What to look for in an Inn Keeper?

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09/08/2012

We are renovating a house to make it into an Inn and I am in charge of creating a description and hire a Inn Keeper to live there. I was wondering if anyone can provide me experiences, positive or negative, about going about in hiring an inn keeper. What are things I should definitely ask, look for? My list of attributes contains Persistence, Happiness, Fun, Personality, Organized, able to work in a team and report, trust worthy and communication. Anything else? I would love to hear anyones input who has hired an inn sitter or has worked as one and gone through the interview process.

Thank you!

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09/08/2012

Wow, thank you everyone for the feedback. I know that my original post was really broad and the reason is because I am still not too aware of our situation. But maybe this could answer some of you alls questions. I am working for someone who currently owns a hotel down the street of the Inn. So the management has tons of hospitality and hotel experience. They recently hired me to help with the project and maybe manage it eventually. I was asked to write up a description for what we are looking for in an inn keeper. The place house used to be a foreclosed bed and breakfast, so I believe we are aware of all the permissions that we have to do with the city. From what I am aware, I believe our inn keeper will be living there with the incentive of 'commission' type payment with the more beds filled up. They will be in charge of check ins and check outs and some cleaning, but we do have cleaners from the hotel who can work as hybrids. I really like the comments about hospitality and 'social hour'. I feel that is more to what we are looking for. I see that the ranges of a inn keeper can greatly be different according to what they want. I also liked the comments about the ability to see other peoples needs and go out of their way to make them feel comfortable. I think that is exactly what we should be looking for. I personally will most likely be in charge in overseeing the bed and breakfast as an executive and also marketing. 

 

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

I'm envisioning a large scale inn rather than a B&B. For the owners to have you as a manager ($50k/year I would guess) and then an innkeeper ($30k base pay, a place to live, % of sales) and housekeeping staff and a chef, maybe (another $30-$40k) you are looking at a very high end property.

You are looking for a 'mature' (not necessarily older) person who will inspire confidence in the guests and make them open their wallets. This person will have to dress the part. They will need to be coiffed and buffed to the nth degree. No one plunks down the kind of money you'll be charging if the innkeeper doesn't look the part.

If I were looking for this person I would be looking at prospects who have managed staff and who have been in hospitality for a number of years. If not hospitality then in positions where they dealt with customer satisfaction for a respected company. You'll want to know how they retained unhappy customers. How they problem-solved outside the box. How they kept employees happy. (You need those housekeepers to be happy enough that your innkeeper is not having to reclean rooms after they leave for the day.)

Unless you are going to handle all of that as the manager. In that case you still need someone who can be thoughtful and caring at 2 AM when the wedding party comes back drunk and disorderly and the innkeeper has to smooth ruffled feathers.

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10/18/2008

You don't say whether or not the "we" has any Innkeeping or hotel management experience - in that case "previous Innkeeping experience" would be my #1 requirement (this may be different if you have the previous experience in this area).

The job requirements would also depend on what you are going to be doing (or not), and what services you may be contracting out. (Yard, Bookkeeping, advertising, housekeeping, reservations, purchasing, repairs/maintenance)

Then again the above would be determined on how many rooms you plan on having, whether you are hiring a single person or a couple etc.

By the way, do you have the "Ok" from your city council or local authority to open a B&B on condition that you pass the relevant inspections?

We all frequently hear of people "making their house into an Inn" that come to find out that their neighbors, city council, other businesses "object" and the biz license never gets granted.

Keep in mind that many guests consider "owner operated" VERY important, not to say that there are not many Inns that operate successfully under someone else.

Just a few things to start thinking about

OnTheShore's picture
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08/28/2011

More questions to ask yourself and/or answer for us:

Who is the "we" who is renovating this house into an Inn? What is the background and skillset that the "existing team" brings to the table?

Why are "you" doing this? What are the goals and expectations for the project? What type of "Inn" are "you" envisioning?

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gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

What incentive will there be for them to put heads in beds. Straight salary is no incentive. I also echo what the others have said. Size of inn and what I have to do also figure in as to whether I would even want to work there (not applying just asking).  This is going to be a 2-way interview - why would someone want to work here? Will they have a certain amount of decision power or will they be micro-managed or have to run everything past a higher-up?

Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

Im thinking very detailed job description comming up! each post of this nature is very different and what is expected can vary greatly from doing all the housekeeping to directing staff - this makes a very big difference.

Plus hours expected to be on duty? ie do you cover on call during nights and so on?

I call the most important quality in an innkeeper "the ability not to flinch" if there is water pouring out of the wall what do you do? and so on.

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Skamokawa's picture
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08/24/2008

Customer service experience in restaurants, small hotels, or sales all will be helpful.  The ability to see other's needs, make others feel comfortable, yet with the ability to anticipate and head off problems, coupled with a facilities maintenence sensibility and practical nature.  ie:  notice if something is out of place or dirty.  Do you know what a shut off valve is? Do you know what a breaker box is?  Do you know when to use a plunger, and when to call in the plumber? And while the current emergency scenario is playing in the back of your head, can you welcome the next guests, check them in, then seamlessly turn back to solving the problem at hand?

Then when you have a short list of such people,  Check the references!

 

 

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On the Lower Columbia Water Trail

 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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05/26/2009

How many rooms will you have? Will this employee be doing everything from top to bottom? Will you have housekeeping? Gardener? What is it that you expect the innkeeper to do? Will they be responsible for website maintenance, getting heads in bed, cooking, cleaning, who is going to be there during their time off?

We need more info before we can really help.

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

Happiness? Fun? How are you going to gauge that in an interview?

What you want to do is determine what this person is going to do. List the job requirements. Being happy and having fun is not what you want in an employee. My employee is happy and has fun because she's on the damn cellphone all day.

The employee is going to want to know the tasks involved not that s/he has to be happy and have fun.

Personality? What does that look like? What tasks require what kind of personality? You want someone determined? You want someone easy going?

So, what does your innkeeper do all day? If you own the place but are not there what does your employee have to do? Sales, marketing, cooking, cleaning, gardening, check-ins/check-outs, afternoon social hour, problem resolution, reservations, guest retention, hiring staff, security detail, painting, bookkeeping and accounting? Which or all of those?

How long will each of those tasks take the employee? Are they 'on' 24x7? Do they have staff working for them? Vacation time? Weekly time off?

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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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