Ch  1 Hospitality
Ch  2 Basics
Ch  3 Theme
Ch  4 Better Old
Ch  5 Legal
Ch  6 Front Desk
Ch  7 Remodeling
Ch  8 Finance
Ch  9 Schedule
Ch 10 Labor
Ch 11 Marketing
Ch 12 Accounting
Ch 13 Now What
Ch 14 Forms

Innkeeping Basics

    Inns go back over two thousand years, just remember the Christmas story (there was no room at the Inn) and you will know how old this profession is. 

    Inns also range in size from a Homestay to small Hotels.

    Homestay is essentially a private home with 1 to 4 guests who essential are staying with you in your home. Sort of like foreign-exchange students or relatives. You generally need no license and must not have a sign out front advertising your Homestay.

    A Bed and Breakfast must comply with local zoning, health, and other government regulations.  It has a sign out front to advertise and often hires employees. These Inns have up to 6 guest rooms and are generally run by a live in manager.

    Inns often look like quaint motels which often have rose gardens, and a Jacuzzi. The dining room is usually in the main structure with the front desk and lobby area. These Inns can have as many as 30 rooms and require a large staff.

    Hotels are usually in historic buildings that have been restored and generally are furnished with antiques and/or historic furnishings.  Many of the guests come just for historic reasons and want to know all there is to know about the history and furnishings they see.

    There is also a class of Inns that feature Cottages. These are a cross between a B&B and vacation rental.  Unlike a vacation rental the guest has the same sort of services as a B&B.  Breakfast is either delivered to the door in the morning or a short stroll down the path to a common dinning room.

    All of these Inns or B&Bs have one thing in common. They all need marketing to fill those rooms. Especially in the first year or two when nobody knows the Inn exists.

    There used to be an expression, if you build it they will come.  I think that expression was started by a construction company as a sales gimmick.  Without marketing your rooms will be empty and stay empty because marketing is simple telling as many people as you can that you exist and that they would really enjoy staying with you.

    It could be as simple as a sign in front of your business. But even a simple sign must use good marketing strategies.  Just because you put it up will not make people notice it and it must also be interesting enough so that people will actually take the time to read it.

    Ads are particularly difficult to write as you practically need an English major combined with a psychology degree to make an ad effective. If you think copy writing is something to protect a best seller book from piracy then you should consider some good books on marketing or even an adult education class on the subject.

    Copy is the ad and writing it correctly is what you do if you are good at copy writing. You need to know what works because in today’s world most folks are extremely tired of junk mail and advertisements.

    Don’t worry if you failed the pop quiz, most people do not know ad lingo or care to. The truth is, and you already know this, sales people are not necessarily all that smart, they are simple trained to sound as if they were smart.

    Learning how to write ads and where to place them can be learned by anyone with the ability to read the many great books that you can find at any library or book store. The only catch is that there is a lot of material so you will need six months to a year to gain any real skill in this art of persuasion.

    Do not build your B&B, staff it up and open the doors before you know how to rent those rooms! Many owners simply start by using an RSO. RSO stands for Reservation Service Organization. These can be as big as Expedia or Travelocity and as small as a local real-estate office. There is normally a contract to sign and a fee to pay and then commissions to pay for each room rented.

    You cannot get in trouble renting the room yourself so it is wise to consider getting as many renters as possible without paying commissions. One great way now days is by having a web page.

    You will definitely need an internet connection for email and/or dealing with your RSO so do a few searches and you should have no problem finding a way to get a web page.

    Really all that is required is getting a url (Uniform Resource Locator), some big words for a web address like These generally sell for about $35 a year. Netcom is one of the biggest sellers of these urls. Then you need a hosting service. Netcom also sells these but so do hundreds if not thousands of other companies and some even specialize in making Inn sites. We have some links at the end of this eBook to help you out in that search.

    Finally, you will need to think about what kind of folks you will be looking for as guests. Will they smoke, have pets, and be couples or a family?  Are you going to have an expensive, luxurious, state of the art business or a basic back to nature kind of place?  Your location and the population within 200 miles of your Inn might help you decide these questions because they will be the ones most likely to visit.