Tag Archives: guests

How To Create Remarkable Holiday and Seasonal Packages

I am presenting a Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) webinar called “Creating Holiday and Seasonal B&B Packages” on Wednesday September 20, 2017 at 2 pm EST.  Attendees will hear examples from actual holiday and seasonal packages currently (or previously offered) at B&B inns.  

You will learn WHY you should offer holiday and seasonal B&B packages to your guests.  Hint: it has to do with repeat visits throughout the year AND adding an additional stream of revenue to your business.  

Discover why it is important to customize your own packages.  Take your local area into account as well as the interests of the types of guests you host.  Your packages can also relate to a specific culture, your inn’s history, your inn or city’s name, and your guest room themes.

We will discuss the disclaimers you may want to add to set clear guidelines and manage expectations.  I will discuss key issues that matter to your bottom line.  

Your inn can celebrate many seasons and holidays, including:

  • Fall
  • Halloween
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Winter
  • December Holidays
  • New Years Eve
  • Groundhog Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Spring
  • Easter
  • Mother’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Summer
  • Father’s Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day

I give specific examples of real bed and breakfast packages that relate to the seasons and to holidays.  I state that the best way to learn more about the packages is to click on their respective website links.  For those of you who would like my list of links as well as my list of potential disclaimers you may want to add to your packages, please contact me and I will email you that information.

I do share which season of the year has the least amount of packages during its months.  This is a great opportunity to stand out by being the inn that offers a package for only during those few months.  

You may email me any questions you have after watching my presentation.  I am happy to provide specific, practical advice about how you can maximize packages at your inn.  I will insert the link to watch the webinar right here

Bed and Breakfast Blogging helps places of hospitality grow their business through strategic online marketing which includes blogging, social media, and email marketing.  The bottom line is that we can improve your bottom line!  

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Do You Know What Makes Your Inn Stand Out?

What makes your inn stand out? Does it have a great view like the picture above?  It is critical to know what makes your bed and breakfast different from the others in your area. What types of guests do you attract?  What kinds of guests do you want to attract?  

Be sure to promote your unique features to potential guests on your website, on social media, in blog posts, and in the directories you are listed in.  Are you the #1 rated bed and breakfast in your area?  Have you won a bed and breakfast recipe contest?  Are you one of the sponsors of an upcoming local event?

There are many things that you are already doing or could start doing that could attract the right kind of guests you are looking for.  It may have to do with what is in your local area, what types of amenities your B&B has, the policies upon which you run your business, or your attentive concierge services and warm hospitality.  

Here is a list of ways to stand out:

  • Beach or waterfront property?  Ask your guests to share their photos online. Alternatively, ask the public to share their best pictures of relaxing in the sun to enter a photo contest to win a gift certificate to stay at your inn.
  • Eco-friendly bed and breakfasts can have a page on their website devoted to their environmentally safe practices and awards.
  • Game rooms?  With their permission, share photos of guests playing your games (ex: air hockey, chess, horseshoes, Scrabble, etc.).
  • Gift shop? Offer guests attractive items to purchase with your logo on them (such as decorative soaps, coffee mugs, aprons, and maybe even your own cookbook) so they are reminded of your inn every time they see or use the items.
  • Gourmet breakfasts so delicious they prompt guests to write great reviews about your inn.  Ask those who rave about your food to post on online review.
  • Handicap-accessible inns can show their ramps, bathrooms, ground floor rooms, and (if applicable) their elevators.  With guest permission, share pictures of trained guide dogs who have visited your inn.
  • Historical inn and/or unique antiques? Share photos and stories of the original family members that lived at your historic inn.  Share photos of the gorgeous antiques safely displayed throughout your inn.
  • Kid friendly?  Show pictures of rooms or suites that are suitable for families.  Write blog posts about local family attractions.  
  • Library? Attract more guests by sharing pictures of your library and by featuring a local author who will be speaking at an event (in or around) your bed and breakfast.
  • Luxurious amenities (such as a pool, hot tub, or spa) should be featured on your website and in your social media.
  • Mountain inns can share photos of majestic views as well as promote local activities such as hiking, skiing, and zip-lining.  
  • Mysteries? If you host murder mysteries, share pictures of your event (such as your guests dressed in costumes) on your website, blog, and social media.  
  • Packages? Feature tickets to popular local attractions (such as a theater or amusement park) and/or gift certificates to local fine dining restaurants .
  • Patriotic bed and breakfasts can display their country’s flag and offer a discount to those on active military duty and to veterans.
  • Pet-friendly bed and breakfasts can show pictures of pets at their property and take about their pet policies (including where pets are allowed to go).
  • Restaurant? Bed and breakfast inns with their own restaurant can feature photos of seasonal events (like Thanksgiving Day) as well as social events (like private parties). Regularly blog about popular signature dishes or feature the chefs and write about their culinary training and experience.
  • Retreats hosted at your inn?  Notify the media.  This is especially important if the person speaking at the retreat is famous or notable in their field.
  • Settings that are breathtaking, peaceful, and gorgeous should be shown in pictures to attract more guests.
  • Tea time? Whether you have a dedicated tea room open to the public or specific tea times only for your guests, promote tea time with pictures of your tea table settings and food as well as guest events like social hours or book clubs.  
  • Vegan or vegetarian bed and breakfasts can show pictures of delicious, hearty looking meals that are (surprisingly) within those diet restrictions.
  • Weddings at your inn?  Display pictures of places where the ceremony and reception can be held on the property.  With permission, share pictures of happy couples and of related events like vow renewals and elopements.  
  • Wine tastings? Whether you own the winery or offer a package for your guests to tour local wineries, describe the experiences that guests will have as well as share photos (with permission) of guests touring vineyards.  If transportation is provided during tours, be sure to mention that as well.  
  • Yoga is a great way for your guests to become stronger and more relaxed.  If you regularly offer yoga on site to your guests, be sure to share that on your website, in blog posts, and in photos on your social media.

Share your excellent ratings, reviews, and status.  This is not the time to be modest since your inn is your livelihood.  Link to your Trip Advisor rating, share guest reviews, and proudly put on your website if you belong to Select Registry, a bed and breakfast association, and other elite groups.  

No time or desire to manage your online marketing? Please contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging.  We can put a plan in place that will make your inn stand out!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Can Your B&B Guests Charge Their Devices?

Can your B&B guests charge their devices?  With an increasing number of people owning and traveling with multiple mobile electronic devices, bed and breakfast inns must think about offering places (especially in their guest rooms) for their bed and breakfast guests to charge their electronic devices.

For example, just one person could bring their business cell phone, personal cell phone, laptop, e-reader, tablet, i-Pod, etc. You get the picture!  

The location of the charging stations/outlets should be conveniently located.  No one wants to move or duck behind furniture to get to them.  Ideally, they should be on either side of the bed, they can be built into lamps or desks, and be put near bathroom mirrors and guest room entryways.  

New bed and breakfast construction should plan to offer more outlets and USB ports than what was once the standard number of outlets. Older accommodations can have their outlets “retro-fitted” to handle multiple devices.  Of course, make sure your outlet strips are surge protected.

The 1810 Emerson House Bed and Breakfast offers guest rooms with a dual USB wall outlet for ease of charging all their electronic devices.  If this historic property can add the technology later, then so can your inn if it needs to be updated.

The Inn on First in Napa, California not only offers iPod docks, but also i-Pods with curated playlists designed to heighten couples’ romance.  Now that is going above and beyond guest expectations!

Bed and breakfast inns should think about their “plug-ability” for the electronic devices of their guests. The last thing they want to do is search for hidden power outlets and find out they are not in convenient spots or that they have more devices than outlets in the room!

If you do have extra outlets and USB ports, be sure to mention that on the list of guest room amenities on your bed and breakfast website.  On social media, you can share a picture of your own phone, tablet, laptop, i-Pod, and/or e-reader charging in a guest room and write something clever like “Our guests can easily charge a variety of electronic devices in the privacy of their own rooms.”

This is especially useful if some of your guests tend to be business travelers.  Consider putting a blog post about your business amenities, including any meeting and/or banquet rooms.  Offering your guests the ability to safely charge multiple electronic devices in their own guest rooms is smart hospitality. 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Reach More Success By Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Reach more success by applying the lessons found in the new book, Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Rise to the Challenge, and Build Confidence by Andy Molinksky, Ph.D. Professor Molinsky teaches psychology and organizational behavior at Brandeis University.  

He starts out by asking how many of us have avoided opportunities that could have potentially led to real growth and development?  I would say all of us have shied away from doing something because we felt it was outside of our comfort zone.  

So what makes us hesitate to do things?  We have a tendency to avoid what makes us uncomfortable. Molinsky lists five challenges to overcome in order to step outside your comfort zone, rise to the challenge, and build your confidence:

  • Authenticity challenge: it may feel unnatural to you do this, but the more you do it the easier it will be
  • Likeability challenge: you fear that others won’t like you; don’t let what others think of you prevent you from doing something that will lead to your own improvement
  • Competence challenge: you fear you don’t have the skills or that you won’t be good at it; remember we are our own worst critic!
  • Resentment challenge: you are annoyed that you have to adapt your behavior; focus on what you are trying to accomplish and the annoyances will fade away 
  • Morality challenge: you may feel unethical (the example the author gives is that of a pediatrician who regrets seeing babies cry when he/she is injecting them with necessary vaccines to protect their long term health)

Molinsky details the following solutions:

  • Conviction: have a deep sense of purpose that it is necessary to make these changes; focus on how this behavior is actually helping 
  • Customization: change the way you do it so that it is more comfortable for you
  • Clarity: take an honest account of your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses 
  • Take the leap: when you willingly take the leap, you will discover that this isn’t so bad and this will reduce your anxiety and make you more likely to take leaps in the future; the more you do it, the more your anxiety diminishes

Possible examples of how these solutions can be applied to the bed and breakfast inn-keeping world:

  • Conviction: you may decide to focus on how your excluding guests under 12 is helping you cater to your adult guests who visit for a romantic getaway
  • Customization: you may decide the best way to prepare for the next morning’s breakfast is to have your guests check or circle a designated # of items from a list of food choices (ex: French toast or pancakes or waffles) when they check in
  • Clarity: you may realize that it is worth the extra money to employ a housekeeper so you can focus on what you like and do best
  • Take the leap: when you speak to potential guests over the phone, the more often you talk about your inn’s custom packages, the easier and more natural it will become to regularly mention them in future phone calls (and more revenue should come as a result)

While innkeepers are known for being warm, gracious, and outgoing, there are always more things we can do to step outside of our comfort zone.  Innkeepers, how did stepping outside your comfort zone improve your bed and breakfast inn business?  Please feel free to comment below.  

How To Get More Positive Reviews and How To Handle Negative Reviews


Do you wonder how to get more positive reviews or how to handle negative reviews?  Online guest reviews are increasingly important to travelers.  Around 9 out of 10 consumers read reviews before booking.  “Word of mouth” (especially online reviews) is a powerful thing.

Good reviews can attract more guests to your B&B and raise your profits.  Positive guest reviews give third-party proof that your inn is good as your website says it is. A higher number of positive online guest reviews encourages potential guests to stay at your accommodations since you appear reliable and trustworthy.  

Like it or not, reviews have a direct impact on:

  • your ranking on review sites
  • your ranking on third party websites (like online travel agencies)
  • your ranking in the search engines
  • your overall online reputation score
  • your overall sales and conversion rates

Your best line of defense is to always provide an exceptional stay and the best customer experience possible.  Set expectations appropriately: always under-promise and over-deliver.  Exceed your guests’ expectations.  Give every single guest the personal touch and make them feel like they have had a remarkable 5-star experience.  The majority of positive guest reviews come when guests are pleasantly surprised by the hospitality they receive.  

As guests are checking out, you can ask them about their stay.  Guests that give loved their stay should be encouraged to leave online reviews.  Tell them that reviews are important to your business and influential in improving the experience of their future visits.  

You may want to give your guests a scenic postcard (maybe with a photo of your inn’s best feature) with a personal message on it asking them for a review.  They will think of the good times and it will motivate them to write a kind review.  

In follow-up emails you can ask recent guests to leave a review.  If someone states something positive about your inn, encourage them to share their praise online. Social media is a good place to share positive online reviews. 

Respond to all reviews (good and bad) even with a brief comment.  Thank them for taking the time to write their review and show your appreciation of their visit.  

Did you know that the #1 cause of dissatisfied guests is unfulfilled expectations? For the guests who bring up a negative issue, do everything in your power to make it right. Respond to 100% of negative reviews within 24 hours.  Address the specifics in their complaint.  

Always maintain a professional tone in response to negative reviews. Start by addressing the guest’s name, show your sincerity, let the reviewer and potential guests know you are sorry if it was your fault and you can apologize that their experience was not to their satisfaction.  Let them know about your standard of service.  

Do not confront the person publicly.  Too many businesses make the mistake of defending themselves and not acknowledging their own mistakes.  This always makes the situation worse.  Sincerely apologize that they didn’t feel you met their expectations.  

Remember that an apology is not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing.  In your response you can note how many years you have been in business and how many guests you have hosted.  “Our team uses very rare incidents like this one to fine tune our operations so that this never happens again.”  This is a good way to frame your business and make the guest feel acknowledged.  

Highlight any changes you have made or intend to make.  When answering a negative review, write it with your future guests in mind.  “We can guarantee that we won’t miss the mark in the future with our guests.”  

The proper response to a bad review can minimize the damage to your inn’s reputation by influencing prospective guests to think more highly of you.  Expressing sympathy that the guest experience fell short of their expectations can also repair your relationship with the unhappy reviewer.  

Thank them for their candid review of their recent stay.  Let them know that their feedback is extremely valuable to them as you strive to improve with each and every guest’s visit. Tell them you appreciate that they brought this to your attention.  Managing you B&B reputation can go a long way when it comes to keeping guests happy and more coming through your front door.  

How To Accomplish Your Bed and Breakfast Goals


Consider writing down your bed and breakfast goals for next year.  Use the famous SMART acronym to make decisions.  This will help you accomplish your bed and breakfast goals.

Specific: Make sure that your goals are very specific.  First, ask yourself some questions.  

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What types of repeat guests would we like to attract?  
  • Are guests coming to our local area for a specific reason or activity?
  • What types of local events in our area attract guests?  
  • What do guests tell us they like about my inn?  

Measurable: Goals need to be measurable to know if you have reached them. Quantifying your goals gives you something to strive for.  

  • By what percentage do we want our occupancy rates to go up?
  • How many more B&B packages could we sell this year?
  • What number of local business partnerships do we want to add this year?
  • How much money could we set aside to sponsor a local event?
  • How many private events should we host?

Attainable: Goals need to be reachable to motivate you do achieve them.  Setting impossible goals does not help you.  Make it a goal that is a stretch but doable.  

  • How many blog posts could we do this year?
  • How many e-newsletters would we produce?
  • What social media campaigns could we do?
  • Do we need to change our reservation software to give us better results?
  • Should we join a bed and breakfast association?

Relevant: Goals need to be suitable to what your inn and your local area offers.  Represent what your guests can expect from their stay with at your bed and breakfast.

  • What inn amenities could we promote?
  • Do we have any of the following: a restaurant, a gift shop, or a spa?
  • Do we have excellent local entertainment venues or other attractions?
  • Do we have up-to-date pictures of our bed and breakfast and food?
  • Could we support a local cause that has an event?

Time bound: Giving yourself a deadline makes your goals even more real.  Vague goals do not equal results.  

  • What are the due dates for our blog posts?
  • How many calls to potential local business partners do we make each month?
  • By what date should our bed and breakfast website be redesigned?
  • When do we need to finish this renovation project?
  • No later than what date should we put up our new bed and breakfast sign?

Success does not happen by accident, but by dedication and SMART goal planning.  What goals does your inn have for the coming year?  Feel free to comment below with what your bed and breakfast would like to accomplish.

Do you want to add or improve your blogging, social media, and/or reputation management strategy? Contact Bed and Breakfast Blogging at 919-931-6168 or email contact@bedandbreakfastblogging.com

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Add Bed and Breakfast Pillows That Impress


unique-angles-photography-bedroom-flowers-fireplace

Bed and breakfast pillows can enhance your inn’s decor and impress your guests.  It is possible to completely change the look and feel of a room just by adding or changing its pillows. What was once drab and ho-hum can now become colorful and inviting.

Of course, there are no official rules for displaying pillows.  If decorating is challenging, find a friend who is great at adding style and have him or her take a tour of the rooms your inn. Then ask for personalized advice and talk pillows! For more inspiration, look in the following places.

Look at Home Decorating Magazines:

  • Architectural Digest
  • Better Homes and Gardens
  • Country Home
  • Country Living
  • Elle Decor
  • House Beautiful
  • Metropolitan Home
  • Real Simple
  • Romantic Homes
  • This Old House
  • Traditional Home
  • Veranda

Watch Home Decorating TV Channels:

Visit Bed and Breakfast Websites Listing Award Winners:

Pillows have all different looks, such as:

  • abstract
  • casual
  • classic
  • delicate
  • earthy
  • eye-catching
  • fashionable
  • hand-woven
  • luxurious
  • original
  • playful
  • soft
  • textural
  • traditional
  • ultra-modern
  • whimsical

Pillows can be made from a variety of materials, including:

  • chenille
  • corduroy
  • cotton
  • faux fur
  • linen
  • outdoor fabric
  • silk
  • suede
  • tapestry
  • velvet
  • wool

Details can be added to pillows, like:

  • applique pillows
  • beads
  • embroidered pillows
  • fabric on fabric pillows
  • flocked pillows
  • hand-painted pillows
  • flange pillows
  • fringe trim pillows
  • piping and cording
  • ruffles

Pillow Pointers:

  • Use an odd number of pillows on beds, couches, and other furniture
  • Decorate with a variety of shapes and colors of pillows to add more interest
  • Make pillows for your bed out of the same material as a chair in the room
  • Contrast differed textured pillows such as silk and linen
  • Relate pillows (in the same room) to each other by the same palette or style
  • Feel free to add seasonal or holiday pillows depending upon the time of the year

One additional place is to look for decorative bed and breakfast pillows is on Pinterest.  I will give you the link to my Bed and Breakfast Blogging Pinterest board called B&B Pillows. Some of the Pinterest pins even show how to DIY pillows.  Happy bed and breakfast pillow decorating!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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

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