Category Archives: Events

How to Host Elegant Private Parties at Your Inn

host-elegant-private-parties

Wondering how to host elegant private parties at your inn?  All types of private parties may be hosted at your inn, depending upon your inn’s location, accommodations, amenities, and space.  Another factor in determining which types of parties to host can be the number of rooms or areas (indoor and outdoor) that you have to offer your party guests. 

 

It is important to specify on your website and in your marketing materials the square footage of each space as well as the number of guests you can comfortably accommodate. Indicate if there are handicap-accessible areas for your guests.  Also specify your policies on catering and access to your kitchen. Do you want to cater the events yourself or do you have a “preferred list of vendors” that you work with?

Rental rates depend upon the time of year, the type of event, and the length of their visit.  It is important to NOT specify prices IF you want to give yourself some flexibility when it comes to pricing.  Some types of parties are more expensive to host than others.  Also, some guests can be “harder to please” than others.

 

Let’s talk about parties that typically take place during the day time.  This could include the following:

Baby showers: Have you thought of hosting baby showers for expectant parents?

Tea parties: Do you have a tea room or host afternoon tea parties for your guests?

Wedding showers: Even if you do not host actual weddings, could you host wedding showers for soon-to-be-married couples?

 

Parties that typically could take place both day time and night time:

Book signings: Do you have famous local authors interested in you hosting their private book signing party?

Family reunion celebrations: Is your inn located in a centrally convenient place for families from several popular areas to meet?

Fundraisers: Do you host parties for non-profit organizations raising money for good causes?

Graduation parties: Are you located in a city known for its local colleges and universities?

 

Now, let’s focus on parties that typically take place during the evening.  They include:

Dinner parties: What organizations (profit and nonprofit) would potentially be interested in you hosting their dinner party?

Formal dances: Perhaps your local Historical Society or Chambers of Commerce would like you to host a formal dance?

Murder mystery parties:  Even if you have not hosted them before, what about arranging for a murder mystery party at your inn?

Wedding receptions:  Do you host weddings and/or receptions?  

 

Have a different checklist of items, depending upon the type of party:

Beverages: is this an event that typically serves alcohol?; do you have a license to sell alcohol or do you allow guests to bring their own libations?; non-alcoholic beverages include: punch, juice, non-alcoholic fruity drinks (a.k.a. “mocktails”), soda, tea, and water

Date and time options: list available dates and times for each type of event (this is why you must keep a very organized calendar)

Decorations: of course the decorations will depend not only on the type of gathering you are hosting, but also if it has a particular theme; you may have some decorations that you can buy to regularly display (such as a lacy antique baby buggy as baby shower decor for every baby shower you host)

Flowers: consider coordinating all of your floral arrangement requests with one particular florist (so in exchange they give you a discount for your exclusive business)

Food: if you are catering, offer a variety of menu choices for each type of party; consider accommodating particular dietary needs or preferences of your group (such as gluten-free, low cholesterol, low sugar, non-dairy, vegan, vegetarian, etc.)

Location: specify the places on your property that will be reserved strictly for the party guests for each party type you host as well as how many people each place can accommodate  

Music: provide a list of music (either a selection of live performers or recordings of musicians) that guests have the option of hearing; the music you play at a baby shower will be different than the music played at a wedding reception

Party events and games: fundraising parties may feature an auction whereas baby showers may have a variety of fun games for the expectant parents

Pictures: if possible, take lots of pictures of the event to share with the people who arranged for the event to take place at your inn; always ask permission before sharing photos of guests attending private parties at your inn with the public (through your website, blog, social media, or in photo collections for potential clients to see)

Price: of course you should make a profit from hosting private parties; think about potential costs associated with different events (including the cleaning and not being able to use the inn for other events at that time)

It helps, but it is not a requirement to have a professional wedding or party planner on your staff.  You may want to work out an arrangement with a local wedding or party planner to handle all of the planning details given your specific list of requirements (including costs, caterers, etc.).  In addition to renting out rooms, you can make a pretty profit hosting events (even when you have to give a percentage to a professional party planner who manages all the details for you). 

For even more suggestions, please watch the Professional Association of Innkeepers International webinar where I gave a presentation of how to host elegant private parties at your inn.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Upcoming Innkeeping Conferences

upcoming innkeeping conferences

Don’t miss these upcoming innkeeping conferences in 2016.  In January, hundreds of innkeepers and industry partners from all over the country (and beyond) will meet in Austin, Texas to experience the biggest industry conference in the U.S. The PAII Innkeeping Conference & Trade Show January 10 – 14, 2016, will showcase industry trends, best practices, and encourage you to renew and build new relationships with industry partner vendors and innkeepers alike.

Join in special events, mixers, and cutting-edge education, tailored to aspiring to novice to master innkeepers.  You’ll learn new ways to drive your business forward, refine your services, and exceed your business goals at over 40 live sessions.  You’ll consult face-to-face with industry professionals, and engage all of your senses at the Innkeeper Trade Show.

Hosted by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, this conference will provide insight and perspective on our vibrant, challenging, ever changing industry, and more specifically, your investment. Gain a renewed focus, build vital connections, and reignite the passion that drives your hospitality business.

Upcoming-Innkeeping-Conferences
Celebrate 25 years of CABBI (the California Assocation of Bed and Breakfast Inns).

Join them January 31 – February 2, 2016 at the Monterey Marriott for this once-a-year opportunity! Network with fellow innkeepers during the 2016 InnSpire Conference & Trade Show. This year’s trade show is the largest yet and promises to introduce you to the latest and greatest in industry products and services. Join us Monday night on the 10th floor of the Marriott as we host a celebration in honor of CABBI’s 25th anniversary!

The conference will kick off on Sunday with opening keynote speaker Nancy Friedman! An expert in customer service, Nancy is excited to provide InnSpire attendees with real-world takeaways to implement right away and make a difference in your business.  CABBI has over a dozen educational sessions planned, including their always-popular round-table sessions.

upcoming innkeeping conferences

Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers from all over the Mid-Atlantic region are invited to attend the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Trade Show and Conference at the Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia from March 6 through March 8.  Learn from nationally known bed and breakfast industry experts.  Products and services related to the B&B industry will be on exhibit.

 

upcoming innkeeping conferences
The 2016 Knowledge Sharing Summit and Marketplace, hosted by the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals, will take place in Nashville, Tennessee from April 4 through the 6th.  This event will feature over 50 learning opportunities including Think Tank problem busting round tables and workshops that span educational paths from everything from Future Innkeepers to Back of the House to Guest Experience to Heads in Beds, plus multiple pre-conference sessions including professionally facilitated state and local association leader events and more.

If you want to share other bed and breakfast industry events (such as innkeeping conferences) that will take place in 2016, feel free to comment below.  Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging improves the marketing success of bed and breakfast businesses.  Contact us to learn how we help increase your inn’s revenue.  Let’s have our best year yet!

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The Esmeralda Inn of Chimney Rock

Esmeralda Inn

Don and Kim Cason are no strangers to hospitality and innkeeping.  Before becoming the current innkeepers of The Esmeralda Inn and Restaurant of Chimney Rock, North Carolina, they were innkeepers (for over ten years) at Eight Gables Inn of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  The couple thoroughly searched twenty-two different properties and kept coming back to The Esmeralda.  Now they call it home and welcome guests from all over the world to visit.  They revealed some of The Esmeralda Inn’s fascinating history.

The Esmeralda Inn built originally by Colonel Tom Turner in 1891 and opened for business in 1892.  Turner named the Inn for the book Esmeralda by Frances Hodges Burnett (author of The Secret Garden), written while she was staying at a nearby inn. A play, based on the book, enjoyed a year’s run on Broadway.

Tragically, a fire burned down The Esmeralda Inn in 1917.  Rebuilt on the original foundation, the location of the Inn was Esmeralda, North Carolina since a post office was at the Inn in 1917 and where Thomas Turner, son of Colonel Turner, served as postmaster. The post office discontinued in 1926.  Later, the town’s name changed to Chimney Rock (after one of its most popular tourist attractions).

Esmeralda Inn

When Hurricane Fran (along with a 200-year flood) hit North Carolina in 1996, the people who lost their homes stayed at The Esmeralda Inn.  The Esmeralda Inn was higher ground than the land of most local flood victims, so the Inn took those people in and provided water, showers, and lodging for several months.

After the flood, lumberjacks salvaged huge wooden logs floating down the river, separating the good ones from the bad.  Unfortunately, a second fire to The Esmeralda Inn occurred in 1997.  This was just a year after Hurricane Fran and, remembering the inn’s generosity, the local community pulled together to help rebuild the inn.

They used about seven hundred of the best logs to rebuild the inn.  The logs were split (and partially hollowed out) to fit around new steel beams.   The steel-girded new structure appears to be made entirely of wood, but owners Don and Kim Cason are confident that this steel reinforced structure, along with added sprinklers, will prevent The Esmeralda Inn from ever burning down again.

A local Asheville artist volunteered his time to work on the stunning staircase.  He wove Laurel Vine throughout the banisters.  Two stones from its former structure cap the bottom sides of the rugged stairs.

Esmeralda Inn

The hardwood floorboards in the Lobby were from the original dance floor, constructed by Hollywood in nearby Lake Lure, North Carolina, for the famous movie, “Dirty Dancing.”  Hollywood has filmed other movies such as “The Last of The Mohicans” and “Firestarters” in this local area as well.  In fact, the inn became a favorite hideaway for famous film stars, including Clark Gable.  Speaking of films, the script for the movie Ben Hur was finished in Room #9 of The Esmeralda Inn.

A more recent addition, the historic mantel (not pictured above) came from Indiana.  Since it matched the right time in history, it shipped to The Esmeralda Inn.  Part of their chandelier comes from a wagon wheel of an old stagecoach.  The Esmeralda Inn was formerly the first stagecoach stop in the area.

A historic photo in the Esmeralda Inn Lobby depicts a car driving up the massive front steps of the Inn to allow President Franklin D. Roosevelt to enter in his wheelchair.  This was before the convenience of handicap ramps.  The Esmeralda Inn now provides wheelchair access.

Many modern day notables also stay at the Inn, but out of respect for their privacy, Don and Kim Cason do not disclose their names.  However, given its consistently high reviews and previous well-known visitors, there is always the possibility of meeting a famous guest at The Esmeralda Inn.

Owners Don and Kim Cason (and the whole Esmeralda Inn team) have a deep desire to serve every guest that walks through their doors.  Along with their attentive staff, they anticipate needs ahead of time.  The Casons enjoy their family-run bed and breakfast inn.  Kim’s sister is the talented pastry chef, her sister’s husband is the executive chef, and her nephew is the Sous chef.

Esmeralda Inn

Each morning guests delight in a gourmet full hot homemade breakfast.  The Esmeralda Restaurant is open to the public for lunch and dinner and offers exclusive wines and local craft beer.  Don Cason said that The Esmeralda Inn sold out of tickets for the last Thanksgiving Dinner.  They served about two-hundred people at three different times that holiday: noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm.

Esmeralda Inn

The bistro lights on the deck of the restaurant are romantic when they shine at night.  We highly recommend their juicy steak as well as their fresh caught grilled salmon.  From our outdoor table, we could see the famous Chimney Rock.  In view, a gorgeous little waterfall trickles down the huge stones.  The lush landscaping is evident everywhere the eye can see.

Exiting the restaurant and taking the elevator leads to the open second floor.  It boasts a high ceiling with view of the main level below.  In addition to two guest bedrooms (each with private balconies), this floor has a huge game room.  Kim Cason, not only has a background in hospitality, she also has a talent for interior decorating.  This is especially evident in her selection of décor throughout the inn.

Kim’s choice of pictures hanging on the walls in the game room gives the room a classy look.

  • Dice framed
  • Pool ball painting
  • Royal cards framed
  • Poker hand rankings
  • Albert Dawson clocks

The game room features:

  • Wrap around couch with ottoman in view of a huge flat screen television
  • Round Scrabble high table with dictionary with two high-back chairs
  • Telescope for viewing the night sky or the pool and landscaping by day
  • Checkers and chess set on a round table with two high-back chairs
  • Red Billiard table with balls, triangle, sticks, chalk
  • Poker table with poker chips and cards—it even has cup holders
  • Foosball table
  • Air hockey table

Connected to the game room is a little kitchen with a dumbwaiter to receive food from the kitchen on the main level.  The Esmeralda Inn often hosts events such as corporate groups (companies will rent the whole inn), local fundraisers, and elegant weddings (with up to 75 people).

The room just past the game room on the second level is a multipurpose room.  A large roundtable, with leather executive chairs around it, is useful for companies who book the entire inn.  This area also has a privacy screen and fits up to two spa tables for couples’ massages.  Their spa is ideal for anniversaries and marriage retreats.

Esmeralda Inn

We recommend going outside at night.  There is a stone patio with an outdoor fireplace for roasting marshmallows and making S’mores. Next to the outdoor fountain, there is a fifteen-person hot tub with jets and lights. There are towels available outside for your convenience.

Speaking of towels, it may seem like a little thing, but I just loved the little black washcloth with the word “makeup” stitched on it.  I am sure this has saved their white towels from cosmetic stains.  The bathroom even had an adorable black bag hanging up labeled “hairdryer.”  It worked well to dry my hair after it got wet from using their relaxing hot tub.

Esmeralda Inn

All Esmeralda Inn rooms come with:

In addition to enjoying the amenities at The Esmeralda Inn, the greater Chimney Rock area offers many activities and attractions for guests to experience.

Area Activities:

  • Championship Golf
  • Fly Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Rock Climbing
  • Water Sports
  • White Water Rafting
  • Zip Lining

Area Attractions:

  • Asheville: art, Biltmore Estate (with its great architecture, gardens, history, winery, shops, and tours), lively music, shopping
  • Bat Cave: local jams and crafts, nature conservancy, old cider mill, working cider mill
  • Black Mountain: historic downtown with great galleries, majestic mountain views, and elegant shops
  • Blue Ridge Parkway: access in Asheville (about 30 minutes from The Esmeralda Inn)
  • Chimney Rock State Park: hiking, family activities, rock climbing, scenic views
  • Dupont State Forest: hiking, breathtaking views, waterfalls
  • Flatrock: home of late poet and writer Carl Sandburg, Playhouse State Theatre of NC, rainbow row
  • Hendersonville: annual NC Apple Festival every Labor Day Weekend, dining, main street shopping, summertime music and events
  • Lake Lure: boat tours, canoe and kayak rentals, swimming
  • Mount Mitchell State Forest: highest point east of the Mississippi with gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Pisgah National Forest: cradle of forestry

The Esmeralda Inn is a proud member of the North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns (NCBBI) Association as well as an elite Select Registry member inn.

Esmeralda Inn

Nestled in the rocky woodland setting, The Esmeralda Inn stands out as the jewel of Chimney Rock.  Guests will continue to visit The Esmeralda Inn for its unique amenities, beautiful scenery, and welcoming hospitality.  In their restaurant, the wall has a saying written on it, “May all who enter as guests, leave as friends.”  Thank you, Don and Kim Cason as well as the entire Esmeralda Inn team, for a wonderful experience.  As many have written in your guest book, “we will return and next time our visit will be longer!”

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Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast

Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast

Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast is a historical B&B with modern amenities.  The friendly and attentive owners and innkeepers Monica and David Edwards show true Southern hospitality.  Guests rave about their gourmet breakfasts.  They love being ambassadors to the city of Durham.  When asked, they are delighted to give their guests whatever guidance they need depending upon their guests’ particular interests and reasons for visiting.

 

The Durham, NC area is a great location. It is conveniently close to the Raleigh-Durham International (RDU) Airport. Those living in, or visiting, Durham have access to a wide variety of things to do and see, including:

  • The Durham Performing Arts Center: home to a variety of performances including Broadway theater, music concerts, and comedy
  • Durham Athletics: Duke University sports, North Carolina Central University Sports, Hurricanes NHL Hockey, and more
  • Durham Shopping: The Streets at Southpoint, Brightleaf Shopping Square, Northgate Mall, Ninth Street Shopping District, and more
  • The Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham: started by Washington Duke and named in honor of his daughter Sarah, this has become a world famous attraction

The world renown medical facility, Duke University Hospital, has its home in Durham beside Duke University campus. Durham, known as The Tastiest Town in the South, shows its excellence in award-winning restaurants for fine dining and casual dining. Residents and tourists alike also flock to the great variety of food trucks satisfying their appetites.

Morehead Manor offers four different areas to their guests to stay:

 

In The Tiger Room, guests rest comfortably in a king-sized, wrought-iron, canopy bed that is surrounded by windows.  This airy room that overlooks the beautiful rear garden. Read an adventure novel as you are nestled in the comfortable reading chair, wrapped in one of our plush robes, imagining all of the exciting places that the antique Louis Vitton trunk resting at the foot of the bed has visited.

The Magnolia Suite is the spacious original Master bedroom features a king-sized wooden canopy bed with lights in the headboard, perfect for romance or reading a good book. The sitting area in the main room is furnished with two high-back chairs near an electric firebox. A separate sitting area has a love seat/sleeper and a roll-top desk. The private bath features a tub and shower. This room can accommodate up to 3.

The Eagle’s Inn features two full-sized beds, spacious enough to accommodate up to 4 people, perfect for those guests visiting the local universities or travel companions that prefer having their own comfortable sleeping beds. The full bath features a deluxe 7-head shower. You can enjoy one of the room’s many novels in the reading recliner or even pen your own at the writing desk.

The Jasmine Room is comfortably appointed with a queen-sized bed. Relax in the reading recliner as you take in a book, the flames from the electric firebox, or just enjoy the views of the front garden.  The large bathroom with tub and shower is perfect for relaxing.  There is a desk available.  Reserve this room and enjoy the complimentary homemade dessert and beverages as you unwind from the day.

Plan your visit to Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast today!

Monica and Daniel Edwards
914 Vickers Ave
Durham, NC  27701
(919) 687-4366 | Toll Free: (888) 437-6333
info@moreheadmanor.com

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Awesome Yoga Retreats

awesome yoga retreats

 

 

Does your bed and breakfast offer awesome yoga retreats?  The bed and breakfast owners who do, emphasize the peacefulness of their quiet location, the beauty of their scenic nature, and the transformation in body and mind that can come with yoga.

 

 

You can encourage guests of all experience levels to challenge themselves in your safe and comfortable setting. Highlight the benefits of their coming: a place for them to strengthen and relax their body, free themselves from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and grow in creativity.

You may designate specific times of the year for these retreats.  Some B&B owners offer weekend yoga retreats. You can put together a yoga retreat package for your guests.

If no one on staff is an expert yoga instructor, you could find a yoga professional in your local area who is willing to conduct these retreats and pay them a reasonable fee per participant.

Be sure to promote your yoga retreats on your website, in your blog, and through social media.  You may be attracting a whole new clientele of guests to your inn.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Murder Mysteries

murder mysteries

 

 

Do you know that you could host murder mysteries at your bed and breakfast?  Not real ones of course!  Many bed and breakfasts invite guests to participate in a who-did-it type murder mystery.

 

 

The variety of murder mystery options include any of the following:

  • Using written kits with script booklets.
  • Assigning roles ahead of time and providing each guest with lines.
  • Some of the murders occur in previous eras such as the 1920’s.
  • Providing wardrobe options including outfits, hats, and scarves. 
  • Hosting a meal during the mystery.
  • Having participants look for clues in pairs.  
  • Encouraging guests to take pictures to prove their alibis.
  • Having your staff act as characters in the mystery. 
  • Spreading the scenes of the mystery out over the weekend.
  • Solving the mystery in one evening.

Advise your guests:

  • Arrive in plenty of time to settle in and participate.
  • If applicable, to bring their scripts.
  • They can bring clothes and props for their roles (if they know it ahead of time).
  • Inspire your guests to question or point to others with motive and opportunity.
  • Assure your guests that you will not let them fall out of character.

You can market your murder mysteries on your website, in your blog, on social media, and through your associations.  Some bed and breakfast owners even offer a promotion code for guests to get a discount on their room. Your bed and breakfast does not necessarily have to be historic or haunted in order to offer this type of event.  The bottom line is that your guests thoroughly enjoy themselves in the process of solving the murder mystery!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Bed and Breakfast Restaurants

 

bed and breakfast restaurants

 

 

Many bed and breakfasts also have restaurants. These bed and breakfast restaurants may offer the following important and useful information about their restaurant on their website:

 

 

 

  • If open to the public or just to the guests staying there
  • Pictures of the restaurant, cuisine, beautiful views from restaurant
  • Pictures of guests dining (taken with permission)
  • Awards won, press page, celebrities visited
  • Information about the chefs (including their culinary training and cultural heritage)
  • Hours (may be subject to change)
  • Menu (may vary seasonally)
  • House specialties (could be based on chef’s expertise or location of restaurant)
  • Specials (could be fresh from their own garden or holiday related)
  • Wine list and/or microbrewery
  • Catering options possible
  • Local delivery options
  • Group dining and private party rooms
  • Weddings (may offer a customized menu)
  • Making reservations (especially for large groups or holidays)
  • Cooking classes offered
  • Cookbooks for sale
  • Ways to contact the restaurant

They may even feature written reviews from people who have dined there.  If your bed and breakfast does not have a restaurant, do you have the time and resources to add one? Bed and breakfast restaurants should consider having blog posts written about different events or restaurant specials or musical guests coming.  Continue to post new pictures to your website and blog throughout the seasons, as you add new menu items, and after you host various events such as weddings.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Hosting Group Meetings

hosting group meetings

 

Have you ever thought about facilitating a local event? Depending upon the size of your bed and breakfast, you may be able to accommodate hosting group meetings.  These could be chamber of commerce meetings, book groups, business leads groups, or some kind of club with a particular interest.

 

These are opportunities for local people who are not familiar with your bed and breakfast to be introduced via their group meeting.  You may decide to be available to give tours before and/or after the meeting to attendees.

This is also a way to make money because the groups will be compensating you for using your space to hold their meetings. Word of mouth will spread quickly that your experience hosting group meetings and other events such as weddings or music performances.

When people come to your bed and breakfast for a local event, they may be reminded that this would be a great place to spend the night.  Your bed and breakfast could be the perfect place for them to send their out of town relatives who are visiting.

Bed and breakfast blogging can devote blog posts promoting your events on your website. The events will draw more people to your bed and breakfast as they visit your B&B or read about your events in your blog.  It is a win-win situation!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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