Friday, January 29, 2010

Some B&B's and Inns make perfect weekly summer rentals...

Lately I've been hearing positive comments about how advanced reservations for weekly summer rentals and bed and breakfasts are looking good for the upcoming season. Some have said that they are booking up earlier this year. It's made a lot of potential buyers think twice about investing in a second home that could possibly make a nice dent in their debt service during the summer. Rates are still relatively low (historically speaking) and with the available inventory, sellers are motivated.

I have a couple residential listings and B&B's that are perfect to buy as an investment and run as a summer rental; with several bedrooms it makes it easy for families and friends to share the home and the rental fee as well:

B&B/Home Inland/near skiing
B&B/Home Inland 1+ hr from skiing or the coast
10 room historic B&B/home in Boothbay
Cabins on Moosehead Lake
Cabins on Wilson Pond
Single Family Home on Mount Desert Island near Acadia National Park
Waterfront B&B/home with a view of Mount Desert Island
Summer Home on Mount Kineo, exclusive golf community
B&B/Home in the heart of Freeport walk to shops, restaurants
Grand Victorian in downtown Bath walk to shops, restaurants

Contact me for more information. I can also assist you with setting up the property as a weekly rental and address marketing and photography for the rental listing!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Amtrak's Downeaster Passenger Rail service to extend service in Maine...

$35 million will be invested in Maine to extend the Amtrak Downeaster passenger rail service from Portland to Brunswick. "The project is a significant economic boost to Maine. It will put over 200 people to work improving the rail line and bring economic development to downtown train stations in communities like Freeport and Brunswick."

"Nearly five million people go from the Boston area to Freeport to go shopping"...

Good news for my sellers of Captain Briggs House Bed and Breakfast, aspiring innkeepers and potential buyers.

Catch the full story from WCSH6

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Maine's Lodging Brokerage was no flatliner for me in 2009...

I sent an email to my sellers last week with an attachment of my web stats showing the recent activity to each of their listings. As one seller put it, "if that was an EKG at least there's a pulse!" Voila, this blog post was born. Thank you, C.S!

This has not been the easiest year to be in the real estate brokerage business. It hasn't been the easiest year to be in any number of business, for that matter. But buyers are still realizing that although travel and tourism may slow down during harder economic times, it's not likely it will completely fall apart. We work too hard to stop playing altogether. We may change the way we travel, but we won't stop traveling. And there are accommodations of every type and for every budget. Buyers are still seeking a slower paced way of life; for those not yet ready to retire, the answer is often innkeeping. There are still plenty of people out there looking. My blog's "EKG" is proof!

Sellers, hang in there. Buyers are out there, waiting for their time to get on board!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Not sure you want to be a real hands-on innkeeper? Try this on...

I've posted about this concept before but it's been a while. And with all of the recent activity I'm starting to see, I wanted to talk about it again, but more in depth this time.

Kudos to this property owner in Durango, Colorado for such a great idea. It's called "Nobody's Inn". Essentially it's a small, in town property run like a hotel but with a bed and breakfast feel. What's missing is the in-person concierge, but not the amenities. So for those of you who say "I'd love to buy an inn but I just don't like people", this is for you (and believe me, there are numerous people who express that and you might be shaking your head in agreement right now!).

Not all B&B travelers want the level of intimacy with the innkeepers or the guests. They want a bit of anonymity but they want the amenities that come with a small B&B/inn. For them, this is the perfect place - what a niche! And with today's competition, if you can find a niche, run with it. Niche marketing offers a huge advantage over the rest lost in the crowd.

So here's how it would work, and we'll use a scenario of an 8 room, in town property, without kitchenettes, with plenty of restaurants in walking distance:
When the guest makes a reservation, along with the confirmation they receive a security code to the property's front door. The front door has a cipher lock with a electronic keypad. The guest enters, they find a welcome note from you and directions to their room. And you can hand write it, to provide the personal touch, you just aren't present to welcome them. But you can still provide a welcome feel without being present. You can have a nicely framed map on the wall with a small version in their note showing them to their room. So it's not that you haven't cared for them, you just are providing that care on a different level.

They arrive at their room and you've left the lights on for them, you can have flowers in the room, you can have freshly baked cookies in their room, a good coffee maker, again, the same treatment guests receive from a traditional bed and breakfast, but without the common room for the cookies and the socializing. But the guest still enjoys such amenities, but privately. And there is a big market for that. There are plenty of travelers who do not stay at a B&B - and as a former B&B owner, I heard many times from callers that expressed concern of their regular travel habit of hotels and hesitation to stay in a B&B for the intimacy factor, because they don't want to feel obligated to talk to people, they prefer to talk to people at their leisure. Let's face it, not everyone is a people person, and that's alright.

In their room are the room keys and a very organized concierge book answering any question they may possibly have: a map of the area noting the points of interest, restaurants, etc, phone numbers to the restaurants and notes if reservations are suggested for certain ones; a list of area services, laundry services, bus or car rental information, anything you can think of, you'd provide it. So again, you are providing for your guests, just not delivering the information to them verbally.

If they've forgotten anything, you've noted in your concierge book where to find your guest amenities basket in the common area of the property.

In the morning
, you deliver a tray of fresh baked goods and fruit. And you can tailor this part to your liking. It can be at a requested time, as hotel service, or it can be left for them between a specific time. Or if you have a small common area, you can set up a nice buffet and provide trays they can take back to their room. And they already have a coffee maker in the room, possibly a hot water maker as well, for tea. You deliver a newspaper to their door. You still offer daily housekeeping services as you would a traditional bed and breakfast.

When it's time to check out, the guest has already paid in full because you've charged the balance due within 7-14 days of their arrival, they simply leave when they're ready, they leave their room keys in their room and leave the inn when they're ready. You send them a thank you for staying with us email or you can even slip a hand written note under their door the night before or early morning.

Has your guest felt cared for and welcomed? Yes. They just haven't had the personal interaction with you or other guests. But you've still provided and cared for them and anticipated their needs and questions by having the detailed concierge book in their room.

With regard to common area, guests may still choose to sit in a common area if you have one, and chat with other guests. But they know they aren't relying on the innkeeper for answers to questions or aren't anticipating interaction with the innkeeper. So it's a solution to the type of innkeeper you've read about who isn't around much but the guest felt they should have been. Guests who stay here know what to expect and want to be there for these reasons.

Sound appealing? And if there are two partners involved, this type of property might easily allow one of the innkeepers to have a full time outside job.

Contact me if you have further questions or interest. I know of a few properties where this concept would work beautifully.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

UNDER CONTRACT -The Kingsleigh Inn, Southwest Harbor, Maine

This month...
I just put Kingsleigh Inn under contract today! Very exciting for new owners to be...

Last month...
I put Craignair Inn under contract in December...

Buyers are getting in at the right time, both in the real estate market and before the start of the 2010 tourism season.