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Thursday, March 23, 2006 

Innkeeping 101

As we approach our four year anniversary of innkeeping here at the Maine Stay Inn, we decided to write a series of articles about the different aspects of innkeeping. By far the question asked of us by our guests most often is, "how do you like innkeeping?" Our answer varies slightly but is basically the same, "we have met so many wonderful guests from all over the world that it would be hard to consider doing anything else."

The follow-up question..."but isn't it an awful lot of work?" Our answer, "it is alot of work but we have a fantastic staff and the type of work involved is enjoyable."

When we first contemplated the idea of purchasing a bed and breakfast inn, we made the decision to attend a three-day seminar for first time innkeepers. Sure, we had stayed at several inns over the course of our travels but, we believed it would be money well spent to learn about the aspects of innkeeping not seen by the guest. In hindsight, we had already considered and become comfortable with about 80% of the material covered in the seminar. The remaining 20% of the material, we found to be well worth the cost and effort of attending the seminar.

The title of this article, Innkeeping 101, was chosen for two reasons; first, the obvious implication that the article would attempt to educate (similar to a course title, ie. calculus 101) and second, I will, on occasion write an article about a different aspect of innkeeping and, in doing so, will number each in ascending order (next, Innkeeping 102).

Some of the subjects that I expect to discuss will include:
  • Considering a change in careers? Is innkeeping an option?
  • Should you attend a seminar? How to choose a good one.
  • What kind of inn is right for you?
  • The purchase. Do the numbers make sense?
  • Operating the inn.
  • Marketing the inn.

Within each of these general categories are many subcategories. For example, operating the inn involves so very many different aspects, food service, housekeeping, maintenance, customer service, planning, hiring, employee management, and on and on.

We don't pretend to be experts, but we can give you our perspective. You can then choose to do with this information what you will.

If you have questions, please don't hesitate to post them, we will do our best to give a thoughtful response. If we don't have a response for you, we will probably ask another, more experienced innkeeper. Innkeepers here in Kennebunkport are all very willing to share knowledge. The feeling is that, it is in our collective best interests if we all prosper.

Kennebunkport is a bed and breakfast community and the competition raises the standards of all the properties. As those higher standards become expected by our guests, it becomes incumbent upon us to raise them even higher.

Well, that's it for Innkeeping 101. In summary, what we hope you have learned here is simply, there will be more to follow.


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