It’s hard to have a conversation without someone bringing up the economy. Are things better than we think? Are they worse? Is there no clear answer? It seems everyone has an opinion on the matter. If you’re an innkeeper, we’d love to hear your first hand experience. We’ve created a poll to find out what innkeepers are seeing as the summer approaches.

Some innkeepers are telling us the current state of the economy is actually increasing bookings. They feel more folks who would normally travel out of the country are saving money by staying closer to home, and staying at a B&B. Other innkeepers have told us they have more vacancies than at this time last year, which presents an opportunity for the traveler. As innkeepers, there is no one in a better position to explain what’s going on in your local region so if you’re an innkeeper we’d love to hear your opinion. Please take a moment to participate in our innkeeper poll and also post a comment below.

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7 thoughts on “The Economy – From the Innkeepers' Perspective

  1. We added a new Historic Bridal Chapel to the Canyon Ferry Mansion, a BnB Historic Inn and expanded our Spa facilities … the only BnB in Montana to have these … this is creating a banner year for us! Elopements, Mini- Weddings, and Vow Renewals are filling up our “off season”.
    Large Destination Weddings and Park Tourists have always filled our summers and business has increased every year since we opened 8 years ago,especially after adding our big summer Pavilion. Of course having a Warm springs creek running through the property and Catering License helps, but diversifying with a big visible calling card like the chapel has been the real secret. Adding a new lighted highway sign that matches our historic look is also helping with sales. The traffic going by is one of the highest highway counts in the state since we are just 30 minutes from Helena, the State Capital.
    Yes, the Mansion is for sale here at Canyon Ferry Lake, but the experts say “to sell when you are at your peak”. My husband is a talented contractor and restorationist and looking for his big new project. We love it here in progressive Broadwater County, with all the great hunting and wildlife opportunities, new Marina, etc.
    As a designer and sales person, he wants my help…but I hope to stay and help the new owner as a wedding planner and florist part time…just have a little more time for my grand children.
    We love BnB Finder. com and welcome your questions.877-WED-SPA-13
    Cordially, Sandy Rose co-owner

  2. Our wedding room is hitting its stride with larger groups this year and thus far fewer elopements on the books. We have far more returning guests and far less new-to B&B guests.
    We are lucky our business guest base is strong, thankfully! What we aren’t seeing are the younger couples who have 2 kids, 2 jobs, 2 SUVs and a fair amount of bills. THEY are staying home and watching their pennies. In the first 6 weeks of 2008 the ONLY married guests we had were those who got married here!
    As we move into the late spring and summer, things seem to be picking up–a bit. During this slow period we are working on marketing, updating computers and programs, some key restoration and repair issues and for the first time in several years–I might have time to weed my own garden.
    Opps, I forgot we also have to hire a housekeeper. And THAT is a whole other headache!
    We’re in the far NE corner of Tennessee with views of Virginia and NC.

  3. From Barclay Cottage Virginia Beach
    http:www.barclaycottage.com

    Because of the weakening Dollar, we are seeing more bookings from Canada and Europe. We have always had an international clientel, but it seems to be growing this year. After a slow January and February, our bookings are up over this time last year for our summer season. Not sure yet how $4/gallon gass prices will affect our occupancy, but we will likely see more Harleys and Priuses(sp?) than Escalades and Suburbans in our parking lot this summer!

  4. Basically the economy has made more people in this N. Texas area willing to forego a long drive or maybe long flight to stay close to home.
    We have INCREASED our PRESENCE BY A COMPLETE WEB SITE MAKEOVER ABOUT 9 MONTHS AGO WHICH IS GIVING US A BETTER CHANCE TO ATTRACT INTERESTED PEOPLE INTO CHECKING OUT OUR WEB SITE.
    I HAVE PUT MANY HOURS INTO MENTIONING OUR B& B ON A ADVERTISEMENT I HAVE LISTED ACROSS THE NATION FOR A CELEBRATION IN OUR HISTORIC FORT WORTH STOCKYARDS.
    MANY PEOPLE WILL NEVER READ THAT AD BUT SOMEHOW IT MUST GIVE OUR WEB SITE A STRONGER RATING IN GOOGLE’S DIRECTORY AS WE HAVE MOST OUR GUESTS HAVE FOUND US ON GOOGLE.
    I have been more vocal in mentioning my personal ties to several groups in our Stockyards which many people seem to be interested in knowing more about. I love to let guest know our Historical relevance to the Chisholm Trail Cattle Drives. We are the only place in the World with a Twice a Day Cattle Drive Reenactment with Longhorn Steers.

  5. Our advance bookings are up 20% over our record 2007 season. I expect 2008 to at least match 2007.

    I understand that gas prices are an emotional issue, but for the most part I think it is silly. If somebody lives 200 miles from our inn and gets 20 miles to the gallon they are going to burn a total of 20 gallons to get to our inn and then back home again. If gas is up $2 a gallon over “the good old days”, that means they are spending an extra $40. I don’t know about you, but I’m not changing my travel plans for $40 dollars. If it is up $1 over last summer, then it is only a $20 difference.

    I think the economy is a more reasonable concern, but we’ve found that our guests still need vacations. We’re close enought to NYC, Philly & DC to be a quick get-away for a well deserved rest for most of our guests. They might shorten their stays a little this year, but they’re still taking the trip. We just have to make up the difference by attracting new guests. We’re working hard to do it.

  6. Interestingly, even with the downturn in the overall economy, Alexander’s is showing a steady increase in sales, compared to the past two years.
    Alexander’s Country Inn is located about 2 hours from Seattle so our local guests can visit the inn and have a romantic getaway and unwind–with less than a tank of gas.
    We’re seeing two areas where there are distinct increases in sales: European guests and elopements/small weddings.
    Europeans are taking advantage of the weak US Dollar and traveling to the States. To date, our 2008 European guest count is far ahead of last year. At the same time, wedding couples are taking a hard look at the cost of large weddings and in many cases, opting for a smaller more intimate event. Our elopement and small wedding bookings are up significantly.
    No matter if the economy is up or down—I want our guests to feel that they are getting good value for their dollar. To that end, I added two amenities that our guests are very happy with. One is a day spa and the other amenity is a large media room with cable/TV and free DVDs.
    Alexander’s Country Inn & Restaurant has over the years evolved into a destination property where guests enjoy lodging, meals, hot tub, day spa, media room and the usual extra touches such as evening wine.

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