What do doilies and label makers have in common? Among innkeepers, those who for a living own and operate a bed and breakfast, they are the source of much conversation, ridicule, and surprisingly enough—twelve step programs for innkeepers. Today, I pen my confession.
What’s it like being an innkeeper? Of course as with any profession, it isn’t all rainbows, unicorns, and roses, but we genuinely love it. To give you a sense, I thought I’d share a bit about what a typical day looks like.
Don’t let my picture from the 100-year flood of Feb 26th, 2018 fool you. Or for that matter, the few remaining slushy snowfalls that are still inevitable (as of this writing on Feb 28th, when the waters have already receded). The fact is, bikers love Kalamazoo! And The Kalamazoo House is the perfect place to combine your cycling with evening entertainment, great breweries, outstanding music and theatre, and access to miles and miles of great bike trails.
From printing your boarding pass and skipping check-in at the airport, to going straight to your rental car, the travel industry has gotten the message: Take the hassles and friction points out of travel! So last year when over 44% of our guests enjoyed our “hassle free self check-in,” it got us thinking: it might be time to rethink some of the traditional, default B&B practices like “check-in appointments” and “check-in windows.” And maybe time to stop badgering people about when they’ll arrive. After all, they’re on vacation, or traveling for business. Let’s make it easier!
Sometimes if they don’t get a chance to meet her during a short stay, guests will ask “where’s Stephanie?”. I will often joke about how hard I make my “sugar mama” work. I may say something like, “Someone has to earn the health insurance for the family,” or, “We certainly don’t want to let grass grow under her feet.” It’s a joke because those who know Steph know she’s always on the go—about as busy as anyone I know. And it’s true now more than ever.
We’re biased, but a recent opportunity to sneak away for “free” to Chicago for a couple nights drove home an interesting observation. Okay, actually, Steph had to work, and I was merely tagging along to mooch a free getaway to the big city I love, and enjoy a little down time, but still.
Through the years we’ve experienced our share of mission statements, strategic plans, visioning, and other “isms” designed to clarify what a person or business stands for and is. When we bought the inn, I (Steve) always had a desire to articulate something that captured the spirit and intent of our genuine desire to make the home a warm and welcome place for everyone. Today, given all the unsafe places in the world, we wanted to post a draft of our plans for it to always remain this way.
Love it or hate it, this whole 2015 technology thing is kind of cool.
We made it through our entire first year of owning and operating The Kalamazoo House, so it seemed like a good time to look back and take stock. Let’s start with the highlights of fun stuff, in no particular order.
So here we are on a Friday afternoon at 3:40 p.m. Check-ins will start streaming through the door within twenty minutes, and I haven’t even had a chance to coordinate with Stephanie about our own social calendar for the weekend–for those few hours we aren’t happily working with guests, what to do? What to do? The options are always so many.