Posted by: Mae Mayeux
It’s summer and hot in Louisiana! Innkeepers of bed and breakfasts here are happy to welcome guests who are not only willing to brave the heat but come to thaw out after the cold northern winters. But since many “snowbirds” wait until it cools off a little in Louisiana to visit, what better time for innkeepers to slip away. Thus, the Louisiana Bed and Breakfast (LBBA) holds its conference smack dab in the middle of summer each year. And members enjoy it.
On July 20, 2016, bed and breakfast Innkeepers from all over Louisiana participated in the Louisiana Bed and Breakfast Annual Conference held in historic Natchitoches, Louisiana, at Maglieaux’s on the Cane, set right on the scenic Cane River. Innkeepers look forward to the conference each year to hear about the latest news in the industry, network with fellow innkeepers, eat some great Louisiana food and just have a good time in general.
Innkeepers and speakers began arriving in Natchitoches on Tuesday, the day before the conference, to attend a “meet and greet” dinner, at Maglieaux’s on the Cane. It’s always fun to meet new members of the LBBA, welcome aspiring innkeepers, and get to know the speakers at the conference.
The day began with a Welcome Address by the Vice-President of the LBBA, Carol Aucoin of La Belle Riviere Bed and Breakfast in Pierre Part, La., followed by a “Welcome to Natchitoches” greeting from Arlene Gould, Executive Director of the Natchitoches Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
Next, Marie Lanier, Founder and CEO of BBConnect, spoke about “Everything You Need to Know about the OTA’s [online travel agencies] and More”. Among other things, she addressed the multitude of paths and pitfalls awaiting innkeepers regarding OTA’s such as Booking.com, Expedia, TripAdvisor or Airbnb.
Incorporated into this year’s conference was a session called “Ask the Veterans”. This is when innkeepers get to ask a panel of Veteran innkeepers questions about the aspects of running a bed and breakfast. Trying to stump the panel in the process makes it even more fun. Our veteran panel was Carol Aucoin, Innkeeper/Owner at LaBelle Riviere Bed and Breakfast, Janice DeLerno, Innkeeper/Owner at The Stockade Bed and Breakfast, Glen Miller, Innkeeper/Owner at HH Whitney House and Joe Rabhan, Innkeeper/Owner at Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast.
Kyle Edmiston from the Louisiana Office of Tourism spoke about the tourism industry in Louisiana and how it impacts bed and breakfasts. Each year, this is an important and enlightening part of the conference and something the attendees look forward to.
Marie Lanier gave the innkeepers information about “Attracting Gen X, Y and the Millennials To Your Inn”. It has been determined that more and more of the younger generations are turning to bed and breakfasts as a better alternative to hotels. Attracting these young people must become an important part of every inn’s marketing.
Of course, no conference today would be complete without a session on technology and the internet. Charles Waltman of the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association (LTPA) explained to the innkeepers why it is absolutely necessary to have a mobile-friendly website.
Emily Toler, Attorney Supervisor, and Peggy Parker, Revenue Tax Research Analyst, with the Louisiana Department of Revenue explained the new tax laws affecting all of the bed and breakfasts in Louisiana beginning on July 1, 2016.
Following a general meeting of the LBBA, innkeepers were taken on a FAM (familiarization) tour of member bed and breakfasts in Natchitoches.
The conference concluded with a delicious and enjoyable dinner at Mariner’s Restaurant located on beautiful Sibley Lake.
The LBBA thanks Maglieaux’s on the Cane Restaurant and Mariner’s Restaurant for taking such good care of the members and speakers. We also want to thank the speakers and sponsors who made this conference such a success.
Next year’s conference is set to be held in Franklin, Louisiana. If you are an innkeeper or aspiring innkeeper, watch for more about the conference and the date, which has not yet been determined.