Tag Archives: bed and breakfast

How to Choose Your Bed and Breakfast Name

your bed and breakfast name

Your bed and breakfast name sets the tone for what your guests can expect.  A good name says a lot about an inn.  You want the name to be memorable and give a great first impression.  It is important to take your time and come up with a long list of potential names before deciding. Get a talented group of friends together and just start randomly calling out names.  Have someone write down all the bed and breakfast name suggestions.

Permit your gathering of people to suggest whatever name comes to mind.  By allowing everything to be spoken, eventually you will have a list of great potential bed and breakfast names.

Only after you have generated this list of names should you then start to evaluate them.  Make sure that your bed and breakfast name is:

  • Simple to pronounce aloud by others (have others repeat the name aloud)
  • Spelled like it sounds (makes it easier to find)
  • Without an unintended meaning (think of the words in various contexts)
  • Not too common (make sure it is fresh)
  • Appropriate to your local surroundings (e.g. do not have beach in the name unless there really is one)
  • Not too funny (this may suggest you do not care about your hospitality business)
  • Easy for guests to remember (name recognition)

Other words for bed and breakfast include:

  • B&B
  • cabins
  • cottage
  • country inn
  • estate
  • farm
  • garden inn
  • guest house
  • hideaway
  • house
  • hotel
  • inn
  • lodge
  • manor
  • mansion
  • oasis
  • palace
  • place
  • ranch
  • resort
  • street inn
  • suites
  • valley
  • village inn

Visualize how your business name will look in a logo, outdoor sign, and on your website.  Be sure to get your own email address to be something like:

innkeeper@yourbedandbreakfastname.com

When you know what you want to call your bed and breakfast, you must make sure that the domain name (website address) is available before you register your business name.  If there are already bed and breakfast inns with that name (even in a different state), it is best to choose a different name to avoid confusion.

Above all, make sure you absolutely love your bed and breakfast name since you will likely say it over and over throughout your time as a bed and breakfast owner.  Smart innkeepers ask for ideas from others and take plenty of time when they choose their bed and breakfast name.

Recommended Products:

Building A Story Brand: This bestselling business book is ideal for those trying to grow their B&B business into a memorable brand. 

Beckham Hotel Collection 2-Pack Pillows: These popular, luxurious, resistant to dust mite, hypo-allergenic pillows are available in standard, queen, and king size. 

Winsome Luggage Rack with Shelf: Guests can unpack and pack their luggage with this luggage rack and its convenient, stylish shoe shelf.

Inifiniti Pro by Conair 1875 Watt Salon Performance AC Motor Styling Hair Dryer: Each of your guest baths can come equipped with this quick drying (yet gentle) hair dryer with different settings for custom heat and air flow. Available in five attractive colors.

Striped Fabric Guest Journal: Your B&B can provide a guest book in each room so guests provide valuable feedback and great testimonials for your inn. You can share great reviews on social media (by only including the first name and first initial of the guest and possibly the city or town where they live). 

 


Full Disclosure: These are Amazon Affiliate links for which I will receive compensation. 

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Wonderful Wing’s Castle 48+ Years In The Making

wonderful wings castle

In 1969, on a hill in Millbrook, New York, Peter and Toni Ann Wing began a strange construction project using salvage and recyclable materials. In fact, over 80% of this four-story stone, timber, and stucco structure is made of recycled materials. The result was the wonderful Wing’s Castle, which is now a bed and breakfast.

 

The Area

Settlement in this region dates back to the eighteenth century. Today it features horse farms and vineyards along this rich heritage and beautiful countryside. This is an ideal setting for a castle. The main street of Millbrook features antique shops and historic architecture in a downtown that has not changed in one-hundred years.

Only a nineteen-minute drive from Manhattan, but in some ways a world apart. Many New York celebrities choose this quaint, peaceful village as their second home.

Wing’s Castle is considered one of New York’s great treasures. It sprang to life from the imagination and determination of one man born in the Hudson River Valley. Peter inherited the land that sits on a hill overlooking the Millbrook Winery. When he proposed to Toni Ann, he said that if she would marry him, that he would build her a castle.

The Dream

Together that put in long hours to make their dream a reality. In fact, for three years they lived in the basement. According to Toni, they didn’t need extra comforts because they were always working. 

The hard-working couple had no money and no architectural plans, but lots of ideas and energy. Peter always has his sketch pad and marker to draw his next big idea. They could afford the things things people were discarding. They dismantled eleven barns for their beams, floor boards, and anything else they could salvage and use.

This was in the seventies (before re-using materials was considered practical and environmentally friendly). Toni recalls that they definitely were not seen as normal. People were scratching their heads. According to a local historian (who is thankful for the incredible attraction Wing’s Castle brings to their tranquil area with only 1500 residents), depending upon their age, people either think Peter’s crazy or brilliant, odd or imaginative. 

The Inspiration

Inspired by the philosophy and work of architect Antonio Gaudi, Peter designed the outline of Wing’s Castle to resembles some of Gaudi’s famous structures in Barcelona, Spain. Like Gaudi, Peter used broken tile to add color to his castle in what he calls the “Gaudi Dragons Garden”. Visitors marvel at how “you feel like you could be in Europe”. 

Peter also appreciates the thousand-year history of the Tower of London. Stone structures withstand time and elements. It took twenty-two years (and 500,000 stones) for Peter to “finish” putting the stones around the castle. One close neighbor friend, fondly refers to the wonderful Wing’s Castle as “The Lemony Snicket House.”

At Wing’s Castle, there is always something to look at. It is full of artifacts and everything there has a story. Peter says the work remains unfinished. After more than forty-eight years, he is still creating and working on it. 

The Bed and Breakfast

Today, the wonderful Wing’s Castle (see the aerial YouTube video below) serves as a bed and breakfast with five unique places to stay that are all equipped with wi-fi internet access. All B&B guests receive a free, 45-minute guided tour of the castle.

  • The Annex Suite: queen size bed for up to 2 people, 2 levels with balcony and courtyard, kitchen stocked everyday with breakfast, dining room, full private bath, sitting area near fireplace
  • The Dungeon: queen size bed for up to 2 people, full private bath, private entrance near parking area, free continental breakfast set up in the Great Room of the castle every morning, connects to The Annex
  • The Chamber Room: queen size bed for up to 2 people, private bath, private entrance near parking area, free continental breakfast set up in the Great Room of the castle each morning
  • The Tower Room: queen size bed for up to 2 people, private bathroom, free continental breakfast set up in the Great Room of the castle every morning
  • The Cottage: located across the street from Wing’s Castle with 3 bedrooms for up to 5 people (breakfast is stocked in the Cottage Kitchen and guests have full access to the castle grounds and pool)


You may be interested in the following related books:

  • Back Lane Wineries of New York State is the quintessential insider guide to to the New York State wine country with vivid illustrations.
  • The Gaudi Tour shows how to take a self-guided tour in Barcelona of the attractions that inspired Peter’s work on Wing’s Castle.
  • The Story of the Tower of London offers a comprehensive history of this world-famous fortress including 200 color illustrations.
  • A House in the Country features the handsome Greek Revival house (also located in Millbrook, New York); built by architect Peter Pennoyer and his wife, interior designer Katie Ridder. 
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (complete set of 13 popular youth fiction books written by Lemony Snicket) feature illustrations, including the large, eccentric-looking home of the main character. Adults (including me) also love the adventure and suspense! A great collection to have available for your bed and breakfast guests to read.
  • Miller’s Antiques Handbook and Price Guide remains the essential and trusted guide to the antiques market, features over 8,000 in full color with detailed descriptions and a current price range.

 

  • Disclosure: These are Amazon Affiliate links for which I will receive compensation.

12 Exciting Ways Your Guests Can Have Fun With Board Games

fun with board games

 

Are you looking to offer more exciting indoor activities for your guests? Why not provide board games in a common room so your bed and breakfast guests can play and have fun with board games?  This works well when guests want to spend a quiet day inside or when the weather does not permit outdoor time. The following are some of the bestselling games of all time. 

 

fun with board games

 

Chess is a 2-player strategy board game played on a chessboard, a checkered game board with 64 squares arranged in an 8-by-8 grid. It is one of the world’s most popular games, played by millions of people. This Chess Set features felt-bottomed & wooden pieces handcrafted in Poland. The chessmen are gently weighted so they won’t tip. The board is made from beech and birch wood.  

fun with board games

 

The object of the game Clue is for players to strategically move around the game board (representing the rooms of a mansion), as one of the game’s six characters. Players collect clues so they can deduct (by process of elimination) who committed the murder in the mansion, with which weapon, and in what room. 

fun with board games

In 1979, two Canadian journalists wanted to play Scrabble but had to ditch their plans because some of the pieces were missing. Being media people, both were extremely knowledgeable with general information and popular culture. So, Chris Haney and Scott Abbott decided to create a game out of it. They enlisted the help of John Haney and Ed Werner to create Trivial Pursuit. Questions were divided into different categories. In 1984, the game sold over 20 million copies.

fun with board games

Scrabble is a word game in which two to four players score points by placing tiles, bearing a single letter, onto a game board which is divided into a 15×15 grid of squares. The tiles must form words in crossword fashion, that flow left to right in rows or downwards in columns. The words must be defined in a standard dictionary. I personally own this particular Deluxe Scrabble edition game that is so easy to use. It conveniently folds into a carrying case with handle and two slide-and-store trays (one to hold the 100 wooden letter tiles in a black velvet drawstring bag and the other tray to hold the 4 deluxe curved tile racks). 

fun with board games

Monopoly is an American-originated board game subtitled “The Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game,” the game is named after the economic concept of monopoly — the domination of a market by a single entity.  Players move around the game board buying or trading properties, developing their properties with houses and hotels, and collecting rent from their opponents, the ultimate goal being to drive them into bankruptcy.

fun with board games

The game Checkers, (known internationally as draughts) is for two players, in which they make diagonal moves with the aim of capturing the opponent’s pieces by jumping over them. When the pieces make it all the way to the other side of the board, they are “kinged” (another checker piece put on top) so they can move in any direction. The object of the game is to not be the player left with just one piece!

fun with board games

More than 50 million Rummikub units sold, Rummikub is one of the world’s bestselling and most played games. Players take turns placing numbered tiles in runs or groups and the first player to use all of their tiles wins! For 2 to 4 players.

 

 

fun with board games

Scattergories is an exciting game which has players see if they can think of different words in various categories that starts with a specific letter (chosen with the roll of a 20-sided letter die). Be different to win points. More than 3,500 category combinations.  Includes six folder-covered answer pads and a total of 48 category cards. It includes specific instructions on how the game is played. This is one of my favorite games to play!

fun with board games

Taboo is a fun and challenging game in which players are not allowed to say certain words (they are taboo and you lose a point for each taboo word spoken) in trying to get other players to guess the word they need them to speak. The fun is in trying to describe something without using the most common words people use to explain them!

 

fun with board games

Sequence is a board made up of playing cards. Play a card from your hand and place a chip on a corresponding space on the game board and when you have five chips in a row, you have a sequence! You are competing to see who can come up with the required number of 5-card sequences first.

 

fun with board games

With over 1 million games sold, in Buzz Word teams (this game is for 4 or more players) are racing to solve a set of 10 clues before the sand timer runs out. The “Buzzword” (which is found in the top right corner of each card) is contained in the answer to each clue. For example, on the card with the buzzword “Sugar” the first two clues are:

  • “This makes the medicine go down.” (Answer: “A Spoon Full of Sugar“)
  • “American college football game played in Louisiana.” (Answer: “Sugar Bowl”)

fun with board games

Apples to Apples is a game of hilarious comparisons for 4 to 10 players. It’s as easy as comparing “apples to apples.” Select the card from your hand that you think the most like the card played by the judge. If the judge picks your card, you win that round. And everyone gets a chance to be the judge!

 

Your bed and breakfast guests will appreciate the break from technology to play fun board games together.  In order to keep all of the pieces together, so that many different guests will enjoy playing the games over the years, one tip is to put the pieces in various plastic baggies: keeping like pieces and cards and pawns together.

If guests give you permission, you can take a picture of them playing in a common area of your bed and breakfast to put on your website or share in social media.  Guests have fun with board games.

 



Affiliate Disclaimer: These are Amazon Affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend what I know and love.

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How to Find Your Inspiration as an Innkeeper (Part 1)

how-to-find-your-inspiration

Wondering how to find your inspiration as an innkeeper? Bed and Breakfast innkeepers each have their own unique story of how they entered the hospitality industry.  Think about how YOU got started as a bed and breakfast owner.  For your own reviewing, write down your own personal story of how you came to be a travel accommodations provider. Consider including your answers to some of the following questions.

Motivation:

  • Do you love cooking for others?
  • Do you like entertaining guests?
  • Do you desire to work from home?
  • Do you need to feel independent?
  • Do you enjoy helping others relax?
  • Do you receive fulfillment from serving others?
  • Do you like recommending things for people to do in your local area?
  • Are you a first-generation B&B owner, or does your family already have a history of hospitality management experience or ownership?

Innkeeping:

  • What do you like the most about B&B innkeeping?
  • What could you do more of? (things you find enjoyable)
  • What could you do less of? (things you dislike doing)
  • Do you have (or have you thought about hiring) part-time employees to fulfill the roles you least like (or are challenged by)?

Niche:

  • What amenities does your inn have?
  • What is your inn known for? (ex: spa, restaurant, etc.)
  • What in your local area attracts guests to stay for a visit?
  • What type of guests do you (or would you) like to attract?
  • How do you describe your place of hospitality to others (on your website, in your social media, over the phone, and in person)?

There needs to be a match with your motivation for working, your individual talents, and your hospitality niche/ideal guests.  Consider the following 3 hypothetical scenarios…

1) Innkeeper Irene loves cooking for others and entertaining guests. She dislikes anything involving paperwork–especially finances.  Her B&B restaurant is becoming more known in the community. She does not have the time or desire to learn online marketing. How can she keep doing the things she loves (cooking and entertaining) and hire out for other things (financial and marketing)?

2) Bob the B&B owner is very successful with marketing his inn.  His grown children manage the day-to-day operations of their thriving business.  Their occupancy rate is very good, but he is wondering how to earn more income outside of bookings.

3) Shirley & Dale are a husband and wife innkeeping couple. Shirley’s favorite thing to do is to plant and grow flowers and produce in their gorgeous garden as well as to decorate their inn. Dale loves construction and renovation projects (both inside and outside). However, they have a real need for adding housekeeping and kitchen staff (not to mention their need to promote their inn). What can they do?

Please add your comments and suggestions below and watch for Part 2 of this blog post!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Why Local Partnerships Can Make You Rich

local-partnerships-make-you-rich

Do you know why local partnerships can make you rich?  Do you know that your local area could be your best asset?  Travelers tend to pick the area of their destination BEFORE they choose their accommodations.  So innkeepers can profit from thinking about: “Why do guests visit my local area?” 

Word-of-mouth marketing can also be very powerful.  What do you want to become known for?  A big part of becoming more well known is developing ties with other local businesses and organizations in your community.

Who, in your local area, offers complementary products and services?  There are many reasons why it is in both your interests to form a mutually beneficial relationship:

  • You can refer each other business (since you don’t have all the same customers)
  • You can promote each other in a variety of ways (such as via social media)
  • You can form exclusive partnerships (more on that later)

So, you may be thinking, what types of places and with whom could I form local partnerships?:

  • Caterers
  • Chocolatier 
  • Entertainment providers
  • Florist
  • Gift shops
  • Museums
  • Nonprofit organizations and charities
  • Realtors
  • Restaurants
  • Spas (if you do not have your own spa)
  • Sports
  • Tourist attractions
  • Wedding planners

There is a whole movement going on to support local businesses and service professionals.  Spread the love for your local area by featuring these other businesses:

  • Brochures (display them at your inn)
  • Coupons (arrange for your guests to receive discounts for using their services)
  • Menus (let people see what they offer by providing their menus)
  • Preferred list of vendors (such as caterers and wedding planners)
  • Social Media (share a picture of them and write about why people should want to use their products and/or services)
  • Video (partner with other businesses to promote your town as a vacation destination)
  • Word-of-mouth (if guests ask for your recommendations)

Develop “exclusive partnerships” in which you agree to only buy from them and they offer you a reduced rate for doing so.  This works out well in the case of using one chocolatier and one florist.  Especially if you offer packages to your guests which include chocolate and flowers. 

An “influencer” is a person who has the power to influence many people.  How do you meet and form relationships with the “influencers” in your community? 

  • Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce which will have local business owners and service providers as members. 
  • LinkedIn is a powerful social media network for finding other local business owners
  • There is nothing like meeting face-to-face to discuss how you can help each other’s businesses grow 
  • Look online (like at TripAdvisor) to find lists for the best restaurants near you and the top things to do in (and near) your area for ideas of people and places to contact

That is why local partnerships make you rich.  No time to connect with others in your area (since you are so busy with the responsibilities of innkeeping)?  Or are you not comfortable networking with other people and other places?  Contact Bed and Breakfast Blogging for help today!

Disclaimer: The resources above are Amazon Affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Easily Brand Your Bed and Breakfast

brand-your-bed-and-breakfast

Branding your bed and breakfast is both easier and harder than you think.  What do I mean by that?  Well, little things can make a big difference so there are plenty of things you can do.  However, it is harder than you think because you don’t want to make costly mistakes along the way.  

Your goal is to attract a particular target audience to your bed and breakfast inn.  The type of inn you have including your location, its amenities, its surroundings, and its weather (among many other factors) all play a role in who will want to visit your accommodations.

The following are descriptions of very different places to visit:

  • A twenty-room mountain getaway for avid skiers and hikers 
  • A B&B spa in the woods with separate cabins, each with private hot tubs
  • A modern urban inn that caters to business travelers & hosts corporate retreats
  • A historical inn that has hosted celebs & famous people in history
  • A five-room inn with horse ranch and trails, riding lessons for guests
  • A tropical beach resort with its own restaurant and live music in the evenings
  • An inn located on a vineyard, with tours and tastings with cheeses and desserts
  • A B&B in a popular tourist town with lots of local activities and attractions
  • A Southern inn with an award-winning flower garden; gazebo, pool, swing, etc.

As you can tell, from the above examples, bed and breakfast inns, hotels, and resorts, can narrow their marketing to reach the most ideal audience for what they offer guests.  Since you cannot be all things to all people, the best brands:

  • Visually grab the attention of their target audience (with pictures, images, quotes, testimonials, etc.)
  • Emotionally attract (tug on the heart) their target audience (“because time passes by so quickly, capture memorable moments with us”)
  • Convey a simple message to that target audience (ex: guests deserve time away to enjoy their loved ones)
  • Differentiate themselves from their competitors (show why you are the best accommodations for your target audience in your local area)
  • Develop their reputation for excellent hospitality and exceeding guest expectations throughout multiple touch points along the way (check-in, front desk, guest services, hospitality, use of amenities, breakfast, check-out, and opting in for your e-mail list with a loyalty program)

Brands can differentiate themselves in the following ways:

  • Name
  • Logo
  • Slogan
  • Curb Appeal
  • Decor
  • Guest Rooms
  • Amenities
  • Photography
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Blog
  • Stories
  • Guests Testimonials
  • Email Marketing
  • Hosting Events
  • Videos

According to “Telling Your Brand: How Your Brand Purpose and Position Drive The Stories You Share” by Rob Marsh, the importance of differentiation can be seen through the efforts of four national pizza chains:

  • Pizza Hut (the market leader) uses their advertising to feature new innovations like hot dogs or cheese baked into their crusts, chocolate chip cookie pizzas, pizza sliders, stuffed crust pizzas.  Pizza Huts stands out with their innovations.
  • Dominoes (focuses on owning the “delivery” position), focused on it more before lawsuits forced them to soften their claim of “30 minutes or less or its free.”  Dominoes is the go-to choice for home delivery.
  • Little Caesar’s (focuses on the “value” position), offering 2 pizzas for the price of one, with tagline (“Pizza. Pizza.”) Today they offer ready-made, grab-and-go pizzas for $5, emphasizing their ownership of the low-price position in the market.
  • Papa Johns (focuses on fresher ingredients), with tagline “Better ingredients, better pizza”, the emphasis on high-quality ingredients reinforces this position in the minds of consumers.
  • The point of positioning is to own one idea.  The brand story you tell will help position your inn in the minds of your guests and potential guests.  

Mr. Marsh advises companies to think about these questions (which I have rephrased to apply to places of hospitality):

  • What benefits do guests receive from staying at your inn?
  • How are you different from competitors and how do guests experience that difference?
  • What are the stories your guests tell about themselves now?
  • If your brand were a person, what kind of personality would it have?
  • What adjectives describe your brand?  What adjectives do not?
  • Does your B&B brand have a compelling story?  
  • How does your company’s values and mission make an impact on your guests?
  • What’s your brand’s purpose?  

Denise Lee Yohn, in her book, “What Great Brands Do: The 7 Brand-Building Principles That Separate The Best From The Rest“, argues that your brand is WHAT your company DOES and HOW you do it and NOT what you SAY you are.  It matters more what you DO.  Identify the key values and attributes that define your inn.  People buy according to how brands make them feel, or what identity they help their guests experience and express. 

Focus on the unique way you bring value to your guests.  Understand and communicate what makes your business different and better than the rest.  According to Denise, “Great brands know that if you try to be all things to all people, you’ll never connect deeply with anyone.”  She offers the following template for companies to use building their brand:

“For ________ (your target audience), we are the _____________ (frame of reference) who does ______________ (the unique value you deliver), because ______________ (the reasons why consumers should believe that you deliver value).  

According to the book “Brand Intimacy: A New Paradigm in Marketing” by Mario Natarelli and Rina Plapler, the following are types of “Brand Strategies”:

  • Fulfillment: always exceeds expectations, delivers superior quality/service, good value for the money, reliable (ex: Amazon)
  • Identity: projects a favorable lifestyle, values your target market aspires to (or identifies with) (ex: Whole Foods)
  • Enhancement: makes your life easier, more effective, smarter, more capable, more connected (ex: Apple)
  • Ritual: part of your routine, ingrained in your life, more than a habitual lifestyle behavior (ex: Starbucks)
  • Nostalgia: reminds you of your past, evokes warm memories and feelings, associates with you in some way (ex: Lego)
  • Indulgence: a personal luxury, makes you feel pampered, pleasing to the senses (taste, touch, sight, smell, sound) (ex: Sephora, a beauty brand)

In the book, “Building Your Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Your Customers Will Listen,” Donald Miller argues that stories organize information in a way that compels people to listen.  Miller advises readers to make the customer the hero of the story and to position your brand as the guide.  Focus on the success of your customers (and not the success of your business).

Donald Miller explains that since human beings have two motivations in life (to escape something bad and to experience something good), we can include these motivations in our brand stories.  Great brands obsess about the transformation of their customers. 

With the permission of each guest, you could their personal story of what their life was like before coming to your destination and how your destination impacted their life for the better.  Using guest testimonials carries a lot of weight and provides social proof.

Motivation 1: To Escape Something Bad

  • Boredom with Life (Feel Stuck in a Rut)
  • Escape the Noise/Traffic of the City or Escape the Isolation of Rural Life
  • Fast Pace of Life (Escape the Busyness and Routines of Everyday Life)
  • Perceived Lack of Quality Time with Others
  • Stress from Job (or Other Responsibilities like Education and Parenting)
  • etc.

Motivation 2: To Experience Something Good

  • Adventure (for athletes, adventurers)
  • Business Success (for corporate travelers)
  • Culture (for art and music lovers)
  • Food (breakfast, local restaurants, etc.)
  • Health (improve fitness and nutrition)
  • Relationships (for family and friendships)
  • Romance (for stengthning committed relationships)
  • Shopping (for retail therapy)
  • Sports (for sports lovers)
  • Travel (for travel buffs)
  • etc.

All businesses need to distinguish themselves from the competition.  By determining your target audience, knowing what will attract their attention, and differentiating yourself from other inns with meaningful brand stories (with your customer as the hero and your brand as the guide), you can feature reasons why potential guests should escape their current circumstances to experience a variety of pleasant experiences that all begin with a stay at your place of hospitality.  This is how to easily brand your bed and breakfast inn.

Need help branding your bed and breakfast inn?  Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free phone consultation.  

Disclosure: These are Amazon Affiliate links for which I will receive compensation. I only recommend what I have personally read and believe to be beneficial to readers.

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Catapult Your Business Growth with Gift Cards

bed-and-breakfast-gift-cards

Did you know you can catapult your business growth with gift cards?  Bed and breakfast gift cards work well for both innkeepers and guests.  Individual inns as well as B&B associations offer gift cards or gift certificates for purchase. The North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns (NCBBI) makes their gift certificates available in $50 increments and guests can use them at any of their member inns.  

 

Special Occasions for Gift Cards:

  • Anniversaries
  • Birthdays
  • Employment appreciations
  • Holiday gifts
  • Honeymoons
  • Retirements
  • Surprising a loved one
  • Thanking a friend

Make sure you clearly communicate the the terms and conditions of your gift certificates and gift cards to those who purchase them.  You may restrict guests from using their gift certificates in combination with other offers, additional discounts, or third-party promotions.  Your place of hospitality may also exclude their use for group services including accommodations and catering for weddings and other large functions.

Be sure to state in writing that all property specific policies, including deposit, minimum stay, and cancellation policies still apply.  You may want to add that no blackout dates apply. If there is an expiration date, please state that directly on the gift certificate.  Give guests the option of allowing money left over to be put toward future stays.  

Consider offering a discount on your gift certificates or gift cards during the holidays.  Promote that they make great presents for those who are difficult to shop for!

Reasons Why We Should All Love Gift Cards:

  • Gift card recipients have the freedom to choose when they visit (as long as it is before it expires), the reason for their stay (they could save it for their birthday or anniversary), and even their choice of which inn (in the case of B&B association gift cards)
  • Gift givers do not have the usual stress involved in choosing a gift especially for the hard-to-shop-for people in your life
  • Saves time (no need for givers to drive all over the map to find the perfect gift and these are great for last-minute shoppers)
  • Saves money (givers decide the amount you want to give and stay within their budget)

If your inn or association offers gift cards or gift certificates, be sure to dedicate a web page to provide information and list all the necessary details.  Allow people to purchase your gift cards or certificates directly from your website.  Be sure to promote your gift certificates in blog posts (with their permission, share stories about guests who used gift cards).  Don’t forget that social media is a great place to announce that your inn offers gift cards.  Gift cards are a great way to catapult your B&B business growth!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Bed and Breakfast Indoor Fun

bed and breakfast indoor fun

 

 

Wonder what to do at a bed and breakfast? 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
  • Coloring books (adult coloring books are now quite popular)
  • 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.  

Innkeepers, consider having the following available for your bed and breakfast guests:

  • A dozen decks of standard playing cards
  • #1 best-selling conversations starter game for ages 12+
  • Romantic conversation starters game for couples
  • Inspirational coloring books for all ages 
  • Fruity, herbal tea for your guests to enjoy
  • Individually wrapped organic and vegan bath bombs for relaxation

Disclaimer: The links below are Amazon Affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I will receive compensation for recommending them.

 

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How Bed and Breakfasts Can Win Like Amazon

win like amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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