Many of you might not know that Tim Piper has joined Inn Partners as an Associate. While he transitions in, he’s residing at our farm and on some mornings has joined Chocolat and me on our adventure snowshoe tours through the woods. Tim‘s legs are longer, and he is younger and stronger than I. Even though I get my snowshoes on faster and can get about 300 feet ahead of him, he catches up in no time. I step aside to let him pass, while Chocolat, as usual, is sniffing avidly for bobcats, fisher cats, deer, moose, or maybe a scent of a bear’s awakening. Tim is ahead of me and Chocolat stops. She waits until he passes, gives him at least twenty feet, looks expecting, and leads ahead of me as usual. Running here and there, but always behind Tim and always ahead of me. I am astonished, touched by such loyalty.
What about when it comes to hospitality? I don’t always think about how we as humans form relationships, how we build trust and how we build loyal connections. How we, without much thinking, relate to others and they relate to us. In our “Seminar for Future Innkeepers”, I address the personal side of innkeeping and have said many times, “you look in the mirror and that is your guest.” Guests respond to you, your tastes and the ambiance you are creating. Not to mention your genuine personality and gracious hospitality.
Guests today have many choices. Do you ever ask yourself why they have chosen to stay with you? Sometimes I bet your guests don’t even know why they chose your inn or B&B. It might have been instinctual. It might have been the warm, inviting tone on your website, your response when they ask about “what’s going on in your area” or maybe your smile as you opened the door for them at arrival.
It isn’t always easy to be in a relationship, be it in a marriage or being hospitable to your guests, but is crucial and fundamental that you are instinctually a caring human being, steeped with unconditional love and trust of people. You must have integrity in what you offer and be able to sincerely apologize when you have missed, erred or disappointed someone.
Similar to Chocolat, the innkeeper must take the lead, but always be looking back to make sure the guests are following and happy. Like I do with Chocolat, they will appreciate the loyal relationship.