As published in the Wall Street Journal on Nov 8, 2018 …
A New Breed of Innkeepers for the Airbnb Era
To compete with home-sharing services, bed-and-breakfast owners must be internet and Instagram savvy while baking scones and making guests comfy.
Jeff and Maryan Muthersbaugh didn’t plan on becoming innkeepers when they bought their Haddam, Conn., 1765 post-and-beam colonial for $535,000 as a weekend retreat in 2002. Over seven years, the couple invested about $550,000 in improvements to the 5-acre property, including remodeling a cottage and building a carriage house. Then in 2009, Ms. Muthersbaugh, who is 66, lost her job as director of human resources for a manufacturing company.
“I thought, ‘I just don’t want to sit behind a desk anymore—this is a great house, I want to share it with people,’ ” she said.
The Muthersbaughs didn’t do much to transform their home into an inn, which they dubbed the Nehemiah Brainerd House Bed and Breakfast after its first owner. Nightly rates range from $140 to $400.
“We entertain a lot—always did,” said Mr. Muthersbaugh, 63, who also owns an executive-search firm. “Before we opened it as a B&B we used to have family and friends here, and then it was bed-and-breakfast, lunch, drinks, snacks. Now it’s bed-and-breakfast—and they pay,” he said. Contemplating retirement, the couple have listed the B&B for $974,900.
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