Fred & Mary Beth Tanner

Dahlonega, Georgia, United States

Bed & Breakfast Owner, Innkeeper

What's so special about being an innkeeper? For us it's a lifestyle business that provides a comfortable work environment, the perfect commute, the freedom to make our own decisions, the chance to work together every day, the opportunity to meet people from all over the world without leaving our home and the autonomy to use our creativity in our jobs without worrying about what the boss might think.

Since 2003 we have owned and operated Cedar House Inn & Yurts, a five-unit bed and breakfast on approximately three acres of property. We are the only employees and are responsible for all aspects of the business including landscaping, maintenance, marketing, purchasing, cleaning, cooking, customer relations and finances. Fred manages our website and marketing/social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin and Google+. Mary Beth creates our menus which get rave reviews from our guests.

Here’s a bit of what we can cover in our PivotPlanet session(s):
• How to start a bed and breakfast from scratch on a limited budget.
• How to differentiate your inn from the competition and position it in the
marketplace.
• How to develop a cost effective marketing and social media plan.
• How to run the day-to-day aspects of an inn including housekeeping, guest relations,
dealing with online review sites and food service.
• How to develop policies and procedures to fit the client's business model.

We opened our bed and breakfast to free ourselves from the pressure of others' expectations. We work hard to provide quality service for our guests, but we do it on our own terms, when we want to and the way we think it should be done without answering to anyone else. We're both very proud we have comfortably supported ourselves since 2003 with very little supplemental income.

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Eco-friendly Cedar House Inn and Yurts opened its doors before “green” was in vogue. We were the only bed and breakfast on the east coast with yurts and were laughed at by many in the community - who wants to stay in a tent? However, being “green” fit our environmental values and yurts differentiated us from the competition.

On a limited budget, we converted a home needing extensive repairs and renovations into a thriving, award-winning bed and breakfast. In 2010, we received BedandBreakfast.com's Best of the South Award. For the past two years we have received TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence. We were also featured in the July/August 2006 issue of Natural Home Magazine, as well as in many blogs and articles.

We have gained valuable experience over the years including how to analyze a local market area to determine if there is a viable niche for a bed and breakfast there. We have also learned things we would do differently, including taking more vacations sooner and worrying less about cancellations for fear of lost revenue. You've got to plan for your work/life balance or it doesn't happen.

Fred's past work history includes senior housing development, marketing and operations. He also taught business and marketing on the college and university level. Mary Beth was a stay-at-home mom for many years, but later worked in public relations for a Chamber of Commerce in Florida, as an elementary school teacher and tutor. She currently works as a part-time circulation assistant at our local library to feed her love of reading and take a break from the inn.

We're proud we rank so high on BedandBreakfast.com and TripAdvisor and that our social media campaign is thriving. But, most of all, we're proud we've attracted the market we were looking for - the Gen Xs and Ys who share our concern for the environment and our values. They make our job a joy.