Professional Association of Innkeepers International
Preserve the Past, Create the Future
Good morning and Welcome to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International's Eighth Biennial Conference for Keepers of the Inn - Preserve the Past, Create the Future. My name is Hugh Daniels and I am the current Chairman of PAII's Board of Directors. I have been on the Board for about two and a half years and am just starting my second term as Board Chairman. I am also one of the owners and innkeepers of the Old Miners' Lodge in Park City, Utah and also have a consulting company called "Ask Hugh," no relation to the now defunct "Ask Jeeves." My wife picked the name actually based on the fact that when there was a question at the inn the regular response was "ask Hugh."
It is a pleasure to have you all with us here in Providence, Rhode Island and I believe you will find great speakers and workshops, our biggest trade show ever, plus the fun and camaraderie of interacting with so many fellow innkeepers. Our industry has seen many changes over the years. I have been an innkeeper for 21 years at the Old Miners Lodge, where preserving the past history of an 1880s miners' boarding house has been a key to our success. Of the participants in PAII's last Industry study; the average age of the inns was 107 years. But we have more built from the ground up inns as well, both showcasing the past in their furnishings as well as providing for the new. The number of new inns built from the ground up increased 3% in the last several years. However, all inns preserve the past in their unparalleled hospitality and service to their guests. You can provide all the continental breakfasts you want, little boxes of cereal, make your own waffles, little cartons of milk and train your staff relentlessly at the ever increasing chain motels, but they will never be a Bed and Breakfast or Country Inn. You care for your guests like family and even the occasional stinker. You have pride in your business, your food, your service and your hospitality. I am proud to be an innkeeper and to represent you as a member of your association's Board of Directors.
We still have many challenges ahead as our industry continues to grow and change. It wasn't too many years past that we had debates on the need for private bathrooms, whether an 800 number was worth the money and whether the rules we plastered everywhere were for our benefit or the guests' benefit. The World Wide Web had yet to hit the scene and a fax machine was a big deal, let alone a computer. My first computer and it wasn't that long ago, maybe 10 or 15 years had a total capacity of 512K and I really didn't know what 512K meant. A cordless phone was a big deal, let alone a cell phone. We had one phone line not six, the front door was always unlocked and "Quincy" the dog was the doorbell.
We have had to make changes as the world around us has changed. After many years of business growing in our industry, we've had a couple of rough years. Terrorism, the economy and war certainly hasn't helped the bottom line. Yet Robert Mandelbaum from PKF Hospitality Research concluded from comparing the figures in PAII's Industry Study with those of the hotel/motel industry that there is some good news. Both B & Bs and Country Inns enjoyed increases in total revenue from 2000-2002. On the other hand, limited-service and full service hotels both suffered from double digit declines in total revenue. While both B & Bs and Country Inns were able to improve their revenues, only Country Inns were able to transfer this improvement to the bottom line and most of that was due to food service revenues. Increased costs, flat revenue and stagnant occupancy took its toll. Yet we innkeepers are a hardy bunch and we continue to practice our craft and we do it better and better and better. And that is why you are all here, it is your commitment to be the best, to Preserve the Past and Create the Future.
How many of you are at your first PAII conference? How many also joined us in Chicago?, Hilton Head? San Francisco? San Antonio, Reston,VA? Santa Fe, NM? At the first PAII conference in Phildelphia? I have been lucky to attend all eight and I think the bar has been raised in each successive conference and I hope you will see that here..
An organization such as PAII with over 3,000 members does not run on its own, nor does a conference of this size come off without a lot of hard work. PAII´s Board of Directors works tirelessly to set policy, review operations and improve our national trade association. Sometimes they even help with the day-to day chores of the association. They spend their own money and an unbelievable amount of time that could easily be spent at their inns. It is extremely important that you know who these individuals are. Further, they want to hear from you. While they all have duties to perform here at the conference, they want to know what you think. Do you have an idea, a concern or just want to introduce yourself and say hi, please feel free to walk up to any of these folks while you are here in Providence. In addition to myself, we have our Vice-Chair John Felton from One Main B&B in Stockbridge MA. John, who is a former NPR reporter, writer and editor of several books, he brings a wealth of insight to the Board. Our Secretary, Michael Pinkston is from the Queen Victoria Inn/Queens Hotel in Cape May, NJ. He is also the current President of Select Registry. I think he just likes all the titles, President, Secretary, etc. a very funny gentleman who tells it like it is. Betty Gladden from the Garratt Mansion in Alameda CA, has been active in state associations and PAII for years, for the last several conferences you have found her at the registration desk. Betty listens, thinks and acts. Jo Ann Bell from Santa Barbara, CA is of course one of PAII´s founders along with co-founder Pat Hardy. Jo Ann gives us organizational memory, a great sense of humor and tells us when we have lost our minds. Pat and Jo Ann are here with a new and expanded edition of their book, with Susan Brown, perhaps you may have heard of it, "So You Want To Be an Innkeeper" look for them in the trade show. Next we have John Sheiry from the Waverly Inn in Hendersonville, NC. John has helped at many a conference for a number of organizations, usually making sure that food and beverage reach you all in a timely fashion. A long time innkeeper, John also has a background in the hotel industry, is a certified hotel administrator and is the current CEO for Distinguished Inns Alliance-- another over achiever. A fine wine connoisseur, I suppose were lucky we actually get our beverages. And lastly but certainly not least, Debbie Mosimann of Swiss Woods in Lititz, PA. Often known as the "food lady," Debbie rides herd over the food demonstrations, helps PAII moderate its online discussion group, is insightful, will help at every turn and provides the best snacks you have ever had at a meeting. Debbie and her family have been in food purveyor businesses for many years and you can always count on her to bring great cheese among other delectables. All great friends, all great innkeepers, please join me in thanking them for their service. And remember please feel free to give them your input.
We have another group of folks that are also key to PAII's success and that is our Advisory Council. This is a group of innkeepers, suppliers and association executives, meet with the Board of Directors to discuss programs, successes, weaknesses, goals, the past and the future. We also call on them to sit on committees and task forces to work on specific projects. I would like to read the names of these volunteers and if they would stand we can thank them after they have all been named. These are both members whose terms expired the end of 2003, as well as current members; later this year will be expanding the size of the Advisory Council:
||Association Management Services, Stafford, Texas
||Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association
||Morehead Manor B&B, Durham, North Carolina
||Three Mountain Inn, Brattleboro, Vermont
||Bedandbreakfast.com, Denver, Colorado
||Travel Industry Association, Washington, DC
||Montford Inn, Norman, Oklahoma
||Third Millennium Marketing, West Hartford, Connecticut
||Christopher Place, Newport, Tennessee
||Waverly Inn, Hendersonville, North Carolina
||Innkeeper News/BedandBreakfast.com, Riverside, Connecticut
||Candlelight Inn, Napa, California
||Thorwood Classic Inns, Hastings, Minnesota
||Cedarcroft Farm B&B , Warrensburg, Missouri
Again a group of volunteers, who freely give of their time and resources to support PAII, please join me in thanking them.
We also must thank all of our supplier members and sponsors, most of whom are at their booths in the trade show and ready to wheel and deal. Without them and their investment in our industry and in you the innkeepers, there is no way we could put on a conference of this size.
A group of Innkeepers and Vendors got together a couple of years ago to establish the Distinguished Inns Alliance or "DIA" for all of us who enjoy the many acronyms. They put up funding to look at opportunities for our industry. Their first goal was to make sure PAII continued as our national trade association, as well as, be controlled by innkeepers and others in our industry. They are also looking at insurance captives, real estate trusts and other future opportunities. Once again, innkeepers looking out for innkeepers. For those DIA investors that are here would you please stand. Our many thanks for your continuing support and for looking for ways to improve the lot of all innkeepers.
PAII has made a number of changes in the past year, with more on the way. The Board of Directors decided to look at the organization as a whole and set some aggressive goals. When Pat and Jo Ann retired; Jerry Phillips stepped in to fill the role of Executive Director and filled that position for two years before leaving a year ago February. I would like to thank Jerry and his lovely wife Mary for their continuing commitment to PAII and our industry.
With Jerry's departure, the PAII Board started a national search for a new association director. After combing through over 70 applications and conducting interviews of eight semi-finalists and three finalists, we hired a new CEO with over 15 years of association management experience. She has been on the job since last July and the Board of Directors has given her a long list of priorities and goals. As we Create the Future please welcome the Professional Association of Innkeepers International new President and Chief Executive Officer, Pam Horovitz.