For episode #9 of the Frictionless Innkeeper podcast series, we speak with Isabelle Chicoine and Karim Houry, owners of the Woodstocker B&B in Woodstock, Vermont, who discuss their property selection process, transition from the business world to being innkeepers, how they continually aim to improve the guest experience, and their Airbnb strategy.
In having conversations with other innkeepers, we have learned that property owners can come from a variety of professional backgrounds, and some bring a wide range of business experiences that can be leveraged successfully in the B&B arena.
Former marketing communications and financial services executives, Isabelle and Karim are great examples of this. When these professionals decided to leave the corporate world but weren’t sure what type of business to pursue, they took a business-like approach to help them decide to become innkeepers.
Their business background also helped them use an analytical and strategic approach in determining which property to buy and operate. This led them to Woodstock, Vermont and the purchase of the Woodstocker B&B in March 2018.
After a brief apprenticeship at another B&B and then opening last summer, the couple dove right into the local community and fully embraced their new professional lifestyles. For example, they have designed specialized, season-specific guest experience packages for hiking and other outdoor activities, and are involved with the Woodstock town council regarding policies for short-term rentals. They have also developed a strategy for effectively using Airbnb and OTAs to improve their booking volume and revenue stream.
In this podcast, Isabelle and Karim share their innkeeper story:
· Isabelle and Karim’s background and how they came to be innkeepers. (:54)
· How they found and purchased the Woodstocker B&B. (5:00)
· More about the Woodstocker B&B property. (13:03)
· How Isabelle and Karim differentiate themselves and appeal to Millennials. (16:55)
· The continuous focus on enhancing the guest experience. (20:57)
· Their overall Airbnb strategy for increasing bookings. (24:14)
· What the future holds for the Woodstocker B&B. (32:49)
We would like to thank Isabelle and Karim for sharing their innkeeper story. You can learn more about the Woodstocker B&B by visiting their website.