new at innkeeping

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12/07/2017

Alright, I know most all of you have been there.  New to innkeeping.  I've been at it for about 4 months and am having a difficult go.  While I may vent a bit here, I could definitely use some advice or tips on getting through!
I am someone that has to go, see, and do.  Starting this job, I feel more like Rapunzel than anything.  I can't leave the building 5 days out of a week and it is driving me bananas.  I am typically able to go on a walk in the evening (thank goodness there's at least that), but once low season ends, I get scared that even that will be a slim possibility.  4 months in and I feel like burnout is already beginning.  I know I need to make it through the winter to gather my scattered mind, but I know I'm going to need more time away from this place or I might not want to return from a trip to the grocery store!
How do you all disconnect, get away (when you can't leave the premises), and find balance between 12 hour workdays????

-Arden

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We post a sign to the door when we leave the house.: And, although the sign says we are getting ready for guests, sometimes, we are on the beach or out to lunch. 

Welcome

Check in is between 2 PM and 7 PM.

During the hours of 11 AM and 2 PM, we re running errands and preparing the inn for your arrival, so we cannot be here to greet you.  We look forward to welcoming you when we return.

If you arrive before check in, we invite you to relax on the porch, by the pond, or in the sun room.  Enjoy the view and help yourself to a cookie, snack, water or a cup of coffee or tea.

If you'd rather not wait, please feel free to leave your car in our parking lot while you explore our beautiful town.

We look forward to meeting you!!

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gaelstorm's picture
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A beautiful description.  No wonder I've gone insane.  I never get out, am even afraid to take a shower.  Even when it is slow.  No wonder.

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gaelstorm wrote:

 afraid to take a shower

Ha, around here that’s the best way to boost business, the bell will always ring at those times

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seashanty's picture
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 Duplicate post, sorry.

 

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seashanty's picture
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Baby Steps. 

A walk in the evening is great ... do NOT give that up when you get busier.

But during the day, stop and step outside. Seriously. Baby steps. Sit out on the front steps or back steps. What and who are nearby? Any neighbors? Coffee shops? General stores? People to talk to? Just step outside for a breather. Go be outside the space of your business. If you stay there, you lose perspective.

I felt like you, I really did. But I forced myself to lock the door in the middle of the day and I'd go get a cup of something at the general store. Or I'd just go sit on the dock and take pictures. Say hello to people who had no idea who the heck I was ... staying locked up inside is not good for you or for your business. Guess what? The place didn't fall down because I went out the door for 1/2 hour. Then I got really brave and a few times a week, I drove a few miles to a farm stand. Or even went out at night! 

Kathleen has a great suggestion for call forwarding. A past innkeeper, Tipsy, wore her phone with a pack around her middle so she could answer it all around the property. That was an eye opener for me.

Now that I am on an iphone I see everything coming in ... emails and calls. A sanity saver. 

The wise ones in here told me to block off all the rooms and schedule a night off in advance. WHAT?! Block off my rooms? But I did it and it helped, believe me. I was 7 days a week, without a break. If not for blocking off time, what could I do? 

I hired chambermaids, I got a laundry service. But the work involved in running the place is enormous. We all know that. There is always something to do, calls and emails to answer, cleaning or cooking or hosting to do, marketing or bookkeeping. You can always find a way to use your time.

I had zip for a budget. I'd come in here and read about sales on sheets or pretty things and couldn't even buy any. Felt like a failure. Though I wasn't. Sitting outside was free. Locking that door and walking around was free. I handled whatever came up when I got back. I learned the best times to go outside and kept at it.

You would not ask or expect an employee to work nonstop without getting out for a break. YOU are your most valuable employee, even if the only one. Treat yourself kindly. 

 

 

JimBoone's picture
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I always had jobs that required long hours so innkeeping at least allows me to spend those hours at home with family. In time I was able to see patterns so there are times we can run off and play without a loss to the business. It does help to be a bit of a homebody, not the best business choice if you want to be on the road all the time. If you’re the owner look at changing the routine to give you the opportunity to walk away a bit, hire help, if you are the help then perhaps you would be happier doing something different as the best job is the one we enjoy doing 

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I - do you do everything and if so why? sounds daft but question everything - if you are doing anything because the previous owner did never assume that it is the right thing for YOU to do!

Think about sending out at least some of your laundry if you don't already do so - its a time killer!

2 - Guests can manage on their own as long as they have a way to contact you in an emergency - we put in a call phone which links to my mobile with a special call ring so I know its them. 

3- have a LArge outside box for deliveries and train your delivery people to use them so you don't have to be  in for that.

4 - automate - online booking - and maybe give a small discount for using it rather than phone - also have call divert to your mobile when out.

 

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11/21/2017

Can I ask how you did the special call ring?  Years ago we used to be able to do that but when I called Verizon (we have iphones) they said there is no way to do that.  We have a google voice phone number that we use for the business so that we don't have to publish our personal cell numbers.  We would love to set up a special ring for the business calls.

 

Jcam wrote:

2 - Guests can manage on their own as long as they have a way to contact you in an emergency - we put in a call phone which links to my mobile with a special call ring so I know its them. 

OnTheShore's picture
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With Google Voice, there is a setting as to whether the number that shows up on your phone from the forwarded call is the caller's original number, or the google voice number. If you set that to be the google voice number, then you can make an entry in the Contacts on your iPhone for that number, and give it a special ring tone (you do that in the Contacts; you can give other contacts their own special ring tones  -- and text alert tones -- as well, for example calls from my wife and my son each have their own tones).

The disadvantage is that you don't have the caller's number in the call list on the phone (you have your business number) so you can't call them back directly from the phone but have to use the Google Voice app to look up their number. Of course, if you use the Google Voice app to place the call, it will show up on their end as coming from your business number and not from your cell phone, so there is an advantage there.

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11/21/2017

Thanks so much for the detailed write-up on that!  Very helpful!  I didn't know about that setting in google voice.  That will be perfect and solves a big problem for us!  Thanks again!

OnTheShore wrote:

With Google Voice, there is a setting as to whether the number that shows up on your phone from the forwarded call is the caller's original number, or the google voice number. If you set that to be the google voice number, then you can make an entry in the Contacts on your iPhone for that number, and give it a special ring tone (you do that in the Contacts; you can give other contacts their own special ring tones  -- and text alert tones -- as well, for example calls from my wife and my son each have their own tones).

The disadvantage is that you don't have the caller's number in the call list on the phone (you have your business number) so you can't call them back directly from the phone but have to use the Google Voice app to look up their number. Of course, if you use the Google Voice app to place the call, it will show up on their end as coming from your business number and not from your cell phone, so there is an advantage there.

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OnTheShore wrote:

...you can make an entry in the Contacts on your iPhone for that number, and give it a special ring tone...

...if you use the Google Voice app to place the call, it will show up on their end as coming from your business number and not from your cell phone...

That's how I've done it for years. I love Google Voice, and it's free!

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We have 2 hard line phone lines into the B&B one can call the other if you see what I mean = the main line ie Line one is  always diverted to my mobile and I can see my diary on my phone if I need to

(Line2) has the fax machine, card machines and the Help phone - I have that phone number which is different to line 1 saved in my mobile with its own ring tone so I know its an "indoor guest"

gillumhouse's picture
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I think it would be done in ring tones in settings on your iPhone.

gillumhouse's picture
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I forgot that one. Now that my husband died, I have my phone forwarded to my cell at all times - evn when I am in the house so I no lomger have to run downstairs to answer it. I even wear my bluetooth when I am cooking ot cleaning so I do not have to touch my phone to answer. The phone company charges me $4.95 per month for call forward. The best $4.95 I spend each month.

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Are you the owner, too, as well as the innkeeper? You mention not being able to leave 5 days of the week, so does that mean you have 2 days where you can leave?

Our first year in biz, I did not set foot outside the building for 3 months. I did not get the mail (on the porch). I did not walk the dog (not once). I did not weed the garden. I was ironing sheets at midnight, baking cookies and muffins all afternoon, doing laundry until well after dinner.

So, I understand how it feels to never see the sun or get outside to relax. For three solid months. A lot of people think I must be mistaken about not going outside. Nope. I did not go outside at all.

I hated this job. With a passion.

I've now been here 13 years and I go out whenever I want. I walk in the morning before breakfast starts or after the guests are done. I go to a class on Monday. I drive off to the beach when the mood hits me. 

A lot of it is planning. Adapting. Creating boundaries and limits around your time. 

No early check ins, no late check out.

Look at your schedule to see where it's falling apart. Come back with questions.

How many rooms do you have? Who does all the chores? Do you have help? What does your day look like?

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Tom
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And, you know, back in those days, Morticia really let the innspirings know about it too.  Her posts were what helped me through the first year.

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Tom wrote:

And, you know, back in those days, Morticia really let the innspirings know about it too.  Her posts were what helped me through the first year.

Helpful? Moi? It was hell on wheels, but if I can do it, anyone can. And look at me now - cool, calm, and collected.

Tom
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100% serious.  Your tell it like it is and PITA Magnet posts helped me get prepared for the inevitable no fun side of the hospitality business.  Personal thanks. Miss the old avatar though ...

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Tom wrote:

100% serious.  Your tell it like it is and PITA Magnet posts helped me get prepared for the inevitable no fun side of the hospitality business.  Personal thanks. Miss the old avatar though ...

She was too serious. I needed an avatar that was silly.

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Morticia wrote:

She was too serious. I needed an avatar that was silly.

And perky. Don't spare me the perky Eye-wink

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Arks wrote:

Morticia wrote:

She was too serious. I needed an avatar that was silly.

And perky. Don't spare me the perky Eye-wink

No, no, it's spare me the perky!

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Morticia wrote:

And look at me now - cool, calm, and collected.

Sage

noun
1. a profoundly wise person; a person famed for wisdom.
2. someone venerated for the possession of wisdom, judgment, and experience.

Morticia's picture
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And not just an herb you burn to cleanse unholiness from your abode? 

Yes, that's me - sage.

gillumhouse's picture
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There is no reason you cannot leave the premises. I am City Clerk in my City and invovled in a lot of things here. I go to my meetings. I am in the Community Band - I go to rehearsals and concerts. Tomorrow I have no guests (they leave in the morning) I will go to the high school for the play.

I have one guest who has been here 4 times and I have yet to be here to greet him - including his first stay. I tel him which is his room, get a breakfast time, and I will see you in the morning. His lastest visit (he always calls a few hours before arrival to check if I have a room), he actually asked if I had a meeting and I told him no, band rehearsal, business as usual and I will see you in the morning.

I have blocked rooms on my online reservations in January for the 2 conferences I will be attending. I blocked everything in September when I went to Europe but I DID e-mail my guy that I am never here for to tell him the charger would still be on if he came while I was gone - he has a hybrid.

My insurance requires someone to be in-house at night when I have guersts, but I just lock the doors to my quarters and my office and leave whenever I want to. I must also be here for breakfast but that can even be arranged (and actuallly has here) if I have to leave early. Give yourself a break before YOU break.

Generic's picture
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I set limits. Checkout is 11AM and checking is from 3 to 6 by appointment. After 6 there is self check-in with an electronic key.

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