Quantcast

Innkeeper burnout in UK, Europe, Australia?

INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources

Help Support INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources:

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
I find this thread offensive I will tell you up front. It really irritates me. Burn out? Sheesh get your hands dirty then ask us about it. Have guests in YOUR HOME every day of the week for weeks, months and then years. Then come back and ask this question.
Yes, spank spank.
 

EmptyNest

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
8,741
Reaction score
1
I suspect if you have employees...which can be another hassle...maybe the length of staying in business is longer. Not sure...but for me my back gave out after 6 years and I grew tired of having people in my home. Now I have it back all to myself :) Now restaurants...I don't have a clue...guess they really love what they do because I am told you can't make much money doing it...at least from our locals perspective.
 

wendydk

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 7, 2009
Messages
1,656
Reaction score
0
CL has a point. If you are the only one doing it all, and are pinioned to the house most of the time, that's different than having employees to do all the grunt work. I wonder what the average length of tenure is for those that have staff and those that don't?
Yes, our place is for sale, but do I sound burntout to you? Do I bitch about my guests, or about the house? Our reason for selling is family related, and so cannot be categorized as "burnout".
JB's ire about this thread is related to the fact that you assume that all Inns for sale are on the market because their keepers are burnt out.
 

Joey Camb

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
4,793
Reaction score
0
I think you can do it longer if you are on a large enough scale to have staff and or are busy enough/make enough money that you can pay people to fill in for you to have days off. If I had to make 12 beds every day I wouldn't last a month and I am always telling people what a treasure my chamber maid is. I think having a good team if you can manage it (I have 3 friends who are trained in my place reservations, check in so on) plus my parents who can cover if I need a bit of time off. Plus and I know everyone here will agree with me as much sleep as you can manage! And don't try and make every guest happy they won't be and draw a firm line between them and your time off/private time.
 

toddburme

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
733
Reaction score
0
7 years is a long time if you think about it. Most small businesses don't last one year so if you assume there is a fair amount of folks that go a year or two and then close or sell, as they were not meant to be. Then the 7 year average looks pretty good as your best operators are probably hanging in there for ten or more years and selling due to a life change and not burnout.
I carried a pager and then a cell phone for 15 years and was on call 24/7 pretty much that whole time. It gets old. Then when you realize that the B&B crowd is living with their customer 24/7, well then 7 years seems like maybe a stretch. ;)
 

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,553
Reaction score
133
I am not for sale - yet. When I am it will not be because of burnout, but because it is the only way I can keep a B & B in my City at least a while longer.
I also have come to the realization that I cannot put my B & B up for sale as long as DH is alive. He has too much "stuff" that must be where HE wants it which makes the OQ look very unappealing.
Edited to add: I opened my "start-up" in 1996.
 

Bommelhoeve

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
149
Reaction score
0
Location
Netherlands
Ok, herewith the perspective from the Netherlands, Europe. In this country B&B is a relatively new phenomenon, there are now more than 5000 B&B in Holland, and 85% started after 2001. Most of them are small, 2 rooms max. I don't really know what the average lifetime is for a B&B. However, I do know that on average (at least before the current real estate gridlock) people buy a new house every 7/8 years in this country. So, it seems that if you combine the home turnover with the business turnover (also here a lot of businesses fail after one year) 6-7 years is actually pretty good!
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
Arks, there are as many variables as there are inns.
#1 MOST innkeepers take on innkeeping AFTER they retire from the workforce, so if an innkeeper is say 62 and does this for 7 years that makes them 69. Get my drift? Yes there are a new breed of innkeepers who are a) those who left their corporate jobs earlier than designated retirement age b) younger with families.
#2) Many innkeepers have 1 main innkeeper, such as is in my situation, and the other half in the outside work force. What does this mean? This means the outside innkeeper comes home evenings after working all day and works at the inn, weekends are spent working at the inn, there is ne'er a day off, ne'er a day to sit around in boxer shorts to even 9am.
Meanwhile said innside innkeeper is operating the entire business from guest marketing, PR, finances, and more (depending on the inn and situation), cleaning rooms, serving breakfast, cleaning up, reservations, housekeeping, personal concierge for the guests, all shopping, laundry, and the list goes on and on.
#3) Occupancy. If someone says I can do this forever and has a very low occupancy rate, well there ya go. Apples and oranges. I have been to an inn where they occup is very very high and i have no idea how the innkeepers can live there. Truthfully, I would require a separate house or something, having people pounding their feet up the stairs above my quarters all the time would make me a maniac...more of a maniac, I should say.
#4) This is not a lifelong career, it really isn't. It is something you do, enjoy, get the most out of it and move on. Hand it off to the next set of eager innkeepers to love and pour their sweat into. Innkeepers are on while their kids get married, have kids, graduate, are in marching band, sports, have special events in their lives and...live and die...some of us have lost loved ones this year and the show must go on...Not allowing to stop and grieve, not allowing "time off."
#5) Living on the premises vs overseeing from afar are two different things. You are the one at 1am who gets the call to unclog a toilet. You are the one with guests banging on the door to check in at 4am on motorcycles. You are the one to deal with the mean, the needy, the arrogant guests any time they want, not 9 to 5. There is no formula for loving every guest who stays with us, we treat them all well and for some it is an outlet to come to the forum to complain or share a funny story. The forum was designed as a place for innkeepers to be at home and share. Some yeah too much negativity, some too much positivity.
 

Breakfast Diva

Well-known member
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
5,909
Reaction score
25
I think this is a great question and I don't offense at all. As a lot of us have said here before, I think that Americans in general expect more. I know that's a stereotype, but I think it's an accurate one.
It's been my experience when I've traveled to other countries and stayed at average b&bs (not high end) that they typically have less amenities and offer more of a basic stay. But, along with that, typically b&bs are less expensive than staying in a hotel/motel. Does this translate into lesss "burnout"? I'm not sure, but I know that when we've traveled this way I've been envious and thought to myself that I could last longer if it were that way for us.
edited to add: maybe the term "burnout" should be thought of as a desire for change instead of the negative of just can't do it anymore.
 

domsmom

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Messages
180
Reaction score
0
I had my inn up for sale last year, for both personal and professional reasons. Professionally, I like what I do so much, I wanted to do it on a larger scale. My place did not sell and I did not relocate to the desired property. I do plan to run an inn, whether the current one or a different one, until retirement (20 more years for me).
I do need to learn how to close a couple of times a year. I am running on burn out now, simply because I have had a guest every day since sometime in August and don't have a day without a booking until sometime in October and have not had a day off in 6 months. That is my own fault.
 

tedwin

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
70
Reaction score
1
I wonder if this statistic is also influenced by the fact that, for many innkeepers, this is a second career. They start innkeeping late in their 40s or 50s and run it until a normal retirement age.
 

Copperhead

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 24, 2008
Messages
5,969
Reaction score
0
Arkie - When we went into the business we read, and I think it is still 'taught', to build your business plan along with a OUT date. We really questioned that at the time - Why open if you are looking to walk away?
We started this business after both of us left 20+ years in corp. world. We felt like a large burdon had been lifted... this 'job' was a breeze compaired to the dog eat dog world. But as time goes by, we are in our 12th yr, you find that while the day to day activites are different you still get tired or the routine. For the longest time it was easy dealing with different guests, you know they will be here only for a short while (different than dealing with the same colleagues day in and out), but dealing with the public is a tough job and can get to ya after a while with no break! We ALL need a break from work from time to time!
In hindsight, I see why 'they' say to have an out date in place. At some point for most of us, we all have something we want to do FOR OURSELVES in our golden years. There is no sign up here, as of yet, but I do see one in the near future... I have too many things on my bucket list yet to check off!!!!
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,349
Reaction score
220
CL has a point. If you are the only one doing it all, and are pinioned to the house most of the time, that's different than having employees to do all the grunt work. I wonder what the average length of tenure is for those that have staff and those that don't?
Yes, our place is for sale, but do I sound burntout to you? Do I bitch about my guests, or about the house? Our reason for selling is family related, and so cannot be categorized as "burnout".
JB's ire about this thread is related to the fact that you assume that all Inns for sale are on the market because their keepers are burnt out..
The summer we had no help I hated everyone. Once our summer help goes back to school I hate everyone. So, having help is good for everyone.
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
Yes this line ticked me off:
"'I'm just curious to know if this pattern holds true in the rest of the world, or is it a problem unique to the USA and the way B&Bs are run here"
It is NOT a problem, it is natural attritrion for this industry.
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,349
Reaction score
220
Arkansawyer said:
and not everybody is as unlucky as poor Morticia
Aw c'mon, it's not that bad, not even to me. I like this job, but there are days I definitely don't. I think what we miss on here is that there is no forum group for office workers to do what we do here. OH, NO, office workers get a WHOLE show they can watch, a comic strip they can read, etc. We've got each other.
 

Don Draper

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
2,863
Reaction score
0
This is such an interesting thread. I'm trying really, really hard to remember what exactly our mindset was when this opportunity presented itself to us. I'm fairly certain we thought we could do it forever. That thought makes me laugh out loud right now! We have 9 rooms and very high occupancy, and do just about everything. Burnout is definitely the right word in our case. We don't take much pleasure from any of the daily tasks anymore. We used to really enjoy marketing, but even that feels like a huge effort right now. I think the economy and the attitude of travelers in the last few years has really worn on us, we feel we give so much and we rarely if ever get a simple "thank you", instead we get "You know what you should do..." Blech.
If we had unlimited capital we could hire more things out, but I don't care what anyone says, that dramatically changes the character of a place and in my opinion when that happens that place is no longer officially a "bed and breakfast", more an Inn or whatever the category is. I'm thinking that unless you are really tiny or have really low occupancy, innkeeping is not a "forever" kind of job for anyone, it's just too demanding.
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,349
Reaction score
220
Arkansawyer said:
Little Blue said:
...you assume that all Inns for sale are on the market because their keepers are burnt out.
toddburme said:
...the B&B crowd is living with their customer 24/7, well then 7 years seems like maybe a stretch. ;)
Joey Bloggs said:
Have guests in YOUR HOME every day of the week for weeks, months and then years.
So you're saying that "burnout" is the wrong word, and it's more a situation of undesirability of having people living in your house (and of course some other drawbacks)? And, as others have said, the hard work of doing everything yourself with no staff.
I can see where this would make it very hard to follow the B&B model long-term, with the innkeeper living in the house with the guests and doing all the work themselves. This helps! Thanks! Knowing what the drawbacks are in advance might help some people in avoiding them.
You can liken it to having kids who never leave home. Or having your parents have to move in with you. You were seeing a light at the end of the tunnel (kids go away, parents have their own home, yippee you get the whole house to yourself) and suddenly you realize the light is a freight train headed right for you. (The grumpy, idiotic, overbearing guests who ring the bell, call your phone, bang on your door all day and night.)
The best thing to do is to have time off. Even if that time is off is every 4-5 months. You can see it coming. You can deal with anything because it's coming. But, to NOT have that time off is what drags people down. And, ask around in Europe, and you'll be told Americans are gluttons for work. We put in more work hours than any other nation other than Japan. We have less vacation time than most nations.
So, as the biz owner, you have to take the bull by the horns and say, 'We're closed.' And pull the shades, open the wine, eat the pint of B&J's and relax already.
 

egoodell

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 1, 2008
Messages
3,023
Reaction score
0
I think all B&Bs are individual. And as has been said, second occupations. There are several here that are on their second or third owners. The B&Bs are thriving, the owners are retired.
Again, I know many who have been doing it for 10, 15 and 20 years.
One has to schedule in time off just like any other job, use innsitters or just close for a time to enjoy life.
And as has been said, travel has changed. I was a flight attendant and loved it. Would not like that job today
RIki
 

muirford

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
2,493
Reaction score
12
This is such an interesting thread. I'm trying really, really hard to remember what exactly our mindset was when this opportunity presented itself to us. I'm fairly certain we thought we could do it forever. That thought makes me laugh out loud right now! We have 9 rooms and very high occupancy, and do just about everything. Burnout is definitely the right word in our case. We don't take much pleasure from any of the daily tasks anymore. We used to really enjoy marketing, but even that feels like a huge effort right now. I think the economy and the attitude of travelers in the last few years has really worn on us, we feel we give so much and we rarely if ever get a simple "thank you", instead we get "You know what you should do..." Blech.
If we had unlimited capital we could hire more things out, but I don't care what anyone says, that dramatically changes the character of a place and in my opinion when that happens that place is no longer officially a "bed and breakfast", more an Inn or whatever the category is. I'm thinking that unless you are really tiny or have really low occupancy, innkeeping is not a "forever" kind of job for anyone, it's just too demanding..
Don Draper said:
I'm trying really, really hard to remember what exactly our mindset was when this opportunity presented itself to us. I'm fairly certain we thought we could do it forever.
When we set out to do this, we had already spent ten years and a half-dozen aspiring innkeeper seminars deciding that it was the right thing to do, for us. Many people look for a long time for 'their' B&B; we found ours and bought it within a year. We were ready financially, with the down payment and a cushion for the first year. Even with all that, there was about six months where the old job was just so weird and different that we struggled to find our footing.
Don Draper said:
innkeeping is not a "forever" kind of job for anyone, it's just too demanding.
We thought this was true right from the start. We planned to do this work for 7 to 10 years. We've just had our 8-year anniversary and our B&B is for sale. At the 10-year mark, my DH will be 60 and we'd like to have less busy careers. Our inn has been around for 26 years, with four innkeepers, and only one other innkeeper made it past 4 years. I think the really burnout folks are in and out in under 5 years now.
All of the outside factors that make it difficult to sell now weigh on us, but there is really nothing we can do about them. We don't feel that we are so sick of the job that it affects our business - our last two years have been our best ever financially. It's better to have a plan to leave your business than to have your business leave you through desperation or disinterest.
 
Top