Innkeeping Story – Brampton Bed & Breakfast Inn

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aDanielle and Michael Hanscom in Chestertown, Maryland own the historic plantation named the Brampton Bed and Breakfast Inn. Danielle shared great inn keeping tips as she spoke about the definite ideas one needs to establish to own a bed and breakfast. Many changes have occurred in the industry since they began their long lasting business and their perfectly timeless inn has created lasting memories for each guest.

Q: How long have you been in business?

Twenty seven years. It was a private residence when we bought it. We started our bed and breakfast with two rooms. Now, we have thirteen rooms.

Q: Why did you decide to go into innkeeping?

We were living in San Francisco and as I am Swiss, I needed to be closer to Europe. We had a one and half year old child and a teenager and started looking around on the east coast. My in-laws were still alive and living outside of Washington DC. We were looking around the area they were though we didn’t want to be in the big city. We stayed in a bed and breakfast for the first time while visiting their area and decided we wanted to run a bed and breakfast. The one we stayed had small rooms. My husband said, “Wherever we do, we are not going to have a house with small rooms.” He found the Brampton house that we turned into a bed and breakfast and the rooms are huge.

Q: What is your signature breakfast?

aWe do seasonal items. Right now, we have caramelized onions, rosemary and smoked gouda. We always have choices from a savory to a sweet breakfast. We always have eggs on our menu which allows our guests to tell us how to prepare their eggs. We have somewhat of an a-la-carte breakfast with fruits, granola, greek yogurt, oatmeal and more. We have a staff which prepares their breakfasts. Also, I am part of Eight Broads in the Kitchen and we have a cook book on the market.

Q: Where are the majority of your guests from?

Many guests come in from around the big areas of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC. Also, people come in from northern Virginia.

Internationally we have people come from the United Kingdom, Iceland, Germany, and Switzerland.

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

aA killer website! Investment in wonderful photography. We have great photography done by Jumping Rocks Photography on our website.

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

It is a 24/7 business. It is a challenge to find time for yourself and your family. We have four children. We recruited all our children to help in the business. I would say that we had a lot of “teenage labor” with our children. At this point, our children range in age from 23 to 43. Our oldest child has joined us in the business.

Q: Biggest lesson learned in the industry?

Going for quality over fancy in the rooms. There is a difference between quality and fancy. Good materials, not the flashy ones. Nice, solid beds and good, quality mattresses. Not necessarily the biggest pillow top mattress on the bed .

This is an old plantation house. We directed some of our decor to this style but we keep the surfaces cleaned off, no knick knacks, so guests have a place to put their things.

Q: What motto do you live by?

Be kind to people. I have something on my refrigerator that says, “Be Kind to Unkind People, They Need It The Most.”

Q: What is unique about your inn?

The plantation house was built beginning in 1830 and ended in 1860. Different parts of the place were built on during those years. It is on the historic national registry. Almost everything is original except the bathrooms. Not much has been altered in our place. Anything we do with the house, we need to get permission. The house has the walnut doors which are very heavy. It has walnut window frames with the original glass. The floors are all original.a

All the rooms have fireplaces. Eleven of the rooms have wood burning fireplaces. We prepare the wood in the fireplace for our guests. We have decorated in the plantation home style.

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

We didn’t probably choose the best location, business wise. Chestertown is a gorgeous little working town but it is not like a big tourist town. We have to get our name out there to create this place as a destination for people to come to us. When we started in 1987 there were no websites. Years ago people had to look for us in guide books or the Washington Post.

In the 90’s we got the website and reservation system when they were made available. Now, we have White Stone Marketing which helps us with our website and our marketing.

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

We like to visit our grandchildren in California. I get together with my group of friends in Eight Broads in the Kitchen. The way it started out was Kathryn White and Debbie Mosimann were on a road trip together and thought wouldn’t it be great to have a food blog. Several others including myself were asked to join them. We get together and go on vacation once a year to discuss our business. We have gone to the south of France, Santa Fe, and more. It is a great support group. I, also like to read and I like to garden.

Q: Any little known facts about your town?

Chestertown has the tenth oldest college in the country. It is the only one George Washington gave his name to it. It has the second largest collections of restored 18th century homes. It is a gorgeous town. At one time, Chestertown was the biggest port in Baltimore.

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

We had a dog named Molly as a brides maid which had a really pretty hat. We have many guests who come here to propose marriage. We had a man who wanted to have the ring come on a muffin at breakfast time. We were prepared for him and he didn’t show up for breakfast. Later, he called and told us that he lost his nerve and asked her yesterday. He couldn’t wait anymore. We will have a guest who can not eat many different kinds of foods and certain ingredients.

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

Invest in great photography and a good website. Look after your guests. Be as gracious, accommodating and welcoming as you can possible be to them. Be available by phone to your guests.a

Did You Know? 

In Chestertown, Washington College was founded in 1782. George Washington not only gave fifty guineas to start the college but it is the one college he gave permission to use his name. In 1789, he accepted an honorary degree from the college which was the same year, he became president of the United States.

Throughout the years, Washington College had its share of ups and downs. In the early years, tuition was known to be paid in bushels of oysters and other commodities. Citizens gave more than double of the five thousand pounds asked for by the state to grant a college charter. The college suffered through two fires which occurred in 1827 and in 1916.

Today, the college with its waterfront campus on the Chester River has new buildings. Renovations have been done on older buildings. George Washington is considered the patron so the core values are ones that he exemplified such as leadership, moral courage, determination, integrity and more.

 

Upcoming Tradeshows & Conferences January-March, 2015

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PAII ANNUAL INNKEEPING CONFERENCE AND TRADESHOW

aDates: Monday, January 5 through Thursday, January 8, 2015

Website: http://www.innkeeping.org/

Reservations can be made at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside to stay during the conference.

Where:a
Hilton New Orleans Riverside
Two Poydras Street
New Orleans, LA
504-556-3700

 

 

  Dude Ranchers Association

aDates: Wednesday, January 21 through Sunday, January 25, 2015

Website: http://www.duderanch.org/

 

Reservations can be made at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch to stay during the conference.

Where:a
Tanque Verde Guest Ranch
14301 East Speedway Boulevard
Tucson, Arizona
520-731-5574

 

California Bed & Breakfast Association

aDates: Sunday, February 8 through Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Website: http://www.cabbi.com/

Reservations can be made at the DoubleTree by Hilton Sonoma Wine Country to stay during the conference.

Where: Hotel Exterior
DoubleTree by Hilton Sonoma Wine Country
1 DoubleTree Drive
Rohnert Park, California 94928
707-584-5466

 

 

Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia

aDates: Sunday, February 22 through Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Website: http://www.innvirginia.com/

Reservations can be made at the Fredericksburg Hospitality House Hotel and Conference Center to stay during the conference.

Where:a
Fredericksburg Hospitality House Hotel and Conference Center
Central Park, 2801 Plank Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22404
540-786-8321

 

Illinois B&B Association Annual Conference

aDates: Sunday, March 1 through Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Website: http://www.illinoisbnb.com/

Reservations can be made at the East Land Suites Hotel & Conference Center to stay during the conference.

Where:a
East Land Suites Hotel & Conference Center
1801 Eastland Drive
Bloomington, Illinois
309-662-0000

Montana Bed and Breakfast Association Convention

2Dates: Sunday, March 29 through Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Website: http://www.mtbba.com/index.php

Reservations can be made at the Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown to stay during the conference.

Where:VFMLID=52513542
Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown
200 South Pattee Street
Missoula, MT 59802
406-721-8550

 
Coming together is a beginning;keeping together is progress; working together is success. -Henry Ford

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 constructed a bed and breakfast where guests have felt the warmth and love that comes from 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 than 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 invested in 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 books 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 goes 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 though now it is my main source.

Two other things that helped the business were we got a credit card machine then 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 for doing what they are now do 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 we don’t have air conditioning here. Hotels are the only ones with air conditioning. I was happy to help them find a hotel. Guests 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 started 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 works 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 very touristy. People, who come here get to see what what is traditional Hawaii. Although, the internet is changing that even in our town. Still, we have 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 have any money. She had gone into a parking lot of an expensive hotel and found a car. 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 and came here. She belonged to a group of thieves who called here as they seemed to know 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 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 on the road. It is almost impossible to break through the lava. Lava has flowed 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

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