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The Ultimate Breakfast (recipes & tips from an experienced Innkeeper)

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, it involves all of my favorite things- coffee, pastries, and quiet. Ambience is just as important as the food, I like to play Billie Holiday softly in the dining room at breakfast time, turn the fireplace on low, light a candle or two, set the table with a flower, and provide a few newspaper choices (the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, along with a local paper). What you do will depend on your setting, the best breakfast always speaks of the personality of it's maker and has a strong sense of place. I hope these recipes and tips are helpful whether you cook breakfast for your guests or offer them the tools & resources to...

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Branding and Marketing Tips

1. Make a Logo Make a logo for your property, it can be as simple as the name of your rental typed in an interesting font. Hiring a graphic designer is best if you have the budget for it, but there are lots of helpful online tools if you want to save money and put something together yourself. I have used Creative Market for everything from stock photos to illustrations, and you can also use it to build a professional logo (go to 'Templates', then 'Logos'). If you don't have Photoshop, you can download a free trial on their website (where there are some great tutorials for beginners). If all of that is too complicated, try the free Squarespace logo generator (you don't have to have an account...

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Cleaning 101 (with a free guest room cleaning & stocking checklist)

The least fun aspect of operating a hotel or vacation rental is the post check out clean up. Here are some tips to make the process quicker, more enjoyable, and more efficient: Choose cleaning products that are scentless and environmentally friendly, you don't want to breathe nasty fumes (or subject your housekeepers & guests to them!). Seventh Generation is a great choice, the brand is widely available and the products are effective. I use their all purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and laundry detergent. The best glass cleaner hands down is Sprayway, it is non-toxic and ammonia free.  For cleaning marks off of walls, doors, & baseboards use a Magic Eraser (once you do, you will wonder how you ever got by without them!). For cleaning hardwood & tile floors use...

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Innkeeper Interview: Beniya Mukayu, Japan

Blossoming cherry trees line the entrance, regal escorts hinting at what awaits.  There was a time in your life when you believed the “red carpet” was the grandest of greetings, the notion seems a bit conventional now. Funny. You barely notice the raindrops beginning to bead off your luggage; the warm Spring air.  The whispering scent of vetiver and cedar provide stark contrast to the stale airport musk still clinging to your blouse. Incense? You think to yourself, “this is not the incense I remember from high school”. No, your hosts are not covering stench with scent, they are curating your sensory experience and this is just the beginning.  You are relieved of your bags and escorted to the library....

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The Guest Room Amenities That Matter Most

Whether you run a large resort, a small Inn, or a one room vacation rental, guests care about the same basic things (in no particular order): Cleanlines: Clean your guest rooms thoroughly after each guest checks out, and schedule a deep clean during your down time. Find an amazing housekeeper and pay them well, this is priority #1! Internet Connection: Guests rely on a good internet connection to check in on nearby restaurant ratings, answer emails, update their Facebook status, watch movies, and so much more. One of the first questions a guest will ask when they check in is 'what is the wifi code', do yourself a favor and post it in the room in a prominent location, and make...

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