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Did you have a mentor?

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Morticia

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When you bought your inn/did your house reno, did you have a mentor? Not a forum, but a real, live, phone call away (better still, neighbor!) innkeeper who helped you figure out the ropes? Someone who would share the terror and joy? Someone who talked you down off the stove top? Or who gently pulled you off the ceiling when you got your first tip or 5-star TA review?
 

Big Bri

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I wished we would have. Sad part is, the association we are a part of has a mentor program and we called to get on it, but no-one ever called us back to let us know that they were our mentor. We had never owned a B&B till we bought ours, and it really sucked for the first few years although most of that came from the previous owners of the B&B, they were really rude to us at the closing and afterwards. Almost made us want to leave and go back to the Pacific Northwest but we stuck it out and have done just fine.
 

wendydk

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Yes, the Innkeeper of our very first B&B stay...Peggy Waller from The Inn at Merridun. Ten or twelve couples from our family have stayed with her, and we have stayed with her several times. It was that first stay that gave me the bug...and I was already working at the hotel at the time. Our last stay was after we had been open for a short while, and we sat with her late into the night talking about innkeeping.
MANY of the things that we do are borrowed from her...bless her heart. Her haunted old place holds a very special place in our hearts, and I hope for the opportunity to return soon!
ps...her place is a member of the Night for Night Innkeeper's exchange, of which we are also members!
 

gillumhouse

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No but I have mentored several.
 

JBloggs

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nope
no real live person ever helped me
there are those who I admire NOW and listen to their advice and input - from this forum. (I can email them when I am in a pickle off the forum). I know you asked about off-the-forum but this is where the help comes from and the understanding and the comradery.

I went to another forum first which was very political and small and when I asked a question I was required to tell them all about our place before they would answer a simple question, they put me right off!!!
there were a few on an old forum I was on prior to this who were the most glamorous innkeepers - never a bad guest or bad experience or a bad hair day...also put me off, they were not real innkeepers imo.
then i found innkeepers here who tell it like it is. i still weed through the better-than-thou stuff on occasion (our guests are only high quality) to get to the real answers. or some are just different than i am so take it with a grain of salt. so for one who does not like the real answers here there are ten who really appreciate them and use the advice given.
 

YellowSocks

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Well, I think the forum counts, and you were all my mentors!
Although I met Kathleen in person, so I guess she's my primary...
And ALL my guests are wonderful, perfect, and high-class! (Of course they are... remember, I'm not incognito on this forum! :wink: )
=)
Kk.
 

MTLLodge

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I have a mentor, but they are really not much help. But I could really use one, a good one. I feel like all I do is spin my wheels. My other half don’t have any ideal about business, (so bad I can’t even bounce ideas off him) I think it is a shame that associations promote this than don’t come through. I found out that no matter how much you know you really don’t know everything. A good example is my problems with the website. (by the way it is in the making, Trust me it is going to be good). I knew there were problems with it when I had all you look at it. What I didn’t know was just how bad it was. (What was really funny was some of you thought I did it.) I am due to be inspected any day now.
On the application I put down that I would be a mentor, (or help with the program).
My specialty is service; I have always been above par when it comes to that. And being a concierge and having the training puts me over the top.
I love the way all of you here will tell someone the truth, it my hurt, but it is the honest answers that help us with our business. I feel that everyone here wants all innkeepers to succeed
 

MTLLodge

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I have a mentor, but they are really not much help. But I could really use one, a good one. I feel like all I do is spin my wheels. My other half don’t have any ideal about business, (so bad I can’t even bounce ideas off him) I think it is a shame that associations promote this than don’t come through. I found out that no matter how much you know you really don’t know everything. A good example is my problems with the website. (by the way it is in the making, Trust me it is going to be good). I knew there were problems with it when I had all you look at it. What I didn’t know was just how bad it was. (What was really funny was some of you thought I did it.) I am due to be inspected any day now.
On the application I put down that I would be a mentor, (or help with the program).
My specialty is service; I have always been above par when it comes to that. And being a concierge and having the training puts me over the top.
I love the way all of you here will tell someone the truth, it my hurt, but it is the honest answers that help us with our business. I feel that everyone here wants all innkeepers to succeed
 

Morticia

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I have a mentor, but they are really not much help. But I could really use one, a good one. I feel like all I do is spin my wheels. My other half don’t have any ideal about business, (so bad I can’t even bounce ideas off him) I think it is a shame that associations promote this than don’t come through. I found out that no matter how much you know you really don’t know everything. A good example is my problems with the website. (by the way it is in the making, Trust me it is going to be good). I knew there were problems with it when I had all you look at it. What I didn’t know was just how bad it was. (What was really funny was some of you thought I did it.) I am due to be inspected any day now.
On the application I put down that I would be a mentor, (or help with the program).
My specialty is service; I have always been above par when it comes to that. And being a concierge and having the training puts me over the top.
I love the way all of you here will tell someone the truth, it my hurt, but it is the honest answers that help us with our business. I feel that everyone here wants all innkeepers to succeed.
MTLLodge said:
I love the way all of you here will tell someone the truth, it my hurt, but it is the honest answers that help us with our business. I feel that everyone here wants all innkeepers to succeed
This is absolutely what we try to accomplish here.
 

Somewhere in Paradise

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I do not have an offical mentor either. I would say this forum helps a great deal and also the guests have mentored me in a way.
 

Innkeep

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Although others have already said it, I really hope you people, my "forum buddies" know how much value you are to aspirings. During the 2 year process it took for my start-up to become a reality, you all mentored me. A very well-travelled guest last week told his wife "she gets it" which she told me was a compliment that he didn't give out too often, but meant that he noticed the room decor, the amenities, the website. Until I bought the house, I had no idea that I wanted to do a B&B and had no background in hospitality, and almost no cooking experience. The house (which had belonged to my parents and was the house I grew up in) had 4 bedrooms and only 1 bathroom upstairs. You persuaded me to put in 3 more bathrooms, and "the rest is history." I don't think I could have gotten a better start on things if I had had a personal mentor.
So, on Thanksgiving I am thankful to all of you, and hope I can in turn be of help to some of you.
Jane
 

Morticia

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Nope. We did not want to be influenced by what others felt was 'the way'..
The Farmers Daughter said:
Nope. We did not want to be influenced by what others felt was 'the way'.
Interesting. That's not what I had in mind when I started this. Didn't even think about it from that POV! More along the lines of having someone to ask if a problem arose you didn't know how to solve. Rather than asking someone how to do everything. Or, in our case, a long list of- where's this store, where's that store, basically, where is anything!
Our first weekend here our guests were telling us all of their favorite places. We didn't know anything! They were also telling us not to change a thing, they loved everything.
 

JBloggs

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I agree with FD.
I don't like it. Mentoring (for this biz). Which is not the same as taking some aspiring classes and training along the way and being prepared. (I cannot imagine if the PO's had mentored us in this biz even though it was in our contract for them to train us for one week - which they didn't - thankfully! We pretty much do not do ANYTHING the way they did everything bassackwards. In terms of stinginess, friendliness and hospitality too!
I like to think for myself and go in search of information. When I ask a question to the innkeepers on the forum, it never amazes me that I will get half a dozen different answers. We all have our own points of view on how to do ANYTHING. I do like to listen and glean, and visit other inns for ideas. That is the fun part!
And half the fun of being in a new place is to experience the discovery of it all, exploration. The same reason I like to travel and never go to the same place twice.
 

gillumhouse

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I agree with FD.
I don't like it. Mentoring (for this biz). Which is not the same as taking some aspiring classes and training along the way and being prepared. (I cannot imagine if the PO's had mentored us in this biz even though it was in our contract for them to train us for one week - which they didn't - thankfully! We pretty much do not do ANYTHING the way they did everything bassackwards. In terms of stinginess, friendliness and hospitality too!
I like to think for myself and go in search of information. When I ask a question to the innkeepers on the forum, it never amazes me that I will get half a dozen different answers. We all have our own points of view on how to do ANYTHING. I do like to listen and glean, and visit other inns for ideas. That is the fun part!
And half the fun of being in a new place is to experience the discovery of it all, exploration. The same reason I like to travel and never go to the same place twice..
Too many places to go and things to see and not enough years left on my clock!
 

wendydk

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nope
no real live person ever helped me
there are those who I admire NOW and listen to their advice and input - from this forum. (I can email them when I am in a pickle off the forum). I know you asked about off-the-forum but this is where the help comes from and the understanding and the comradery.

I went to another forum first which was very political and small and when I asked a question I was required to tell them all about our place before they would answer a simple question, they put me right off!!!
there were a few on an old forum I was on prior to this who were the most glamorous innkeepers - never a bad guest or bad experience or a bad hair day...also put me off, they were not real innkeepers imo.
then i found innkeepers here who tell it like it is. i still weed through the better-than-thou stuff on occasion (our guests are only high quality) to get to the real answers. or some are just different than i am so take it with a grain of salt. so for one who does not like the real answers here there are ten who really appreciate them and use the advice given..
Joey Bloggs said:
i still weed through the better-than-thou stuff on occasion (our guests are only high quality) to get to the real answers.
So those innkeepers who have very few guest problems (or don't get upset by the small stuff) don't have real answers or are doing something wrong? Or that the ones that have alot of guest problems are doing somethng right, or have more wisdom to contribute? Sounds backwards to me.
 

JBloggs

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nope
no real live person ever helped me
there are those who I admire NOW and listen to their advice and input - from this forum. (I can email them when I am in a pickle off the forum). I know you asked about off-the-forum but this is where the help comes from and the understanding and the comradery.

I went to another forum first which was very political and small and when I asked a question I was required to tell them all about our place before they would answer a simple question, they put me right off!!!
there were a few on an old forum I was on prior to this who were the most glamorous innkeepers - never a bad guest or bad experience or a bad hair day...also put me off, they were not real innkeepers imo.
then i found innkeepers here who tell it like it is. i still weed through the better-than-thou stuff on occasion (our guests are only high quality) to get to the real answers. or some are just different than i am so take it with a grain of salt. so for one who does not like the real answers here there are ten who really appreciate them and use the advice given..
Joey Bloggs said:
i still weed through the better-than-thou stuff on occasion (our guests are only high quality) to get to the real answers.
So those innkeepers who have very few guest problems (or don't get upset by the small stuff) don't have real answers or are doing something wrong? Or that the ones that have alot of guest problems are doing somethng right, or have more wisdom to contribute? Sounds backwards to me.
.
Nope neither of those.
 

egoodell

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No mentor - just lots of research for years before we opened.
Riki
 

Country Girl

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There was another B&B several towns away that opened the same time I did so we learned the ropes together. She sold after 7 years but she is still a great reference for me and a great friend. I learned a lot from her, but mostly she helped me stay calm. Our B&B's were very different from each other so we drew different clientele which meant that we didn't compete. But if I was full I sent guests to her and vise versa. We tried to get together at least once a month to share ideas and guest horror stories. Her were always better than mine!
 

seashanty

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when i first started out, i posted some of the crazy things i was facing on the old forum. i felt so alone.
carole from thurston house tracked me down (i was pretty transparent at the beginning) and called me. after assuring me she was not a stalker :) she reassured me in those early days that everything would be okay.
and all the 'wise ones', as i call anyone on forum who had advice to offer, were my mentors along with carole.
 
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