Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Official Notice from Lake Lighthouse Inn Regarding COVID-19




We at the Lake Lighthouse Inn have been monitoring the various actions by both government and non-government entities regarding the worldwide outbreak of CoronaVirus (COVID-19).

While a number of local events and fishing tournaments have been cancelled that have significantly impacted our business and community, we have made the following decision:

The Lake Lighthouse Inn will remain open.  Period.

We have always taken seriously the safety and health of our guests, whether it be from the risks of “normal” flu, H1N1, the common cold, or the myriad of other airborne and fomite-based infections.  This is why we are so obsessive about ensuring that we always offer the Cleanest Rooms at the Lake.  This isn’t just a slogan.  It is the truth.

As part of our normal day-to-day protocols, each room is disinfected twice.  Disinfectant spray is used during the cleaning process after a guest checks out, and is used again on the day a guest is scheduled to check in.  The only adjustment we have made is an increase in the amount of spray we use.

All of our linens are removed when a guest checks out, and fresh linens are brought in every time we prepare a room.  Also, we discontinued the use of bedspreads four years ago, since we know that most hotels only launder those periodically.  Since 2016, we have instituted the practice of “triple sheeting” to make beds, a newer industry standard, which means all of the sheets are replaced after every guest checks out.

While other hotels and businesses are scrambling to reassess their cleaning protocols and implementing these kinds of procedures, we have been doing it all along. 

We don’t pretend that we are smarter than medical experts, or that we are “too good” to become a victim of the virus.  It can happen anywhere, to anyone (including in hospitals that are filled with professionals and experts trained against infectious diseases).  But we are confident in our cleaning processes and staff, and have the overriding belief that life goes on, and hiding from microscopic enemies is no way to live.

For those who agree, we are here for you.  For those who prefer to hunker down and stay out of the public for a few weeks, we absolutely understand, respect you and your decision as well, and look forward to seeing you on the other side of this unprecedented event.

-Morris & Coni Workman
Lake Lighthouse Inn
Osage Beach, MO

Sunday, March 8, 2020

No Glamour In Housekeeping

Image result for photo alice the maid on brady bunch
For at least the last 50 years, this has been a standard refrain from parents of school-age children everywhere in the U.S.:

“You have to do well in school so you can go to college.  You don’t want to be a maid, do you?”

While a parent’s heart might be in the right place to encourage their offspring to do and be better, it’s been a real morale-deflator in the hotel business for decades.  It’s also a battle cry that has left the country with way too many button pushers, art majors, and financial advisors, and not nearly enough youngsters who value hard work and the inner satisfaction of truly taking care of their fellow human beings.

Doctors and nurses are frequently the targets of warm and fuzzy platitudes when it comes to “taking care” of people.  But how much healing would actually take place without that unsung cadre of mop wielders and disinfectant commandos who ensure patients have a clean and sanitary environment?  Nobody is making a weekly TV show featuring life-saving janitors and death-defying housekeepers.  Even in Hollywood, where studios pretend to care about “working folks,” there are very few examples citing the nobility of keeping a place clean and presentable outside of Octavia Spencer’s Academy Award-winning turn in “The Help,” or “Maid In Manhattan” starring J-Lo.  There is simply no glamour in being a housekeeper.

The glaring exception might be the British TV show “Downton Abbey.”  The show, which ended production in 2015, featured a noble house in the 1920’s and the lords and ladies who lived within.  But even better, it showed the butlers and housekeepers and footmen and cooks who kept the titled residents running.  Instead of an hour-long reflection of dread at dusting and cleaning, the “downstairs” staff took pride in making theirs the most well maintained abode in all of England.  The competition among young villagers to become a part of this “service” was often a plot point. The staff themselves recognized that they were a part of what made a “Great House” great, and the “upstairs” residents frequently treated them with respect and even affection.  Because they took care of the Granthams, kept their home clean, and looked after their needs, the housekeepers and others were often looked upon as part of the family instead of just employees.

Once upon a time, the greatest calling of all was to look after the needs of others.  Even without “pay,” the practice of cleaning the bodies, clothes, cookery, and environs of people within their purview was often referred to as “love.”  And in most cases, nobody did it better than Mom. 

Unfortunately, it’s tough to send Mom ahead of the family to make sure the Holiday Inn is ready for their arrival, not to mention the grotesque unfairness of hanging such a task on her when she is supposed to be “on vacation” as well.

This is where professional housekeepers come in.  We aren’t so presumptuous as to bestow that grand title on the folks who ensure our beds are made and the showers scrubbed at the Lake Lighthouse Inn.  However, we DO recognize the immense value of our housekeepers and laundry people and maintenance workers.  More importantly, we hope our guests recognize it as well.  Our staff makes sure every room is spotless, that the beds are immaculate, the toilets sparkle, and the showers are squeaky clean.  In other words, they are caring for you, in a very personal way. 
Image result for rosie the robot


In this era it’s increasingly difficult to find people willing to take on the hard work of caring for others, particularly since this society has spent decades looking down its collective noses at people who actually get their hands dirty making sure others do not.  There are plenty of reality TV shows dedicated to a peculiar interpretation of what constitutes “love,” but none that show a more divine form of love, one which is only found in one person caring and taking care of another. 

We hope the pendulum will swing back one day, and housekeeping will be returned to its position of respect (until George Jetson’s Rosie the Robot becomes the norm at hotels everywhere). 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

How To Get The Best Rate On Your Hotel Room


When looking for a hotel room, there are so many options that it can be mind boggling.  Between the OTA’s (Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, etc), Trip Advisor, Kayak, and the thousands of branded properties with their international websites, you can make a month-long career out of shopping prices for your two night stay.

Below is our list of the Top 5 ways to find a winning deal when it comes to finding a place to sleep.  But before you embark on that journey, there are a few things you should decide before logging on.

For starters, what kind of stay are you looking for?  This is important, because the kind of stay will determine which kind of hotel you need.  If you’re heading out for an overnight business trip, or a one night sleepover on your way to somewhere else, you probably don’t need a resort with a golf course and spa.  On the flip side, if it’s a week-long vacation for you and your family, you will want to consider a place that has plenty to keep you occupied.

Another consideration is, what kind of traveler are you?  That’s right, deep introspection time.  It’s easy to say “I want the cheapest,” but is that really true?  The “cheapest” may involve six-legged roommates and fresh crime scene tape.  And when you’re a single guy with no cares and a thin wallet, that might be the right move.  Conversely, if you are traveling with pre-teen kids…go ahead, book a room without a swimming pool.  I dare you.

Okay, you’ve determined the kind of place you’re seeking, you’ve compared all the prices and reviews, and you’ve narrowed it down to the place you want to stay.  Now how do you get the best rate?  Here are some tips:

5.  Date Selection – Time matters, as does time of year.  In most places (other than Florida or other southern destinations), winter rates are cheaper than summer rates.  Weekend rates will be higher than weekday rates.  Rates on Fourth of July weekend will always be pricier than a shipping container full of British tea at a Boston harbor.  If you have flexibility on dates, plan accordingly.

4.  Packages – Small roadside motels probably won’t have many package deals available unless they’re within nuclear bomb range of Disney World or Branson.  However, it will at least be worth a look (or call) to find if they have a special rate for the room plus tickets to the World’s Largest Ball of Detritus. 

3.  Memberships and Newsletters – Most hotels have some form of “preferred guest” program where you sign up, give them a few juicy tidbits of data-mining gold, and you’re instantly a member of their La Cosa Host-ra.  Sure, you’re going to get an inbox full of emails every week (and double the week of your birthday), but you’re going to get a better rate than you can get anywhere else.  Seriously, it’s worth it (and occasionally you’ll find more bargains in some of those newsletters).  And we’re not just saying that because a blog is a lot like a newsletter.

2.  Discounts – And more on memberships: belong to everything.  Even when you don’t.  The OTA’s usually don’t offer discounts for age or auto affiliation, but the hotels almost always do.  Unfortunately, you often won’t find those discounts on a website.  You have to call the hotel directly and ask about discounts.  If you’re over 50, get that “senior discount.”  If you are active military or former military, mention it.  Own a car?  Ask about the AAA (American Automobile Association) discount, even if you aren’t really a member (hotels usually won’t ask for your AAA card).  Ditto for AARP.  When you’re coming in for a convention or event or part of a group, ask if there is a special rate for that group or activity.  If they have a one-time incentive for being Irish, tell them your middle name is McGillicuddy.  You get the idea. 

1. Book Early – Yeah, it’s almost a cliché, but clichés are often born of truth.  That is particularly true here in the era of “dynamic pricing,” a little gift from the airline industry.  If you can book your room a year ahead, do it.  For starters, most smaller hotels don’t really look at increasing their prices for the following year until they do their end-of-year analysis.  They also don’t get too serious about setting up the higher “special events” rates for the coming year until things slow down in the winter.  Then you have the dynamic pricing.  Just as Delta and United taught everyone, hotels usually start with a certain rate (usually a pretty cheap one), then when they get a certain number of reservations on the books, that rate goes up.  It goes up again when they close in on the last few rooms, which means it’s pretty unlikely you’re going to get a sweet deal the night before Memorial Day weekend.  The incentive is definitely there to book early.  The down side is that you’re going to tie up your money/credit card for the interim.  Hotels in popular destinations will want to charge the whole thing at time of reservation (Hawaiian hotels are notorious for this) while others will only charge the first night.  Either way, when booking early, make sure you are intimately familiar with the Cancellation Policy for that property. 

There are a few other tricks and schemes out there, but most of those will only result in annoyed front desk clerks and reservations for dilapidated rooms squeezed between the ice machine compressor and elevator equipment.  Also, while it defeats the new normal of easy reservations made online, a phone call is usually a better bet for discounts, as front desk humans will be more inclined to find ways to save you money than a website. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A Snowy Day At The Inn

Snow covers cars and buildings at the lake area on Saturday, Jan. 11.

Snow?  At the Lake of the Ozarks?

As hard as it might be to envision, with images in your head of sun-splashed waters and bobbing pleasure boats, this weekend saw the area covered in snow.

The lake was hit by three inches of snow, snarling traffic (okay, making the road a bit slippery for the two or three dozen cars that braved Osage Beach Parkway on Saturday) but painting a gorgeous landscape of virtuous white over anything that would sit still long enough.

Fortunately, the City of Osage Beach was prepared and diligent, with snow plows and salt trucks hitting the streets within minutes of the first snowflakes touching down.  

The Lake area has been enjoying a surprisingly mild winter up to this point (regardless of what the Farmer's Almanac and its caterpillar coats predicted), with a small snowfall recorded in mid December but temperatures regularly hovering around 55-65 degrees for much of the last month.


Fortunately the National Liar Service (sorry, the National Weather Service) is not predicting any snow for next week's Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA) gathering at Margaritaville, even though the temperatures are supposed to be a little more winter-esque.  This means that visiting music teachers can look forward to a great in-service.  Even better is the fact that buses have been arranged for guests to ride to and from the convention facilities during the three days.

So January is off to an exciting start here in 2020 (which, we have unilaterally declared, is going to be the Year of the Lighthouse).  Hope to see you soon!