Just a few months before I opened my Bed and Breakfast I attended the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) conference in Phoenix. That was in March of 2006. I went as an “aspiring innkeeper”, knowing only bits and pieces about the Bed and Breakfast business from the other seminars I had attended and inns I had visited. I attended the day-long session for aspiring innkeepers and was impressed with the wealth of information. I also was a little overwhelmed with it all but still anxious to get going! It was a spur of the moment decision that made all the difference. Somehow I knew that if I had been thinking about opening and/or running a Bed and Breakfast, I had better take that leap. Spending the money to travel and stay there and taking the time to attend the conference in Phoenix was part of that leap.
One of PAII’s keynote speakers, Holly Steil, in her address at the conference and among many other great comments and suggestions, said, “It’s all about the dance.” BAM! It hit me like a rock and it stuck! In our service business, it is all about the dance (and the personality of the innkeeper). To me, that’s a pretty important statement and not only did it help develop my mission, but it also is reflected in how I make a reservation, how I greet my guests, how I listen to what they want and expect, how I ensure that they are happy, and how I let them know that they are my most important people at Buffalo Tavern. It’s about how I let my guests lead me in the dance to let me know what’s important to their satisfaction.
I have always believed that one can attend a conference or seminar and be totally satisfied if able to walk away with just one tidbit, one thought, one statement, one phrase, one anything that would make a difference in either their work or business or life. I believed that from those few words or from one significant idea that hit a” hot button,” something great could grow. That happened to me in Phoenix, and it shines quite brightly with my own Bed and Breakfast, Buffalo Tavern, in West Jefferson, North Carolina. I use a phrase of few words each and every day with my work at the inn and my relationship with my guests. Embedded in my mission statement is the essence of those few words: “The mission of Buffalo Tavern is to ensure that all those who arrive as guests leave as friends.” Simple. Direct. Clear. I can’t really tack down how those words came about for sure. I can just say that the statement entered my thoughts and I knew then that it would be the driving force to my daily actions at Buffalo Tavern.