Creating Memories

At the risk of having this column sound like a promo for our Innkeeping Conference & Trade Show, I want to list for you some great memories I personally have now that the Atlanta show is over. I’ll explain the importance of this list at the end of the column.

1. Having a fantastic time at dinner with some innkeepers from Texas, all of us highly anticipating a fantastic Innkeeping Show in Austin next March. The Texas B&B Association is helping us with the event, and we’re sure to have some wonderful experiences in store for everyone. Thanks Carol et al for your support.
2. Seeing a gorilla walk through the ballroom during our “State of the Industry” general session. It’s one of those things where you had to be there to understand. If you were not there, and you’re curious, drop me an email and I’ll tell you about it. I must have been laughing (on stage during a professional forum) for five minutes after the prank.
3. Having a late-night beer with Tim and Amy Brady, innkeepers extraordinaire from Brattleboro, Vermont, and coming up with some fantastic ideas for PAII.
4. Each evening seeing the Tweets posted on the live Twitter feed at I was pleasantly surprised with the number of conference attendees who were sharing their experiences via Twitter.
5. During the opening key note, listening to an innkeeper tell her story about when she damaged her giant RV in front of one of the Disney hotels in Orlando, which caused the holding tank to spill all over the front entrance…and how wonderfully the Disney staff handled her crisis. The story was priceless and the timing was perfect.
6. Seeing Lynnette Scofield from the William Henry Miller Inn in Ithaca, New York, throw her leg up on the stage during her spin around the dance floor during the Great Innkeeper Idea Fair. Seeing our members dance with professional ballroom dancers was so much fun!

What we hope to accomplish with running a large conference like the Innkeeping Conference & Trade Show is to create memories for those who come. What memories are you helping to create with your guests? I stayed at a handful of B&Bs with my wife before I took the job at PAII, and there is a range of memories that remain with me. Without naming the names of the inns (in some cases I really can’t remember), I’ll mention what I can recall. I don’t know why exactly these are the primary memories, but they are:

· Rock Hill, SC – the innkeeper had a wonderful Southern accent and AMAZING biscuits at breakfast (which she pronounced charmingly as “bre-fiss”)
· Carmel, CA – very clean place and tasty breakfast
· St. Augustine, FL – difficult to navigate around the property with our luggage at night when we arrived
· Long Island – the room felt run down, as though it had not been updated or freshened-up in 20+ years
· Farmville, VA – engaging innkeeper and great suggestions for a jogging route

So I ask you, the innkeeper, vendor or whoever you may be – what memories are you creating? Do you know? Online reviews are one thing, but lasting memories are another.

I had a fantastic time in Atlanta seeing familiar faces and making new friends in this industry. Thanks to everyone who came.

Author: Jay Karen

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

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