Our Members Speak Out
West Hill House, Warren, VT
Question for November: Have you had any
wonderful--or horrible--Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday
experiences with your guests? Tell all!
Email your responses to
Sandy@BedandBreakfast.com. If we publish your comments, we’ll thank you
with a $25 credit in our Featured Properties Auction program!
An oldie but a goodie from September 2002: Donna
Gushue, former owner of the Jefferson Inn, Ellicottville, NY, said the Golden Rule of
innkeeper communication is: "Do not do unto others as you would like others
to do unto you. Ask what the other person wants.” Do you agree? Why or why
Donna explains: “When I was a Palliative Care Nurse Consultant, I learned
how to talk to people who were dying. One cannot assume that just because
you would want to know your diagnosis/prognosis, that another person would
feel the same way. Leading questions like,‘What is it like for you here in
the hospital?’ or ‘What do you understand about what is happening to you?’
gave me clues as the patient’s needs. I use these same skills as an
innkeeper because they help me to be sensitive to guests’ needs for company
“Do unto others as you want them to do unto you is the moral way to treat
others and also a smart business practice. If we don't know what someone
wants, we don't guess. We ask. It is surprising what some of the answers
are. We had a woman who stated that she was cold (it was July). Her air
conditioner was on high and all of the window blinds were shut. We offered
to raise the temperature and then asked her what she wanted. 'Four more
pillows,' she said. She was given the pillows and was very happy. We didn't
ask her any more questions." -- Carol, Captain Grant's, 1754, Poquetanuck,
“One certainly must ask, in order to meet guests’ needs, but it's our job to
anticipate their needs and provide more than expected. If we are content to
provide an average experience and just inquire to see if there's anything
more we can do, we'll get a ‘no thanks, everything's fine,’ and we'll never
see the guest again. If we truly enjoy serving our guests, we'll work hard
to give them more than they expect. This is not to say that we shouldn't ask
if there's anything more we can do, or to find out about special needs,
allergies, food dislikes and such – that's simply a requisite of caring
innkeeping. A B&B has to have extremely comfortable beds and an incredibly
great breakfast, but that's just the beginning.
Choices – in foods, bedding, and amenities – all help meet guests’ varying
needs. None of this is expensive; it just takes thoughtful planning. Serving
breakfast family-style allows guests to pick and choose among offerings and
serving sizes. Providing two pillows per guest, one hard, one soft, is easy
and brings thanks from both camps. An extra blanket on the closet shelf can
make a friend forever. A three-way bulb in a bedside lamp is a benefit for
romantics as well as bedtime readers. The lamp's energy cost can be more
than offset by a compact fluorescent bulb in a hallway fixture or lamp that
stays lit for hours at a stretch. All it takes is a little thought about
what your own travel experiences have been – and if innkeepers don't stay in
B&Bs when traveling, they should! Here’s what we like to hear from our
guests: ‘This is everything I dreamed about – and more.’" – Dotty
Kyle & Eric Brattstrom, West Hill House B&B, Warren, VT
“Everybody is different, and the best innkeeper will cater to those
differences. How satisfied is the guest with a room that’s quiet, elegant,
and has a wonderful view, but who couldn’t eat your breakfast? I know
because this happened to me. The innkeeper enjoyed serving a beautifully
presented seafood soufflé, but I was deathly allergic to it! I never want
this to happen to my guests, so a simple conversation about menu choices
that acknowledges differences keeps everybody happy. And by the way, isn't
it wonderful that we're all so different?” – Sandy Boylan, Howell
House B&B, Sheridan OR
This Month's Sponsor
BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations by
October 27, and you'll get a free
upgrade to the next membership level or a free secondary city
listing, valid through the end of your membership. For details,
email us or call 800-GO-B-AND-B, extension 4.
BedandBreakfast.com, RezOvation and Expedia, Inc. are
hitting the road to bring you comprehensive information about Internet
marketing, online reservations, yield management, and property management
software. Please join us for these workshops and for an Innkeepers'
Appreciation Luncheon. Read more...
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"Of all the places we have listed with,
yours has the best customer service." -- Bill, Rain Forest Inn, Rio
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