Monthly Archives: July 2014

Promote Your Local Area to Guests

promote-your-local-area-to-guests

Did you know your guests decide to stay with you in large part due to where you are located? It is in your best interest to promote your local area with website links, menus, guidebooks, maps, and more to tell your guests about your area’s attractions, events, and concerts. Remind them why bed and breakfasts are better than hotels.

Start by having a links web page on your website that refers your guests to local places of interest.  For example, Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast in Missoula, Montana has an Area Links web page listing that includes the following categories:

  • Recommended Guide and Recreational Services: tours, biking, fishing, hiking, river guides, etc.
  • Animal Boarding: unless you are a pet friendly B&B that allows pets
  • Art and Cultural Activities: theater, museum, symphony, ballet, etc.
  • Area History: historical sites, battlefields, visitors center
  • Fine Dining: you can emphasize your own restaurant if you have one and/or recommend local restaurants
  • Food, Health, Specialty, Leisure Stores and Services: bakery, brewery, tea, herbs, landscaping, food stores, gift shops, spa, etc.
  • Outdoor Recreation, Wildlife Activities, Museums, and Gardens: birding, golf courses, gardens, parks, recreation, wildlife sanctuary
  • Sports Events, Family Activities, Concerts: concert venues, concert tickets, sports arenas, sports tickets, arts and drama

Of course, depending upon your location, you may have different categories.  For example, your bed and breakfast may be on the beach and/or have its own spa.  Emphasize the places you know that your visitors like to see and activities they like to do.  You can also offer specific packages based upon the special occasion or interest.

When your guests arrive at your bed and breakfast, you can have a welcome table set up that features brochures from local attractions and restaurants.  Think about having a guidebook or a basket full of local maps, fliers, and more.  Local Chambers of Commerce and Visitors Centers will have various information for you to display.

You may even arrange with some of these local places (such as local restaurants) to offer your guests a discount if they mention that they are staying with you.  This is great for a number of reasons:

  • You look good for having this arranged ahead of time for your guests
  • The local business owner benefits from the referral
  • Your guests benefit from the discount
  • It is a win-win-win situation!

Thus, you can use your website to post local links, your inn to provide brochures for guests when they arrive, and your connections with local restaurants and other businesses to have deals in place for your guests.  Do not forget the power of video to highlight local attractions near your bed and breakfast and the power of social media to spread your message.  By following this advice, you will take attract more guests to your bed and breakfast as well as position yourself as an expert on your local area.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Great Conversation Starters While Hosting Guests

 

great-conversation-starters-while-hosting-guests

It is always a good idea to have some topics of conversation in mind if you regularly host guests at your bed and breakfast.  Having a mental list of what to talk about means you will feel comfortable interacting with perfect strangers at any time. The biggest secret to being a good conversationalist is simply allowing other people to talk about themselves. Why? It is a subject they probably know well and are comfortable talking about.

Since they are likely to be out of town guests when they visit, this automatically gives you some conversation topics, including the reason for their stay at your B&B.

  • Are you celebrating a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, reunion, etc.)?
  • What attracted you to visit us in this area?
  • Does our area have a leisure activity or event you will be participating in?
  • Where else have you been on vacation?
  • What was your most favorite vacation destination so far?
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

People love talking about what they eat or want to eat.  Think about the popularity of Food Network and online recipe websites!  Inquire about their favorite foods including breakfast dishes.  During the time they book the room is the best time to find out if they are allergic to any foods or on a restricted diet since you, or your staff, will be cooking for them.  If you realize that question was never answered, take the first opportunity to ask.

  • What is your favorite food?
  • If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • Where do you like to go when you eat out?
  • Do you like to cook? If so, do you have a signature dish?
  • Are there any foods that you would like to try?

If they bring up their family, then it is perfectly acceptable to have a discussion centered around that.  Most people love talking about their family.  However, we need to be sensitive to people who may have strained family relationships, family members who are ill, infertility issues, or some other personal struggle in their lives.

  • Do you have any siblings?
  • What is your favorite childhood memory?
  • Did you have a pet growing up?  Do you have any pets now?
  • As a kid, how did you most like to spend your time?

Another topic of conversation could be about sports.  Since there are so many different sports, it is a safe bet that they, or someone they know, have an interest in sports.  They do not need to be a talented athlete to enjoy watching sports.

  • Do you play or follow any sports?
  • Who is your favorite athlete?
  • How do you like to exercise?
  • What is your favorite sports team?

Ask them about their technology and entertainment preferences.  This can lead to lively discussions about favorites.  Then you can mention (if it is available for them) that you offer a free Wi-Fi connection and/or a book, CD and/or DVD collection available for guests to borrow.

  • What are your favorite TV shows?
  • What kind of movies do you like?
  • What was the last movie you saw?
  • Who is your favorite actor/actress?
  • What is your favorite movie of all time?
  • What type of music do you like to listen to?  Who are your favorite musicians?
  • Do you like to read?  If so, what kind of books do you read?
  • What’s your favorite board game or card game?

Carefully ask about work, but try not to make it sound like a job interview.  Remember that your guest(s) may be studying, retired, or “between jobs”.  Also keep in mind your guest(s) may be traveling on business while they stay with you.

  • What do you do for a living? Where do you work (or study)?
  • What was your first job ever?
  • When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What do you like best about your job?
  • If money was no object yet you still wanted to work, what would be your dream job?

The key is to keep it light. The goal is to build rapport with your guests.  Stick to topics that are interesting and entertaining to talk about.  Most people are looking for polite and lighthearted topics to discuss–it is wise to avoid controversial topics like politics and religion. Leave them with a great impression so they give you and your B&B a positive testimonial about your hospitality via your online guest book.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Ask for a Link Request

how-to-ask-for-a-link-request

Do you wonder how to ask for a link request?  I am going to sum up the main points in the awesome book published by Entrepreneur Press called Ultimate Guide to Link Building: Build Backlinks, Earn a Higher Search Engine Rank, Increase the Authority and Popularity of Your Site by Eric Ward and Garrett French.

Steps:

  • Look over the website you want to have your link on to make sure it is relevant
  • Do not put the words “link request” in the email subject line
  • Start the e-mail off addressing the website owner by name
  • Introduce yourself, your website, and why you would like to the link
  • Identify the exact URL on their site where you think the link is a fit
  • List the exact URL from your site that you want them to link to
  • Give a valid email address and respond to any email requests they send
  • Provide your phone number–something a spammer would not do
  • Follow any link request instructions they give
  • If a reciprocal link, confirm that you have linked to their site and provide the URL
  • Be attentive, professional, courteous, and to the point

This book also lists Link Building Strategies written by Jon Cooper of Point Blank SEO:

  • Start blogging on your website
  • Have internal links to other content on your website
  • List resources and outside links
  • Build relationships with others
  • Find niche-specific directories
  • Write guest posts or have guests write posts for your blog
  • Provide educational content
  • Write compelling testimonials
  • Provide useful lists–there is power in making lists!
  • Be interviewed or interview someone in your industry
  • Offer timely/seasonal content
  • Use humor
  • Provide printable resources
  • Host contests
  • Cover news first
  • Give helpful infographics
  • Host online webinars
  • Promote National Days and Events
  • Survey people and post results
  • Debunk popular myths
  • Comment on relevant blogs
  • Do question and answer blog post
  • Ask customers what they want to see more of
  • Connect with industry associations and organizations
  • Attend relevant conferences
  • Call people
  • Host local group meetings
  • Retweet Twitter tweets
  • Provide email signature listing website & ways to connect with you via social media
  • and much more!

There are always things you can do to draw bigger audiences to your website. By taking the steps to ask for link requests and implementing the link building strategies, you will be well on your way to developing more a popular website.

Readers, I welcome your responses to this post as well as other ideas related to the topic of link requests and link building.  I read every comment and respond when appropriate. Thanks! Kristi

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Mike’s Road Trip To B&B’s

Mike's Road TripMike Shubic

Mike Shubic of Mike’s Road Trip is an outgoing man of adventure.  He has been traveling on the road since 2010.  Mike hosts and produces high quality videos for hospitality businesses such as bed and breakfasts, inns, restaurants, and other “hidden gems of the road.”  He has been featured in USA Today Travel, Rand McNally Best of the Road, The Travel Channel, and more.

Check out Mike’s Road Trip’s Intriguing Inns and Beautiful B&B’s videos from YouTube.  I highly recommend him if you would like entertaining and professional videos made to highlight the unique strengths of your bed and breakfast.  From his website, Mike gives several reasons why your bed and breakfast inn should have a video:

  • If a picture is worth a 1000 words, how many is video worth?
  • Video builds trust with your prospects. Trust equals paying guests.
  • Videos attract attention and help set you apart from your competition.
  • Video is important for SEO (search engine optimization). Google is ranking pages with video higher for the same search terms.
  • Video is not a fad. Four billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube alone.

Mike makes these suggestions to bed and breakfast owners:

  • Have a professional overview video of your B&B/Inn produced.  Be sure to include the owner/innkeeper in front of the camera.  Let prospective guests know what makes your inn special and memorable.
  • Guest testimonial videos can be very powerful.  This allows the viewer to hear what the experience is like from varying viewpoints.  Your guests may talk about things they liked that you never even thought about!
  • Informal videos for your social network can be a great way to showcase area events and/or activities at your inn while keeping in touch with past and future guests.
  • The visual impact of videos gives them a long shelf life.  Trust and interest can be earned as long as the video is live on the Internet.  You can be media friendly and share your videos with local media.

Professional and informal videos can be put on your website as well as shared on social media websites including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube!  Mike is a well-spoken promoter of bed and breakfasts on his road trips all across America.  I recommend Mike Shubic of Mike’s Road Trip to all my Bed and Breakfast Blogging clients.