Category Archives: Success

What Do You Think People Long For?

what-do-you-think-people-long-for

You have the opportunity to answer the important question “What Do You Think People Long For?”  This short (on average, it takes people only two minutes to complete) online survey allows you to respond anonymously if you desire. By understanding what people long for in life, we may better understand how to treat our bed and breakfast guests. 

Take Online Survey

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Your Opinion Needed: What Do People Really Want Out of Life?

We hope you enjoy answering these questions. You can remain completely anonymous.

  1. What do you think are the top 3 things people really want out of life?
  2. What is it that YOU really want out of life?
  3. What has helped you get some of the things you really wanted out of life?
  4. What do you think is holding you back from getting other things you really want out of life?
  5. If you would like to know the results of this survey, please enter in your email address.

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To keep the survey objective, I will not suggest anything in this post. This survey allows each person taking it to guess what top 3 things people really want out of life and state what it is that you want in life. Then to explain what you think helped you get some things you really wanted as well as to reflect on what you think is holding you back from getting other things you want in life.

Please feel free to contact Kristi if you want to express any other thoughts about this fascinating topic. Our motivations and longings can certainly depend upon who we ask, but there may be an overall agreement about the longings of people. It is by understanding these longings that we can get better insight into life. 

I appreciate each person who takes the time to answer this brief survey. You may request that the results of the survey be emailed to you. Thank you.

Take Online Survey

Focus and Get More Done in Less Time

Bestselling Author, Speaker, and Consultant Brian Tracy, in his book “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” recommends doing your biggest, most important task (“eating your frog”) first. Resist the temptation to start with the easier task.  Develop the lifelong habit of tackling your major task first each morning. The people who consistently take action achieve the most success in life.

Tracy explains that the #1 reason why some people get work done faster is because they are absolutely clear about their goals and objectives and they don’t deviate from them. There is power in deciding exactly what you want, writing it down, setting a deadline on your goal, making a list of everything you can think of to do to achieve that goal, organizing that list into a plan that you take action on immediately, and resolving to do something every single day that moves you closer to that goal!

Plan every day, week, and month in advance and work from a list of actions that you need to take. Lay out all your major goals, projects, and tasks by priority (but what is most important and in order in which the steps need to be taken). 

The hardest part of any task is getting started on it in the first place. Productive people discipline themselves to start on the most important task before them. 

Having a clear idea of what is important to you in the long term makes it much easier for you to make better decisions about your priorities in the short term. Successful people are willing to delay gratification and make sacrifices in the short term so that they can enjoy far greater rewards in the long term. 

Write down your three most important goals in life right now. Identify what is holding you back and work to alleviate those constraints. To reach your fullest potential, you must form the habit of putting the pressure on yourself and not waiting for someone else to come along and do it for you.

Develop a positive mental attitude by becoming an optimist. Optimists look for the good in every situation, seek the valuable lesson in every setback or difficulty, look for a solution to every problem, and talk and think continually about their goals. 

Schedule blocks of time to work on and complete the most important tasks. Highly productive people take the time to think, plan, and set priorities. Focus on specific steps you can take immediately. Concentrate on the things you can do right now to get the results you want and achieve the goals you desire.

Focus clearly on your most valuable task and concentrate on it single-mindedly until it is 100% complete. Become the master of your own destiny. 

I highly recommend “Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” by Brian Tracy. Amazon Affiliate disclaimer: this is an affiliate link and I will be compensated for my recommendation at no additional cost to you. 

Share Your Valuable Interests as an Innkeeper

share-your-valuable-interests

Share your valuable interests as an innkeeper. In an effort to better serve you (just as you seek to better serve your B&B guests), I designed this short (it takes around 2.5 minutes of time to do) innkeeping survey through Survey Monkey.

What is of primary importance to me is knowing which bed and breakfast subjects interest you the most. Also, I give you an opportunity to list any additional subjects of interest to you. 

After putting your name and the name of your inn, you have the option to list your email address. I do this to share practical and useful B&B industry marketing advice. If you sign up, you will also learn the results of this survey listed below.

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1. Which B&B Subjects interest you?

  • Identifying and becoming known for a specific B&B niche (ex: pet-friendly, eco-friendly, and vegetarian)
  • Learning strategic and profitable online marketing tips (ex: blogging, email marketing, and social media)
  • Hosting more private B&B events (ex: parties, weddings, and dinners)
  • Offering B&B specials & packages (ex: adventure, romance, and girls getaway)
  • Earning free press coverage (ex: for a notable achievement or distinction)
  • Giving frequent guest rewards & referral incentives to returning guests (ex: complimentary room upgrade, massage, or bottle of wine)
  • Maximizing outreach to local businesses and the community (ex: hosting charity fundraiser or sponsoring event)
  • Learning additional ways of earning money as an innkeeper (ex: offering additional products and services)
  • Improving your success mindset and productivity (ex: attititude, optimism, goal-setting and achieving)

2. Did I leave out any B&B Subjects that matter to you? I appreciate your feedback.

3. What’s your name?

4. What’s your inn’s name? 

5. If you would like to receive helpful B&B marketing e-newsletters with practical tips, as well as the results of this innkeeping survey, please enter you email address.

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I invite you to contact me (Kristi Dement) for a free twenty-minute (no obligation) consultation.  It is an honor to help bed and breakfast inns and associations grow their businesses. 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Unexpected Expert Advice Can Actually Make You Think

can-actually-make-you-think

Fellow puzzle lovers can appreciate unexpected expert advice that can actually make you think. Sometimes when you solve a puzzle, a fortune-cookie-type response can appear.

While some people dismiss the advice (and “predictions”) of fortune cookies, the messages inside these Asian treats often say something that gets us to consider things from a different perspective. I believe wisdom may be found from some of these puzzle messages, too.

“Wake up and tell yourself it’s going to be a good day.”

How you start the day can determine how your day goes.  Not all of us are morning people (I’m sure there are plenty of mornings when even innkeepers do not feel like getting up), but beginning the day with the belief it is going to be a good day can help us have a good day.  

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.”

Whether your inn regularly hosts international guests or not, you can still appreciate that universally warm smiles are understood to represent kindness.

“Just when you think you’ve graduated from the school of experience, someone thinks up a new course.”

This is certainly true for innkeepers who must learn new things, especially as technology changes. There will always be new things to learn, so we should be thankful that we are able to understand new things.  Each day is a gift and we should make the most of our time.

“If you want things to change in your life, start with your thinking.”

While it is human nature to see what could go wrong, it is always in our best interest to think positively.  This does not mean we don’t take precautions, but optimistic thinking assumes that good things will inevitably happen as the result of our productive efforts.

“The mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work unless you open it.”

Before anyone jumps out of a plane, they must learn how to safely pull their parachute cord. Before we make any important decisions in our life, we need to make sure that our mind is open to other ways of doing things.  

“Habits and beliefs become the blueprint through which we build our reality.”

Our habits and beliefs do work to create our reality.  Of course there are unexpected things that happen in life (both good and bad), but we are ultimately responsible for the lives we lead.  While we cannot change circumstances and situations outside of our control, we can certainly work on our patterns of thinking.

“The more you dream, the farther you get.”

When you dream you are on your way to becoming more inspired to take action. Only taking action will you get any farther. Those who do not dream will never be inspired to act.

“The door of opportunity will not open unless you do some pushing.”

Excluding those born into wealth, most people in life must work for their rewards. Opportunity does not show up unless effort we put the effort in.  The work we do can be very rewarding once we start reaching more of our goals.  The people who are most likely to succeed in life write down their goals.  Consider having daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and long-term goals.  The more specific you are, the more real the goals become.  

“Admitting our failings is one way of acquiring fresh insights.”

Since we are all human, not everything we do will turn out how we planned. When we see what we could have done different and admit our failings, we are on our way to acquiring fresh insights.

“Lighting a lamp for someone else will also brighten your path.”

This can be taken literally since often innkeepers live the lights on for guests to make their way back to the B&B safely. By lighting their way, you are likely increasing their trust of your hospitality.

“The best part of any journey is the people you meet along the way.”

We have all met people that we are so thankful to have met. Our lives would not be the same without them.  Some of you have repeat guests that you have grown to love.  We can’t imagine not ever having met them.  

“Appreciation is like an insurance policy. It has to be renewed now and then.”

When guests feel appreciation, they are more likely to come again.  Make note of birthdays and anniversaries. Consider rewarding your returning guests with a free upgrade in their room or by treating them to something extra like a massage for two.  

“You haven’t used all your options until you’ve asked for help.”

We are not all gifted in the same areas nor do we like to do the same tasks. That is a good thing! We can have others who are more skilled in certain areas and who enjoy using those skills, help us. It has been said to focus on what you do best, and hire out the rest. If marketing is one of those areas you do not understand (as well as you would like) and/or you do not care to spend your time doing, contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free consultation.

How to Find Your Inspiration as an Innkeeper (Part 2)

To find you inspiration as an innkeeper, there needs to be a match with your motivation for working, your individual talents, and your hospitality niche/ideal guests.  In Part One of this blog post I gave three hypothetical situations.  I will give some suggestions for each scenario.  

Innkeeper Irene loves cooking for others and entertaining guests, but she dislikes anything involving paperwork–especially finances.  I suggest that she finds a skilled accountant or bookkeeper to manage her finances.  She should seek referrals from other innkeepers or other people in her local community. 

Since Irene’s restaurant is becoming more known in the community, having an active online marketing presence is very important.  She can also hire someone to actively manage her online marketing which should include consistent and strategic blogging and social media.  By focusing on what she loves (cooking and entertaining), she Irene will likely grow her business and be able to afford to hire two experts who are skilled at those tasks and able to ease her burden.  

Bob the B&B owner is very successful with marketing his inn. His grown children manage the day-to-day operations of their thriving business.  If you remember his situation from the last blog post, his occupancy rate is very good, but he is wondering how to earn more income outside of bookings.  Even if Bob does not have a restaurant or a spa in addition to his inn, he can still increase his income in a variety of different ways: 

  • Hosting private events (such as private parties, murder mysteries, book signings, wedding or baby showers, holiday or seasonal gatherings, etc.)
  • Offering customized guest packages (such as a Girls Getaway package, Romance package, or Local Attractions package)
  • Providing items for sale at his B&B (such as coffee mugs with his B&B logo, T-shirts/sweatshirts, signature goodies for guests to take home, etc.)
  • Teaching classes (such as cooking, writing, painting, etc.) to guests

In the third example, Shirley & Dale are a husband and wife innkeeping couple. Shirley’s favorite thing to do is to plant and grow flowers and produce in their gorgeous garden as well as to decorate their inn. Dale loves construction and renovation projects (both inside and outside). I think the long-term goal is for Shirley & Dale should keep doing what they love.  However, since they have a real need for adding housekeeping and kitchen staff, they will need to continue to handle those responsibilities until part-time employees are found. 

Shirley & Dale should advertise for part-time employees in a variety of places including any professional hospitality associations to which they belong.  Their ad should provide information (or a link to more specific information) detailing specifically what they are looking for so that they are more likely to find someone with the exact skills they need. Once housekeeping and kitchen staff are found, then they should focus on achieving a consistent marketing presence. 

Some professional innkeeping organizations have Vendor Members.  For example, Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging is a Vendor Member of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.  I am happy to set up a free (no obligation), 20-minute phone conversation to answer any questions innkeepers have as well as provide practical ideas for bringing in more business.  

What Mentally Strong People Do

13thingscover-e1407853185250This post will highlight the book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success by Amy Morin.

The author defines mental strength as being able to regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner.  Anyone has the power to improve their mental strength.  The benefits of mental strength include:

  • Increased resilience to stress: better equipped to handle problems more efficiently and effectively
  • Improved life satisfaction: behaving according to your values = peace of mind, recognizing what’s really important in life
  • Enhanced performance: helps you reach your full potential

So what are the 13 things mentally strong people don’t do? Then we look at what they do instead.

1) Mentally strong people don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves:

  • Focus on what they can still accomplish with their life
  • Choose to take control and change their attitude
  • Make a conscious decision to celebrate life’s gifts
  • Feel grateful for what they have
  • Volunteer, stay active, and continue to learn new things
  • Look for the silver lining in circumstances
  • Actively problem solve to improve situations
  • Participate in experiences/activities that help them feel better
  • Stay focused on what they do have rather than what they don’t have

2) Mentally strong people don’t give away their power:

  • Set limits to create healthy boundaries
  • Don’t depend on others to regulate their feelings
  • Don’t let others define their self worth
  • Don’t avoid addressing the real problem
  • Don’t become a victim of their circumstances
  • Don’t give other people’s words more power than they deserve
  • Don’t lose sight of their goals
  • Speak up when people hurt their feelings so they don’t grow resentful
  • Forgive those who attack them so they don’t have any more power over them
  • Forgiveness reduces stress, increases tolerance to pain, and can lengthen life
  • Let go of their anger to focus their energy on a worthwhile cause
  • Don’t allow any one person’s opinion to define them
  • Evaluate feedback to determine if it has any validity
  • Remind themselves they have a choice in everything they do, think, and feel
  • Choose to define who they are going to be in life
  • Realize no one else has the power to control how you feel
  • Set healthy emotional and physical boundaries with people
  • Behave proactively by making conscious choices about their responses
  • Take full responsibility for how they choose to spend their time and energy
  • Are willing to examine feedback and criticism without jumping to conclusions
  • Don’t blame others for their own behavior
  • Don’t allow criticism to control how they feel about themselves

3) Mentally strong people don’t shy away from change:

  • Know that staying the same often means getting stuck in a rut
  • Open to learning new things, improving their life, developing healthier habits
  • Focus on what they can do to make a positive difference
  • Make changes based on what is best
  • Don’t allow emotions to make the final decision
  • Create a successful plan for change
  • Create goals they would like to accomplish in the next 30 days
  • Establish accountability and monitor their progress
  • Behave like the person the want to become
  • Set realistic time frames and reach their goals

4) Mentally strong people don’t focus on things they can’t control:

  • Focus on what they can control
  • Don’t waste energy worrying about what they can’t control
  • Point out the positives in others making a genuine effort to create change
  • Stop trying to force people to be different
  • Ask for help when they need it
  • Keep the emphasis on influencing others rather than controlling them

5) Mentally strong people don’t worry about pleasing everyone:

  • Don’t base their self-worth on the way other people seem to perceive them
  • Don’t make decisions based on trying to please everyone
  • They are authentic to who they really are
  • Recognize that worrying about trying to please everyone is a waste of time
  • Know exactly what their core values are so they make the best choices
  • Have more time and energy to devote to their own goals
  • Say no when they don’t want to do something
  • Behave assertively even when speaking up may not be well received
  • Don’t lose sight of who they are and what their values are
  • Don’t automatically say yes to an invitation, they consider if it’s a good choice
  • Don’t agree with people and comply with their requests to avoid confrontation
  • Know that they do not have to go along with the crowd
  • Can express their own opinion even if it goes against what the majority of people think

6) Mentally strong people don’t fear taking calculated risks:

  • Make decisions based on logic
  • Know that emotion interferes with making logical choices
  • Weigh the potential costs against the potential benefits
  • Decide if it will help them achieve their goals
  • Consider the alternatives
  • Ask, “How good would it be if the best scenario came true?”
  • Ask, “What is the worst thing that could happen and how could I reduce the risk that it will occur?
  • Willing to do more research in order to calculate the risk better
  • Resolve to make the best decision possible with all the information that is available
  • Monitor the outcomes of the risks they take
  • Make strategic judgments not blind gambles
  • Are willing to take risks that cause them discomfort
  • Don’t allow irrational thoughts to influence their willingness to try something new

7) Mentally strong people don’t dwell on the past:

  • Shift their thinking to move forward
  • Give themselves something else to think about
  • Establish goals for the future
  • Focus on the lessons they’ve learned
  • Think about the facts, not the emotion
  • Look at the situation differently
  • Make peace with the past
  • Practice forgiveness
  • Accept experiences so they can live in the present

8) Mentally strong people don’t make the same mistakes over and over:

  • Learn from their past mistakes and don’t repeat them
  • Find out what went wrong and what they could have done better
  • Know what they will do differently next time
  • Create a written plan to prevent repeating the same mistakes
  • Establish behavior that will replace the previous behavior
  • Hold themselves accountable and think about alternatives
  • Use positive self-talk and keep their goals in mind
  • Create a list of reasons why they don’t want to repeat your mistake
  • View mistakes as an opportunity to improve themselves for the future
  • Acknowledge personal responsibility for each mistake
  • Don’t make excuses or refuse to examine their role in the outcome
  • Don’t put themselves in situations where they are likely to fail

9) Mentally strong people don’t resent other people’s success:

  • Secure enough not to be threatened by the success of others
  • Avoid comparing themselves to others
  • Focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses
  • Don’t insult other people’s accomplishments
  • Stop trying to determine what is fair
  • Focus on cooperation not competition
  • Happy about others’ accomplishments
  • Create their own definition of success
  • Replace negative thoughts with more rational thoughts

10) Mentally strong people don’t give up after the first failure:

  • Don’t allow failure to define who they are
  • Know that deliberate practice is more important than natural talent
  • Accept that failure is part of the process that helps you learn and grow
  • Realize failure is often part of the journey to success
  • Learn from their failures
  • Understand they will be okay even if they fail repeatedly
  • Rest assured that they are becoming better with each failure
  • Resolve to try again even if previous attempts were not successful
  • Develop a new plan to increase their chance of success

11) Mentally strong people don’t fear alone time:

  • Use alone time to reflect on their goals and set future goals
  • Write in a journal
  • Learn meditation which can improve health, emotions, memory, etc.
  • Take a few minutes every day to be alone with their thoughts
  • Reflect on their goals and progress every day

12) Mentally strong people don’t feel the world owes them anything:

  • Know that life isn’t meant to be fair–that some people have more positive experiences than others
  • Realize they have choices in how they respond to disappointments
  • Spend more time helping others
  • Behave like a team player
  • Focus on their efforts, not their importance
  • Acknowledge their flaws and weaknesses
  • Stop and think about how others feel
  • Don’t keep score
  • Practice humility which makes them stronger
  • Have a healthy amount of self-esteem
  • Focus on what they have to give, not what they want to take
  • Give back to other people in need

13) Mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results:

  • Don’t underestimate how difficult change is
  • Recognize that progress isn’t always obvious
  • Know what kind of results to expect to see in a specific time frame
  • Practice delayed gratification
  • Keep their eyes on the prize
  • Remind themselves of their goals in creative ways
  • Celebrate the milestones along their journey
  • Deal with the feelings of frustration and impatience in a healthy way
  • Pace themselves for the long haul
  • Establish realistic expectations and don’t expect results tomorrow
  • Look for areas in their life where they can improve
  • Focus on finding strategies to help them develop the skills to make progress
  • Develop a plan to help themselves resist temptation
  • Find accurate ways to measure their progress

Maintaining mental strength means…

  • Incorporating mental strategies in your life that will help you reach your full potential
  • Looking at what you’re doing well and build on your strengths
  • Identifying the areas that need improvement and challenge yourself to get better
  • Monitoring your behavior and identify strategies to help you be more productive
  • Regulating your emotions to change how you feel
  • Changing how you think and behave
  • Evaluating your thoughts to make sure they are realistic and productive
  • Asking for help when you need it and surround yourself with supportive people
  • Committing to being a healthy role model for others

Developing mental strength is not about being the best at everything–it means knowing that you will be okay no matter what happens!

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

Extraordinary Productivity

extraordinary-productivity

I love the book, The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity by Kory Kogon, Adam Morrill, and Leena Rinne.  The authors explain what they mean about there being a “productivity paradox”.  It is both easier and harder than ever before to achieve extraordinary productivity and feel accomplished in our lives.  We all experience three challenges:
  • The overwhelming flow of decisions we have to make in daily life
  • That our attention is under unprecedented attack with modern technology
  • We feel a drain on our personal mental energy

The authors propose that we make five choices in order to experience extraordinary productivity. Choice 1 is to act on the important, but not to react to the urgent (what feels like it has to be done now, but may not lead to any results).  Borrowing from Stephen Covey, they use his 4 quadrants of how people spend their time.

  • Quadrant 1: Necessity: crises, emergency meetings, last minute deadlines, pressing problems, and unforeseen events
  • Quadrant 2: Extraordinary productivity (what we want to focus on): proactive work, high-impact goals, creative thinking, planning, prevention, relationship building, learning and renewal
  • Quadrant 3: Distraction: needless interruptions, unnecessary reports, irrelevant meetings, other people’s minor issues, unimportant emails/tasks/phone calls, etc.
  • Quadrant 4: Waste: trivial work, avoidance activities, excessive relaxation, TV, gaming, internet surfing, gossip, and other time wasters


They explain that the results we achieve in life are impacted by our discernment.  With practice we can rewire our brain to become more discerning and less reactive.  They recommend settings these goals:

  • Minimize the time spent in Quadrants 1 and 3
  • Eliminate entirely all of the Quadrant 4 time
  • Maximize what we invest in Quadrant 2
  • Speak the language of importance to those around you

The authors say that it takes three steps: pause, clarify, and decide.

  • Is this important?
  • When does this really need to be done?
  • How will this impact what we are currently working on?
  • Is there another resource for getting this done?
  • Where does this fit relative to the other priorities I am working on?

Choice 2 is to go for the extraordinary and not settle for ordinary.  They quote brain expert, Dr. Daniel Amen, “To harness your brain’s power, it needs direction and vision.  It needs a blueprint.”  According to the authors, most people do not take the time to clarify what is most important to them and do not end up spending their time on those things.  They recommend that those seeking to be more productive identify our few most important roles and define what success looks like in each role.  These roles should be:

  • Represent our key relationships and responsibilities
  • Be relevant to our life right now (not the future)
  • Be meaningful to us
  • Give a balanced perspective of our life
  • Be limited to about five to seven (maximum)

We should then determine our vision of success in each role.  Anchor our purpose and passion in a role title and craft a role statement for each role.  Decide what contribution we want to make in each role.  As (role title), I will (extraordinary outcomes) by (specific activities).  The authors remind us that roles are dynamic therefore constantly changing. They discuss the importance of setting SMART goals.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Extraordinary productivity means going to bed each night feeling satisfied and accomplished.  By identifying the few most important roles we play, this gives us a framework for balance, motivation, and fulfillment.  Anchoring our role titles and statements strengthens our ability to make good decisions about our time.  Setting specific Q2 goals helps us direct our brains in the most productive ways.

Choice 3 is to schedule the big rocks, and don’t sort gravel. This is a figurative illustration.  The big rocks represent the important Q2 priorities in our lives.  We are to put those first.  The gravel represents the distractions (Q3) and time wasters (Q4).  If you start with the gravel, then there is no room for the rocks.

Everyone has the same amount of time, but some people can cram more in the spaces than others.  The key is to focus our very best attention and energy on the few priorities that really matter. The authors recommend that we spend thirty minutes each week and ten minutes each day in Q2 planning so we can dramatically increase our ability to be and feel accomplished at the end of every day.

  • Review our roles and goals to see if they connect with our vision for our Q2 life
  • Schedule the big rocks (the 1 or 2 most important things you can do this week)
  • Scheduling a specific time and place to do something represents our higher-level commitment
  • Organize the rest of our time

The bottom line is that we should decide what is most important and get those activities already scheduled before our week begins.  Schedule Q2 times during the week to proactively protect your Q2 priorities.

Choice 4 is to rule our technology and not let it rule us.  Technology in and of itself is not the problem.  It is how conscious and deliberate we are about how we use it that can be a problem.  The book discusses sorting tasks into one of the Core Four.

  • Our appointments set at specific times
  • The tasks we need to do that are not scheduled
  • Our information about people we interact with
  • Other information we want to keep track of that does not fit into any of the other 3 categories

The book asks readers if we know that over 196 billion emails are sent and received EVERY DAY?!  At the moment of choice, we can act to make an appointment or schedule a task or file away contact information and notes.  If this is not something we need, we can trash or delete the email.  No need for our emails to pile up!

Choice 5 is to fuel our fire, but not burn out.  The book discusses five energy drivers:

  • Move (exercising improves memory, brain health, and physical fitness)
  • Eat (choosing healthy foods and supplements over junk food and sugary food)
  • Sleep (we must get enough rest and not be sleep deprived which leads to poor decision making and even accidents)
  • Relax (to turn off our stress responses and restore our energy by taking regular breaks)
  • Connect (to make positive social interactions)

The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity states that our brain is our number one asset in a knowledge-work world.  Being conscious and intentional throughout the day takes a lot of energy.  We need to have a clear and motivating purpose and a healthy physical body (be as healthy as we can be) in order to fulfill our purpose.  Thus, we should invest regularly in the five energy drivers above to keep us from burning out. By implementing the five choices recommended in this book, we can be on the path to extraordinary productivity!

  • Act on the important and do not react to the urgent
  • Go for the extraordinary and not settle for the ordinary
  • Schedule the big rocks and do not sort gravel
  • Rule our technology and not let it rule us
  • Fuel our fire to not burn out

Affiliate Disclaimer: The links to the book are affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

Shatter the Disastrous Myths About Bed and Breakfasts

It is time to shatter the disastrous myths about bed and breakfasts. There are a handful of reporters recently who have published stories that seem to be more about their own awkward hang-ups than about having real issues with where they stayed. Also, most of their disappointments could have been prevented through simple actions like looking at the accommodations’ website and reading guest reviews before their booking rooms.

Most bed and breakfasts are NOT about staying at grandma’s house with doilies. While some bed and breakfasts are located in historic mansions, that does not mean they have thin walls, squeaky bed frames, and creaky floors. Many of those inns have been painstakingly returned to their original glory with added insulation (if needed), restored or new furniture, and repaired or refinished flooring.

99% of bed and breakfasts offer private, connected bathrooms for their guests to use. Bed and breakfasts with good websites always show pictures of their guest rooms and bathrooms and even specify which amenities come with each of their rooms. Hotels are not the only ones with private balconies, sitting areas, gardens, pools, restaurants, and gift shops. There are plenty of inns offering these same luxuries.

Bed and breakfasts are always unique. Every inn is different and offers its own special personality and experiences. Guests choose bed and breakfasts based on its location, style, local attractions, and personal preferences. Bed and breakfast inns can come in a wide variety of types to choose from, including:

  • scenic mountain bed and breakfasts
  • modern boutique inns
  • bed and breakfast farms
  • pet-friendly inns
  • B&B retreats for authors or artists
  • bed and breakfasts on the water
  • environmentally friendly inns
  • bed and breakfasts in secluded locations
  • kid-friendly inns

There is a reason why they are called bed and breakfasts. Hotels often offer “continental” breakfasts that leave much to be desired. Innkeepers often have culinary training as well as a natural talent and passion for cooking. Many bed and breakfasts accommodate guests on restricted diets.

Preferably while booking your room, be sure to indicate any food allergies or dietary guidelines. Whether you are on a gluten-free, dairy-free, low cholesterol, reduced fat, no sugar added, vegan, or vegetarian diet, bed and breakfast chefs can make something you will enjoy eating that does not compromise those standards.

You do NOT have to have conversations with other guests if you feel like keeping to yourself. There is no “dreaded obligation” to have small talk with strangers. At breakfast time, many inns offer tables for two or even in-room dining. It is less common for there to be one common breakfast table for all the guests to sit at. This is a win-win for shy and outgoing guests as well as perky and not-so-perky guests. You can seek interaction or keep to yourself. It is completely up to you!

Innkeepers want to provide their guests with the best hospitality experience possible. Bed and breakfast staff do not try to “hover” over their guests. They remain attentive (they are there if you need them) yet not intrusive (they give you space and privacy). They respect their guests’ wishes for peace and quiet. Some places offer private entrances, separate cottages or guest houses.

Bed and breakfasts are a great value. They offer free breakfast, free parking, and complimentary refreshments. Most offer free wireless internet and some have free DVD libraries and even provide free streaming video services like Netflix. Hotels charge extra for these things. There is no such thing as “free room service” at hotels.

If you like impersonal and stuffy hotel chains, then maybe bed and breakfast inns are not for you. However, many of you (if you have not already) will visit a bed and breakfast inn and never go back to staying at hotels!  

Owners and innkeepers, are you looking to improve your online marketing results?  Want to educate potential guests about what makes your inn more appealing than your local competition? Bed and breakfast blogging offers professional services including blogging, e-mail marketing, social media, and reputation management.  Don’t have time or don’t know where to start? Contact Kristi today for a free consultation!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How Bed and Breakfasts Can Win Like Amazon

Fast Company ranked Amazon the World’s Most Innovative Company in 2017.  Amazon is the largest American e-commerce company.  Founded on July 5 of 1994, Jeff Bezos selected the name Amazon as he looked through the dictionary.  He settled on “Amazon” because it was a place that was “exotic and different” just as he envisioned for his Internet enterprise.  Bed and breakfasts should each strive to be different and stand out in a unique and impressive way.  Think about how your inn can uniquely excel in hospitality, cuisine, and accommodations.

Bezos also noted that the Amazon river was by far the “largest” river in the world and he planned to make his store the largest in the world.  Amazon, as a company, has achieved enormous success.  Back in 1996, Amazon was only a $16 million company while Barnes and Noble was at the time a gigantic $2 billion company.  However, Amazon was the fastest company to reach one billion in sales. In 2016, Amazon’s revenue was $136 billion United States dollars while Barnes and Noble increased to a significantly smaller $4.16 billion.  

How did Amazon do it?  Amazon set goals to create something superior and completely new.  Jeff Bezos, who continues to record ideas as he thinks of them, made a list of 20 possible categories for his business and then decided that his best option was to start with books.  Years later Amazon would become one of the world’s best known companies and be referred to as “the everything store.”

While publishers complained when Amazon let its users publish book reviews (showing both the positive and negative comments), Jeff Bezos stated, “We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions.”  To him, it was so people could make informed choices.  The user-generated content did give Amazon viewers an extra reason to visit their website: actual buyers of books were giving their honest opinions.  Now consumers can leave written evaluations of any of Amazon’s products.  Bed and breakfasts would do well to encourage their happy guests to leave reviews as well.

Amazon strives for continuous improvement and efficiency.  While you may be satisfied with the size of your business, there are always things innkeepers can do to make more money with each guest who visits.  Whether through added packages, special retreats, retail merchandise, or other extras, make it a goal to gain more business from every person who walks into your inn.

Names are so important for both people and places. Names help define people and brands. One of the most successful brands is Amazon.  Bed and breakfasts can look to Amazon for its success as a brand and its successful brand name. Since June 19, 2000, Amazon’s logotype has featured a curved arrow leading from A to Z, representing that the company carries every product from A to Z, with the arrow shaped like a smile.  A good bed and breakfast logo can appear on merchandise you sell like coffee mugs, cookbooks, and aprons.  

Amazon carefully selects who they hire to join the company.  According to Amazon, they hire only the best and the brightest.  Some interview questions have been known to catch people off guard like, “Do you know why manhole covers are round?”  This is to judge the reasoning skills of interviewees as much as it is assess their intelligence.  This sets a high bar for the talent they hire.  While they have had some personnel issues as far as people electing to leave the company, many employees have done very well for themselves by staying.  Bed and breakfasts should also be selective when hiring more staff members.

One of Amazon’s core values is innovation.  They remain on the cutting edge of technology with their products and services.  As a company they love inventing things.  They are not held back by conventional thinking. They will quickly abandon old notions and embrace new ones when better options present themselves.  Likewise, innkeepers should stay on the cutting edge with their online marketing, reservation software, and so forth.

Amazon is known for their excellent customer service.  They offer a generous 30-day return policy.  They are resolved to offer the lowest prices anywhere.  Amazon has expanded not only the types of merchandise it sells, but also the programs it offers.  With a focus on long-term customer loyalty, those who are Amazon Prime members get several perks including free shipping.  Bed and breakfasts can reward returning guests and guests who make referrals.

Amazon is obsessed with customer satisfaction.  This online giant offers a personalized version of their website and gives recommendations to each shopper based on their previous searches and purchases. Amazon’s wide selection, low prices, and excellent customer service is remaking industries.  Through strategic marketing, including blogging, social media, and phone conversations, bed and breakfast guests can be persuaded to spend more money during their visits on custom packages and other options. 

Amazon arguably has the most authoritative online product catalog.  To make it easier for customers to learn more about the products on Amazon, they offer the following lists and tools:

  • Amazon Bestseller Lists
  • Amazon Sales Rank
  • Amazon Wishlists 
  • Amazon Look Inside The Book
  • Amazon Search Inside The Book

Amazon’s overarching goal is to be the first place people look to buy anything. Amazon is also referred to as the “unstore.”  According to Bezos, Amazon is not bound by the traditional rules of retail.  This is a list of some of Amazon’s products and services:

  • Amazon Kindle Fire (their own e-book reader)
  • Amazon Create Space (their e-book publishing company)
  • Amazon Audible (audio books)
  • Amazon Web Services (cloud computing)
  • Amazon Prime Video (similar to Netflix)
  • Amazon Marketplace (option to buy from third party sellers)
  • Amazon Fresh (groceries)

Perhaps having a company name beginning with “A” was preferential due to the probability it would occur at the top of any list that was alphabetized.  Does this mean that your bed and breakfast name must start with the letter A?  No, absolutely not.  You can think of a clever and profitable bed and breakfast business name by taking into account: your location, your inn, your decorating theme(s), and so on.

Maybe I should rename my company name from Bed and Breakfast Blogging to something else?  Any suggestions??  Feel free to comment below with positively creative suggestions!

Reach More Success By Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Reach more success by applying the lessons found in the new book, Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Rise to the Challenge and Build Confidence by Andy Molinksky, Ph.D. Professor Molinsky teaches psychology and organizational behavior at Brandeis University.  

He starts out by asking how many of us have avoided opportunities that could have potentially led to real growth and development?  I would say all of us have shied away from doing something because we felt it was outside of our comfort zone.  

So what makes us hesitate to do things?  We have a tendency to avoid what makes us uncomfortable. Molinsky lists five challenges to overcome in order to step outside your comfort zone, rise to the challenge, and build your confidence:

  • Authenticity challenge: it may feel unnatural to you do this, but the more you do it the easier it will be
  • Likeability challenge: you fear that others won’t like you; don’t let what others think of you prevent you from doing something that will lead to your own improvement
  • Competence challenge: you fear you don’t have the skills or that you won’t be good at it; remember we are our own worst critic!
  • Resentment challenge: you are annoyed that you have to adapt your behavior; focus on what you are trying to accomplish and the annoyances will fade away 
  • Morality challenge: you may feel unethical (the example the author gives is that of a pediatrician who regrets seeing babies cry when he/she is injecting them with necessary vaccines to protect their long term health)

Molinsky details the following solutions:

  • Conviction: have a deep sense of purpose that it is necessary to make these changes; focus on how this behavior is actually helping 
  • Customization: change the way you do it so that it is more comfortable for you
  • Clarity: take an honest account of your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses 
  • Take the leap: when you willingly take the leap, you will discover that this isn’t so bad and this will reduce your anxiety and make you more likely to take leaps in the future; the more you do it, the more your anxiety diminishes

Possible examples of how these solutions can be applied to the bed and breakfast inn-keeping world:

  • Conviction: you may decide to focus on how your excluding guests under 12 is helping you cater to your adult guests who visit for a romantic getaway
  • Customization: you may decide the best way to prepare for the next morning’s breakfast is to have your guests check or circle a designated # of items from a list of food choices (ex: French toast or pancakes or waffles) when they check in
  • Clarity: you may realize that it is worth the extra money to employ a housekeeper so you can focus on what you like and do best
  • Take the leap: when you speak to potential guests over the phone, the more often you talk about your inn’s custom packages, the easier and more natural it will become to regularly mention them in future phone calls (and more revenue should come as a result)

While innkeepers are known for being warm, gracious, and outgoing, there are always more things we can do to step outside of our comfort zone.  Innkeepers, how did stepping outside your comfort zone improve your bed and breakfast inn business?  Please feel free to comment below.  

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

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