Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Conference Partner Spotlight Berkshire Amenities Group

Berkshire Amenities Group, Inc. (BAGI) is a privately help corporation owned by Gene and Karen Faul CEO and President respectively. BAGI is the exclusive distributor for Monarch/Cypress bathrobes, towels, and Sheets. Gene and Karen also serve as CEO and President of Monarch/Cypress which serves the hospitality industry at large. In 1980 they founded Cypress in Carmel, Ca. which was subsequently sold to others. During the Cypress years and aside from the hospitality sector they managed Ralph Lauren Robes and Sleepwear, and all through the 90's Tommy Hilfiger Sleepwear as well as serving the best department stores as Saks, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Dillards, Neimans, etc. Primary hospitality customers include Four Seasons Hotels Worldwide, OMNI, Marriott, Trump, Mandarin Oriental, Pebble Beach Corp, the Breakers to name a few. BAGI and Monarch/Cypress pride themselves by offering the very best service and quality in the hospitality marketplace.

Monarch/Cypress has pioneered products which seriously address the growing concern for our environment. Its Green Earth towel collection is capable of conserving energy and water both of which have been proven with extensive hotel testing in the hotel environment. Our microfiber sheets dry faster, are super comfortable, and are guaranteed for 300 wash/dry cycles which is unheard of for cotton sheets.

BAGI is headquartered in Sheffield, Ma in the heart of the Berkshires, and Monarch/Cypress distribution center is located in S. Plainfield, N.J. This DC also maintains full in house embroidery ability.

You could not possibly put your trust in a more capable organization and in Gene and Karen Faul both of whom have decades of experience in both the apparel and hospitality sectors.
    Besides representing Monarch/Cypress BAGI also represents Down Inc. and its exceptional down products all made in the USA.
What do you see as the biggest challenges to the innkeeping industry at this time?
1. Airbnb
2. A worsening environment and weather concerns
3. Failure to stay current with new product innovations.
What trends are you seeing in your own specific industry that are important to innkeepers?
1. Rapid development of environmentally friendly products
2. A greater use of more sophisticated electronics
What is your favorite thing about the B&B industry?
-The high quality of innkeeper ownership
New products this year?
-Expansion of products that address environmental concerns

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall 2015 Innkeeping NOW Magazine


Read in PDF or Flipbook from Issuu or Yumpu

Airbnb – Part 10

PAII provided input to the subcommittee for their hearings on the Sharing Economy held on Tuesday 29, September 2015. 
25 September, 2015
To: The Honorable Michael C. Burgess, MD, Jan Schakowsky, and Committee members, U.S.    House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing & Trade

Subject:  The Sharing Economy
The Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), the largest association of B&Bs in the United States, is pleased to provide input and information to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing & Trade about the so called “Sharing Economy”, and specifically about Airbnb.   Our organization’s position on Short Tern Rentals is very clearly stated in our 2013 Policy Statement.  What we want is simple – level the playing field! 

The major concern for our members is that thousands of these small businesses are being severely damaged by the Airbnb behemoth who's member facilities do not have to deal with the expense of compliance with Zoning Ordinances, Heath Department Regulation, Building Codes, Fire and Safety Codes, ABC Regulations, Commercial Liability Insurance and Federal, State, and Local Taxes that all legal B&Bs (and Hotels) must comply with – yet they serve the same consumers our members do.  
Likewise, the traveling public has no idea that many of Airbnb member facilities may be uninsured, do not meet basic fire, safety and building requirements, and could be downright unhealthy because they do not meet rudimentary food preparation or cleanliness standards.  

While no one likes taxes, and we would all like to see taxes reduced or eliminated, it is grossly unfair to those that play by the existing rules to carry the burden for those that don't.  Either everybody pays them - or no one should pay them.  

We think the idea of a "Sharing Economy" is great - as long as it is fair and "Sharing" for all.  

PAII representatives attended a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Workshop on June 9, 2015 about the so called “Sharing Economy”.  We were disturbed that the FTC, that has a mission to protect consumers and competition, seemed to be supportive of Airbnb, Uber and similar companies that clearly do not adequately protect consumers and that have put thousands of legal small businesses throughout the United States in jeopardy. We are encouraged that your Subcommittee is taking the effort to seriously look into the inequities presented by some elements of the “Sharing Economy”.  

Airbnb frequently presents themselves as a simple group of entrepreneurs and the protector of poor and Grandma and Grandpa’s mortgage by stating that they allow their members to get some additional income by renting out an available room.  Airbnb proposes that their member properties certainly should not have to adhere to the same “old” rules, regulations, taxes and laws that the hotel chains or legal B&Bs have to.  They emphasize that the consumer does not need all the regulatory protection currently available, that these old “Public Regulations” are being overtaken by “Private Regulation” (rating sites, like TripAdvisor) and that applying decades old regulations and taxes to new entrants into the market (like Airbnb) inhibits innovation.. 
  • Airbnb frequently calls themselves a “Platform” or “Application” for peer to peer interactions that allows consumers and sellers to interact without traditional encumbrances that most of today’s businesses must adhere to.  They stress that a Free Market Economy is good and “meaningful” and that the Sharing Economy is the “natural next step”.  While this is a great sales pitch it is based on false premises and creates substantive inequalities in the marketplace:
  • First, Airbnb is not simply a benevolent entity for the triumph of innovative startups over old, evil, businesses.  Airbnb is a $25 BILLION Dollar Corporation that had over 25 Million bookings in a single year and expects almost three times that number in 2015.
  • The majority of income from their rentals does not go to Mom and Pop operations, the money goes to Airbnb and landlords renting multiple rooms, or in many cases, multiple rooms or apartments in multiple buildings. 
  •  By using the term “Platform or “Application” Airbnb often appears to be nothing more than an inanimate object, but in reality they are a huge Company bent on dominating the market. The sheer size and profit making power of this multi-billion dollar BUSINESS is essentially swept under the table because they are a “Platform.”  While the terms “Platform” or “Application” are not, by themselves incorrect, their use creates an interesting dynamic because a “Platform” is a thing and is devoid of sellers and customers (people) who may be pleased or injured or unhappy with what the “Platform” does to them.        
  • The oft heard contention that “Rating Systems” or “Platforms” are better at policing sellers and protecting consumers than are Government Regulations is full of fallacies.

a.      The fact is that these “Platforms” or “Apps” are also BIG BUSINESSES, who want to make big profits and who often charge sellers to list on their sites or charge a transaction fee – or both.  That these systems do not always present a “neutral” view of a seller seems to be ignored.  Because it is a “thing” or “system” does not make it trustworthy.  Airbnb is BOTH a listing and selling platform and a rating platform – and a BIG BUSINESS.
b.     The assumption that use of “rating systems” to replace laws and regulations designed to protect guests from harm is both scary and ridiculous.  When was the last time you saw a rating system ask the customer if they saw a Smoke or CO detectors, if their food was properly prepared and was safe to eat, saw an escape plan for their room or saw an ABC License.  The average guest at a hotel, legal B&B, Airbnb property or any other short term lodging facility doesn’t even think about safety, building codes, security, health and food issues or the properties insurance because they believe these are covered by various laws and regulations.  Likewise, they would never think to ask if the lodging facility pays taxes – they assume everything is legal.  To the unsuspecting guest – everything is covered - by the same “decades old regulations” they have relied on in the past – in reality it is definitely “buyer beware”.           

  • The issue of “fairness” (compliance with taxes and laws and regulations) is essentially ignored by Airbnb and many of its listing members.  Airbnb encourages members to be in compliance with local laws and regulations but does not require compliance.  Legal B&Bs provide a mandated legal, tax paying insured, safe, healthy, sanitary and secure guest environment and cannot discriminate because they are governed by government regulations.  Airbnb properties may or may not comply and, according the Harvard and other studies (*), both guests and owners can and do discriminate.  
  • Being compliant with Government regulations and paying taxes is not cheap – which means that legal B&Bs are put at a significant financial disadvantage when competing with Airbnb facilities. While Airbnb has repeatedly indicated that they want their member properties to be safe and compliant in reality they “talk the talk” and don’t “walk the walk”.   Airbnb could easily enforce compliance for their member properties – but they only “suggest” or “recommend”, and many properties, if not most, ignore the laws, codes, regulations and taxes.  Legal B&B’s don’t have an option. 
  • The rapidly increasing number of Airbnb properties in big cities (there are thousands of them) is having a detrimental impact on available public housing at a time when affordable housing is desperately needed.  Landlords, owners of apartment buildings or just ordinary house or apartment owners are pulling houses and units off the affordable renters market and listing then in Airbnb.  Is this “Sharing”?  Is this “Fair”? 

Finally, and again, PAII thinks a "Sharing Economy" is great - as long as it is “Fair” and "Sharing" for everyone.  

Respectfully Submitted,

John C. North
PAII, Board of Directors
Innkeeper, Mayhurst Inn
540 672-5597


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

PAII News You Can Use 9/22/2015

This week, please dive right into the “News You Can Use” articles below!  We’re focusing on getting your Innkeeping Show Registration up and ready, so that you can use those great Early-Bird rates!  It’s been a pleasure receiving your enthusiastic calls and emails for the next BIG nation-wide (and beyond) Innkeeping Conference in Austin January 10-14, 2016.  
And, do watch the Lodging List for updates, as we continue to get responses from the Austin B&Bs.
~Kris Ullmer, PAII Executive Director

News You Can Use:
Blades of Glory: How to Make Your Knives the Sharpest in the Drawer

Industry News:
TripAdvisor Is a Key Focus of the Expedia-Orbitz Merger Investigation

Social Media & SEO Changes Innkeepers Should be aware of:
Undo Send for Gmail on the web
(This feature is very useful for those who route their domain emails using POP through a gmail account likeinnkeeper@janedoeinn.com instead of sending to Outlook.  Gmail has great spam filtering and then one can easily access other Google accounts through it)

Featured Past PAII Webinar from our Archives:
Serving Gluten Free Guests

Innkeeping Recipes:
From the Indiana B&B Association http://www.indianabedandbreakfast.org
Peach Pie with Coconut From the Kitchen of the James Wilkins House http://www.indianabedandbreakfast.org/recipes.php?r=99

Conference Vendor Spotlight: Q4Launch

Upcoming Webinars for PAII Members
(you will need to login to your PAII account)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Mistakes That Cost You Money
Lisa Kolb will go over some of the mistakes made by SMBs (small business owners) that can cost them a lot money in the long-run, generally made from not knowing the big consequences of what seemed like a small decision. Knowing about these consequences can help you to avoid the pitfalls of a bad decision and make more money!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Top 10 Online Marketing Recommendations for Inn Websites
Learn how you can optimize and leverage your inn's website, and use content marketing tactics to gather more leads, grow your business and compel more visitors to book direct at the site. From solid principles to progressive tactics, we'll look at strategies, tips from the trenches, and compare tools with a goal of increasing revenue and profitability. We will cover in more detail the ideas presented in this post -http://webdirexion.com/online-marketing/hotel-inn-marketing/10-marketing-tips-for-increasing-profitability-at-your-inn

Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Email + Social Media: Strategies & Tools
Let's be frank. It's tough being disciplined enough to send regular emails to your former guests and chat with them on social media. But studies consistently show that innkeepers who do enjoy more new guests and more repeat guests.
This webinar will share with you some tools, strategies, and organizational tips you can use to hone your email and social marketing strategies.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Top 3 Challenges for Bed &Breakfast's and Strategies to Increase Business  
In a recent poll we asked B&B's their greatest business challenges and what strategies they used to overcome them. Hear real life strategies and pain points from LivingSocial's featured Travel Customer (TBA) and the Director of Travel, Dustin Warr. Learn how to maximize your marketing programs and generate more business. Don't miss out on this engaging webinar.  

For additional webinars scheduled into next year please visit http://paiiinnkeepers.blogspot.com/p/upcoming-webinars.html
Don’t forget, We have set up an e-mail address questions@PAII.org for you to ask questions and make comments directly to your board.

Conference Partner Spotlight Q4Launch

Q4Launch is an integrated marketing company whose passion lies in destination marketing. We use our marketing methodology to increase traffic to our customers' websites, to turn that anonymous traffic into leads, and to help turn those leads into bookings. Our goal for every single customer is to provide them with a 200-300% return on their marketing investment. Some of the methods we employ include SEO, blogging, email marketing, social media management, and web design, and we've recently began increasing revenue for our customers through yield management tactics.

The biggest challenge for innkeepers today is staying relevant in the ever-changing world or internet marketing. Innkeepers don't have time to do it themselves, so this part of their business usually falls by the wayside. The challenge for the industry is to always change to meet the demands of the modern traveler.

Having a great room isn't quite enough anymore. Nowadays, it's extremely important to create an entire experience at your property. Sure, innkeepers are great at giving the personal touch, but how can you convey a great experience through your digital presence? The answer is content marketing, and we don't believe it's going away. Content marketing allows innkeepers to tell their story consistently throughout the world of the internet.

Without a doubt, it's the relationships we build with our innkeepers. After working so closely with so many innkeepers across the country, we've become more like a family than anything else!

Yes! We have been quite successful already by helping our customers increase their revenue by utilizing yield management. Admittedly, some were skeptical at first, but the customers who have charged ahead have seen huge revenue increases. We're excited to continue to build this part of our business. In addition, we have started producing just websites for innkeepers, whereas in the past, we haven't separated web design out from our integrated marketing package.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

PAII Recipe Contest For Our Winter Innkeeping Now Magazine

For Our Winter Innkeeping NOW Magazine
  • Best Recipe-Savory Muffins
  • Best Recipe-Christmas Cookies

Each recipe will be judged by an independent team food professionals and executive chefs. 

ALL contestants will be featured in the monthly newsletters as well as their photos (if provided) and recipes (with credit) posted on PAII’s Facebook and Google+ pages.

Winners will be featured in PAII ‘s Innkeeping Winter Quarterly Magazine.

Get out your cameras (appreciated but not a requirement), your smart phones, your whisks and your springform pans out and get ready to rumble! Questions? Email marketing@paii.org.

All entries must meet the requirements of the Recipe Category entered. Recipes not meeting contest entry criteria will be disqualified. Entries must be the original recipe of the entrant. Initial judging will be done by an independent panel of food professionals to confirm entry requirements specified above have been met in addition to consideration of the criteria outlined below (and weighted equally):
  • Taste 25%
  • Appearance 25%
  • Creativity 25%
  • Guest Appeal 25%

Judges will disqualify previously published recipes, such as but not limited to those in cookbooks, in magazines, from food companies, on food blogs or recipe websites and winners in cooking contests, unless the recipe features changes considered significant by the judges in their sole and absolute discretion (with the exception of if a recipe was previously published in a state or regional association cookbook or website from which the B&B has belonged to, or if the recipe was priorly published on the innkeepers blog .

Finalists will be required to certify, on information or belief, that their recipes are their original creation. Decisions of the judges are final in all matters relating to this contest.

  • Entries must be submitted by December 15, 2015 at 5:00 PM EST
  • Any PAII member can enter.
  • You can submit multiple recipes in multiple categories.

ALL contestants will be featured in the monthly newsletters as well as posted on PAII’s Facebook and Google+ pages.

Winners will be featured in PAII ‘s Innkeeping Quarterly Fall Magazine. All contestants will also be honored with mentions in the magazine.

Submit your entries to marketing@paii.org before December 15, 2015. Please put recipe contest in the subject line.

PAII Photo Contest For Our Winter Innkeeping Now Magazine

For Our Winter Innkeeping NOW Magazine
  • Best Exterior Picture-Holiday Wreaths
  • Best Interior Photo-Holiday Decorations
  • Best Photo-Desserts

ALL contestants will be featured in the monthly newsletters as well as their photos and recipes (with credit) posted on PAII’s Facebook and Google+ pages.

Winners will be featured in PAII ‘s Winter Innkeeping Quarterly Magazine.

Get out your cameras, your smart phones, your whisks and your springform pans out and get ready to rumble! Questions? Email marketing@paii.org.

Photography Entries must be taken by the innkeepers or staff. If an innkeeper or a staff member is a professional photographer, entries to the competition will be allowed, but the information needs to be disclosed when the photo(s) are submitted. Photos taken by professional photographers on behalf of a Bed and Breakfast are not valid photo submissions, and will be cause for disqualification.

If you choose to include people in your submission, you are responsible for obtaining the necessary written photo releases from the individuals depicted, and must be able to provide copies of those releases to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International with submission of the photo entries. Entries submitted without written permission of the subjects will not be entered into submissions or the contest, and will not be promoted in any way online. 

All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified.

Photo captions must accompany all submissions, and should include the subject of the image, the location the image was taken, and the name of the photographer(s).

To ensure eligibility for the contest all entries must have a resolution of 6 million pixels (6 megapixels) or greater to be made available upon request. Images that do not meet this standard can still be judged, but may not be honored as a finalist in the competition (at the judges sole discretion) if the photographer is unable or unavailable to provide the proper resolution when asked.

Entries may originate in any format — including, but not limited to digital files, digital prints, color transparencies, color prints, or black and white prints — so long as they are submitted electronically. You must be able to disclose when and where the photo appeared to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International upon request.

Submissions may be watermarked if desired, but the watermark should be inconspicuous enough to not interfere with the judging of the photo. A watermarked photo might not be honored by the competition (at the judges sole discretion) if the photographer is unable or unavailable to provide a pristine, watermark-free version of the image when asked.

Images will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact and artistic merit. The judges are a panel of independent professional photographers.

The Professional Association of Innkeepers International shall determine winner eligibility in its sole and absolute discretion. All decisions made by the judges are final.

You will retain all rights to any photograph you submit -- including ownership if applicable. You only grant the Professional Association of Innkeepers International rights (as described below) to your photograph if you are honored by the competition as an honorable mention, finalist, runner up or grand prize winner.

If your photograph is formally honored by the competition as an honorable mention, finalist, runner up or prize winner, you grant the Professional Association of Innkeepers International a royalty-free, nonexclusive right, in perpetuity, to:
  • Use the photograph on the Internet in support of our mission.
  • Use the photograph in the Professional Association of Innkeepers International non-commercial communications which includes on the website and on PAII’s social media.

As conditions of this permission, the Professional Association of Innkeepers International shall credit all photographs with the caption "© Person's Name" when the full name and Business is available.

  • Entries must be submitted by December 15, 2015 at 5:00 PM EST
  • Any PAII member can enter.
  • You can submit multiple photographs in multiple categories.

ALL contestants will be featured in the monthly newsletters as well as posted on PAII’s Facebook and Google+ pages.

Winners will be featured in PAII ‘s Innkeeping Winter Quarterly Magazine. All contestants will also be honored with mentions in the magazine.

Submit your entries to marketing@paii.org before December 15, 2015. Please put photo contest in the subject line.