Advise for Aspirings from new B&B innkeepers

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Proud Texan's picture
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05/30/2008

DO NOT FRATERNIZE WITH YOUR GUEST!

They asked us to join them while they sat by the firepit drinking beer (which we allow) last night.   After SEVERAL beers, the female guest was a little more "open" with her conversation than she had been when sober.  TMI!   Now I've got mental images in my head that I can't get rid of.   Also,  she started talking religion.  This in and of itself is taboo in any social situation, but what she related had no relation to any religion known to man.  Actually it was drivel.   When I'm tired, and I was, I have absolutely no tolerance for stupid people.   Having studied comparative relgion and having been in Bible college some years ago, I got off on a rant.  Mistake. 

Needless to say breakfast was polite, but very quite this morning.   We will not make this mistake again.   I like to socialize, but as an innkeeper, it just isn't a good idea.  Be polite, be cordial but don't become everyone's new best friend.

inncogneeto's picture
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08/31/2008

Make sure you have your OQ the way you want it BEFORE you open!!!!! Otherwise you will be miserable until you get it done and you might be dead by then!

Proud Texan's picture
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OQ is not in the glossary please clarify.    Officer's Quarters?   Oily Quandry?  Official Queen? 

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Owner's Quarters

trishany's picture
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Stay away from religion AND politics.  Always trouble, whether drinking beer or drinking tea.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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Had a fantastic long conversation with guests today.  SO MUCH INTERESTING STUFF to talk about.  One of those, they left with stuff written on our card to look into further and I emailed them a dozen links to things we discussed.

I enjoyed it, it was good stuff to talk about.  Some days I am in and out of the kitchen in avoidance mode.  I think the phone I should wear that has the PAGE button on it needs to be pushed to page the kitchen phone so I can escape to go answer it.  Hey it's a thought.

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"What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds." Will Rogers

 

Morticia's picture
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JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

Had a fantastic long conversation with guests today.  SO MUCH INTERESTING STUFF to talk about.  One of those, they left with stuff written on our card to look into further and I emailed them a dozen links to things we discussed.

I enjoyed it, it was good stuff to talk about.  Some days I am in and out of the kitchen in avoidance mode.  I think the phone I should wear that has the PAGE button on it needs to be pushed to page the kitchen phone so I can escape to go answer it.  Hey it's a thought.

The male half of the PO couple used to call his wife on the inn phone when he determined she had spent too much time chatting and it was NOW time for bed. (He had control issues.) She would excuse herself to answer and he would tell her to 'get home now'. (He told us this. Explained that was the way to get the 'chatty' one to shut up and go to bed. We have no questions about why they are no longer doing this. )

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Most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes. - Oscar Wilde

 

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If you have a cell phone, you can carry it in your pocket & have the alarm set for a certain time (with the appropriate ring tone) - voila!  Instant escape hatch!  tee hee....

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People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
~ Anton Chekhov

 

YellowSocks's picture
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05/22/2008

Story from innkeepers I know... they have regular guests who they like, but dread.  The guests come and expect them to spend all of their time together, go out to eat together, talk non-stop.  The wife will follow the innkeeper around as she sets the table.  The innkeepers like these guests, but are exhausted by the time the guests leave.

I asked, "Was their first visit off season?"  Sure enough, first time they came it was winter, they were the only ones there, everyone hit it off and they spent lots of time together.  Now they come back it's summer, the innkeepers are busy and tired. 

I learned from the Wise Ones... do it once (such as invite someone to join you at dinner) be prepared to do it every time, because they WILL return and expect the same treatment.  Hopefully the innkeepers will be able to explain the difference between off season and summer to the guests...

=)
Kk.

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

My 'winter' guests showed up this summer. Absolutely no problem with understanding they need to chat with the other guests now and not us!

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I don't know if this needs to necessarily be a hard and fast rule for all innkeepers and all guests.   Heck, we just stayed up talking with some guests last night until midnight - no alcohol involved.  Some folks just seem to be comfortable with you and want to share more of themselves, others do not.  There are so many things to discuss other than politics and religion that we've never seemed to venture there. 

I will say that I don't believe in foisting ourselves on our guests.  I certainly never want our guests to feel like we're monopolizing their time. For example, these guests invited us to join them on the porch to continue our brief conversation and away the hours went.  Also, we have a couple of signals that we can use if we feel like we need to let the guests be on their own.  There are plenty of times when we have things to do or need to get our rest! 

As you have more guests, you'll probably be better able to judge when to make a graceful exit

gillumhouse's picture
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We will sit and chat with our guests on the porch in an evening, but try to limit it to an hour or less, even if the conversation to going nicely.

DH has a bad habit of "going through the manifold cover" to the bottom of the engine with gearheads or motorcycle guys. When it has gone on long enough - IMNVHO - I walk behind him, pinch a bit of shirt in my fingers, and twist in an OFF direction. He gets the message and disengages. It only took me 12 years to figure out how to turn it off.

Politics and religion are subjects we really do try to avoid TOTALLY unless of course we get like-minded politically. Religion I try to NEVER touch with guests.

Cathy's picture
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06/18/2008

Maybe the good thing about living here is being able to not talk politics.  We follow events in the world but not being an American gives us an out from American politics, not being Mexican gives us an out from Mexican politics.   And we also politely say, we do not discuss as we have no opinions and do not have enough knowledge.  Subject always changes. 

Politic free zone.  Our PM changed since I moved here, and when asked who it is, I really have to think ... some times I am cheeky and say ... is it not Pierre Trudeau?  Exit stage right Smiling

Proud Texan's picture
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After some discussion, DW and I decided our routine would be to show them to their room and then, depending on the time, ask them to come to the main house after they have gotten settled to take care of the money issues and to have a glass of wine or whatever and get aquainted with each other at that point.   This seems to work just fine because it allows everyone to get a feel for the various personalities in play and allows you to regroup and rethink how the guest will be "handled" for the remainder of their stay.

We only have two rooms, so this works for us.  I certainly wouldn't advise it for a larger venue.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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ProudTexan wrote:

After some discussion, DW and I decided our routine would be to show them to their room and then, depending on the time, ask them to come to the main house after they have gotten settled to take care of the money issues and to have a glass of wine or whatever and get aquainted with each other at that point.   This seems to work just fine because it allows everyone to get a feel for the various personalities in play and allows you to regroup and rethink how the guest will be "handled" for the remainder of their stay.

We only have two rooms, so this works for us.  I certainly wouldn't advise it for a larger venue.

You do not know someone tho, they can be one way, then get a drink in them and be 100% aggro.  Or someone else in the group sets them off.  Gosh I am just speaking of my own family here and all those scenarios.

Guests yesertday, he barely spoke. Today he was compelled to spill his guts to the table.  He felt more comfortable. I would not have known any of this about him from yesterday's conversation.

Let me just say, there are guests I really truly like!  Then there are some I really truly do not like.  So I dodge bullets so to speak and try not get cornered by them.  I am not required to like everyone.  Treat them right, YES, like not necessarily.

Keep us posted on your progress.  I would like to see how it all plays out in future guests.  One bitten twice shy.  Don't let this ruin any fun for y'all around the campfire.

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water! We have socialized with guests to the point of going out for dinner & lunch with them. What you really need is a graceful exit line...'Oh my, look at the time, morning comes early, we'll see you then.'

We talk politics and religion and parenting and education and what have you here. There have been a few cases where it didn't go over well, but most of the time everyone has a chance to get a different opinion in a fairly non-threatening atmosphere. We've never had anyone 'convert' one way or the other, but it is an eye opener for all concerned. Heck, we had a guest here who used to hang out with the kids at the Koresh compound in Waco. Now THAT was an interesting conversation.

Of course, if it got 'nasty' I would divert the conversation elsewhere, or at least try to. Sometimes a 'train wreck' is hard to stop.

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05/22/2008

I agree. You can be polite, carry on nice conversations, answer their questions, But when it comes to REALLY SOCIALIZING..I would not do it! You have learned early. In all of our years in business I can only recall 3 couples that we actually sat down with over wine and just chatted. That was our choice. Most I would have never done that with.

You are not there to provide them with bed and breakfast and assistance if needed. You are not there to become a good buddy or a  therapist.

You do whatever you feel comfortable doing, but I do not want to get into these kinds of situations with guests.

 

 

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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05/22/2008

I hear ya loud and clear. 

One guest who thought it was party time on the porch when he stayed here was surprised when it didn't happen the next visit. 

We (innkeepers) were out there and cordial, but we were not part of the party, another guest room was (which maybe they did not notice round one).  So when they came back and there were not any other guests who wished to hang out on the porch, they were dissappointed.  I don't think we will see them again.

Whenever conversation turns personal I leave.  Whenever it turns political, I leave.  MOST people have strong opinions on all of the above.  Which they are free to express here.  But as the host, when I feel trapped and unable to share my thoughts and beliefs I leave.  It is a fine line sometimes.  I have had great conversations with guests on issues of faith and country.  But the water really has to be tested well.  Most days I am not in the mood to test it.

Rememeber something else - we are not that far from DC here...so we can have some whoppers of conversation (with some of the lawmakers themselves) etc.

 

Cathy's picture
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06/18/2008

Could this just be a one time situation.  We have had many social evenings with our guests.  A beer in the social area or by the pool.  This has never happened to us and I think we would miss this if we never did it.

Some guests ask us to visit with them, and even if we are tired we still join them for a bit.  We have met some great people. 

In the end you do what ever is comfortable for you.  I think I have read that many times on this forum.  Great advice from those with more experience.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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Cathy wrote:

Could this just be a one time situation.  We have had many social evenings with our guests.  A beer in the social area or by the pool.  This has never happened to us and I think we would miss this if we never did it.

Some guests ask us to visit with them, and even if we are tired we still join them for a bit.  We have met some great people. 

In the end you do what ever is comfortable for you.  I think I have read that many times on this forum.  Great advice from those with more experience.

Starting out is totally different than being in the biz for many years as well.  Starting out you give more of your time, I think.  You want them to like you and your place and when you find out they are morons, it is hard to take.

 PS Thank you Mr Texas for sharing this and starting this thread.  This is something we have not really discussed on the forum. 

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