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.