Dan McDevitt

Memphis, Tennessee, USA











Marketserve Management & Marketing Studio

Marketserve Management

FACT:  An independent innkeeper with a personalized bed & breakfast inn can have some competitive advantage in today’s hyper-competitive hospitality and lodging marketplace.

The lenders called me awhile back.  They wanted me to take over the management of a lodging property.  Their real estate owned portfolio was taking on weight.  Calm talks with the franchisor led to the decision that a no-fault parting was in everyone’s best interests.  The franchisor and I had candidly discussed the realities of this particular market and property.  I appreciated their insights and understanding of the matter.

Cold Fact:  The property was free to succeed or not on its own.  Surveying the competition and quietly visiting area properties was completed.  I rummaged around my new property to evaluate the resources, and went to work.  An eclectic image of a family inn was floating around my right brain.  A memo alert in my left-brain was alarmingly clear; there was zero budget and little time to get it right. 

Hard Fact:  We were now independent innkeepers, with one hundred rooms to sell, every night.  A few of our rooms had issues, but were a convenient source of spare lamps, tables and bedding.  We actually only had ninety rooms available to sell, every night.  All of our connecting rooms became two-for-one adjoining room suites.  This was especially attractive to families, and guests seeking extra space, at a very appealing rate.  Without a points program, or another plastic card, we just gave our business travelers three nights for the price of two rates.  If their schedule was only two nights in town this week, they got their free night next week. 

Cool Fact:  We attracted new guests and created crispy fresh cash flow.  We had a free lemonade stand in the lobby, complete with pretzels and cookies.  A mixture of round banquet tables seating ten and square four tops were arranged in creating our version of a bed & breakfast dining room.  It came together with a mismatch of floral table clothes, and framed travel posters alongside display paintings from a local artist on the walls.

Another Fact:  We did it!  As a team, we voted in a warm hello and a welcoming smile, with hand-made nametags, as the new uniform.  Friendly service, clean rooms and free full breakfast was the new product.  We talked in team huddles every day about what was working, and led our former comp set in occupancy, rate and revenue.  We worked hard and smart, had fun and retained loyal guests and staff throughout our transition season.  Not knowing any better, we made it up and used everything we had to sell rooms.

Fact is:  Competition for bed & breakfasts and unique inns includes leading name hoteliers, well-known national chains and franchised brands.  The lone inn competes with everyone offering beds for heads at a price.  It is hard to get noticed in the crowd.  Being independent innkeepers, there is advantage in agility and ability.  We can be more high touch and have more meaningful guest contact.  Smaller can be better, independent can be more nimble.  Decide a new plan at breakfast and have it in place by lunch. 

Being innkeepers is collaborating at times and communicating with other like-minded innkeepers active in the hospitality industry.  Let me know when you want to discuss daily operations, marketing ideas or buying and selling an inn, privately.  I do not have all the answers, but share what I do have.  I bring to the table twenty plus years experience in hospitality management, training and sales, and treasuring the moment.  We can discuss the facts whenever you want.  Best regards, DM

Dan McDevitt-Marketserve-Memphis, Tennessee USA

Being Innkeepers

Marketserve Management

Marketserve Management & Marketing Studio

Marketserve Management & Marketing Studio
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