For episode #19 of the Frictionless Innkeeper podcast series, we speak with Monica Edwards, owner/innkeeper of Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast in Durham, North Carolina, and Director of the African American Association of Innkeepers International. She discusses her experiences of being a B&B owner for more than 20 years, as well as her involvement with various innkeeper associations during that time.
Monica Edwards began her career as an innkeeper somewhat unexpectedly in 1997, when she and her husband opened the Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast in Durham, North Carolina. Almost immediately, she chose to become involved with associations dedicated to helping the B&B industry and has continued to be a significant contributor to that cause ever since.
Monica continues to run Morehead Manor, while now also devoting her time to the African American Association of Innkeepers International (AAAii). Though only about one percent of all inns are owned by African Americans, AAAii is contributing to the success of existing owners and helping to build a community of aspiring innkeepers of color, with Monica at the helm.
In her 20-plus years as an innkeeper, she has learned that the guest experience is all about interacting with travelers through the entire booking process and sees herself as an ambassador for the Durham region. She excels at her craft, as is proven by her longevity and the fact that more than 90 percent of her guests book directly through the Morehead Manor website.
In this podcast, Monica discusses her career as an innkeeper, the mission of AAAii, how the role of B&B associations has evolved, and more.
- Monica’s background and how she came to be an innkeeper. (1:03)
- What she learned in her research about B&Bs prior to purchasing the Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast. (2:30)
- Some details about the Morehead Manor property. (3:19)
- Insights into Monica’s work with various associations. (5:09)
- How B&B associations have moved towards providing advocacy. (5:45)
- All about AAAii and the organization’s mission. (10:21)
- How Monica defines the guest experience, and what strategies she has used to improve it. (16:00)
- Current innkeeping topics that are most important to Monica. (19:30)
- Age demographics for guests who stay at the Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast and how they are trending. (22:08)