After 23 years of Innkeeping.... Is there a perfect guest?


August 22, 2013

Innkeeping after 23 years…… I was recently asked is there a perfect guest?

Here’s a story that a fellow Innkeeper recently shared, and a few of my other musings.

There's this filling station in a small town. Guy w/a car packed to the brim w/personal belongings pulls up to the pump, and the station owner shuffles out to pump his gas.
"Where you headed?" asks the owner.
"Not sure" says the man*. "Just want to experience something new. What's it like here?"
The old man looks thoughtful.."Hmmm... hard to say. What was it like where you were from?"
The man looks angry. "I hate living there. Terrible place. No one lifts a finger to help anyone. Lots of back stabbers and folks who care only about themselves. I had to leave." He scowls.
The station owner nods. "Yep, kinda like that here, too..." he says.
The man's eyebrows raise. "Really? Well thanks, old man, I'd never want to live here then," He pays for his gas, gets in his car, and drives away.
A few hours later, another man pulls in, different car, different guy, packed to the brim with his worldly belongings. “Where you headed?" asks the station owner.
"Not sure" says the man, "Just wanted to experience something new. What's it like here?"
The old man looks thoughtful.."Hmmm... Hard to say. What was it like where you were from?"
The traveler looks a bit wistful: "It's really lovely. Kindest people you'll ever met. Everyone helps everybody. Just good people. I hate to leave, but I want to venture out and see new things..." The man pauses, smiling.

The station owner nods. "Yep, it's kinda like that here, too..." he says with a grin.


The story had a profound effect on me when I first heard it.

We make the worlds we live in. If that was ever true, it's for Innkeepers.

How we see the world and how we treat others often determines how our others treat us.

Wherever you live, there are unhappy campers, complainers, and malcontents.

But it's the happy souls that enrich your life, and that you want to hang out with.

And see, again and again.

Same thing goes with our guests. And our friends, family and acquaintances! :-)


Here's my idea of the perfect guest:
1 –The Perfect Guest - Reads our website and knows what we're about when they book, that country means country - well water, insects, country smells other than city smells, top quality amenities, and it is dark at night.
2 -The Perfect Guest - Doesn't break or steal my stuff, it’s there for you to experience and enjoy !
3-The Perfect Guest - Looks for a Great Time !

The Perfect Guest - it does not matter what age, race, sexual preference, religion, what part of the country you live in.

People can be a total jackass living in a zillion dollar house or out of the back of your car; perfect guests are humble, kind couples in for a special occasion and left with great experience.

But I'm entitled to be pissed when The NOT so Perfect Guest - waits until check out asks for a discount; or leave a one star review, rather than to tell me about any issues, NOT giving us a chance to “fix” whatever the issue.

I've realized that guests are like paintings: art museums are full of all kinds, some you love and want to see more of, some you like, look forward to them coming back great, some you are neutral about, and some you wonder what the hell the artist was thinking.

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