Looking back on the past 18 months of innkeeping, I can't help but wonder about all the little (and not so little) things that have helped us get where we are. We're #3 on the current Trip Advisor listing for popular B&B's in Lancaster; we're doing pretty well with occupancy while keeping up with some much-needed renovations; reviews also look good on I Love Inns and Bedandbreakfast.com. I usually fall into bed at night quite satisfied with the accomplishments of the day.
Yet there's more to innkeeping than all positive reviews, the improvement projects and the guests. Yes, it's true that I wouldn't be an innkeeper with out an inn or without guests (who wouldn't come if the reviews weren't good). One of the most important 'little things' is my association with other innkeepers - near and far. Just a couple of months after we took over the B&B, we were invited by some neighborly innkeepers to join the local bed and breakfast association. We were already members of PAII, but had learned that Pennsylvania does not have a state association specifically for bed & breakfasts.
I cannot tell you how vaulable the association with these local, fellow innkeepers has been! They're a wonderful group of people. Each has his or her special gifts and talents; each property is unique in its own way; each inn and innkeeper has something valuable to offer. If you were in a room with these people, someone would have to tell you that they were competitors and sometimes I think they forget that they are. The cooperation, for the most part (well, we all have our opinions!), is second to none. In fact, right now we're working on a sort of round-table discussion of sorts to brainstorm ideas for helping each other out given the current economic condidtions, i.e. determining what special skills and talents each of us has that might be of some assistance to another. For instance, we have a tile saw that we purchased last year in anticipation of renovating our bathrooms. Bob is pretty adept at using it. So, we would offer our talents and tools to help someone else out who needs a small repair.
Our association organizes all kinds of opportunities for fellowship and continuing education. We have retreats, dinners and let's not forget our monthly meeting! Any excuse to have potluck! We've developed close friendships with several other innkeepers. As I mentioned previously, we're new to this game and it's only through my association with these other innkeepers that I've learned of some of the other wonderful things that have taken place in the association. There was an innkeeper undergoing treatment for cancer. Well, the others stepped up and provided breakfasts so that the ill innkeeper did not have to close her doors! When one member experienced the death of a close family member, the association sent flowers. Other examples include get well cards; congratulation kudos; and two of our members were even nominated by the rest of the group for awards given out by our local visitor's bureau. There was no one who sulked that they themselves weren't nominated or recognized, but everyone gathered round our awarded fellow members to share in their joy!
So, thank you, Authentic Bed & Breakfasts of Lancaster County! We consider ourselves very fortunate and blessed to be a part of the family!