It is always exciting and tense to finally pass over the threshold into your own Inn! Exciting? That is an understatement! There you are, looking at what is now yours: great furniture in the public rooms, sofas, chairs, rugs (some a bit worn) and lamp shades of yesterday’s vintage!
It is all very acceptable, but not really to your taste. You really don’t like the way the alcove is jutting out onto your terrace and those four small guestrooms should be combined into suites. And so it goes; the changes you make, make the Inn yours and you know things will have to change!
Over the years visiting Inns, I have appreciated new owners’ eager wishes to make the existing Inn quickly represent their taste, but experience cautions us to proceed slowly! Let a few season roll along, feature the newly renovated suite on your website or, when guests arrive, upgrade them to the new room. Obviously, you should make the public areas represent your taste and your personality from the get go. It takes 30 seconds, or the blink of an eye, to set that repeat guest’s apprehension to rest! “Ah,” they sigh, “it feels great to be back again.”
Be pensive about the remodeling. Carefully plan renovations (a room lasts about seven years) so that they fit into the seasonality of your business. You learn a lot in your first year of being an Innkeeper: who is your guest now and who will be your guest tomorrow? Respect your urges to be too creative too fast and balance them by remembering that most guests have stayed at the Inn for a long time and your aim is to serve those guests as you slowly develop and grow your own guest list.
Have fun, all you new Innkeepers out there, and don’t forget it is quality in everything you do that sells your Inn, not what is most convenient for you. We have been there and we are here to help you through the process.
Have fun, and do your best to be the best!