Tag Archives: bed and breakfast owners

Managing Your B&B Reputation

Managing Your B&B Reputation

Managing your B&B reputation is more important than ever in this fast-paced world of easily accessed online information. Whether bed and breakfast innkeepers monitor it or not, people are talking about their inns. Do you know what others are saying about your bed and breakfast?  Do you look at reviews written by your previous guests? Conversation goes on whether or not you participate in it.  You can’t afford not to know what is being said about you and your inn!

According to Trip Advisor, 93% of people find reviews important when determining where they want to stay.  This is why receiving positive feedback from satisfied guests is so critical.  Every effort should be made to reduce negative reviews and improve the reputation and appeal of your place of lodging.

Online reputation management means monitoring and influencing the image of your property throughout the internet.  Places of hospitality should focus on review sites, social media, and search engine results.  People from all backgrounds and all over the world use the internet for online travel research before booking their accommodations.

B&B Reputation management tips:

  • Monitor all feedback avenues regularly
  • Spend most of your time listening and paying attention
  • Read everything travelers are saying about your B&B on OTAs & review sites
  • Set up a Google Alert for the name of your B&B and other relevant keywords
  • Communicate why people should recommend your brand vs. your competitors
  • Know what messages about your brand you want guests to share
  • Provide plenty of opportunities for guest feedback during their stay
  • Answer all questions in a timely manner
  • Respond with an open mind to comments
  • Engage with sincerity and authenticity
  • Take all precautions to prevent negative events from occurring

Owning a hospitality business means you need to actively protect your image.  In the event that your reputation management escalates to crisis management, ignoring negative guest comments does not make them go away. Here are many things you can actively do to protect your hospitality brand.

  • Identify the naysayers and respond promptly
  • Make the appropriate apologies and explanations
  • Seek to positively solve their problem
  • Isolate them so the conversation becomes more personal, but far less public
  • Talk in a one-on-one private discussion to find the solution to their problem
  • For every zealot trying to hurt you, your loyal guests are ready to defend you
  • Consumers will generally “shout down” detractors who are way off base
  • Reputation terrorists often base their arguments on feelings vs. facts
  • Have an escalation plan in place for excessive bashing in multiple forums
  • Pick your battles and tactfully respond to criticism
  • Always take the high road

Gathering a lot of mostly positive feedback will increase your visibility because guest reviews will be distributed efficiently on social media as well as booking platforms. At the same time, you can avoid high provision fees by getting people to use your website and your booking engine.  A high rating means your reputation is on a good level, automatically driving demand for your B&B and creating more revenue for you and your employees.

The key is to be attentive and responsive to guests in person, on the phone with callers, and online with those asking questions or making comments.  If you do not have a blog already, considering adding one so that people can get to know the details about you, your inn, and your local area.  Managing your B&B reputation is critical to the success of your bed and breakfast.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Bed and Breakfast Linens

bed and breakfast linens

 

As owners of bed and breakfasts, you build your brand based on the quality and level of hospitality you offer to your guests.  This includes guests’ first impression of your place and their individual guest room down to the look and feel of your sheets and bed and breakfast linens.

 

As many of you know, the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) is an organization for bed and breakfast owners and innkeepers as well as vendors in the hospitality industry.  The following are a few of the companies that fall into the PAII Vendor Membership Category of “Linens, Bedding, Towels, and Accessories”:

Innkeepers should strive to provide an experience above and beyond their guests’ expectations.  Thus, choosing quality linens for your bed and breakfast is of great importance.  Create an environment where your guests will not want to leave.  This will encourage them to come back as soon as they can return.

Here are some tips to help guide you when selecting your bed and breakfast linens. Before you start buying linens for each bedroom, make note of how many beds you’ll be fitting within each room as well as their respective sizes (twin, queen, king, etc.). Make sure you have extra pillows for your guests as well as a couple quality blankets for each bed.  One blanket can be placed on the bed between the comforter and the top sheet while the other blanket can be put in an accessible guest drawer or closet space.

When choosing the quality of your bed and breakfast linens, ensure that the material is 100% natural content featuring a thread count of at least 500. Consider choosing white to avoid any fading colors. White also has the advantage of looking crisp and clean while giving an airy and welcoming feel to the room.

When selecting your bathroom sets, make sure you select plush, 100% cotton towels with a dense loop. Anything below these quality standards can detract from the guest experience. Also ensure that you have the correct sizes, including bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths.

Coordination is key. Colors should play off each other to give a natural flow from the bedroom to the bathroom.  What matters is the perceptions of each guest. Whatever you end up choosing, make sure the bedroom and bathroom colors complement each other.

Be sure to provide a generous number of towels, to give your guests the feeling of comfort and luxury.  By having an extra amount of linens and towels, they will last longer.  When your towels are plush and sheets are smooth, your guests are more likely to remember their positive experience (including restful sleep) and return to your inn for another visit.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Fun Bed and Breakfast Retreats

fun bed and breakfast retreats

I went online to BnB Finder to search for bed and breakfasts and to my pleasant surprise, I found some fun bed and breakfast retreats. These retreats include a board game tournament, a night walk, private art classes, and a literary weekend.  Typically, most bed and breakfasts do not offer these kinds of special retreats which makes these bed and breakfasts all the more attractive. Read on for more retreat ideas that you can apply to grow your own B&B business.

 

In Saugatuck, Michigan (near where I grew up in Holland, Michigan) at Sherwood Forest Bed and Breakfast they offer a Monopoly Tournament from November through April. If the entire B&B is booked, they promise to organize the “hippest” Monopoly Tournament ever played! The winner receives a complete set of Sherwood Forest Gear.  Lunch will be catered. This offer may expire at the end of this year.  Call for details at 800-838-1246. This reminds me of my Pinterest Board called Bed and Breakfast Games which features different board games and game rooms at various bed and breakfasts.

In the Saratoga Region of New York at Mariaville Lake Bed and Breakfast, they offer a Night Walk for a small extra fee.  This B&B invites guests to take a walk, guided by the innkeeper, to experience the full night sky. Guests will use a night vision scope and will be amazed at what they can see such as beavers working hard at their famous beaver pond. Advance notice is required and subject to availability and weather conditions. The offer may expire at the end of this year.  Contact the innkeeper for more details.

In the Hudson Valley Region of New York, at the Pine Bush House, they offer Stay and Paint private art classes with local artist Lana Privitera.  Originally from Spain, Lana graduated from the Fine Arts School of Zaragoza, where she majored in Fashion Design and Art History. Lana has won numerous art awards.  She is the current Art Curator for the Pine Bush Public Library.  A sampling of her work can be found on her website.

Currently, there are one day and two day Watercolor Workshops (four hours each) available and all tailored to suit individual needs, taste, and ability.  Supplies loaned by the instructor, but guests have the opportunity to purchase.  Guests receive one FREE double white mat and backing piece (plus an acetate sleeve to protect their “masterpiece”).  A list of art material suppliers as well as recommended art books will be provided.

Contact Lana Privitera at lanaprivitera@gmail.com or Barbara at barbara@pinebushhouse.com for detailed pricing! Discounts available if staying two or more nights.  This opportunity is available at least through June 20, 2015.

In lovely Vermont, The Governor’s House in Hyde Park offers Jane Austen Weekends full of literary-inspired diversions.  Quietly slip back into Regency England in a beautiful historic mansion.  Take afternoon tea.  Share your thoughts at a book discussion.  Attend an informal talk over desserts. Test your knowledge at the quiz brunch and possibly take home a prize.

Take a carriage ride or sleigh ride (depending upon the season).  Join every activity or simply spend the weekend watching the movies. Try English country dancing. Dress in whichever century suits you. Jane Austen fans unite!

Examples of bed and breakfast retreats, special packages, and events include:

Innkeepers are only limited by their imagination.  So get creative and think about what you have passion for. What interests, skills, experience, and talents do you have?  Innkeepers do not have to be the instructors.  In the Stay and Paint retreat example, the innkeeper has a professional artist and art curator coming to her inn. Arrangements can be made with the experts hosting the event if they are not the bed and breakfast owners or innkeepers.

If you are a bed and breakfast owner or innkeeper and have been successful with a particular retreat, package, excursion, or other event at your B&B, I would love to know about it.  Write about your successes to Kristi Dement below.  I promise to read every comment and reply when appropriate.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Mike’s Road Trip To B&B’s

Mike's Road Trip

 

Mike Shubic of Mike’s Road Trip is an outgoing man of adventure.  He has been traveling on the road since 2010.  Mike hosts and produces high quality videos for hospitality businesses such as bed and breakfasts, inns, restaurants, and other “hidden gems of the road.”  He has been featured in USA Today Travel, Rand McNally Best of the Road, The Travel Channel, and more.

 

Check out Mike’s Road Trip’s Intriguing Inns and Beautiful B&B’s videos from YouTube.  I highly recommend him if you would like entertaining and professional videos made to highlight the unique strengths of your bed and breakfast.  From his website, Mike gives several reasons why your bed and breakfast inn should have a video:

  • If a picture is worth a 1000 words, how many is video worth?
  • Video builds trust with your prospects. Trust equals paying guests.
  • Videos attract attention and help set you apart from your competition.
  • Video is important for SEO (search engine optimization). Google is ranking pages with video higher for the same search terms.
  • Video is not a fad. Four billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube alone.

Mike makes these suggestions to bed and breakfast owners:

  • Have a professional overview video of your B&B/Inn produced.  Be sure to include the owner/innkeeper in front of the camera.  Let prospective guests know what makes your inn special and memorable.
  • Guest testimonial videos can be very powerful.  This allows the viewer to hear what the experience is like from varying viewpoints.  Your guests may talk about things they liked that you never even thought about!
  • Informal videos for your social network can be a great way to showcase area events and/or activities at your inn while keeping in touch with past and future guests.
  • The visual impact of videos gives them a long shelf life.  Trust and interest can be earned as long as the video is live on the Internet.  You can be media friendly and share your videos with local media.

Professional and informal videos can be put on your website as well as shared on social media websites including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube!  Mike is a well-spoken promoter of bed and breakfasts on his road trips all across America.  I recommend Mike Shubic of Mike’s Road Trip to all my Bed and Breakfast Blogging clients.

Can We Grab Your Attention?!

can we grab your attention

 

 

Can we grab your attention? People who read things online do not take the time to read everything they see.  It is important to put the key information up front and to use bullet points often:

 

 

  • Keep content short and punchy
  • This is a world of instant gratification
  • Another website is just one mouse click away
  • Do not tell the reader more than they want to know
  • Use graphs, images, and other visual forms
  • Make a clear call to action for what you want your readers to do next

In the case of bed and breakfast owners, you want your readers to subscribe to your blog, like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, connect with you on Linked In, follow you on Pinterest, subscribe to your YouTube channel, etc.

If this sounds like too much work, then have Bed and Breakfast Blogging do the work for you. Contact us today at 919-931-6168. Search engines love the fresh content that our blog posts provide and we can give you an active social media presence so you stay on the minds of potential guests!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

B&B Social Media Success

B&B Social Media SuccessSocial 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 highly 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”? 

  • Blog Posts (about your local area and your inn’s amenities)
  • Holidays (this could even be food holidays or silly holidays)
  • Pictures (inside and outside of your inn as well as of your food and events)
  • Recipes (share recipes to the dishes your guests rave about the most)
  • Quotes (from famous people or related to travel and vacations)

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!

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

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