Her Small Business Sells Rest And Relaxation

Who?  Mary Ann Mayer, Mt. Washington Bed & Breakfast

Mary Ann Mayer was a typically low paid – but helping her community – social worker on Long Island when she took a short vacation to local Bed and Breakfasts.  Her B&B experience was so positive she says, “I started out thinking I’d never stay in a motel again.  Then I thought – you know this might not be a bad way to supplement my pithy social work pension.”

After just a few years in social work she decided not to wait and now runs the Mt. Washington Bed & Breakfast with her father who is also her financial backer.  Mary Ann says, “My business is my passion and also my bliss.  I love being an innkeeper and after 11 years couldn’t think of anything else I would want to do.”

SingleWoman.TV (SWTV):  If you could have done anything differently beginning your business, what would that be?

Mary Ann (MA): If I could have done anything different it might have been a bigger nest egg to be more secure during difficult financial times like over the past two years.  I also would have had started with slightly higher rates – more competitive with other bed & breakfasts in the area, rather than underbidding them.

SWTV: What has worked the best in the life of your business so far?

MA: What has worked best is the customer service I provide.  My guests often come in my door tired and stressed out from their jobs.  I enjoy spoiling them and watching the tension drain from them as they relax here.  I do everything myself – no employees.  It’s tiring but less overhead.

SWTV:  What do you think are the top things that make you and your business successful in your field/competitive market?

MA: Customer service!  I make people feel like they have known me for years from the first phone call.  One of my strengths as a social worker was my engagement skills.  I utilize those skills working with other innkeepers too – we all refer to one another, rather than viewing each other as competition.  I also work with local attractions with marketing, packages, etc.

SWTV: What marketing avenues really have helped the Inn the most?

MA: My biggest source of reservations is Tripadvisor.com.  SEO optimization helps a lot for the pre-trip planning.  Direct mail for repeat business works for me.

SWTV:  If you could improve your business three ways without financial limits–?

MA: More guest rooms – pet friendly guest room especially.  A reliable handy man and affordable healthcare for me.  And maybe some hunky guy to cook for me and think of new marketing ideas for the Inn!

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