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#028: Marilyn Bushnell and Eliot Dalton, Innkeeping Consultants and Brokers, Discuss the State of the Lodging Marketplace in the Face of COVID-19

Sep 16, 2020

For episode #28 of the Frictionless Innkeeper podcast series, we speak with Marilyn Bushnell, the founder of Bushnell Services, and Eliot Dalton, who are both innkeeping consultants and brokers specializing in helping people buy and sell inns, about the state of the hospitality marketplace.

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a varied impact on innkeepers around the U.S. In rural areas, there is plenty of activity – both from increased guest bookings and the buying and selling of inns – while urban environments are being challenged.

There are also an increased number of prospective buyers looking to acquire rural properties, and start their lives as innkeepers away from larger cities. In addition, mortgage rates are ideal right now, and some smaller inns are being marketed to large families that aren’t looking to be innkeepers, but looking to live and work remotely in these properties.

For Marilyn Bushnell and Eliot Dalton, who are innkeeping consultants and brokers working with property buyers and sellers, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an interesting time. They have a real “feet on street” perspective on the state of the marketplace, which they share in this podcast.

Following are highlights from our interview:

  • About Marilyn and Eliot’s backgrounds as former innkeepers. (1:35)
  • About both Marilyn and Eliot’s broker and consultant services. (4:53)
  • What both of these experts are seeing in the marketplace with regards to COVID-19. (8:09)
  • How there are actually new buyers coming into the innkeeping arena. (10:50)
  • How the pandemic has impacted urban and rural properties differently, and how more buyers are pivoting to the rural market. (12:10)
  • Marilyn and Eliot’s perspective on travel trends happening right now. (15:53)
  • How the ongoing pandemic is impacting the hospitality sector overall. (17:00)
  • How larger families are purchasing smaller B&Bs as their new homes – in areas away from big cities. (18:22)
  • Marilyn and Eliot’s perspective on this recent AHLA study, and how  properties with more privacy options for guests, such as AirBNBs, are all doing well. (20:14)
  • Why mortgage interest rates are ideal now for buyers. (27:09)
  • What the future holds for this unusual time for innkeepers, and “this too shall pass.” (31:23)

We are very thankful to Marilyn and Eliot for sharing their insights with us!  You can learn more about Bushnell Services here, and Eliot Dalton here.