Friday, January 22, 2010

Frustrations of Innkeeping!

Whew! Is it January 22nd already? Things have been both slow AND busy here at the inn. When occupancy slows down, one has to work more hours, being both owner and manager, and do anything that needs to be done, because there is not enough income to justify calling in employees. So that’s the slow and busy part.

I’m here seven days a week when business is this slow. This being an urban inn, we always have guests. Somebody is always coming and going. But some nights there are only one or two rooms booked, so it gets pretty quiet around here. I call off Rita, our chef, and play chef myself, roll rooms (wait a day before cleaning), or clean them myself, and be here for check-in and check-out.

When it is busy and all the rooms are full, I need to be here for crowd control, to help everybody with whatever needs to be done. So the innkeeper’s life is very busy then. And it is bunches of fun.
Only when business is “in the middle,” not slow or busy, when all the staff is needed and here, that the innkeeper can take a breath, take a day off, or schedule projects that allow time away from the property. Luckily, we have a lot of middle ground, but it is not found in January!

Frustrations! Yes! We have them. Today, I’m spitting mad! This morning, a “nice” couple checked out of the Finley Room in the Cottage Inn. When they checked in, I smelled cigarette smoke on their clothes, so I went over our policy of no smoking in the room (as clearly spelled out in their confirmation letter), and showed them the covered smoking porch with a swing and two chairs conveniently located right outside their door.

Did that matter? You guessed it, it did not. Not only did they smoke in the room, they cut a hole in the window screen so they could flick their ashes out the window! This infuriates me. We are in the service business. We go out of our way each day to meet every need we can for our guests. When “1 out of 100” does something as stupid and insensitive as this, I want to close the doors, and go live in a trailer down by the river.

But that feeling will go away. By evening we will have the room totally refreshed and cleaned (industry secrets, you know), and tonight’s guests won’t know of last night’s idiots.

The screen is another matter. That will take some time. I’m not proficient at putting new screen in an aluminum storm window, so I’ll have to take it off and find a local shop to replace the screen for me… One more item to put on the list of things to do.

Thanks for letting me vent. It is truly only 1 out of 100, or less, that causes this frustration for a B&B innkeeper. The vast majority of B&B guests go out of their way to respect and protect our property. My friends at the Springfield Hotel/Motel Association tell me that ratio is much worse for traditional hotels, so I should feel lucky and contented…but it still ticks me off…

Welcome to the world of innkeeping!

Gary at Walnut Street Inn
900 E Walnut Street
Springfield, MO 65806
Info: 417-864-6346
Reservations: 800-593-6346


  1. I think you should hang them in effigy from the tree on the front lawn. It is called therapy. It will make you feel better. Of course, what should be done is mostly illegal.

  2. The thought crossed my mind, Tom. A little vigilante justice (in my head) has helped. This happens less and less as the smokers either become more responsible, or they die off.

  3. I really hope you charged them an extra night for airing out the room! What jerks!!!


The Walnut Street Inn

The Walnut Street Inn
the Inn is made up of three 100+ year old buildings.