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Personality Types You'll Encounter at Your B&B

August 17, 2008

by Kit Cassingham

Do you give a personality quiz to job applicants to help you decide if they will fit into your inn culture? Some innkeepers do. Whether you choose to go that route or not it's wise to understand personality traits and know which personality you want in an employee. You don't get to choose your guests' personalities though, so become familiar with the various traits.

There are numerous personality type approaches. Myers-Briggs and DISC are two of the more well-known schools of thought. There are other ones too, like Color, Pattern, Power, VALS, Kingdomality, and of course the Zodiac, some of which innkeepers use exclusively in their hiring practices. Whatever it takes to get a grip on the different types of people who you will interact is good.

Having an awareness of the different personalities that will pass through your life and your inn will help you better cope -- on many levels. People you encounter include the people who will be your guests, your employees, your vendors, and your partners. Let's talk about the different types.

First, is the Cholic/Driver personality. These are the people who will test your rules and commitment to your way of business. They may even feel like bullies as they try to throw their weight around to get what they want. You establish rules for these people. I believe it's easier to break your rules when appropriate than to make rules on the spot -- especially if emotions are running high. Make your rules now and know which you can bend -- or even break -- and which you want to hold steadfast for your business sanity.

Then there are the Expressive/Sanguine guests who can be fun to have around, though they may test you in their demands for quality (beyond what you already offer). These people will also test your rules but with their charisma. They will appreciate the fine things you offer and will spread the word if they find you "worthy" of their praise.

Next, let's talk about the Amiable/Phlegmatic person. This person seems like a lovely guest because they love everything you do for them. They are the guests who will come back time and again because they like you. But in some ways these are the hardest guests to have because they won't tell you what's wrong with their guest experience because they don't want to hurt your feelings. Your challenge is to find ways to get them to share their feelings so you can keep their experience a good one. These are the people you have made your common areas for because they will use them!

Finally, we have the Analytical/Melancholy personality. This is the guest who will keep you on your toes and keep you "honest". These are the people who will point out that your brochure or web site says you have fruit baskets in your rooms, in spite of the fact you removed them from the guest rooms years ago and placed them in the common areas because of fruit fly problems. When you make that change in your operations be sure your brochure and web site reflect the change or you'll hear about it from this type of guest.

These personalities weave their way throughout your inn. And of course, various personalities are everywhere you go -- the store, meetings, the airport or train station, and the post office. Learning to understand these personalities not only makes your innkeeping life calmer and happier, but also your life in general.

What is your personality type?

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