Taking the leap… into Innkeeping?

It doesn’t matter when or with whom you take an Innkeeping seminar; it matters much more what you hear and take away with you.

There are cliché phrases you will hear: “Innkeeping is a business” — that is true (unless you are working under the table as an Airbnb). “You need to understand the numbers,” and you do need to! You have lots of expenses to pay and will generate most of the income to pay for them from your occupancy. But as essential as the finances are, the pertinent question is, “why do you want to be an Innkeeper?”

dining-welcomingMy ears are wide open to absorb your answers, answers like that you appreciate the winding path through life, challenges in jobs, or fluctuations in our economy. That your brain tries hard to differentiate, to decipher between what is heard and what is not being said! The growing pains in marriage as children leave the nest (but really are not gone!). There is much that every one of us grapples with; we dream of something we could do together, that we could manage ourselves and be successful at. And yes, there are many Innkeepers who have done exactly that!

Innkeeping friends have told me: “Our marriage became stronger after we bought the Inn, we revalued our commitment;” “We shared our workload like never before and saw each other as capable, inventive entrepreneurs, creating a milieu for our guests and being valued for our attentive service!” “It saved our marriage and made us proud and glad of who we are today.”

But know this — Innkeeping can’t offer an escape from difficulties in the financial, the familiar or the personal! You are always “on” if a guest is in your Inn, your service must always attentive to the guest’s needs, not your need for rest or escape. You can’t close the Inn because you need to attend to a personal crisis and expect the Inn to be profitable.

I like to help prospective Innkeepers to sort through these thoughts, and then help them find the right location, a place where they are comfortable and that fits their taste and enjoyment of activities so they can be true ambassadors to the area. And not forgetting to find the Inn that fits their financial situation (so that is my partner’s job!). And here you see, like Innkeeping couples, my partner and I complement each other, though that has been a learning curve as well!

Bill & Heide lead a Seminar for Future Innkeepers at the Rookwood Inn.
Bill, Heide and Tim lead a Seminar for Future Innkeepers at the Rookwood Inn.

There are some wonderful models of Innkeepers out there, go visit Inns, asking the Innkeepers questions, and for yourself check carefully why you want to do this and make definitely sure that you have a love of people and that your generosity is deeply in your heart. Your guest will feel it and their gift is to reward you with great reviews and many return visits.

You know, as the leaves have been turning Chocolate and I have been thinking of this topic for weeks, as we trek through our woods each morning. Today, the leaves were no longer penetrating yellows and reds, but brown, with here and there a bright yellow beech tree leaf; I know winter is not far away! Enjoy these last days of foliage and think and think again: Innkeeping is a great profession, but is it right for you?

–Heide

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