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article imageBed and breakfast innkeeper fantasy explored in 'Second Acts'

By Michael Krebs     May 22, 2013 in Business
In the site's third installment of the 'Second Acts' editorial series, Slate's Emily Yoffe explores one woman's post-career move to own and operate a bed and breakfast.
On the many occasions that I have stayed at a charming bed and breakfast, I have at times thought about what it might be like to run a B&B establishment in retirement. It is an operation that extends well beyond whipping up the right breakfast menu, but the idea still holds a quaint appeal.
Slate magazine published its third piece in its "Second Acts" editorial and crowd-sourcing series on Wednesday, focusing this time on one woman's post-career pivot to bed and breakfast ownership. The profile was written by Slate's Emily Yoffe, well-known for her popular and racy Dear Prudence column.
The Inn of the Second-Act Happiness explores a "common starting-over fantasy" and offers a unique view into one woman's determination to re-emerge from her prior life as a Fannie Mae investor relations finance type to a pre-Civil War innkeeper, concerning herself most with governance and with a keen understanding of her region's local charms.
According to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, there are approximately 17,000 inns operating within the United States alone. But populous as it may be, the B&B industry is not without its challenges.
"Economic forces are changing quite rapidly and can and do have an immediate impact on innkeepers. Energy costs (gas, fuel, oil), access to credit, consumer spending and confidence are just a few areas that have a direct correlation to the ability of innkeepers to operate," PAII warns in a statement on its site. "Technological forces probably have the greatest impact on innkeepers with the presence and growth of the digital information world. Understanding online review sites, 'social networks' and the ways in which potential guests make their decisions on where to stay is just the beginning. Devising strategies and tactics to successfully compete in this new marketplace is critical. Social forces impact the industry as well. Take the aging population: not only do they have physical needs that require special attention with their accommodations, but the impact on their financial resources – retirement funds, health care and pharmaceutical expenses – greatly impacts their ability to use discretionary dollars for travel. Political forces play a role in the industry as well. This isn't only in issues specific to the travel and lodging field – such as taxes, governmental spending on tourism promotion, and labor laws — but in broader areas as well. For example, look at the impact of the loss of much of the business community's travel that involved leisure activities due to political forces that view such travel as wasteful in today's economy."
But these factors still do not deter the dreamers.
Wednesday's post from Slate was the third in a series of ten profiles of individuals who have successfully executed second acts of their own. In addition to the editorial series, Slate has also introduced a crowd-sourcing component where audience members can submit narratives of their second acts and vote on stories from other contributors.
More about second acts, Slate, bed and breakfast, bed & breakfast, Retirement
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