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Turning point for B&B's?

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Morticia

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What's your opinion on B&B's being at a turning point in a culture that seems to be afraid of meeting up with a difference of opinion? We know that we get a lot of different guests staying, basically guests who either have an open mind about travel and meeting new people or have figured out that the B&B they have chosen has the same opinions they do.
You generally don't have to concern yourself with the opinions of the guests in the other 5000 rooms at a big hotel, but if you're sitting down eating breakfast with someone with highly divergent views from your own, you might have to listen to that person.
Anyway, I read a blog last night on quelling the fears of your guests. And I'm thinking some of the number 1 fears out there for guests are having to meet strangers, having to share space with strangers and no privacy. Strangers in this case not meaning someone who might do them physical harm but someone whose opinions they just don't know.
And then I thought about previous guests who were very certain my beliefs were not theirs and were afraid that they wouldn't 'fit in.' (This is at the door, not even having heard anything from me but, 'Welcome, please come in.')
So the fear is out there. Are we at a crossroads in a society that is happy to sit home and 'social network' rather than actually meeting people? How do we overcome those fears?
 

JBloggs

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So philosophical so early in the morning.

I am reading a book called "The Anatomy of Peace" by the Arbinger Institute. It was recommended by a friend who is a Capt in the Fire Dept who had all his officers read it. It reads like a novel and the main characters in this novel are a Palistinian and an Israeli who both lost parents in the Arab-Jewish War in 1948 and then goes on from there.
The basic premise is a heart at war/conflict, and seeing people as people and not objects. I am gleaning much info so far. I got it re a family situation but it is pertinent to business, and spouses, colleagues and nations. Highly recommended. (PS This is not a religious book, that is why I felt free to post it, it deals with fear.)
http://anatomyofpeace.com/
 

Morticia

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So philosophical so early in the morning.

I am reading a book called "The Anatomy of Peace" by the Arbinger Institute. It was recommended by a friend who is a Capt in the Fire Dept who had all his officers read it. It reads like a novel and the main characters in this novel are a Palistinian and an Israeli who both lost parents in the Arab-Jewish War in 1948 and then goes on from there.
The basic premise is a heart at war/conflict, and seeing people as people and not objects. I am gleaning much info so far. I got it re a family situation but it is pertinent to business, and spouses, colleagues and nations. Highly recommended. (PS This is not a religious book, that is why I felt free to post it, it deals with fear.)
http://anatomyofpeace.com/.
Joey Bloggs said:
So philosophical so early in the morning.
Partly your fault, too, you know...it was that blog you mentioned. So that's the sort of thing that comes to me when I'm lying in bed in the wee hours. Things I hope I remember when I get up!
 

wendydk

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Sitting at home, relating only with people who believe what you believe, watching only the "news" stations that tell what you want to hear...all of this is contributing to the political divide in this country...on both sides of the center.
As far as guests go, I am always suprised at (like this forum) how little political or religous talk there is, and at the breakfast table, there has never been an argument, of any kind. You can put three very different couples at the table together, and always a great conversation results.
MAYBE, if MORE people stayed at B&B's, there would be less strife!!
 

swirt

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Usually I enjoy the difference of opinion...it can be interesting. I don't mind the difference of opinion while traveling. If they are overbearing enough, I just don't bother getting annoyed or upset. Its not worth it....I'll never see them again and it is unlikely I will influence them one way or another .... now if it is family, thats when I usually go shooting my mouth off LOL
 

Innkeeper To Go

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That fear among guests is real. And it's a big reason a lot of folks in America will never go to B&Bs. The motels that proliferated in America are not only unique in their car-friendly approach; they also provide a way for guests to go in and out of their rooms without going through a lobby. That's a uniquely American travel plan.
How to overcome that fear among guests at a B&B? The same ole way that innkeepers put guests at ease about everything else. Just plain old fashioned gracious hospitality.
How to overcome that fear before guests make the plunge into staying at a B&B, where there's always the apprehension that they may not fit in? Same way. If you have a strong reputation out there for gracious hospitality, folks will get the message.
That is, if they're not inclined to just keep their privacy and stay in the motels and hotels they already know.
Right now, the economic situation in America is forcing a lot of people to rethink their approach to all kinds of things. This is an opportunity for B&Bs to promote themselves as a good value and a homey vacation that the hotels/motels are mostly lacking.
IMHO, we should not let this opportunity go by as we will likely never in our lifetimes have it again. We will overcome guest fears when they see for themselves that those fears were instantly relieved by the host. Once won over, they'll see B&Bs in a whole new light.
And Bree, I, too, am often amazed at how very rarely the political/religious/social differences among guests ever comes up for discussion. Another uniquely American travel plan, IMHO. We seem to know, most of us Americans, that we are not all alike. And we mostly know to keep those things to ourselves.
At least at the table.
 

ginocat

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I am suprised at this thread. Fear???? I don't get it. Guess it's because I'm not American?? As I've said ad nauseum we have international tourism here. People from all countries, religions, races, occupations. Politics comes up all the time. Religion comes up sometimes. What a wealth of knowledge I've gained over the years!!!
In all the years of doing this I've never experienced a problem at the table because of discussion and differences!!!!!!
 

JBloggs

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If you are new to this forum - It doesn't come up here on purpose as we have a bylaw (Is that the right word?) to not discuss politics or religion here. There are indeed very strong opinions on all sides of all issues. There are quite a few on this forum who are involved intensely in political and religious organizations.
Thank you everyone for allowing this to be a place of peace - other than discussing innkeeping issues, of course. That is always a battle ground we love to engage in!
 

ginocat

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Yes, but the question was how do you deal with fearful guests and my answer was fearful of what and why??? Only in America, I guess. I'm not wanting to discuss politics here but the thread really boggles my mind.
 

Don Draper

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Sitting at home, relating only with people who believe what you believe, watching only the "news" stations that tell what you want to hear...all of this is contributing to the political divide in this country...on both sides of the center.
As far as guests go, I am always suprised at (like this forum) how little political or religous talk there is, and at the breakfast table, there has never been an argument, of any kind. You can put three very different couples at the table together, and always a great conversation results.
MAYBE, if MORE people stayed at B&B's, there would be less strife!!
.
This is a really good point. It's ironic to me that despite mass communication mediums being more readily available to all of us we seem to be getting more and more isolated. People are fearing anyone who might be the slightest bit different than they are, to the point of being hostile about it. I see Bree's point in asking the original question.
We are in an historic area, so if any conversation gets too politically charged at the breakfast table, I gently remind everyone that we only discuss the historical era politics here...that generally gets a good laugh and breaks the tension enough to move on. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it can be uncomfortable so I do see it as my role to move things along.
But I think the more important point is that some people need to realize that it's ok, maybe even desirable, to feel a little uncomfortable...how else would we learn? Disagree without being disagreeable, as a wise man once said.
 

Morticia

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I am suprised at this thread. Fear???? I don't get it. Guess it's because I'm not American?? As I've said ad nauseum we have international tourism here. People from all countries, religions, races, occupations. Politics comes up all the time. Religion comes up sometimes. What a wealth of knowledge I've gained over the years!!!
In all the years of doing this I've never experienced a problem at the table because of discussion and differences!!!!!!.
ginocat said:
I am suprised at this thread. Fear???? I don't get it. Guess it's because I'm not American?? As I've said ad nauseum we have international tourism here. People from all countries, religions, races, occupations. Politics comes up all the time. Religion comes up sometimes. What a wealth of knowledge I've gained over the years!!!
In all the years of doing this I've never experienced a problem at the table because of discussion and differences!!!!!!
We get a lot of political and religious discussion as well. The blog I read last night was written by a guy who is Irish. It was his contention that you need to remove the fear, whatever that fear is, that is keeping the customer from your door.
What I was thinking was strictly based on 2 guests who came thru the door and assumed they would not be welcome because of their political beliefs. What that said to me was that they were SO ensconced in their own belief system that they seriously believed someone with a different opinion would not accept them and threat them well. (Without knowing what my beliefs are, they made that assumption.) And it doesn't matter what my opinions or beliefs are, they assumed mine were different and that they would be laughed at or ridiculed. (Why they came to the door in the first place, I don't know!)
Perhaps this is a strictly American problem but there are a lot of Europeans who want to make sure we know what their beliefs are right off the bat. They jump right in at 7 AM with the coffee! However, they do not espouse a belief system that precludes traveling to places where their opinions may not be that of the majority. But I will say that the majority of them sincerely believe they are right and we (Americans) are wrong.
But some people do have an ingrained belief system that says they must only stay with like-minded people.
I'm thinking of the divisiveness I've heard on social media and I'm wondering if it is pushing its way into the decision process on where to go on vacation. Which makes me then think, how can I eliminate that before the decision is made? And that's what started the thread.
IF this is a problem, how do I head it off?
 

ginocat

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I am suprised at this thread. Fear???? I don't get it. Guess it's because I'm not American?? As I've said ad nauseum we have international tourism here. People from all countries, religions, races, occupations. Politics comes up all the time. Religion comes up sometimes. What a wealth of knowledge I've gained over the years!!!
In all the years of doing this I've never experienced a problem at the table because of discussion and differences!!!!!!.
ginocat said:
I am suprised at this thread. Fear???? I don't get it. Guess it's because I'm not American?? As I've said ad nauseum we have international tourism here. People from all countries, religions, races, occupations. Politics comes up all the time. Religion comes up sometimes. What a wealth of knowledge I've gained over the years!!!
In all the years of doing this I've never experienced a problem at the table because of discussion and differences!!!!!!
We get a lot of political and religious discussion as well. The blog I read last night was written by a guy who is Irish. It was his contention that you need to remove the fear, whatever that fear is, that is keeping the customer from your door.
What I was thinking was strictly based on 2 guests who came thru the door and assumed they would not be welcome because of their political beliefs. What that said to me was that they were SO ensconced in their own belief system that they seriously believed someone with a different opinion would not accept them and threat them well. (Without knowing what my beliefs are, they made that assumption.) And it doesn't matter what my opinions or beliefs are, they assumed mine were different and that they would be laughed at or ridiculed. (Why they came to the door in the first place, I don't know!)
Perhaps this is a strictly American problem but there are a lot of Europeans who want to make sure we know what their beliefs are right off the bat. They jump right in at 7 AM with the coffee! However, they do not espouse a belief system that precludes traveling to places where their opinions may not be that of the majority. But I will say that the majority of them sincerely believe they are right and we (Americans) are wrong.
But some people do have an ingrained belief system that says they must only stay with like-minded people.
I'm thinking of the divisiveness I've heard on social media and I'm wondering if it is pushing its way into the decision process on where to go on vacation. Which makes me then think, how can I eliminate that before the decision is made? And that's what started the thread.
IF this is a problem, how do I head it off?
.
Seems to me something best ignored. People are people. Those who have problems with diversity should stay home. People who don't want to hear other viewpoints are small-minded and not people who even make a passing flicker in my world. If I have people like that (and I've had a very few over the years) I ignore it. Their problems are not mine and not my getting worried about it.
 

Country Girl

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I'm a little confused by the "fear" thing also. In the 13 years that we've been open we've had every racial, religious, political and sexual orientation faction stay here and I've never felt the least bit of discomfort from the guests or towards them. There is always a wide range of topics being discussed, especially about religion and politics with lots of varying opinions (especially regarding politics) but never with hostility. I would guess that someone staying at a B&B would be conscious of diversity among the guests and be respectful of that.
 

ginocat

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Excuse me .... you had to apologize to your guests for another guest?? No. You apologize if you do something wrong. My guests are adults who certainly should be able to handle situations by themselves. If guests don't like something another guest is saying they can either speak up or consider the source and get on with life. I've had some very obnoxious guests from time to time but they get sorted by other guests and NOBODY has ever held me accountable for my guests. The only time I'd step in is if somebody was being downright rude to somebody else.
I am not putting people down for having their own opinions. It would be bloody boring if everyone had the same opinion. I will put people down who can't listen to another person's opinion. They don't have to agree with them. Again I assume we are talking about adults and not children.
So how do you plan to screen your guests for 'in-room' breakfasts? When each guest arrives do you ask them if they are open to discussion? Do you ask them if they like living in a closed box? If they answer yes then you offer them breakfast in their rooms?
Having a discussion doesn't mean that someone is trying to change someone else's opinion btw.
Why am I getting worked up? Because it seems to me that a problem is being created where none exists. There will always be hotel travellers, vacation rental travellers, bed and breakfast travellers, campers, etc. People who don't want to talk will stay in a hotel.
 

JBloggs

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Excuse me .... you had to apologize to your guests for another guest?? No. You apologize if you do something wrong. My guests are adults who certainly should be able to handle situations by themselves. If guests don't like something another guest is saying they can either speak up or consider the source and get on with life. I've had some very obnoxious guests from time to time but they get sorted by other guests and NOBODY has ever held me accountable for my guests. The only time I'd step in is if somebody was being downright rude to somebody else.
I am not putting people down for having their own opinions. It would be bloody boring if everyone had the same opinion. I will put people down who can't listen to another person's opinion. They don't have to agree with them. Again I assume we are talking about adults and not children.
So how do you plan to screen your guests for 'in-room' breakfasts? When each guest arrives do you ask them if they are open to discussion? Do you ask them if they like living in a closed box? If they answer yes then you offer them breakfast in their rooms?
Having a discussion doesn't mean that someone is trying to change someone else's opinion btw.
Why am I getting worked up? Because it seems to me that a problem is being created where none exists. There will always be hotel travellers, vacation rental travellers, bed and breakfast travellers, campers, etc. People who don't want to talk will stay in a hotel..
"So how do you plan to screen your guests for 'in-room' breakfasts? When each guest arrives do you ask them if they are open to discussion? Do you ask them if they like living in a closed box? If they answer yes then you offer them breakfast in their rooms?"
In room breakfasts is something I offer, it is on the website, you can add it on, like I said. Bree asked about ways to deal with fear of being around other guests, some do not wish to have a communal dining experience, so they can order breakast to be delivered. It is not very complicated, really. That was a very obnoxious thing to write. If you see no point in this discussion then why the heck are you discussing it and putting others down?
"The only time I'd step in is if somebody was being downright rude to somebody else."
Yes I did apologize for another guest insulting the rest of the guests. You find that odd? Guests who came here for a quiet getaway and had this small-man chip on his shoulder insulting them? He was being down right rude. That is what I said, he was a terrible awful little man. Darn straight I apologized, they did not expect it, and other than tossing the guy out on his heels - but at this point he was checking out and it was a done deal.
"I am not putting people down for having their own opinions. It would be bloody boring if everyone had the same opinion. I will put people down who can't listen to another person's opinion. They don't have to agree with them. Again I assume we are talking about adults and not children."
Really? Seems to me you are putting me down for my opinion on this thread. But I don't count right. You negate everything you write.
 

JBloggs

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We once had the guest I have donned "the liar from dc" he was a lawyer from DC, a very small man with a huge ego and chip on his shoulder. He sat at the table and offended every guest there. I had to apologize to all of them, he was a very bad little man, he made me nervous having him here at all. The only guest to every make ME feel very uncomfortable in 6 years.
I think Bree is just discussing something that perhaps those who do not go to B&B's perceive?
My solution to that is to offer breakfast to the room in a couple rooms for those not comfortable dining with others and discussing world views.
Don't put people down for having their own opinions and not being wide open to everyone else's. It is their prerogative to do so, just like you believe what you believe. If they are devout Catholic sobeit. If they are conservative or liberal, sobeit. If you are not comfortable around others with opposing view, sobeit.
During election time we had mostly overseas guests spouting on about politics here because they saw it on every tv station and figured that is what people talk about. Everyone was and IS sick of it.
We have plenty of guests here from all viewpoints ON A CRUSADE, and it is not enjoyable. I will avoid these discussions, sometimes they feel very comfortable and like to push their agenda. I am not saying RELIGIOUS either, I am saying save the planet, overpopulation, political, animal, etc. To each his own. :)
 

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I'll just have to add that its a shame that this thread got hijacked into a discussion about religion, politics, and whether an innkeeper who graciously deals with guest situations was right to do so. An innkeeper is always right for making guests feel at home, however they came to be made uncomfortable, IMHO. It's his inn, his guests. Sounds like he handled the situation with ease and grace.
The initial discussion was about how to overcome fear of guests who, and perhaps because of cultural differences, don't go to B&Bs because they don't necessarily want to share the breakfast table with strangers or give up privacy.
That's a legitimate discussion that many of us in the US could benefit from. Many guests who hesitate to go to B&Bs would be delighted to find those fears disipate at the hands of a gracious host.
That's not about whether their views are right or wrong or whether they're open-minded.
We all have so much we can learn from each other. All it takes is a little respect.
And I totally agree with JB. If it's not an issue for you, don't hijack the discussion for others, please. Playing well with others is a great attribute at any age.
 

ginocat

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I didn't see a discussion of religion or politics. Where did you find that???
 
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