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Anthony Barthel
Ringleader in a circus of insanity.
Ringleader in a circus of insanity.


We got an email today from RezoVation - we are still using their RezO Web product. They want us to switch to Internet Explorer. Are they freaking kidding? Switch to an insecure pile of garbage - which doesn't run on our Mac anyway.

Our biggest reason for still using them is the automated birthday and anniversary emails that system sends out. Anybody have any recommendation for an alternative with the same feature?

That we can use on a browser that's not insecure on a real computer instead of a piece of Windows trash (not that I'm biased or anything).

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For those of you who don't know I've sold my B&B and now am a marketing consultant to businesses to help bring them into the modern times. One of my clients is a county and, at that county, we are working to find all the people using services like AirBnB so that we can notify them of local lodging regulations and then bring them into compliance.

This county has a severe shortage of lodging and more and more of the wineries and other businesses are adding a lodging component and using AirBnB and such to market that lodging - some of the wineries are also my clients and they're using AirBnB because it is very effective at selling rooms (Caldwell House and Ephraim just had heart attacks). And, the normal B&B is also my client and they're using AirBnB as well.

But AirBnB is a reality to deal with and it's really the lodging owners who need to be in compliance. And, governments need to recognize this. Fortunately two cities and one county who are clients of mine now do. This is better for everybody because it brings noncompliant owners into compliance and also expands lodging options for customers.

Apparently one of you has been quite bothered by my comments and sent an e-mail to the Featherbed Railroad through the contact form on the resort's website that says this individual would have stayed at the Featherbed but my nasty comments made them never want to go there. 

Okay, fine. 

But here's the deal. I don't own that resort any more so instead of hurting me by not going there, you're hurting a new-to-the-industry innkeeper, if you even had considered going there in the first place. Where your e-mail came from, it's quite a distance from Northern California. Oh, did I mention that by filling out the contact form that it captures your IP address? Oops. 

While I'm fine with my own opinions and convictions to the point that I will share them with others in a public forum, you think you're hiding behind a made-up e-mail that you put in the Featherbed's contact form. So you don't even have the guts to stand behind your own convictions. How sad. 

I have realized that of all the types of businesses that I've owned and of all the life experiences I've had, innkeeping isn't for me. There are absolutely aspects of it that I love and miss, but the things I didn't like made me realize that I shouldn't be in this business. However, the new owners are exceptional at it. In fact I've already paid to stay there and had a great experience. 

What I do understand is the internet and marketing and tech stuff to the point that, after I sold the resort, a lot of people came calling and I've already got some great contracts for helping people get found on this crazy medium. And I absolutely love doing this because I can help really great people get found by more customers who have the positive experience of getting served by those great people. It's a win-win. 

I don't ever mind if someone disagrees with me and even presents a logical argument why they disagree. I also recognize that there are different tastes - for example you might really enjoy a great wine and I choose a great beer. There's room for all opinions. And, on those very rare occasions, I will be wrong. I know. Shocking, right? But it happens. 

But what's unfortunate is when someone has to hide their feelings behind a made-up e-mail to tell me they don't like my opinion and that I'm terrible for expressing it. 

And from a closed group, no less. 

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Howdy, friends

As you may know I have sold my B&B. It took me from about December, 2014 to August and I had a lot of interest, particularly at the end. I had couples fly in from far-flung parts of the globe to look at it and ultimately the winners were folks from about 800 miles away - I'm in NoCal and they're from San Diego. So far, they're doing great!

But I wanted to share how easy this was. I built a website and posted the B&B on All the other listing services weren't worth diddly squat - I got people looking a little but they were just dreamers. That's fine, but doesn't cut the mustard. was the secret sauce and then having an awesome website to send them to was the icing on the cake. I love cake. 

The best investment I made was in the "flying" video where a guy came with a drone and shot the footage you'll see on that website. That has also sold a lot of guest rooms in the interim - best $450 I spent in marketing/advertising ever. Ever. 

Now here comes the part that will cheese off some people. NOT using an agent was the best decision I could have made. I was my own real estate agent. I wrote the sales agreement. I did the whole thing. 

I could answer the prospects' questions directly, do tours and the whole process was personal and super easy. I had one guy who drove up and walked up the porch and was dressed in fancy clothes and showed-up in a super clean BMW. Not my customer. He asked for a tour and I told him 'no' - you would never do well here. Pissed him off but I am right. 

Ultimately we didn't have a monster amount of paperwork to deal with that the agent "forgot about." Not a lot of legal bullfeathers. I wrote the loans, I wrote the deals and we are all happy. 

I questioned whether I should have used an agent and, after all is said and done, I'm SO glad I didn't. The process went SO smoothly, there was no middleman, and I didn't have to pay someone a fat commission to do what I can do myself and probably do better because I had a vested interest in making this transaction go great for myself AND for the new owners. My life philosophy is that when everybody wins, everybody wins. 

After all, I want to go and stay here. The place has never lost its magic in my eyes. If they do well, I will be so happy going back. But as a paying guest. 

I'm sure agents, who want to hang on to their fat commissions, will tell you all sorts of reasons why I'm crazy. But I see real estate agents as the equivalent of used car salespeople and I'm the Tesla of selling B&Bs. Just like Tesla is scaring all the dinosaur car people, this easy process should scare the dinosaur real estate agents. 

Just finally had my fill of these third-party booking systems like, which is the worst and others. Today I am kicking to the curb. They can go suck eggs. 

So here's a sort of question. I've been watching "Hotel Impossible" and learning a great deal. My training in this business was the previous owner asking if I knew how to run the credit card machine. That was IT. She figured the terrible housekeeper and groundskeeper would tell me the rest. 

So do you watch Hotel Impossible? To me it's educational television, to be honest. A hotel is a business built of systems? Who knew? 

I wonder if it would make sense to have some sort of courseware created for the true newbies in this business. I've owned my B&B for almost 7 years and am finally getting the hang of it. 

I have yet another question for you all. Do you have some place that's away from customers, phones, and lookie-loos where you can go to do some thinking or actually get work done so you can be proactive?

More and more with the perpetual interruptions to my day I feel it's impossible to be proactive in this business and I'm more spending time being reactionary. I really feel these constant interruptions are actually damaging my business. 

How about you?

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As a service to one and all I'm going to start a new, free, service where I "interpret" answers for common questions that people have. Just forward me their e-mails or voice mails and I'll automatically answer them. Here are two for you as an example: 

Hi. I have an expired Living Social voucher and I still want to take advantage of it but I can't be there 'till like 9 even though your check-in times end at 7. Can you spend a bunch of extra money on overtime having someone sit at the front desk. Oh, by the way, I'm a Vegan. 

Here's an idea. Either leave early or drive your Prius at least at the speed limit. And don't be a douche, have a piece of ham or something. Maybe you won't be that white. You look like a ghost.

I know your reservations system, website and confirmation system says each room is for two but my 3-year-old is adorable and wants to stay with us, so is it okay that we bring her?

Apparently you're a lousy parent who thinks that the rules don't apply to you so your kid probably needs a big spanking just before she even steps through the door. As do you. And you better not like it. Teach the little brat to follow the rules and try doing so yourself. It makes society better. 

Yes, this service will be absolutely free to anyone and you can send your questions to: Each question will be handled with the same decorum and class as these two were. 
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