Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Select Registry Meeting on Michigan's Gold Coast

We're just back from a Select Registry Regional meeting at Stafford's Bay View Inn near Petoskey, Michigan on the 'Gold Coast' of Lake Michigan.  This area, famous for its wide variety of fruit production, is at the same latitude as many of world's best vineyards.   Bay View is a religious resort community founded by a group of Methodists in 1875.  On our first night in Bay View, we thought there had been a huge power outage as we drove past block after block of completely dark homes and mansions.  Stafford Smith, owner of Stafford's Inn, later explained that the community bylaws allow members to reside in their homes only from May 1 through November 1, so everyone was gone for the winter.  His and one other inn are allowed to remain open year-around to accommodate members opening and closing their summer homes.

As always, it was great to meet with fellow innkeepers and exchange stories and tips.  Our favorite session was a round table where we talk about topics germane to small inns, such as where to find green amenities, good coffee, comfortable sheets, quality electronics, and effective marketing help.  At one point the conversation turned to cancellation policies, and the emergence of cancellation insurance.  Acting on a reference from another innkeeper, we've added links to iTravelInsured on our website and confirmation emails.  This gives our guests the option to get cancellation insurance at a very reasonable cost with easy online enrollment.