Reflection on the Hospitality Industry

The first tree in our woods has changed to crimson red – fall is in the air; change is afoot.

Photo of Jay Karen and Heide BredfeldtSaying goodbye to Jay, accepting his parting from Select Registry in Key West, was certainly a bash-of-a-celebration and an appreciative farewell! Jay was the CEO of Select Registry for less than two years, yet, in his short time there, he put in place an awesome team, as he did before, during his longer tenure as the CEO of PAII.

The contemplations that tug at me as I walk in the woods, or before I fall asleep at night, are the same, how did we get here: to be in this industry today, with strong roots starting in the 80’s and early 90’s, with leaders like Mary Davies, Pat Hardy and JoAnn Bell? At that time, PAII offered the strongest, most qualified presenters and the best vendors this industry had to offer. It aimed, with Select Registry, to coordinate national conferences to bring the best, most current information to all.

Change is inevitable! Change never stops, but to have a handful of hungry-for-power-and-money individuals destroy what was such a vital, enthusiastic support organization is incomprehensible!

There is a new organization that was formed recently to remedy that what has almost been lost: AIHP: The Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals (I call it IHOP for short!). It offers a new start, but it not easy for loyalties to jump, like apes in the jungle, embracing a new alliance! PAII is familiar to many and was a great source of stability for this industry for over 30 years. I appreciated Jay’s hard work to keep PAII strong. When he left, it was not his choice, but the greed of a few that destroyed a great venue for all Innkeepers and vendors.

I was pleased to have Jay then take the helm of Select Registry. Inn Partners values this collection of Inns and Innkeepers, as it represents many viable Inn businesses. We often help new Inn owners, when they have purchased an Inn not currently a member of Select Registry, to bring the Inn up to the standards and quality to allow them entry into the organization. At the joint national meetings, new Innkeepers had the best opportunity to meet vendors and were exposed to the best amenities you could buy to appoint your rooms, from washing machines, to electric stoves, to tableware, to linens, to robes and don’t forget soaps and granola!

Having three organizations vie for the support of vendors and individual Bed and Breakfasts and Inns alike is pricey and time consuming! How many meetings can we attend and still run a viable business? How many conferences can vendors attend and still remain profitable enough to support our industry?

Should we choose one date, one location to hold our annual meetings? We need to put our egos aside and commit to quality in our segment of the hospitality industry to bring prosperity and growth to all Bed and Breakfast owners and Innkeepers.

Best wishes to all of you and to Jay and his family, all the best!


11 thoughts on “Reflection on the Hospitality Industry

  1. Thanks Heide for your comments. I have been pressured by Linda H to join and support the new organization. I have been wondering how 3 organizations can be efficient and affordable….

    On another note, we are so very busy and need to hire an assistant innkeeper. Thoughts, suggestions, ideas??? Great having high occupancy but need help. We did have a bubbly VT student from the hospitality school, but only for 5 months. She was wonderful and we have advertised for another, no response after 4 weeks. Down side to that is they leave and often right at peak, with 2 weeks notice, then cut even that back.

    Have any graduates looking for some hands on experience? Hope you are enjoying fall. Warmest wishes, Jeanne

    1. Jeanne, sorry for the time frame of this response. I will give you a call in the next week and we can discuss in more detail. Fall colors this year are stunning! Best regards to you and John, Heide

  2. Well said, Heide. There are many of us who are not in the know as to the internal politics of these organizations, and have been bewildered for the past several years. We have not known where to look and who to trust for guidance and support in running our businesses. With the rising popularity of AirB&B and the need to adapt to a new generation of travelers, the B&B industry should be more united than ever.

  3. Thanks Heide for your thoughtful comments. For me, not only am I conflicted but what can I tell new innkeepers about where they should invest their time and $ for the best education and support. I respect your opinion so very much so if you get a sense of what might be the best choice let me know!!
    Best to you and your family, Lucy, Camellia Inn

    1. Dear Lucy, thank you for the note. I will be sure to give you a call when I have reached the final verdict! Best wishes to you and Chris. Heide

  4. I find your blog post extremely offensive. Almost slanderous “When he left, it was not his choice, but the greed of a few that destroyed a great venue for all Innkeepers and vendors.” and “Change is inevitable! Change never stops, but to have a handful of hungry-for-power-and-money individuals destroy what was such a vital, enthusiastic support organization is incomprehensible!” I have friends on the new board of directors of PAII (all innkeepers) the new executive director seems to be doing a great job and basically your calling them for hungry-for-power-and-money individuals who have destroyed PAII instead of people trying hard to rebuild the mess that the former board and JAY left PAII in which was deep deep in dept. Maybe you should find out the facts before saying accusations about people who are currently trying to fix things.

    1. Dear William, I think our wires are getting a bit crossed here. The “hungry-for-power” individuals that I am referencing are no longer associated with the organization – they left some time after Jay’s “resignation” (almost two years ago). We very much believe that PAII, with Kris Ullmer leading the charge, is, once again, proving itself to be a vital resource for current and prospective Innkeepers. Sorry for the miscommunication. Kind Regards, Heide

      1. Heide, myself, like William found your post incredibly offensive to those of us working very very hard on revitalizing PAII.

        I realize you clarifed who you meant in your reply to him, but not everyone reads the comments (sadly).

        There is room for both organizations (I personally think) and I think that both are in the process of clarifying which direction both are going in ultimately. And I think they will be very different.

        I know earlier this year if someone asked me which organization I would join I would say wait and see. But PAII is not the same PAII it was prior, it was not the same one it was last year or as it was under Jay.

        It has revitalized with a very strong board of directors and an extremely knowledgeable new Executive Director who is bringing PAII in a direction way beyond it was even prior to Jay leaving.

        Blaming “PAII” as an organization is ridiculous, the people that ran it prior and mistakes that were made prior are not the same people who have it up and running strong NOW. It’s like blaming your Windows computer for losing all your information and crashing while you’ve since then put in a brand new hard drive with a NEW better and stronger operating system. The shell might be the same, but the internal guts and wiring are completely different.

  5. Well said Heide! Jay gave us strong leadership and a voice at the negotiating table along with the rest of the hotel industry. That all his hard work in elevating the professional image of innkeeping so that we all may benefit, has effectively been destroyed, angers me no end. PAII is no longer viable as a reputable professional organization and has no credibility left, at least in the wider hospitality industry and the hallways that matter. It therefore seems crazy to me that we would continue to support and reward those that have effectively set the industry back by a decade. As you say, neither vendors nor innkeepers can afford to go to every conference and trade show put on by all the B&B organizations these days, both national and state. The only result is significantly diluted services from us all. Select Registry is well-regarded but serves a niche in the market that not all inns can be part of, while AIHP appears to be inclusive and at least offers a new start for all. Speaking from my observations on the periphery these days, and as a member of none of these organizations, the only positive way forward is for PAII to go. Vendors will have to start the ball rolling by withdrawing all support on a collective basis. Innkeepers will follow, once they are no longer able to see any benefit in their participation.

  6. Heide,

    I, too, am very disappointed with your post. It is, at best, 2 years too late and casts aspersions on a wholly new group of dedicated and independent individuals who have volunteered to restore PAII to the status it held for so many years.

    A couple of facts:
    1. No current PAII Board members were in any way, shape or form involved in what transpired years ago. We stepped into an organization that had been deeply in debt for many years. Fortunately, we have been able to work that debt level down significantly through tough negotiations and careful attention to expense control.

    2, The new PAII Board is comprised of ONLY Innkeepers. This prevents any conflict of interest developing with vendors who are in a position of power on the Board. Vendors are an incredibly important part of our Industry and their input and advice will be sought via the re-establishment of an Advisory Council.

    3. PAII remains the largest, most respected Innkeepers’ Association. This is evidenced by the alliance that AH&LA is seeking to form with PAII.
    This alliance with AH&LA will ensure PAII members that they have access to the most meaningful and relevant information regarding Advocacy, Education, and Communications. It is important to note that PAII will not be “swallowed up by AH&LA. We will remain an independent entity with a strong alliance. That gives us the best of all worlds – the independence necessary to serve the Innkeeping community while having access to the incredibly deep resources and talents of AH&LA. Katherine Lugar, AH&LA’s CEO will be the Keynote Speaker in January in Austin.
    Together with AH&LA we plan to fight the proliferation of illegal lodging establishments, collectively fight the OTAs from gouging Innkeepers of all sizes, make sure that Legislators understand that raising the minimum wage laws can have very negative impacts on small businesses, and much more.

    4. We at PAII agree that an Innkeeping Industry “divided against itself will not stand.” It is creating a tremendous burden on Innkeepers and Vendors who now have to plan on 3 or more national conferences where there was once just one. Continuing with the Lincoln theme, we at PAII would welcome back with open arms any member interested in reuniting the industry. It’s a great industry that needs to be comprised “of, by, and for” the legitimate Innkeepers around the country.

    I urge you to reach out to Kris Ulmer, PAII’s new Executive Director (the now former longtime Director of the highly respected and successful Wisconsin B&B Assn) and/or any of PAII’s current Board members so you can find out about all the great things that have been going on at PAII. I think you will be pleased and excited about what you hear.

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