PAII Is Going Naked

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Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

I don't think PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers, International) will mind me posting the info below from PAII CEO Jay Karen's newsletter, since most of it is important to the whole industry, not just PAII. I'll cut out the part about updating the PAII website since it isn't of interest to non-PAII members.

Reprinted from the March 2013 edition of Member's Minute newsletter.

The staff and board at PAII might not like this month's column very much.  With apologies to them, and in an effort to hopefully stimulate some thinking and planning among our members, I am using this space to share with our members a short list of repairs we need to make at PAII - our shortcomings, so to speak.  Now, I have to preface this by saying that my teammates work their asses off - yes, I used the word "asses."  They do, and they deserve my use of such colorful language (plus, I think my readers can handle the blue language).  This list isn't a reflection of my team's failures - these are a few, important things we don't like to see when looking in the mirror.  Why on earth would I air a list of our vulnerabilities?  Hopefully, you'll read until the end to find out why.  Would an innkeeper share such a list of business problems with your guests?  No - and I don't advise that you do.  Yet, I've never been the conventional association executive either, so here goes...

  (Now, please - this isn't an invitation to pile on the criticisms and the "while you're at it..." J)

The Punch List

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Our website. -CUT-

Our anemic advocacy abilities.  A growing area of concern for me and our board is our capacity and ability to address the many advocacy issues that come to our desks.  Everything from the "we need to do something about the regulation of short-term rentals in this country" issues to our desire to support the success of allied B&B associations throughout the continent (if the local associations are sustainable and more successful, they can fight the local battles for innkeepers, rather than PAII).  Our team of volunteers and staff want to help any member with just about any problem related to running a B&B business - it's in our nature, even though we know that is a Sisyphean task.  We need a cache of best practices, positions statements, research and deployable staff and volunteers to respond to the many issues that impact our members and industry (food and health safety and restrictions, fire safety policy, zoning, taxes, fair treatment vis-a-vis hotels, etc.).  This is the stuff that makes a great trade association, well, great.  Fighting the battles that individual members cannot fight alone.  PAII has primarily been an educational organization for the 25 years, which has helped this industry greatly.  But we need to be more.

The small dent we've made with Better Way to Stay.  Yes, we've had our minor victories with BWTS - getting articles published in the mainstream media about some of our promotions, producing a library of some great videos, getting our industry to discuss the value of eschewing stereotypes, picking up nearly 5,000 fans on Facebook, etc.  Thanks to the support and generosity of many in our industry, our start-up has gotten a start.  In baseball speak, we've had some singles and doubles - and even some automatic walks.  But if we REALLY want to be effective and influence traveler behavior on a large scale - and hit those proverbial home runs - so much more has to be done.  We are not failing with BWTS, but we aren't succeeding yet either.  I'm not satisfied with our progress - our to-do list is a hundred times longer than our accomplished list, and the industry wants more.

Finding and nurturing more aspiring innkeepers.  There was a time in the history of PAII when over 100 aspiring innkeepers came to our conference (we were thrilled with about 30 in Las Vegas).  PAII was seen as the best and maybe even only source for aspiring innkeeper education in the land.  Somewhere along the path, we lost our way with this population of future innkeepers and tire-kickers.  Some of it has to do with being in the "information age," in which people (if they are inclined to spend a lot of time doing their own homework and research) can get the information and training they need through the internet and other free or cheap sources.  Heck, people can get Masters degrees from online universities without ever leaving their living rooms!  Some of it has to do with the rise of incredibly competent professionals offering aspiring innkeeper education in local areas.  We know that immersing yourself in the PAII community is still the best way to learn all about the profession of innkeeping, but we should have five times as many aspiring folks involved and benefiting from PAII.  After all, these people are the lifeblood and future of our industry.  We sometimes take it for granted that they will just find us and join us.  That has to change.

Now, these things are always nagging at me in the back of my mind.  I'm aware of our "opportunities" here, and that we perennially have a punch list of things to address.  But I feel optimistic about making headway, because we have plans to address them.  Here are our solutions for each problem:

The Solutions

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Our website. -CUT-

Advocacy.  We have some big changes coming to the membership soon that - if successful - will increase our capacity to address these issues.  Currently, I have a College of Charleston intern amassing an online library of links, documents and other resources across all 50 states, Canadian provinces and even some cities that pertain to regulations, laws, and public policy in the B&B space.  We are crafting programs available to allied B&B associations that aim to help them administer important work, such as conference planning and membership management.

Better Way to Stay.   In Las Vegas, we announced a few new initiatives that support the goals of Better Way to Stay.  Among them, and probably the most important, is that we have the capacity now to employ a full-time employee, who focuses almost exclusively on advancing Better Way to Stay.  That's a big deal for this campaign!  We are enlisting more local folks to build the grassroots aspect of BWTS (i.e. Key West Way to Stay, Seattle Way to Stay, Albuquerque Way to Stay, etc).  And we have some great plans to roll out new, national promotions that will surely gain us some attention.  And finally, we are working on a plan to change the game of how BWTS is funded - and if we are successful, you might start seeing the BWTS brand, commercials and messages in places that would make you proud of PAII and the Innkeeping Foundation.

Aspiring Innkeepers.  The first order of business is to make it easier for aspiring innkeepers to find PAII, because not everyone thinks, "Hey, I wonder if there is a trade association I should join..."  We are learning all the various ways aspiring innkeepers search for information on the web in pursuit of their dreams, and PAII will start fishing where the fish are.  And soon we will be launching more educational benefits for these folks, thereby increasing the value of PAII membership. 

Why did Jay share this list?

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  You asked a good question!  Because I want innkeepers to take a hard look in the mirror and make YOUR list of shortcomings.  It might be that you've known for years the bathrooms need sprucing up or remodeling.  Or that you haven't updated your web site since 2002.  Or that you know in your heart you need to take a long vacation and get away from the inn - or maybe even move out of the inn!  But what I want and hope for you is that you will develop a plan of action for each of those repairs or "opportunities."  Don't let them just nag at you and weigh on you.  Do something about it.  Commit to SOMETHING to address those issues. 

If you are bold enough, share with us what some of those issues are.  Heck - you're among friends!  We are in this together, aren't we?

Best regards,

Jay

__________________

All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep hotel. ~ Mark Twain

 

Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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Joined:
01/16/2010

The PAII forum comments have been overwhelmingly positive! 

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Lynne
Queen of Everything!

 

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Joined:
10/07/2008

Now that is a good title to get people to read! (Just had to comment on that part of it).

No org, no company and no person can be all things to all people. Just like in our marketing, we are throwing it to the wind if we think we can be that. So we have to keep the main thing the main thing.

 

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Gluten free is never free. - Joey Bloggs

 

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Joined:
05/22/2008

I would have liked to have seen the web site comments Smiling

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