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October 2008

Our Members Speak Out

Question for November: What are some of your favorite holiday memories at your inn?

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!

Do you need extra help this fall and winter? Or maybe you know an aspiring innkeeper who is looking to dip their toes into innkeeping. The BedandBreakfast.com Employment for Innkeepers forum is here for you. Check it out today!

You were asked: Does your 24/7 job ever get to you? How do you combat innkeeping burnout?

"Innkeeping can get to you, especially if you are single and have to be there for walk-in business. I make a point to take at least one day off each week with a replacement innkeeper to take charge. I try to dine out when I can, especially for breakfast, or after everyone is checked in on a Saturday night. I have my hair done, get a manicure/pedicure or a massage each week to reconnect with the human touch. I maintain private quarters and do not let guests enter, as I need that refuge and privacy. I make sure to get away in the winter on a cruise and/or singles golf weekends where it is warm. I try to entertain friends as much as possible, again, because I need to be there for check-ins or walk-ins.” -- Sally, Woods Hole Inn, Woods Hole, MA

“I've been at this for 13 years and may never burn out. The secret is to hand your B&B to an innsitter for a week or two, or more. We spend four months of the winter in Florida; I just came back from two weeks in Germany; last November we spent two weeks in China. Every year we take a trip to some exotic place, plus spending time in Florida.

“It's remarkably easy to find an innsitter among your family, friends or neighbors. It seems to be a job that everyone has ‘always wanted to do’. This summer my innsitter was a fellow Rotarian who is a school teacher and has the summer off. What better way to earn some extra money and have fun at the same time? I pay 25% of the gross room revenue (minus taxes), and I use someone local. Winter is slow and mostly weekend guests. My innsitters have ‘real jobs’ during the week and love to pamper my guests on weekends.” -- Sandy Rademacher, 1899 Lady of the Lake, Skaneateles, NY

“I felt compelled to answer this one because although we typically participate in the 24/7 work cycle of innkeepers, we actually work a 24/6 and occasionally a 16/7. After spending decades in a corporate environment and having twice experienced ‘burnout’ in my days when I had no flexibility or control over my work schedule, I immediately determined that when I became an innkeeper, I would have control over my schedule -- and I do. The simplest habit to create once becoming an innkeeper is the ability to say ‘no,’ which simply equates to setting boundaries. In our lives, the word ‘no’ translates into ‘our time’ by use of our reservation system (blackout days) and turning our ‘happily full’ sign to ‘no vacancies’. We block out days on end and even weeks when we have a scheduled trip. On our mini-breaks, we hire a ‘baby-sitter’ to welcome guests while we are out on an extended day-off, which happen often as we are avid motorcycle tourists! We have even maintained our weekly date night, something we started prior to innkeeping, when we either grab our inn-babysitter or get lucky enough to have a night off. Innkeeping is a very rewarding career and lifestyle, but I don't recall ever reading about the invisible ‘ball and chain’ so many others appear to drag around.” -- Cheryl Blais, The Maples at Warner, Warner, NH 

The first time we realized we were burned out was about six months after we opened the inn. We had spent a year restoring the house prior to that, so we had gone about 18 months without a day off. My husband suggested that we go away for a few days. I told him we could not afford to go away. He gave me the best answer ever; he said, 'We can not afford not to go away.' Ever since then, we manage to leave every four to six weeks for a few days. We have been running our inn for over 18 years. If I go for over six weeks without a full 24 hours off, I am not making anyone happy. Find a friend or college student to watch the inn, and get out of there. Even if you have to forward your phones to your cell phone for a day and not take any guests. If you don't take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of anyone else. Isn't that why we do what we do?" -- Cindy Montalto, Magnolia Plantation, Gainesville, FL

“Combating innkeeper burnout is hard, and I'm sometimes not very successful in my efforts to avoid it. After over 17 years at the Blue Belle Inn, I sometimes feel an acute sense of burnout! I am fortunate in that I have a full-time employee and four part-time employees, so I do get a break every once in awhile. Not as often as needed, as we operate a tea house, too. (The food service industry is even more labor intensive than innkeeping.)

“I maintain my enjoyment by getting help when I need it (not trying to do everything myself), sneaking away for a day or two whenever I have the chance (our whole industry is based on the weekend getaway concept; practice what you preach and take one!) and trying to take a major vacation (Europe, Canada) every few years. Taking a break -- even something as simple as getting out of the house for a half hour to ride your bike -- can really help one's attitude. One afternoon a week, I take my nieces (ages 4 and 7) on an adventure, no matter what. Being with them is a pleasure, and a wonderful diversion and release for me.

“Conferences do wonders for restoring the joy in my attitude. They are also a great way to get new ideas to replace tired, worn out ways of doing things. I try to stay at an area B&B whenever possible.

"I also write books, and they're not about bed and breakfasts. I think having a hobby or interest that is distinctly unrelated to your primary vocation is healthy and helps give your life balance. All this, and I still feel burned out at times... probably a very normal thing after 17 years! I look forward to hearing how other people avoid this trap!” -- Sherrie C. Hansen, The Blue Belle Inn Bed and Breakfast, Saint Ansgar, IA

“Yes, innkeeping gets to us, and we make sure we make time for ourselves. Massages help! As does the occasional night out on the town at our favorite Japanese restaurant. After fall foliage is over when we are really exhausted, we close the doors for awhile, sleep late, stay in our pajamas for days eating junk food, playing computer games, and getting caught up on things we recorded off the satellite.” -- Rhonda Hicks, Mountain Thyme Bed & Breakfast Inn, Jessieville, AR 

“I combat burnout by volunteering. Having a small inn probably makes this easier than with a large inn, although I do not have staff. I have very limited help from my husband who is handicapped. The work I do for my city, state rails-to-trails, and state association, and playing in our community band accomplishes two things: it keeps me from burnout by giving me something other than laundry, cleaning, etc., and it allows me to believe I will have done something besides take up space during my limited time on Earth. It has also given me a very extensive collection of contacts that have been useful in every aspect of my volunteerism and in my business. Sometimes a commitment will require that I pass a reservation to another member of my association, but I consider that as my contribution to helping another innkeeper and keeping the revenue in my state.” -- Kathleen A Panek, Gillum House Bed & Breakfast, Shinnston, WV 

Do you have additional suggestions? Go to our innkeepers' forums and post your 2 cents! Log in to your Home Base and click Message Boards.

This Month's Sponsor

Reviews = Reservations

No doubt about it: travelers want reviews, and they are more likely to stay at an inn that has reviews posted. An easy way to get more reviews on your listing is to add a badge, like the one below, to your website. Log in to your Home Base. Click Reviews, then click Links, Awards and Review Reminders to download the badge and other helpful review tools. Earn a $5 Inn of the Month credit for each review posted from August 29 to October 31! (Up to $50.)

Online Trade Show

Visit our newest vendor members!


Click here to view our Online Trade Show. Are you a vendor? Click here to get featured!

Inns for Sale -- NEW!

Inns for Sale is brand new!

SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY OFFER: Sign up for three months, and get three months free! Contact us for details. 800-GO-B-AND-B, Support@BedandBreakfast.com.

New features include:

  • Newly designed listing pages, with large photos, links, and great content.

  • Highly qualified traffic!

  • Excellent search engine optimization.

  • Ongoing marketing support.

  • 24/7 access to update listings and photos.

  • Interactive map search.

  • Video upload.

Check it out! Contact us for details: 800-G0-B-AND-B or Support@BedandBreakfast.com.

BedandBreakfast.com Blog

Check out our new blog! BedandBreakfast.com editors regularly post trip reports, B&B specials, and interesting B&B-related tidbits. Sign up to receive updates via email. Who knows? You might soon read about your inn!

Referral Program

What’s better than three month’s free membership? How about six months? Or a whole year? Refer fellow innkeepers to BedandBreakfast.com, and if they join at the Silver level or above, your membership will be extended by three months for each B&B that signs up. If four B&Bs sign up, your membership is free for a year!  For details, log in to your Home Base and click Referral Program under Free Member Benefits, or call 800-GO-B-AND-B (800-462-2632).

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Featured Property and Inn of the Month auctions are easy, affordable and effective ways to drive traffic to your website.

Member Information

To update your entry, check your traffic statistics, and renew your membership, please log in with your property ID and password. Don't like your password? Once you're logged in, click "Membership," select "Change Password," and choose another that's easier to remember. More information

“I’m very pleased that you switched to the monthly billing option. It helps my cash flow and enabled me to upgrade from Silver to Gold level. Thanks!” -- Kathleen Hurley, Casa de Suenos, St. Augustine, FL

Innkeepers' Info Center

Need more info? You’ll find lots of educational articles on our site for your convenience.

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