December 2007 – On My Mind

A few weeks ago, the PAII Board of Directors met at The Montford Inn ( in Norman, Oklahoma, for our fall meeting. Besides having a great meeting, I had the good fortune of observing the Murray family in action as they took care of all their guests. There certainly was a good deal of hustle and bustle to accommodate the needs of our group, especially considering we had our meeting onsite as well. The experience reminded me that the warmth and service provided by the innkeepers themselves are as important as the comfort and lure of the building and rooms. The Murray family provided an example of fine innkeeping indeed.

The experience also spurred a thought. Could I hack it as an innkeeper? Well, let’s see. I spent years in the kitchen and waiting tables at family restaurants. My wife and I have a revolving door in our house, always welcoming friends and family. And when we do, we break out all the amenities and cook full breakfasts. I’ve been working in—and for—hospitality industries for over a decade. I like to think I’m a “people person.” I’ve owned rental properties for many years, doing almost all the maintenance work myself. I understand budgeting, marketing, P&L sheets, etc. I think that’s a fairly good résumé. BUT…nothing prepares you for innkeeping like innkeeping. I want to put myself to the test, albeit a short one.

Therefore, I am making myself available as an employee for a short duration to one lucky (or unlucky, depending on how things turn out) innkeeper this winter. If you would like to have me come and work for you for a few days at your inn, doing whatever it is you need done to help make the time a successful one for your inn and your guests—hire me! My salary requirements? Only my own bedroom and bathroom. I will come prepared to do whatever you need me to do, such as plunge toilets, scramble eggs, pour coffee, pull weeds, make beds, etc. As much as I can, I want to observe and live the life of an innkeeper.

In order to make this as fulfilling as possible, I’m looking to visit an inn that expects to be relatively busy at some point in February or March. My dates are flexible, including some weekends, save a few blackout times that come into effect, such as Valentine’s Day. I think the right environment would be one in which you’re not sold out completely and too busy to “show me the ropes,” yet busy enough so I can be part of some action. The duration of my stay is a bit flexible as well, but a “few days” is what I’m aiming at.

Interested in having me come work for you? Are you a risk taker? Can you handle mentoring this rookie for a few days? If so, CLICK HERE to enter your request by December 14. We hope to announce the lucky innkeeper before New Year’s Day.

As always, feel free to drop me a line at and let me know what’s on your mind these days.

Author: Jay Karen

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

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