Monthly Archives: March 2014

Your Website Needs Pictures

your website needs pictures

 

Your website needs pictures.  If this web page had no pictures, would it have caught your attention as well?  You need to wow your potential guests with amazing professional photographs showing them the experience they will have if they stay at your bed and breakfast.  

 

Your website needs pictures:

  • Outdoor Pictures
  • Gardening & Landscaping
  • Breathtaking Views
  • Guest Bedrooms
  • Guest Bathrooms
  • Gourmet Kitchen
  • Your Breakfasts & Other Delights
  • Common Areas
  • Grand Staircases & Fireplaces
  • Porch, Balcony & Deck
  • Your Antiques & Collections
  • Your Events such as Weddings & Concerts
  • Innkeepers/Owners
  • Area Attractions and Area Events
  • Events Hosted At Your Inn

The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is right!  For search engine optimization purposes, be sure to label your images with the relevant keywords. Capture their love of what your inn and local community has to offer with awesome photos because your website needs pictures!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

What Innkeepers Like Most

what innkeepers like most

I wanted to see if there were some common responses to the question I asked bed and breakfast innkeepers in an online Linked In group. The question was, “What do you like most about being an innkeeper?” Answers to what innkeepers like most included:

  • Welcoming guests from all over the world
  • Meeting people from all walks of life
  • Showing hospitality by making others feel at home
  • Conversations that flow naturally with guests
  • Feeding our guests well
  • Being my own boss
  • Satisfaction from making others happy
  • Having guests return again and again and forming long-term bonds with them

So what do YOU like best about being owning a bed and breakfast?  I can think of several responses, to what innkeepers like most, depending upon what activities you like to do at your B&B:

  • Greeting and speaking with guests
  • Cooking delicious breakfasts, desserts, and more
  • Hosting events such as weddings and group meetings
  • Tending to our beautiful garden
  • Renovating and restoring our home
  • Decorating the rooms
  • Designing several different packages for guests to choose from
  • Updating guests with a regular newsletter or blog
  • Using social media to promote our bed and breakfast

Everyday keep in mind what you love about being an innkeeper. Keep track of memorable moments with guests. Stay in touch with former guests and reach out to potential new guests. Join an innkeeping association for support from fellow innkeepers.  Now it is easier than ever to keep in contact with others in our connected world.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

You Can Do Pinterest

you can do Pinterest

 

You can do Pinterest!  As promised when I started our series of blog posts on using Pinterest, I will share with you some of my Pinterest boards and how I organized them.  This is for you to get some inspiration when you pin on your boards!  It gets exciting when you grow more followers. You can see which pins get repinned the most.

 

Of course, food is a big deal for a bed and breakfast so I have more than one board for food.  Perhaps I will have enough pins to have a separate board for eggs (including omelets and frittatas).  I did have enough pins to have separate boards for crepes, French toast, pancakes, and waffles–even desserts!  Currently, I have the following boards:

Bed and Breakfast Cooking

Bed and Breakfast Crepes

Bed and Breakfast French Toast

Bed and Breakfast Pancakes

Bed and Breakfast Waffles

Bed and Breakfast Desserts

I also have a board for cookbooks and for other books, including fiction related to bed and breakfasts and nonfiction about running bed and breakfasts.

B&B  Cookbooks

Bed and Breakfast Books

Then I have few boards featuring bed and breakfast in the United States, bed and breakfasts in the world, and award-winning bed and breakfasts.

Bed and Breakfasts USA

Bed and Breakfasts World

B&B Award Winners

In case you are wondering why sometimes I spell out Bed and Breakfast and sometimes I shorten the name of the board to say “B&B”–it is so that the name of the whole board fits on the screen.  Otherwise, if the name you give your board is too long, it will show a … after it to show that there are more letters, but not enough room.  To me, it makes sense to name my boards short enough so that everyone can read its entire title.

I also name my boards with titles that are appropriate. For example, if it is a specific area of the house, I include that in the name of the board.

Bed and Breakfast Bathrooms

Bed and Breakfast Bedrooms

Bed and Breakfast Dining

Bed and Breakfast Kitchens

I also feature less thought of areas that can really look special in a bed and breakfast.

Bed and Breakfast Stairs

Bed and Breakfast Fireplaces

Bed and Breakfast Lights

B&B Stained Glass

Since so much of the visual appeal for a bed and breakfast comes from its outside, I put together the following boards:

Bed and Breakfast Entrances

Bed and Breakfast Porches

Bed and Breakfast Gazebos

Bed and Breakfast Gardening

There are some bed and breakfasts that specialize in an area.  They could offer weddings, be located on a farm, have a spa, and/or a restaurant.

Bed and Breakfast Weddings

Bed and Breakfast Farms

Bed and Breakfast Spas

B&B Restaurants

Some bed and breakfasts are unique because they are located in a registered historic home or even located in a lovely castle!

B&B’s with History

Bed and Breakfast Castles

Because of what services I provide, I have a board for social media and one specifically for Pinterest.  

B&B Social Media Success

Promote with Pinterest

Of course, I have not listed every board I have nor do you need to have the same boards as me.  It is really deciding what you think visitors would like best about your bed and breakfast and featuring those in pins as well as pinning other B&B’s from non-competing parts of the country or those of your innkeeper friends and fellow association members.

Be sure to use the name of your bed and breakfast (or a shortened version of it) on your boards and in your pins as often as possible. This is key so when your pins get repinned they will know it was from your bed and breakfast.

What do guests say they like about your B&B?  Start with that.  You can also offer tips such as home organization, kitchen gadgets, decorating advice, etc.  The sky is the limit. Whatever your strengths are as an innkeeper (ex: cooking, decorating, gardening, etc.) you can feature that in your pins.

You truly are free to make it what you want it to be!  Once you get started, you may not realize how fast the time goes by!  So starting pinning so you will be winning more business!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Pinterest Strategy

Pinterest strategy

 

 

While Pinterest is fun, it is important that businesses form a Pinterest strategy centered around the feedback they have received from other pinners.

 

 

Strategy:

  • Develop a strategy based on your analytics
  • Tailor your boards to the needs and interests of your followers (based on your Pinterest analytics)
  • Showcase your pins in an organized way that makes sense
  • Find out who is pinning what and why
  • Measure your impact and focus on boards performing the best
  • Create a variety of different boards that each target certain words
  • Cross-promote on other social media platforms (ex: Twitter, Facebook)
  • Include hash tags (#) in your board descriptions
  • Invite specific types of travelers into your bed and breakfast (ex: couples, business people, girlfriends, etc.)
  • Determine if you want to be pet-friendly, kid-friendly, or offer special events such as weddings or retreats
  • Look at how other B&B’s (with a large number of followers) use Pinterest

Pinterest can help virtually any business establish brand and get the word out.  What you get out of Pinterest depends on what you put in it. With the proper Pinterest strategy, guests will be able to peek into your personality, style, loves, and aspirations.  Guests will feel like they know you before they arrive!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Art of Pinning

art of pinning

 

The art of pinning on Pinterest is visual in nature.  This works very well for visually oriented businesses like bed and breakfasts.  People want to know what your inn looks like and what your breakfasts look like.  Seeing your pins helps them to imagine themselves at your bed and breakfast inn.

 

 

Pictures:

  • Motivate them to plan a vacation to stay at your inn
  • Each picture is worth 1,000 words
  • Are more appealing and stronger than words
  • Pin only images with strong visual content
  • Brighter colors bring more joy
  • Feature just one idea or product in each pin
  • Use descriptive keywords you want to be known for
  • If you resize an image, make sure it is still clear and easy to see

Social media

  • Builds relationships with guests and potential guests
  • Raises the visibility of your bed and breakfast online
  • Gets you ranked higher on Google
  • Finds you business contacts like fellow innkeepers and associations

Remember:

  • Share your story of how you came to be bed and breakfast owners/innkeepers
  • Share information you are interested in and that your followers will find useful (such as travel tips)
  • Educate your audience on the advantages of staying at a bed and breakfast
  • Pin pictures of your bed and breakfast
  • Pin pictures of you amenities such as pool, garden, spa, etc.
  • Pin pictures of your community to give guests reasons to want to stay in your area

Etiquette or “Netiquette”:

  • If you were not the first to pin it, give credit to the original pinner.
  • Share and repin to show you are interested in other things outside your own B&B

Pinterest users become part of a larger community.  When we promote other people’s pins they are more likely to follow us.  That is one of my secrets to the art of pinning and how I grew such a quick following on Pinterest.  You can too!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Verify Your Website To Pin Smarter

 

pin smarter

 

Pinterest helps people discover things in a simple and visual way. Pinners might find something they love while browsing your boards, scrolling through a category you’re listed in or searching for your bed and breakfast directly.  It is important to verify your website to pin smarter.

 

 

Pinterest offers Business sites to help brands and businesses who wish to use Pinterest to connect with their audience. In this blog post I will tell you exactly why  you want to verify your bed and breakfast’s website for your Business Pinterest Profile. Without verifying your website, you will be missing some very important information!

First, to verify your website, visit your Settings page and click on the Verify Website button. When your website is verified, people will see a checkmark next to your domain in search results. They will also see the full website URL and checkmark on your profile.

The verification badge helps people identify high-quality sources of content and more easily find the business they want in search results.  There you’ll find Pinterest tools and resources relevant to you, and see examples of how other businesses are using Pinterest.

Pinterest offers tips to businesses, including:
  • Pinning from various sources rather than one specific site.
  • Pinning from within Pinterest to engage with others (pinning is one of the most social activities on Pinterest and it’s how any user really builds his/her network of followers)
  • Creating at least a few boards that cover a broad range of interests, rather than maintaining a single board devoted to one topic.
For businesses, pinning can be a great way to highlight aspects of your brand that may not come to mind at first when people consider your brand. For example, not everyone knows:

  • B&B’s can have spas, salons, and shops
  • Bed and breakfasts can offer retreats and some perform weddings
  • All the wonderful amenities bed and breakfasts offer
  • About your wonderful hospitality and homemade cooking

Pinterest can also be a great tool to learn what your audience and potential guests like. Once your website is verified, you have access to Pinterest Analytics.  This is the why I was talking about.  This shows you which pins are most popular with pinners and see which pins are driving the most traffic to your site!

You can also see what boards your stuff appears on, how the pins are described and what people pin along with your stuff.  All of these insights will help you make smarter choices about what you pin and even develop a pinning strategy when you pin smarter.  Watch out: pinning can be addictive!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Pinning Means Winning!

pinning means winning

 

With more than 25 billion pins to explore, you are sure to come up with exciting boards to showcase your bed and breakfast. Pinning means winning! You just click on the plus sign (+) to the left of your user name to create a new board. They will give you the following three options:

 

 

  • Upload a pin (you are adding your own image)
  • Add from a website (add pins from another website)
  • Create a board (each board represents a new category of pictures)

When you create a board, they ask you to:

  • Name the board (use keywords or a memorable name that makes sense)
  • Description (description of the kind of pictures on your board so visitors know what to expect)
  • Category of your board (such as Travel or Food and Drink)
  • Gives you the option to add a map (don’t have to do this with each board)
  • Keep it secret? (it you are not ready to unveil your masterpiece)

Each pin goes on a pinboard.  Viewers can like, repin, or comment on your pin.  This is where you can market your bed and breakfast. Even if you don’t have a lot your own pins, you can creatively pin other people’s pins onto memorable boards.  It does not take long to get attention.

I will share with you some of my Pinterest boards in the next series of blog posts.  Till then, just get started–you will be so glad you did!  Getting noticed is exciting. Pinning means winning more business!!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography