Earlier this month I attended the PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International) conference in Charleston. Let me just say that the south closes down in cold inclement weather. I had one day to sightsee and the whole town closed down because earlier in the morning it was a bit icy. And when I say closed down - the Visitor's Center was closed, there were no tours, nothing. I was disappointed that I was not able to see Charleston since I had heard what a beautiful city it was. Next time, I guess!
On to the conference! When I mention to some people that innkeeping - inns and bed and breakfasts - have a conference they are surprised. So what do they cover, how to make a bed (usually said with a laugh). The short answer is no, the long answer could take forever so I will give you the "Reader's Digest" (condensed) version. The innkeeping conferences are great and I always go away having learned something. You need to approach running a bed and breakfast as a business. Those of you reading this who have stayed at Serendipity know that I love Serendipity, enjoy having guests, and try to make the whole experience the best that I can. Going into my 6th year, I cannot believe that I still enjoy it so much! The conferences help with that. I do have a business degree and worked in technology in my previous life and I bring all of those experiences to Serendipity. If you do not keep up with the new technology, it will start to impact your business. No longer is just having a website enough. Yes, it is very important to have a website but it is also important to embrace social media. Since B&B owners work alone, we rely on PAII to keep us up to date on what is going on. One thing that came across loud and clear is the importance of social media. Yes, I blog - something that I learned was important in a previous conference. Yes I have a facebook page. If you have not already, "like" Serendipity B&B by going to www.facebook.com/serendipitynj ! I try to keep people updated about what is going on in Ocean City and also about any new specials being offered at Serendipity. "Like" me so you can get specials that may be available only for facebook people! (Normally I post 5-6 times a week. Did not post while I was away but I will be back on top of my game soon!) The conference re-enforced my commitment to blogging and facebook but also started talking about the importance of having one or more videos. So stay tuned - you may see a Serendipity video in the near future!
One of the classes I really enjoyed was on yeast breads. My guests know that I make the breads that I serve and also make muffins or a coffee cake for breakfast each day. I love cinnamon buns but to make fresh cinnamon buns would require getting up around 3 am! However I learned a way to make fresh cinnamon rolls without getting up at that ungodly hour. Can't wait to try it out and if it turns out good, be prepared to have hot from the oven cinnamon buns for breakfast! For me, that alone was worth the cost of the conference!
Another feature of the conference is the trade show. You get to see, feel, touch and smell new products and talk to vendors about services. I love being able to smell new products I provide for my guests, feeling the softness of towels and linens, and see the suction power of new vacuums. So much more fun than ordering from a catalog or the web!
Coming home from the conference I am more invigorated and can't wait to put into practice all the new things I learned. I want to make coming to Serendipity Bed and Breakfast an even better experience. So check your calendars for some free time then check my availability calendar at www.serendipitynj.com and make your reservation! Can't wait to see you!
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast