Monthly Archives: July 2018

Start With Why You Do What You Do

start with why you do what you do

 

Start with why you do what you do. Every single business on the planet knows WHAT they do and some know HOW (their unique selling point), but very few can clearly articulate WHY they do what they do, according to Simon Sinek in his book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Us To Take Action

 

Sinek argues that companies try to sell us WHAT they do, but we buy WHY they do it. WHY looks deeper than external factors. For example, the popular Apple brand capitalizes on the lifestyle, imagination, passion, innovation, empowerment and aspirations of Apple users.

It is not about telling people about what your brand makes or provides, instead, it is about communicating what your organization believes in order to connect with your target ideal audience. Emotionally connect with your guests and start a movement that you believe in.

 

Possible Bed and Breakfast WHY’s:

  • Business-friendly: to accommodate individuals and groups who are there for business (either at the inn or in the local area) by providing the resources and conveniences necessary to make their stay as efficient and enjoyable as possible
  • Eco-friendly: to encourage environmentally friendly practices to protect and sustain a high quality of life for all living creatures
  • Family-friendly: to enable families to comfortably travel and stay in overnight accommodations together as well as experience local family dining and entertainment
  • Romantic: to strengthen the passion, romance, and closeness of couples as they experience activities such as an inn’s spa amenities and room service
  • Urban: to offer guests many activities to do at your inn (like games, movies, reading) and in your local city (such as shopping, art, and theater)
  • Vegan/Vegetarian: to promote a specific diet lifestyle yet also show guests (who may eat differently) the benefits of committing to a particular eating plan
  • Waterfront: to provide relaxing amenities so guests can make full use of your waterfront property and have the ultimate vacation experience

Great organizations keep their WHY clear year after year. Their strategic marketing and training of employees goes a long way into developing a consistently, clear, and strong WHY.

If you start with why you do what you do, make it obvious to guests the deeper reasons WHY your business exists in the first place. This makes it more likely that your guests will return year after year.

Include an “About Us” section on your hospitality website. You can also reveal more about yourself (and your inn) when you write blog posts. Answer any of the following questions:

  • How did you become an owner/innkeeper today?
  • What is your background? (family, education, work experiences, travels, etc.)
  • What is your big WHY? (the deeper reasons you host guests)
  • What do you hope to accomplish as your dream/legacy?

When you reveal more of yourself to others, it helps them know, like, and trust you. We all do business with those we know, like, and trust. Win the hearts of your guests by telling your compelling true story. Start with why you do what you do.

Disclosure: The link to the book is an Amazon Affiliate link for which I will receive compensation. 

How To Keep The Attention of An Eager Audience

attention of an eager audience

Some people are just born natural storytellers. They know how to keep the attention of an eager audience. I can think of two close relatives who not only have great true stories to tell at family gatherings, but they know how to keep us interested throughout their telling of the story. The truth is, you don’t have to have over-the-top stories in order to be a good storyteller.

 

According to author Matthew Dicks (who has won multiple story telling competitions), in his book, Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through The Power of Storytelling, it is being able to identify “storyworthy” moments from your everyday life and to retell those meaningful moments in an effective way, that really matters. 

Finding, crafting, and telling stories helps you connect with other people, including your guests. Marks of a good story will have the audience asking:

  • What does the storyteller want or need?
  • What is at peril?
  • What is the storyteller fighting for or against?
  • What will happen next?
  • How is this story going to turn out?

Matthew reveals five ways to keep your stories compelling:

  • The elephant: every story should have the thing that everyone in the room can see, a clear statement of the need/want/problem/peril/mystery; this signifies where the story is headed and keeps the attention of an eager audience; an excellent storyteller will make their audience think they are on one path and when they least expect it, show they have been on a different path all along
  • Backpacks: increase the stakes of the story by increasing the audience’s anticipation about a coming event (to load the audience up with all the storyteller’s hopes and fears in that moment) to make the audience wonder what will happen next AND to make your audience experience the same emotions the storyteller experienced in the moment about to be describe; the most effective stories describe when a plan does not work; while ultimately the audience wants to know their characters ultimately triumph, it is the struggle and strife that make stories great and keep the attention of an eager audience
  • Breadcrumbs: when we hint at  a future event, but only reveal enough to keep the audience guessing; choose the breadcrumbs that will create the most wonder in the minds of an audience without giving them enough to guess correctly; this is particularly effective when the truly unexpected is coming
  • Hourglasses: when the audience is hanging on every word, Matthew advises storytellers to drag out the wait as long as possible, including the unnecessary bit of summary to slow things down and raise the tension even further, it’s the final delay before the sentence that everyone is waiting for (this is when you flip the hourglass and let the sand run)
  • Crystal balls: a false prediction made by the storyteller to cause the audience to wonder if the prediction with prove to be true; during the telling of stories, we want our audience to know what we are thinking as well as what we are saying and doing

Matthew states that a great storyteller “creates a movie in the mind of the audience.” People should be able to see the story in their mind’s eye at all times. Always create the scene by setting every moment in a physical location.

In this book, Matthew uses several examples of telling a story the bland way and then the better way. A key way to tell a story is to add contrasting words that infuse a story with movement, momentum, and action. Instead of saying “and” all the time, use transition words including:

  • as a result
  • because
  • but
  • except
  • instead
  • so
  • therefore

The trick to telling a big story (about things that most people can’t relate to) is to find the small, relatable, understandable moments in our larger stories that people can connect to and comprehend. For example, your audience can always relate to not wanting to be embarrassed. 

His strategies for preparing and enhancing a story are as follows:

  • Avoid thesis statements in storytelling (don’t say “this is a story about…”)
  • Heighten the contrast between the surprise and the moment before the surprise
  • Use stakes to increase the surprise
  • Avoid giving away the surprise to your story by hiding the importance of information that will pay off later (use other details and examples, and place those details as far away from the surprise as possible)

If possible, tell at least part of your story in the present tense. This allows others to picture it even easier. When we host or entertain our guests, we may tell stories. Use these tips to make what you tell more “storyworthy” and to keep the attention of an eager audience.

Disclosure: This is an Amazon Affiliate link for which I will receive compensation. 

Wonderful Wing’s Castle 48+ Years In The Making

wonderful wings castle

In 1969, on a hill in Millbrook, New York, Peter and Toni Ann Wing began a strange construction project using salvage and recyclable materials. In fact, over 80% of this four-story stone, timber, and stucco structure is made of recycled materials. The result was the wonderful Wing’s Castle, which is now a bed and breakfast.

 

The Area

Settlement in this region dates back to the eighteenth century. Today it features horse farms and vineyards along this rich heritage and beautiful countryside. This is an ideal setting for a castle. The main street of Millbrook features antique shops and historic architecture in a downtown that has not changed in one-hundred years.

Only a nineteen-minute drive from Manhattan, but in some ways a world apart. Many New York celebrities choose this quaint, peaceful village as their second home.

Wing’s Castle is considered one of New York’s great treasures. It sprang to life from the imagination and determination of one man born in the Hudson River Valley. Peter inherited the land that sits on a hill overlooking the Millbrook Winery. When he proposed to Toni Ann, he said that if she would marry him, that he would build her a castle.

The Dream

Together that put in long hours to make their dream a reality. In fact, for three years they lived in the basement. According to Toni, they didn’t need extra comforts because they were always working. 

The hard-working couple had no money and no architectural plans, but lots of ideas and energy. Peter always has his sketch pad and marker to draw his next big idea. They could afford the things things people were discarding. They dismantled eleven barns for their beams, floor boards, and anything else they could salvage and use.

This was in the seventies (before re-using materials was considered practical and environmentally friendly). Toni recalls that they definitely were not seen as normal. People were scratching their heads. According to a local historian (who is thankful for the incredible attraction Wing’s Castle brings to their tranquil area with only 1500 residents), depending upon their age, people either think Peter’s crazy or brilliant, odd or imaginative. 

The Inspiration

Inspired by the philosophy and work of architect Antonio Gaudi, Peter designed the outline of Wing’s Castle to resembles some of Gaudi’s famous structures in Barcelona, Spain. Like Gaudi, Peter used broken tile to add color to his castle in what he calls the “Gaudi Dragons Garden”. Visitors marvel at how “you feel like you could be in Europe”. 

Peter also appreciates the thousand-year history of the Tower of London. Stone structures withstand time and elements. It took twenty-two years (and 500,000 stones) for Peter to “finish” putting the stones around the castle. One close neighbor friend, fondly refers to the wonderful Wing’s Castle as “The Lemony Snicket House.”

At Wing’s Castle, there is always something to look at. It is full of artifacts and everything there has a story. Peter says the work remains unfinished. After more than forty-eight years, he is still creating and working on it. 

The Bed and Breakfast

Today, the wonderful Wing’s Castle (see the aerial YouTube video below) serves as a bed and breakfast with five unique places to stay that are all equipped with wi-fi internet access. All B&B guests receive a free, 45-minute guided tour of the castle.

  • The Annex Suite: queen size bed for up to 2 people, 2 levels with balcony and courtyard, kitchen stocked everyday with breakfast, dining room, full private bath, sitting area near fireplace
  • The Dungeon: queen size bed for up to 2 people, full private bath, private entrance near parking area, free continental breakfast set up in the Great Room of the castle every morning, connects to The Annex
  • The Chamber Room: queen size bed for up to 2 people, private bath, private entrance near parking area, free continental breakfast set up in the Great Room of the castle each morning
  • The Tower Room: queen size bed for up to 2 people, private bathroom, free continental breakfast set up in the Great Room of the castle every morning
  • The Cottage: located across the street from Wing’s Castle with 3 bedrooms for up to 5 people (breakfast is stocked in the Cottage Kitchen and guests have full access to the castle grounds and pool)


You may be interested in the following related books:

  • Back Lane Wineries of New York State is the quintessential insider guide to to the New York State wine country with vivid illustrations.
  • The Gaudi Tour shows how to take a self-guided tour in Barcelona of the attractions that inspired Peter’s work on Wing’s Castle.
  • The Story of the Tower of London offers a comprehensive history of this world-famous fortress including 200 color illustrations.
  • A House in the Country features the handsome Greek Revival house (also located in Millbrook, New York); built by architect Peter Pennoyer and his wife, interior designer Katie Ridder. 
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (complete set of 13 popular youth fiction books written by Lemony Snicket) feature illustrations, including the large, eccentric-looking home of the main character. Adults (including me) also love the adventure and suspense! A great collection to have available for your bed and breakfast guests to read.
  • Miller’s Antiques Handbook and Price Guide remains the essential and trusted guide to the antiques market, features over 8,000 in full color with detailed descriptions and a current price range.

 

  • Disclosure: These are Amazon Affiliate links for which I will receive compensation.

12 Exciting Ways Your Guests Can Have Fun With Board Games

fun with board games

 

Are you looking to offer more exciting indoor activities for your guests? Why not provide board games in a common room so your bed and breakfast guests can play and have fun with board games?  This works well when guests want to spend a quiet day inside or when the weather does not permit outdoor time. The following are some of the bestselling games of all time. 

 

fun with board games

 

Chess is a 2-player strategy board game played on a chessboard, a checkered game board with 64 squares arranged in an 8-by-8 grid. It is one of the world’s most popular games, played by millions of people. This Chess Set features felt-bottomed & wooden pieces handcrafted in Poland. The chessmen are gently weighted so they won’t tip. The board is made from beech and birch wood.  

fun with board games

 

The object of the game Clue is for players to strategically move around the game board (representing the rooms of a mansion), as one of the game’s six characters. Players collect clues so they can deduct (by process of elimination) who committed the murder in the mansion, with which weapon, and in what room. 

fun with board games

In 1979, two Canadian journalists wanted to play Scrabble but had to ditch their plans because some of the pieces were missing. Being media people, both were extremely knowledgeable with general information and popular culture. So, Chris Haney and Scott Abbott decided to create a game out of it. They enlisted the help of John Haney and Ed Werner to create Trivial Pursuit. Questions were divided into different categories. In 1984, the game sold over 20 million copies.

fun with board games

Scrabble is a word game in which two to four players score points by placing tiles, bearing a single letter, onto a game board which is divided into a 15×15 grid of squares. The tiles must form words in crossword fashion, that flow left to right in rows or downwards in columns. The words must be defined in a standard dictionary. I personally own this particular Deluxe Scrabble edition game that is so easy to use. It conveniently folds into a carrying case with handle and two slide-and-store trays (one to hold the 100 wooden letter tiles in a black velvet drawstring bag and the other tray to hold the 4 deluxe curved tile racks). 

fun with board games

Monopoly is an American-originated board game subtitled “The Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game,” the game is named after the economic concept of monopoly — the domination of a market by a single entity.  Players move around the game board buying or trading properties, developing their properties with houses and hotels, and collecting rent from their opponents, the ultimate goal being to drive them into bankruptcy.

fun with board games

The game Checkers, (known internationally as draughts) is for two players, in which they make diagonal moves with the aim of capturing the opponent’s pieces by jumping over them. When the pieces make it all the way to the other side of the board, they are “kinged” (another checker piece put on top) so they can move in any direction. The object of the game is to not be the player left with just one piece!

fun with board games

More than 50 million Rummikub units sold, Rummikub is one of the world’s bestselling and most played games. Players take turns placing numbered tiles in runs or groups and the first player to use all of their tiles wins! For 2 to 4 players.

 

 

fun with board games

Scattergories is an exciting game which has players see if they can think of different words in various categories that starts with a specific letter (chosen with the roll of a 20-sided letter die). Be different to win points. More than 3,500 category combinations.  Includes six folder-covered answer pads and a total of 48 category cards. It includes specific instructions on how the game is played. This is one of my favorite games to play!

fun with board games

Taboo is a fun and challenging game in which players are not allowed to say certain words (they are taboo and you lose a point for each taboo word spoken) in trying to get other players to guess the word they need them to speak. The fun is in trying to describe something without using the most common words people use to explain them!

 

fun with board games

Sequence is a board made up of playing cards. Play a card from your hand and place a chip on a corresponding space on the game board and when you have five chips in a row, you have a sequence! You are competing to see who can come up with the required number of 5-card sequences first.

 

fun with board games

With over 1 million games sold, in Buzz Word teams (this game is for 4 or more players) are racing to solve a set of 10 clues before the sand timer runs out. The “Buzzword” (which is found in the top right corner of each card) is contained in the answer to each clue. For example, on the card with the buzzword “Sugar” the first two clues are:

  • “This makes the medicine go down.” (Answer: “A Spoon Full of Sugar“)
  • “American college football game played in Louisiana.” (Answer: “Sugar Bowl”)

fun with board games

Apples to Apples is a game of hilarious comparisons for 4 to 10 players. It’s as easy as comparing “apples to apples.” Select the card from your hand that you think the most like the card played by the judge. If the judge picks your card, you win that round. And everyone gets a chance to be the judge!

 

Your bed and breakfast guests will appreciate the break from technology to play fun board games together.  In order to keep all of the pieces together, so that many different guests will enjoy playing the games over the years, one tip is to put the pieces in various plastic baggies: keeping like pieces and cards and pawns together.

If guests give you permission, you can take a picture of them playing in a common area of your bed and breakfast to put on your website or share in social media.  Guests have fun with board games.

 



Affiliate Disclaimer: These are Amazon Affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend what I know and love.

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Make Proven Lasting Changes

How To Make Proven Lasting Changes

 

Wonder how to make proven lasting changes? According to Dr. Sean Young, author of the book Stick With It: A Scientifically Proven Process For Changing Your Life–For Good*, if we understand the science behind lasting change, we can learn how to create a process that fits who we are. 

 

 

There are seven “forces” (in the acronym SCIENCE) behind lasting change:

  • Stepladders: Success is more likely to come to those of us who break down our dreams into long-term goals, then short-term goals, and then specific steps so we can focus on the day-to-day work rather than be overwhelmed by our dream. 
  • Community: People can harness the power of an active and engage community to achieve lasting change. Spend time with those who have already achieved the level of success we seek. We need to trust our community, feel self-worth and their approval as well as feel empowered and be rewarded for our work. 
  • Important: People are more likely to make lasting changes if we feel it is important to us. We should focus on what we think is important to keep life exciting and to stay motivated. 
  • Easy: The easier we make it, the more likely we will stick to it. We should control the environment (remove temptations and add accountability), limit choices (do not over-complicate things), and use a road map (create an action plan).
  • Neurohacks: First change our actions and then our mind will follow. People form an identity of themselves based on our past behavior. By successfully performing a behavior, we can reset our mind to think of ourselves as a success (and not a failure).
  • Captivating: Make our behaviors rewarding enough to convince ourselves to stick to our goals. People differ in what we find rewarding, so it must be rewarding to the person trying to make the change. People keep doing things if we are rewarded with things that we need.
  • Engrained: Create an efficient process to keep doing what we need to do. Do it repeatedly to make it a routine behavior (we could do at the same day, place, and/or time). Pair similar behaviors together. For example, set our running shoes out so we can get our shoes on and then do the running.  

We are more likely to follow through with things if we use as many of these forces as possible and that is how to make proven lasting changes. To truly change behavior, we need to understand WHY they do certain things. There are three types of behaviors:

  • Automatic: something we do unconsciously without being aware of it
  • Burning: irresistible urges ad thoughts we feel are impossible not to act on
  • Common: things we commonly (yet consciously) do

We should make a list of behaviors we want to stop doing and behaviors we want to start doing. If the behaviors are opposite of each other, then replace the behavior we want to stop doing with the behavior we want to start doing. For each behavior we want to stop or start, we should think of as many ways to use the seven forces in our favor to increase our likelihood of success. This is how to make proven lasting changes.

*Please note that the link to this book is an Amazon Affiliate link. I only recommend books I read and love. 

What The Most Successful Inns Have In Common

the-most-successful-inns

Ever wonder what the most successful inns have in common?:

A strong focus on guest satisfaction. What are your guests saying about you? Since guests are our #1 priority, place great importance on pleasing them. Be available to give local recommendations (for a variety of interests) as well as directions. Offer concierge services and extras like evening wine and dessert for two. During their stay, ask them if there is anything you can do to make their stay with you more pleasant. For example, if you find out that someone is celebrating something special, consider offering something complimentary. They will remember that you went the extra mile and will be likely to return again as well as recommend your inn to others.

A great website with awesome pictures. When was the last time you touched up your website and your photos? Make it easy for them to do business with you. Your website should be easy for others to find online. Feature current professional photography of each place (inside and outside) guests may spend time in. Give them the option to check availability online and book a room. Your website should clearly specify your address (ideally your webmaster can insert a Google map), list phone numbers, and always include all your social media icons. This allows guests to connect with you on social media if they haven’t already.

A distinct niche or focus. What are you known for? The most successful inns set their inns apart to specific audiences so they attract more guests. The audience could be specific groups of people: adults only, family friendly, LGBT friendly, pet-friendly, special diet friendly, etc. It could be specific interests: photography, culinary-minded, adventurous (such as skiing and zip-lining), and history buffs. It could be for different types of retreats: corporate, yoga, writers, quilters, etc. It could be for your packages: restaurant, performing arts, sports, local attractions like amusement parks and museums, etc. 

A delicious breakfast. Are guests happy with your menu? With breakfast representing the second letter B (in B&B), the most successful inns offer something special. This could be your commitment to catering to special diets, a complimentary wine & cheese hour, or 24/7 access to goodies and treats. Perhaps your inn has a restaurant or tea room. Maybe you offer in-room breakfast delivery for an extra fee. Be sure to have a page on your website devoted to discussing your inn’s culinary offerings. Share pictures of your food in social media. Mouths will water!

A connection to local businesses. Do you promote your local area? Could you arrange for your guests to receive a discount from local restaurants, attractions, and other venues? This would give guests a reason to visit those businesses (that would be why the businesses offer the discount) as well as make you look good for having arranged for them to receive the better rate.

A consistent presence. How often are you blogging and posting on social media? By regularly blogging and posting on social media, this builds awareness for your place of hospitality and what you offer. Blog posts provide fresh new content which attracts visitors to your page. For example, consider writing blog posts about: local attractions, your amenities, your packages, a behind-the-scenes blog post, and so on.

A variety of incentives. Do you offer specials? This could be discounts for multiple night stays, weekday stays, etc. Do you offer packages? You could plan all the details for your guests so it is less work for them. Do you offer referral discounts? Do you reward your guests who refer other guests who stay at your inn in some way? This could be a free upgrade in room, a free massage, a discount in their room rate, etc.

A superb selection of amenities. What amenities do guests love using at your inn? Most guests (especially the millennial generation) expect access to free wireless internet. Be sure to feature the extra luxuries you offer in photos on your website and in pictures you share on social media. This includes fireplaces, spas, libraries, and more.

A follow up. Do you send a follow-up email to thank them for staying and a survey to get their feedback? Is there a way for people to opt into receiving regular e-mail newsletters? By sending regular emails, you remind previous guests of their experience as well as attract new potential guests to stay at your inn. The most successful inns follow up with guests.

A solid reputation. What is your reputation? Favorable online guest reviews offer proof to future guests that they can expect to also have a positive experience.  Strong testimonials (always ask for permission and include only their first name and the first letter of their last name as well as their location) can be included on your website and shared in social media. 

Want to be one of the most successful inns?  We can help. Contact me (Kristi) of Bed and Breakfast Blogging.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography