If you love innkeeping, like I do, you listen to podcasts and browse websites on hospitality and customer service because you have a passion for bed and breakfasts. Many times the podcasts I listen to are ones that affirm my philosophy of owning an inn in Michigan City, Indiana. Since 2004 I have observed some things that I think guests are seeking in their lodging experience.
People remember their stay by how you make them feel. Sharing your space requires an emotional attachment to people. One recent podcast I heard had the title, It’s Not About the Muffins. What the presenters were discussing is that IT is about the people. The podcast encouraged bed and breakfast owners to limit their focus on polishing antique furnishings or promoting locally made syrup. While an attractive comfortable and modern surrounding is very important; and the breakfast at an inn needs to be outstanding and personal, what is most important is to make a connection with guests.
One of my favorite podcasts not related specifically to tourism is The Moth, a weekly hour of personal storytelling told by people committed to making the world more connected by shared experiences. Everyone arrives at the farmhouse with a story. The stories shared at Tryon Farm Guest House are examples of developing an appreciation for the human condition. The stories on The Moth are inspirational, vulnerable, sad, humorous, and true. Conversations in my kitchen are just like that. The greatest gift I give to myself is to listen to my guest’s stories.
Over time and with the help of social media the journey with guest’s stories continue and expand. We’ve shared the births of children and grandchildren, grieved at the loss of a treasured family member, celebrated a new job, wrote notes to each other on milestone life events, and hugged hello and goodbye at arrival and departure. I have a vacation home full of gifts from guests, which enhances the soul and spirit of this farmhouse.
I am grateful for these connections, for these people, and for our shared experiences. I hope our soon to arrive summer season for 2017 rolls on in a lazy and slow way. This innkeeping life is meant to be savored.