From Aspiring to Owner-Innkeeper

Is it time for you to go from Aspiring to Innkeeper? Are you happiest doing what makes someone else smile — like pampering them, cooking your favorite recipe for them, making sure their bed is covered with the finest linens or brightening their room with fresh-cut flowers? If that’s you, MBBA can help turn you from an aspiring innkeeper into a full-fledged bed and breakfast owner/operator. MBBA offers the only “how to” workshop in Michigan, usually in late October or early November. Watch this page for updated information.

What aspiring innkeepers learn

An aspiring innkeeper needs to understand that as charming as it may be to entertain, show off your decor and dazzle guests, true hospitality is an industry. Innkeeping is a business that requires a range of knowledge from bookkeeping to stain removal. It requires knowing how to cook for a variety of appetites and diets in the span of a single meal. It requires marketing skills. And marketing involves understanding websites and search-engine optimization, writing newsletters, posting on social media, creating blogs…. it can seem endless.

How Debi went from aspiring to innkeeper

Innkeeper Debi Hillebrand (shown in photo above) says, “People always ask if I “knew what I was getting into” now that I’m in my third year as owner-innkeeper of The Lewis House in Whitehall.

“Actually, I did. I became an ‘aspiring innkeeper’ member of MBBA and started attending the workshops and annual conferences long before we opened our doors.

“Not only did I learn the nuts and bolts of running my own inn, I gained a whole group of mentors who are just a phone call or email away when I need advice. MBBA members have a vast knowledge of innkeeping and a sincere willingness to share. I can’t imagine trying to start my inn without having taken advantage of that!”

Shadowing innkeepers is a good strategy

Kim prepared individual Dutch Babies for each guest when she job shadowed the innkeepers at Adventure Inn Bed and Breakfast.
Kim prepared individual Dutch Babies for each guest when she job shadowed the innkeepers at a B&B on Lake Huron.

Kim Brown and her husband, a disabled vet, have six children, all in or out of high school. When planning her next chapter, she “shadowed” an MBBA-member innkeeper to gain some on-the-job learning. Between shadowing and opening her own B&B, Kim made plans to work as an “innsitter.”

An innsitter is someone who is hired as an interim innkeeper, a term preferred by many because the job doesn’t include much sitting. Rather, it encompasses the myriad duties of someone who is stepping in for full-time innkeepers who encounter emergencies that require them elsewhere or who just need to get away.

Kim’s skills were such that over a Labor Day weekend, Kim ran the show at a now-closed B&B on the Lake Huron shore just north of Port Huron. Long after the guests had departed, Kim kept on with laundry, turning over rooms and ironing napkins for the next guests.

Her motto: “An interim innkeeper should work so the innkeeper can come home refreshed, renewed and with no worries.”

If you aspire to be an innkeeper, take the first step today by joining us as an aspiring member. As an aspiring innkeeper you’ll have access to almost all the information and resources that full-time member innkeepers receive, including information-packed member newsletters, invitations to webinars conducted by industry leaders, and the ability to participate in our innkeepers’ private Facebook forum and in informal member chats conducted via online meetings. You’ll also get a discount on attending MBBA’s annual conference and separate workshop for aspiring and new innkeepers.

What you’ll learn as an aspiring innkeeper member will be useful, even if your future plan is to open a B&B outside of Michigan.

Interested in joining MBBA as an aspiring innkeeper? Send us an email.