Posts Tagged ‘inn’

Some Guidelines for Staying in a Bed and Brekfast or Inn

Monday, June 13th, 2016

by Linda Burchell Ard

Although staying in a bed or breakfast while traveling in Europe is pretty common, many American have never stayed in this type of lodging facility. During breakfast recently, I asked some guests from England and Germany what they would want to tell Americans about staying in a Bed & Breakfast or Inn.
They said B&Bs are a great way to travel and really learn about areas. The locals always know, among other things, the best places to eat, and the cheapest places to buy gas, and the highway construction areas to avoid. They can also recommend interesting local activities, historic sites and even fun shopping. The properties are well loved and so clean—and the breakfasts are freshly made and delicious. The innkeepers are usually very friendly and welcoming so it is like staying with family.
Then I asked, “How is this different from staying in hotels or motels?”
They said that sometimes, when you are in a hurry and are just looking for a convenient bed for the night, a motel might work better. But many hotel rooms look just the same and some are noisy or brightly lighted. The guestrooms are not relaxing and lack charm.
Feeling on a roll, I continued with, “Some people who haven’t stayed in Bed and Breakfasts are concerned that they might not know the right way to act in a B&B.”
The couple laughed at this question and the wife explained that her husband still didn’t know the right way to act. He just shook his head and agreed. Then, combining their wealth of experience, they clicked off a few simple suggestions:
• Remember that you are staying in someone’s home so you’ll want to be respectful.
• Ring the doorbell, unless directed otherwise, before walking in.
• If you arrived before check-in (usually 4 to 6 p.m.), your room might not be ready. Also, if you are going to be later than you had planned, just contact the innkeeper in case she/he has made plans for the evening or needs to run to the store.
• Every Bed and Breakfast is unique and has different policies so ask the innkeeper. There are often rules about children, pets, parking, smoking, use of alcohol, forms of payment, or cancellation.
• In most Bed and Breakfasts, there are “common areas” for the guests to use and enjoy as well as private areas reserved for the innkeepers, their staff and families. Such areas may be used for storage, office work, meal preparation or just relaxing. It is important to respect the innkeepers’ need for privacy.
I thought their advice might be helpful for other folks who have always thought it would be fun to stay in a Bed and Breakfast but never had the experience.
As I cleaned up the breakfast table, they were getting ready to pack up and hit the road again. Before they left, I got hugs from both of them and I wished them safe travels. They stopped to pat Buster, our friendly farm dog, and take a picture of the Inn. I bet that departing ritual doesn’t happen often at most motels or hotels!
Linda Burchell Ard and her husband Bob are Innkeepers and owners of at Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn, historical bed and breakfast located in the middle of a family owned working farm in Minden, NE. To learn more, visit “” or Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn on Facebook or email You can also check out wonderful Nebraska B&B locations at and enjoy the better way to stay.

10 Things to Know When Remodeling your Inn

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

10 Things to Know When Remodeling your Inn

1. Know what you have and know what you want:

A clearly defined objective is important when considering a remodel. Make a point to define the scope of the project entirely, and on paper. By taking this simple step, you might notice that an extra outlet or dimmer switch would go perfectly in a new area. Knowing exactly what you want goes a long way when attempting to determine the cost of the project in advance.

2. Know what it should cost in advance

Knowing what things cost, from materials to labor can save you considerable amounts of money as the project matures. Contractors are notorious for simply presenting a single figure as a “bid” or “estimate”. Without due diligence, one never knows if they are being taken advantage of when presented with an estimate. Hiring a professional estimator can help you generate an exact estimate.

3. Know who you are dealing with

This cannot be stressed enough. Before you even pick up the phone or try to contact a contractor, do a little research. There are several ways to find a good contractor. First, go to the Better Business Bureau website, ( and search the company name for complaints. Don’t stop there! There are many avenues that can be used to check up on someone, from independent Google reviews to searching the name of the contractor on your local county courthouse site.

4. Getting bids

After determining what the costs should be, the next step is to call several contractors and secure bids for the project. When you receive these single page bids with vague references to the scope of work, the real work begins. The very first thing you should do is ask the contractor for a line item estimate. This sets the stage for saving money, and ensuring the contractors knows what you want as well as you do. When every little task is detailed on an estimate, there is no room for interpretation. Your vision becomes theirs, and you get the added benefit of being able to force the contractor to explain how each tasks cost was determined. Your idea of what it should cost to add a light switch may be very different than what the contractor thinks you should pay for that light switch. You can generally find several items with room for pricing negotiation.

5. Negotiating a contract

You have your bids. You have selected your contractor. Now it is time to set the terms. Make absolutely sure that every little part of your planned project in clearly spelled out in your contract. Most professional General Contractors will have their own contract ready for you to sign. Be sure to have one of your own as well. Make sure that it spells out, in detail, the entire scope of the project in no uncertain terms. As our venues cannot afford to be closed down for weeks in order to accommodate the contractors, a deadline is also a must have in your contract. One can even add penalties for not meeting deadlines into the verbiage. A contractor that balks at such penalties is not one who is willing to stand behind their projected completion date. Never agree to pay cash in advance, and never advance monies for materials. If the contractor is determined that an advance be made for materials, go with them to pick up the materials and pay for them yourself. In your contract, creating a payment schedule based on percentage of tasks completed is the best way to protect yourself. The contractor may not agree with this clause, but it will open the doors for negotiation.

6. Don’t get milked!

When possible, be sure to hire on a completed job basis, rather than hiring hourly contractors. Keep in mind, most of your businesses are seasonal, and it is the same for the contractors. Finding that job that they can work hourly for the winter is a godsend to the contractor, and a money pit for the rest of us.

7. Unexpected obstacles

On any existing structure, nine thousand times out a hundred, a contractor will approach the owner with the dreaded unexpected “This is rotten! We have to replace the whole thing”. While partially honest, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, an easy (and cost effective) solution can be found. Be ready to use your awesome intellectual powers to come up with a creative and efficient solution to any of these issues that arise. Keep in mind that it is in the contractor’s interest to make the project as lucrative as possible and simple solutions like working around the problem area may not even occur to them.

8. Change orders

You just broke rule number one! Knowing what you wanted could have saved you a bundle. However, since you just cannot live without that unplanned covered porch with a built in gazebo, you should know that the cost will change, and the deadline will definitely change.

9. Keeping the job flowing

There is a difference between being a busybody and maintaining a presence. If you are the kind of person who simply cannot resist nitpicking every task on the site, take a vacation. Nitpicking comes when the contractor announces the project is completed. Showing up once a day to see how it is going, as long as the visits are kept short, is maintaining a presence. Anything more is being a busybody. If you notice something slightly off, but it will not affect the project as a whole, simply write it down. There is a good chance the contractor will make it right before the job is done. If not, address it at the end, so that the contractor can stay on schedule.

10. Completion: How to deal with the contractors once they have announced that the job is complete

Now, it is time to present your list of nitpicking observations. Thoroughly walk the site, and point out flaws to your heart’s content. Have the contractor follow you around and create a punch list. Make it clear that all of these flaws must be remedied before you issue your final payment.

If the contractor gives you problems, have a recorder handy, and make sure they know the conversation is being recorded. Most problems suddenly disappear as the sight of a small voice recorder.


Nicholas Miller has been with Timberwolf Creek Bed & Breakfast ( for 10 years, and has managed the inn for three years. Additionally, Nicholas operates as an independent insurance adjuster, and uses estimating software that is accepted as the gold standard of the estimating industry, whether for contractors or insurance agencies.

The Great Gas Gorge

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

The Great Gas Gorge

Will soaring gas prices really affect the upcoming travel season? These experts say there’s no way!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tony Dela Cruz

Is the fuel tank half-empty or half-full? It’s a question most hotel operators would rather not have to answer this time of year as they ponder what increases in rate or occupancy, if any, await in the summer season.

Veterans say the lodging industry has been down this road before, knows what to do and is doing it, in terms of the types of seasonal promotions designed to prevent market share erosion. Both hotel owner/operators and franchisors seem mindful of the need to protect room rates that are just starting to recover from the hammering they took in 2009. And prognosticators are saying there’s even some pent-up demand that can push up revenue as the weather warms up.

And $4 a gallon for gas? Experts say that’s just a number, a mental hurdle at worst, that will not be a deal breaker for a family traveling by car who might pay an incremental $35 for the same trip had it been six months ago.

Derek Baum, director of operations for Orlando-based Rosen Hotels and Resorts, says RevPAR sensitivity related to energy costs “is not necessarily new news, we’ve been through this before,” pointing to conservation measures that have been in place for years. For example, they don’t heat swimming pools that can maintain 82 degrees on their own. At the same time, Rosen will tweak the energy budget if needed. Baum says the company just installed high-efficiency gas boilers for guest rooms and restaurants.

In terms of summer revenue, Baum sees “extremely competitive average room rates” trying to rise. He’s hoping third-party internet bookings can add to occupancy without putting too much downward pressure on room rates. “We try to combat that by offering price guarantees on our own website,” he said.
Protecting room rates is also the goal for Country Inns and Suites by Carlson, according to Aurora Toth, the brand’s vice president of marketing. “Our franchisees had a tough three year run, they are trying to get money back in the till, so we don’t want to discount our room rates,” she said.

Instead, the smart move is to value-add rather than cut rates. For the first quarter of 2011, Country Inns and Suites offered a 10,000 point bonus to its business travelers. “It seems basic, but it was the right focus at the right time,” Toth said.

To push leisure transient business, the brand’s current Spring Getaway promotion offers a $30 gift card, 3,000 loyalty points and a T.G.I. Fridays coupon in exchange for a two-night stay booked three days in advance, which she says are getting good bookings and good rates so far. Toth anticipates value-added strategies to keep sprouting for the balance of the year as rates and occupancy stabilize. “We don’t expect them to go back to 2007 levels but we do expect a good summer.

Within the narrow cast of mid-market limited-service, Toth says Country Inns is trying to differentiate with an improved breakfast offering, not necessarily bigger, but measurably different and better. This summer the brand is attempting to be the first in its segment to switch to non-disposable dinnerware. That means coaxing franchisees to add an industrial dishwasher; those who do it by June 1 will be rebated the cost of the new machinery. Toth said the concept was tested in a company-owned property and that it is an affordable upgrade that make sense. Another tweak: Carlson is asking Country Inns franchisees to rotate their breakfast buffet offerings daily so that repeat guests don’t experience deja vu in the morning.

The big picture for the industry going forward is typified by a well-worn phrase, “cautious optimism,” according to Bobby Bowers, senior vice president of operations, Smith Travel Research, Nashville. “What we were looking at, the end of last year for this year, was more growth on the rate side and continued growth on the occupancy side but not as much,” he said. “Most of the segments, if not all of them, were showing RevPAR growth based on rate.”

The rising cost of gas just as summer approaches is still not good and cannot be ignored, but Bowers says he doesn’t believe it will impact business because large brand owners like Choice, Wyndham and Intercontinental know how to “counter-promote” against those types of economic speed-bumps. “I don’t get a sense higher gas prices are going to create a huge barrier to travel during the summertime. (Choice, for one, has hedged that bet by offering some of its customers a $50 gas card for two separate spring bookings.)

Gauging a recovery in the middle of a recovery is always comes with caveats. “The one thing you can say for sure is our forecast will change,” Bowers said. “We’ll have to wait and see if there’s softness on the demand side.”

Top 5 myths about staying at a bed and breakfast inn

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

The Evolution Of The B and B
Top 5 myths about staying at a bed and breakfast inn

* accommodation
* B&B
* bed and breakfast
* inn
* myth
* USA & Canada

The Evolution Of The B and B

When travelers were asked by the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns if they had ever stayed at a bed and breakfast, some of their answers led to the discovery of interesting myths surrounding B&Bs.

B&B decor is limited to lace doilies, paisley wallpaper, antiques, and patchwork quilts
The decor of some inns recall earlier eras, but increasingly, more inns are trending toward clean, sophisticated decor with modern furnishings and amenities. Even many Victorians feature individually decorated rooms to appeal to a variety of tastes.

You have to share a bathroom with other guests
The majority of inns offer private bathrooms. For those that don’t, most have policies of only renting rooms with shared bathrooms to families and couples traveling together to ensure the safety and comfort of guests.

You have to eat breakfast with total strangers and eat whatever the innkeeper prepares that morning
Many inns offers guests a variety of choices for breakfast and pride themselves on accommodating guests with special diets or food allergies. Some offer brunch featuring lots of items.

You have to abide by a curfew set by the innkeeper
Curfews are one of the most common myths. Guests usually are given keys to the main house and guest room doors, providing them with the flexibility to come and go as they please.

B&Bs are only for couples and strictly prohibit children and pets
Many inns offer family units with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, and a number of inns offer pet-friendly rooms as well. These pet-friendly inns are also a good resource for pet-friendly restaurants and activities.

Ideas for Your Inn

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Ideas for Your Inn

This beautiful vase will wow your guests this holiday season. Display anywhere it will get the most attention!

You will need:

15-inch oversized glass vase
20 frosted glass ornaments
5 yards wired ribbon
White Floral Tape
20 count set craft lights with white wiring
2 packages Crystal Fiber

What you do

Start with a 15-inch oversized glass vase that has enough volume to contain the ornaments, lights and crystal fiber.

Wire Up the Ornaments: Remove the caps from all the frosted ornaments. Insert one clear light into each glass ball and secure it with white floral tape.

Put in the Crystal Fiber and Arrange the Wired Ornaments: Layer some crystal fiber in the bottom of the vase, then layer several glass ornaments on top of the fiber, placing the cord towards the center of the vase so it is not visible from the outside. Add some more crystal fiber and more ornaments alternatively and use some of the fiber in specific places to hide the wire.

Tie on the Wired Ribbon, Plug in Your Lights and Enjoy the Results! Use enough ribbon to tie full bow with multiple loops. Wired ribbon is great for shaping and arranging the loops for a more pleasing effect. Now you are ready! Plug in and enjoy your wintery new Crystal Reflections vase!

Design by Rita Fleehart

This tip courtesy of

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