More than a good night’s sleep
Ed and Connie Binot say the secret to innkeeping is attention to detail
By Hannah Massen
A whitewashed, historic mansion. Swaying Spanish Moss. Spa beauty products and plush microfiber sheets. The Cuthbert House Inn sounds like a daydream we’d have during our 2 o’clock meetings, but Ed and Connie Binot have personally welcomed guests to the Beaufort B&B for the last five years.
The Binots became innkeepers by choice, but they found Cuthbert House by chance. Before buying Cuthbert House in 2016, Connie was a teacher, and Ed worked in sales and marketing at an international firm. They were looking for a career change where they could work together as a couple, and decided to turn their idea of renting out the spare room in their house into a much larger business.
Ed and Connie traveled across the country, taking innkeeping courses and scouting potential B&B destinations. A consultant they were working with suggested they go to Beaufort to take a look at Cuthbert House, and the rest, as Ed said, was history.
Ed says it would have been helpful for him to know about the “unlevel playing field” between professional lodging business’ taxes and short-term rental’s taxes, but he now sits on the Beaufort City Accommodations Tax board. Both he and Connie are members of the Beaufort Area Hospitality Association and the Association of Lodging Professionals.
From the moment they walk through the inn’s oak doors, guests are treated to all the amenities and hospitality they could expect from a large resort.
“The moment a guest reserves a room, we send them access to our digital welcome book, which contains a wealth of information for planning their trip to Beaufort,” Ed said. “We encourage our guests to ask us questions and remain always available to help them put an itinerary together, including making reservations for tours and restaurants.”
Cuthbert House also offers a variety of customized packages and experiences, like the Honeymoon Package, It’s Picnic Time!, and The Perfect Group Getaway. Depending on the package, reservations may include romantic carriage rides, flowers and champagne upon arrival, a walking tour of the Beaufort Historic District, or a $100 gift card and reservations to a local restaurant.
Micro-Weddings and elopements have become the inn’s specialty, perfect for couples who are looking to host an intimate affair against a backdrop of live oak trees and salt marshes.
Ed and Connie’s favorite part of running Cuthbert House is getting to know their guests personally. They continued – and prioritized – one of the inn’s signature events, the Social Hour, a daily wine and hors d’oeuvres mixer held between 5 to 6 p.m., as a way to connect with their guests on a deeper level.
“Since purchasing the Cuthbert House Inn, our focus has been on the guest experience and customer service,” Ed said. “The time we spend with our guests at the Social Hour is the one thing that we offer that is unique in our area and that is often mentioned by returning guests in their reviews as a differentiating factor. We have met people from all over the world who have shared interesting stories about their lives and travels. We enjoy the time we spend with them as much as they enjoy hearing about the history of the house and town and all there is to see and do in Beaufort.”
Visit cuthberthouseinn.com for more information about the inn.
Ed and Connie Binot’s advice for hospitality professionals.
1. Make a good first impression. It’s been said that you only have 30 seconds to make an impression on someone, so it better be a positive one. Guests will start assessing your business as soon as they click on your website or step up to your front door. Your website should be full of professional photography, your porch should be tidy, and it helps to greet guests by name at check-in.
2. It’s all in the details. Many of our returning guests come back to Cuthbert House because of its attention to detail. From concierge-booked tours and spa appointments to recognizing special occasions, going the extra mile to make your guests’ stays that much more special pays off in the long run.
3. Get to know your guests. Social Hour is our favorite part of our day for a reason: our guests come from all over the world, and we love hearing the unique stories that brought them to Cuthbert house. Talk to your guests – you’ll be surprised by who you meet!