Lately there have been several essay contests sponsored by Maine innkeepers as a way to sell their properties. Interested parties submit essays explaining the reasons they want to own the inn and include an entry fee.
If you don’t — congratulations!
As they say, “Careful what you wish for.”
Innkeeping is one of those professions that is the subject of many people’s dreams. The dream of living on a beautiful property in a quaint New England town. Trading in life in the fast lane for life in an idyllic setting.
Picturing yourself sipping lemonade on an expansive porch decorated with wicker furniture and fuschia plants while carrying on intelligent conversations with new friends who pay money to stay with you.
The reality is that many of the people with the “dream” don’t last more than a few seasons and sell their properties to the next person searching for the same dream.
Why? Because innkeeping is hard work.
I have never worked harder than I did when I was an innkeeper for a decade in Bar Harbor, Maine.
I did love the business, and if run well, innkeeping can be a great way to make a living. But it’s not for everyone.
This is the essay I would write.
I’m sure you have put your heart, soul and hard-earned money into creating a business and atmosphere that provides your guests with the very best experience possible.
I intend to carry that forward so that returning guests are not disappointed when they realize you are gone and new guests become repeat guests.
I understand that to be a successful innkeeper I have to be:
A smart business person, marketer, financial expert, human resource specialist and negotiator. A cook, maid, plumber, electrician, carpenter, reservation taker, landscaper, marriage counselor, entertainer, ambassador, comedian, storyteller, restaurant critic and cruise director.
I will give up spending my summer months hiking, biking, sailing and sightseeing so that my guests may do so. I will spend my days changing beds, cleaning rooms, tending to the property, taking reservations and checking people in and out.
I will not be able to attend summer family reunions, weddings and graduations. I will not need a “summer reading list”. I will not have time to read.
My outings will consist of trips to the grocery store and to the bank.
I will rarely prepare a meal or sit down long enough to enjoy one. I will survive on leftover muffins from breakfast.
I can’t wait to wash sheets and towels all day. I love cleaning toilets and showers and don’t get grossed out by what other people leave behind in both. I will make them shine like new every day.
If I can afford to have a staff I will gladly deal with hiring, firing, payroll and people calling in sick during peak season.
I will stay up late to check in guests even after I’ve been up since 4 a.m., and greet them with a smile. I will never sleep in, call in sick or take a “personal” day.
I will smile when guests cancel reservations at the last minute, complain, break things, leave rings on the furniture and wake me up in the middle of the night with a request.
I will try to put enough money away to get me through the off season to cover the cost of repairs, upgrades and marketing. I will get a second job if necessary to survive.
I know it will be hard work but I am ready for it because I know that there will be nothing more rewarding than owning my own business and making my guests happy.
I will take good care of them and love this property the way you did for as long as I am able.
When the time comes for me to move on, I promise to leave it better it than I found it for the next person with the dream to be an innkeeper.