I am going to become aloof, I think you may consider joining me

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When people decide the INNKEEPER personality or lack thereof is required for their stay at an inn, they have really missed the mark.

I spent a half hour talking to someone about their cat's surgery. No kidding. Details. I know the cats name, the doctor's name, the surgery, the recovery...A half hour of my life, never to return...over a cat I do not know, never met and will never meet.

Do THEY feel they got their money's worth - renting the innkeeper's ear for 30 minutes? Is this good value? 

I am going to become one of those aloof innkeepers. I am married to one right now, he has spent the entire year avoiding any guest interaction, and seems to be quite happy to do so.  So if you are not already aloof, you can join the club! We can hold hands and skip to my lou through the B&B oblivious to cat surgery stories...sons at college...and boring CPA conversations.

GO CARDINALS

GO HARVICK and KENNSETH

GO INNMATES

 

(PS this is posted appropriately under VENT on the forum) and btw I am not negative or depressed, I am chippy and cheerful and laughing at the absurdity of some of these things we endure as innkeepers...counting down to my bday escape next week to a cabin in the woods with a fireplace and an old hound dog laying in front of it, hiking in the woods, paddling a canoe, watching the rest of the leaves fall... away from people.  Then the Innspiring Road Trip to meet some of you dear innmates and laugh til my sides hurt in a little hybrid car with roof rack...trekking along the highways and byways of America. cool

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Hillbilly's picture
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You are crakIng me up! This is so true.

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And so... The first time va.org features us on fb I am not home!   If people call...if you go to our B&B Facebook pg you will see where iam... I cant post from here... I am on the lawn ata beach at a mtn lk.  It is amazing, calm, gentle, warm and I feel like I am wrapped up in a big security blanket...

There is a guy trolling right in front of me, reeling in a few fish...

gillumhouse's picture
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I hear about 10 accordions playing theone song I think they all learned - Jealousy!!! My teeth are trying to chatter.

Joey Camb's picture
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I always say "I aim to be the cool aunt" - everyone has one, she is the person you want to visit and always brings excellent presents - that's what I want to be to my customers

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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What a great way to look at it Cambs! That's innspired!

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I am to be the cool uncle. Every damn noisy toy... I'm buying. That drum set. That amplifier that your neighbours will hate... it's all on me!

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Last night I decided to become a recluse.

the longer I live in the south the more I understand the southern rebellion.

the media has always portrayed southerners in a bad light, from CW and on forward...now I get the fierce independence thing.

this has nothing to do w innkeeping really, or does it? 

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North, south, east, west...makes not difference.  Make no mistake about which one of the "Lead, follow or get out of the way" options most of us have chosen!  Some people like to follow....they end up working where someone else is making the rules and day to day priorities.  Not me, or you, or any of us innkeepers. Country girl at heart...just get out of my way and let me do my thing.

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heart

It's like being a country person or a city person. A rebel or a rule-follower. It's an attitude of the heart. You are a rebel by nature or else you wouldn't have bucked the status quo of society and blazed your own trail as a small business owner instead of working for 'the man.'

 

 

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Last week an EARLY breakfast asked me to sit down with them. I was grateful when DH appeared to speak with that end of the table - I was sitting next to Mama who had been a missionary in Japan for a long time. They were returning her to her apt in MD on the way to their move to NJ. Mama tells me about her apt in MD and how she and her late hubs moved there as well as about her travels on trips home while missionaries traveling with 5 children. She admired the dolls, turns out she collects them. I told her I plan to give a lot of them to Toys for Tots and she says I hope you remember a collector in MD. I told her to pick out a doll, just not one of the ones made by my M-I-L. She gingerly asked about the one that was in her room and was thrilled when I said she is yours.

As much as those dolls have no interest to me, I cannot believe how much joy giving one of them to a guest creates. It makes up for the half hour or more that I spend on the phone talking to a person I think is about to make a reservation only to get told, well I will have to talk to my husband.... and never to hear from her again until I see the toll-free bill. Or the people telling me their plans to come see the log house (no rez, just to see the house), make an appointment and THEN call back a week later to cancel - ON MY TOLL-FREE!!

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It doesn't seem it at the time but I'm thinking it a compliment to the innkeeper, host that a guest would want to engage in conversation for you must give off a vibe of cordial, family-like approachablity.   A good thing.  Thing is, if you had to listen to every guest's chit-chat, you'd never get anything done.  Given the latter, I see a FANAFI moment coming on.  I think a pamphlet or flyer of tips for a great stay laying about would help as I'm guessing it doesn't occur to guests that you are one person and have tons to do.  I'll float the idea by a columnist pal and see if she'd like to write one up. 

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Madeleine's picture
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TinaC wrote:

It doesn't seem it at the time but I'm thinking it a compliment to the innkeeper, host that a guest would want to engage in conversation for you must give off a vibe of cordial, family-like approachablity.   A good thing.  Thing is, if you had to listen to every guest's chit-chat, you'd never get anything done.  Given the latter, I see a FANAFI moment coming on.  I think a pamphlet or flyer of tips for a great stay laying about would help as I'm guessing it doesn't occur to guests that you are one person and have tons to do.  I'll float the idea by a columnist pal and see if she'd like to write one up. 

I'm guessing the people who need to read it most wouldn't get it. (Like my guests sitting around drinking glasses of milk asking why I had the sign on the fridge to not take anything out of the fridge. Really? You're drinking the milk from the fridge wondering what kind of person takes something out of the fridge with the sign on it???)

And the people who WOULD read it are the ones who would then feel unwelcome and would always be asking, 'Is it ok to chat now?' or saying, 'We didn't want to bother you but...'. And then I'd find out there was a massive leak!

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TinaC's picture
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So true, Madeline.  Individuals dealing with the public deserve purple hearts.

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TinaC wrote:

It doesn't seem it at the time but I'm thinking it a compliment to the innkeeper, host that a guest would want to engage in conversation for you must give off a vibe of cordial, family-like approachablity.   A good thing.  Thing is, if you had to listen to every guest's chit-chat, you'd never get anything done.  Given the latter, I see a FANAFI moment coming on.  I think a pamphlet or flyer of tips for a great stay laying about would help as I'm guessing it doesn't occur to guests that you are one person and have tons to do.  I'll float the idea by a columnist pal and see if she'd like to write one up. 

Yes, and that is great. Of course from this end having a full house and people in our midst for a month solid we feel it as being "needy". Selfish is an easy word to use, as they can see, surely, can't they, that we are busy? Maybe they can't. Smiling

TinaC's picture
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One would think, Joey but what was the saying about the simple confounding the wise?  wink

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BTW, I'm going away for your B'day (and mine toowink) as well.  In the bayous for me, surrounded by woods and sugar cane fields. 

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Oh ...sorry...I think I smell something burning in the kitchen! devil

Madeleine's picture
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I am also going away for your birthday! To the woods. To a great house (in the Adirondack tradition) with a stone fireplace and views of Mt Katahdin. Will also be hiking.

I do aloof rather well. But sometimes I love the little stories. Like the guest who was run over by a large piece of farm equipment 3 weeks ago but still wanted to go on vacation. Yowza! (We get a lot of dead dog stories, too.)

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Calling all TECHIES - duty calls!  Someone please create the Innkeepers Distress Alert App. 

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yesheart

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copperhead wrote:

Calling all TECHIES - duty calls!  Someone please create the Innkeepers Distress Alert App. 

AMEN TO THAT!

So it would be a button around our help like the "I've fallen and I can't get it" life-alert but in our apron pocket "I've fallen into the boring conversation trap and I can't get out!"

Breakfast Diva's picture
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HOORAY FOR GETAWAYS! Planning them, thinking about them, anticipating them is what keeps me going!

As far as being aloof, that would be very difficult since my other half rarely shows his presence to the guests. It's tough always being the front person.

 

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I find myself thinking that same exact thing, when letting a guest go on and on and on "I will NEVER get this time back".  And they will not remember that we had this conversation a year from now.  Oh, they'll remember that they had a good time, but they won't remember the details of the conversations we had.  I know I won't! 

I have had this thought for so long, I think I'm actually going to do something about it.  I need an app on my phone that will ring upon demand.  Some button on the outside of my phone that I can discreetly push while it's in my pocket, and 30 seconds later, it will ring.  Sure, I could just act like it's on vibrate, and pick it up while speaking to someone and answer it and quietly excuse myself.  But I'd rather that it actually ring, so the guest would stop talking for just one second while I say "Oh gosh, I'm so sorry...duty calls.  Will you excuse me for a moment?"  Then slip into my office and have my imaginary conversation (which usually involves telling the dog how lucky she is that she doesn't have to talk to people) while they are hopefully moving along and getting on with their day. 

I have about a five minute limit with people and their life history.  "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

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"they'll remember that they had a good time," 

Yes Banana!  That's why we listen.  Really one of the most important things we can do for anyone. anytime. anywhere.  In a world with so much bombardment, we have a hunger to be listened to, to just be heard.  Innkeepers help fill that void.  It's one of the things that make me happy.

(confession:  I used to be a crisis line counselor, then have held a variety of public service positions, and worked in a high-pressure broadcast environment.  Practice does help, and a sympathetic DH is a godsend, though, giggle, he does leave most of the public contact to me)

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I can listen.  For a limited amount of time.  I simply do not have time to sit down with my guests for an hour, or even 30 minutes and listen to their life history.  I am not a trained therapist, or counselor.  I also have worked in high pressure, emotionally charged jobs where the "customer" was screaming, or crying, needing/wanting/demanding that someone listen.  And I did.  That was my job, but unlike this one, I didn't have a gazillion other things pulling me away, demanding my attention.  Communication with the guests in this job is limited, due to the behind the scenes demands.

I can generally excuse myself from a dominating person who is demanding my attention with tact and grace.  I never give a guest the impression that they weren't important to me.  I don't have a sympathetic DH to vent on, or help with the behind the scenes duties, so our situations may be a little different.

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I think many of my guests just want someone to talk to who at least give a sympathetic appearance of giving a rip what they are saying. I can sit there half listening with a concerned look on my face and they are happy. SOME ONE heard what they were feeling. They were able to vent their troubles. Will I get that time back? No, but I have improved the attitude of that person. Now if they are just perennial Potty Mouth (auto filter)ers, I have provided a service to their usual whipping post.

Madeleine's picture
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How I look at guests wanting to talk... I am here for them from 8 AM to 8 PM. As long as I can say, 'Excuse me...' if we are in the middle of cleaning, everything else is what I'm here for.

Sure, we have guests who would talk the ear off a brass monkey and, no, I don't like to get sucked into an interminable chat about (boring stuff) but, guests will remember they had a good time even if they don't remember it was because we listened to them.

And then I blank it all out...

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