Two Inns experts, Mary White of BnBfinder and
Mary Hughes, Editor of Inns Magazine, field questions from
Innkeepers and travelers
Since B&Bs are usually in someone’s home, what do I do when I get there? Do I ring the doorbell or just walk in? Do innkeepers keep the door locked and, if so, will I have a key once I get there to come and go? How does it work?
Great question. While there is no single answer that applies to all inns (as is typical with any question about B&Bs), every innkeeper wants you to feel “at home” and comfortable. Most inns will send you a welcome email or confirmation letter before your stay which explains what to do when you arrive, check-in times and procedures, where to park and so on. Some inns have keys that open both the front door and your guest room while others have a combination lock for the front door and individual room keys or some other arrangement. Upon arrival you can expect the innkeeper to greet you after ringing the door bell, get you settled in and give you a key to come and go on your own. In some instances, the innkeeper might send you instructions on how to find them in their office or the inn will have small signs on the front door letting you know check-in procedures. Even though bed & breakfasts are usually part of the innkeepers’ residences, they are also a professional business. So, no matter what the arrangements, innkeepers want to welcome you, get you settled in and allow you to enjoy your getaway at your own pace.
Innkeepers have procedures in place if you need anything, at any time of the day or night. Unlike most hotels there are no 24-hour front desks, so innkeepers frequently try and anticipate needs such as having a guest pantry filled with drinks, snacks and so on. Some innkeepers will give you an after-hours number for emergencies (often times it’s included in an information booklet in the room). During the day some inns have a board where they post how to reach the innkeeper if they are away from the inn and an emergency does arise, or they have calls forwarded to their cell phones. Of course, it should go without saying to call 911 and then alert the innkeeper if there’s an emergency. Hopefully, your B&B stay will be uneventful and you won’t need to.
We decided to ask Peter Scherman and Rick Wolf of The B&BTeam®, industry known consultants, to answer this question: A good seminar for aspiring innkeepers is one of the best investments of time and money that you could make if you are serious about innkeeping. You should expect to learn about the innkeeping lifestyle and inn operations to understand what your typical day will look like.
Because buying an inn is a big investment, your seminar should thoroughly cover inn valuation so that you get an idea of how to assess whether the price of an inn you might like is fair. And if you are planning to build or convert, you should get an idea of how the value of your inn will be affected by your choices to ensure that you create the best experience for your guests and the best future return on your investment.
Lastly, a seminar should expose future innkeepers to a variety of disciplines and skills they will have to learn to be successful, from food and beverage choices to the latest in marketing.
You can search for seminars by using search engines or looking on a variety of directories as well as PAII’s (www.paii.org) website. Where a seminar is located should not be a factor, as what you learn will be applicable wherever you end up. The time spent traveling is less important than the quality of the seminar you choose.