Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Dozen Lessons Learned From Innkeeping (2009)

1.) The nicest people can become friends after being B&B guests but that does not mean they will necessarily want to spend every summer vacation on Cape Cod.

2.) In late July and August, demand for rooms in Wellfleet is always greater than supply.

3.) Don’t undercharge for quality accommodation, according to a 20-year veteran of the trade, who encouraged us to raise rates for 2010.

4.) Involvement in community can lead to surprise bookings from new contacts.

5.) The desire to serve organic breakfast foods does not guarantee being able to serve organic breakfast foods, if local sources happen to be sold out.

6.) Restaurant critics do not have the slightest idea where to find the best lobster roll in Wellfleet but they will report on it anyway, and the same goes for hotel critics regarding the best B&B rooms.

7.) Always check after the cottage chimney is swept that the chimney sweep left the chimney damper open.

8.) Writing an innkeeping blog can attract attention but newspapers are not interested in reporting on local blogs because reporters see bloggers as competition.

9.) Sometimes prospective guests, who write freelance and could turn their stay into a great publicity op, working, say, for the New York Times, do not always respond to emails because they happen to be reporting from far-off lands where there’s no Internet access, and the fact that they have not answered an email does not mean they have lost interest in booking a room.

10.) Take the time to reassure adult children that they are still welcome, lest they think you prioritize B&B guests.

11.) It is possible for an innkeeper to do NO ADVERTISING AT ALL and get a higher ranking on Trip Adviser after one summer of operation, with a little help from friends.

12.) B&B guests assume innkeepers are not graduates of Ivy League colleges, so don't be upset by comments such as, “When you come to a bed & breakfast, you don’t expect to meet someone who is really interesting to talk to,” since the comment is intended as a compliment.

And, of course, every year we are surprised by how wonderful our green guests are and how pleasant it is to be an innkeeper, especially on Cape Cod.

There’s no place like Wellfleet – but you knew that already ….