!

This tourism and travel slogan may be one of the most recognized and successful advertising slogans ever. I didn’t realize that it has been around since 1969. Back then, the firm of Martin and Woltz Inc.  proposed slogans like, “Virginia is for History Lovers.” Also beach lovers and mountain lovers. The thought was these slogans were too limiting and came up with the all-inclusive lovers of all things Virginia.

Fast forward to 2017… all-inclusive means so much more today.

“Our LOVE story is bigger, better, and more inclusive than ever before.”

The official tourism website of the Commonwealth of Virginia started a new marketing program“specifically aimed at drawing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — aka LGBT — tourists to visit the state.”

Caroline Logan, Director of Communications for Virginia Tourism Corp., stated The goal is to present Virginia as a safe and inclusive place for LGBT travelers and their families.”

Is this an advertising promotion to bring more business to the state? Of course.

There are millions of dollars spent each year by LGBT travelers, which is a very specific segment of the tourism market, so being able to benefit from that segment is important,” said Kevin Clay, who served on the advisory commission and is a principal with Big Spoon Agency, a hospitality consulting firm in Richmond.

Is this also a strong welcoming message to the LGBT community of travelers? You bet.

Hospitality has many acronyms. One of them is openness, another kindness, another generosity. I was pleased to see many bed and breakfasts on the self-designated listings of Virginia business owners and hosts as LGBT-friendly.

The B&B Team loves Virginia. In fact the company was founded by Peter Scherman in Virginia in 1993. He and his wife Peggy love living in historic Scottsville, Virginia.

Just like the LOVE story of Virginia, The B&B Team is now bigger and better. There are now 10 of us on the team. I can speak for all of us in that we believe wholeheartedly in the all-inclusive marketing message Virginia Tourism Corp. is promoting. Kudos to Virginia Tourism Corp. for their openness and all inclusive campaign.  Lovers come in all shapes and forms and varieties of humankind…………..and to quote one of my favorite passages from Harper Lee’s book, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Atticus Finch’s daughter Scout observed that “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”

If becoming an innkeeper is a dream and hospitality is in your DNA, we can help. As we state on our Seminars page, “We don’t sell the dream, we help you live it.” We invite you to start your search for bed and breakfasts for sale in Virginia right here.

The B&B Team also loves the other 49 states and would love to help your search….wherever.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Mobile Bookings are Growing Fast-Are you getting your share?

June 22nd, 2017 by Janet Wolf

Mibile bookings

Mobile Bookings are Growing

“…according to eMarketer’s latest forecast on digital and mobile travel. This year, digital travel sales in the US will reach $189.62 billion, 40.0% of which will come from mobile devices.”

Now not all of those billions are room rentals. This includes airlines, cruises, all travel related bookings, including AirBnB.

More stats for those who love this stuff:

“US mobile travel sales will total $75.85 billion in 2017, up 16.7% over last year. On the flip side, desktop and laptop travel sales will decline 1.6% this year to $113.77 billion.”

What does this mean for our industry? If your website is not responsive, you run the risk of being deemed irrelevant. Ouch!

“Google holds nearly 70% of search market share, so when Google talks, we listen. Google states that responsive web design (RWD) is its recommended mobile configuration and an industry best practice. Google prefers RWD because content that lives on one website and one URL is much easier for users to share, interact with, and link to than content that lives on a separate mobile site. It also makes managing your site and SEO easier, as you have one site to maintain and market.” InsideOut Solutions.

Responsive website design has been a ‘must do’ upgrade for a while. Nothing new but…with the newest stats like the 16.7% increase in mobile bookings, the importance of a good responsive site just keeps growing.

“It’s important to have a responsive website, one that can adapt to screens of any resolution, for several reasons. The most obvious reason is that it allows guests who found your inn on their mobile device or tablet to easily navigate your website. If they can navigate your site, they will stay on your website longer. They will learn more about your accommodations and will be more likely to make a reservation.” Q4Launch

The most important point I want to make in this post going forward is: GO WITH WEBMASTERS WHO KNOW THE LODGING INDUSTRY. I know I just shouted at you, no apology, because this is important!

“Keep in mind, “Local” webmasters who are not well-versed in the Lodging industry simply do not have the knowledge to build a Website and include all the necessary parts required to make it into a successful online presence.” Acorn Internet Services, Inc.

“We take a holistic approach to bed and breakfast marketing, but a key tool for success is a professionally designed website that converts “lookers into bookers.” White Stone Marketing

The folks I have quoted here know their stuff. They have all been working with and for our industry for quite a while (except for Q4, the newbies… but good!)  They are all knowledgeable, dedicated and passionate about our industry as are we at The B&B Team.

You want your share of the $75.85 billion US travel sales in 2017. If you are not responsive your share will be miniscule. You want those lookers to become bookers but…if they can’t even look on a mobile device. Ouch!

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Urban Bed & Breakfasts for Sale-Interested?

June 13th, 2017 by Janet Wolf

Urban Bed & Breakfast for sale

Urban Bed & Breakfasts for Sale-Philadelphia’s Cornerstone Inn

Did you know The B&B Team conducts around 30 ‘Better Way to Learn Innkeeping’ Seminars annually? Many aspirers sign up to learn the “ins and outs” of starting a bed breakfast. In addition we also learn from them, something very important. Where do they want to live? Location WILL affect your business and lifestyle.

We ask…

Is it in the country with some acreage?

Is it on the shore, beach or lake?

In a quiet country village?

Or…an urban setting?

Urban Bed & Breakfasts. Large cities or smaller metropolitan cites. Let’s take a look at some advantages.

  • Can have higher occupancy rates. Why?
    • Oodles of corporations that bring their travelers to town.
    • Typically enjoy mid-week business travelers.
    • Usually have colleges and universities…always magnets for parents, future student families, reunions and corporate guests working at the school.
    • Colleges and universities build repeat guests for 4 years with each entering class.
    • Less year-round occupancy volatility. Typically weather does not affect urban travel.
  • Average Daily Rates (ADR) can typically be higher in a city. Why?
    • Higher occupancy rates allow for effective revenue management practices.

Thank you Marilyn and Scott Bushnell, members of The B&B Team for their insights, cited above. As innkeepers (in their former life!) their Inn was located in a vibrant urban location.

“We realized that the value of multiple types of travelers would provide better occupancy, stronger income, and lower our risks in the marketplace. And, we had the personal conveniences of access to all that in town inns have to offer (dining, shopping, culture).”

Another feature is that they are often located in beautiful renovated in-town historic manses, homes where prominent families lived before suburban sprawl. In addition, it is not all cement and asphalt; there are often secret gardens and patios, even swimming pools.

Here are a few examples of successful urban Bed and Breakfasts The B&B Team is currently offering for sale.

Urban Bed & Breakfast

Cornerstone Inn-Urban Bed & Breakfast for Sale

  • Cornerstone Bed & Breakfast, Philadelphia PA. Walk to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, fine dining and events. Yes…it’s urban!
    • Located in University City adjacent to both the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel.
    • Occupancy exceeds 70% (national average for B&Bs of this size is about 41%.
    • ADR is over $190 (national average for B&Bs of this size is about $160).

The Cornerstone Inn is a beautiful 1865 Victorian ‘painted lady’ set on a quiet Philadelphia street among towering trees and other historic buildings. Highlights of the Inn include original architectural carpentry, original wood flooring and 7 glorious stained glass windows.

urban Bed & breakfast

Urban Bed & Breakfast in the Lehigh Valley

  • A Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania Inn. 18 guest room Georgian Mansion Inn located in an historic neighborhood in Eastern PA.
    • Near a world renowned liberal arts college. Includes all the advantages an urban property can offer.
    • Occupancy and ADR plus complete financials are available to qualified buyers with a signed NDA.

An elegant Georgian mansion originally built in 1895. In 1986 the building was fully restored to its former glory and has welcomed guests ever since. Over the years it has evolved into what is now the stately eighteen-room Lehigh Valley urban Bed & Breakfast.

Take a look at The B&B Team’s additional Urban Bed & Breakfasts for sale offerings.

Downtown Pittsburgh Bed and Breakfast.

  • Historic Mansion with 9 guest rooms in the middle of this dynamic city. A few blocks from Heinz Field, PNC Park, and Andy Warhol Museum. Urban neighborhood at it’s best.
urban bed & breakfast

Downtown Pittsburgh Urban Bed & Breakfast for Sale

 

Annapolis Maryland Bed and Breakfast

  • Amid dozens of diverse area attractions that bring visitors to town such as the Naval Academy, St. John’s College, city Dock with its showcase Harbor, the State Capital and surrounding businesses, plus boutique shopping, pubs and eclectic dining offerings that are ALL within a short walking distance. In the historic district of Annapolis.
urban Bed & Breakfat

Annapolis Maryland Urban Bed & Breakfast for sale

Still interested? Follow the links and give us a call. We can help.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

 

Blackmail! What You Can Do Before It Happens?

May 1st, 2017 by Janet Wolf

Blackmail!

Blackmail! In today’s world of social media.

Just say the word, blackmail, and it brings to mind evil images and dark thoughts.

The definition of blackmail: ‘…the action, treated as a criminal offense, of demanding money from a person in return for not revealing compromising or injurious information about that person.’

For innkeepers today, it isn’t the demand for money. Blackmail in today’s world of social media and transparency means a threat of a bad review! Yes, evildoers with the opportunity of damaging  your good reputation.

Rick and I were invited to TripAdvisor’s headquarters recently to meet with multiple groups of TripAdvisor employees in different departments. We were pleased that The B&B Team had the opportunity to represent the interests of B&Bs at these meetings.

Among many subjects discussed relating to issues B&Bs have with TripAdvisor, the issue of blackmail came up.  A few years ago TripAdvisor added a way for business owners to report blackmail threats. In our canvasing of innkeepers only one innkeeper brought up this topic. I thought I would share this information for those of you who may not be aware of this tool.

As a business representative, how can I report that a guest threatened me with a bad review?  “Here are some best practices for submitting reports of potential blackmail to TripAdvisor before the review is submitted.”

The key word here is before. Being proactive is important. If you get a threat, report it immediately. Save the paper trail of emails and voicemails. As much detailed information you can report, the better.

What if a fraudulent review is posted and you were not aware of any threats? This can and has happened and unfortunately can be a bit more difficult to prove. It must violate TripAdvisor’s review guidelines.

As an owner or manager, how do I report a review that violates your guidelines?

As innkeepers, working through the process of reporting blackmail or fraudulent reviews can be frustrating and time consuming. But at least there is a process with guidelines provided by TripAdvisor. And if the results end with a removal of the review, definitely worth it!

Tip: Posting a management response to a fraudulent review is also very important. Respond as soon as possible!

As an owner or manager, how do I respond to a review on my listing?

Even if you have not had a threat of blackmail or received a fraudulent review, it is a good idea to read through these guidelines. Have the knowledge before, and you have the opportunity to head the evildoers off at the pass!

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

 

Service with a Smile ;>}

April 4th, 2017 by Janet Wolf

the customer is always right

Service with a Smile

As innkeepers we always provide service with a smile, right? In The B&B Team’s Aspiring Innkeepers Seminars we spend a good deal of time discussing service. We ask our attendees questions like…

Is the customer always right?

After some discussion, our response is NO, the customer is not always right. Thankfully that rude and offensive guest does not rear its ugly head often at bed and breakfasts. But when that occasional guest appears, it is memorable as well as challenging.

When a guest insults you or a member of your staff, makes unreasonable demands and complaints and all with the use of offensive language. Is this person always right? Of course not.

The fact is that some guests are just plain wrong and your business is better without them.

Today innkeepers can flag guests in their property management systems, making sure you or your staff doesn’t make the mistake of booking them in the future.

But how do you handle those guests during their stay? And how do you ‘encourage’ them to remove themselves? Service with a smile?

  • Firmly explain that you do not tolerate certain kinds of behavior at your Inn.
  • Suggest that if they are so unhappy with their stay they can leave and will not be charged.

OK, you may not be smiling during this conversation but you will be calm, collected and professional. As innkeepers, Rick and I only had to ’explain and suggest’ twice. Once to loud and intoxicated couples traveling (or should I say partying?) together. And once to a guest who made a very offensive and discriminatory statement in front of us and other guests. They both took our ‘suggestion’ and departed.

We recently had a conversation with Siobhan Kelly, innkeeper with partner Katja of the Towne Motel in Camden Maine.  She told us a great story. Her mother owned the High Tide in Camden on the coast of Maine in the 80’s. Siobhan helped her Mom at the inn during the summers while in grad school. She remembers the method her Mom used when dealing with unhappy guests at check-in. She would simply take an eraser (remember those?) and erase the reservation in the ledger right in front of them. …

“Mom would try to work with them–offer a different room if she could, for example–but if they couldn’t be pleased, the eraser came out, Mom handed back their deposit, and said she’s sure they’d be happy elsewhere.  Backtracking at this point was in vain: they weren’t staying there!”

service with a smile

Smiling innkeeper, Siobhan Kelly

Read more in detail about the legality of Guest Removal in an article from US Legal.

As I mentioned before, the rude and offensive guest appears rarely. Good innkeepers have a caring attitude, are flexible and have a genuine commitment to the guest. Offering genuine service with a smile means your guests are smiling too. And in 99.9% of the time, they do.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Are You a Luxury Bed & Breakfast Inn?

March 28th, 2017 by Janet Wolf

Are You a Luxury Bed & Breakfast?

Are you a luxury bed & breakfast inn? Luxury means different things to different people. If you brand your inn as a Luxury Bed & Breakfast Inn… one size and look does not fit all today.

A whirlpool tub, a fireplace, champagne and those oh, so predictable chocolate covered strawberries. Guests may be saying: “Is that all there is”?

Going beyond the expected and predictable is what we are talking about here.

If you are going to charge luxury prices, then you need to offer something that no one else can offer. In my research, I found many articles and blogs on this subject. What I discovered was once again it is not about the ‘things’ but about the experience. This does not mean the luxury amenities, updated décor, latest technology and yes, an outstanding breakfast are not important. Guests still want (and expect) this. But…

“It’s clear that experience is winning out over the material when it comes to the kind of luxury that consumers prefer.”

To really have a competitive edge, hospitality providers need to facilitate branded experiences that extend beyond the walls of the room or property.” 10 Hotel Trends that Will Shape Guest Experience in 2017 Deanna Ting, Skift. Jan. 30, 2017

Your luxury Bed & Breakfast Inn charges luxury prices. As a result that WOW factor needs to include something no one else offers. Experiential travel, ‘live like a local’, curated experiences…call it what you will. It is what hospitality and travel writers are talking about today. There must be a reason.

Some examples:

  • Street food & beverage tours. Rick and I were in Brooklyn with our son and daughter-in=law and took a whiskey tasting and distillery tour followed by a walk to a bakery that only bakes and sells key lime pie! Their frozen chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick! Unique…you bet.

Van Brunt Stillhouse, Red Hook Brooklyn, NY

  • Exclusive behind the scene museum tours. The Inn at Cooperstown has been offering one of the best behind the scenes tours of The Baseball Hall of Fame for many years. The innkeepers created the package, partnering with the museum and they ‘own it’. Exclusive and packed full of experiences…you bet.
Are you a luxury bed & breakfast

Ultimate Baseball Hall of Fame Package Experience

Now you may think trekking the streets of Red Hook, Brooklyn and paring whiskey with key lime pie is not luxurious.  But it sure was memorable. Remember, one size does not fit all.

A behind the scene tour of your favorite baseball team’s artifacts in places the public is not privy too, priceless. Possibly a memory of a lifetime to serious baseball fans!

Coming up with an experience that is unique to your property’s location may not be as difficult as you think. What is your community’s story? It may be historical or a new emerging business trend. Do a bit of research and think ‘out of the box’.

From the Skift article.  “This isn’t to say people don’t want opulence or extravagance anymore. For some travelers, that’s still an integral part of what defines luxury. We’re not saying luxury is transforming into something more Spartan, or more minimalistic, either. Instead lean luxury is about the new luxury, about offering travelers a more authentic, genuine luxury experience unfettered by specific brand or quality standards like thread counts.”

I think a branded luxury Bed & Breakfast Inn has the opportunity to provide this better than the large hotel brands, way better.

Looking for a luxury bed & breakfast for sale? Become a part of the ‘lean luxury’ trend.

Lead photo. Hermann Hill Vineyard Inn, Hermann, Missouri. ‘Where the Missouri and Memories Meet.’

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

 

Snowfall Equals Dollars-White is Green in Vermont and New Hampshire

March 21st, 2017 by Janet Wolf

snowfall eguals dollars

Okemo Mountain, Vermont-Snowfall Equals Dollars

Yes…for innkeepers in the Northeast, snowfall equals dollars. A crystal white covering is green for innkeepers in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Facts:

  • “Northern New England Gets Buried in Snow, and Skiers Love It”   US News article.
  • “Visits to Cannon Mountain Ski Area in White Mountains, Franconia NH, are up by 65%.”
  • “Good morning skiers and riders and happy first day of spring! I hope you love spring conditions as much as I do, because today’s forecast is calling for mostly sunny skies and soft snow! We’ll be working on our goggle tans as we make buttery turns all day long.”  Mount Snow Vermont Report-6:33 AM Monday, March 20, 2017

Reports like this come in daily and skiers, snowmobilers and snowboarders use them to help make their plans. Staying at a Vermont and New Hampshire country inn or lodge has historically been an excellent way to stay for lovers of winter and everything that beautiful snowfall has to offer.

snowfall equals dollers

Bernerhof Inn, Jackson NH

Jackson NH, Bernerhof Inn partners with cross country and alpine ski resorts in their White Mountains location. Near Attitash Mountain, Cranmore Mountain Resort, Bretton Woods Ski Resort and Jackson Ski Touring. Quite a list! After a day on the slopes the Bernerhof offers  great pub food at the Black Bear Pub and martini bar and an onsite spa.  Spacious recently renovated guest rooms.  Winter packages that bring in the green!

Snowfall equals dollars

Cozy up and relax before dining-Sugar Hill Inn

Sugar Hill Inn, White Mountains of NH. A classic country inn and restaurant. The Inn is centrally located in the Franconia Notch region in the heart of the White Mountains. The rural beauty of the location is a real draw that includes winter sports on nearby Cannon Mountain Ski Area. Sugar Hill offers not just skiing packages but tubing, dog sledding and winter hiking. The restaurant offers fine dining yet is relaxed in a  warm welcoming atmosphere.

snowfall equals dollars

Apres-Ski at the Parker House Inn & Bistro

Parker House Inn and Bistro in Quechee VT has a relationship with Quechee Lakes Country Club that offers winter activities that include an illuminated ice skating pond, horse drawn sleigh rides and snowshoeing. The Quechee Ski Hill is a great place for beginner skiers and snowboarders. The Parker House has a great lively apre-ski atmosphere. Great food and cheer and updated contemporary guest rooms. Great place to chill from the chill!

snowfall equals dollars

Bromley View Inn Labrador Lounge & Tavern

Bromley View Inn is minutes away from Bromley Mountain which boasts the only New England ski area with southern exposure.  Known as ‘Sun Mountain’. Bromley View Inn is perfectly situated between two wonderful mountains… Stratton and Bromley. Long known for family skiing. The Bromley View Inn is perfect for multigenerational gatherings. A growing travel trend which has the color of green all over it. The Labrador Lounge & Tavern is a wonderful addition to the Inn’s friendly atmosphere.  The circular gas fireplace with surround seating is a favorite gathering spot.

snowfall equals dollars

Kitzhof Inn Lounge

Kitzof Inn is located near Mt Snow. Recall what was said about spring skiing? “goggle tans as we make buttery turns all day long.” Location is key! Walk or ride to restaurants and bars in West Dover village. The free ‘MOOver Bus’ takes you directly to the lifts at Mount Snow just 2 minutes away. Return to the Inn, enjoy their Hot Tub, Fireplace Lounge, BYOB Bar, Games Room and Wifi. Dinner is available to groups.

snowfall equals dollars

Chester VT country inn blanketed in snow. Watercolor by Debra Webster Irons

Okemo Valley VT is location of the Village of Chester and the Fullerton Inn and Restaurant. A country inn and a Vermont classic. Okemo is in south-central Vermont, featuring southern Vermont’s highest vertical drop and vast trail network that spans five distinct alpine areas, an exceptional skiing and riding experience for all ability levels. Also close to Stratton Mountain and Magic Mountain Ski Resort. The casual restaurant is a central hub for locals and inn guests alike.

Interested in these Vermont and New Hampshire Inns for sale? Give us a call. In New England resort areas the green doesn’t stop when the snow melts. If you have ever spent any time in Vermont and New Hampshire in the summer and fall you know what I mean.

A great winter season brings in the green but just around the calendar corner is spring skiing, warmer sun and longer days and March maple sugaring. Followed by summer hiking and biking, fall foliage and that crisp air with the hint of winter to come.

Question? Do you know what ‘stick season ‘ is? That brief time after fall foliage when the trees are bare and innkeepers can take a brief break!

Vermont and New Hampshire are not the only winter wonderlands.  Maine winters are prime time for winter lovers. Next blog will feature the green that comes from the Camden Hills, Rockland, Bethel, Fryeburg, Moosehead Lake and more. Stay tuned.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio-From Big Cities to Quiet Farmland

February 23rd, 2017 by Janet Wolf

Ohio-From Big Cities to Quiet Farmland

Ohio could be labeled the juxtaposition state. The cities of Cleveland, Canton, Akron and Columbus. Take a drive from these metro areas and you are immediately transformed to another time. The world’s largest Amish Country, Holmes County, unspoiled countryside farmland and small towns. A beautiful juxtaposition.

Ohio-From Big Cities to Quiet Farmland

Yoder’s Amish Home.

Quiz time…

What do these Ohio small towns have in common? Point Pleasant, Mentor, Fremont, Marion and North Bend.

Answer: Birthplaces or homesteads of five of the eight Ohioans that held our nation’s highest office.

Can you name all eight? That’s’ a tough one. Just read this great article from Ohio Magazine, Presidential Road Trips for the answer. Fun stuff for presidential history buffs. Presidential libraries and homesteads are fascinating to visit, you can learn so much.

Now off to the farmland of the peaceful Amish folk. In my research I was astounded with what this area has to offer. The customs and traditions of the Amish are so telling in how our country’s farming ancestry thrived and survived. There is so much to discover. Another travel article from Midwest Living: Getaway in Ohio’s Amish Country. Their suggestion: ‘Follow the buggies (not the tour buses) along Holmes County’s backroads to the farm and shops of everyday Amish life.’ Roadside shops filled with colorful dry good, handmade tools and toys, farmer’s markets and food! Homemade and oh so country.

Miller’s Bakery offers warm sweet rolls the size of hands folded in prayer

One place to stay and savor the flavor of the Amish Country is The Barn Inn, Millersburg. This unique Inn was constructed from an enormous barn. The common guest areas, specifically the gathering and dining areas enjoy a large space with soaring ceilings with the original rough- hewn wood beams and massive stone fireplace. Many of the guest rooms also enjoy the architectural element of the barn beams along with whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, porch access, and attractive furnishings. The draw is the quiet farmland scenery (think juxtaposition) with the advantage of easy reach from Columbus, Cleveland, Akron, Canton and Pittsburgh.

Ohio-From Big Cities to Quiet Farmland

The Barn Inn, Millersburg, Holmes County Ohio

Are you seeking a bed and breakfast for sale in Ohio? The Barn Inn is offered by The B&B Team®. We invite you to start your search for Ohio bed & breakfasts right here, from big cities to quiet farmland. There may be other Ohio inns for sale that we are aware of, but do not have listed here. We can help. It is what we do and love doing it! Give us a call. ‘Your next adventure starts here’, Ohio.org.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

The InnSpire Summit & Marketplace-Value Added

January 31st, 2017 by Rick Wolf

the InnSpire summit & Marketplace

The InnSpire Summit & Marketplace, Queen Mary. Long Beach CA

Day 1…The InnSpire Summit & Marketplace, The Queen Mary, Long Beach CA. Ran into and old friend and colleague. Started chatting about innkeeping conferences, current and past. He told me about a comment from an innkeeper that he would never forget. He asked this innkeeper, what is the value you get from attending an innkeeping conference?

“Attending a conference gives you the opportunity to place yourself high on a mountain top and view the battlefield landscape to help plan your attack. The alternative is to stay bogged down in the trenches, trying to dig yourself out and getting nowhere.”

Love this!

Here is a sample of some of the sessions offered, the landscape.

There are different paths or categories to choose from.

New Innkeeper Path

Guest Experience Path

Heads on Beds Path

Back of the House Path

The InnSpire Summit & Marketplace

Peter Scherman-The B&B Team

One of the first sessions was for the newbies, ‘Benchmarks for the New Innkeeper: How do I Measure my First Year in Business?‘ The room was packed with new and seasoned innkeepers. Peter Scherman, and innkeeper Don Lynch presented some tools and stats to help you gauge your business success. Ways to work ‘on your business’, not just ‘in your business’. Big difference.

The ‘Guest Experience Path’ offered, ‘The Dynamics of Creating Consistency’. A panel of seasoned innkeepers talked about their approach to brand consistency at their inns. How they deliver on the promise their marketing presents. Their experiences triggered lively audience participation with questions and more great examples. You could see light bulbs go off.

The InnSpire Summit & Marketplace

Chip Conley-Airbnb

Heads on Beds Path. ‘How Airbnb and Professional Bed and Breakfast Can Collaborate and Win Together.’  Now you can imagine how packed this session was! Led by Chip Conley, Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy, Airbnb. How the future of a collaboration between B&Bs and Airbnb is one that can benefit both. The presentation and discussion, among many, involved the plan for Airbnb to launch a ‘Professional Designation’ category on their website. This has been promised in the past and is still in the working stages.

Lunch was served in the Marketplace for attendees and Allied Partners. Time to shop and network with variety of old friends and new. 58 booths in total. From Amenities to Website Design. The buzz and enthusiasm in the hall is invigorating.

After we all refueled, back to education. How about some help with Social Media?  ‘Mastering Social Media Advertising’. Alex Cameron, founder and CEO, Signature Marketing Consulting offered great ‘how to’ advise on Facebook Ads. Step by step tools, simply presented and applicable for our business.

Late afternoon sessions. Time to grab some coffee at Starbucks. The landscape is broadening.

Back of the House Path offering, ‘The State of the Marketplace: Are Inns Selling? Are Banks Lending? Are There Buyers and What Are They Looking For? Rick and Peter are finishing this session as I am writing. I hope they left time for plenty of questions.

There was a total of 23 sessions today. Most innkeeper couples and/or staff divide and conquer the battlefield then gather to plan their next attack. Day 1 coming to an end. See you tomorrow.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

 

Vermont is a Strong Brand

January 12th, 2017 by Janet Wolf

Vermont is a strong brand

View of Bromley Mountain, Vermont

As US states go, Vermont is a strong brand. What comes to mind this time of year is Snow, with a capital S.  For downhill skiers, snowboarders and snowmobile enthusiasts, Vermont’s snowfall is the envy of the nation. This according to the Burlington Free Press.

In fall it is the ultimate leaf peeper locale. Early spring brings maple syrup and the prospect of the most spectacular lush shades of green seen anywhere.

Vermont is also synonymous with country inns and cozy fireside bed and breakfasts. To prove this, here are a few quotes from an early Country Inn & Back Roads directory by Norman T. Simpson. For those of you who may not know, Norman and his directory were the foundation of Select Registry. Norman passed away in 1988 but his words and legacy live on.

Vermont is a strong brand

Country Inns and Back Roads

Describing a country inn in Stowe. “The gentle summer mood of northern Vermont is reflected in this gracious Green Mountain hostelry.”

I love Norman’ descriptions and how he identifies the simple pleasures of the Vermont inns he visited .

  • The laden book shelves set by the gathering room hearth.
  • Fresh muffins with small pots of country butter.
  • A friendly maple outside your guest room window.
Vermont is a strong brand

Kitzof Inn, Mt. Snow

Now here is another quote from Norman that many innkeepers and guests can identify with.

“The floor has an engaging list to port but that’s part of the game of country inns.” I have never heard anyone describe a tilting floor in such an appealing and positive way! Beautiful.

This is Vermont’s brand. Rich in a legacy of hospitality (and tilting floors). Allot has changed in the 40 plus years since Norman’s Country Inns & Back Roads was published. Many of his featured country inns and bed and breakfasts still exist and some are…just history. Many have undertaken expansions and renovations keeping the strong Vermont hospitality brand alive. Yet many are in a prime position for new owners to add their creative touch, their own personalized legacy. This is where The B&B Team can assist you, the aspiring innkeeper. We invite you to start your search for bed and breakfast inns for sale in Vermont right here.

Vermont is a strong brand

Hearthside at the Shoreham Inn & Gastropub

Whether it is a local landmark country inn in Chester,Vermont…an authentic lodge style bed and breakfast in Bromley Mountain ski country…a custom built resort lodge at the base of Mt. Snow…a classic historic country inn in Shoreham, Lake Champlain Valley …or a Main Street village boutique country inn in Quechee. The variety of these offerings is as rich and varied as the state of Vermont!

Vermont is a strong brand

Melding of modern & antique at this Quechee boutique country inn

If you are looking for Vermont inns for sale, we welcome you to give us a call. The Vermont brand is strong and enduring. A good place to build your business and your home.

Another Norman quote. “We were looking for the ‘lost Vermont” and we found it here. Gardens, trees, peace, history, laconic natives, covered bridges, mountains, lakes, antiquing, auctions…a sort of warm feeling of coming home.”

Chester VT country inn blanketed in snow. Watercolor by Debra Webster Irons

I will end this writing with how I started…Snow. 2017 Vermont state predictions from the Farmer’s Almanac.

“…slightly above-normal precipitation and near-normal snowfall. The snowiest periods will be in mid-November, late January, mid- and late February, and early to mid-March.”

Sounds about right to me and Vermont innkeepers are thrilled.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

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