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Friday, December 22, 2006 

Innkeeping 104

Okay, we have already had a general introduction to innkeeping along with some of the reasons I have chosen to write about it. That was Innkeeping 101.

Then I went on to talk about one of the rewarding and fun aspects of innkeeping, making it your inn. That was Innkeeping 102.

Following that, I discussed the realities of the amount of work involved. I continue to be inspired on this topic as so many writers enjoy detailing their impressions of the realities of this business. That article was Innkeeping 103.

Today's topic discusses the value of attending an Innkeeping Seminar. Should you spend the money for a seminar? Should you spend the time required to attend? After all, you probably have visited several inns and B & B's and found that it doesn't look like rocket science.

The good news...you are correct, it isn't rocket science. Innkeeping will however, call upon many of your different skill sets. Here's a list of the ones that come to mind: hospitality (of course), cooking, creativity, finance, marketing, negotiation, decorating, property management, computer science, people management, bookkeeping, planning, plumbing, carpentry, staff training, painting, patience, diplomacy, networking...okay, that's enough. There are many more and if you doubt the importance of any one of them, then beware. The skills needed are not all equally important and many of them can be outsourced.

So where is the value of attending a seminar? Our experience is that a seminar brings all the things you may have learned through your experiences and ties them all together. All of the talents listed above (and more), are incorporated in a well run, innkeeping seminar.

The one very important tool we learned from our attendance, was the knowledge of the current market values (or prices, or costs) of properties. Not only is this information important, it also changes over time, and it definately varies depending upon the region in which you choose to locate. We also learned some valuable information about the industry averages of operating expenses versus revenue. Without the benefit of this information prior to purchasing The Maine Stay Inn, it would have been impossible to make a well informed decision about becoming an innkeeper (or not).

Was there any information that was left out of the seminar? Yes! Unfortunately, there was one piece of information that we now know that was left out of our seminar (and from speaking with others, it is left out of many seminars) and is very important.

Why was it left out? I truly don't know. What is it? I'm not telling. Actually, I am happy to tell you. Simply post a comment to this article and include your email address. I won't post your comment but, I promise to email you and tell you this very important piece of information.

Some of the excellent innkeeping seminars here in the northeast are:

The B&B Team, Seminars for Aspiring Innkeepers

Inn Your Dreams, Aspiring Innkeepers' Seminars

Should you attend a seminar in the region in which you would like to run your inn? I believe it is important for your instructor to understand the geographic market that is most important to you. If you want an inn located in Hawaii, find someone that knows innkeeping in Hawaii. And don't overlook the importance of the instructor's knowledge of innkeeping. All of the seminars I have listed above are given by instructors who formerly were successful innkeepers. Emphasis on "successful."

To sum up, I recommend that you attend an innkeeping seminar given by a reputable instructor familiar with the region in which you will purchase and operate your inn. Also, I recommend that you post a comment to this site so I can email you the one crucial piece of information that your seminar will likely leave out.


Hi George,

After reading your Innkeeeping 104 blog and your wonderfully appropriate comments about the value of Innkeeping Seminars for Aspiring Innkeepers...my curiousity was piqued by the paragrpah below (from your blog)...

"Was there any information that was left out of the seminar? Yes! Unfortunately, there was one piece of information that we now know that was left out of our seminar (and from speaking with others, it is left out of many seminars) and is very important."

After you and I chatted about the answer to that often ommitted but important piece of information , I agree with you that STAFFING and the difficulties associated with this essential part of running a successful property are an often minimized topic of many seminars.

Why? Because the hiring of qualified personnel, the training, the management and as you so aptly stated, finding those diamonds in the rough who are willing to work, is a difficult, time consuming, sometimes frustrating and always challenging part of owning a B&B/Country Inn.

As an ex-Innkeeper, seminar grad and participant in other companies seminars it is too bad that this topic is never fully fleshed out.

The good news is that The B&B Team emphasizes this topic and is totally candid about the inherent difficulties associated with staffing,in our Aspiring Inkeepers Seminar. We clearly make the point that staffing can often be the "bane" of an Innkeeper's existance.

We believe that it is important to openly discuss all the topics that a new Innkeeper will be confronted with..."the good, bad and the ugly", if we are truly to provide our Aspiring Innkeepers with a valuable and meaningful experinece.

Thanks for letting me share these comments with you and your guests.

Rick Wolf
The B&B Team

I received a comment from Rick Wolf, a partner with the B & B Team. Rick was curious to know the missing element at Innkeeping Seminar (you will notice that the B & B Team is one of the excellent seminars identified in the article).

I responded to Rick stating the following:
"...the one missing piece of info that would have been valuable…the fact that you can be willing and able to pay employees. You can place Help Wanted ads in the papers and on the internet. You can have your unemployment tax rate increased due to employees that have departed. And yet, you may find yourself unable to find a reasonably qualified person to come to work for you. This is certainly particularly important for perspective innkeepers purchasing a larger property.

As you know, there is no problem finding someone to take a job but, it’s the ones that are willing to work that are the diamonds in the rough."

That's it, the secret is out. BUT, read Rick's response that follows. It is valuable and good news.

OK...I take the bait! I have recently begun to consider buying an inn in Tennessee, but all the seminars I find are in Maine! Any ideas about one "closer to home" as they say??

Read the first comment to this article written by Rick Wolf (there's a link to his company in the body of the article). He discusses the missing element.
As for your search for an inn...call Rick Wolf. Either he or his partner, Peter will help you out. Tell him George from the Maine Stay sent you.
Good luck and thanks for reading my blog.

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