Innkeeping Story – The Bay House

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aTina & Thomas Jimenez built on Hilo, Hawaii a romantically secluded bed and breakfast called The Bay House. Serenely laid out in a exquisite paradise, they built the bed and breakfast where guests have felt the warm and love that comes innkeepers who strive to give a true Hawaiian “Aloha.” Tina’s motto, she shared with me, expresses insight on how guests will have cherished memories upon the moment they arrive at their inviting bed and breakfast.

Q: How long have you been in business?

About 18 years.

Q: Why did you decide to go into innkeeping?

When I was a teenager, I would read a lot. I read a book called Hotel by Arthur Hailey. He wrote a lot of books about different industries. I was trying to think what I wanted to do in life as I was ready to go to college. It sounded not just like fun but you could work hard, make things nice for people and take care of them. My mom thought it was very broad. There were not a lot of colleges that offered a degree in hospitality. I went into the peace corp. I became a registered nurse.

When I had children, people would come visit us and I loved it. I realized I could make money while entertaining guests. This was something I had wanted to do from a long, long time.

When we moved to Hawaii, my husband, who is a surgeon, was all for my idea. We looked at property in the town of Hilo. We opened the bed and breakfast in January of 1997.

We used travel agents. We used guide books and once you got into a guide book, “you had arrived.” Soon, Google came out and organized all the searches. We needed to work with guide book s before the internet took over.a

Q: What is your signature breakfast?

Everyone gets a basket for their room of banana bread, tropical fruit, omelet, and more. They can eat with their significant other. In the common area I have more of the things of what was in their basket.

Q: Where are the majority of your guests from?

Most people come from the mainland. Many people from California, Colorado, and New York. It kind of depends on whose economy is doing better.  At the start of my bed and breakfast, I got a lot from Minnesota.

Guests from other countries are Australians and Germans. I am willing to check them in early knowing they come in from long flights.

Q: What’s the best thing you have done for your business?

Website. It is the window dressing. Next is TripAdvisor. That is where a lot of people look for a place to stay. It makes it easy for people to surf the web and find us. TripAdvisor has gone through some changes.  Now, it is my main source now.

Two other things that helped the business were we got a credit card machine and my bookings doubled.

Next, online reservation systems came out so I didn’t have to spend so much time on the phone. I have discovered people want to book the reservation online.b

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

Juggling all three of my children while doing the bed and breakfast. My oldest started kindergarten the year before I started the bed and breakfast. I needed to drive my children around. I did have a helper for a little while until she fell in love and moved to the mainland.

Now, my children are grown and I can completely focus and pamper my guests. I also, have hired a bookkeeper. Until, I got helpers, I didn’t realize how hard it was to do everything. I have found I can’t get mad at them if they forget to do something as I often would forget to do some things when I was responsible in doing what they are now doing for me.

Q: Biggest lesson learned in the industry?

When someone does some thing wrong just turn the other cheek.

A lot of these people have dreamnt about this for a long time. I can’t imagine telling someone there are the house rules. Very few, one in a thousand have a negative attitude. I tell my guests to call me. If they don’t tell me, I won’t know something is wrong. I will fix what is wrong or find someone who can fix it. I get right on top of it. It spills into all areas of my life. Instead of just waiting, I find out what went wrong. I have developed the confidence to find solutions without waiting for somehow the problem to resolve itself.

One time we had a super hot spell and usually we get a lot of rain so we do need an air conditioning system. A couple came in and didn’t know I don’t have air conditioning. As hotels are the only ones with air conditioning. I was happy to help them find a hotel. They are not my captives. If someone comes and this is not what they were looking for, I am happy to let them go.

Q: What motto do you live by?

Everyone that I meet is my friend until proven otherwise. I learned this from my mother in-law. She showed me a completely different way of life. Everyone was interesting to my mother in-law. She was completely non-judgmental.

Q: What is unique about your bed and breakfast?

It is ocean front and in walking distance to down town. We built the bed and breakfast ourselves. We built it as a bed and breakfast and finished it in late 1996.a

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to go to yoga. Now, that my children are grown, I am going to join the rotary club here. I really want to give back to this town. They have wonderful speakers and it is only one hour of service a week. I don’t want to sit around and talk. I want to be constructive and meet people in our community.

My husband still works part-time for Kaiser. He helps out here. He is my partner, right hand, and “honey do” man.

Q: Any little known facts about your lives or town?

Hilo has had a least two tsuamias that destroyed the town because of  earthquakes in Chile and the another earthquake in Alaska many years ago. The people have seen a lot of tragic and have helped each other. Everyone worked together. It is an old town and people who live here will stay here. It has been more closed off than other parts of Hawaii with a lot of suspicion of strangers. It was not as touristy. People, who come here get to see what Hawaii is real like. Although, the internet is changing that. Now, there is a good blend of new and old.

Q: Any fun guest stories you want to share? Such as unique guests, crazy situations or celebrity guests. a

We had a bunch of playgirl models with their promoter come stay with us.

When I first started the bed and breakfast, a lady came up in a taxi from Kona who had made a reservation by phone. She had flip flops on and was wearing socks. She had a big bruise by her ear. I called the bank to see if she had enough money. They said that she didn’t. She had gone into a parking lot of an expensive hotel and found a car that she liked. She stole the car and the person’s identification and went on a high speed chase with the police. She hit the steering wheel which is how she got the bruise. Unfortunately, they didn’t press charge within twenty four hours so she was let go. She belonged to a group of thieves who called here as they knew exactly where she was and pick her up quickly when she realized we was “on to her”.

 

Q: Do you have helpful innkeeping tips you would like to share? 

Everyone is a friend. Open the door with a smile and open arms. Guests have traveled very far on an airplane to come to Hawaii.

Did You Know? 

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is found in Hawaii County with Hilo being the nearest town. Studies in this volcano active park give scientists evidence on how the Hawaiian Islands came to be. It has one of the most of active volcanoes in the world called Kilauea. Volcanic eruptions which have occurring since June of this year have caused tremendous problems for the people there including when the lava hardens, it is almost impossible to break through it. This very day, lava is flowing very close to the Pahoa marketplace.a

Innkeeping Story – Stone Canyon Inn

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b Dixie & Mike Burbidge own the Stone Canyon Inn located in Tropic, Utah. Dixie spoke with me about the hard work and dedication that goes into doing what they love, running an inn. They started out at ground zero when they purchased a rugged piece of property where they began building their dream in the form of an inn. Now, they operate an expansive establishment with breathtaking views.

Q: How long have you been in business?

We opened in August of 2000.

Q: Why did you decide to go into innkeeping?

We use to bring our family down into this area all the time to explore it. We decided it would be fun to run a business down here where we could show off the area to other people. We’ve always liked to entertain though we had no experience in the hospitality industry. We got into this industry as a business to begin with. I laugh when people ask, “Did you retire to do this?” This is a full time job and than some.  My response has been, ” You think this is retirement!?”

Q: How did your bed and breakfast evolve into an inn with a restaurant? a

We ran our bed and breakfast for fourteen years than turned into it into an inn with a five star restaurant, Stone Hearth Grille. I published a recipe book while we were running our place as a bed and breakfast. Our breakfasts were well known while we ran the bed and breakfast. We, even started the restaurant with breakfast but people would only trickle in for breakfast as we are a mile and half off the highway. Now, we only serve dinner. The restaurant has just been amazing. We found people are willing to drive to have a good dinner. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is unbelievable.

Q: Where are the majority of your guests from?

We get a lot of people from the east and west coast. New York, Massachusetts, Florida, California, and Oregon are the main states. Outside of the country, we get many Europeans from France, United Kingdom, Germany and Italy.

Q: What’s the best thing you have done for your business?

Changing to the inn with outdoor eating and fine dining.  We added a huge deck so people could enjoy the a gorgeous panoramic view. Our clients wanted fine dining which couldn’t be found in the area. Our restaurant is a perfect fit.

Our cottages and bungalows are very upscale and first class. They all have fireplaces, acentral air and air conditioning. They each have a deck with its own private hot tub.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

The fact that we are not on the highway. We are four hours from any metropolis. The next challenge is the internet. We need to have a really great internet presents because Bryce Canyon is out of the way. Bryce is a “bucket list” destination. People say that they will visit Bryce Canyon once in their lifetime. It isn’t a place to go back to every year.

Q: Biggest lesson learned in the industry?

Wearing twenty hats is challenging. Government needs to know that small business owners do everything. They can’t pay someone to do this and do that. They need to be understanding. It is tough been sole owners. Also, we stay open year round. It is a huge responsibility doing all the ordering, advertising, etc.

Q: What motto do you live by?

And it came to pass.

Q: What is unique about your inn?

We have a tremendous location and knowledge of the area. We tell our guests about good hiking locations and what to do in the area. We are a great resource for our guest with our knowledge in archaeology, paleontology, and more. We bought the 80 acres with Bryce Canyon as our property line. First, we built the inn. Later, we added four cottages. We started with eighty acres with gorgeous red cliffs surrounding the area.

We have nine units which are freestanding. Five units have full kitchens. Our main building has a huge deck, waterfall, stream, and pond. Our fence line borders Bryce Canyon. You can head right into the park from our property. We are a mile and a half off the highway so we have beautiful views. Everyone has their own private view and aspace.

Q: What would you do all over again if you had a time machine?

I don’t think I would change anything. We had a vision of it being a certain way. We love that our place blends in with the area.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

I have eighteen grandchildren. They come out here and we go where they live to see each other. Our children and grandchildren love to come out here. We go hiking and more. It is always a big adventure for them.

Q: Any little known facts about your town?

The town’s name is Tropic. The founding fathers must of had a sense of humor as this place isn’t tropic at all. They came from where it was much colder and probably named it such as this is much warmer. We have beautiful summers here.

The local people knew Butch Cassidy. He is from this area. He came here after Bolivia. At one point he changed his name. A lot of outlaws went through here.

Q: Any fun guest stories you want to share? Such as unique guests, crazy situations or celebrity guests. a

Richard Gere stayed here.

We’ve had ambassadors and other government officials.

Our grandchildren and our children have stayed with us. We took them on our sixty foot long slip and slide down the hill into a big mud puddle as well the 300 ft zip line, and mud course. Everyone, including my husband and I got all muddy.

Q: Do you have helpful innkeeping tips you would like to share? 

Have a sense of humor and perseverance.  People are interesting and fascinating. If you are not happy, you are not a good innkeeper.  Be able to thrive on chaos. It is what it is.

Did You Know?

Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon pioneer, holds the title for the canyon’s name. In the year, 1928, Bryce Canyon located in southwest, Utah became an official national park. Unique geology including natural amphitheaters shaped like horse shoes are here. Spires called “hoodoos” are formations here which early geologists believed could cast spells.

aBryce Canyon has many adventures trails to choose from which led many outlaws including Butch Cassidy in their day to use this spectacular location. Horseback rides offer a taste of where outlaws may have tread throughout the canyon. Moonlit hikes are available as well as stargazing.

 

Upcoming Tradeshows & Conferences November- December 2014

Washington Bed & Breakfast Guild Annual Meeting & Conference

aDates: Monday, November 3rd through Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Website: http://www.wbbg.com/

Reservations can be made at the inspirational Chrysalis Inn & Spa to stay at during the conference.

Where:a

Chrysalis Inn & Spa
804 10th St
Bellingham, WA

 

 

Pennsylvania Association Bed and Breakfast Inns Conference and Trade Show 

aDates: Tuesday November 4th through Thursday, November 6, 2014

Website: http://www.painns.com/

Reservations can be made at the elegant Toftrees Resort to stay at during the conference.

Where:a

Toftrees Resort
1 Country Club Ln
State College, PA.

 

 

 

Maine Innkeepers Conference

aDates: Wednesday, November 5th through Thursday, November 6, 2014

Website: http://www.maineinns.com/

 

Reservations can be made at the stately Point Lookout Resort to stay at during the conference.

Where:a

Point Lookout Resort
67 Atlantic Hwy
Northport, ME

 

 

 

Wisconsin B&B Association Conference and Trade Show

aDates: Sunday, November 9th through Tuesday, November 11, 20144

Website: http://www.wbba.org/index.php

Reservations can be made at the majestic Waupaca Ale House Conference Center to stay at during the conference.

Where:a
Waupaca Ale House Conference Center
201 Foxfire Drive
Waupaca, Wisconsin 54981

AH&LA Fall Conference with the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show

a Dates:  Sunday, November 9th through Tuesday, November 11, 2014 

Website: http://www.ihmrs.com/ & http://www.ahla.com/

Visit the official IHMRS housing bureau, Travel Planners, for a list of hotels
offering special rates for the show. Make your reservation early, as it is on a first-come, first-served basis and room blocks fill quickly.

Where:a
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York, New York

 

 

 

Kentucky’s 26th Annual Educational Conference and Exhibitor Tradeshow

aDates: Sunday, November 16th through Monday, November 17, 2014 

Website: http://www.kentuckybb.com/

Reservations can be made at The University Club at University of Louisville to stay at during the conference.

Where:a

The University Club at University of Louisville
200 East Brandeis Avenue
Louisville, KY 40208

 Hospitality Marketing Summit

aDates: Tuesday, November 18th through Thursday, November 20, 2014

Website: http://www.hmsconference.com/

Reservations can be made at The Inverness Hotel and Conference Center to stay at during the conference.

 

Where:a

The Inverness Hotel and Conference Center
198 Inverness Dr W
Englewood, CO

Product Review: The 5 Best Mobile Booking Engines

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Online booking systems have transformed how guests find a place to stay.”Software Advice, an evaluation firm for hotel booking systems, has published an article featuring the top 5 best online booking systems in alphabetical order.”

In this article you will find the noted highlights and pictures of how the software displays on smart phones and tablets.

Check out this informative article today and find the right online reservation system to help you capture even more online bookings.

 

Innkeeping Story – Inn At Riverbend

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Jeanne Jeffers and John Dush, expertly transitioned when they took on ownership of the Inn at Riverbend, located in Pearisburg, Virginia this year. Acquiring an inn at its peak season is not easy yet they have successfully accomplished this feat and made friends along the way. They work well at maintaining the seven exquisitely done rooms. Jeanne gave insightful answers about their innkeeping business.

 

Q: How long have you been in business?

We bought the Inn on May 27, so at this location, really new.  The Inn has just celebrated it’s 11th birthday.  Just like any pre-teen; still has its growing pains!

 

Q: Why did you decide to go into innkeeping?

I was a very bored accountant.  Hated bean-counting for others but always loved my domestic skills.  Hence, I thought it would be fun to live in a nice place and bake cookies.

 

Q: What is your signature breakfast?a

I love making a summer egg bake that is loaded with farm fresh veggies and lots of cheese.  I am one of those cooks who has to look at the ingredients then the recipe emerges from there.

 

Q: Where are the majority of your guests from? 

Washington DC, the city of Raleigh in North Carolina, and Ohio.

 

Q: What’s the best thing you have done for your business?

So far, being new, most are in the dream stage.

a

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

Coming in to cook breakfast with no pots and pans or utensils.  Our kitchen was still in storage from our move and we came in to run the Inn at Riverbend before all our furnishings were delivered.  Talk about being creative!

 

aQ: Biggest lesson learned in the industry? 

Most of our guests are just such fun, interesting people.  You would find it difficult to get to know so many wonderful folks doing anything else. 

 

Q: What motto do you live by?

“I’m only one person”….It will get done, just not right now.

 

Q: What is unique about your inn?

We have the most amazing (truly) views from every guest room.a

 

Q: What would you do all over again if you had a time machine? 

Not come into the business in the busiest season.  We came on for Virginia Tech graduation and haven’t stopped yet.

 

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

Ride my bike more.

 

Q: Any little known facts about your town? 

Pearisburg is located in the most scenic and beautiful valleys in western Virginia.  It’s a region with so much to do (Appalachian Trail, New River) and it is abreathtakingly quiet and relaxing at the same time.

 

Q: Any fun guest stories you want to share? Such as unique guests, crazy situations or celebrity guests.

We had some guests from England arrive after a long day of driving in the mountains to get here. They were hungry but too exhausted to drive to a restaurant for dinner. We really wanted them to enjoy their stay, so we stopped our work, changed into something more presentable and drove them to a restaurant where we ended up having a fabulous dinner together and became good friends. We plan on visiting them in England next fall.

 

Q: Do you have helpful innkeeping tips you would like to share? 

No matter what time check in is, guests will ALWAYS arrive early and say “Hope we’re not disturbing you, we know we’re early.”

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Did You Know?

The Appalachian Trail which is located 2 miles from the Inn at Riverbend has quite a long history on becoming an national trail which is comparable to the time it takes to hike the entire 2,180 miles of the trail. The trail stretches from Georgia up to Maine in which traveling will take you through a total of 14 states.

The story began with a project proposal put in by Benton MacKaye back in October of 1921.  He would die without ever seeing the results of his work. Myron Avery continued the process where Mackaye left off. Along the way, he became the first “2,000 miler” as he measured the trail. Numbers have grown over the years on recorded finishers of the Appalachian Trail which became a national scenic trail in 1968 of October.

 

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