We just returned from the AIHP conference in Nashville and I was reflecting on why attending these types of events is so important…
My husband and I have traveled quite often during our 50 years together, staying in a variety of resorts, hotels, bed and breakfasts and “economy hotels”.
And when we began to enjoy longer stays at vacation rental properties in Florida, I noticed many of the “economy” properties we stopped at during our trips to and from the Sunshine State were no longer providing just “economy” quality and service.
It was a real awakening for us: We could sleep in beds dressed with white sheets, white duvets, inside a well-kept room and next to a freshly-cleaned bathroom. There was even a sticky note on the headboard assuring us that the duvet and everything else had gone through the laundry!
Breakfast was much more than “continental” with a Danish and coffee. If you would like a varied breakfast, it was there for you at no extra charge.
It was as wonderful as an innkeeper’s fabulous hot, gourmet breakfast…Not!! But still, it was a breakfast nonetheless, and one that we appreciated with a long drive ahead of us.
While attending bed and breakfast conferences I have had a chance to speak to some of our innkeeping customers about my experiences. I mentioned how hotels were catching up to them by making sure to offer very clean rooms that included amenities such as coffee makers, small refrigerators and a full breakfast.
And again, I want to stress that these breakfasts — although a significant improvement over what some economy hotels used to offer– are still not the wonderful breakfasts that our innkeepers provide.
An economy hotel will never be able to offer the type of ambiance that an innkeeper or bed-and-breakfast host can provide. That warm, welcoming atmosphere at breakfast that only an inn or B&B provides. And then, there’s the knowledge they can impart about places to dine out, fun things to do, and the best way to get where you’re going.
So why are we talking about economy hotels?
My main reason for sharing this experience is to tell our customers what was going on elsewhere in the hospitality industry.
We all have to be on top of our game and know what is going on in the marketplace. This applies to property owners, and to vendors like us. Vendors need to be informed on new products that would benefit our customers. Innkeepers and owners of vacation properties need to keep on top of their competition.
That’s why we attend conferences, seminars and webinars related to our field. As a buyer for my industry, it is important for me to know about all of the new products that can help our customers provide a consistently higher level of quality and service at their properties. We take our commitment to this task very seriously.
These events also give me a chance to network, which is helpful in so many ways. As business owners, we can always learn and grow. The marketplace keeps changing, and we need to learn and change with it.
We might find that we need to alter our business plan as the market shifts. This is an important part of being a successful and informed business owner.
Take, for example, bed bugs.
It’s not the most pleasant example, but bed bug protection has been a great find for us.
There was a time when a lot of people in the innkeeping industry thought a bed bug infestation couldn’t happen to their properties…right up until the outbreak became a worldwide concern!
We were the only one in the bed and breakfast industry to alert our customers early on of the impending danger. Many thought we were alarmist in those early days but it was an important issue for our industry and one we got on top of immediately.
Our goal is, and has always been, to educate our customers and show them products that will help them identify and correct problems before they become expensive issues for them and their inns.