Afraid, very AFRAID-meeting Owner

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birdwatcher

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I hope that what I say below is confidential and this is a place where we can all come and unload and get advise or just plainly vent.
The owner is due to come to the Inn on thursday, this will be the first time we are meeting in person. Since we've been at this position only for a month and since this is our first position as Innkeepers working for someone else its been a learning experience. The problem is that we are human and we will make mistakes - the owner however has had "words" to say when it was not really necessary such as a problem with a business guest that did not show up and being a professional I took it upon myself to take care of the problem. Since this reservation was paid in advance I of course e-mailed the company that made the reservation and asked what the problem was and did what was appropriate. Since we had another guest arriving from the same agency throughout June and maybe into July I thought that because they will be spending a considerable amount of $$ we should just charge them for the two days that he did not stay and advance the rest of the payment throughout the next reservations. I then e-mailed the owner and told her what happened and went into great detail of what I did to resolve the problem. I thought that is what the normal procedure should be and that is what I would have done if I where to own the business and I did e-mail the owner what I did so that she knew what was going on and what I did in the reservation system. She literaly called me SCREAMING that "AS OWNER!!!" she needed to know what i was doing and that "I HAD NO AUTHORITY, to do what I did and DID I CALL THE CLIENT?!"
I had to take a deep breath ok? I was half asleep since we had a really early morning breakfast and was trying to catch some ZZZ's before check in...She was more worried about me calling or e-mailing the client, of course I told her that is the first thing I did...contact the client, I didn't think that was important to tell her in my e-mail, I would think that was the normal procedure for any business professional?!
This is just one of the things that has happened so far. I know that things need to go through her and I respect that and that is why we e-mail her about situations and how we handled them. Its just that this person does not seem to have respect for the people that work for her, the thing that irritates me is that we are constantly reminded "I as Owner...", yes, we know she is the owner,I don't think we need to be reminded of it every time she needs something done.
We went to the post office the other day to get a PO Box (don't want our personal mail coming to the Inn) and the post office person that was waiting on us knew exactly where we were and who we where: "Oh you don't want one for one year?" we said not right now. She started laughing and said that no one stays there very long cause she's hard to deal with. This isn't the first time, the gardner calls her "the wicked witch of the west" and then the business guest that I mentioned above told us this morning that the people at the hospital (she's a doctor) told her she's just hard to deal with too.
This scares me, we've done everything that we could possibly do to make guests feel wonderful while they are here. But to hear this from people around town and not just these people, but others as well makes me feel that this is a BIG RED FLAG. We like the B&B and the job other than that.
Anyone out there have any suggestions on how to stay sane through this week? Oh and another thing, she has more respect for men's opinions than any woman's and treats men differently than a woman employee--and would actually DO IT if a man where to tell her that is what needs to be done. So I told hubbie that he can deal with her when we need something done or changed. weird huh?
Should we start looking for other positions? (Ive already started) We will honestly give it till December. I just don't get it I guess.
Scary it is.....
 

Innkeeper To Go

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birdwatcher, you're right to be uncomfortable with the owner's behavior towards you. It should, indeed, be raising red flags.
Here's what I would do.
I would speak with her about what happened and the impact that had on you and your work. I'd remind her that you moved across the country to put your skills to work for her. That you were hired for your ability to deal with guests and run the inn smoothly and you need to know that she has full faith in your ability to do your job. That you hope the situation doesn't end as it has with former employees at the inn. That you would really like to make a commitment to stay on but that you also need a commitment from her.
What I would ask from her is an agreement as to roles, especially in regards to handling guests. No they are not clients, they are guests. And only the innkeeper can deal with guests unless the owner wants a constant problem.
I would not keep her informed of every single issue that comes up each day. I would, instead, keep her fully informed each week with a summary of issues and accomplishments. Remind her through that report what you are doing for her. I would also send a monthly and quarterly summary so she'd know exactly how the inn is being run. That does not need to include every guest issue; those are par for the course.
But I would not hesitate to explain to her that there were limits as to what was acceptable and what was not and that goes both ways. It is not only the innkeeper who needs to show respect in this situation. Respect needs to flow freely in every direction for this relationship to work.
Of course, all of those things need to be spoken respectfully and without undue emotion, as I know you can do. But you do need to stop this trainwreck before it moves out of the station, so to speak.
And yes, keep the job search going. Just consider this another learning experience. Now you'll know you need to interview the owner at the same time the owner is interviewing you.
 

gillumhouse

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Do you have records of last year occupancy/revenue? In your monthly report I would point out (hopefully it will be there) the increase in occupancy/revenue, any cost-saving practices you have put into place, and what you are doing to increase occupancy.
Good luck. I thought you had met the owner. GOD bless you and help you to say the right things - for both sides of the issue.
 

Morticia

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birdwatcher, you're right to be uncomfortable with the owner's behavior towards you. It should, indeed, be raising red flags.
Here's what I would do.
I would speak with her about what happened and the impact that had on you and your work. I'd remind her that you moved across the country to put your skills to work for her. That you were hired for your ability to deal with guests and run the inn smoothly and you need to know that she has full faith in your ability to do your job. That you hope the situation doesn't end as it has with former employees at the inn. That you would really like to make a commitment to stay on but that you also need a commitment from her.
What I would ask from her is an agreement as to roles, especially in regards to handling guests. No they are not clients, they are guests. And only the innkeeper can deal with guests unless the owner wants a constant problem.
I would not keep her informed of every single issue that comes up each day. I would, instead, keep her fully informed each week with a summary of issues and accomplishments. Remind her through that report what you are doing for her. I would also send a monthly and quarterly summary so she'd know exactly how the inn is being run. That does not need to include every guest issue; those are par for the course.
But I would not hesitate to explain to her that there were limits as to what was acceptable and what was not and that goes both ways. It is not only the innkeeper who needs to show respect in this situation. Respect needs to flow freely in every direction for this relationship to work.
Of course, all of those things need to be spoken respectfully and without undue emotion, as I know you can do. But you do need to stop this trainwreck before it moves out of the station, so to speak.
And yes, keep the job search going. Just consider this another learning experience. Now you'll know you need to interview the owner at the same time the owner is interviewing you..
There are people who need to micromanage and she may be one of them. What I always found effective was to bury them in paperwork. Every little thing, email to boss. Finally ended up being told that once/week would be enough for progress reports.
However, it is obvious that BW has not even met the person she's working for. I know some people work long distance jobs for managers they never meet, so this may be a case where that works out for the best. I am amazed, tho, that the owner hasn't been by to check on how the guests are being treated!
Perhaps best at this first meeting to get an understanding of what the owner wants done, how she wants it done, what she wants the innkeepers to have leeway to do and what she wants to handle herself. Sounds like one of those bosses who won't be happy if you do what she tells you to do ('They have no initiative!') or if you don't (They're insubordinate!) She probably also doesn't KNOW what she wants them to do until they've done it and she's not happy. Best to ask right off if she hired them to make decisions or follow orders.
If she listens to men, then a man should talk to her. I'm guessing she's not a young kid who's bad attitude can be changed. Don't bother.
Another point is to NEVER talk in town, to other staff, etc about your relationship with the boss lady. It's obvious the town is waiting for another 'crash & burn'. Just by not taking the mailbox for a year, she's already said she's unhappy.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Do you have records of last year occupancy/revenue? In your monthly report I would point out (hopefully it will be there) the increase in occupancy/revenue, any cost-saving practices you have put into place, and what you are doing to increase occupancy.
Good luck. I thought you had met the owner. GOD bless you and help you to say the right things - for both sides of the issue..
gillumhouse said:
Do you have records of last year occupancy/revenue? In your monthly report I would point out (hopefully it will be there) the increase in occupancy/revenue, any cost-saving practices you have put into place, and what you are doing to increase occupancy.
Those are exactly the kind of things the monthly report should include.
Occupancy, ADR, Revenue, Expenses. And what you're doing to improve each.
And guest satisfaction, of course, which is where any issues that need to be presented to the owner would come in. New online reviews, number of cancellations, number of new reservations.
In short, she should know exactly how the inn is being managed on a regular basis. When you do it in the report and include it as part of your overall monthly accomplishments, you limit the possibility of an owner wanting to micromanage every day to day detail.
 

IronGate

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birdwatcher, you're right to be uncomfortable with the owner's behavior towards you. It should, indeed, be raising red flags.
Here's what I would do.
I would speak with her about what happened and the impact that had on you and your work. I'd remind her that you moved across the country to put your skills to work for her. That you were hired for your ability to deal with guests and run the inn smoothly and you need to know that she has full faith in your ability to do your job. That you hope the situation doesn't end as it has with former employees at the inn. That you would really like to make a commitment to stay on but that you also need a commitment from her.
What I would ask from her is an agreement as to roles, especially in regards to handling guests. No they are not clients, they are guests. And only the innkeeper can deal with guests unless the owner wants a constant problem.
I would not keep her informed of every single issue that comes up each day. I would, instead, keep her fully informed each week with a summary of issues and accomplishments. Remind her through that report what you are doing for her. I would also send a monthly and quarterly summary so she'd know exactly how the inn is being run. That does not need to include every guest issue; those are par for the course.
But I would not hesitate to explain to her that there were limits as to what was acceptable and what was not and that goes both ways. It is not only the innkeeper who needs to show respect in this situation. Respect needs to flow freely in every direction for this relationship to work.
Of course, all of those things need to be spoken respectfully and without undue emotion, as I know you can do. But you do need to stop this trainwreck before it moves out of the station, so to speak.
And yes, keep the job search going. Just consider this another learning experience. Now you'll know you need to interview the owner at the same time the owner is interviewing you..
There are people who need to micromanage and she may be one of them. What I always found effective was to bury them in paperwork. Every little thing, email to boss. Finally ended up being told that once/week would be enough for progress reports.
However, it is obvious that BW has not even met the person she's working for. I know some people work long distance jobs for managers they never meet, so this may be a case where that works out for the best. I am amazed, tho, that the owner hasn't been by to check on how the guests are being treated!
Perhaps best at this first meeting to get an understanding of what the owner wants done, how she wants it done, what she wants the innkeepers to have leeway to do and what she wants to handle herself. Sounds like one of those bosses who won't be happy if you do what she tells you to do ('They have no initiative!') or if you don't (They're insubordinate!) She probably also doesn't KNOW what she wants them to do until they've done it and she's not happy. Best to ask right off if she hired them to make decisions or follow orders.
If she listens to men, then a man should talk to her. I'm guessing she's not a young kid who's bad attitude can be changed. Don't bother.
Another point is to NEVER talk in town, to other staff, etc about your relationship with the boss lady. It's obvious the town is waiting for another 'crash & burn'. Just by not taking the mailbox for a year, she's already said she's unhappy.
.
Morticia said:
. . . Best to ask right off if she hired them to make decisions or follow orders. . .
There's the crux of the matter right there. Ask that question of the owner flat-out, and do some honest soul-searching to see if you can live with the answer given.
Then act accordingly.
Good luck to you, and remember Eleanor Roosevelt's (paraphrased) advice: No one can mistreat you without your permission.
 

gillumhouse

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Remember the length of time it took for scuttlebutt to get around in Winona? Well multiply that by 10 because everyone is watching YOU. Also remember if they are telling you such things about the owner (and either an icy stare of excuse me? quality or perhaps an - I am sorry to hear you say that - should be the response) you can imagine what they are saying about YOU. YOU are the outsider. The OWNER is one of their own - and they can say whatever about their own BECAUSE they ARE their own. YOU had best NEVER utter a disparaging comment or gesture.
I can call my DH an SOB if I want because he is MY SOB but no one else better ever call him that because I will rip them apart. Same thing with the owner.
 

wendydk

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birdwatcher, you're right to be uncomfortable with the owner's behavior towards you. It should, indeed, be raising red flags.
Here's what I would do.
I would speak with her about what happened and the impact that had on you and your work. I'd remind her that you moved across the country to put your skills to work for her. That you were hired for your ability to deal with guests and run the inn smoothly and you need to know that she has full faith in your ability to do your job. That you hope the situation doesn't end as it has with former employees at the inn. That you would really like to make a commitment to stay on but that you also need a commitment from her.
What I would ask from her is an agreement as to roles, especially in regards to handling guests. No they are not clients, they are guests. And only the innkeeper can deal with guests unless the owner wants a constant problem.
I would not keep her informed of every single issue that comes up each day. I would, instead, keep her fully informed each week with a summary of issues and accomplishments. Remind her through that report what you are doing for her. I would also send a monthly and quarterly summary so she'd know exactly how the inn is being run. That does not need to include every guest issue; those are par for the course.
But I would not hesitate to explain to her that there were limits as to what was acceptable and what was not and that goes both ways. It is not only the innkeeper who needs to show respect in this situation. Respect needs to flow freely in every direction for this relationship to work.
Of course, all of those things need to be spoken respectfully and without undue emotion, as I know you can do. But you do need to stop this trainwreck before it moves out of the station, so to speak.
And yes, keep the job search going. Just consider this another learning experience. Now you'll know you need to interview the owner at the same time the owner is interviewing you..
There are people who need to micromanage and she may be one of them. What I always found effective was to bury them in paperwork. Every little thing, email to boss. Finally ended up being told that once/week would be enough for progress reports.
However, it is obvious that BW has not even met the person she's working for. I know some people work long distance jobs for managers they never meet, so this may be a case where that works out for the best. I am amazed, tho, that the owner hasn't been by to check on how the guests are being treated!
Perhaps best at this first meeting to get an understanding of what the owner wants done, how she wants it done, what she wants the innkeepers to have leeway to do and what she wants to handle herself. Sounds like one of those bosses who won't be happy if you do what she tells you to do ('They have no initiative!') or if you don't (They're insubordinate!) She probably also doesn't KNOW what she wants them to do until they've done it and she's not happy. Best to ask right off if she hired them to make decisions or follow orders.
If she listens to men, then a man should talk to her. I'm guessing she's not a young kid who's bad attitude can be changed. Don't bother.
Another point is to NEVER talk in town, to other staff, etc about your relationship with the boss lady. It's obvious the town is waiting for another 'crash & burn'. Just by not taking the mailbox for a year, she's already said she's unhappy.
.
Morticia said:
Another point is to NEVER talk in town, to other staff, etc about your relationship with the boss lady. It's obvious the town is waiting for another 'crash & burn'. Just by not taking the mailbox for a year, she's already said she's unhappy.
Well said, Mort...this was my first thought. You especially don't talk with GUESTS about it, and if the GUEST brings it up, you still don't talk to them about it...bad idea...very bad idea.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Remember the length of time it took for scuttlebutt to get around in Winona? Well multiply that by 10 because everyone is watching YOU. Also remember if they are telling you such things about the owner (and either an icy stare of excuse me? quality or perhaps an - I am sorry to hear you say that - should be the response) you can imagine what they are saying about YOU. YOU are the outsider. The OWNER is one of their own - and they can say whatever about their own BECAUSE they ARE their own. YOU had best NEVER utter a disparaging comment or gesture.
I can call my DH an SOB if I want because he is MY SOB but no one else better ever call him that because I will rip them apart. Same thing with the owner..
Actually the owner in this case is the ultimate outsider. Lives in another region altogether, has never lived in the locale where birdwatcher's inn is located.
That's not to say that I disagree with what you're saying. Small town gossip is all innuendo. It's super tough for an outsider to stay clear of it all so it takes an extra effort not to dig the hole they're setting up.
 

Joey Camb

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Some people have a complete inability to delegate I am crap at it till I am sure the person can do it and then I am happy to leave them to it. It may be that this lady is the same (I would not have rung or shouted mind) so it is all about showing her you know your stuff and can do this with your eyes shut and therefore she should leave you alone to get on with it. I know she hired you so that should be enough but sometimes people just need positive reinforcement.
 

birdwatcher

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Thank you all so much, keep it coming and I will do this as well. I am also working on a "Inn procedure binder" so that fututre Innkeepers and employees have a clear undetstanding of what is expected of them
We did not speak wrongly of the owner either to the guest we just said, really? We've not met her yet, but are looking forward to it. She is not one of their Own here and as the director who is leaving as well Friday being her last day has clued us in on the owner and gave us some advise on how to handle her too. She is leaving for the same reasons. And Mort-I think that is a good idea as well.
My husband will most likely do most of the talking and we think that laying it out all on the table is a good idea. She is an older lady and she's quite active for her age and I feel like she has a hard time trusting people and has the mentality that people need to be reminded that she is the boss.
Innkeepertogo-thank you so much, we will try and do what you suggest.
Keep the suggestions coming.
 

gillumhouse

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Thank you all so much, keep it coming and I will do this as well. I am also working on a "Inn procedure binder" so that fututre Innkeepers and employees have a clear undetstanding of what is expected of them
We did not speak wrongly of the owner either to the guest we just said, really? We've not met her yet, but are looking forward to it. She is not one of their Own here and as the director who is leaving as well Friday being her last day has clued us in on the owner and gave us some advise on how to handle her too. She is leaving for the same reasons. And Mort-I think that is a good idea as well.
My husband will most likely do most of the talking and we think that laying it out all on the table is a good idea. She is an older lady and she's quite active for her age and I feel like she has a hard time trusting people and has the mentality that people need to be reminded that she is the boss.
Innkeepertogo-thank you so much, we will try and do what you suggest.
Keep the suggestions coming..
Do not rely too heavily on anything said by a departing employee. Getting you to leave the Owner in the lurch could be considered sweet revenge (or for her to fire you which would accomplish the same thing).
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Thank you all so much, keep it coming and I will do this as well. I am also working on a "Inn procedure binder" so that fututre Innkeepers and employees have a clear undetstanding of what is expected of them
We did not speak wrongly of the owner either to the guest we just said, really? We've not met her yet, but are looking forward to it. She is not one of their Own here and as the director who is leaving as well Friday being her last day has clued us in on the owner and gave us some advise on how to handle her too. She is leaving for the same reasons. And Mort-I think that is a good idea as well.
My husband will most likely do most of the talking and we think that laying it out all on the table is a good idea. She is an older lady and she's quite active for her age and I feel like she has a hard time trusting people and has the mentality that people need to be reminded that she is the boss.
Innkeepertogo-thank you so much, we will try and do what you suggest.
Keep the suggestions coming..
birdwatcher said:
She is an older lady and she's quite active for her age and I feel like she has a hard time trusting people and has the mentality that people need to be reminded that she is the boss.
If it were me and I was pretty sure that was true about her, I would use that as my starting point in the discussion. I'd want to start off reassuring her that her trust was very important to me. And that because xyz happened, I'm not feeling like I have that trust at this point.
I'd let her know that I have some ideas that would work for me and would keep her in the loop, since its understood that as the owner, she has the final say on anything.
Then I'd lay out a plan for how I was going to keep her in the loop and improve the inn's performance. I'd ask her if she thought she'd be able to trust me with those terms.
And then I'd talk with her about some basic ground rules that work for me.
Now here's the thing. There's a lot to talk about. You might forget some things that are bugging you. You've got to go into the meeting being okay with the outcome. That is, if you can't bring it up now, it's probably not a good idea to bring it up later. In other words, be prepared to let a lot of stuff go and move on if you can make an agreement that everyone can live with.
 

Morticia

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Thank you all so much, keep it coming and I will do this as well. I am also working on a "Inn procedure binder" so that fututre Innkeepers and employees have a clear undetstanding of what is expected of them
We did not speak wrongly of the owner either to the guest we just said, really? We've not met her yet, but are looking forward to it. She is not one of their Own here and as the director who is leaving as well Friday being her last day has clued us in on the owner and gave us some advise on how to handle her too. She is leaving for the same reasons. And Mort-I think that is a good idea as well.
My husband will most likely do most of the talking and we think that laying it out all on the table is a good idea. She is an older lady and she's quite active for her age and I feel like she has a hard time trusting people and has the mentality that people need to be reminded that she is the boss.
Innkeepertogo-thank you so much, we will try and do what you suggest.
Keep the suggestions coming..
Just another little bit of advice...when we arrived here as new owners, we were pretty much given a list of who was 'in' and who was 'out'. We threw the list in the trash and met everyone as equals. What I'm saying is- make your own judgements about your employer. You may find you're the couple who stick it out.
If she comes across as a bully, thinks you kind of have to stay put as you moved all that way, doesn't want to take your advice don't give up the power you have to walk out the door. But try to understand what's making her tick. Why is she so on edge about her position as owner?
Also, like everyone is saying, you should have a package to hand to her with numbers of how revenue is stacking up, new bookings coming in, any weddings you have arranged, how you have cut expenses while giving a better experience to the guest, yada, yada. And, there should be a section on what you think needs to be worked on, how much you think it will cost and how that will improve revenue. (Is this the place with the website that's all kerflooie or am I mixing you up with someone else? If it IS then do you have any ideas for her on how to make improvements to the legititmate site she DOES have in place?)
'We have done all of this, at no expense to you, while improving the overall experience.' List follows.
 

birdwatcher

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Great ideas. The website that is on my profile is this Inn's website. Ithink that all of you have hit nails and I will sit with my partner and write down what we need to talk about I think that is the best thing to do like a business meeting sort of thing and will have all of it in place with what you all said.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Thank you all so much, keep it coming and I will do this as well. I am also working on a "Inn procedure binder" so that fututre Innkeepers and employees have a clear undetstanding of what is expected of them
We did not speak wrongly of the owner either to the guest we just said, really? We've not met her yet, but are looking forward to it. She is not one of their Own here and as the director who is leaving as well Friday being her last day has clued us in on the owner and gave us some advise on how to handle her too. She is leaving for the same reasons. And Mort-I think that is a good idea as well.
My husband will most likely do most of the talking and we think that laying it out all on the table is a good idea. She is an older lady and she's quite active for her age and I feel like she has a hard time trusting people and has the mentality that people need to be reminded that she is the boss.
Innkeepertogo-thank you so much, we will try and do what you suggest.
Keep the suggestions coming..
Do not rely too heavily on anything said by a departing employee. Getting you to leave the Owner in the lurch could be considered sweet revenge (or for her to fire you which would accomplish the same thing).
.
And assume that the departing employee could very well be badmouthing the innkeeper to the owner, which may well be contributing to the owner's discomfort.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Great ideas. The website that is on my profile is this Inn's website. Ithink that all of you have hit nails and I will sit with my partner and write down what we need to talk about I think that is the best thing to do like a business meeting sort of thing and will have all of it in place with what you all said..
You guys will nail this, I'm sure.
But birdwatcher, if you haven't already done it, delete that stuff from your profile. Keep your profile here anonymous so you can talk about these things.
 

Morticia

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Great ideas. The website that is on my profile is this Inn's website. Ithink that all of you have hit nails and I will sit with my partner and write down what we need to talk about I think that is the best thing to do like a business meeting sort of thing and will have all of it in place with what you all said..
Agree with I2G to get the inn stuff off your profile. I just did a quick search and this forum did not come up, but you don't want to take any chances.
And, yes, that website needs work. Both in and of itself and to get the old one knocked out of the first place on Google! (Which will take time.) There's a lot of junk, single space, 'photos' on the new site that can't be helping.
 

toddburme

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As owner operators most of you don't always think this way but I noticed that there was not a mention of finding out the owners goals. Is she happy with how the place is now? Does she want to improve it? Perserve it? Improve cash flow? It sounds like it was an investment and i think I saw a thread about not spending too much extra money. Maybe the thread on here about saving money might give you some ideas to pitch. Are room rates too low? expenses too high? Can she avoid replacing that manager if you guys can gain her trust and create a working relationship? Sort of what would she like to see in a year's time? 3 years?
I know goal setting can be a big pain but "to set out on the same path can help you arrive at the same place". :)
PS maybe you can mention that property values have dropped in the area and you would be willing to talk to the assessor to save her some money on them. (personal favorite)
 

Joey Camb

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I agree with the others try to go into the meeting with an open mind as how they see her and how she is may be different things. As well you don't know if her experience has been coloured by previous inn managers /keepers who may have been cooking the books/ hacking off corporate clients/ spending tons of money on rubbish etc If she doesn't trust easily she may have good reason. I was talking with a lady this week and two girls she had trained up to be practice managers (she has 8 dental clincs) she has just discovered has been robbing her blind for 3 years (she treated them like daughters and bought them clothes etc) and when she had a heart attack and was in hospital they had a free for all. So be aware that you don't know the history she may have good reason. What I always say is when you don't know the ground tread lightly
 
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