October 2007 – On My Mind

If you were preoccupied by getting ready for check-in the afternoon of August 28th, you probably missed the piece on NPR’s “All Things Considered” about two innkeepers in Saratoga Springs, NY. The story was part of a series on the trials and tribulations of small business owners. Click here to listen to the 5 minute story. NPR reporter, Jim Zarroli, contacted PAII, to see if we might have stats on the industry that support or refute the difficulties the innkeepers in this story were encountering. I immediately thought about the impact a positive or negative story might have on the innkeeping industry. As well, I wondered about who is looking out for the entire industry (meaning all stakeholders in the innkeeping world) with regard to public relations and telling our story.

I spoke with Zarroli for a few minutes and offered access to PAII’s Industry Study of Operations and Finance. The bit of information he chose to mention in the story was the fact that 58% of innkeepers surveyed indicated they rely on outside income (in addition to innkeeping) to run their households. That fact was used to support the story, which highlighted the profitability challenges of running an inn. In this day and age, it seems that national media coverage of any kind is a good thing, but of course we know that’s not true. Fortunately, the story was about one inn in one city, not about inns in general. And we all know that innkeeping business results vary based on all kinds of criteria and practices. An intelligent person would not think all inns are exactly like this particular inn, but you can see where listeners (and potential innkeepers?) might make a hasty generalization about innkeeping.

While we do get media inquiries fairly frequently, no one is knocking down our door looking for information on the condition of our industry for the purpose of shining daylight on good, bad or other information. There are some good people working hard to promote various aspects of the B&B and country inn world by engaging the media (both at the local, state, and national level), but we believe more can be done. When called upon for thoughts on our industry and staying at inns, we will always do our best to encourage people to stay at inns-it should be seen as THE optimal choice in lodging and hospitality. And PAII plans to soon take a much more proactive stance on PR for the entire industry. Stay tuned for what PAII has in store for members and our industry with regard to trying to move the demand needle. We want more people staying at inns.

Last month, we asked PAII members and former members for their opinions and suggestions on our organization-those things we’ve been doing and those things we should be doing. Your feedback was invaluable. Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom. PAII leadership read all the responses and took these into account when developing our new strategic plan. I will soon be sharing the entire plan with the PAII members, yet I want to share with you one piece of it. The PAII Board of Directors recently adopted, among the organization’s top priorities, a goal of “Promoting More Business for the Innkeeping Industry.” Several ideas are brewing on how we can and should (or should not) do this.

Do you have an idea? I’d love to hear it. Drop me a line.

Jay Karen

Jay is the President and CEO of PAII. He can be reached at jay@paii.org.

P.S. My favorite comment from a PAII member to the question “Got anything else to say to PAII’s CEO? Give him the good, bad, ugly and pretty!” is seen below. I keep this on my desk.

Author: Jay Karen

Jay is the President & CEO of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.

Share This Post On