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Contents

Preface

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

Links
Master the Art of Hospitality

    The first step to mastering the art of hospitality is to realize a simple fact: Your guests remember you.

    Many years ago on a trip down route 66, I made a reservation at a B&B so that I could mix my business trip with a little peace and relaxation.  I was prepared to go two hours out of my way for a night's stay that would be nothing short of a mini vacation.

    Unfortunately, on the second afternoon, my car broke down and I had to stay in a motel near the service station where my car was being worked on.  The next morning after getting back on the road, I remember thinking to myself, "Staying at a road side motel can ruin your whole trip. If only my car had made it to the bed and breakfast I would have had an entirely different experience".

    From the moment you arrive at a B&B and see a custom made sign welcoming you in and then are greeted by an enthusiastic innkeeper who heartily says "hello",  you know it is going to be a great stay. Instead of a busy highway keeping you awake all night, you are in a cozy Inn with an out-in-the-country-side set of amenities.  A place that has you saying, “wow what a great place”.

   
Being a frequent traveler along route 66, I know which places I like to stay at - and I would rather go out of my way to stay at an amazing Inn. So here’s the point: If you want me to pick your Inn, don’t be a typical motel, make an impression on me and I will not forget you and I will want to visit again.

   What most appeals to your customers is a sense of personal service, romantic atmosphere, and an Inn with of piece and quiet.  Having new furnishings and expensive decor is not as important as you may think- most guests just want everything well taken care of, and clean.  The room should feel homey and warm, and have a natural smell to it that makes guests want to breathe in deeply.

    Your Inn is more than just a place to spend the night- it is a place where your guest can experience a mini vacation.  If they receive a good personal treatment and are well fed they will return time and again.

What can you do to get the MOST return visits?

    Satisfy your guests' emotions!  If you want to be a cut above the rest, simply satisfy your guest need to be treated special. 

    Be creative about solving the following needs: Food, Activity, Surroundings, Health, Security, Economy, Religion, Science, Neighborhood, Nation, Nature, Intimacy, Family, Groups, Esteem, Play, Generosity, Curiosity, Creativity, and Completion.

Don't stress over the length of the list.  Think SIMPLE.

    Often wine and cheese in the afternoon is a great hit, and a snack bar with a little fruit, coffee, tea and homemade cookies can be priceless.

    If there is some historic significance to your Inn or the area your Inn is located, then a foyer with old pictures, books, and antiques will charm. For that matter, these items are charming even without any history.

    You should have a list of activities your guest can do during the day. This list can really be anything from hiking to shopping nearby. The more ideas you can supply to your guests the better will be their experience.

    Personal touches in the rooms like chocolates or fruit, beauty products, hair dryers, magnifying mirrors, whirlpool tubs, and extra pillows and blankets can really make your guests feel pampered.

    The idea is to try to imagine what you would most want if you came to your Inn and make it so. Spend some real time planning a great time for your guests. Their repeat visits and referrals can make all the difference between success and failure.

    There is no doubt that a Bed & Breakfast or Small Inn is a good business to be in.  According to PAII, the industry has grown from 1000 Inns in 1980 to over 28,000 properties at the turn of the millennium. And with the economy slowing down there is a lot of demand for domestic holidays.

    Do not forget that a successful Inn can foster other business for yourself and your neighbors. You can sell nick knacks, preserves, flowers, and almost anything you can think of on the side.

    Probably the best advice I can give you is to stay at a couple of Bed and Breakfast or small Inns and experience first hand what is good and or bad about them. Talk to the people running them and ask questions about how they started and if they like what they are doing. It will not take long for you to know if this is what you really want to do. No more than four or five stays at Inns should be necessary, so you will not have to spend a fortune on research.

      Once you do open your business be sure to ask your guests what they liked in particular and if there is anything that would make their stay more enjoyable. Ask: “What do you want the most when you stay at an inn?” If you can ask this in a warm conversation, you’re already winning points- a good conversation is memorable; I like places with likable people. You’ll begin to see commonalities, which you can adjust your hospitality skills to.  The goal: Make the guest's night into an exquisite experience.

Starting Up?  Explore New Possibilities

    You may want to renovate an historic building and use the business to write off a lot of the expenses, or you just enjoy the lifestyle of living in a resort area and need income so you can make a living. You might really like country living or farming but just need a little extra income to make ends meet. All these factors will affect how big or small your Inn will be and how much potential profit you may be able to make.

    If you are going for maximum profit, then consider a resort town with a lot of year round visitors, or the outskirts of a large city trying to escape for the weekend. You will need many rooms and a big staff but the profits can be substantial. If you just need a little extra income and have an extra couple of rooms in your old house then you can probably live anywhere but you will need some marketing skills or those rooms will stay empty.
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