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I think one must consider length of time in business very heavily in the calculation. Local competition should also be factored in.
I would imagine an area that is within a few hours drive from a major metro area with few choices would have a much higher percentage.
We've seen our repeat guests increase every successive year, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to 50%.
Does the multitudes of guests who go on and on about how they are going to tell all their friends count?
That one could go in the "I can't wait to get home and write a review on TA for you" category..
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
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Bree said:
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
Was only pointing out that it takes time to build a clientele to the point that they would return to the same place for a vacation or weekend more than once.
This freakin' business amazes me.
We have all this talent here with all these backgrounds, skills, professional and life experiences and many folks will defend how great their guests are, the decor, approach, menu, towel choices, profitablility, etc. of their B&Bs, blah....blah...blah..... but losing repeat guests to OUR own burnout is a major factor ?
I don't get the incompatibility in that mentality in the slightest. If there is a pattern to that its in my opinion self-induced because of the typical track people take to becoming innkeepers. Nobody told the vast majority of innkeepers to wait until they were in their mid to late 50's to open or buy a B&B.
So somebody will work 30-40 years for some corporate entity or company, but they open a B&B and suddenly 5-7 years is all the sotmach they have for hard work, dealing with customers, etc.?
We didn't start our working life as innkeepers, but I'll tell you what, I've worked for some real jerks in my other work life and this is the easiest, quickest to learn, easist to be good at set of skills I've ever tried to accomplish.
.
You've missed a lot of my 'PO' stories. Here's a short rundown...these are people who WANTED to be innkeepers so badly they spent all of their money to buy this place. By the time we came along (4 years later) they were snarling at each other over breakfast. (We stayed here on vacation.) OK, HE was snarling at her and undermining her at every turn. SHE was nice as pie. They went back to work at their former occupations and as far as I know are perfectly happy at them. They have spending money, they have their weekends off, they are doing work they love, they can indulge their expensive hobbies.
Some people just find it easier to not be in charge. It's easier to let someone else take the brunt of unhappy clients. 'You'll have to speak to the manager/owner/supervisor' is a great way to avoid having to deal with situations you don't know how to handle. Such as guests using the kitchen and myriad other issues we ran into our first year here. They let the inmates run the asylum and sold when they realized they couldn't take charge.
I see how it happens because we have guests now who think the rules don't apply to them. 99% of the repeats treat this place as OUR home, but 1% treat it like THEIR home. We have to gently nudge them out of the non-guest areas without seeming like we're doing that.
So, yeah, SOME people get in over their heads. They didn't/wouldn't say no and it got out of hand. They gave up. They retreated to their room and didn't come out until breakfast. Where they argued with each other in front of the guests. Even my BIL, looking at their info page on the website said, 'Knock off another $25k, they hate each other and can't wait to sell.' (He was right.)
Our first day here as owners the POs came to 'help' us get set up. 3 hours late. HE called my husband names in front of the guests who were standing around and that was the end of that. We said we didn't need their help, thank you very much, and away they went. But not before they insulted us a few more times and made us realize how penny-pinching they were and how that can make you a sour person very quickly. (ONE tbsp of ham was a serving size. TWO spritzes of cleaner were 'enough' to clean a whole shower. If you can get by without fixing something, it's money in your pocket. So, yeah, they still have us beat on the money thing, but we're a heck of a lot happier in our work.)
I think I said before I didn't get into this to serve the public, but, like yourself, it's something I find I do fairly well and it's easy to learn.
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Bree, I wasn't referring to your individual case at all. I was just making some general observations. I've gone back and read some older threads from around here and have a little background on more than one might think.
Your case is a very big reason why we feel we made the right decision to start from scratch. Some of the stuff you've dealt with are the exact red flags that kept popping up for us as we neared our decision to go the route we went.
Even with all the resources out there to help educate ourselves, opportunities for aspirings to test the waters by seeking employment at B&Bs, innsit, etc.. you name it, its no piece of cake.
Until a person or couple gets their feet wet and survives that initial departure from the kind of work life they had and adjusts to the B&B work life they now have, its rough.
In my opinion, its all about how set in your ways are you.
How do you handle both the physical stress of the long, hard, somewhat menial task days and the mental stress of being a diplomat, a concierge, a cook, marketing consultant, bookkeeper, babysitter, psychologist, sociologist, and all the other dozen or so "jobs" we've chosen to take on.
I personally have enjoyed the challenge of learning new skills and exposing internal issues about myself that never got confronted when working for others.
Even just the few months I've been hanging out with you all, I feel like I've become a better and more complete innkeeper.
This weekend is a great example. We're hosting family members of the next door neighbors and they've tossed multiple curve balls at me already and I'm hit all of them out of the park with a combined level patience, diplomacy and pragmatic firmness about our policies and expectations that might have tripped me up in years past.
As of 7:30pm last night with all 9 guests checking in today, we had zero contact with any of the guests for the last three months, no clues to any dietary stuff, no itinerary clues to plan for, not even a final head count for where to put everybody. But we love the neighbors, they are great people and we're make sure its a memorable weekend for all of them.
 
Our repeat rate is considerably lower than 50%...would be higher, but everyone who has stayed before wants to come in the summer, but because we run 90% in the summer, there's only room for so many. I can't tell you how many prior guests I've had to refer elsewhere because we were full. The ones that stay most often (some 9-10 times in six years) are the ones that come in the fall and winter..
Little Blue said:
Our repeat rate is considerably lower than 50%...would be higher, but everyone who has stayed before wants to come in the summer, but because we run 90% in the summer, there's only room for so many. I can't tell you how many prior guests I've had to refer elsewhere because we were full. The ones that stay most often (some 9-10 times in six years) are the ones that come in the fall and winter.
We have been in business for two years and have had some come 3 times already. But I think that is because they also love the wine country, so the wine tasting and great restaurants and pedestrian walking mall- an 8 block street blocked from traffic full of restaurants and shops and free music is a big draw. So I don't think it's just us.
Riki
 
I have some repeats - some semi-regulars - but I do not keep really good records on that because some will come here several times and then never see them again. We had some meet in the middles - one couple got married and we do not know what happened to another but they were here 3 times.
We get a lot of travel between here and there. One of them was here on the way down and on the way back and was heard to so "it feels so good to be home again" as he got out of the car on the return trip. We get a lot of repeats with the horses. I do know I had an anniversary because of someone who had been here twice and the man he sent to us said, "As much as Frank talked this place up, he did not tell how good it was by half!" So even if I do not have a high percent of repeat - I think we are solid. (I am also one who rarely goes to where I have already been.
 
I have some repeats - some semi-regulars - but I do not keep really good records on that because some will come here several times and then never see them again. We had some meet in the middles - one couple got married and we do not know what happened to another but they were here 3 times.
We get a lot of travel between here and there. One of them was here on the way down and on the way back and was heard to so "it feels so good to be home again" as he got out of the car on the return trip. We get a lot of repeats with the horses. I do know I had an anniversary because of someone who had been here twice and the man he sent to us said, "As much as Frank talked this place up, he did not tell how good it was by half!" So even if I do not have a high percent of repeat - I think we are solid. (I am also one who rarely goes to where I have already been..
gillumhouse said:
We get a lot of repeats with the horses.
Doesn't that get a little crowded in the room?
 
I think one must consider length of time in business very heavily in the calculation. Local competition should also be factored in.
I would imagine an area that is within a few hours drive from a major metro area with few choices would have a much higher percentage.
We've seen our repeat guests increase every successive year, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to 50%.
Does the multitudes of guests who go on and on about how they are going to tell all their friends count?
That one could go in the "I can't wait to get home and write a review on TA for you" category..
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
.
Bree said:
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
Was only pointing out that it takes time to build a clientele to the point that they would return to the same place for a vacation or weekend more than once.
This freakin' business amazes me.
We have all this talent here with all these backgrounds, skills, professional and life experiences and many folks will defend how great their guests are, the decor, approach, menu, towel choices, profitablility, etc. of their B&Bs, blah....blah...blah..... but losing repeat guests to OUR own burnout is a major factor ?
I don't get the incompatibility in that mentality in the slightest. If there is a pattern to that its in my opinion self-induced because of the typical track people take to becoming innkeepers. Nobody told the vast majority of innkeepers to wait until they were in their mid to late 50's to open or buy a B&B.
So somebody will work 30-40 years for some corporate entity or company, but they open a B&B and suddenly 5-7 years is all the sotmach they have for hard work, dealing with customers, etc.?
We didn't start our working life as innkeepers, but I'll tell you what, I've worked for some real jerks in my other work life and this is the easiest, quickest to learn, easist to be good at set of skills I've ever tried to accomplish.
.
Tim_Toad_HLB said:
So somebody will work 30-40 years for some corporate entity or company, but they open a B&B and suddenly 5-7 years is all the sotmach they have for hard work, dealing with customers, etc.?
We didn't start our working life as innkeepers, but I'll tell you what, I've worked for some real jerks in my other work life and this is the easiest, quickest to learn, easist to be good at set of skills I've ever tried to accomplish.
Tim, I'm not trying to start an argument, but if my memory serves me, you've been in business about a year, right? Give it another 7 and we'll see how you're coping.
As much as we all have in common, we are all so different with some of us having staff (believe me, I would last many more years if I had some regular help), the size of rooms, how many, size of property, and most importantly if there is stress because of lack of income.
I'm in my 9th busy season now. Am I burned out? No. Am I tired? yes! I will happily do this for a couple more years, but then I'm done. Not burned out, just ready to move on. BTW, I'm not what I consider old, I'm in my early 50s, but our property takes a lot of energy, more than most properties. Again, I'm not burned out, but I am ready to start thinking of all the places I want to travel and not be on call 24/7.
I think I can speak for myself and a lot of other inn-mates that we have seen some of the growth in you that you were describing. And you've definitely added a spark here. I know that this screen name of mine tells you how long I've been registered, but most of you recognize my "style" from a different screen name I felt I needed to give up.
 
BrekDiva I think he has been in biz for 3 or 4 years, it is our Texas innkeeper who has 1 year under his belt in August. And yes we do know who you are, at least I do.
cheers.gif
as most know who I am. BTW Pita torch is being passed my way and i am not at all pleased about it! Take it back...please.
 
BrekDiva I think he has been in biz for 3 or 4 years, it is our Texas innkeeper who has 1 year under his belt in August. And yes we do know who you are, at least I do.
cheers.gif
as most know who I am. BTW Pita torch is being passed my way and i am not at all pleased about it! Take it back...please..
Oops, sorry about confusing Tim with someone else. But hey, the same sentiments apply. Talk with me in year 8
heart.gif

Joe, about that PITA torch? NOT ON YOUR LIFE!!!
pita.gif

 
I think one must consider length of time in business very heavily in the calculation. Local competition should also be factored in.
I would imagine an area that is within a few hours drive from a major metro area with few choices would have a much higher percentage.
We've seen our repeat guests increase every successive year, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to 50%.
Does the multitudes of guests who go on and on about how they are going to tell all their friends count?
That one could go in the "I can't wait to get home and write a review on TA for you" category..
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
.
Bree said:
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
Was only pointing out that it takes time to build a clientele to the point that they would return to the same place for a vacation or weekend more than once.
This freakin' business amazes me.
We have all this talent here with all these backgrounds, skills, professional and life experiences and many folks will defend how great their guests are, the decor, approach, menu, towel choices, profitablility, etc. of their B&Bs, blah....blah...blah..... but losing repeat guests to OUR own burnout is a major factor ?
I don't get the incompatibility in that mentality in the slightest. If there is a pattern to that its in my opinion self-induced because of the typical track people take to becoming innkeepers. Nobody told the vast majority of innkeepers to wait until they were in their mid to late 50's to open or buy a B&B.
So somebody will work 30-40 years for some corporate entity or company, but they open a B&B and suddenly 5-7 years is all the sotmach they have for hard work, dealing with customers, etc.?
We didn't start our working life as innkeepers, but I'll tell you what, I've worked for some real jerks in my other work life and this is the easiest, quickest to learn, easist to be good at set of skills I've ever tried to accomplish.
.
"So somebody will work 30-40 years for some corporate entity or company, but they open a B&B and suddenly 5-7 years is all the sotmach they have for hard work, dealing with customers, etc.?"
Tim, the difference in Innkeeping versus corporate life is the fact that for those 30-40 years of working, most people had weekends off and regular vacation time...time spent with friends and family and even traveling. Perhaps most new keepers aren't fully aware of the restrictive lifestyle and shortage of free time that they can look forward to...I know I didn't. Not to mention the constant face to face contact with guests in your home. Even my hospitality background could not get me used to that. Working with customers outside of the home and then going home afterward is not quite the same as dealing with these people 24/7, in your house, eating your food, using your stuff, sleeping and showering...and whatever else.
Whole different ball game. While I am not burned out, I'm ready to free myself up to spend precious time with family right now, when they and I need the togetherness the most. Because I'm a driven business owner, and always want to beat last year in occupancy and revenue, and keep building the business up and up, I would have a pretty hard time staying here and cutting back...I don't think I could do it.
 
I think one must consider length of time in business very heavily in the calculation. Local competition should also be factored in.
I would imagine an area that is within a few hours drive from a major metro area with few choices would have a much higher percentage.
We've seen our repeat guests increase every successive year, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to 50%.
Does the multitudes of guests who go on and on about how they are going to tell all their friends count?
That one could go in the "I can't wait to get home and write a review on TA for you" category..
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
.
Bree said:
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
Was only pointing out that it takes time to build a clientele to the point that they would return to the same place for a vacation or weekend more than once.
This freakin' business amazes me.
We have all this talent here with all these backgrounds, skills, professional and life experiences and many folks will defend how great their guests are, the decor, approach, menu, towel choices, profitablility, etc. of their B&Bs, blah....blah...blah..... but losing repeat guests to OUR own burnout is a major factor ?
I don't get the incompatibility in that mentality in the slightest. If there is a pattern to that its in my opinion self-induced because of the typical track people take to becoming innkeepers. Nobody told the vast majority of innkeepers to wait until they were in their mid to late 50's to open or buy a B&B.
So somebody will work 30-40 years for some corporate entity or company, but they open a B&B and suddenly 5-7 years is all the sotmach they have for hard work, dealing with customers, etc.?
We didn't start our working life as innkeepers, but I'll tell you what, I've worked for some real jerks in my other work life and this is the easiest, quickest to learn, easist to be good at set of skills I've ever tried to accomplish.
.
Tim_Toad_HLB said:
So somebody will work 30-40 years for some corporate entity or company, but they open a B&B and suddenly 5-7 years is all the sotmach they have for hard work, dealing with customers, etc.?
We didn't start our working life as innkeepers, but I'll tell you what, I've worked for some real jerks in my other work life and this is the easiest, quickest to learn, easist to be good at set of skills I've ever tried to accomplish.
Tim, I'm not trying to start an argument, but if my memory serves me, you've been in business about a year, right? Give it another 7 and we'll see how you're coping.
As much as we all have in common, we are all so different with some of us having staff (believe me, I would last many more years if I had some regular help), the size of rooms, how many, size of property, and most importantly if there is stress because of lack of income.
I'm in my 9th busy season now. Am I burned out? No. Am I tired? yes! I will happily do this for a couple more years, but then I'm done. Not burned out, just ready to move on. BTW, I'm not what I consider old, I'm in my early 50s, but our property takes a lot of energy, more than most properties. Again, I'm not burned out, but I am ready to start thinking of all the places I want to travel and not be on call 24/7.
I think I can speak for myself and a lot of other inn-mates that we have seen some of the growth in you that you were describing. And you've definitely added a spark here. I know that this screen name of mine tells you how long I've been registered, but most of you recognize my "style" from a different screen name I felt I needed to give up.
.
BD,
Actually we're well into our fifth year of operation.
Nobody has to lecture me about the long hours, hard labor, guest issues, juggling of tasks, lack of privacy, etc...
We have and are experiencing it all just like everybody else.
I'll be the first one to acknowledge the unique differences between working for somebody else at an "office" and what we are all doing now.
I guess I tire of the words "burn out" as they've been defined here and in the culture at large. Everybody except some fat cat living large off the labors of others or the leisure class is "tired" but its up to all of us to decide if this is worth the effort. Most of us are living out a dream and have so much to be thankful for that the mere concept of being "burnt out" as a major factor of not attracting repeat guests just seems foreign to me.
My guests will sit on that grand portal of ours and just gush over how "lucky" we are to live in such a phenonemal place and setting. Despite all the hard work, headaches, struggles, etc.. I do my best to keep remembering just how lucky we really are to have worked ourselves into this position.
Sure, there is a price we are paying to do so, but without this being a B&B we couldn't live here and I suspect the same is true for most of us here.
 
I think one must consider length of time in business very heavily in the calculation. Local competition should also be factored in.
I would imagine an area that is within a few hours drive from a major metro area with few choices would have a much higher percentage.
We've seen our repeat guests increase every successive year, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to 50%.
Does the multitudes of guests who go on and on about how they are going to tell all their friends count?
That one could go in the "I can't wait to get home and write a review on TA for you" category..
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
.
Bree said:
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
Was only pointing out that it takes time to build a clientele to the point that they would return to the same place for a vacation or weekend more than once.
This freakin' business amazes me.
We have all this talent here with all these backgrounds, skills, professional and life experiences and many folks will defend how great their guests are, the decor, approach, menu, towel choices, profitablility, etc. of their B&Bs, blah....blah...blah..... but losing repeat guests to OUR own burnout is a major factor ?
I don't get the incompatibility in that mentality in the slightest. If there is a pattern to that its in my opinion self-induced because of the typical track people take to becoming innkeepers. Nobody told the vast majority of innkeepers to wait until they were in their mid to late 50's to open or buy a B&B.
So somebody will work 30-40 years for some corporate entity or company, but they open a B&B and suddenly 5-7 years is all the sotmach they have for hard work, dealing with customers, etc.?
We didn't start our working life as innkeepers, but I'll tell you what, I've worked for some real jerks in my other work life and this is the easiest, quickest to learn, easist to be good at set of skills I've ever tried to accomplish.
.
"So somebody will work 30-40 years for some corporate entity or company, but they open a B&B and suddenly 5-7 years is all the sotmach they have for hard work, dealing with customers, etc.?"
Tim, the difference in Innkeeping versus corporate life is the fact that for those 30-40 years of working, most people had weekends off and regular vacation time...time spent with friends and family and even traveling. Perhaps most new keepers aren't fully aware of the restrictive lifestyle and shortage of free time that they can look forward to...I know I didn't. Not to mention the constant face to face contact with guests in your home. Even my hospitality background could not get me used to that. Working with customers outside of the home and then going home afterward is not quite the same as dealing with these people 24/7, in your house, eating your food, using your stuff, sleeping and showering...and whatever else.
Whole different ball game. While I am not burned out, I'm ready to free myself up to spend precious time with family right now, when they and I need the togetherness the most. Because I'm a driven business owner, and always want to beat last year in occupancy and revenue, and keep building the business up and up, I would have a pretty hard time staying here and cutting back...I don't think I could do it.
.
"Tim, the difference in Innkeeping versus corporate life is the fact that for those 30-40 years of working, most people had weekends off and regular vacation time...time spent with friends and family and even traveling."
I'm not privy to the exact figures for average annual occupancy rates nationwide, but its hard to say that our life as innkeepers is any more devoid of free time than say a person who spends their entire working life working six days a week, multiple jobs to make ends meet, or some high powered job that requires 60-70 hours per week.
If the nationwide average annual occupancy is around 40% which I think is pretty close, that means most of us have either lots of free time in the off season and if in a really good market, the option to carve out a few weekends here and there even in the high season, etc..
"Not to mention the constant face to face contact with guests in your home."
You're kidding right? We have a majority of fellow members here who won't even greet their guests in person if they arrive after freakin' 6 or 7 pm. Based on what I read here which doesn't fully reflect ALL innkeepers out there, but most folks appear to describe the steps they've taken to not miss out on social functions, children's needs, community events, etc.
We have a house full of people and the last I saw of any of them except the two who actually stayed sober enough to enjoy breakfast this morning was at 4pm yesterday. Its now 12:15 out time, five out of nine haven't even come out of their rooms once today and two still haven't even arrived despite my being ordered to leave all the lights on all night last night so they could find their way in.
"Working with customers outside of the home and then going home afterward is not quite the same as dealing with these people 24/7, in your house, eating your food, using your stuff, sleeping and showering...and whatever else."
But we're not dealing with them 24/7. The eating of our food is a given. the using of our beds, showers and furnishings is a given. We're not running a hardware store, this is a place of accommodation. Those things are givens in our CHOSEN line of work.
Take a one night stay just as an example. Even if the guest arrives promptly at 3pm to check in and stays until 11am the next day, they are IN our home a maximum of 20 hours but not all of them require any interaction from us.
Knock off the seven or eight that they are sleeping, now we're down to 12 or 13. Subtract the couple that they are out exploring, eating dinner, sightseeing, etc. and now we're down to under 10 waking hours we actually have anything to do with them. Subract the couple of hours or more they are in their room requiring no help or assistance from us and the hours shrink more. figure in the hour or so of breakfast time, etc. and suddenly these people that some seem to think require all the hours in a day are really only in need of a few hours of our time total.
"While I am not burned out, I'm ready to free myself up to spend precious time with family right now, when they and I need the togetherness the most. "
It is your choice to not prioritize that family time and it should not be extrapolated to include every innkeeper or taken as the "norm"
We have many colleagues who choose to block out a certain number of nights per month, quarter, whatever for themselves. Financial constraints don't allow us all to do so, but I suspect most people after even a few years of being in business are carving out some quality time for themselves.
To emphasize, with most everything about us, our places, approaches, amount of face time, free time, etc. its about the choices we make ourselves.
 
BrekDiva I think he has been in biz for 3 or 4 years, it is our Texas innkeeper who has 1 year under his belt in August. And yes we do know who you are, at least I do.
cheers.gif
as most know who I am. BTW Pita torch is being passed my way and i am not at all pleased about it! Take it back...please..
Oops, sorry about confusing Tim with someone else. But hey, the same sentiments apply. Talk with me in year 8
heart.gif

Joe, about that PITA torch? NOT ON YOUR LIFE!!!
pita.gif

.
Breakfast Diva said:
Oops, sorry about confusing Tim with someone else. But hey, the same sentiments apply. Talk with me in year 8
heart.gif
Why, do toilets suddenly get harder to clean after 8 years but not after five?
Do beds suddenly get tougher to make, breakfast to cook, problem or high maintenance guests harder to anticipate or deal with, etc.?
Is innkeeping the only job on earth that gets harder to be competent at the longer you do it?
We all must have entered some oxymoronic universe where the more experience you have at something the harder it gets, unlike 99.99% of all other vocations.
All the issues I've seen that contribute to the bugaboo "burn out" were present in our experience from day one, but from at least our perspective, we've become infinitely more capable and competent at dealing with them then in the begining. So where is the big dropoff in a person's ability to deal iwth stuff unless its coming from that unspoken, self-limiting voice that says, "The average innkeeper burtns out in 5-7 years" so we pave the way to fulfill that as if its cast in stone or prophecy.
 
BrekDiva I think he has been in biz for 3 or 4 years, it is our Texas innkeeper who has 1 year under his belt in August. And yes we do know who you are, at least I do.
cheers.gif
as most know who I am. BTW Pita torch is being passed my way and i am not at all pleased about it! Take it back...please..
Oops, sorry about confusing Tim with someone else. But hey, the same sentiments apply. Talk with me in year 8
heart.gif

Joe, about that PITA torch? NOT ON YOUR LIFE!!!
pita.gif

.
Breakfast Diva said:
Oops, sorry about confusing Tim with someone else. But hey, the same sentiments apply. Talk with me in year 8
heart.gif
Why, do toilets suddenly get harder to clean after 8 years but not after five?
Do beds suddenly get tougher to make, breakfast to cook, problem or high maintenance guests harder to anticipate or deal with, etc.?
Is innkeeping the only job on earth that gets harder to be competent at the longer you do it?
We all must have entered some oxymoronic universe where the more experience you have at something the harder it gets, unlike 99.99% of all other vocations.
All the issues I've seen that contribute to the bugaboo "burn out" were present in our experience from day one, but from at least our perspective, we've become infinitely more capable and competent at dealing with them then in the begining. So where is the big dropoff in a person's ability to deal iwth stuff unless its coming from that unspoken, self-limiting voice that says, "The average innkeeper burtns out in 5-7 years" so we pave the way to fulfill that as if its cast in stone or prophecy.
.
taking a guess here.......maybe it's a reference to aging?
I know I can't do some of the work I used to do in my business a decade, 2,3 ago.
When I take the next step......I would like that to be a B&B.....I also have to be aware of my age and abilities.....and what restrictive abilities they may be as the aging process continues.
No doubt I will be hiring help for the B&B......I'm fully aware that I can't possibly do this venture solo........oh sure.......i can........what about the tending of the grounds?....fixes, repairs, maintenance, etc....Redecorating, painting and so on?.......Those are expensive to hire contractors.....Personaly I'd prefer to do those projects myself, understanding my limitations.....
To me...it makes more sense to hire housekeeping, maybe help with breakfast and or guest relations.
I've strayed from topic......sorry
 
I think one must consider length of time in business very heavily in the calculation. Local competition should also be factored in.
I would imagine an area that is within a few hours drive from a major metro area with few choices would have a much higher percentage.
We've seen our repeat guests increase every successive year, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to 50%.
Does the multitudes of guests who go on and on about how they are going to tell all their friends count?
That one could go in the "I can't wait to get home and write a review on TA for you" category..
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
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Bree said:
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
Was only pointing out that it takes time to build a clientele to the point that they would return to the same place for a vacation or weekend more than once.
This freakin' business amazes me.
We have all this talent here with all these backgrounds, skills, professional and life experiences and many folks will defend how great their guests are, the decor, approach, menu, towel choices, profitablility, etc. of their B&Bs, blah....blah...blah..... but losing repeat guests to OUR own burnout is a major factor ?
I don't get the incompatibility in that mentality in the slightest. If there is a pattern to that its in my opinion self-induced because of the typical track people take to becoming innkeepers. Nobody told the vast majority of innkeepers to wait until they were in their mid to late 50's to open or buy a B&B.
So somebody will work 30-40 years for some corporate entity or company, but they open a B&B and suddenly 5-7 years is all the sotmach they have for hard work, dealing with customers, etc.?
We didn't start our working life as innkeepers, but I'll tell you what, I've worked for some real jerks in my other work life and this is the easiest, quickest to learn, easist to be good at set of skills I've ever tried to accomplish.
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"So somebody will work 30-40 years for some corporate entity or company, but they open a B&B and suddenly 5-7 years is all the sotmach they have for hard work, dealing with customers, etc.?"
Tim, the difference in Innkeeping versus corporate life is the fact that for those 30-40 years of working, most people had weekends off and regular vacation time...time spent with friends and family and even traveling. Perhaps most new keepers aren't fully aware of the restrictive lifestyle and shortage of free time that they can look forward to...I know I didn't. Not to mention the constant face to face contact with guests in your home. Even my hospitality background could not get me used to that. Working with customers outside of the home and then going home afterward is not quite the same as dealing with these people 24/7, in your house, eating your food, using your stuff, sleeping and showering...and whatever else.
Whole different ball game. While I am not burned out, I'm ready to free myself up to spend precious time with family right now, when they and I need the togetherness the most. Because I'm a driven business owner, and always want to beat last year in occupancy and revenue, and keep building the business up and up, I would have a pretty hard time staying here and cutting back...I don't think I could do it.
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"Tim, the difference in Innkeeping versus corporate life is the fact that for those 30-40 years of working, most people had weekends off and regular vacation time...time spent with friends and family and even traveling."
I'm not privy to the exact figures for average annual occupancy rates nationwide, but its hard to say that our life as innkeepers is any more devoid of free time than say a person who spends their entire working life working six days a week, multiple jobs to make ends meet, or some high powered job that requires 60-70 hours per week.
If the nationwide average annual occupancy is around 40% which I think is pretty close, that means most of us have either lots of free time in the off season and if in a really good market, the option to carve out a few weekends here and there even in the high season, etc..
"Not to mention the constant face to face contact with guests in your home."
You're kidding right? We have a majority of fellow members here who won't even greet their guests in person if they arrive after freakin' 6 or 7 pm. Based on what I read here which doesn't fully reflect ALL innkeepers out there, but most folks appear to describe the steps they've taken to not miss out on social functions, children's needs, community events, etc.
We have a house full of people and the last I saw of any of them except the two who actually stayed sober enough to enjoy breakfast this morning was at 4pm yesterday. Its now 12:15 out time, five out of nine haven't even come out of their rooms once today and two still haven't even arrived despite my being ordered to leave all the lights on all night last night so they could find their way in.
"Working with customers outside of the home and then going home afterward is not quite the same as dealing with these people 24/7, in your house, eating your food, using your stuff, sleeping and showering...and whatever else."
But we're not dealing with them 24/7. The eating of our food is a given. the using of our beds, showers and furnishings is a given. We're not running a hardware store, this is a place of accommodation. Those things are givens in our CHOSEN line of work.
Take a one night stay just as an example. Even if the guest arrives promptly at 3pm to check in and stays until 11am the next day, they are IN our home a maximum of 20 hours but not all of them require any interaction from us.
Knock off the seven or eight that they are sleeping, now we're down to 12 or 13. Subtract the couple that they are out exploring, eating dinner, sightseeing, etc. and now we're down to under 10 waking hours we actually have anything to do with them. Subract the couple of hours or more they are in their room requiring no help or assistance from us and the hours shrink more. figure in the hour or so of breakfast time, etc. and suddenly these people that some seem to think require all the hours in a day are really only in need of a few hours of our time total.
"While I am not burned out, I'm ready to free myself up to spend precious time with family right now, when they and I need the togetherness the most. "
It is your choice to not prioritize that family time and it should not be extrapolated to include every innkeeper or taken as the "norm"
We have many colleagues who choose to block out a certain number of nights per month, quarter, whatever for themselves. Financial constraints don't allow us all to do so, but I suspect most people after even a few years of being in business are carving out some quality time for themselves.
To emphasize, with most everything about us, our places, approaches, amount of face time, free time, etc. its about the choices we make ourselves.
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As usual, my comments are made from my own perspective. Everything I stated is the way I see things HERE and I was explaining my own reasons for not wanting to do this for the rest of my life.
Edited to add:
I said "While I am not burned out, I'm ready to free myself up to spend precious time with family right now, when they and I need the togetherness the most. "
You said: "It is your choice to not prioritize that family time and it should not be extrapolated to include every innkeeper or taken as the "norm" .
IF you reread my post, nothing I said "was extrapolated to include every innkeeper", nor did I try to prove that it's the norm; what I said was "Perhaps most new keepers aren't fully aware of the restrictive lifestyle and shortage of free time that they can look forward to...I know I didn't."
For some reason, every post I make is something that you take personally, and that you feel you have to refute. I wish you would stop it...you do not figure at all into my posts...I'm not thinking about you or talking about you at any time when I make a post, not do I feel the need to address and refute every post you make, although I often disagree.
 
I think One Day is right. As you age your energy level tends to decrease along with your tolerance for BS.
rolleyes.gif
 
I think One Day is right. As you age your energy level tends to decrease along with your tolerance for BS.
rolleyes.gif
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SweetiePie said:
I think One Day is right. As you age your energy level tends to decrease along with your tolerance for BS.
rolleyes.gif
Absolutely.....
Tolerance.....well....lets just say, in my case. Just about "0".....from my customers and those working for me.
Don't get me wrong....I'm not stuffy and can discuss things to a reasonable conclusion....I don't tolerate "BS".........I may find myself at the end of the day screaming into the closet....I figure that's normal.....as is talking to yourself
 
BrekDiva I think he has been in biz for 3 or 4 years, it is our Texas innkeeper who has 1 year under his belt in August. And yes we do know who you are, at least I do.
cheers.gif
as most know who I am. BTW Pita torch is being passed my way and i am not at all pleased about it! Take it back...please..
Oops, sorry about confusing Tim with someone else. But hey, the same sentiments apply. Talk with me in year 8
heart.gif

Joe, about that PITA torch? NOT ON YOUR LIFE!!!
pita.gif

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Breakfast Diva said:
Oops, sorry about confusing Tim with someone else. But hey, the same sentiments apply. Talk with me in year 8
heart.gif
Why, do toilets suddenly get harder to clean after 8 years but not after five?
Do beds suddenly get tougher to make, breakfast to cook, problem or high maintenance guests harder to anticipate or deal with, etc.?
Is innkeeping the only job on earth that gets harder to be competent at the longer you do it?
We all must have entered some oxymoronic universe where the more experience you have at something the harder it gets, unlike 99.99% of all other vocations.
All the issues I've seen that contribute to the bugaboo "burn out" were present in our experience from day one, but from at least our perspective, we've become infinitely more capable and competent at dealing with them then in the begining. So where is the big dropoff in a person's ability to deal iwth stuff unless its coming from that unspoken, self-limiting voice that says, "The average innkeeper burtns out in 5-7 years" so we pave the way to fulfill that as if its cast in stone or prophecy.
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No, this is not the only job out there that becomes harder to do the more experience you have. Lots of jobs get harder the longer you do them. Sometimes boredom sets in, sometimes you just get tired of the crap, sometimes you just see new vistas opening up that you want to try before the opportunity gets by you.
There will come the day when I will look into the maw of the washer and say, 'Enough. I have washed enough sheets for a lifetime. Time to try something else.'
Call it burn out, call it fed up, call it opportunity knocking.
 
I think One Day is right. As you age your energy level tends to decrease along with your tolerance for BS.
rolleyes.gif
.
SweetiePie said:
I think One Day is right. As you age your energy level tends to decrease along with your tolerance for BS.
rolleyes.gif
Absolutely.....
Tolerance.....well....lets just say, in my case. Just about "0".....from my customers and those working for me.
Don't get me wrong....I'm not stuffy and can discuss things to a reasonable conclusion....I don't tolerate "BS".........I may find myself at the end of the day screaming into the closet....I figure that's normal.....as is talking to yourself
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One Day said:
SweetiePie said:
I think One Day is right. As you age your energy level tends to decrease along with your tolerance for BS.
rolleyes.gif
Absolutely.....
Tolerance.....well....lets just say, in my case. Just about "0".....from my customers and those working for me.
Don't get me wrong....I'm not stuffy and can discuss things to a reasonable conclusion....I don't tolerate "BS".........I may find myself at the end of the day screaming into the closet....I figure that's normal.....as is talking to yourself
Ah, NOW you know why we're all here...we're 'screaming into the closet'!
 
I was going to say that 50% for strictly repeat guests sounded pretty high as an average, but now that you've clarified that it includes repeat customers and referrals, it seems more likely. For example, if you get hooked into a corporate account that would certainly count as referrals.
In all my corporate jobs, it was difficult to schedule vacation time despite having earned it. It got even harder when I was management. I had to request the time and it was "granted" if someone hadn't claimed it already. Whatever. Today, I'm playing hookey from the biz....my boss (me) said it was OK since we're quiet now. :)
These are things we have to remember when we have a full house for days on end and we feel like we're going to collapse!
 
I was going to say that 50% for strictly repeat guests sounded pretty high as an average, but now that you've clarified that it includes repeat customers and referrals, it seems more likely. For example, if you get hooked into a corporate account that would certainly count as referrals.
In all my corporate jobs, it was difficult to schedule vacation time despite having earned it. It got even harder when I was management. I had to request the time and it was "granted" if someone hadn't claimed it already. Whatever. Today, I'm playing hookey from the biz....my boss (me) said it was OK since we're quiet now. :)
These are things we have to remember when we have a full house for days on end and we feel like we're going to collapse!.
Samster said:
I was going to say that 50% for strictly repeat guests sounded pretty high as an average, but now that you've clarified that it includes repeat customers and referrals, it seems more likely. For example, if you get hooked into a corporate account that would certainly count as referrals.
In all my corporate jobs, it was difficult to schedule vacation time despite having earned it. It got even harder when I was management. I had to request the time and it was "granted" if someone hadn't claimed it already. Whatever. Today, I'm playing hookey from the biz....my boss (me) said it was OK since we're quiet now. :)
These are things we have to remember when we have a full house for days on end and we feel like we're going to collapse!
thumbs_up.gif

 
BrekDiva I think he has been in biz for 3 or 4 years, it is our Texas innkeeper who has 1 year under his belt in August. And yes we do know who you are, at least I do.
cheers.gif
as most know who I am. BTW Pita torch is being passed my way and i am not at all pleased about it! Take it back...please..
Oops, sorry about confusing Tim with someone else. But hey, the same sentiments apply. Talk with me in year 8
heart.gif

Joe, about that PITA torch? NOT ON YOUR LIFE!!!
pita.gif

.
Breakfast Diva said:
Oops, sorry about confusing Tim with someone else. But hey, the same sentiments apply. Talk with me in year 8
heart.gif
Why, do toilets suddenly get harder to clean after 8 years but not after five?
Do beds suddenly get tougher to make, breakfast to cook, problem or high maintenance guests harder to anticipate or deal with, etc.?
Is innkeeping the only job on earth that gets harder to be competent at the longer you do it?
We all must have entered some oxymoronic universe where the more experience you have at something the harder it gets, unlike 99.99% of all other vocations.
All the issues I've seen that contribute to the bugaboo "burn out" were present in our experience from day one, but from at least our perspective, we've become infinitely more capable and competent at dealing with them then in the begining. So where is the big dropoff in a person's ability to deal iwth stuff unless its coming from that unspoken, self-limiting voice that says, "The average innkeeper burtns out in 5-7 years" so we pave the way to fulfill that as if its cast in stone or prophecy.
.
Why, do toilets suddenly get harder to clean after 8 years but not after five?
Do beds suddenly get tougher to make, breakfast to cook, problem or high maintenance guests harder to anticipate or deal with, etc.?
No, but your endurance & patience gets worn down.
All the issues I've seen that contribute to the bugaboo "burn out" were present in our experience from day one, but from at least our perspective, we've become infinitely more capable and competent at dealing with them then in the begining.
You're not listening. In this discussion we have never said we're burned out. We are saying that we're ready to move on or acknowledge that it will be time to move on in the next few years. Please don't judge someone for doing what's right for them. More power to you....I hope you're one of those innkeepers who can keep going and going and going. My best friend who is an innkeeper is now in her 20th year. She looks at what we are doing here at our property and tells me she could never do it that long if she had our place. Everyone's situation is different. Please stop painting all of us with your broad stroke.
You quoted in an earlier post that an average annual occupancy rate is 40% (I don't know where you got that figure), but if I had that occupancy rate, I wouldn't be this tired (again, not burned out). When is the last time you worked 6 months without a single day off? Don't judge me until you've walked a mile in my shoes.
 

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