Location, Location, Location…the 3 Ingredients to a Successful Inn

When you ask a realtor what the 3 most important factors are when buying a house, the whimsical, but meaningful, response is “Location, Location, Location”.  The intent, obviously, of repeating the same word 3 times implies that Location is the ONLY factor when buying a home.

But when searching for an inn, or developing or strengthening an inn’s

marketing plan, the repetition has 3 distinct implications:


Location #1: Think of the inn’s macro-location first.  Is the inn located within easy reach (2-3 hours) of major metropolitan areas?  Having major population meccas from which to attract guests is a major asset of any inn.  A great example includes Pheasant Field B & Bin Carlisle, PA.  Within 3 hours of the inn includes such metro-megacenters as the NYC metro area, Philly, Baltimore, DC,, Pittsburgh, and only a few miles away, the capital of PA, Harrisburg.  That’s gotta be about 16 bazillion potential “one-tankers”  (guests that only want to spend one tank of gas for their mini-vacation).

For aspiring innkeepers, keeping Location #1 in mind when building a profile will ensure an advantage from the get-go.  For a current innkeeper, analyzing Location #1 in your SWOT  (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis is an important step to strengthening your marketing plan.

Location # 2 is the immediate region around the inn.  What will bring the 16 bazillion people to your area?  It is NOT just to visit you, as much as we innkeepers would like to believe!  Having a variety of area attractions that appeal to multiple interests, great restaurants, and soft adventures will offer a one-stop shopping itinerary for any guest looking to get away.  Take the Pennsbury Inn, for example, in Chadds Ford, PA.  Within a few short miles of the inn is something for everyone:  Longwood Gardens and its world-reknown topiary gardens, Winterthur (the DuPont country house) for the antiquers and hortoculturists, Simon Pearce glassworks, the River Museum and its Andrew Wyeth Gallery, the Brandywine Revolutionary War battlefield for history buffs, and, of course, the Wine Trail and great restaurants of the region.

This vast array of attractions appeals to most any interest…with plenty to do for any visitor to the region.  For the aspiring innkeeper, what will bring guests to the area around YOUR future inn?  For the current innkeeper, which of these attractions can I package with, and build relationships with, to capitalize on THEIR popularity?

Location # 3 is an easy one, and the one most innkeepers, aspiring and current, focus.  This is the inn itself, its curb appeal, and the attractiveness of the surrounding neighborhood.  When a guest rounds the corner and sees the inn for the first time, we hope their eyes widen and they mutter the “ooooooh!” that we work so hard to achieve.  Many inns know how to achieve this look.  The example here, Brampton Bed & Breakfast Inn near Chestertown, MD., is noteworthy for its curb appeal.

For the aspiring innkeeper, does your candidate inn have curb appeal, or can you give it great curb appeal?  Is it in an attractive and safe-looking neighborhood?  For the current innkeeper, taking a look from the road to ensure a great first impression should be a part of every capital expenditure plan.

Three separate interpretations for the same word…Location.  But each having distinct meaning

to ensure the success of an inn.

Consultant’s Advice: Aspiring innkeepers, ensure the profile of your candidate inn has ALL 3 location criteria metFor current innkeepers, look at all three definitions, assess and take advantage of the strengths of your location, and develop plans to strengthen those weaknesses or take actions for those opportunities that your location offers.

What are the strengths and weaknesses with YOUR location, location, location?

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