In January I was fortunate enough to attend the PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International) Conference in Charleston, SC. It is the big annual meeting of innkeepers from all over the country. http://www.innkeeping.org/
We go to these kinds of gatherings for a number of reasons – to educate ourselves, to spread the word about our properties, to be inspired, and to enjoy the fellowship of other innkeepers.
When doctors and lawyers and teachers go to their workplaces, they usually work side by side with other doctors, lawyers and teachers. While we innkeepers enjoy the company of our many interesting guests, we tend to be isolated from colleagues by the nature of our work. So to be in the presence of hundreds of other innkeepers and vendors who support our industry for four full days is a pretty exciting thing.
I learned more than I wish I needed to know about the constantly changing face of the internet, our all-important marketing tool these days. I was truly inspired by a fellow innkeeper’s program for pampering cancer patients http://www.lavenderinn.com/inncourage/, one that I hope to recreate here at El Rancho Merlita. I met some seasoned veterans of the Bed & Breakfast world, some keepers of newly established inns, and some aspiring innkeepers, doing their homework before they take the dive! And most fun of all, I got to hang out with some Arizona innkeepers I have known “virtually” for a while but had never met face to face.
A big component of the event is the vendor show. Purveyors of all the many resources one needs to run a Bed and Breakfast Inn – linens, insurance, soap, china, PR and marketing services – put in long days schmoozing and sharing their wares. I picked out some new sheets, found the perfect robe for our setting, and got to meet several people I have great long-standing working relationships with, though we had only ever spoken to over the phone.
Charleston is a great city to explore, bursting with history, beautiful architecture, delicious food and true Southern Hospitality! http://www.charleston-sc.gov/