Tag Archives: events

How to Have a Better Bed and Breakfast Blog

a better bed and breakfast blog

Want a better bed and breakfast blog? Here are some top hospitality blogging tips to attracting more readers and more business to your inn.

 

Be sure to blog about WHY people visit you. Because it could be for a variety of reasons, I am going to list some possible reasons.  Each of those reasons can be a blog post! Mentally answer the questions as you read on.

 

Your LOCATION could be a big reason as to why guests stay with you. Whether you offer a secluded place for them to get away from it all (a peaceful place for relaxation and romance) or exciting urban accommodations with lots to do (a thriving place for fun and entertainment), your location could be a factor. 

  • What, if any, major attractions are in your area?
  • What are the top 3 reasons that people come to your city?

 

Your AMENITIES can play a vital role in why people choose to stay with you. Guests appreciate being able to experience luxuries they don’t necessarily have in their everyday lives.

  • What amenities do you have?
  • Do you list your amenities on your website?

 

Your EVENTS that you host can attract guests. Whether you host private parties, weddings, or other special events, this can attract people to become overnight guests. 

  • What events do you host?
  • Do you have a blog post (or web page) about each event you host?

 

Your REPUTATION for hospitality is another compelling reason. Word of mouth can be very powerful as a way to attract new guests. When we have an enjoyable time doing something, it is only natural to bring it up in conversation with another person.

  • What is it about your hospitality that sets you apart from other inns?
  • Do you monitor what is being said about you and your inn online?

 

Your FOOD can be a major pull factor when it comes to attracting more guests. If you are one of the inns that also has a restaurant open to the public, that is another way to become known. First they dine with you, then they decide to become overnight guests. However, those who do not have restaurants can also do extra things like offer 24/7 access to refreshments. 

  • Do you have a wine and cheese hour or a special time of the day for tea and goodies?
  • Are you able to accommodate those with special dietary needs?

 

Your PACKAGES can also contribute to why guests decide to stay with you versus your local competitors. Guests appreciate having things already arranged ahead of time.

  • Do you offer packages that include things like event tickets, restaurant gift certificates, local walking tours, etc.?
  • Do you offer themed packages like romance or adventure?

 

Give people a SNEAK PEEK into life at your inn. Many famous tourist attractions like Disney and The Biltmore Estate offer Behind the Scenes tours. You could share pictures, videos, and stories of what happens at your B&B.

  • Share things that ONLY you or your inn has (more details about your guest rooms, previous residents, the current innkeepers, etc.)
  • Share funny things that happen (amusing little pranks staff members pull on each other, or comical things with guests such as two people who don’t know each other yet show up to breakfast wearing the same shirt)

 

Answer frequently asked questions in your blog posts. If you get asked the same questions over and over, how about answer those questions before your guests even arrive at your inn! 

  • The number of miles (and estimated drive time) to key points of interest that guests may want to visit in your area
  • How you do breakfast at your inn (time, typical menu options, in-room delivery of breakfast, etc.)
  • Checking in and check out procedures as well as coming and going during their stay with you

 

Creatively add other unique content to your blog posts, including any of the following:

  • Recipes of things you make here at the inn
  • Tips about your local area including restaurants and attractions
  • Your very own Top 10 List that relates to your B&B or local area

 

One of the most important aspects of blogging, is to consistently do it. The search engines reward fresh content by making it more visible online. Plus, you are keeping in touch with people and staying on their radar. Remind previous guest about why they should come back again and compel new people to visit for the very first time. 

 

Another strong factor in having a better bed and breakfast blog is sharing pictures and videos. “A pictures is worth a thousand words.” Guests want to know what they can expect before they come to your inn! 

 

You are welcome to put a link to YOUR bed and breakfast blog in the comments below and share what works well for you. If you do not have a blog (or do not consistently blog), feel free to contact me for advice.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Many Benefits of B&B Association Membership

association membership

 

There are many benefits of B&B Association Membership.  While each bed and breakfast association has their own unique benefits, the following lists commonly offered benefits from such groups.  Innkeepers not belonging to any professional associations will learn why membership is valuable.

 

 

  • Advocacy: promoting B&B industry and traveler interests, raising the stature of the state’s hospitality industry, growing the state’s travel economy

 

  • Affiliations: state tourism department, state travel council, Professional Association of Innkeepers International, etc.

 

  • Brochures/rack cards/travel guides: distributed at member inns, welcome centers, tourist attractions, visitor bureaus, chambers of commerce, and in response to visitor requests

 

  • Collaboration: socialize, peer support, share, network, learn, encourage, exchange lessons learned as well as recipes, and enhance the lodging experience of guests

 

  • Cookbooks: member inns can buy association cookbooks at wholesale and sell at retail for a profit (see some B&B association cookbooks below)

 

  • Credibility: association membership provides bed and breakfasts with added credibility; licensed, inspected, and approved distinction; passed high standards bed and breakfast checklists

 

  • Directory: profile information and pictures in online and print directories

 

  • Discounts: lower cost to related products and services (such as credit card processing, conferences and trade shows, floral arrangements, insurance coverage, membership to other hospitality associations, reciprocal or discount lodging with other member inns, travel deals, and web reservations)

 

  • Education: foster professional development of members and improve service and professionalism of their staff through annual meetings, experts, featured speakers, round tables, seminars, vendors, webinars, workshops

 

  • Legal representation: expert support, legal hotline, industry updates, and a better understanding of applicable laws and regulations

 

  • Lobbying: have a voice in legislative issues, support state’s lodging sector, work proactively with governmental agencies that regulate the B&B industry, produce favorable industry public policy, and champion for safety and security in the hospitality industry

 

  • Logo: members can use their association logo on their website and marketing materials

 

  • Marketing: collective advertising, email marketing, e-newsletter, public relations, social media

 

  • Gift certificate program: reimbursement for association gift certificates redeemed

 

  • Inspections:  regularly conducted property inspections; evaluated with high standards on specific criteria having to do with safety, comfort, and hospitality

 

  • Mentorship: seasoned innkeepers can mentor less experienced innkeepers, foster profitability and sustainability

 

  • Networking: learn from fellow innkeepers and receive their business referrals

 

  • Partnerships: restaurant and lodging expos; engage in charitable and community endeavors

 

  • Real estate listings: list of bed and breakfast member inns for sales

 

  • Reservations: availability calendar, reservations scheduler

 

  • Travel planner: list of area events, specials, and attractions near each member B&B

 

  • Website: many offer their members an exclusive web page with photos, contact information, inn names and descriptions, locations, amenities, and specials; links to member website, Trip Advisor and other review sites, social media, and member inn’s blog.

association membership

 

There are many advantages to belonging to a bed and breakfast association.  Perhaps the most motivating is making connections with fellow innkeepers and having the accountability and support from your innkeeping peers as well as more marketing opportunities.

 

 

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Amazing Bed and Breakfast Marketing From A to Z

bed and breakfast marketing

 

Amazing Bed and Breakfast Marketing From A to Z

What if there was an amazing way to market your bed and breakfast by keeping the alphabet in mind? These are some of the most important factors to consider when blogging about your bed and breakfast inn.

 

 

  • Amenities: What extra amenities does your B&B have that others do not? It is important to know what sets you apart from your competition. Whether you have in-room hot tubs or fireplaces, this is a great thing to mention in your blog and on your website.

 

  • Antiques: Do you have any unique antiques that guests can look at? You may want to keep priceless or fragile antiques behind glass to protect them. Some B&B’s sell antiques to their guests.

 

  • Art: Do guests admire your art collection? Whether you have paintings, murals, or sculptures, people enjoying looking at art. You may refer them to your local art museums and galleries.

 

  • Awards: Do you have some honor or distinction that is noteworthy? It is okay to mention your Diamond Rating level, your prize-winning recipe, or anything else that distinguishes you from other places of lodging.

 

  • Bathrooms: Show off your spacious, well-decorated, and luxurious bathrooms with pictures and blog about recent upgrades.

 

  • Beach: Having a beach or waterfront property adds to your appeal. Share plenty of outdoor pictures as well as pictures of the outside view from inside your inn.

 

  • Bedrooms: You could let guests know the meaning behind the names of your bedrooms. Is it named after a former resident, your state bird, or a local sports team? Blog about what your own guests tell you they love about your guest rooms.

 

  • Benefits: Blog about the benefits that come to those who take a break to relax and spend time with loved ones. With permission, you could feature some of your guests and have them share how they have benefited from their stay at your B&B.

 

  • Birthdays: It is always great to ask guests the reason for their visit. Even if the reason is not a birthday, it may be a good idea to find out those dates so you can send guests a postcard or email on their birthday to remind them of their stay and entice them to want to come back.

 

  • Breakfasts: Do you cater to special diets like gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan? How do guests receive their breakfast: delivered to their room or eaten in a common place? These are all things you can blog about. Even give a behind the scenes look at your kitchen or interview your chef.

 

  • Business: Do you host a number of business travelers in your area? Do you have a conference room and technology resources like free Wi-Fi and guest access to a printer and fax machine? Blogging about this may result in hosting more business travelers.

 

  • Classes: Do you teach, or know of someone who could do this, a certain skill? This could be cooking, dancing, photography, etc. By offering unique classes, you can attract more people to your inn.

 

  • Complimentary: Emphasize all the free things that come to your B&B guests versus those who stay at your local hotels. This includes: breakfast, concierge services, parking, etc. This gives people a reason to choose to stay with you over your local hotel competition.

 

  • Concerts: Are you near a big venue like a concert hall or stadium? Blog about the next musician or theatre performance coming to your area.

 

  • Decks: If you have a deck with an amazing view, by all means blog about it and show pictures of the view.   People like to get away to scenic places.

 

  • Dining out: Do you provide your guests with a list of local restaurants or have local restaurant menus available for guests to browse? You could feature certain restaurants you know are popular with your guests.

 

  • Eco-Friendly: If you are an environmentally friendly bed and breakfast, then you should write about what things you do to earn that green distinction. If you line dry your blankets and/or offer an electric car charging station, guests will appreciate that.

 

  • Events: Keep an eye on events that are happening in your local area. A great way to do this is to regularly check your local and state visitors’ bureaus.

 

  • Farms: If you live on a farm that grows crops and/or has animals, blog about this. Some guests would love to meet animals from your petting zoo. Other guests want the experience of picking berries, for example.

 

  • Fireplaces: If you have fireplaces inside and/or fire pits outside, this is an attractive feature. Mention that indoor guests can sip hot cocoa or drink wine by the fire. Outside they could roast marshmallows and make s’mores.

 

  • Flowers: As long as you know your guests do not have any allergies, displaying fresh flowers on throughout your B&B is a nice added touch. These flowers could come from your own garden or a local florist, farmers market, or grocery store.

 

  • Frequent stay: Reward your repeat guests in some way. This could be a free upgraded room, a free bottle of wine, free massage, or even an extra night.

 

  • Games: Do you offer cards, board games, or even video games at your inn? You may have a pool table or air hockey table or even have a horseshoe pit outside. Blog about the games that your guests enjoy playing at your bed and breakfast.

 

  • Garden: Guests love to walk the grounds of bed and breakfasts with gardens of all kinds, including: flower gardens, produce gardens, and rock gardens.

 

  • Handicap accessible: Do you accommodate handicapped people? If you have these available, discuss your ramps, ground floor guest rooms, wheelchair friendly bathrooms, and elevators in a blog post.

 

  • History: Many bed and breakfasts are registered historic places. You could blog about the history of your B&B including its former occupants and what it was used for. Some bed and breakfasts were once private residences, boarding schools, or used for other purposes.

 

  • Holiday: Use the time leading up to holidays to show pictures of how your inn is decorated and discuss local events related to the holidays.

 

  • Honeymooners: Many couples choose to stay at a bed and breakfast for their honeymoon. You may even have a Honeymoon Suite as part of your inn.

 

  • Innkeepers: Your guests want to know more about the innkeepers, the people who run your inn.

 

  • Just in Time: You could offer discounts based on the time of their stay. This could be last minute specials, mid-week discounts, or stay for a specific number of nights and get the next night free.

 

  • Kid-friendly: All bed and breakfast inns need to establish their minimum age requirement. Some bed and breakfasts cater to romance and do not allow anyone under a specific age to stay overnight. Others B&B’s are known as “kid friendly” and welcomes kids as well as provide accommodations like adjoining rooms.

 

  • Lakes: Being located on a lake is a tremendous advantage. If your guests can go fishing, swimming, waterskiing, rafting, canoeing, or do any other water-related activities, this is an opportunity to blog about it and share pictures.

 

  • Leisure activities: Anything that your guests can do for fun should be mentioned in your blog. I recommend having a list of links to local leisure activities such as amusement parks and golf courses.

 

  • Libraries: Do you have a common room that is perfect for guests to read in? Do you have a library of books available for them to use during their stay? If so, you could write a blog post about it. If you know a local author (or happen to be one yourself), consider hosting a book talk or book signing. Your library can include movies that guests can watch in their rooms.

 

  • Linens: Brag about your high thread count sheets, plush towels, and luxurious robes.

 

  • Local area: Find out why most people visit your area and blog about those reasons often. For example, if you are located near a famous race car track, feature that.

 

  • Membership: Belonging to associations can attract more guests. Guests rest easy when they know that you are part of a bed and breakfast association; have a certain Diamond rating, and so on. Membership in these organizations adds credibility.

 

  • Mountains: Bed and breakfasts located in the mountains can show their breathtaking views and discuss those pictures on their blog and website.

 

  • Museums: There are many types of museums that could be in your local area: art museums, history museums, natural science museums, and even sports museums (or hall of fames). If your inn is near any museums, blog about this.

 

  • Mysteries: Some bed and breakfasts offer Murder Mystery evenings or weekends. This may even include a dinner and/or getting into a costume. Those who like reading mystery novels are great candidates for people who are likely to enjoy these kinds of mysteries.

 

  • Night walk: Some local area events happen late at night or you could host your own night tour.

 

  • Occasion: A special occasion might bring people to your inn. This could be an anniversary or even a family reunion or class reunion.

 

  • Outdoors: It is important to know what people like to do outdoors in your area.   It often depends upon the weather your area receives and the topography of your region.

 

  • Packages: Add more value by putting together guest packages based upon interests, seasons, area activities, occasions, and much more. This could mean making arrangements, on behalf of your guests, for restaurants, tours, concerts, and more.

 

  • Partnerships: You may decide it is in your best interest to form partnerships with local business people. For example, in exchange for exclusively using only their business, you can get a deal with a local florist to reduce their rates.

 

  • Patios: If you have an outdoor patio area for your guests, take pictures of it. Blog about any outdoor events you hosted on your patio.

 

  • Patriotic: American patriotic holidays include Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veterans Day. Your bed and breakfast may decorate, host events, and/or offer patriotic packages.

 

  • Pets: Your bed and breakfast may not allow pets or the only pets allowed are the innkeepers. Other bed and breakfast inns may accommodate pets in certain places of the inn (like the first floor, rooms with private exits, and private cottages) or it could be entirely pet friendly. If your B&B does allow pets, you could devote a blog post about the lovable pets that have stayed.

 

  • Pictures: They can say much more than words ever will. Be sure to have flattering pictures of your bed and breakfast inn on your website and in your blog posts. The pictures should accurately represent what your inn looks like today.

 

  • Pools: If your B&B has an indoor or outdoor pool or hot tub, you can share pictures of that. Guests really appreciate private in room hot tubs.

 

  • Porches: Many bed and breakfasts are known for their porches. Share pictures of your porch with its rockers, swing, and other furniture.

 

  • Promotions: Bed and breakfasts can offer special promotions based on the holidays, seasons, and local events. This could include discounts, complimentary services, and free upgrades.

 

  • Quiet: Guests like to get away from the noise of everyday life. If you live in a tranquil setting, write about the compliments you receive about being a quiet place to stay.

 

  • Recreation: Discuss types of recreation guests can take part in on your property as well as in your local area.

 

  • Redecorating/remodeling: Feature the before and after pictures from a recent redecorating or remodeling project. Blog about how and why you decided to make those changes as well as why guests will want to visit.

 

  • Referrals: Give your guests incentives to make referrals to their friends and family. The incentive could be a discount on their next stay.

 

  • Restaurant: If you own your own bed and breakfast restaurant, this part of your inn may be open to the public. This is a great way to draw new overnight guests by giving them a taste of your incredibly delicious food when they come to dine at your restaurant.

 

  • Retreats: You could offer retreats like yoga retreats, scrapbooking retreats, or business retreats. Blog about the variety of retreats you offer.

 

  • Reviews: Share genuinely positive reviews you have of local places of interest to your potential guests.

 

  • Romantic: Bed and breakfasts may be the perfect place to rekindle the romance in your relationship. Relationship building is one of the primary reasons people take vacations.

 

  • Seasons: Decorate your inn to reflect each new season. This encourages people to return at a different time in the year to enjoy that time, too.

 

  • Shopping: Whether you have your own bed and breakfast shop or you are near a lot of wonderful area shopping malls and retail outlets, guests who like to shop will want to read about the shopping that is available in your local area.

 

  • Spas: You may have your own spa or have a partnership with a local spa or masseuse to provide spa services. Having these services sets you apart from other lodging accommodations.

 

  • Sports: Bed and breakfasts near sporting arenas and stadiums can blog about local sports teams season schedules, players, and coaches. Innkeepers might provide a Sports Package that includes tickets to their choice of certain local sporting events.

 

  • Tea: Bed and breakfasts may have a tea time or even a tea room. They may serve scones, tea sandwiches, cookies, and other finger food.

 

  • Ultimate experience: Position your bed and breakfast inn as the ultimate experience in lodging accommodations, hospitality, and cuisine. Encourage guests to give you a five star rating, or if they cannot do so, to talk with you about it instead of sharing their less than 5 star rating. This keeps up your image as the ultimate experience and gives you valuable input for how you can improve your guest experience.

 

  • Videos: If your bed and breakfast has its own video, be sure to put that on your website in a prominent place for your web visitors to see. Videos show more than pictures do. This allows your guests to get a feel for the layout of your bed and breakfast.

 

  • Weddings: If your inn hosts weddings, it is wise to dedicate a place on your website for that as well as to blog about it. Smaller bed and breakfasts may do small weddings or elopements.

 

  • Wine: Depending upon your state laws and licensing, you may host wine tastings or allow your guests to bring their own wine. You may even offer your guests the opportunity to tour one or more local vineyards in your area.

 

  • Xtra special: This was my “extra special” attempt to come up with a word that starts with “X.” It is important that your guests feel extra special not just when they arrive, but from the moment they see your website and speak with you over the phone.  Your bed and breakfast should have a great reputation.

 

  • Young and old guests: Bed and breakfasts appeal to young couples as well as older ones. You may have guests that return regularly over the years. That is great to have such loyalty and friendship with your guests.

 

  • Zzz…. Are your guests ready to have a restful experience at your inn? Make sure that your mattresses are comfortable. Be sure to offer extra pillows and blankets. Have a night light for guests to see their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Be sure to share your blog posts regularly in social media.  No time to write your own blog posts?  Contact us about your bed and breakfast blogging.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Easily Attract More Guests To Your Inn

Attract-More-Guests

 

 

 

How to easily attract more guests to your inn?  One key component is to focus on good things to do, things to see, food to taste, places to explore, and places to go in your local area.

 

 

 

First, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do most people visit our local area? (ex: for a romantic getaway in a secluded area or in a bustling city with lots of culture)
  • What do people like to do when they visit my area? (ex: attend a major business conference or participate in a marathon for your favorite cause)
  • How could I convince someone to want to visit my area? (ex: write great content about your local area and develop a reputation for showing warm hospitality to your guests)
  • Do I ask for guests to give me great online reviews?  Tell guests when they arrive,  that if for some reason they do not have a five star experience with you, to let them know in person how it could have been better.  For the few who were disappointed, perhaps offer them an upgraded room or some other perk if they decide to return again.  Make it your marketing mission to get 5 star reviews online so others will want to visit.

As you read this list, think about what you could feature in your local area:

Things to Do

  • Bowling
  • Canoeing
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Fairs
  • Festivals
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Horseback riding
  • Hunting
  • Local shopping
  • Marathons
  • Miniature golf
  • Quilting
  • Reading
  • Shopping
  • Spa relaxing
  • Sports
  • Walking
  • Writing
  • Yoga

Things to See

  • Ballet
  • Bird watching
  • Book stores
  • Circus
  • Comedy
  • Concerts
  • Movies
  • Parades
  • Photography
  • Sporting events
  • Theatre

Food to Taste

  • Bakeries
  • Bars
  • Coffee shops
  • Food trucks
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Picnicking
  • Restaurants

Places to Explore

  • Attractions
  • Colleges and universities
  • Galleries
  • Historical landmarks
  • House hunting
  • Lakes
  • Malls
  • Mountains
  • Museums
  • Parks

Places to Go

  • Arenas
  • Churches
  • Conferences
  • Retreats
  • Stadiums
  • Workshops

attract more guests

 

Another important key to attract more guests is to establish relationships with these other local proprietors. Perhaps the business person will give you a reasonable deal in exchange for exclusively their particular type of business (such as using only one local florist for all of your flower arrangements).  Consider putting together guest packages that include local area businesses:

 

  • reservations at a nearby restaurant
  • tickets to a local game
  • gift certificate to a relaxing spa (or your own spa)

When you categorize your blog posts, this allows your web visitors to easily go to the content that best fits their needs.  For example, some of my blog categories include:

  • Activities
  • Amenities
  • Conferences
  • Events
  • Food
  • Guests
  • Publicity
  • Renovating
  • Success

Write about what makes your area a destination for most people.  For some, this could mean featuring local concerts at your popular entertainment venues or dishes from award-winning restaurants.  If your bed and breakfast is in a place known for popular events (such as film festivals), be sure to promote that.

Write about things that make your inn unique.  Give them reasons to choose your inn for their accommodations.  Does your bed and breakfast have its own restaurant, horse farm, gift shop, spa, or something else?  Maybe you have amenities such as hot tubs and fireplaces in private guest rooms.  For those who cater to the business traveler, be sure to talk about your free wi-fi internet access as well as desks with comfortable office chairs.

In summary, write blog posts and put on social media the things that are popular in your local area as well as what makes your inn so special.  Offer packages that include things only found in your area.  Be sure to encourage five star reviews from your guests.  This is how you will easily attract more guests to your bed and breakfast inn!

 

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Making Lists

the power of making lists

 

In her book, How Much Joy Can You Stand?: A Creative Guide to Facing Your Fears and Making Your Dreams Come True, Suzanne Falter-Barns, focuses on the power of making lists.  She suggest making the following lists:

 

  • 10 Things You are Passionate About
  • 10 Things You Love About Your Life
  • 10 Things That Are Uniquely You
  • 10 Things You Would Like to Share
  • 10 Things You Could Fix or Change About the World
  • 10 Things You’d Like To Do Before You Die

The power of making lists comes from reflecting and writing down the answers to these lists.  You will know more about yourself. You will recognize what you are passionate about and what you love about your life.  You will know what makes you, well–you!

You will think of specific things you can share (time, talents, or money).  You will think about what you could help fix or what you would like to change about the world.

Lastly, you will have the opportunity to think of things you would like to do before you die (your personal bucket list). Many people have testified to putting down the most unlikely events and they came true! 

“Shark Tank” Investor and successful entrepreneur Barbara Cocoran, who uses lists to overcome her time constraints, organizes her lists into the following three sections:

  • Calls to make
  • Things to review
  • Projects to do

As you write the answers to these lists down, you will know more about yourself and your goals and dreams. I challenge you to experience the power of making lists! Lists also let you evaluate how you are spending your time. It is easy to be busy, but harder to be effective. The power of making lists may be that it changes your life!

Note: I receive Amazon Affiliate commissions from purchases made through the Amazon link.

The Quick and Easy Way to Market Your Bed and Breakfast

market-your-bed-and-breakfast

 

 

Looking for the quick and easy way to market your bed and breakfast? Share information from our essential bed and breakfast content checklist.  This can be shared on your website pages, in blog posts, in social media, in emails, in videos, and more.  

 

 

Essential Bed and Breakfast Content Checklist:

 

  • Activities: What can people do when they stay at your inn?  This includes activities at the inn as well as activities at places and events in your local area.

 

  • Amenities: What amenities do your guests have access to?  Perhaps you have something as unique as a heated pool or billiards room.  The picture shows a lovely outdoor area for guests to relax and hear music.  Be sure to list every amenity your inn offers.

 

  • Area: Think about why people visit your local area.  Do you provide information that includes the many reasons people decide to stay at your inn? 

 

  • Associations/Ratings: Do you belong to any B&B associations that regularly inspect your inn for quality assurance? Let your guests know what professional associations you belong to as well as any ratings of distinction such as Select Registry or Historic Hotels of America.

 

  • Blog: Do you have a blog? Blogs are great places to regularly share new information such as seasonal changes, local annual events, and more.  

 

  • Decorating: Do you have any decorating tips to share? Perhaps you could feature pictures of your decor and give ideas for how guests can make their own homes more decorative.

 

  • Employees: No matter the size of your staff, you can share a picture of them and some fun facts about them.  Include where they are originally from and a brief background like their favorite sports team, college alma mater, favorite breakfast food, favorite thing to do in your local area, etc.  Also let guests know what roles they have at your inn. 

 

  • Events: This includes both activities that happen at your inn as well as local activities.  Be aware of any major local activities and conferences to specifically attract those guests.  

 

  • Food: Food is so popular that entire television channels are devoted to it! Share recipes to your most popular items and share behind-the-scenes photos of preparing for breakfast.  Feature your farm fresh produce.

 

  • Fun: Highlight the fun that happens at your inn.  This could feature guests (with their permission) having fun in common rooms or anywhere on your property.  

 

  • Gardening/Landscaping: Do you have award-winning gardens? Do you have attractive fountains and outdoor sculptures? Do you have hanging outdoor lights to shine at night? What is in bloom right now at your inn?  Focus on seasonal changes and promote Fall Foliage if that is something your area is known for.  

 

  • Guests: Think about what types of guests you attract.  If the guests tell you the reason for their visit or activities they participated in, make a note of it.  Offer recommendations to local restaurants and shops.

 

  • History: Do you have a historical inn? If so, consider sharing your B&B’s unique history.  If you built your inn, share pictures of its construction and your motivation for building your own B&B.

 

  • Holidays: Does your inn show off unique decorations with each holiday? Valentine’s Day is just one of the many holidays that bed and breakfasts can feature in blog posts and on social media. If you have any holiday-related packages, be sure to feature them during that time.

 

  • Promotion: Consider promoting local events and businesses. You may want to feature a contest on your website and/or social media.  Require those who enter your contest to enter by sharing their email address.  Then you can add them to your email list.

 

  • Publicity: Was your inn featured in a magazine or the local news?  Be sure to have links to any publicity your inn receives listed on your website and share it in social media.

 

  • Renovation: Did you renovate or redecorate any areas of your inn?  Share before and after photos of any indoor or outdoor transformations.  Describe the process it took to get it from the before picture to the after picture.  There are lots of people who would be interested in learning how you remodeled that space.

 

  • Success: Did you receive an award for something? Perhaps your won a local recipe contest.  Maybe you received an award in your local town as an elite place to stay overnight.  Be sure to include this in your content.

 

  • Support: Do you support any charities or host charity events? Do you sponsor any local teams or events? Any community outreach you do can be featured in your content.  Share pictures of the events. 

This list is certainly not exhaustive. There may be other areas to promote, depending upon where you are located, the types of guests you host, and the unique accommodations you provide.  The key is to regularly share new content. This makes you more visible online when people go to search for specific keywords.  

Not sure what keywords you should feature? Consider using the name of your city, popular tourist destinations, popular local activities, and so on.  That way if someone types in “your city name and a popular activity” they could find your content and land on your website.  

Need help marketing your inn?  Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free consultation.  Bed and Breakfast Blogging specializes in not only blogging, but also social media marketing, email marketing, reputation management, and more. 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How to Host Elegant Private Parties at Your Inn

host-elegant-private-parties

Wondering how to host elegant private parties at your inn?  All types of private parties may be hosted at your inn, depending upon your inn’s location, accommodations, amenities, and space.  Another factor in determining which types of parties to host can be the number of rooms or areas (indoor and outdoor) that you have to offer your party guests. 

 

It is important to specify on your website and in your marketing materials the square footage of each space as well as the number of guests you can comfortably accommodate. Indicate if there are handicap-accessible areas for your guests.  Also specify your policies on catering and access to your kitchen. Do you want to cater the events yourself or do you have a “preferred list of vendors” that you work with?

Rental rates depend upon the time of year, the type of event, and the length of their visit.  It is important to NOT specify prices IF you want to give yourself some flexibility when it comes to pricing.  Some types of parties are more expensive to host than others.  Also, some guests can be “harder to please” than others.

 

Let’s talk about parties that typically take place during the day time.  This could include the following:

Baby showers: Have you thought of hosting baby showers for expectant parents?

Tea parties: Do you have a tea room or host afternoon tea parties for your guests?

Wedding showers: Even if you do not host actual weddings, could you host wedding showers for soon-to-be-married couples?

 

Parties that typically could take place both day time and night time:

Book signings: Do you have famous local authors interested in you hosting their private book signing party?

Family reunion celebrations: Is your inn located in a centrally convenient place for families from several popular areas to meet?

Fundraisers: Do you host parties for non-profit organizations raising money for good causes?

Graduation parties: Are you located in a city known for its local colleges and universities?

 

Now, let’s focus on parties that typically take place during the evening.  They include:

Dinner parties: What organizations (profit and nonprofit) would potentially be interested in you hosting their dinner party?

Formal dances: Perhaps your local Historical Society or Chambers of Commerce would like you to host a formal dance?

Murder mystery parties:  Even if you have not hosted them before, what about arranging for a murder mystery party at your inn?

Wedding receptions:  Do you host weddings and/or receptions?  

 

Have a different checklist of items, depending upon the type of party:

Beverages: is this an event that typically serves alcohol?; do you have a license to sell alcohol or do you allow guests to bring their own libations?; non-alcoholic beverages include: punch, juice, non-alcoholic fruity drinks (a.k.a. “mocktails”), soda, tea, and water

Date and time options: list available dates and times for each type of event (this is why you must keep a very organized calendar)

Decorations: of course the decorations will depend not only on the type of gathering you are hosting, but also if it has a particular theme; you may have some decorations that you can buy to regularly display (such as a lacy antique baby buggy as baby shower decor for every baby shower you host)

Flowers: consider coordinating all of your floral arrangement requests with one particular florist (so in exchange they give you a discount for your exclusive business)

Food: if you are catering, offer a variety of menu choices for each type of party; consider accommodating particular dietary needs or preferences of your group (such as gluten-free, low cholesterol, low sugar, non-dairy, vegan, vegetarian, etc.)

Location: specify the places on your property that will be reserved strictly for the party guests for each party type you host as well as how many people each place can accommodate  

Music: provide a list of music (either a selection of live performers or recordings of musicians) that guests have the option of hearing; the music you play at a baby shower will be different than the music played at a wedding reception

Party events and games: fundraising parties may feature an auction whereas baby showers may have a variety of fun games for the expectant parents

Pictures: if possible, take lots of pictures of the event to share with the people who arranged for the event to take place at your inn; always ask permission before sharing photos of guests attending private parties at your inn with the public (through your website, blog, social media, or in photo collections for potential clients to see)

Price: of course you should make a profit from hosting private parties; think about potential costs associated with different events (including the cleaning and not being able to use the inn for other events at that time)

It helps, but it is not a requirement to have a professional wedding or party planner on your staff.  You may want to work out an arrangement with a local wedding or party planner to handle all of the planning details given your specific list of requirements (including costs, caterers, etc.).  In addition to renting out rooms, you can make a pretty profit hosting events (even when you have to give a percentage to a professional party planner who manages all the details for you). 

For even more suggestions, please watch the Professional Association of Innkeepers International webinar where I gave a presentation of how to host elegant private parties at your inn.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Why Your Inn Will Profit From Blogging

your inn will profit from blogging

 

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.

 

your inn will profit from blogging

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

your inn will profit from blogging

 

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.

 

Note: I receive Amazon Affiliate commissions from purchases made through these Amazon links.

 

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Thee Matriarch Boutique Inn

 

Thee Matriarch

Thee Matriarch Boutique Inn is celebrating three years of upscale bed and breakfast hospitality.  Rachelle Jamerson-Holmes used her design talents to skillfully decorate their Victorian manor in Orangeburg, South Carolina.  Husband Chef Fred Holmes is the culinary expert behind all the delicious gourmet food they prepare.

 

 

They actively host a wide variety of events right at their inn:

  • Top Chef Tuesdays: Every third Tuesday the community can come out and enjoy an international food, dessert and beverage tasting in a relaxed environment complete with sheer fun and networking. The cooking is prepared by local featured chefs, pastry chefs, caterers, cafes, bistros, and restaurants.
  • First Fridays: Every first Friday of each month Thee Matriarch invites you to experience a tantalizing feast of savory mouthwatering southern style favorites and their healthy alternatives.  Enjoy delightful lunch and dinner items created by Chef Fred!
  • Wine Tastings: Thee Matriarch offers a complimentary private guided wine tour of boutique, handcrafted, artisan wines from the wine country of California.  Taking their guests on a “colorful journey” of whites and red as they pair them with cheese and chocolates.

Thee-MatriarchThee-Matriarch

Thee Matriarch is listed in Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the 7 Top Black-Owned Bed and Breakfasts in America.  Rachelle and Fred make their guests feel welcome from the moment they walk in the door.  Whether they come for an event or stay overnight as a guest, their guests leave feeling even better than when they first arrived.

Everyone needs a little rest and relaxation.  They were voted one of the 12 Unforgettable Vacations in South Carolina If You Feel Like Really Splurging by the “Only In Your State” South Carolina website.

Millenium Magazine stated in their recent article, “Thee Matriarch Ranks Among the Top Boutiques” that “the couples love for people and their community fuels their enthusiasm to service their guest with excellent customer service, attention to details and personal attention.”

In Carolina Panorama’s article, “Best of the Best Orangeburg Couple’s Bed and Breakfast Named Among The Best Regional and National Boutique Inns”: “Designer Rachelle has elegantly restored and beautifully designed Thee Matriarch to appeal to business and leisure travelers satisfying the need for a full-service small- to medium-size venue for corporate retreats, seminars, family and class reunions, showers, weddings and receptions. An ideal setting for BFF, spa and golf getaways, Thee Matriarch’s Chef Fred crafts tantalizing cuisines of every genre for any occasion offering on and off property catering services.  Each bite will make your soul sing and yearn for more.”

Hosts Rachelle and Fred show their guests warm Southern hospitality.  Stay with them at Thee Matriarch in Orangeburg, South Carolina the next time you travel to the Palmetto State!

The Esmeralda Inn of Chimney Rock

Esmeralda Inn

Don and Kim Cason are no strangers to hospitality and innkeeping.  Before becoming the current innkeepers of The Esmeralda Inn and Restaurant of Chimney Rock, North Carolina, they were innkeepers (for over ten years) at Eight Gables Inn of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  The couple thoroughly searched twenty-two different properties and kept coming back to The Esmeralda.  Now they call it home and welcome guests from all over the world to visit.  They revealed some of The Esmeralda Inn’s fascinating history.

The Esmeralda Inn built originally by Colonel Tom Turner in 1891 and opened for business in 1892.  Turner named the Inn for the book Esmeralda by Frances Hodges Burnett (author of The Secret Garden), written while she was staying at a nearby inn. A play, based on the book, enjoyed a year’s run on Broadway.

Tragically, a fire burned down The Esmeralda Inn in 1917.  Rebuilt on the original foundation, the location of the Inn was Esmeralda, North Carolina since a post office was at the Inn in 1917 and where Thomas Turner, son of Colonel Turner, served as postmaster. The post office discontinued in 1926.  Later, the town’s name changed to Chimney Rock (after one of its most popular tourist attractions).

Esmeralda Inn

When Hurricane Fran (along with a 200-year flood) hit North Carolina in 1996, the people who lost their homes stayed at The Esmeralda Inn.  The Esmeralda Inn was higher ground than the land of most local flood victims, so the Inn took those people in and provided water, showers, and lodging for several months.

After the flood, lumberjacks salvaged huge wooden logs floating down the river, separating the good ones from the bad.  Unfortunately, a second fire to The Esmeralda Inn occurred in 1997.  This was just a year after Hurricane Fran and, remembering the inn’s generosity, the local community pulled together to help rebuild the inn.

They used about seven hundred of the best logs to rebuild the inn.  The logs were split (and partially hollowed out) to fit around new steel beams.   The steel-girded new structure appears to be made entirely of wood, but owners Don and Kim Cason are confident that this steel reinforced structure, along with added sprinklers, will prevent The Esmeralda Inn from ever burning down again.

A local Asheville artist volunteered his time to work on the stunning staircase.  He wove Laurel Vine throughout the banisters.  Two stones from its former structure cap the bottom sides of the rugged stairs.

Esmeralda Inn

The hardwood floorboards in the Lobby were from the original dance floor, constructed by Hollywood in nearby Lake Lure, North Carolina, for the famous movie, “Dirty Dancing.”  Hollywood has filmed other movies such as “The Last of The Mohicans” and “Firestarters” in this local area as well.  In fact, the inn became a favorite hideaway for famous film stars, including Clark Gable.  Speaking of films, the script for the movie Ben Hur was finished in Room #9 of The Esmeralda Inn.

A more recent addition, the historic mantel (not pictured above) came from Indiana.  Since it matched the right time in history, it shipped to The Esmeralda Inn.  Part of their chandelier comes from a wagon wheel of an old stagecoach.  The Esmeralda Inn was formerly the first stagecoach stop in the area.

A historic photo in the Esmeralda Inn Lobby depicts a car driving up the massive front steps of the Inn to allow President Franklin D. Roosevelt to enter in his wheelchair.  This was before the convenience of handicap ramps.  The Esmeralda Inn now provides wheelchair access.

Many modern day notables also stay at the Inn, but out of respect for their privacy, Don and Kim Cason do not disclose their names.  However, given its consistently high reviews and previous well-known visitors, there is always the possibility of meeting a famous guest at The Esmeralda Inn.

Owners Don and Kim Cason (and the whole Esmeralda Inn team) have a deep desire to serve every guest that walks through their doors.  Along with their attentive staff, they anticipate needs ahead of time.  The Casons enjoy their family-run bed and breakfast inn.  Kim’s sister is the talented pastry chef, her sister’s husband is the executive chef, and her nephew is the Sous chef.

Esmeralda Inn

Each morning guests delight in a gourmet full hot homemade breakfast.  The Esmeralda Restaurant is open to the public for lunch and dinner and offers exclusive wines and local craft beer.  Don Cason said that The Esmeralda Inn sold out of tickets for the last Thanksgiving Dinner.  They served about two-hundred people at three different times that holiday: noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm.

Esmeralda Inn

The bistro lights on the deck of the restaurant are romantic when they shine at night.  We highly recommend their juicy steak as well as their fresh caught grilled salmon.  From our outdoor table, we could see the famous Chimney Rock.  In view, a gorgeous little waterfall trickles down the huge stones.  The lush landscaping is evident everywhere the eye can see.

Exiting the restaurant and taking the elevator leads to the open second floor.  It boasts a high ceiling with view of the main level below.  In addition to two guest bedrooms (each with private balconies), this floor has a huge game room.  Kim Cason, not only has a background in hospitality, she also has a talent for interior decorating.  This is especially evident in her selection of décor throughout the inn.

Kim’s choice of pictures hanging on the walls in the game room gives the room a classy look.

  • Dice framed
  • Pool ball painting
  • Royal cards framed
  • Poker hand rankings
  • Albert Dawson clocks

The game room features:

  • Wrap around couch with ottoman in view of a huge flat screen television
  • Round Scrabble high table with dictionary with two high-back chairs
  • Telescope for viewing the night sky or the pool and landscaping by day
  • Checkers and chess set on a round table with two high-back chairs
  • Red Billiard table with balls, triangle, sticks, chalk
  • Poker table with poker chips and cards—it even has cup holders
  • Foosball table
  • Air hockey table

Connected to the game room is a little kitchen with a dumbwaiter to receive food from the kitchen on the main level.  The Esmeralda Inn often hosts events such as corporate groups (companies will rent the whole inn), local fundraisers, and elegant weddings (with up to 75 people).

The room just past the game room on the second level is a multipurpose room.  A large roundtable, with leather executive chairs around it, is useful for companies who book the entire inn.  This area also has a privacy screen and fits up to two spa tables for couples’ massages.  Their spa is ideal for anniversaries and marriage retreats.

Esmeralda Inn

We recommend going outside at night.  There is a stone patio with an outdoor fireplace for roasting marshmallows and making S’mores. Next to the outdoor fountain, there is a fifteen-person hot tub with jets and lights. There are towels available outside for your convenience.

Speaking of towels, it may seem like a little thing, but I just loved the little black washcloth with the word “makeup” stitched on it.  I am sure this has saved their white towels from cosmetic stains.  The bathroom even had an adorable black bag hanging up labeled “hairdryer.”  It worked well to dry my hair after it got wet from using their relaxing hot tub.

Esmeralda Inn

All Esmeralda Inn rooms come with:

In addition to enjoying the amenities at The Esmeralda Inn, the greater Chimney Rock area offers many activities and attractions for guests to experience.

Area Activities:

  • Championship Golf
  • Fly Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Rock Climbing
  • Water Sports
  • White Water Rafting
  • Zip Lining

Area Attractions:

  • Asheville: art, Biltmore Estate (with its great architecture, gardens, history, winery, shops, and tours), lively music, shopping
  • Bat Cave: local jams and crafts, nature conservancy, old cider mill, working cider mill
  • Black Mountain: historic downtown with great galleries, majestic mountain views, and elegant shops
  • Blue Ridge Parkway: access in Asheville (about 30 minutes from The Esmeralda Inn)
  • Chimney Rock State Park: hiking, family activities, rock climbing, scenic views
  • Dupont State Forest: hiking, breathtaking views, waterfalls
  • Flatrock: home of late poet and writer Carl Sandburg, Playhouse State Theatre of NC, rainbow row
  • Hendersonville: annual NC Apple Festival every Labor Day Weekend, dining, main street shopping, summertime music and events
  • Lake Lure: boat tours, canoe and kayak rentals, swimming
  • Mount Mitchell State Forest: highest point east of the Mississippi with gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Pisgah National Forest: cradle of forestry

The Esmeralda Inn is a proud member of the North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns (NCBBI) Association as well as an elite Select Registry member inn.

Esmeralda Inn

Nestled in the rocky woodland setting, The Esmeralda Inn stands out as the jewel of Chimney Rock.  Guests will continue to visit The Esmeralda Inn for its unique amenities, beautiful scenery, and welcoming hospitality.  In their restaurant, the wall has a saying written on it, “May all who enter as guests, leave as friends.”  Thank you, Don and Kim Cason as well as the entire Esmeralda Inn team, for a wonderful experience.  As many have written in your guest book, “we will return and next time our visit will be longer!”

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