Category Archives: Kristi

Bed and Breakfast Promotions

bed-and-breakfast-promotions

Bed and breakfast promotions include marketing special deals and packages throughout the year. These opportunities include various holidays, seasons, and other special times.

This can be a chance for your bed and breakfast to stand out and show its own personality.  Innkeepers who are creative and thoughtful can really improve the experiences of their guests.

The benefits of staying at a bed and breakfast include your guests getting a break, reducing their stress, and focusing on strengthening their relationships.  Guests also experience the beauty of your local area as well as enjoy the luxury of your gourmet breakfasts and plush amenities.

We have talked about the advantages of offering guests special packages.  Now we will concentrate on developing specific promotions.  You can entice with discounts (lower price), complimentary services (free massage or tasting hour), and free upgrades (such as rooms with more amenities).  It is important to create a sense of urgency and give a call-to-action:

  • Hurry!  Offer ends…
  • This weekend only!
  • Back for a limited time!
  • Last chance to…

Your promotions can be put on your website and blog as well as social media and email marketing.  If you assign promo codes, you can track how they found about the promotion.  A bed and breakfast can have the same promotion, but give it different promo codes depending upon where the guest saw it.  For example, if it were a patriotic holiday promotion (Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Veteran’s Day), it could have the following festive PROMO CODES to indicate the place they found your promotion:

  • “Red, White, and Blue” (website/blog)
  • “Let Freedom Ring” (Facebook)
  • “Home of the Brave” (Google+)
  • “Star Spangled Banner” (Twitter)
  • “Lady Liberty” (Pinterest)

Guests will enjoy holiday promotions and themes throughout the year:

Season promotions could be titled:

  • “Spring Forward” or “Have a Spring Fling”
  • Summer Sun Adventure” or “Dog Days of Summer” (for pet friendly B&B’s)
  • “Fall Back in Love” or “Autumn Leaves”
  • Winter Wonderland” or “Ski the Slopes” (for ski lodges)

Promote during special times:

  • Last Minute Promotions (keep rooms consistently booked)
  • Midweek Discounts (encourage guests to stay during the week)
  • Weekend Deals (popular time for guests to visit)

Bed and breakfasts that have blogs can write a blog post to explain more of the fun details associated with your specific promotion.  The fresh content from regular blog posts offers a great way to become more visible online.  Greater online visibility means not only more web visitors, but also a consistent source of regular bookings. Innkeepers who do not have the time for (or interest in) writing a blog can contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging.

 

Image 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!

What Should My Inn Blog About?

what-should-my-inn-blog-about

What should my inn blog about, you ask?  Since each inn is unique, your blog should give readers a better understanding of your particular bed and breakfast.

Is your location a relaxed beach setting, a scenic mountain location, a rural country farm, a contemporary urban inn, or something else entirely?  Entice your website visitors to stay at your bed and breakfast.  Pictures are a very visual way to attract vacationers.

Why do people visit your local area?  What local leisure activities can guests participate in?  Does your area have any local tourist attractions?  Blogging about this will give you fresh content and keywords for search engine optimization.  Moreover, knowing this information helps you target different types of guests:

Do you offer any special packages or retreats?

How does your inn serve breakfast?  Some B&B inns have their own restaurant.  Some bring breakfast to your room on a tray while others have a common dining area for guests.  At some bed and breakfasts, guests can choose from a menu what they would like to have while at others everyone the same delicious gourmet cooking.

Be sure to ask guests if they have special dietary needs.  Your blog can feature pictures of your breakfasts as well as recipes of guests’ favorite dishes.

What kind of amenities can your guests enjoy?

Potential guests also like to know more about the owners, innkeepers, and staff members of bed and breakfasts.  Be sure to put their pictures on your website including their name, a couple sentences about what they do, and what they recommend guests try when they visit.  You could even feature staff members that receive a lot of compliments from your guest feedback.

Be sure to tell guests what you, as an innkeeper, love the most.  Let them know that you will be attentive to their needs, but also give them the privacy they desire.  If you have a historic bed and breakfast, be sure to share your inn’s history.

Do you have any accreditations or affiliations?  Membership in a bed and breakfast association and/or having received a certain award or level of distinction will set you apart from other bed and breakfasts.

Do you have your own bed and breakfast shop?

How does your inn celebrate the seasons?

How does your inn celebrate holidays?

You can even write about remodeled or redecorated rooms.  Improvements to your inn are worth talking about.  Previous guests may want to return based on your description of the new changes.

Do you offer any incentives for frequent stays and/or referrals?  Reward your guests for returning and recommending your B&B to friends. On the topic of frequency, be sure to have a frequently asked questions section on your website.

Let guests know how to connect with your bed and breakfast on other social media websites. Have a presence on one or more of the following websites can make a big difference in your visibility online.

 

When you share your blog on social media, this lets people know more about you and your bed and breakfast inn.  Give website visitors an “inn-side” look at your B&B from behind the scenes.  Having a blog and being active on social media is a great way to draw more attention to your website.

Don’t have the time or desire to write a blog or stay active on social media?  Let Kristi Dement and her team at Bed and Breakfast Blogging do all the hard work for you.  Her clients see results with consistently booked rooms.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

B&B Social Media Success

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

B&B Social Media Success is the name of a Pin Board I have on the social media network called Pinterest.  I pinned the pins on that board for the sole purpose of helping bed and breakfast owners successfully use social media.  What I did not expect, and I was completely surprised about, was the response from those not even in the bed and breakfast industry.  I currently have over 1700 followers on that board alone!  What is crazy is that I did not start it more than a few months ago!

That is the power of numbers and how things can go viral fast.  I recommend the book, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” by Jonah Berger.  Berger is the James G. Campbell Associate Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He discusses six principles of “Contagiousness”:

  • Social currency: people desire to share cool things to look good in the process
  • Triggers: people talk about things cued in their environment
  • Emotion: when people have high arousal emotions (like excitement or anger) they are more likely to share it
  • Public: behavior that is made more public enables social influence
  • Practical Value: people share things to help others (save time, save money, become more healthy, etc.)
  • Story: people share memorable stories

So what can you do to have social media success and your bed and breakfast become “contagious”?  Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging is here to help!  Contact Kristi today so you can have social media success and more guests at your B&B!

Bed and Breakfast Tea Rooms

bed-and-breakfast-tea-rooms

There are several bed and breakfast tea rooms in America.  Tea rooms can be open to the public or limited to their own bed and breakfast guests.  Tea rooms are great for small gatherings and often they serve brunch and lunch. Each tea room has their own hours or they serve “by reservation only.”

Menu options can include:

  • Croissants
  • Quiche
  • Salads
  • Sandwiches
  • Scones
  • Soups
  • Sweets (like cookies and cakes)
  • Tea (bottomless usually costs extra)

Hours:

  • Regular year round hours
  • Reservation only
  • Seasonal hours
  • Sunday brunch

Events:

  • Baby shower
  • Birthday party
  • Bridal shower
  • Club meeting
  • Girls’ get together
  • Group meeting
  • Private parties

Some sell items such as:

  • Antiques
  • Jewelry
  • Tea
  • Tea cups
  • Tea pots

Marketing opportunities:

  • Blog: great fresh content for your website
  • E-mail marketing: send out information to those on your e-mail list
  • Photos of your bed and breakfast, tea room, food, and guests (with their permission)
  • Social media: Facebook fan page, Pinterest pins, Twitter updates, etc.
  • Website: you can have one of your main headings labeled “Tea Room”

When thinking of ways to increase your business, if you do not already have a tea room, this could be a great idea. For those who do have tea rooms, are you promoting them online? Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging is happy to help you with this.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Kristi’s Promise to You

Kristis-promise-to-you

I am 100% dedicated and committed to my clients.  I love writing and I love bed and breakfasts.  If I say that something will be completed by a particular date, it will be.  Honesty, integrity, and respect are important to me. I keep my word and always strive to exceed my clients’ expectations.

I love learning.  That is why I write blogs.  I get to investigate whatever I write about to make sure I have the best and most attention-grabbing information for my clients’ audiences. Bed and breakfast owners can count on me to discuss issues that are important to their potential guests and it can range from their area’s attractions to each bed and breakfast’s history to the delicious breakfast they serve to the decor and amenities of their inn’s rooms.

I make it my passion to be passionate about my clients’ bed and breakfasts.  When you succeed, I succeed.  I enjoy helping bed and breakfast owners reach new business goals such as increasing and consistently full occupancy rates! When you need a blog with regularly updated fresh content or a greater social media presence, I have the friendly personality and attention to detail you need to get it done right.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Getting to Know Kristi Dement

Kristi (Kimber) Dement

I (Kristi Dement) was born and raised in Holland, Michigan.  My great-grandmother was originally from Holland, Netherlands.  After graduating from West Ottawa High School,  I completed my bachelors degree in psychology from Michigan State University’s Honors College in East Lansing, Michigan just three years later.

Since I did not want to meet someone who wanted to stay in the cold six-month-long winters of Michigan, I met my husband Glen online.  He lived in Maryland at the time I was finishing my last year at MSU. We got married and I moved to the Baltimore area for a year.

When he had an opportunity to transfer with his work to the Raleigh area in North Carolina, November of 1999, I wholeheartedly supported it.  This Michigan girl thought Maryland weather would be warm enough, but going further South sounded even better to me!

I went back to school to earn my masters degree in library science from North Carolina Central University in 2006. I have been a school librarian and professional writer since then.  I look forward to serving more bed and breakfast owners in this new year.

If writing is just “not your thing” and/or you just do not have time as a busy innkeeper, hiring me is a great solution to getting you more traffic to your website through a regularly updated blog with fresh content for the search engines!  I can also set up your social media business profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linked In.  I look forward to helping you book more rooms in your bed and breakfast throughout this New Year!