How To Improve Guests' Experiences and Maximize Sales with Doug Kennedy

Ep. 12
Today, Doug Kennedy, Founder and President of the Kennedy Training Network (KTN) joins us to share some nuggets from his 30+ years of experience in the hospitality industry. Doug delivered training workshops globally, in places like Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sophia, Frankfurt, and Milan, to name a few, touching the lives of at least 40,000 hoteliers in the process.  At KTN, Doug delivers training in hotel sales, hospitality and guest service staff, front desk, and reservations sales. Our conversation revolves around the five principles of hospitality excellence, how to attract new clients and increase sales, situational sensitivity, and the importance of self-care. We discuss Doug's two definitions of hospitality, how innkeepers can avoid exhaustion and burnout, and how being smaller than hotel chains and understanding the human touch are advantages inns have in the industry. In addition, Doug kindly shared some sales tips to transform our business simply by re-learning to use our inn's phone. Tune in to Episode 12 of INNtrospection, and pay attention to our conversation because Doug offers a discount code for his course "Reservations QUEST". Enjoy! Some Questions I Ask:How do you define hospitality? (4:23)In one of the articles you wrote, you talk about the five fundamentals of hospitality excellence. Can you enlighten us as to what they are? And give us some examples? (15:33)How do you feel that innkeepers can keep from burning out and keep being innkeepers and finding it exciting and fun? (23:12)In This Episode, You'll Learn:Hospitality is about caring for and about your guests (6:52)We are here to serve our guests, not to be their friends (11:50)The importance of self-care and taking a moment for us (22:57)Celebrate phone calls. People call before booking online (31:21)The importance of understanding the human touch a phone call provides (34:33)Resources:Kennedy Training Network website Book: Doug Kennedy - So You REALLY Like Working With People?: Five Principles For Hospitality ExcellenceBook: Doug Kennedy - Still On The Road To Sales And Guest Service Excellence: Doug Kennedy's Hospitality Training Articles 1996 - 2012Connect with Doug:LinkedInLet's Connect!

Inntrospection's March Madness

Ep. 10
People from all walks join the innkeeping industry for the most varied reasons. Some of them are fulfilling an old dream, others are just adventurous spirits, some found in innkeeping the perfect alternative for their 9 to 5, and there are those who love meeting new people and getting in touch with different cultures. Whatever the case might be, once they are part of the industry, some common topics arise in their lives. Such as what to do with their free time, how to build space for free time, the feeling of never disconnecting from the inn, or getting help to allocate time for advertising the inn. I decided to create my own version of NCAA's March Madness in today's episode. We'll cover a wide variety of topics, from the exciting and interesting conversations I had during the Association of Lodging Professionals Conference with over 100 innkeepers to the tough time I had during my first years in the business. We also go through how I created space for myself, how I disconnect from my business and the proper way to hire talent to help us. As  March is  Women's History month, I also take a few minutes to remember the intelligent, courageous, and inspiring women in my family who taught me so much about life, entrepreneurship, and being a strong woman. In This Episode, You Will Learn:About my beginnings as an innkeeper and my endless 24/7 rounds working days (5:26)What should we look for when we hire talent to assist us (9:43)How I created time for myself (13:29)About the strong, independent, courageous, and inspiring women in my family (18:34)We are broken vessels. How we fix our wounds and assimilate our defeats make us stronger (25:26)Let's Connect!

Falling For the Victorian Charm of the Birmingham Manor with Elena Pastura

Ep. 8
In 1904, Colonel John Lant Youngs, a decorated hero from World War I, built the Birmingham Manor in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, as his residence. Almost 50 years later, the manor transitioned from Victorian heritage to a beautiful bed and breakfast to cope with the massive flow of visitors the Stratford Shakespearean Festival attracted to the city. Fast forward many years, in 2011, two Italian professors were looking for a cottage and decided to visit the house they saw in the classified section. It was love at first sight with the Birmingham Manor. In the beginning, they thought of taking the inn as a seasonal type of business, and as much as they love teaching, running such a magnificent place made them decide to switch careers. Elena Pastura and Dom Tassielli come from a long career in private education; Dom taught many years before opening his own private school in Canada, the only one recognized by the Italian government. Elena is an elementary trained teacher; she taught Italian as a second language working for the Italian government and has a Montessori diploma.   In this episode, we chat with Elena about her experiences running the Birmingham Manor, her and Dom's decision to switch careers from education to innkeeping, and her perspective on the industry. We talk about the challenges they faced as newbies in the innkeeping world, their love for meeting new people and cooking, and the importance of establishing clear boundaries with guests. Elena also described her and Dom's approach to hosting, establishing personal relationships with most of them, her relationship with perfectionism, her rituals preparing guests' rooms, and more. Some Questions I Ask:What drew you to buy an operating bed and breakfast? (5:30)Would you say your own travels have helped you figure out what it is that makes people feel welcome? (11:27)What are the special touches and things you do to establish personal relationships with your guests? (13:24)What do you do to keep yourself sane and happy while being of service 24/7? (27:42)In This Episode, You Will Learn:From a stressful first summer to glowing reviews and incredible growth (7:48)Elena's fantastic definition of hospitality (12:43)There is always something going on in Stratford to entertain guests (25:11)The importance of establishing boundaries to avoid uncomfortable moments (31:40)How constructive criticism can help us offer better service to our guests (42:39)Resources: Birmingham Manor Bed & Breakfast websiteBirmingham Manor Bed & Breakfast FacebookBirmingham Manor Bed & Breakfast InstagramBirmingham Manor Bed & Breakfast Trip Advisor reviewsEmail: info@birminghammanor.comPhone: 519-273-6545Let's Connect!

Gearing Up for The 2022 ALP Conference & Marketplace with Kris Ullmer and Erik Spence

Ep. 7
The 2022 ALP Conference & Marketplace coming up February 5th is an excellent opportunity to connect with people from the industry, learn about what they are doing, and learn about other innkeepers' ideas to implement in our own b&bs. Like any other industry, innkeeping requires ongoing education, and the Conference is an excellent opportunity for those interested in professionalizing their career choice. It is also an ideal chance for newcomers to understand that innkeeping is much more than a profession; it is a lifestyle. Visiting us to tell us more about the Conference are Kris Ullmer, CEO of the Association of Lodging Professionals (ALP), and Erik Spence, Conference Planner at ALP. Kris has been in the innkeeping and lodging business her entire life; she opened her first B&B in partnership with her spouse in 1987, volunteered at the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association, and became the Managing Director. Kris was the CEO of PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International) when it merged with AIHP (Association of Hospitality Professionals), creating the ALP and naming her as the CEO of the new association in the process. Erik has a Bachelor's Degree in Hotel, Motel, and Restaurant Management from Penn State University. After more than 20 years of experience in hotel and restaurant management, Erik specialized in business functions, weddings, festival planning, and event consultations. In this episode, we delve into Kris and Erik's journeys in the innkeeping and lodging industry, their passion for hospitality, and what made them choose this career path. We also talk about their definition of client satisfaction, what is expected from innkeepers when hosting guests, and how to avoid burnout. In addition, we talked about the Conference; Erik shared details about the event's organization, what attendants should expect to get from it, the massive opportunity it represents for the industry, Covid restrictions and regulations, and much more.  Some Questions I Ask:Erik, I know you've been spending a lot of time getting ready for this Conference. Can you tell us a little bit more about what to expect? (6:19)  Kris, Erik, how do you define hospitality? (17:27)What has either of you learned about how to prevent burnout for innkeepers? (34:10)In This Episode, You Will Learn:About the Conference's growth and how it evolved with time into what it is today (7:36)A Conference made entirely of content chosen by owners and lodging professionals (10:19)Hospitality can come in unique variations (18:14)Kris and Erik share their experiences with W.O.W service (25:56)What are some of the great opportunities the Conference offers (38:27)Resources:Association of Lodging Professionals website2022 ALP Conference & Marketplace registrationConnect with Kris:Email: kris@alplodging.orgPhone: 715-921-2327Connect with Erik:LinkedInEmail: conference@alplodging.orgPhone: 573-470-3492

Recap of An Unexpected and Amazingly Exciting 2021

Ep. 6
Today, in the last episode of the year and first of 2022, I decided to look at how my life changed in 2021. I'll take you through the journey that led to the creation of this podcast, which started with a vision, an epiphany I had during a retreat I both hosted at my former inn as well as attended in December 2020, followed by a visit of a real estate agent and the unexpected opportunity of selling the inn I owned, ran and lived in for the last  25years. Throughout this episode, we look at the circumstances that made me start the podcasting and consulting adventure and how satisfying it feels to help other innkeepers with my experience and the knowledge accumulated during a lifetime of being in the industry. I also share how hard it was to separate my identity from the inn I operated for many years, the discoveries I made looking at innkeeping from a different perspective, and my wishes for all of you in 2022. In This Episode, You Will Learn:About the vision, I had during the retreat of me in Mexico (2:43)Every business is for sale if the price is right (3:35)The astronomical amount of information required to sell an inn (6:34)And the day, INNtrospection was born (9:03)The importance of taking time off (12:35)Being humble to ask for help and accept it once it is given (14:42)What to do instead of New Year‘s resolutions and my wishes for 2022 (17:59)Let's Connect!