The Australian Walkabout Inn Bed & Breakfast first opened in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1986, but Lynne and Bob Griffin’s experience as owners starts in 2007. Since then, they have greeted more than 12,000 guests to the five-bedroom property.
While the Australian-themed inn in the heart of Amish Country saw a steady flow of reservations, the competition caused some concern — as did the rise of alternative lodging sources like Airbnb.
“There are over 150 B&B properties within the borders of Lancaster Country,” Lynne Griffin says. “Although tourism is the second largest industry in the county, 150 B&Bs make for a lot of fish in our little pond, so I needed some help setting ourselves apart from the competition.”
“After the first quarter of 2015, I noticed that my business had started to decline a bit,” Griffin recalls. “It was certainly not at a panic level yet, but I didn’t want to wait until it got there before I did anything. I was familiar with SCORE from their work with the local B&B association that I belong to.”
Griffin was paired with mentor Jerry Glenn, who met with her every three to four months. When they first met, Griffin was puzzled over a 15-percent deficit in bookings for the first quarter of the year. Glenn encouraged her to rethink how she was promoting the inn, and the implementation of new website with professionally-taken photographs resulted in a rejuvenated customer base.
“After getting established with SCORE and implementing some of the recommendations suggested by Jerry, we finished 2015 with a 10 percent increase over 2014,” Griffin reports. “In addition, our first quarter of 2016 was up over 20 percent from first quarter 2015.”
Griffin was also named one of two Pennsylvania Small Business Champions in 2016, and joined SCORE and Sam's Club for a one-day small-business training event.