After almost 30 years of serving the hospitality industry, I have seen many changes, but one thing has remained the same:
Whether people are on vacation or traveling for business, they want to stay in a clean room with clean sheets, clean towels and clean bedding.
Guests have become even more conscious of room cleanliness in recent years thanks to some high-profile and widespread beg bug invasions.
We’ve written blog posts in the past about protecting a room and a bed against bed bugs. If guest finds – or worse, is bitten by – a bed bug, it can be an expensive proposition.
That’s why protection is your best prevention. Be vigilant in checking your room each time a guest checks in our checks out.
It’s one of the most common questions we get from potential customers: “We’ve just bought a new property. What products should we purchase first?”
Unfortunately, there’s no single correct answer to this question. In fact, we’ll have questions of our own: How many rooms does your property have? Are you buying a property that was already in use, or building something new? Are you turning your home into a bed & breakfast? Or a country inn, where you’ll be serving breakfast and dinner?
By asking these questions, our staff can gather the information they need to advise customers about the right products for their property.
InnStyle’s parent company, County Linen, opened its doors in 1952. That’s a long, long time. Not many businesses can say they have survived for that long.
Like the name suggests, we started as a linen store, a small family business run by my father-in-law, Jack Sternthal. As time went on, Jack’s sons graduated from college and joined the family business. We eventually had three locations, with our main store moving to a 30,000-sq. foot building where we provided linens, furniture, accessories, flooring, custom window treatments and bedding.
We launched InnStyle in 1988. Starting with a catalog, we began providing bed and breakfast properties with quality bed linens and other items for their rooms.
InnStyle began with customers who owned bed and breakfast properties in tourist destinations like New Hope, PA and Lambertville, NJ coming to shop at our store in Doylestown.
But it eventually morphed into an internet shopping experience, as our innkeepers began to put their businesses online. Visitors to our site can now find wholesale and retail shopping carts.
So why are we talking about all this?
At InnStyle, we live by a simple rule:
Treat our customers – whether they own hotels, beds and breakfasts, vacation rental properties or other commercial entity– as well as they would treat their guests.
When we speak to our customers in person, over the phone or via e-mail, we want to be certain they know how much we value their business.
That’s why we’re excited to be heading to the annual AIHP conference at the end of January. Going to a conference is always an exciting time, as it gives us the opportunity to reconnect with long-time clients and meet future customers.
We find that our customers appreciate the time allowed to visit our booth, see what products we’re offering, and learn the benefits each one brings. Whether it’s getting the feel of a towel or laying on a mattress, we’re happy to let potential customers experience our products, and are always ready to answer their questions.
Every year around this time, the team at InnStyle rolls up its sleeves and starts prepping for the annual AIHP conference. We are a charter founding member and allied partner of AIHP.
This year, we’ll be headed to Long Beach, CA, where the AIHP (Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals) will hold the InnSpire Conference and Knowledge Sharing Summit & Marketplace.
Scheduled for January 29 through February 1 aboard the Queen Mary, the retired ocean liner turned hotel and tourist destination. This year, the AIHP is working with Select Registry and the California Association of Boutique and Breakfast Inns to host the event.
“It’s better to give than to receive.”
That little bit of wisdom tends to come up a lot during the winter holidays. It’s only after we get a little older – and gain some wisdom of our own – that we discover it’s true.
When we’re kids, part of the joy of Christmas comes from getting gifts. When we grow up, we discover the joy of giving gifts.
And while it feels great to give gifts to your family and friends, what if you could give a gift to a stranger?
This year, InnStyle is giving you the opportunity to do just that. Continue reading
For some people, one of the most memorable parts of a trip – whether that’s at a hotel, bed and breakfast, or vacation rental property – is the room where they stayed.
And many innkeepers are taking advantage of this idea – and thus creating more revenue – by essentially setting up a gift shop. But rather than selling, say, t-shirts and postcards, these gift shops allow guests to purchase the sheets, towels, robes and other amenities they enjoyed during their stay.
If this sounds familiar, it is. It’s a topic we addressed earlier this year. But with December – and the gift giving season – just around the corner, we thought we’d bring up this idea again.
When the first economy hotels opened years ago, they catered to people whose top priority was price.
Their clientele were families on a budget, or business travelers moving from town to town and needing little more than a clean bed and bath.
But as time went on, these hotels began to upgrade. They provided free breakfast, bought better bath towels and duvets and – when the time came – began offering free WiFi. That’s why today’s traveler is expecting more, and often getting more for their money.
And it’s not just hotels. I’ve been advising our bed and breakfast customers for years that they must step up their game to compete.
B&B and country inn properties have always offered amenities, clean and well-put-together rooms, terrific breakfasts, and concierge services. (Innkeepers are very knowledgeable about their towns).
But as time has passed, hotels have also begun to offer breakfast and some amenities. (Although we’ve noticed this doesn’t always extend to bath amenities other then soap & shampoo, unless you ask for them specifically).
So if hotels are offering some of the amenities as bed and breakfasts, what’s the difference between a hotel and a B&B?
Every summer I look forward to moving to my home at the beach in New Jersey.
I love this house. I love the summer. We are not “on the beach” but we’re still close enough to walk to it. But as much as we love the house and the summer and the beach, things aren’t always simple. After my husband and I make the nearly two-hour drive to our summer home, there’s always work to do.
Sometimes that work can include standard cleaning and repairs, but other times there are bigger headaches. For example, I spent eight weeks this summer trying to get our Samsung freezer repaired, a job that was only completed after contacting the president of Samsung U.S.
We also were disappointed by 2 different contractors whom we contacted – one to build an outdoor shower, and a tree specialist to check on a gorgeous tree in front of our property that looked diseased. We contacted them, and then never heard from them again. It made us long for the days when service people took pride in their work, showed up and did the job.
With all this in mind, we thought we’d reach out to other vacation rental property owners with some tips for preparing their summer homes for the winter. By taking care of small home care issues, you’ll have more time to deal with any unforeseen issues before the rental season begins.
In a recent blog post, we discussed a number of the different types of blankets we have for sale, including cotton, down-filled, and polyester fleece.
But we didn’t mention blankets made from a napped fabric, which are an important – and extremely comfortable – part of our collection, available for sale on our website.
Napped fabric refers to a process in which both sides of a piece of woven or knit fabric are teased and raised and/or sheared off to make them even. The raised fibers of napped fabric all lie in one direction, making the fabric look and feel different when seen or touched from different angles.