Barbara blazed a new trail for bed & breakfast in the United States when she opened the first B&B in New York in 1982. After almost 30 years in the hospitality industry, she's been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, local papers, Martha Stewart Living Radio and other radio programs, Country Inns Magazine, ABC Good Morning, CNN & NBC news shows. Her first book, Open Your Own Bed & Breakfast, (available from us at $18.95) published by John Wiley & Sons, was released its fourth edition in 2001, and was also a clue on Jeopardy! Barbara initially promoted her inn by creating a reservation service, Bed & Breakfast USA, ltd, which successfully publicized over 300 B&Bs across the nation. Barbara is available for private consultation about your inn (or potential one) or as an expert witness in difficult zoning or planning board trials. She charges an hourly rate of $135 if you come to her place for consultation or $600 a day plus expenses to travel to your site.
She runs group and private seminars and takes a small number of interns for a week's apprenticeship each year.
One aspiring innkeeper writes:
Thanks for a great day. While your writing had a powerful influence on me, a whole day of consultation was very satisfying. -Paul and Deborah Dahl Lustgarten -- Plainfield, NJ
Planning 2014 dates available soon. Private one day seminars can be arranged on mutually agreeable dates.
Three Day Seminars
Seminars take place at our sister inn, the Alexander Hamilton House, in Croton-on-Hudson, NY.
Friday: 7 pm - 10 pm
Topics Covered: Selecting a site, conducting a market survey, how to research rules and regulations, buying an established place versus starting from scratch, evaluating income potential, making an offer, going to contract
Saturday: 10 am - 12 pm, 1 pm - 6 pm
Topics Covered: Marketing, public relations and advertising, brand identity, naming, logo, image, making your inn known, pricing, operations management, house keeping, reservations, purchasing, staffing, record keeping, ADA compliance, evaluating your marketing plan, fianancing strategies, lease options and other creative financing techniques
Sunday: 9 am - 1 pm
Topics Covered: The internet, increasing profitability by increasing occupancy, expanding your inn and cutting costs, exit plans
Fees$500 for one person, $600 per couple.
Included:14 hours class instruction, text, coffee breaks Saturday & Sunday, Lunch Saturday & Sunday
Lodging:Accommodations are available at Alexander Hamilton House. Cost varies according to room selected, breakfast included.
Dress:Casual for all classes. Dinner Saturday night at the restaurant of your choice, dress varies.
Location:Croton-on-Hudson is located 1 hour north of NYC by car or Metro-North train. You can fly into White Plains, JFK, LGA or Newark. Car rental is available at airports or we can arrange limo pickup.
Private, one day seminars are also possible on For more information on any of these services, please contact us directly or fill out an application
An internship at the Alexander Hamilton House lasts one week. During that time, prospective innkeepers get hands-on experience running an eight guest room B&B, an hour north of New York City, in Croton-on-Hudson, gateway to the historic Hudson River valley.
The Alexander Hamilton House is a 6,000 square foot Victorian, circa 1889, decorated to evoke relaxation and romance. All rooms have prvate bath, cable tv and free wi-fi access. Five of the rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and two of those have two person whirlpool tubs. Guests have access to several large public rooms and usually eat breakfast in our glass enclosed sun porch. In summer, they also enjoy the in-ground pool and grounds. Breakfast is the only regular meal served, with picnics candlelight dinners arranged by appointment. We also hold English Cream Afternoon Teas for charity.
Many historic homes, open to the public, are located withing a twenty mile radius of the inn, as well as West Point Military Academy, parks and mountains for hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing, two rivers for kayaking and canoeing, and there is also the largest premium outlet shopping center just 30 minutes away. These attractions bring tourists from around the world in addition to the weekenders from NYC, Long Island and New Jersey. Weeknights we host many business travelers with local work.
Having a car here will make it possible for the intern to fully enjoy the attractions as well as restaurants and the true beauty of the area. Car rental is available from Enterprise.
Dress is variable. During the working day, it is necessary to look presentable but comfortable enough to work. Nice jeans and a comfortable sweater are just fine. It is important to make a good first impression, so a change into something a bit more formal is appropriate in the afternoon before guests start to check-in. Wool or cotton slacks or skirt with a nice blouse or sweater fit the bill. Restaurants in the area range from casual to dressy. One nice outfit will ensure comfort when out sampling local fare.
My innkeepers Cyd and Lori share the bulk of the innkeeping responsibliities. We have a gardener and a housekeeper who endeavour to keep our place clean and ready for visitors.
We accept only one intern or couple at a time. The week begins Sunday evening, ending the following Sunday after breakfast. The intern is expected to take a room at the weekly rate at the inn. In addition, a charge of $250 for one or $350 for two for the internship is expected. This includes breakfast and lunch each day plus one evening meal, usually the first Sunday.
During the course of the week, the intern will have first-hand experience in all aspects of running the inn. This includes guest relations, sales and marketing, food and beverage management, purchasing, inventory control, personnel management, record keeping, bookkeeping and payroll, housekeeping and maintenance as well as community relations and strategic planning. This also includes fun stuff as well as making sure toilets are clean. There are times when staff members fall ill, are late or on vacation and the innkeeper must know how to do it all. There will be some free time each day or evening to relax and get to explore the area.
Cyd, Lori & I are happy to discuss innkeeping in general, with interns. Specific consulting related to other inns costs $75 an hour from here $400 per day plus expenses to make a site visit.
Internships are not money-makers for us. They are our way of giving back to the industry that has been so good to us. Because having an intern takes considerable time and effort, we limit the official number of participants to six per year. Those serious about doing an internship at the Alexander Hamilton House need to fill out an application including the time periods desired. If accepted, the intern must remit payment for the internship and room within ten days of acceptance. This is not refundable. If the internship needs to be rescheduled, the payment will be credited to that week providing we have seven days notice and are able to rebook the room. Should the change happen at the last minute and we are not able to rebook the room, the internship would be credited to the new dates, but the lodging cost would be payable again.
|Sunday Evening||Arrive, Receive materials about the AHH and its environs. Have dinner and spend the evening studying the inn and area so that you are prepared to answer questions posed by potential guests when you practice phone sales.|
|Monday||Morning - Observe and enjoy breakfast preparation and service. Get acquainted with room layout, housekeeping, and inventory control. Look at forms used here. See an overview of our reservation system and recording weekend's financials.
Afternoon - Practice telephone skills and check-in procedures. Free time to explore the area and get acquainted with local attractions.
Evening - Observe check-ins and telephone reservations. Look at samples of marketing and advertising. Run referral reports and evaluate marketing plan.
|Tuesday||Morning - Participate in preparation and service of breakfast. Check rooms, practice supervision of housekeeping staff and laundry.
Afternoon - Practice telephone skills. Look at website and rack card. Evaluate them. Discuss how rates are set and different ways to adjust pricing and increase sales. There should be some free time to explore.
Evening - Participate in preparation for next day's breakfast, plan menu for subsequent week and preparing shopping list.
|Wednesday||Morning - Participate in early monring raid on Sam's and the supermarket. Discuss what can be bought wholesale vs. retail vs catalog.
Afternoon - Continued training in telephone sales. Begin to look at strategic planning including capital improvements, expansion, staffing needs, marketing changes, etc.
Evening - Free
|Thursday||Morning - Begin answering the phone and dealing with guests directly. We will discuss guest relations including issues of handling groups, special guests, troublesome guests, etc. Focus on use of the computer to record reservations, financial records and pay bills on the computer. Check e-mail
Afternoon - Prepare chart of arrivals for the weekend. Make sure any special arrangements are taken care of. Discuss how bookkeeping and payroll are done and what record keeping is necessary for tax purposes.
Evening - 5 pm - 8 pm Check-ins. Rest of evening free.
|Friday||Morning - Prepare and serve breakfast. Observe check-out procedures. Check rooms for arriving guests. Do some preparation for Saturday breakfast. Update weekend arrivals.
Afternoon and Evening - Check-in weekend guests. Discuss community relations. If during the course of the week, we are participating in a community meeting with local or regional tourism, B&B or chamber group, interns accompany us.
Afternoons are a good time to evaluate the week so far and bring up any neglected issues.
|Saturday||Morning - Prepare and serve breakfast, supervise house keeping and laundry. Do some preparation for Sunday breakfast. Afternoon free.|
|Sunday||Morning - Preparation and service of breakfast. Guest check out. Departure.|