One of the most desired aspects of operating a bed and breakfast is spending time with your guests.
Of course, one of the toughest aspects of operating a bed and breakfast is knowing when to excuse yourself and get back to work.
GOOD MORNING, GOOD MORNING
Most innkeepers find breakfast time is the best time to spend time with their guests; but once the conversation gets rolling sometimes that’s a decision that can last for hours.
In her landmark B&B book, How to Open and Operate A Bed & Breakfast, author Jan Stankus notes the strategy of one innkeeper who employed a creative way to find a way out: Before stepping out of the kitchen to socialize with her guests, she’d arrange a convenient reason to excuse herself by setting her washing machine to go off at 10 a.m.
Two innkeepers (who understandably wish to remain anonymous) know when the conversation had gone on just long enough. With one eye on the clock and the other on rooms that need to be cleaned, they agreed on a secret sentence that would tell the other when it was time to wrap things up.
“No matter where we were at in the conversation," the innkeeper reveals, "if it looked like the conversation was going to go well past check out, one of us would somehow figure out a way to interject a comment about ‘Uncle Bud’ and we’d know it was time to subtly bring the conversation to a close.”
At larger bed and breakfasts, innkeepers may not have the time to visit with every guest in the morning, which makes an afternoon social a perfect time for interaction. With wine and cheese, a few snacks, soft drinks, and a common area such as a verandah, deck, or parlor as the venue, reserve a scheduled meeting time each afternoon when all the guests can come together once again. As they discuss what they did that day and what they have on their agenda for that evening, the low-key setting is the perfect place where innkeepers can enjoy important one on one time with their guests
Sometimes guests fall on extreme ends of the spectrum and need absolutely no care – or an abundance of it. Over time innkeepers develop a sixth sense about who could use a little extra attention and while I haven’t witnessed this firsthand, Stankus shares the stories of innkeepers who befriend first-time guests and invite them to sit with the family to watch a movie or share in the work of the innkeeper such as having them pick strawberries, pitch in on a quilt, or maybe even run an errand.
Innkeepers are much more than desk clerks. Part of our role is to spend time with guests. In the end, it always seems to be time well spent.