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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Inn Software for your bed and breakfast

If you are looking for some reasonable software to manage your property that is very easy to set up and simple to navigate look no further. I recently put My Inn Reservations thru some testing am found it to be all of the above.

Here is a sample screen shoot from their homepage.

The software was designed by a bed and breakfast owner and they created it specifically for small inns and bed and breakfasts using Windows XP or Vista. The advantages over pen & paper are many:

Track reservations.
Keep a database of customers.
Create invoices.
Easy to change and update rates, services.
General tax reports.
Revenue Reports .
E-mail confirmations.

I was very happy to see how easy the progam was to use, and had it up and running my bed and breakfast in about 10 minutes. I loaded the guests from March and played with their rooms, email confirmations, ran reports, and added services to their room stay. I loved how simple the navigation was and the calendar, seen above, that makes it so easy at a glance to see what rooms are booked for the day.

The software can be used on a trial basis to see if you like it and if you decide to keep it, they email the registration key to "unlock" it for permanent use. At only $299.95 it is very reasonable, compared to some other programs that have been marketed to innkeepers. If you are still using pen and paper, think about upgrading and the advantages you will have. At least try it out--you may get hooked.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Innside Innkeeping and what is happening soon in Placerville

Lest you think it is dull in Placerville, or at our bed and breakfast, let me assure you we have much to look forward to in the coming months.

Whitewater Rafting! Whoo hoo! Can hardly wait, as the guidebooks arrive to go get WET on the American River. Why not come to Placerville and have a great day on the river and then stay the night?

Or how about one of these events:
May 20 & 21 the Annual Renaissance May FaireThis event is being put on by Cedar Springs Waldorf School. This event is a family event with fun for all ages. Vendors, Performers, Personal services, Central amusements, Games, andFestivities begin with a townie procession lead by Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth and Her Royal Guards [God Save the Queen] Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. El Dorado County Fairgrounds, 100 Placerville Drive, Placerville, CA

Renn Faire not your thing? How about the 8th Annual Garden Tour on May 20th - "Springtime in the Foothills"The City of Placerville Community Pride Committee presents this event. Twelve unique and picturesque privately owned gardens can be viewed on this self-guided tour.The selection committee has worked to bring participants a wide variety of garden types from roses and perennials to oriental, organic, and alpine gardens. 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. rain or shine Local Gardens all over El Dorado County. Tickets are $15 per person. For more information contact: Michael Hendren (530) 344-1981

Think Lily is cute? We do! And on May 27 & 28 we will probably go to the AKC licensed all-breed Dog ShowHangtown Kennel Club of Placerville at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. Included in the show are Conformation, Obedience and Rally competitions. Best in show will be judged at approximate5:00 p.m. There will be a trophy presentation or the high score in obedience as well. Kennel members will be conducting dog show tours as well. Go and enjoy the show. 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. El Dorado County Fairgrounds, 100 Placerville Drive, Placerville Parking only - $3.00, subject to change. For more information contact: Cathy (530) 622-6909

Update on Inn Love reality????

The following are the comments I posted to bnbfinder after watching the show tonight:

I wish them all the best and while I am sure that they mean well, the fact that it is a “reality” show makes me think they are just acting to generate interest. I hope they show innkeeping as it really is (despite the above) and that not all inns are “frilly”, and have gnomes in the garden, or are “musty and dusty”. Even in our 1902 Queen Anne (the Albert Shafsky House in Placerville, CA) the frills are kept to a minimum. B&B’s today are attracting all ages, and if this generates more guests (for all of us, not just them), then it is a win for all innkeepers.One note, they need to get a real website–how can you even find the inn, without the help of the Oxygen promos. Most reservations are made online today, particularly by the crowd they say they want to attract.

I did not add how very cheesy the whole thing felt and that I was embarassed for them as I watched. Kinda like watching a train just can't stop....

Innkeeping at our Bed and Breakfast

First some Q & A...yes, I did meet Tori Spelling at the bed and breakfast conference put on by CABBI in January. She was there to film her show that debuts tonight at 7:30 PT where you will see a pregnant Tori Spelling braving the wonderful world of B&B innkeeping with her new husband Dean McDermott. Can't believe it? I was there when the crew was taping Tori and Dean's gathering of valuable information, including attending the CABBI luncheon. Oxygen's new show, Tori & Dean: Inn Love, follows Tori and Dean as they "make beds, breakfasts, babies, and beyond." If you still need to see it for yourself, the show premieres tonight, Tuesday, March 20th, on Oxygen.

What do I think about it....well, I don't want them to make innkeepers look bad, or that it is an easy job. But I will hold my review until I see the show tonight.

Innkeeping is a great job and if they can attract a younger crowd, great for all of the bed and breakfast innkeepers. I am not much past the thirtyish crowd they saw they want to attract, and in fact was in my mid-thirties when we started the bed and breakfast.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Innside Innkeeping at our bed and breakfast in Placerville

Yep, it is true, Tori and Dean were at the conference and hopfully learned a thing or two about how to run and bed and breakfast. They were filmed for the show during their time at the aspiring innkeeper conference and all I can say is good luck and I hope all innkeepers don't look silly after this....
They purchased an inn called the Oak Creek Manor, and first mistake--renamed it Chateau La Rue in honor of their dog...there goes all the existing advertizing...the inn opened in Fallbrook on Saturday, March 3rd. and the show airs Tuesday, March 20th on Oxygen.

From 90210 to 92028: Tori Spelling, husband will run Wine Country bed-and-breakfast on reality TV By: JOHN HALL - Staff Writer
FALLBROOK ---- Pop culture icon and "Beverly Hills 90210" alumna Tori Spelling is taking on a couple of new responsibilities: first-time mom and running a bed-and-breakfast not far from Temecula's Wine Country.Seemingly born into the spotlight as the daughter of famous television producer Aaron Spelling, the now 33-year-old Tori's new endeavors will be documented as a reality show on the Oxygen Network.
Premiering March 20, the six-episode series "Tori & Dean: Inn Love" will show Spelling and her 40-year-old husband, actor Dean McDermott, as they run a bed-and-breakfast they bought last month in northern San Diego County.
Christina Gilmartin, a spokeswoman for the network, said the inn the couple purchased was an existing bed-and-breakfast. For more of the article

Innkeeping ideas

I have neglected to post since the conference, sometimes time does get away from you when you are an innkeeper! And not just bed and breakfast duties intrude, sometimes just life in excuse, but there you are.

The innkeeping conference was great (as usual) and we got to see old friends and make new ones--just like at the inn, picked up some new items (booties for the rooms from Cypress Robes, and for sale) and some new and old I really need to revisit our business plan and do a SWOT of how we are doing. It has been too long and I would really prefer to have a plan, rather than react to the environment...

Conferences are a great way to reinvigorate yourself and the inn, with new innsights (pun intended) and a change of pace. And being away does not hurt either, as it provides a break from the routine and a chance for us to experience the service we offer.

In the category of odd, Tori Spelling was at the bed and breakfast inn conference as they have opened a bed and breakfast in Southern California for fun? and are planning to have their adventures filmed. More on that in the next post.