Category Archives: Activities

How To Accomplish Your Bed and Breakfast Goals


Consider writing down your bed and breakfast goals for next year.  Use the famous SMART acronym to make decisions.  This will help you accomplish your bed and breakfast goals.

Specific: Make sure that your goals are very specific.  First, ask yourself some questions.  

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What types of repeat guests would we like to attract?  
  • Are guests coming to our local area for a specific reason or activity?
  • What types of local events in our area attract guests?  
  • What do guests tell us they like about my inn?  

Measurable: Goals need to be measurable to know if you have reached them. Quantifying your goals gives you something to strive for.  

  • By what percentage do we want our occupancy rates to go up?
  • How many more B&B packages could we sell this year?
  • What number of local business partnerships do we want to add this year?
  • How much money could we set aside to sponsor a local event?
  • How many private events should we host?

Attainable: Goals need to be reachable to motivate you do achieve them.  Setting impossible goals does not help you.  Make it a goal that is a stretch but doable.  

  • How many blog posts could we do this year?
  • How many e-newsletters would we produce?
  • What social media campaigns could we do?
  • Do we need to change our reservation software to give us better results?
  • Should we join a bed and breakfast association?

Relevant: Goals need to be suitable to what your inn and your local area offers.  Represent what your guests can expect from their stay with at your bed and breakfast.

  • What inn amenities could we promote?
  • Do we have any of the following: a restaurant, a gift shop, or a spa?
  • Do we have excellent local entertainment venues or other attractions?
  • Do we have up-to-date pictures of our bed and breakfast and food?
  • Could we support a local cause that has an event?

Time bound: Giving yourself a deadline makes your goals even more real.  Vague goals do not equal results.  

  • What are the due dates for our blog posts?
  • How many calls to potential local business partners do we make each month?
  • By what date should our bed and breakfast website be redesigned?
  • When do we need to finish this renovation project?
  • No later than what date should we put up our new bed and breakfast sign?

Success does not happen by accident, but by dedication and SMART goal planning.  What goals does your inn have for the coming year?  Feel free to comment below with what your bed and breakfast would like to accomplish.

Do you want to add or improve your blogging, social media, and/or reputation management strategy? Contact Bed and Breakfast Blogging at 919-931-6168 or email contact@bedandbreakfastblogging.com

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Let Someone Know About Your Inn


Unique Angles Photography beach mural bedroom

How to let someone know about your inn…there are many ways to do this.  The more creative and original you let them know about your inn, the more likely you will get bookings.  Try answering questions that they will likely want to know.

  • Why do most people stay at your bed and breakfast?
  • What do guests love most about your inn?
  • What are you most known for?
  • What makes your inn unique?
  • Why do most people visit your city?
  • What is the best kept secret about your area?

It is important to understand why people stay at your bed and breakfast.  There could be many reasons, including some of the following:

  • Your luxurious amenities
  • Your gourmet breakfasts
  • Your warm hosptiality
  • Your ideal location
  • Your thoughtful packages
  • Your reasonable rates

Unique Angles Photography hot tub with brownie and sundae

Pay attention to your guest comments and feedback.  Keep track of guest compliments so you are sure to continue getting that response.  On the flip side, make note of negative feedback, so you can make the appropriate changes.  Knowing what guests love the most (and what they don’t love at all) helps you provide the best environment possible to your guests.

Are you, your inn, or your area famous for anything?  For example, you could have won a breakfast recipe. Your inn may have received a prestigious award.  You area could be home to the world’s most awesome event.

Be sure to emphasize these accolades in your marketing messages.  Marketing messages can be spoken (e.g. what you tell your guests in person or over the phone), be online (e.g. your blog, newsletter, or website), or be in print (e.g. your sign or your brochure).

It is fundamental that you know what makes your inn so special.  What do you offer that other area accommodations do not?  In marketing, this is called your “unique selling point(s).”

What attracts people to your local area?  It could be one or more of the following:

  • Business
  • Concerts
  • Conferences
  • Festivals
  • Nature
  • Sports
  • Universities

In response to the question, “What is your area’s best kept secret?” you could reply in any of the following ways:

  • Tell about a famous local legend
  • Recommend your favorite local restaurant
  • Reveal a local hot spot not commonly known to tourists
  • Reassure them you are not hiding any local area secrets and that you will gladly answer all of their questions to the best of your ability

Thus, answering guest questions they want more information on is a great way to let someone know about your bed and breakfast inn.

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Behind the Scenes Secrets to Disney Hospitality Magic

Here are some behind the scenes secrets to Disney hospitality magicDisney Company focuses on giving their customers a memorable guest experience that exceeds their expectations by paying attention to details. Hospitality providers know that exceeded expectations leads to returning guests as well as word-of-mouth guest referrals.

Hospitality providers should always analyze the experience from the guest’s perspective.  Disney defines “guestology” as the art and science of knowing and understanding their customers. More commonly known as “market research.”

Disney’s theme is “We create happiness [their mission] by providing the finest in entertainment [how their mission is accomplished] for people of all ages everywhere [for whom].”  Disney set four criteria standards (in order of priority) which outline the the actions necessary to accomplish their service theme:

  • Safety (they look out for the welfare and peace of mind of their guests)
  • Courtesy (they require that every guest be treated like a very important person)
  • Show (they must offer seamless and exceptional entertainment for guests)
  • Efficiency (they strive for smooth operation and prioritize their standards)

Epcot Theme Park - Walt Disney World Resort 2016 China Park

With the magic of service, Disney recognizes that the most important judges are your customers.  Therefore, it is extremely important to know and understand your customers.  Demographics are factual knowledge about your guests including who they are, where they are from, and how much they spend.  Psychographics seek to better understand guests’ mental states–their needs, wants, expectations, and emotions.

Disney, as a company, watches what people do in their theme parks, resorts, and stores to find out how they can make it more enjoyable for them.  They use methods like surveys, comment cards, guest observations, and mystery shoppers as well as read guest letters and emails.

Disney studies guest usage and visitation patterns.  Knowledge developed from guests is used to create and improve all elements of the quality service cycle.  According to Disney, it is crucial to gather information at a variety of points during a guest’s experience.

With the magic of the cast [what they call their staff], Disney understands that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Disney trains their cast in universal procedures and behaviors, with performance tips, and guidelines for guest service.

  • Make eye contact and smile: start and end every guest contact and communication with direct eye contact and a sincere smile
  • Greet and welcome each and every guest: extend the appropriate greeting to each and every guest with whom you come into contact, make guests feel welcome by providing a special differentiated greeting in each area
  • Seek out guest contact: it is the responsibility of every cast member to seek out guests who need help or assistance (such as listening to your guests’ needs, answering questions, and offering assistance)
  • Provide immediate service recovery: it is the responsibility of all cast members to attempt, to the best of their abilities, to immediately resolve a guest service failure before it becomes a guest service problem; always find the answer for the guest and/or find another cast member who can help the guest
  • Display appropriate body language at all times: it is the responsibility of every cast member to display approachable body language when “on stage” (visible to guests):  be attentive, clean cut, have good posture, and appropriate facial expression
  • Preserve the “magical” guest experience: always focus on the positive rather than the rules and regulations; talking about personal or job-related problems in front of guests is unacceptable
  • Thank each and every guest: extend to every guest a sincere thank you at the conclusion of every transaction and give an expression of appreciation as he or she leaves  your area

Epcot Theme Park - Walt Disney World Resort Scandinavian Village

With the magic of setting, Disney wanted his cast to pull off fantasy without losing sight of reality.  It was important to him that others find their fantasy believable.

Whether companies know it or not, all organizations build messages to their customers into the settings in which they operate.  The setting communicates the quality of the person’s products and services that customers can expect as well as the price they are willing to pay.

Setting must be designed and managed effectively to effectively communicate and deliver service to customers.  Setting is not restricted to physical properties, but extends to reservation systems, cleanliness, comfort, and so on.  Setting components include:

  • Architectural design
  • Color
  • Directional design on carpet
  • Focal points and directional signs
  • Landscaping
  • Lighting
  • Music and ambient noise
  • Signage
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Texture of the floor surface
  • Touch/tactile experiences

Walt Disney’s motto was, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”  “Imagineering” was his term for the blending of creative imagination and technical know-how.  Disney has the following ten setting principles:

  • Know your audience: have a firm understanding of who will be using your setting
  • Wear your guest’s shoes: evaluate your setting from the customer’s perspective by experiencing it as a customer
  • Organize the flow of people and ideas: think of the setting as a story and tell that story in a sequenced, organized way; build the same order and logic in the design of customer movement
  • Create a visual magnet: Disney uses visual landmarks (like Cinderella’s Castle) to orient and attract customers
  • Communicate with visual literacy: use the languages of color, shape, and form to communicate through setting
  • Avoid overloads: do not bombard customers with data; let them choose the information when they want it
  • Tell one story at a time: create one setting for each big idea; avoid the confusion of mixing multiple stories into a single setting
  • Avoid contradictions: every detail and every setting should support and further your organizational identity and vision
  • For every ounce of treatment, provide a ton of treat: give your customers the highest value by building an interactive setting that gives them the opportunity to exercise all of their senses
  • Keeping it up: never get complacent and always maintain your setting; keep it clean, protect it from damage, and repair wear and tear

Epcot Theme Park - Walt Disney World Resort Morroccan Area

What does your setting tell your customers?  What they see is as important as what they don’t see.  Setting not only creates an impression, but it can guide guests through service experiences.  Appeal to all five senses: sight (ex: colors), sounds (ex: music), smell (ex: popcorn), touch (ex: water fountains), and taste (ex: changing menus).

The Disney cast must keep onstage [anywhere they are visible to guests] and backstage [not seen by guests] separate.  Did you know that Disney employees can go underneath the park to get from one area of the part to another? That is why you will never see a Disney character travel through a section of the theme park unrelated to their character.

Like the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, Disney offers behind-the-scenes tours.  Thus, the setting should support and enhance the guest experience and deliver quality service.

Important to Walt Disney was that he provide superior service and hospitality.  That meant hiring and training his “cast” to treat the guests with utmost respect.  Walt also paid attention to the details of setting.

Walt Disney and his brother Roy’s legacy lives on to this day.  Today, Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida has an average of 53,000 visitors each day and is the #1 most-visited theme park in the world.

The Disney empire also includes include Disneyland; EPCOT; Animal Kingdom; Disney television, radio, and movies; and Disney merchandise sold in Disney stores and at Disney theme park locations.  Thus, Disney hospitality magic is alive and well.

January Holidays B&B Inns

Celebrating January holidays at B&B inns can attract more hospitality business.  Both big and small,  there are special holidays throughout the year.  Some holidays are officially observed (like Thanksgiving) while others are just for fun (like April Fool’s Day).

January Holidays at B&B Inns

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Depending upon where you are in the United States, the month of January can be really cold yet beautiful.  It is a time for reflecting on and making decisions to improve your overall life.  It can also be about honoring those who have made a great impact on the world like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

January Holidays

Jan. 1 New Years Day

Keywords: Happy New Year, New Year’s Day, January 1st, 1st Day of the Year

Themes: fresh start, new you, resolutions, commitments, goals, dreams

Example: New Years Eve Special

Cobblestone Bed and Breakfast of Birchwood, Wisconsin celebrated the New Year with champagne, hors d’oeuvres, noise makers, and hats.  That sounds very festive!

Example: New Years Eve Dinner or New Years Eve Package

Each New Years Eve, Orchard Inn of Asheville, North Carolina hosts a decadent 7-course dinner. The night begins with hors d’oeuvres at 7 pm and then dinner at 8 pm. Then guests raise a glass to the New Year with a complimentary glass of French champagne. 

Guests who chose their New Years Eve package (for the 2015-2016 calendar change) received 2-nights accommodation, breakfast each morning and dinner on New Years Eve as well as a choice of dinner on December 30th or January 1st.

 

January Holidays at B&B Inns

St. Augustine Foot Soldiers Monument in St. Augustine, Florida

Jan. 18 Martin Luther King Day

Keywords: MLK Day, Martin Luther King Day, Civil Rights Leader

Themes: freedom, respect, equal rights, unity, peace

Example: Carriage Way Bed and Breakfast of St. Augustine, Florida is promoting FREE admission into Castillo de San Marcos Fort on Monday, January 18, to honor the memory of where Dr. King himself walked.

Example: Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast of Durham, North Carolina, named by Black Enterprise magazine as the number one black-owned bed and breakfast in America, promotes their local area’s Annual MLK-Black History Month Parade.

Promote your bed and breakfast by celebrating more holidays throughout the year.  Have the appropriate decor (such as New Years’ noise makers) to make your inn more festive.  Consider hosting a dinner or encouraging your guests to attend local events (such a parades) in your area.

Become known for celebrating amazing holiday festivities (like these January holidays at B&B inns) throughout the year. This attracts visitors to come again to experience your hosting of another holiday.

Upcoming Innkeeping Conferences

Upcoming-Innkeeping-Conferences

Don’t miss these upcoming innkeeping conferences in 2016.  In January, hundreds of innkeepers and industry partners from all over the country (and beyond) will meet in Austin, Texas to experience the biggest industry conference in the U.S. The PAII Innkeeping Conference & Trade Show January 10 – 14, 2016, will showcase industry trends, best practices, and encourage you to renew and build new relationships with industry partner vendors and innkeepers alike.

Join in special events, mixers, and cutting-edge education, tailored to aspiring to novice to master innkeepers.  You’ll learn new ways to drive your business forward, refine your services, and exceed your business goals at over 40 live sessions.  You’ll consult face-to-face with industry professionals, and engage all of your senses at the Innkeeper Trade Show.

Hosted by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, this conference will provide insight and perspective on our vibrant, challenging, ever changing industry, and more specifically, your investment. Gain a renewed focus, build vital connections, and reignite the passion that drives your hospitality business.

Upcoming-Innkeeping-Conferences
Celebrate 25 years of CABBI (the California Assocation of Bed and Breakfast Inns).

Join them January 31 – February 2, 2016 at the Monterey Marriott for this once-a-year opportunity! Network with fellow innkeepers during the 2016 InnSpire Conference & Trade Show. This year’s trade show is the largest yet and promises to introduce you to the latest and greatest in industry products and services. Join us Monday night on the 10th floor of the Marriott as we host a celebration in honor of CABBI’s 25th anniversary!

The conference will kick off on Sunday with opening keynote speaker Nancy Friedman! An expert in customer service, Nancy is excited to provide InnSpire attendees with real-world takeaways to implement right away and make a difference in your business.  CABBI has over a dozen educational sessions planned, including their always-popular round-table sessions.

Upcoming-Innkeeping-Conferences

Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers from all over the Mid-Atlantic region are invited to attend the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Trade Show and Conference at the Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia from March 6 through March 8.  Learn from nationally known bed and breakfast industry experts.  Products and services related to the B&B industry will be on exhibit.

Upcoming-Innkeeping-Conferences
The 2016 Knowledge Sharing Summit and Marketplace, hosted by the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals, will take place in Nashville, Tennessee from April 4 through the 6th.  This event will feature over 50 learning opportunities including Think Tank problem busting round tables and workshops that span educational paths from everything from Future Innkeepers to Back of the House to Guest Experience to Heads in Beds, plus multiple pre-conference sessions including professionally facilitated state and local association leader events and more.

If you want to share other bed and breakfast industry events (such as innkeeping conferences) that will take place in 2016, feel free to comment below.  Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging improves the marketing success of bed and breakfast businesses.  Contact us to learn how we help increase your inn’s revenue.  Let’s have our best year yet!

How To Easily Attract More Guests To Your Inn

Attract-More-Guests

How to easily attract more guests to your inn?  One key component is to focus on good things to do, things to see, food to taste, places to explore, and places to go in your local area.

First, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do most people visit our local area? (ex: for a romantic getaway in a secluded area or in a bustling city with lots of culture)
  • What do people like to do when they visit my area? (ex: attend a major business conference or participate in a marathon for your favorite cause)
  • How could I convince someone to want to visit my area? (ex: write great content about your local area and develop a reputation for showing warm hospitality to your guests)
  • Do I ask for guests to give me great online reviews?  Tell guests when they arrive,  that if for some reason they do not have a five star experience with you, to let them know in person how it could have been better.  For the few who were disappointed, perhaps offer them an upgraded room or some other perk if they decide to return again.  Make it your marketing mission to get 5 star reviews online so others will want to visit.

Then, as you read this list, think about what you could feature in your local area:

Things to Do

  • Bowling
  • Canoeing
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Fairs
  • Festivals
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Horseback riding
  • Hunting
  • Local shopping
  • Marathons
  • Miniature golf
  • Quilting
  • Reading
  • Shopping
  • Spa relaxing
  • Sports
  • Walking
  • Writing
  • Yoga

Things to See

  • Ballet
  • Bird watching
  • Book stores
  • Circus
  • Comedy
  • Concerts
  • Movies
  • Parades
  • Photography
  • Sporting events
  • Theatre

Food to Taste

  • Bakeries
  • Bars
  • Coffee shops
  • Food trucks
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Picnicking
  • Restaurants

Places to Explore

Places to Go

  • Arenas
  • Churches
  • Conferences
  • Retreats
  • Stadiums
  • Workshops

Attract-More-Guests

Another important key to attract more guests is to establish relationships with these other local proprietors. Perhaps the business person will give you a reasonable deal in exchange for exclusively their particular type of business (such as using only one local florist for all of your flower arrangements).  Consider putting together guest packages that include local area businesses:

When you categorize your blog posts, this allows your web visitors to easily go to the content that best fits their needs.  For example, some of my blog categories include:

Write about what makes your area a destination for most people.  For some, this could mean featuring local concerts at your popular entertainment venues or dishes from award-winning restaurants.  If your bed and breakfast is in a place known for popular events (such as film festivals), be sure to promote that.

Write about things that make your inn unique.  Give them reasons to choose your inn for their accommodations.  Does your bed and breakfast have its own restaurant, horse farm, gift shop, spa, or something else?  Maybe you have amenities such as hot tubs and fireplaces in private guest rooms.  For those who cater to the business traveler, be sure to talk about your free wi-fi internet access as well as desks with comfortable office chairs.

In summary, write blog posts and put on social media the things that are popular in your local area as well as what makes your inn so special.  Offer packages that include things only found in your area.  Be sure to encourage five star reviews from your guests.  This is how you will easily attract more guests to your bed and breakfast inn!

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Amazing Bed and Breakfast Marketing From A to Z

bed-and-breakfast-marketing

Amazing Bed and Breakfast Marketing From A to Z

What if there was an amazing way to market your bed and breakfast by keeping the alphabet in mind? These are some of the most important factors to consider when blogging about your bed and breakfast inn.

  • Amenities: What extra amenities does your B&B have that others do not? It is important to know what sets you apart from your competition. Whether you have in-room hot tubs or fireplaces, this is a great thing to mention in your blog and on your website.
  • Antiques: Do you have any unique antiques that guests can look at? You may want to keep priceless or fragile antiques behind glass to protect them. Some B&B’s sell antiques to their guests.
  • Art: Do guests admire your art collection? Whether you have paintings, murals, or sculptures, people enjoying looking at art. You may refer them to your local art museums and galleries.
  • Awards: Do you have some honor or distinction that is noteworthy? It is okay to mention your Diamond Rating level, your prize-winning recipe, or anything else that distinguishes you from other places of lodging.
  • Bathrooms: Show off your spacious, well-decorated, and luxurious bathrooms with pictures and blog about recent upgrades.
  • Beach: Having a beach or waterfront property adds to your appeal. Share plenty of outdoor pictures as well as pictures of the outside view from inside your inn.
  • Bedrooms: You could let guests know the meaning behind the names of your bedrooms. Is it named after a former resident, your state bird, or a local sports team? Blog about what your own guests tell you they love about your guest rooms.
  • Benefits: Blog about the benefits that come to those who take a break to relax and spend time with loved ones. With permission, you could feature some of your guests and have them share how they have benefited from their stay at your B&B.
  • Birthdays: It is always great to ask guests the reason for their visit. Even if the reason is not a birthday, it may be a good idea to find out those dates so you can send guests a postcard or email on their birthday to remind them of their stay and entice them to want to come back.
  • Breakfasts: Do you cater to special diets like gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan? How do guests receive their breakfast: delivered to their room or eaten in a common place? These are all things you can blog about. Even give a behind the scenes look at your kitchen or interview your chef.
  • Business: Do you host a number of business travelers in your area? Do you have a conference room and technology resources like free Wi-Fi and guest access to a printer and fax machine? Blogging about this may result in hosting more business travelers.
  • Classes: Do you teach, or know of someone who could do this, a certain skill? This could be cooking, dancing, photography, etc. By offering unique classes, you can attract more people to your inn.
  • Complimentary: Emphasize all the free things that come to your B&B guests versus those who stay at your local hotels. This includes: breakfast, concierge services, parking, etc. This gives people a reason to choose to stay with you over your local hotel competition.
  • Concerts: Are you near a big venue like a concert hall or stadium? Blog about the next musician or theatre performance coming to your area.
  • Decks: If you have a deck with an amazing view, by all means blog about it and show pictures of the view.   People like to get away to scenic places.
  • Dining out: Do you provide your guests with a list of local restaurants or have local restaurant menus available for guests to browse? You could feature certain restaurants you know are popular with your guests.
  • Eco-Friendly: If you are an environmentally friendly bed and breakfast, then you should write about what things you do to earn that green distinction. If you line dry your blankets and/or offer an electric car charging station, guests will appreciate that.
  • Events: Keep an eye on events that are happening in your local area. A great way to do this is to regularly check your local and state visitors’ bureaus.
  • Farms: If you live on a farm that grows crops and/or has animals, blog about this. Some guests would love to meet animals from your petting zoo. Other guests want the experience of picking berries, for example.
  • Fireplaces: If you have fireplaces inside and/or fire pits outside, this is an attractive feature. Mention that indoor guests can sip hot cocoa or drink wine by the fire. Outside they could roast marshmallows and make s’mores.
  • Flowers: As long as you know your guests do not have any allergies, displaying fresh flowers on throughout your B&B is a nice added touch. These flowers could come from your own garden or a local florist, farmers market, or grocery store.
  • Frequent stay: Reward your repeat guests in some way. This could be a free upgraded room, a free bottle of wine, free massage, or even an extra night.
  • Games: Do you offer cards, board games, or even video games at your inn? You may have a pool table or air hockey table or even have a horseshoe pit outside. Blog about the games that your guests enjoy playing at your bed and breakfast.
  • Garden: Guests love to walk the grounds of bed and breakfasts with gardens of all kinds, including: flower gardens, produce gardens, and rock gardens.
  • Handicap accessible: Do you accommodate handicapped people? If you have these available, discuss your ramps, ground floor guest rooms, wheelchair friendly bathrooms, and elevators in a blog post.
  • History: Many bed and breakfasts are registered historic places. You could blog about the history of your B&B including its former occupants and what it was used for. Some bed and breakfasts were once private residences, boarding schools, or used for other purposes.
  • Holiday: Use the time leading up to holidays to show pictures of how your inn is decorated and discuss local events related to the holidays.
  • Honeymooners: Many couples choose to stay at a bed and breakfast for their honeymoon. You may even have a Honeymoon Suite as part of your inn.
  • Innkeepers: Your guests want to know more about the innkeepers, the people who run your inn.
  • Just in Time: You could offer discounts based on the time of their stay. This could be last minute specials, mid-week discounts, or stay for a specific number of nights and get the next night free.
  • Kid-friendly: All bed and breakfast inns need to establish their minimum age requirement. Some bed and breakfasts cater to romance and do not allow anyone under a specific age to stay overnight. Others B&B’s are known as “kid friendly” and welcomes kids as well as provide accommodations like adjoining rooms.
  • Lakes: Being located on a lake is a tremendous advantage. If your guests can go fishing, swimming, waterskiing, rafting, canoeing, or do any other water-related activities, this is an opportunity to blog about it and share pictures.
  • Leisure activities: Anything that your guests can do for fun should be mentioned in your blog. I recommend having a list of links to local leisure activities such as amusement parks and golf courses.
  • Libraries: Do you have a common room that is perfect for guests to read in? Do you have a library of books available for them to use during their stay? If so, you could write a blog post about it. If you know a local author (or happen to be one yourself), consider hosting a book talk or book signing. Your library can include movies that guests can watch in their rooms.
  • Linens: Brag about your high thread count sheets, plush towels, and luxurious robes.
  • Local area: Find out why most people visit your area and blog about those reasons often. For example, if you are located near a famous race car track, feature that.
  • Membership: Belonging to associations can attract more guests. Guests rest easy when they know that you are part of a bed and breakfast association; have a certain Diamond rating, and so on. Membership in these organizations adds credibility.
  • Mountains: Bed and breakfasts located in the mountains can show their breathtaking views and discuss those pictures on their blog and website.
  • Museums: There are many types of museums that could be in your local area: art museums, history museums, natural science museums, and even sports museums (or hall of fames). If your inn is near any museums, blog about this.
  • Mysteries: Some bed and breakfasts offer Murder Mystery evenings or weekends. This may even include a dinner and/or getting into a costume. Those who like reading mystery novels are great candidates for people who are likely to enjoy these kinds of mysteries.
  • Night walk: Some local area events happen late at night or you could host your own night tour.
  • Occasion: A special occasion might bring people to your inn. This could be an anniversary or even a family reunion or class reunion.
  • Outdoors: It is important to know what people like to do outdoors in your area.   It often depends upon the weather your area receives and the topography of your region.
  • Packages: Add more value by putting together guest packages based upon interests, seasons, area activities, occasions, and much more. This could mean making arrangements, on behalf of your guests, for restaurants, tours, concerts, and more.
  • Partnerships: You may decide it is in your best interest to form partnerships with local business people. For example, in exchange for exclusively using only their business, you can get a deal with a local florist to reduce their rates.
  • Patios: If you have an outdoor patio area for your guests, take pictures of it. Blog about any outdoor events you hosted on your patio.
  • Patriotic: American patriotic holidays include Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veterans Day. Your bed and breakfast may decorate, host events, and/or offer patriotic packages.
  • Pets: Your bed and breakfast may not allow pets or the only pets allowed are the innkeepers. Other bed and breakfast inns may accommodate pets in certain places of the inn (like the first floor, rooms with private exits, and private cottages) or it could be entirely pet friendly. If your B&B does allow pets, you could devote a blog post about the lovable pets that have stayed.
  • Pictures: They can say much more than words ever will. Be sure to have flattering pictures of your bed and breakfast inn on your website and in your blog posts. The pictures should accurately represent what your inn looks like today.
  • Pools: If your B&B has an indoor or outdoor pool or hot tub, you can share pictures of that. Guests really appreciate private in room hot tubs.
  • Porches: Many bed and breakfasts are known for their porches. Share pictures of your porch with its rockers, swing, and other furniture.
  • Promotions: Bed and breakfasts can offer special promotions based on the holidays, seasons, and local events. This could include discounts, complimentary services, and free upgrades.
  • Quiet: Guests like to get away from the noise of everyday life. If you live in a tranquil setting, write about the compliments you receive about being a quiet place to stay.
  • Recreation: Discuss types of recreation guests can take part in on your property as well as in your local area.
  • Redecorating/remodeling: Feature the before and after pictures from a recent redecorating or remodeling project. Blog about how and why you decided to make those changes as well as why guests will want to visit.
  • Referrals: Give your guests incentives to make referrals to their friends and family. The incentive could be a discount on their next stay.
  • Restaurant: If you own your own bed and breakfast restaurant, this part of your inn may be open to the public. This is a great way to draw new overnight guests by giving them a taste of your incredibly delicious food when they come to dine at your restaurant.
  • Retreats: You could offer retreats like yoga retreats, scrapbooking retreats, or business retreats. Blog about the variety of retreats you offer.
  • Reviews: Share genuinely positive reviews you have of local places of interest to your potential guests.
  • Romantic: Bed and breakfasts may be the perfect place to rekindle the romance in your relationship. Relationship building is one of the primary reasons people take vacations.
  • Seasons: Decorate your inn to reflect each new season. This encourages people to return at a different time in the year to enjoy that time, too.
  • Shopping: Whether you have your own bed and breakfast shop or you are near a lot of wonderful area shopping malls and retail outlets, guests who like to shop will want to read about the shopping that is available in your local area.
  • Spas: You may have your own spa or have a partnership with a local spa or masseuse to provide spa services. Having these services sets you apart from other lodging accommodations.
  • Sports: Bed and breakfasts near sporting arenas and stadiums can blog about local sports teams season schedules, players, and coaches. Innkeepers might provide a Sports Package that includes tickets to their choice of certain local sporting events.
  • Tea: Bed and breakfasts may have a tea time or even a tea room. They may serve scones, tea sandwiches, cookies, and other finger food.
  • Ultimate experience: Position your bed and breakfast inn as the ultimate experience in lodging accommodations, hospitality, and cuisine. Encourage guests to give you a five star rating, or if they cannot do so, to talk with you about it instead of sharing their less than 5 star rating. This keeps up your image as the ultimate experience and gives you valuable input for how you can improve your guest experience.
  • Videos: If your bed and breakfast has its own video, be sure to put that on your website in a prominent place for your web visitors to see. Videos show more than pictures do. This allows your guests to get a feel for the layout of your bed and breakfast.
  • Weddings: If your inn hosts weddings, it is wise to dedicate a place on your website for that as well as to blog about it. Smaller bed and breakfasts may do small weddings or elopements.
  • Wine: Depending upon your state laws and licensing, you may host wine tastings or allow your guests to bring their own wine. You may even offer your guests the opportunity to tour one or more local vineyards in your area.
  • Xtra special: This was my “extra special” attempt to come up with a word that starts with “X.” It is important that your guests feel extra special not just when they arrive, but from the moment they see your website and speak with you over the phone.  Your bed and breakfast should have a great reputation.
  • Young and old guests: Bed and breakfasts appeal to young couples as well as older ones. You may have guests that return regularly over the years. That is great to have such loyalty and friendship with your guests.
  • Zzz…. Are your guests ready to have a restful experience at your inn? Make sure that your mattresses are comfortable. Be sure to offer extra pillows and blankets. Have a night light for guests to see their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Be sure to share your blog posts regularly in social media.  No time to write your own blog posts?  Contact us about your bed and breakfast blogging.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Bed and Breakfast Patriotic Holiday Celebrations

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Bed and breakfast patriotic holiday celebrations in the United States of America occur on special days like Flag Day, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day.  It is during these times that we can honor our country as well as the men and women who serve in the military, our nation’s veterans, and those who sacrificed their lives while fighting to protect our freedoms.

Bed and breakfasts across the country can take the lead by decorating their B&B inside and out, hosting events on site, informing guests of local events in the community, offering holiday specials to attract guests to their inn, and cooking festive looking and fabulous tasting foods.  First, did you ever wonder about the history behind this patriotic holidays?  Here is an up close look:

  • Memorial Day, May 30 (traditionally), is a sacred day to all war veterans. America’s citizens are reminded of the deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime. By honoring the nation’s war dead, we preserve their memory and thus their service and sacrifice. They came from all walks of life and regions of the country, but they all had one thing in common: love of and loyalty to country.
  • Flag Day is June 14 and celebrates the official symbol for the United States: our Stars and Stripes. Flag Day was first recognized by Congress on June 14, 1777. The colors used in the flag give special meaning to the flag: red for valor and zeal; white for hope and cleanliness of life; and blue for reverence and loyalty. When you are looking at the American flag, you are looking at the magnificent history of all Americans who have lived before us and the most enduring nation of free people that has ever existed.
  • Fourth of July is a day when Americans celebrate the pivotal moment in history on July 4, 1776, when the signers of the Declaration of Independence boldly asserted that all are “created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” With these words, our forefathers formed a new nation and put forth a vision of liberty and democracy that would forever alter history. This set into motion the development of a land of freedom and opportunity without equal in the world.
  • Veterans Day is an opportunity to publicly commemorate the contributions of living veterans. Formally the holiday was called Armistice Day through a congressional action in America. If World War I had been “the war to end all wars,” November 11 might be still called Armistice Day. Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of World War II and Korea, Congress decided to make the day an occasion to honor all those who have served America. In 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day.

Decorating your bed and breakfast is a patriotic expression of our thankfulness to be citizens of our free country.  You can add unique displays of red, white, and blue with American flags, banners, decorative crepe paper, table centerpieces, fireplace mantel decorations, and even displaying your very own fireworks show at night!

While hosting an event to celebrate a patriotic holiday at your bed and breakfast, your inn could have some of those actively serving our country or military veterans as guests.  Reach out to your local community and invite a guest speaker to give a speech. You can serve tasty treats at your event and hand out patriotic goodie bags so visitors can remember their visit to your inn.

Letting guests know about local events in the community such as parades or public nighttime firework displays allows you to promote your area.  There may be some local museums that allow your bed and breakfast guests to get a closer look at America’s military history.

Offering guests attractive holiday specials at your bed and breakfast will likely bring more business.  You may gain some first time guests to your inn.  This could be from a patriotic discount to American guests or a military discount to military families and veterans during these specific holidays.

bed-and-breakfast-patriotic-holiday-celebrations Lastly, creating patriotic breakfast dishes adds to the experiences of your guests.  In particular, using strawberries, bananas, and blueberries (to represent red, white, and blue) innkeepers could make a mixed fruit dish, add the berries to French toast, or even make a berry fruit smoothie.  Only limited by your own creativity, you will think of something amazing that your bed and breakfast guests will be delighted to eat!

 

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

4 Secrets to Biltmore Success

secrets-to-Biltmore-success

What are some of the secrets to Biltmore success?  I am referring to America’s largest private residence, the two-hundred and fifty room Biltmore Estate.  After six years of construction while collaborating with architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead, on Christmas Eve in 1895 George Vanderbilt officially opened Biltmore House.

George Vanderbilt pictured the possibilities for his family and friends on his eight thousand acres of Blue Ridge Mountain beauty.  In present day, the Estate includes:

  • delightful shops
  • four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate
  • gorgeous gardens
  • romantic restaurants
  • wonderful winery

Today, with two hundred full-time employees and a total of over eighteen-hundred employees working for The Biltmore, bed and breakfast owners may wonder what they have in common this hospitality giant.  If we can understand what helps make the Biltmore such a success, then hoteliers (as well as owners of restaurants, shops, and wineries) can apply this knowledge to run their own hospitality businesses better.

Secret #1: Offer add-ons, like tours and activities, to your guests.  This caters to individuals who have the ability and desire to pay more for these additional benefits.

The visitors to the Biltmore Estate can opt for additional tours:

  • Audio Guide to Biltmore House: capture the feeling of being guided through Biltmore’s grand rooms by our curators and hosts on this ninety-minute audio tour filled with stories about the Vanderbilts and treasures in their collection
  • Behind-the-Scenes Guided Upstairs-Downstairs Tour: in this sixty-minute guided tour, descend the back stairs to explore servant life at Biltmore, discover cutting-edge technology that kept America’s largest home humming, visit the domains of the butler, head housekeeper, and lady’s maids, then continue on to a suite of guest rooms to learn about grand house parties hosted by the Vanderbilts
  • Rooftop Tour: enjoy amazing views from rooftops and balconies and get a closer look at the design and construction of the Biltmore House with this sixty-minute guided tour of areas not on the regular house visit
  • Legacy of the Land Tour: take a motor coach tour of the estate and learn about the history of the land, structures, and former residents while visiting areas not usually open to guests

For an additional cost, visitors to the Biltmore Estate can participate in certain activities (available seasonally):

  • Biking
  • Carriage Rides
  • Fly-fishing School
  • Guided Horseback Trail Rides
  • Land Rover Experience Driving School
  • River Rafting, Kayaking, and Paddleboarding Trips
  • Segway Basic, Off-Road, and West Side Tours
  • Sporting Clays School

Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast of Durham, North Carolina gives guests options for extras, such as:

Rosemary House Bed and Breakfast of Pittsboro, North Carolina offers add-ons, such as:

  • bouquet of roses or variety of flowers
  • chocolate-dipped strawberries
  • fruit and cheese plate
  • handmade Deneen pottery mugs
  • restaurant gift certificates
  • wine tastings for two at five local wineries

Secret #2: Variety encourages your guests to return.  Always keep things fresh.  Each Biltmore experience is different.  As the seasons and their themes change, so does their décor and displays.

For example, during our visit to the Biltmore, they had a Downton Abbey theme and featured real gowns worn on that popular British television show.  They had signs informing visitors about the material of the gown and what was happening in history during the time it was made as well as more information about the character who wore it on the television show.  A Biltmore employee revealed to us that each gown was literally made in that time period or individually hand-made to be authentic to that time.

Many inns choose to decorate during major holidays, such as Christmas.  One of the Biltmore’s biggest attractions are its Christmas displays.  In addition to the obvious holidays, how about choosing a less commonly celebrated holiday like Arbor Day?  Plant a tree in the backyard of your bed and breakfast.  Then show the growth of that tree by taking its picture each year.  Many innkeepers have their inn for more than twenty years, so this could really be a focal point in your yard.

On the topic of gardening and variety, Biltmore plants things that will bloom at different times of the year.  The acres of gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the father of American landscape architecture. That way whenever people visit, they will see something pretty.  When we visited the Biltmore Gardens, the tulips were in full bloom.

Secret #3: Offer a closer look at your inn.  The Biltmore Estate is full of carefully researched stories of its past.  The people who lived and worked at Biltmore, the events and people they hosted, and how historical events (including war) affected them.  The Biltmore has many stories to tell.

I was impressed that was a huge painting of the architect and one of the gardener.  The audio guide noted that this was rare for a wealthy person to have portraits made of two people that worked for the family.  This is a testament to how George Vanderbilt honored his employees and valued their contributions to the overall look of his estate.

1898 Waverly Inn of Pittsboro, NC has photo albums with historical pictures of the people that actually lived at their inn.  The Esmeralda Inn and Restaurant of Chimney Rock, NC also is full of history, including a Presidential visit and two fires.  If your inn is brand new, then share pictures of its construction and let your guests know the steps it took from the time you decided to build your bed and breakfast to the time that you opened your doors.

Find your bed and breakfasts’ story.  Some name their rooms after a significant person in history or after their official state symbols such as the state bird and state tree.  Then you can tell stories about the people who made important contributions in history or about how your state symbols came to be.

Secret #4: Make visitors feel welcomed and appreciated.  Biltmore employees are very attentive, polite, knowledgeable, and helpful.   They go out of their way to help you and smile while doing so.  Let that be said of you and your inn.  Extend to your guests your greatest hospitality, and they will reward you by returning and referring others to visit.

While there is no other place quite like the Biltmore Estate, we can implement some of their secrets and apply it to achieving our own success. Innkeepers can ask themselves if they offer extras, create a variety of looks and themes throughout the year, reveal a deeper look to guests, and help their guests feel appreciated. May your place of hospitality be profitable like the Biltmore.

Do you want help marketing your bed and breakfast onlineBed and Breakfast Blogging writes search-engine-optimized blogs as well as gives inns an active presence in social media.  Let us do that work for you so you can focus on what you do best!

1898 Waverly Inn

Better Way to Stay ~ A super relaxing getaway at our Inn and The gas is on us! at 1898 Waverly Inn Bed & Breakfast 800-537-8195

The 1898 Waverly Inn is Hendersonville’s oldest surviving inn.  The first guests (coming by train or stagecoach) walked on boardwalks and at night the street corners were lit with oil lamps.  For the past 28 years, Diane Sheiry and husband John have run the inn.  They are thankful they have Darla (her sister) as well as Debbie and Sandra to help keep things running smoothly.

The colorful flags hanging off their porch can be changed to represent the countries of the guests who are staying at their inn.  The Waverly Inn has delightful curb appeal and I love their cute stepping stones.

Looking down my little path in the side garden.

The National Wildlife Federation certified that their bed and breakfast garden is an official wildlife habitat.  They provide the birds with food, water, and shelter.

You can bring the third person or have a bed to yourself in this room.

This is the American Holly bedroom where we stayed.  It was perfect for my mom, my daughter, and I to sleep in. The desk (partially shown in the above picture) in this room is from the 1940’s.  This historic bed and breakfast has charming antiques yet it also has modern amenities.

Janie came and took this just before I found a great mirror for the mantle.  I love the cozy European feel of this room.

The gorgeous Catawba Rhodedendron bedroom is shown above.  I love everything about how this room is decorated.  All fifteen guest rooms have comfortable queen or king sized beds.  Their luxurious bedding comes with extra pillows and blankets.

This pencil post bed is made of pine and was created in Kennesaw GA

Like the American Holly room, the Mountain Laurel room also accommodates up to three guests.  Their claw foot bath tubs in their bathrooms come with bubble bath, a bath pillow, and a book rest. The rooms all have fluffy towels and cozy robes.  Since the 1898 Waverly Inn is an environmentally friendly inn, they encourages guests to reuse linens and towels, but are pleased to provide fresh ones when requested.

Couple’s Spa Package at 1898 Waverly Inn Bed & Breakfast 800-537-8195

The inn offers Couples Massage at their Spa which is located on their second floor.  They also offer massages to individuals who are interested in receiving the pampering and relaxation a professional masseuse offers.

First Floor Parlor.  For those that keep asking about the color it is Lowe's Valspar "Caramelized Onion".

In the common areas, guests can interact and share experiences as well as give recommendations for beautiful places to see and exciting things to do.  Diane said that the younger guests tend to prefer zip lining while the older guests prefer touring places like the Biltmore Estate.  We loved touring the Estate as well as the Gardens, Winery, little shops, restaurants, and much more!

If you feel like relaxing right here at The 1898 Waverly Inn, they offer a wide variety of things to entertain you and your companions:

  • Interesting collection of books
  • Fun and challenging jigsaw puzzles
  • Classic board games (we played Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble)
  • DVD movies to watch in your guest room
  • and much more!

This Apple Carrot Pecan Cake with Mascarpone Topping was in this month's Southern Living Magazine.  OMG!

Each afternoon, the 1898 Waverly Inn bed and breakfast has a Tasting Hour with complimentary wine and other beverages as well as snacks like cheese and crackers.  Sometimes they even have decadent desserts like this Apple Carrot Pecan Cake with Mascarpone Topping.  It was the recipe of the month in Southern Living Magazine.

Dining Room set up and ready to go for breakfast.

Their delicious gourmet breakfast is always served hot and fresh. Diane says they love to use locally grown food. Their delectable jams were from South Carolina. John is usually the breakfast chef and we enjoyed his six grain pancakes.  We asked for pecans and blueberries and they were hiding right inside the pancakes.  They offer healthy choices like Egg Beaters and turkey bacon.  They also accommodate guests’ dietary restrictions and food allergies.

Six grain pancakes with bacon

The Waverly Inn leaves out different flavors of hot tea as well as hot cocoa packets so guests can use the inn’s hot water to enjoy them at any time.  A guest refrigerator as well as an ice machine are available at any time.  If you need anything, you can visit their front desk or conveniently place a call from your guest room.

Civil War

Innkeeper Diane told us that half of the experience of visiting Hendersonville, is visiting their Historic Downtown.  We received a personally guided tour through the Henderson County Heritage Museum at the Historic Henderson County Courthouse.  The museum holds memorabilia from all American Wars including their actual uniforms.  The informative volunteer tour guide revealed that she is a Veteran Naval Nurse who served during Desert Storm.

From the museum’s information about the history of the town of Hendersonville, we learned that in 1878 it had a major railroad station where people could travel over the Appalachian Mountains in only two days rather than the fourteen day journey it took by horse and wagon. The museum even featured information about the 1898 Waverly Inn:

 

“Across the street from the Wheeler Hotel (where Boyd Park is today) stood an elegant home built in 1885, by Major James Anderson, an engineer who served as superintendent of the railroad.  In 1897, following Anderson’s death, the six-acre lot and very large house was sold to Joseph Noterman, a jeweler from Cincinnati, Ohio.  He moved in with his wife and two youngest daughters, one of whom later married a son of David Henry Wheeler.  The couple, Emily Noterman and Samuel Fair Wheeler, were married in 1904.  Money from the sale of the Anderson property was used by two of his nieces to build a handsome boarding house on adjacent land.  That building still stands and is known as Waverly Inn.”

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The Hendersonville area offers so much for visitors to see, hear, taste, and experience:

  • The Flat Rock Playhouse, The State Theatre of North Carolina brings a wide variety of theatrical and musical entertainment throughout the year.
  • Historic Johnson Farm is an 1870’s brick farmhouse that is oldest home in Henderson County.  Visitors can tour the ten historic buildings and walk the nature trails.
  • Their yearly North Carolina Apple Festival happens over Labor Day Weekend
  • The Mineral and Lapidary Museum of Henderson County was established in 1997 and houses mineral exhibits from North Carolina, replicas of world famouse diamonds, Indian artifacts, a dinosaur egg nest, fossils, fluorescent minerals, gems, and faceted minerals.
Tulips in the Walled Garden

The Biltmore Estate and Walled Garden

Nearby Asheville has many other great tourist attractions, including:

  • The Biltmore Estate, America’s largest private home, is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau, exhibiting the family’s original collection of furnishings, art, and antiques. Biltmore encompasses more than 8,000 acres including historic gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmstead.  It is located in nearby Asheville.
  • Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville is a living museum with a focus on wildlife of the Appalachians.  The Center houses a collection of 130 injured and orphaned wildlife including reptiles, mammals, birds, insects, and amphibians.
  • Wildwater Ziplines in open year-round and the closest location is in Ashville, NC.  Soar through the trees with views of the beautiful mountains and downtown skyline.
Relax and feel at home on one of our two shaded porches with rocking chairs at the Waverly Inn Bed & Breakfast

1898 Waverly Inn has two porches to relax on while you sip coffee and read

The 1898 Waverly Inn is proud to be part of the North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns Association.  I highly recommend that you visit Diane, John, and the entire friendly team at The Waverly Inn.  Their mission of providing warm hospitality, luxurious amenities, and delicious gourmet breakfast is a success!

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