The Importance of a Work-Life Balance in Innkeeping

As innkeepers, taking quality time off for many of you is a difficult decision or is it not? Is it the nature of the business or is it our own foibles, our personality that was perfect for the job? Innkeepers manage everything: staff, buying groceries, decorating rooms, supervising renovations, ordering new linens, sorting through the old magazines, upgrading websites and reservation systems, installing new outlets and lighting in the room, answering the phone and graciously greeting guests.

Have I left something out? Surely you can think of a few more chores that you have accomplished or added to your day. Sure, it’s a lot to manage, but that’s part of the joys and challenges of being an innkeeper—a central topic of our discussions in the Seminar for Future Innkeepers.

However, it is difficult once we are on the run to stop and take stock in ourselves; to ask “how are we doing?” How are we making that time for our personal lives in order to maintain that sharp eye, that smile, that gracious relaxed tone in our greeting? No buts about it, we need to focus on the daily details that are essential to our success as proprietors of a business — and often that gets put before our personal wellness and reflection.

As innkeepers, maintaining a work-life balance will improve happiness and business.

So how do we keep things in equilibrium? How do we maintain that work-life balance between our high-functioning public side and the relaxed, private being that lies beneath? We need to take a step back, take a moment, before we rush head first into the day. We need to define what it is that we need, not the guest, but what we, the innkeepers and business owners need to be happy in life. And we need to do that before we are in the presence of guests, in a space where there are no obligations, no demands; just us giving ourselves the respect to reflect on what is truly important to us. I encourage you to try it!

In this industry, our personal life deeply impacts our business success. Great seasons are ahead, and I assure you without that time to reflect, the aura around you fades. Once that happens, the quality of your service and your inn will follow. It also helps to build a good innkeeping support staff. This will provide added confidence that you can take the time you need for yourself, in the name of improving the quality of your service, without things completely falling apart in your absence.

This morning my walk through our woods was cold, refreshingly sunny, little snow beneath Chocolat’s and my feet while the birds chirping was intermittently close by and further away. I thought of many of you, your years of labor, your beautiful inns and your personal journeys. Aren’t we lucky to be able to have choices about our own lives and the milieu that we have created and need to create again and again? I think so!


One thought on “The Importance of a Work-Life Balance in Innkeeping

  1. I know just what you are saying Heide. I have been an innkeeper for 16 years. It is So important to take care of yourself first so that you can take care of others. I learned that the hard way, but I am better for it. Sometimes when I see a a window of opportunity I take the busiest holidays off. Your health and family are most important to your success as an innkeeper. I am also the administrator for the New York State Bed and Breakfast Association (Empire State Bed & Breakfast Asociation – ESBBA) I would like permission to put your article in our newsletter for our Aspiring and seasoned innkeepers. Please let me know if this is ok. Thank you.

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