Category Archives: Amenities

Bed and Breakfast Indoor Fun (Outside of the Bed)

Wonder what to do at a bed and breakfast (outside of the bed)? While getting extra rest (and more affection) can be incredible, there is other bed and breakfast indoor fun to experience.  I also will highlight some of the benefits of having fun.

Bed and breakfast inns may offer luxurious indoor amenities and places such as:

  • Gift shop
  • Hot tub
  • Libraries
  • Pool
  • Pool table
  • Restaurant
  • Sauna
  • Screening room 
  • Spa

Innkeepers often have common rooms for B&B guests that include the following:

  • Artwork on display
  • Board games
  • Books
  • Decks of cards
  • Magazines
  • Movies
  • Music 
  • Newspapers
  • Television 

Most bed and breakfasts offer free wi-fi internet access in your guest room and in common rooms.  This means that guests can go online for fun (or if you really must, for business).  

Some bed and breakfasts offer indoor activities such as:

  • Birthday and anniversary celebrations
  • Book discussion club
  • Cooking classes 
  • Scrap-booking retreat
  • Tea time
  • Quilting circle
  • Wine tastings

Some bed and breakfasts have entertainers come to their inn to perform for the guests on special occasions.  Sometimes it is the innkeepers that perform music for the guests. Other times, it is the guests who are encouraged to play the musical instruments at the inn (such as piano or guitar).

I have the kind of personality where I feel guilty if I am not working. Some of us really need to give ourselves “permission” to relax.  Here are just some of the important benefits we can all receive from unwinding and having fun:

  • Better perspective on what is really important in life
  • Increase in our overall productivity
  • Less stress and more peace of mind
  • More creativity to solve problems and/or earn income
  • Prevention of boredom (which can affect the ability to focus)
  • Replenishment of energy and motivation
  • Reward to yourself (and others) for having achieved specific goals

Regardless of the reason you would like to stay inside (such as the weather), bed and breakfast guests can find pleasant things to do.  Innkeepers are also more than happy to make suggestions for indoor activities.  Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until you ask.  

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Can Your B&B Guests Charge Their Devices?

Can your B&B guests charge their devices?  With an increasing number of people owning and traveling with multiple mobile electronic devices, bed and breakfast inns must think about offering places (especially in their guest rooms) for their bed and breakfast guests to charge their electronic devices.

For example, just one person could bring their business cell phone, personal cell phone, laptop, e-reader, tablet, i-Pod, etc. You get the picture!  

The location of the charging stations/outlets should be conveniently located.  No one wants to move or duck behind furniture to get to them.  Ideally, they should be on either side of the bed, they can be built into lamps or desks, and be put near bathroom mirrors and guest room entryways.  

New bed and breakfast construction should plan to offer more outlets and USB ports than what was once the standard number of outlets. Older accommodations can have their outlets “retro-fitted” to handle multiple devices.  Of course, make sure your outlet strips are surge protected.

The 1810 Emerson House Bed and Breakfast offers guest rooms with a dual USB wall outlet for ease of charging all their electronic devices.  If this historic property can add the technology later, then so can your inn if it needs to be updated.

The Inn on First in Napa, California not only offers iPod docks, but also i-Pods with curated playlists designed to heighten couples’ romance.  Now that is going above and beyond guest expectations!

Bed and breakfast inns should think about their “plug-ability” for the electronic devices of their guests. The last thing they want to do is search for hidden power outlets and find out they are not in convenient spots or that they have more devices than outlets in the room!

If you do have extra outlets and USB ports, be sure to mention that on the list of guest room amenities on your bed and breakfast website.  On social media, you can share a picture of your own phone, tablet, laptop, i-Pod, and/or e-reader charging in a guest room and write something clever like “Our guests can easily charge a variety of electronic devices in the privacy of their own rooms.”

This is especially useful if some of your guests tend to be business travelers.  Consider putting a blog post about your business amenities, including any meeting and/or banquet rooms.  Offering your guests the ability to safely charge multiple electronic devices in their own guest rooms is smart hospitality. 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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

Feature The Benefits of Your Unique Inn


Unique Angles Photography bed and breakfast outside

If you feature the benefits of your unique inn, you will attract more guests.  Good marketers use features to explain and develop benefits.  People often get features and benefits mixed up.  That’s easy to do. Features are characteristics of the product or service, while benefits are positive values to the purchaser.

Let me illustrate with a relevant bed and breakfast inn example.

Bed and Breakfast Features:

  • 8 bedrooms each with private baths
  • conference room
  • electric vehicle charging
  • fireplaces
  • spa
  • outdoor swimming pool
  • wired internet

B&B Guest Benefits:

  • comfort of your own private bathroom
  • convenience of a conference room on site
  • environmental friendliness of electric vehicle charging
  • romantic appeal of fireplaces
  • relaxation and health appeal of your spa
  • refreshing dip in the pool on a hot summer day
  • enjoyment of free internet access throughout your inn

Also take the time to note what your previous guests have commented or listed in their online reviews. Not all feedback will be positive because you cannot possible please everyone all the time.  You can take potentially negative comments (or objections) and market them in a positive light.  Put this on your website and share in social media.

Examples:

  • “Out in the middle of nowhere”= “get away from the hustle and bustle of the city”
  • “Too expensive” = “great value for all that is included in your stay”
  • “Rains a lot” = “plenty to do inside if it rains such as…”

Now it’s your turn.  What benefits (not just features) do your guests receive when they stay with you?  For example, if you have a game room, you can write, “Guests have fun playing our games in our billiard room.”  Be sure to show pictures of your pool table, chess set, Scrabble board game, and even jigsaw puzzles and post on Facebook, for instance.

Also, take note of any guest complaints you have and see if you can turn it into a positive. For example, a vegetarian bed and breakfast may receive a complaint that they do not serve meat, but they can share guest testimonials about their delicious, hearty, and healthy vegetarian breakfasts.  Of course, be sure to get the permission from guests, before you put any pictures of them online.

Since each inn is different, notice what your guests say about your inn.  Then you are well on your way to attracting more guests when you feature the benefits of your unique inn.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Early Inn at the Grove in Rocky Mount, VA


Early Inn at the Grove B&B Outside

The Early Inn at the Grove in Rocky Mount, Virginia offers luxurious accommodations for its guests.  The house, known as “the Grove” to all of the locals, was built and finished in 1854. There have been 3 families that have resided in this house until it was purchased in December of 2013 with the intent to turn it into a bed and breakfast.

The house is a Greek Revival Style house. It rests on 10 plus acres full of beautiful trees including ancient oaks, some of which were planted by the second owner in 1900.

Innkeeper Keri Jackson loves welcoming guests to this delightful inn.  Famous guests who have stayed at the Early Inn include comedienne Paula Poundstone and The Bacon Brothers band (and Keri did serve bacon to Kevin Bacon)!

Early Inn Innkeeper Keri

The Early Inn offers five elegantly decorated rooms:

Early Inn General Early Suite

General Early Suite

At one time, Jubal Early slept here.  He had his Law office at the foot of the property.  The General Early Suite celebrates the confederate soldier who served as a general.  His sister was married to the first wife of the original owner of the house.  Decorated in browns and burgundy, this room has a private connecting bathroom with shower.  The only downstairs bedroom. Be first in line for coffee and stay in the General’s suite. This is a very cozy, comfortable room.

 

Early Inn Wanderlust Room

The Wanderlust Room

 

Luxuriously decorated, you will feel pampered during your stay here in this room. Decorated in grays and blues, this room looks out over into the side yard.  The beautiful landscape will keep you wanting to stay forever.  The new King mattress, Comphy bedding and blankets, bluetooth radios and your own climate controlled ceiling fan will leave you feeling pampered and refreshed.

 

Early Inn Harvester Suite

The Harvester Suite

This room, decorated with the colors of a harvest, remind you of fall.  The oranges and browns bring you a peacefulness and such a sense of tranquility that you will not want to leave.  This room has 2 Queen beds. The view out the window not only shows you the walkway from a time back in history, you can actually see the Harvester Performance Center doors.  Definitely within walking distance, you will be able to walk right over to see a show.

 

Early Inn Magnolia Suite

The Magnolia Suite

 

When you think of romance, think of Magnolias and ruffles.  This room is beautiful!  With original floral wallpaper from the 1980’s, you feel like you have taken a walk back into a simpler time.  You will not need to leave your room.  The bathroom hosts a soaking tub as well as a double shower.  The King size bed boasts comfort and beauty. You will definitely want to try out this room.

 

Early Inn Conspiracy Suite

The Conspiracy Suite

Was it a conspiracy?  If you want to know, check into this room and settle in with a copy of previous owner Keister Greer’s book, “The Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935.”  This room gives you spectacular views of the front and side yards.  Decorated in blues and browns, this room hosts a connected bathroom with a shower.  This room has a king size bed, two chairs and a small table.  Individual temperature controls along with a ceiling fan ensure that you are comfortable at all times.

 

My husband and I loved our stay at Early Inn at the Grove in Rocky Mount, Virginia. This historic estate has maintained all of its charm yet is equipped with modern day technology including free Wi-Fi for its guests and flat screen televisions in each of their five bedrooms.

Whether you want to get married inside the inn (perhaps in their elegant library) or outside (near the large tent with its own dance floor), the Early Inn hosts weddings. The Early Inn also host private parties such as luncheons for class reunions, baby showers, and anniversaries.

While Innkeeper Keri Jackson was attending Floydfest, we enjoyed her delicious French Toast casserole. Nacasha took care of us during our stay.  She has a friendly, easygoing personality and she makes guests feel right at home.  Guests rave about Keri’s hospitality and so much more on TripAdvisor.

The town of Rocky Mount offers antiques, artwork, and awesome entertainment at the Harvester (which is right across the street from the inn). We recommend that guests also visit the nearby Kupkakery Bakery & Kafe as well as the relaxing Vintage Spa.

We look forward to coming again soon to the Early Inn at the Grove in Rocky Mount, Virginia.  Would you like your inn featured in this blog?  Please contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging.

The Perfect Bed and Breakfast Books For Your Happy Guests


Unique Angles Photography presents this image of an inn that offers a great selection of books for their guests to read.

Offer the perfect bed and breakfast books for your happy guests who love to read. Your bed and breakfast may house a small library or even a parlor or study with a large selection of books on your shelves.  If you are wondering what kind of books to make available, the following are some great suggestions:

  • Architecture: for readers interested in building and architectural styles
  • Arts and Photography: people love to look at art and photography, including books from your local museum
  • Biographies: especially of any legends about the people who live in your town or former tenants of your home or anyone famous in your area
  • Business: business travelers will appreciate books on business topics such as leadership
  • Computers and Technology:  including books about social media
  • Cooking: people may be looking for a new recipe–especially if it is your cookbook (that you have for sale)!
  • Crafts and Hobbies: scrapbooking enthusiasts as well as those who have other hobbies will like these types of books
  • Fiction: particularly if the setting in the book is in your local area or at a bed and breakfast inn, novels may really be attractive to your guests
  • Flora and fauna: for the garden lovers, horticultural experts, biologists, and green thumbs
  • Guidebooks: for guests who want to get to know your area and its attractions
  • Health and fitness: this could include books about eating and exercising
  • History books: many people love to read about history (especially the history of your location)
  • Home decorating: people who stay in bed and breakfasts usually appreciate home decor, art, and antiques
  • Humor and entertainment: these include humorous books by comedy professionals
  • Literature: classic literature lovers will be delighted to see books by Shakespeare or Jane Austen
  • Mystery, thriller, and suspense: Mary Daheim has a series of bed and breakfast mysteries that could interest your guests
  • Relationships: such as improving communication skills
  • Romance: keys to keeping the romance alive
  • Science fiction and fantasy: including time travel and virtual worlds
  • Sports and outdoors: books based on what guests can do at your inn such as fishing, hunting, golfing, skiing, and more
  • Success books: people love reading about having success, achieving more, and reaching their dreams
  • Travel:  books specific to your local area or your state will help guests make choices on what to do during their stay

You need not spend a lot of money if you do not already have a wide collection of books.There are plenty of good used bookstores and even yard sales that sell them.

Having good reading material for your guest helps them remember their stay at your bed and breakfast even more fondly.  See the B&B Books listed for a great selection of Bed and Breakfast related books!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Bestselling Bed and Breakfast Novels


Unique Angles book on rack in bath tub

Bed and breakfast novels have delighted and entertained many readers.  There is something wonderful about a bed and breakfast setting.  All bed and breakfasts are unique. What is unique about these novels are the three authors who wrote them.  We look at bestselling books by Mary Daheim, Debbie Macomber, and Nora Roberts.

Mary Daheim has thirty books in her A Bed-and-Breakfast Mysteries series. She lives in her hometown in a century-old house not unlike Hillside Manor, except for the body count. Daheim likes to be creative with her book titles, including:

  • A Streetcar Named Expire
  • All The Pretty Hearses
  • Bantom of the Opera
  • Clam Wake
  • Creeps Suzette
  • Dead Man Docking
  • Here Comes The Bribe
  • Just Desserts
  • Legs Benedict
  • Loco Motive
  • Murder, My Suite
  • The Wurst Is Yet To Come

Mary Daheim wrote 30 bed and breakfast books. Here are just 12 of them.

Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 950 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Ten of these novels hit the number one spot.  Macomber is also the author of the bestselling Cedar Cove Series which the Hallmark Channel chose as the basis for its first dramatic scripted television series. Debuting in 2013, Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove was a ratings favorite for three seasons.

Bestselling author Debbie Macomber wrote the Cedar Cove series of books.

Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including The Liar, The Collector, Whiskey Beach, The Witness, and many more. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.  Popular author Nora Roberts wrote The Boonsboro Trilogy. She introduces you to the Montgomery brothers–Beckett, Ryder, and Owen, as they bring an intimate bed and breakfast to life in their hometown.

Nora Roberts The Boonsboro Trilogy

Bed and breakfasts often have an assortment of books for their guests to read during their stay.  It can be fun to “snoop” through anyone’s book collection (only with their permission of course)!  These novels involve mystery, drama, romance, and so much more.  Some innkeepers have rooms that are filled with books for their guests to choose from.  Happy reading everyone!

Top 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

Why Your Inn Will Profit From Blogging

Unique Angles Exterior Brick gravel

Your inn will profit from blogging.  If you are not already consistently offering quality blog posts, now is the time to do so.  Let’s examine the benefits of bed and breakfast blogging as well as learn what qualities to look for in a bed and breakfast blogger.

First of all, search engines like Google absolutely love and reward fresh content.  They give preference to websites which continually add new information.  A blog post is one more indexed page on your website. It signals to the search engine spiders that your website is active.

Bed and breakfasts with blogs establish themselves as being an authority on hospitality and their local community.  By offering helpful, travel-friendly advice, bed and breakfasts can get the attention of those wanting to know more about your local area while also telling others what makes your inn an ideal accommodations choice.

The more information you provide on your website and the more questions you answer, the more likely web visitors are to take action like contacting you, reading more of your website, following you on social media, and booking a room.

You can share the following information in blog posts:

  • Behind the scenes: feature your employees backgrounds and give fun facts about them
  • Events: let potential guests know about upcoming local events
  • Packages: people are willing to pay more for something that is already planned and included (such as flowers and tickets)
  • Recommendations: promote local businesses in your area and let them know you do (they might return the favor)
  • Reviews: share rave reviews from your previous guests
  • Rooms: show pictures of your guest rooms, tell each one’s amenities, reveal why the room has its particular name
  • Specials: offer discounts to mid-week stays or specific groups of people like senior citizens, veterans, and emergency workers

The effort you put it now will pay off well into the future because people will be able to view your blog posts years from now.  Providing valuable content means your content will spread. Blog posts can be shared in social media to expose yourself to a whole new audience.

Be sure to attract more guests with calls to action.  Encourage them to contact you, connect on social media, and book now.

Write for your ideal guest.   Know who you are trying to attract.  Pick a diverse range of keywords related to that topic.  For example, “eco-friendly inns” can also be described as “green”, “environmentally friendly” and use related keywords like “electric car charging”, “energy efficient lighting”, “rain water saving”, and so on.

List out relevant keywords describing your guest, your local area, what makes your inn so unique, and different seasons of the year.

Unique Angles beach hammock water

Keywords to describe the type of guest you cater to:

  • adventure seeking
  • antique lovers
  • beach lovers
  • bird watchers
  • business travelers
  • celebrating birthdays and anniversaries
  • engaged couples and newlyweds
  • girlfriend getaways
  • mystery solvers
  • romantic couples
  • scrap-bookers
  • shopping lovers
  • sports enthusiasts
  • wine connoisseurs
  • winter sports participants
  • yoga exercisers

Keywords to describe your local area:

  • amazing views
  • amusement park
  • annual conferences
  • art galleries
  • breweries
  • business conferences
  • college campuses
  • concerts
  • sports games
  • theatre
  • tourist attractions
  • trade shows

Keywords to describe the uniqueness of your inn:

  • amenities
  • B&B inn association membership
  • awards
  • catering
  • diamond rating
  • eco-friendly
  • gardens
  • handicap accessible
  • historic
  • kid friendly
  • pet-friendly
  • press coverage
  • restaurant
  • retreats
  • Select Registry membership
  • spa
  • tea room
  • Trip Advisor reviews
  • vegetarian or vegan
  • waterfront property
  • weddings
  • wine tours

Keywords regarding different times of the year:

  • Christmas
  • Fall foliage
  • New Years
  • Patriotic holidays
  • Valentine’s Day

Unique Angles close up yellow flower

Does this seem overwhelming?  Why not do what you do best as an owner/innkeeper and have a professional like me do your online marketing (blogging and social media)?  These are some qualifications you should look for from hospitality marketing professionals:

  • What is their education background?
  • What experience do they have?
  • Do they seem easy to work with?
  • Will they be dedicated to your bottom line and getting you the results you need?
  • Are they active in blogging and social media for their own business?
  • Do they have client testimonials?

Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free consultation today.  Feel free to add comments or questions below.

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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