Category Archives: Renovating

Practical Advice About The Art of Innkeeping

the-art-of-innkeeping

I highly recommend Owner & Innkeeper Steven Allen’s book,  Sugar Hill Inn the Art of Innkeeping based on his experiences of transforming Sugar Hill Inn to a completely remodeled, smooth running place of hospitality with luxurious amenities.  

Author Steven Allen tells readers the best way for a prospective buyer to see an inn is to stay the night and experience it from the guest’s point of view. Allen explains that looking for an inn is very different from finding a new home in that there are only a handful of interesting properties available at any one time.

Every establishment has its own character and personality.  The personality comes from its history, its location, and most importantly, the owner.  

After purchasing Sugar Hill Inn, Allen had to prioritize the order of the improvements he made on the property.  Decorating the inn is about pleasing the guests and helping them feel immediately at home.  Some of the projects took longer than planned and all of them cost more than anticipated. The new structure had to be authentic and timeless in its appeal.  

According to Steven, the hardest part of being a business owner is knowing when to follow your own instincts and when to listen to others that may know more.  Allen states that the challenge is that if you don’t follow the crowd and you do succeed, you are a genius for thinking outside the box, but if you fail, you are a dope for not following the tried and true.

If they had done the ordinary, they would not have the opportunity to be “lucky.”  Year after year, they selected the two to three rooms in the most need of renovation or where a face-lift would have the most impact. Other projects were done for safety’s sake.  Seeing the transformation was very rewarding. Over the last ten years, their renovations have touched all fourteen rooms. 

With so many everyday details to run an inn, Allen states that it is helps to take a step back and see the big picture.  This stimulates creative thinking.  Keeping an inn relevant and fresh is a never-ending responsibility.  Innkeeping is a very demanding lifestyle with long hours. 

Sugar Hill Inn strives to share the good life with its guests by creating experiences that will be remembered. Part of that involves surrounding guests with beauty. Allen is a lover of art and has the unique distinction of having several pieces of original art displayed throughout the inn.  When the painting adds to the beauty of the room and the room enhances the painting, you have found the perfect location.  

Steven Allen points out that he has intently focused on what people want. He’s analyzed what people order, listened to feedback, studied comment cards and reviews, and stayed at other inns. To him, “hospitality is doing what is best for the guest.”

Being an innkeeper is more a lifestyle than it is a job.  Allen asserts that seeing the inn transform from average to what many of his guests describe as a gem has been very satisfying.  The real challenge is implementation and consistently following through every day.  While there are many factors that determine an inn’s value, of course the underlying real estate is a major factor.   

Innkeeping is 24-7.  For the right person, Allen explains that this profession can be exciting, fun, and challenging.  Every lodging property is different.  Look for an opportunity to build upon the best of the past and bring new energy, ideas, and money to assure continued success.  Steven Allen, and his wife Karen, own the Sugar Hill Inn located in the secluded White Mountains of New Hampshire where together they practice the art of innkeeping.  

Note: I receive Amazon Affiliate commissions from purchases made through the Amazon link.

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Want Your Bed and Breakfast on TV?

bed and breakfast on tv

Stephanie Hernandez

If you want your bed and breakfast, hotel, or guest house on television, keep reading.  Stephanie Hernandez, from the television production house TwoFour in Plymouth, United Kingdom, is currently trying to find people who are starting up a new hotel or bed and breakfast in the UK and Europe. They are very interested in finding people that have bought a location and want to change or remodel the property.

TwoFour is a UK independent media group that was founded in 1989 by Charles Wace, a former TV news producer. In 2013 it was named the largest true independent media group in the UK and the largest producer of documentary content, employing over 350 people internationally and turning over £58 million in 2013. With headquarters in Plymouth, TwoFour has offices across the globe including London and Los Angeles.

TwoFour is currently casting for a brand new series called “Our Dream Hotel” and they are shooting it over the course of the next year, to go out on C5 in the Autumn of 2016. Each episode will feature one couple/family’s renovation/redesign/reimagining of a building, as they transform it into a hotel, bed and breakfast, or guest house. They are looking to find three such stories in the UK, and film three abroad (Europe).

In an ideal world they would follow each renovation from the very start to the very end – but they are realistic enough to know that life isn’t like that! So, instead, they are looking for projects they can join whilst there is still some degree of work to be done (at least 50%), so that they can follow the journey all the way along to opening.

Here are some of the questions they would ask the people interested in being cast for the show:

  • Tell me a bit about yourself and your family
  • Why this house? Why this ‘project’?
  • Have you had much experience in either building renovation or the  hospitality industry before now?
  • Can you talk me through the work you have had done, what needs to be done, and what the major points on your schedule are?
  • When do you hope to be open, and in what capacity?
  • What do you currently feel most daunted by?
  • How are you funding this build, and how important is it that the venture is a commercial success?”

If you’re interested in finding out more, then simply email Stephanie directly at Stephanie.Hernandez@twofour.co.uk Thank you, Stephanie, for asking me to share this with my Bed and Breakfast Blogging readers!

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