Tag Archives: comments

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

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

7 LinkedIn Groups for Innkeepers

LinkedIn-Groups-For-Innkeepers

LinkedIn Groups for Innkeepers can be a helpful way to get support and advice from other bed and breakfasts and others in the hospitality industry.  LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 400 million members in over 200 countries and territories.  All LinkedIn groups are private and those open to membership must request to join the group.

Upon acceptance, each group has their own rules for what its members are allowed to post.  If the group’s profile and rules state that no links whatsoever should be posted, its members must abide by that. If you would rather find and join a group with a less stringent view of links, then simply look for a different group.

Group members are not obligated to post anything.  They can just read what other members have posted.  However, many social media experts advise that newcomers introduce themselves to their group. Not only does this let the group know about their new members, but the group will likely reach out to welcome its new members.

Things inn-keeping groups share with each other include hospitality-related articles, online marketing tips, questions for inn-keeping best practices, and much more! A great way to learn information is to ask questions from your group.

The following is a list of just some of the LinkedIn groups innkeepers may want to join:

Bed and Breakfast Business has over 900 members. “Bed and Breakfast group is a group for BnB owners who want to collaborate and communicate with other BnB owners about their business, best practices, tips, etc…”

Bed and Breakfast and Guest House Owners has over 2,000 members.  “Have you ever wondered how you can make 6 figures…from just 4 rooms? Want to know how to get raving fans coming back again and again?…If you’re a bed and breakfast owner, small hotel owner, guest house owner, then join our group and let’s share and help each other.”

Bed and Breakfast Inns has over 400 members.  “BedBreakfastTraveler.com’s goal with the Bed and Breakfast Inns group is to foster partnership, networking, and collaboration among the innkeeping industry. Through sharing of information, resources, and advice, the collective standards and profitability of the group shall increase.”

Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers has over 3,700 members.  “This group page is for Bed&Breakfast Owners across the Globe. Finding your niche as a B&B Owner and making it a success. Sharing what is your unique about your B&B, it’s amenities in what you offer and why you know that an experience at your B&B will be well remembered, and one that ensures your guest will return time and time again.”

B&B Owners Association has over 950 members.  “The B&B Owners Association has 3 main purposes:  1) To provide an independent, stable and well funded Internet marketing organization for the accommodation & hospitality sectors.  2) To ensure cost effective & comprehensive Internet marketing for its members and a effective global promotional vehicle on which to promote their businesses.  3) To ensure the public and Internet user have an easy to use and easy to find accommodation resource.”

Innkeepers has around 2,500 members.  “Bed and Breakfast Business Owners worldwide are welcome to network and share on this Group, whether you are an established Bed and Breakfast business or you want to own and run a bed and breakfast business.”

Just Bed and Breakfast Network has around 250 members.  “Justbedandbreakfast.net is the fastest growing worldwide bed and breakfasts directory offering the most complete list of unique properties from historic inns and guest houses to cabins and farm stays. View bed and breakfast descriptions, photos, reviews, and more.”

At the top of the LinkedIn page under “Interests” click “Groups” and this allows searching for these group titles or using other keywords.  Underneath the search box it will list any groups of which you are currently a member.  Underneath that, users can even create their own LinkedIn group should they desire to do so.  They can focus their membership on a specific geographical area or direct the discussion to a specific topic of interest.

Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging may start her own LinkedIn group.  If I did, what kind of topics would you like to see covered?  Please feel free to share a comment below or use my contact form to notify me directly.

Also, if you are a member of one of these LinkedIn groups (or a different LinkedIn group related to hospitality) and think it beneficial for other innkeepers to join, please tell us the name of your group and what you like about it.  I read all my comments and respond when appropriate.  Thank you!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes: Linked In

everybody-writes

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide To Creating Ridiculously Good Content, gives some recommendations for writing on Linked In.  This is a social media platform for professional people.

First and foremost, you can optimize your profile with keyword-rich descriptions, a stand-out headline as well as a link to your blog and Twitter handle.  Actively share relevant content on a regular basis.

Linked In Tips:

  • Use concise introductions
  • Use snappy headlines
  • Include a clear call to action
  • Use active language
  • Cite tangible outcomes
  • Include an image
  • Consider the keywords you want to be known for
  • Align your content to your member’s needs and interests
  • Make your content “snackable” and valuable
  • Manage your updates by measuring engagement
  • Follow up on comments
  • Keep in mind which audience you are targeting
  • Cater your message to a specific audience for better engagement
  • Be consistent and track your results

Top 10 Overused Linked In Buzzwords:

Other LinkedIn tips:

  • Claim your vanity URL
  • Customize your profile by moving parts around, embed examples or other media
  • http://help.linkedin.com/ is the link to getting help on LinkedIn

Since we are talking about LinkedIn, I wanted to also share some interesting facts and statistics about this professional social network that were recently compiled by Digital Marketing Ramblings:

  • 380 million people use LinkedIn
  • 107 million of those users live in the United States
  • LinkedIn gets two new users per second
  • Reaches over 200 countries and territories
  • LinkedIn profiles are 11 times more likely to be viewed if it has a photo
  • LinkedIn members are 13 times more likely to have their profiles viewed if they list specific skills
  • 56% of LinkedIn users are male
  • 8.33% of Americans use LinkedIn while they are on the job
  • 13% of all United States adults use LinkedIn daily
  • 29% of all American social media users use LinkedIn
  • 41% of millionaires use LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn has over 6,000 employees and offices in 26 different cities
  • 50% of those accessing LinkedIn do so from mobile devices
  • 3 million active job listings on LinkedIn
  • 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates

LinkedIn Groups may be a great way to post questions and/or share answers. Usually many people are willing to share best practices.  LinkedIn groups for Bed and Breakfast Owners include:

  • Bed and Breakfast Business
  • Bed and Breakfast Forum
  • Bed and Breakfast and Guesthouse Owners Groups
  • Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers
  • ed and Breakfast Inns
  • Bed and Breakfast, Inns, and Vacations Rentals.
  • Bed and Breakfast News
  • B&B Owners Association
  • Innkeepers
  • Just Bed and Breakfast Network
  • and many more!

Be sure to keep Ann Handley’s LinkedIn content advice in mind when you venture onto this professional social media website.  You may become connected via LinkedIn to past bed and breakfast guests as well as potential guests. LinkedIn is a great way to promote your B&B business.

Managing Your B&B Reputation

managing-your-b-and-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.

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 Breakfasts in December

The Queen Victoria at Christmas - Cape May, New Jersey.  Bed and Breakfast Inn

The Queen Victoria in Cape May, NJ during Christmas time

Bed and breakfasts, in December, can put on a spectacular display of holiday cheer. This is the best time of year to decorate your B&B. There are so many creative and festive ways to do so. The Queen Victoria in Cape May, New Jersey has exquisite outdoor Christmas lights! I love how they outlined their bed and breakfast to highlight that their inn has three floors and they hung lit garland with red bows on the fence all the way around their property.

#Holidays | A winter welcome at Another Second Penny Inn, Stonington, CT. #bedandbreakfast #travel

Decorative Doorway at Another Second Penny Inn of Stonington, CT

Another Second Penny Inn hung garland and put up a wreath with a red bow on their reflective glass door. The snow falling in Connecticut just adds to the bed and breakfast’s winter look.  They are located on a leafy, scenic road just 3 miles from Mystic and 2 miles north of Stonington Borough.

Their 1710 New England home offers friendly, romantic, and spacious accommodations for their bed and breakfast visitors. Winner of the Best Breakfast in New England, owners Jim and Sandra Wright, offer deluxe five course breakfasts on weekends and holidays and delicious Continental Breakfasts on the other mornings.

Curious about how this inn got its name? They offer this Ancient Persian saying to explain, “If you have two pennies, with the first, buy bread for your stomach and with the second, buy hyacinths for your soul.”

Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast of Durham, NC adds to the festivities with this holiday garland draping down our stairs. We welcome you to be our guests! http://www.moreheadmanor.com

Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast of Durham, NC adds to the festivities with garland & bows decorating the stairway




Morehead Manor of Durham, North Carolina was recently named the Best Black-Owned Bed and Breakfast in America by Black Enterprise magazine.  Innkeepers Daniel and Monica Edwards decorate their inn festively every year.  The garland and ribbon going down their staircase is but one area of the inn in the Bull City.  Within walking distance for their inn is the Durham Performing Arts Center which has holiday performances including the fortieth year of performances of A Christmas Carol! Durham is also the Tastiest Town of the South so between the delicious gourmet breakfasts at Morehead Manor and award-winning restaurants, your appetite will be more than satisfied!





The York Harbor Inn family of Inns in Maine is comprised of six separate lodges. The Main Inn offers twenty-two guest rooms. There are also two ocean view restaurants as well as lovely banquet and meeting rooms. Many luxury rooms feature ocean and beach view decks, fireplaces and/or Jacuzzi tubs. The York Harbor inn recognizes that people’s dogs are part of their family and they offer pet friendly rooms in their Harbor Crest building.  The picture of their Christmas tree by the fire is gorgeous.

Victorian Christmas Getaway: The Empress Bed & Breakfast

Stunning Dining Room of The Empress Bed and Breakfast in Little Rock, AR



Bob Blair and his wife Sharon Welch-Blair are owners of The Empress of Little Rock, in Arkansas. They have been open for nearly twenty years and they love their guests! “Anyone who loves people, enjoys welcoming them into your home, looks forward to a day of tasks and events of all kinds (everyday a new day), and works with a great crew should become an innkeeper.” Their enthusiasm for entertaining is evident when you look at their multi-award winning AAA four diamond rated bed and breakfast!  Every guest room at the historic inn has its own themed tree to create magic throughout the entire mansion. Bob and Sharon display their mementos and antiques in each room so you feel like you are not only experiencing the past, but are cherished guests of The Royal Family.

#Holidays | The twinkling lights of the tree at the White Oak Manor, Jefferson, TX. #bedandbreakfast #travel

The twinkling lights of the tree at the White Oak Manor in Jefferson, TX.



White Oak Manor is an historic bed and breakfast in Jefferson, Texas.  Innkeepers Dave and Tammy invite you to join their warm and friendly atmosphere.  It is especially beautiful to visit them this time of year with their festive holiday decorations.  Jefferson is always filled with love, laughter and friendly faces.

So how does your bed and breakfast celebrate the holidays? Feel free to make comments about what food you prepare for guests, special ways you decorate your inn, and anything else you do to make this time of year extra special.

Visual Storytelling: Responses

visual-storytelling-responses

Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, authors of the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand remind us that anything can happen at a moment’s notice online.  Companies need to identify common occurrences, both positive and negative.  It means looking for opportunities to create visual content solutions all around us.  Some strategies include:

  • Understand the most important factors that can influence sales and customer leads
  • Weather may be an important theme to craft content around
  • At key times of the year, companies can announce awards, rankings, events, speeches, partnerships, and make other announcements
  • Understand the most frequently asked service inquiries and comments, both positive and negative
  • Develop a robust content library to allow time for real-time opportunities
  • The best storytellers play off their audience responses to hit the message home
  • Extend the life of conversations and engagement as long as it is relevant
  • Look at the content fans are sharing each day

While on the topic of user generated content, there is a higher barrier to engagement if it is not natural for fans to share visual content.  Reward sharing behavior with a campaign, contest, and/or rewards.  Look for themes in the most common types of photos, videos, hashtags, and sentiment.

Choose a clear call to action such as a unique hashtag available across all social media channels.  Make full disclosure to customers how and where their photos and videos will be shared.  Highlight examples to show a range of creativity.  Give rewards and recognition by having an “image of the week” or randomly sending a thank you.

Customers can share their own content through videos shared on social networks like YouTube, Instagram, and the Vine.  Look at your content calendar to determine which video(s) will help tell your visual story in a way that other media cannot.  Think about your target audience, desired end goals, and what resources are available.  Evaluate the needs of your audience and show off your personality.  Mix up the content to a variety of different types and lengths of videos. Common videos include:

  • Announcements
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Case studies
  • Celebrity partnerships
  • Community involvement
  • Company overview
  • Demos
  • Event highlights
  • FAQs
  • Goals
  • How-to
  • Live streams
  • Office tours
  • Parodies
  • Testimonials
  • Video blogs
  • Visual portfolios

Fan shared content as well as company made videos can show another side to a business. The key is to make the most of what customers are saying about you.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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