For Episode #8 of the Frictionless Innkeeper podcast series, we speak with Linda Smith, Owner and Operator of Rachael’s Dowry Bed & Breakfast in Baltimore, Maryland, who discusses her innkeeper story, important new legislation happening in Baltimore with regards to Airbnb, and her perspective on OTAs.
Innkeepers often come from diverse backgrounds and Linda Smith is a prime example of a professional who underwent the transformation to becoming an innkeeper, bringing with her a high level of business savvy. As a former telecommunications executive, her previous experience provides her with the skills to effectively market and manage her property, as well as to help influence legislation to positively impact her industry.
She has been involved with the recent legislation in Baltimore that requires hosts using short-term rental platforms to register with city authorities and pay the equivalent of a hotel tax on Airbnb-style stays.
Linda notes that the main goal of the legislation is to prevent investors from offering a large number of properties on Airbnb, HomeAway and other websites. As we highlighted in a former podcast interview, these types of home-stay offerings can damage communities – with South Haven, Michigan, being a prime example.
She also discusses the realities of using OTAs to bring new guests to her property while working toward getting return guests to book directly.
In this podcast, Linda shares her candid insights into Baltimore’s new legislation and how she uses OTAs to her best advantage:
- Linda’s background and how she came to be an innkeeper. (1:00)
- Details about the Rachael’s Dowry Bed & Breakfast property. (3:00)
- Linda’s involvement and perspective on the new Airbnb legislation in Baltimore. (9:53)
- How the legislation compares to the way that other cities have dealt with investor-driven short-term stay issues. (14:23)
- The impact of Airbnb on innkeepers like Linda. (18:06)
- How Linda utilizes OTAs for driving new bookings. (27:01)
- Linda’s post-stay marketing and relationship-building efforts to enhance guest loyalty. (30:24)
We would like to thank Linda for sharing her story about the new legislation in Baltimore regarding Airbnb and her insights into using OTAs. You can learn more about Rachael’s Dowry Bed & Breakfast by visiting her website.