Tag Archives: ideas

Do Your B&B Headlines Get Attention?

Do your B&B headlines get attention?  Shown above is Co-Schedule’s free tool called the “Headline Analyzer.”  It promises that you will learn how to write headlines that drive traffic, shares, and search results.  This is especially important in the travel industry. 

So why are headlines so important? It’s because they’re the first lines of your copy that customers read. They create an initial impression that either draws readers in or pushes them away.  In this fast-paced online world, it is important to stand out and capture the focus of your potential bed and breakfast guests.  

The headline alone can make or break your ad, homepage, or e-mail subject line. It sets the tone for the rest of the copy. If the headline pulls readers in, you may make more money; if not, you’ll be left wondering what happened.

Headline writing tips to keep in mind:

  • Your headline should be unique.
  • Your headline should be ultra-specific.
  • Your headline should convey a sense of urgency.
  • Your headline should be useful.

The following headline ideas are just a starting point.  You can be as creative as you want to be.  The goal is to create headlines that motivate people to continue to read about your inn.

The Secret [fill in the blank]

This is an opportunity to share insider knowledge of your local area to benefit your potential guests. Help your bed and breakfast guests know more about your local area.  Where are great local places for dining, sight-seeing, and other fun activities in your immediate area.

  • The Secret To Discovering

Who Else Wants [fill in the blank]

By asking “who else wants” you are implying that there is a consensus about this desire. 

  • Who Else Wants More Fun and Less Stress When on Vacation?

What Everybody Wants To Know About [fill in the blank]

This headline challenges the reader’s curiosity to see if they are missing some knowledge. 

  • What Everybody Wants To Know About Staying at a Bed and Breakfast

Now you can have [something desirable] and [great circumstance]

This is another version of the classic expression “have your cake and eat it too.”  

  • Now You Can Go On Vacation and Enjoy It Too

[#] [Facts or Ideas or Lessons or Principles or Reasons or Secrets or Steps or Tricks or Ways] [fill in the blank]

Numbers in headlines get attention and people love lists.  They are easy to scan and readers know how much content to expect from the blog post.

  • 10 Facts About Bed and Breakfasts You Didn’t Know
  • 5 Ideas to Make Your Vacation More Memorable
  • 7 Lessons About Spending Time With Those You Love
  • 3 Principles to Making Love Relationships Work
  • 9 Reasons To Vacation More
  • 4 Secrets To Melting Stress Away
  • 8 Steps To Relaxing While On Vacation
  • 11 Tricks To Packing More Efficiently
  • 6 Ways To Strengthen Your Romantic Relationships

No time to write blog posts?  Bed and Breakfast Blogging is here to help.  Contact us to find out more about our tailor-made marketing services.

Easy Ways to Better Understand Your Guests’ Lifestyles

LawnChairs-01Logo

Understand your guests’ lifestyles to satisfy their unique needs.  The more information you know about your potential guests, the better you are able to target your marketing messages and offer attractive hospitality services.

There is no point in trying to be everything to everyone.  It is rarely possible to satisfy all customers in the same way.  When you know what your potential guests’ values and what motivates them, you are better able to attract them.

Lifestyles are ways of living based on motivations, needs, and wants:

  • Activities: actions pursued for pleasure or relaxation
  • Attitudes: feelings about people, things, or situations
  • Beliefs: trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something
  • Interests: curiosity, attention, or concerns about something
  • Opinions: judgments or ways of thinking about something
  • Values: important and lasting ideals

These lifestyle factors can explain why your audience buys the products and services they do.  There is power in knowing how your prospects make their buying decisions.

How you package and promote your services is a key component of your marketing strategy.  Put together a list of different guest personas you want to attract that is based on what is in your local area, your unique talents, and your amenities.

First, ask yourself these three questions:

What is in my local area? This could be anything from college campuses, to concert venues, to national parks, to business conferences.  Once you know what is in your local area, you can better understand your potential guests’ lifestyles.

What are my unique talents?  If you are an official tour guide (local trail and/or hiking tours), a party planner (excellent anniversary parties), a massage therapist (with a spa on site), a vegetarian-only chef (cooking for vegetarians and vegans), then you have a better idea of the lifestyles’ of the guests you want to attract.

What amenities do I provide my guests?  This could be anything from game rooms, to gardens, to hot tubs, to luxurious linens, to indoor and/or outdoor pools, to tea rooms.  Understand what amenities you have that are attractive to potential guests.

Then segment your customers into different personas.  For example:

These are easy ways to better understand your guests’ lifestyles.  Then you can promote your place of hospitality (bed and breakfast, inn, resort, restaurant, etc.) on your website and through social media.

Kristi Dement at Bed and Breakfast Blogging can help you attract more guests.  Click here to contact me and/or feel free to comment below on what you do to attract more guests.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Fantastic Fill in the Blanks on Social Media

 

Fantastic-Fill-In-The-Blanks-on-Social-Media

Fantastic fill in the blanks for social media can definitely attract more traffic to your website.  People love to use their imagination and share it with others online.

Do you remember Mad Libs? Those books filled with one-page stories filled with blanks that invited you to insert your own keywords? They were  invented in 1953 by Leonard Stern and Roger Price, who published the first Mad Libs book themselves in 1958.  It turns out that  these guys were ahead of their time in recognizing the power of the ‘blank’.

Fill in the blanks can prompt people to think about activities they would like to do and places they would love to visit.  For example, Disney posted, “If I could spend a day with a Disney character, I would choose _______.”

This is a great way to encourage creative responses as well as to promote engagement with your posts and tweets.  The blanks are essentially ‘platforms’ for people to share their creativity.

  • My favorite way to relax after a long hard day is to _______.
  • _______ always makes me feel inspired.
  • The best afternoon snack of all time is _______.
  • My favorite board game is _______.

These types of posts often garner fun and short comments, which then encourage your audience to react and interact.  Share a great photo and a good fill-in-the-blank sentence to inspire your audience to engage with you and your brand.

Twitter Fill in the Blank at bandbblogging Spring

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Fill-in-the-blank posts feel incomplete until they’re engaged with. People love filling in blanks, and the most effective fill-in-the-blank posts are the ones that let fans share their ideas.

Make fill-in-the-blank posts and tweets relevant to your fans and the space you’re working in to see the best results.

Use fill-in-the-blank posts as a two-pronged engagement tactic: interact with your online community and get to know them better for future marketing campaigns.

Use the post tactic in conjunction with a specific event, such as a holiday.

Fill in the blank contests are great as they have the potential to actually get people thinking. The contest consists of a sentence of paragraph, and your fans are asked to add their own unique perspective by, obviously, filling in the blanks.

Fill-in-the-blanks are similar to questions.  They are simple and create engagement.  Some samples of these are:

  • My favorite social media site is _______________.
  • I’ve lived in ___________cities in my life.
  • I laugh every time I think about ______.

Have fun with these, but one piece of advice is to be careful that you don’t leave the blank too open ended for a potentially bad response. Be careful what you make a fill in the blank because people can turn it ugly.  That is what happened when the German grocery chain posted this:

“I became an ALDI-lover when I tasted _______ for the first time.”

Tweet out a straightforward question that’s easy to answer.  When questions are short and simple, it’s easy for followers to respond because they don’t need to spend a lot of time thinking about their answer or trying to fit a longer reply into 140 characters (or fewer if there is a hashtag).

Fill-in-the-blank tweets get your followers thinking and challenge to them to show their creative side. The key to making fill-in-the-blank tweets work for your company is to relate them to your followers’ interests.  Then you will have success!

Behind the Scenes Secrets to Disney Hospitality Magic

Here are some behind the scenes secrets to Disney hospitality magicDisney Company focuses on giving their customers a memorable guest experience that exceeds their expectations by paying attention to details. Hospitality providers know that exceeded expectations leads to returning guests as well as word-of-mouth guest referrals.

Hospitality providers should always analyze the experience from the guest’s perspective.  Disney defines “guestology” as the art and science of knowing and understanding their customers. More commonly known as “market research.”

Disney’s theme is “We create happiness [their mission] by providing the finest in entertainment [how their mission is accomplished] for people of all ages everywhere [for whom].”  Disney set four criteria standards (in order of priority) which outline the the actions necessary to accomplish their service theme:

  • Safety (they look out for the welfare and peace of mind of their guests)
  • Courtesy (they require that every guest be treated like a very important person)
  • Show (they must offer seamless and exceptional entertainment for guests)
  • Efficiency (they strive for smooth operation and prioritize their standards)

Epcot Theme Park - Walt Disney World Resort 2016 China Park

With the magic of service, Disney recognizes that the most important judges are your customers.  Therefore, it is extremely important to know and understand your customers.  Demographics are factual knowledge about your guests including who they are, where they are from, and how much they spend.  Psychographics seek to better understand guests’ mental states–their needs, wants, expectations, and emotions.

Disney, as a company, watches what people do in their theme parks, resorts, and stores to find out how they can make it more enjoyable for them.  They use methods like surveys, comment cards, guest observations, and mystery shoppers as well as read guest letters and emails.

Disney studies guest usage and visitation patterns.  Knowledge developed from guests is used to create and improve all elements of the quality service cycle.  According to Disney, it is crucial to gather information at a variety of points during a guest’s experience.

With the magic of the cast [what they call their staff], Disney understands that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Disney trains their cast in universal procedures and behaviors, with performance tips, and guidelines for guest service.

  • Make eye contact and smile: start and end every guest contact and communication with direct eye contact and a sincere smile
  • Greet and welcome each and every guest: extend the appropriate greeting to each and every guest with whom you come into contact, make guests feel welcome by providing a special differentiated greeting in each area
  • Seek out guest contact: it is the responsibility of every cast member to seek out guests who need help or assistance (such as listening to your guests’ needs, answering questions, and offering assistance)
  • Provide immediate service recovery: it is the responsibility of all cast members to attempt, to the best of their abilities, to immediately resolve a guest service failure before it becomes a guest service problem; always find the answer for the guest and/or find another cast member who can help the guest
  • Display appropriate body language at all times: it is the responsibility of every cast member to display approachable body language when “on stage” (visible to guests):  be attentive, clean cut, have good posture, and appropriate facial expression
  • Preserve the “magical” guest experience: always focus on the positive rather than the rules and regulations; talking about personal or job-related problems in front of guests is unacceptable
  • Thank each and every guest: extend to every guest a sincere thank you at the conclusion of every transaction and give an expression of appreciation as he or she leaves  your area

Epcot Theme Park - Walt Disney World Resort Scandinavian Village

With the magic of setting, Disney wanted his cast to pull off fantasy without losing sight of reality.  It was important to him that others find their fantasy believable.

Whether companies know it or not, all organizations build messages to their customers into the settings in which they operate.  The setting communicates the quality of the person’s products and services that customers can expect as well as the price they are willing to pay.

Setting must be designed and managed effectively to effectively communicate and deliver service to customers.  Setting is not restricted to physical properties, but extends to reservation systems, cleanliness, comfort, and so on.  Setting components include:

  • Architectural design
  • Color
  • Directional design on carpet
  • Focal points and directional signs
  • Landscaping
  • Lighting
  • Music and ambient noise
  • Signage
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Texture of the floor surface
  • Touch/tactile experiences

Walt Disney’s motto was, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”  “Imagineering” was his term for the blending of creative imagination and technical know-how.  Disney has the following ten setting principles:

  • Know your audience: have a firm understanding of who will be using your setting
  • Wear your guest’s shoes: evaluate your setting from the customer’s perspective by experiencing it as a customer
  • Organize the flow of people and ideas: think of the setting as a story and tell that story in a sequenced, organized way; build the same order and logic in the design of customer movement
  • Create a visual magnet: Disney uses visual landmarks (like Cinderella’s Castle) to orient and attract customers
  • Communicate with visual literacy: use the languages of color, shape, and form to communicate through setting
  • Avoid overloads: do not bombard customers with data; let them choose the information when they want it
  • Tell one story at a time: create one setting for each big idea; avoid the confusion of mixing multiple stories into a single setting
  • Avoid contradictions: every detail and every setting should support and further your organizational identity and vision
  • For every ounce of treatment, provide a ton of treat: give your customers the highest value by building an interactive setting that gives them the opportunity to exercise all of their senses
  • Keeping it up: never get complacent and always maintain your setting; keep it clean, protect it from damage, and repair wear and tear

Epcot Theme Park - Walt Disney World Resort Morroccan Area

What does your setting tell your customers?  What they see is as important as what they don’t see.  Setting not only creates an impression, but it can guide guests through service experiences.  Appeal to all five senses: sight (ex: colors), sounds (ex: music), smell (ex: popcorn), touch (ex: water fountains), and taste (ex: changing menus).

The Disney cast must keep onstage [anywhere they are visible to guests] and backstage [not seen by guests] separate.  Did you know that Disney employees can go underneath the park to get from one area of the part to another? That is why you will never see a Disney character travel through a section of the theme park unrelated to their character.

Like the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, Disney offers behind-the-scenes tours.  Thus, the setting should support and enhance the guest experience and deliver quality service.

Important to Walt Disney was that he provide superior service and hospitality.  That meant hiring and training his “cast” to treat the guests with utmost respect.  Walt also paid attention to the details of setting.

Walt Disney and his brother Roy’s legacy lives on to this day.  Today, Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida has an average of 53,000 visitors each day and is the #1 most-visited theme park in the world.

The Disney empire also includes include Disneyland; EPCOT; Animal Kingdom; Disney television, radio, and movies; and Disney merchandise sold in Disney stores and at Disney theme park locations.  Thus, Disney hospitality magic is alive and well.

Visual Storytelling: Vine

visual-storytelling-vine

Vine is an app that lets you post short, up to six-second long video footage loops. These clips can be embedded in Twitter and Facebook posts.  Nearly all mobile users. This launched the short-form video craze.

People can like, comment on, and share your footage with other image sharing networks.  Early adopters, millennials, teens, and hardcore content creators are taking advantage of this social media platform.  Videos are driven by influential people.

Founded in June of 2012, it was acquired by microblogging website Twitter in October of 2012, just prior to its official launch in January of 2013.

Vine Statistics:

A mass audience of 40 million people on Vine

Branded content accounts for 4% of the top 100 tracked Vines

Branded Vines are 4 times more likely to be shared than branded online videos

5 Vine tweets are sent every second

Most Vine activity occurs between 10 and 11 am EST

More Vine tweets occur during the weekend than all of the weekdays combined

Vine New Feature:

In July 2014, Vine updated their app with a new “loop count” meaning every time someone watches a vine, a number on top of the video will appear showing how many times it was viewed. The “loop count” also includes views from vines that are embedded on to other websites.

Vine Strategies:

Vine is perfect for creating a short product showcase ahead of launch

Only have 6 seconds to convey your brand message

Have fun with your ideas

Run a contest and ask users to post their own video responses with a specific hashtag (#)

Tag your clips to ensure they are found by people who aren’t following you directly

Keep it simple, not too detailed or overly complicated

Do not rush your footage just to fit the time frame

Eliminate background noise if possible

Vine is an effective social media channel that companies can use to encourage innovative, imaginative responses in 6-second constraints.  If your company is not currently using Vine, this may be a social media platform to consider adding to promote your business.

The practical information about Vine came from the recommended bestselling book by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio titled, The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Fun Bed and Breakfast Retreats

fun-bed-and-breakfast-retreats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Ask for a Link Request

how-to-ask-for-a-link-request

Do you wonder how to ask for a link request?  I am going to sum up the main points in the awesome book published by Entrepreneur Press called Ultimate Guide to Link Building: Build Backlinks, Earn a Higher Search Engine Rank, Increase the Authority and Popularity of Your Site by Eric Ward and Garrett French.

Steps:

  • Look over the website you want to have your link on to make sure it is relevant
  • Do not put the words “link request” in the email subject line
  • Start the e-mail off addressing the website owner by name
  • Introduce yourself, your website, and why you would like to the link
  • Identify the exact URL on their site where you think the link is a fit
  • List the exact URL from your site that you want them to link to
  • Give a valid email address and respond to any email requests they send
  • Provide your phone number–something a spammer would not do
  • Follow any link request instructions they give
  • If a reciprocal link, confirm that you have linked to their site and provide the URL
  • Be attentive, professional, courteous, and to the point

This book also lists Link Building Strategies written by Jon Cooper of Point Blank SEO:

  • Start blogging on your website
  • Have internal links to other content on your website
  • List resources and outside links
  • Build relationships with others
  • Find niche-specific directories
  • Write guest posts or have guests write posts for your blog
  • Provide educational content
  • Write compelling testimonials
  • Provide useful lists–there is power in making lists!
  • Be interviewed or interview someone in your industry
  • Offer timely/seasonal content
  • Use humor
  • Provide printable resources
  • Host contests
  • Cover news first
  • Give helpful infographics
  • Host online webinars
  • Promote National Days and Events
  • Survey people and post results
  • Debunk popular myths
  • Comment on relevant blogs
  • Do question and answer blog post
  • Ask customers what they want to see more of
  • Connect with industry associations and organizations
  • Attend relevant conferences
  • Call people
  • Host local group meetings
  • Retweet Twitter tweets
  • Provide email signature listing website & ways to connect with you via social media
  • and much more!

There are always things you can do to draw bigger audiences to your website. By taking the steps to ask for link requests and implementing the link building strategies, you will be well on your way to developing more a popular website.

Readers, I welcome your responses to this post as well as other ideas related to the topic of link requests and link building.  I read every comment and respond when appropriate. Thanks! Kristi

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

What Makes A Blog Post Go Viral?

what-makes-a-blog-post-go-viral

Every blogger dreams of a bigger audience.  It is human nature to want to be recognized and to receive attention and praise.  So just what makes a blog post go viral?

1) Have you grabbed their attention with your title?  Opening lines should pique interest and curiosity, show a benefit, highlight a need, promise to entertain/inform/teach, or offer something of value.  Work hard early on at hooking your reader into your post.

2) Have you made it easy to read?  Readers scan pages online looking for keywords, phrases, and visual clues like numbers and bullet points. Use lists or other formatting techniques to emphasize points.  Your content must be appealing, entertaining, engaging, and interactive.

3) Does anybody really care about your topic? No one wants to know what you had for breakfast–unless maybe you had breakfast with a celebrity.  Giving people the “inside scoop” on a famous person’s thoughts and secrets will make your blog incredibly popular.

4) Have you had personal experience involving your blog topic?  Accomplishments speak volumes to your readers.  This does not mean you have to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or featured on the cover of People magazine.  What lessons have you learned along the way? People tend to respect you more if you share past obstacles or mistakes and how you overcame them.

5) Is this a brand new topic?  If you are in the fields of medicine, science, or technology you may very well have cutting edge information to share with the world.  We are listening!

6) Is your perspective different and maybe even controversial?  Sometimes blunt opinions can get people in trouble, but they can also get passed along.  Do you have a hot topic that will lure comments?  Be sure to respond to your comments.  This is what makes your blog interactive.

7) Is there something fascinating about your topic or are people sick of reading about it because everybody in the world has been covering it?  There is only so many times people can take hearing about the celebrities that tend to get all the media attention.  It can be annoying when they compare two celebrities who wore the same thing and then make comments on “who wore it better?”  Most people don’t care!

8) Is there something hilarious, quirky, or unbelievable about it?  There is a large dog in my neighborhood who, from behind his fence, will jump up and down like he is on a pogo stick all across his backyard when he sees my dog and I walking together.  I need to get that on video! Speaking of…

9) Do you have a good graphic, photo, or video available?  Humans are very visual creatures. That is part of the reason why Pinterest other image sharing social media sites like Instagram have done so well.  Did you know Pinterest has over 70 millions users?

10) Have you shared your blog post on every relevant social media channel?  You may want to describe the post differently depending upon the platform.  Since Linked In is for business and career-minded people, you may have a different way of promoting your blog post to your Linked In connections than to your Facebook fans and friends.

How will you know if your blog post was successful?

  • Number of unique visitors to your blog post
  • Re-tweets, shared links, social network mentions
  • Quality of the blogs and websites where your blog post is referenced
  • Frequency of approaches by people interested in working with you
  • Quantity of traffic where sales take place
  • Amount of paid opportunities that result from your blog
  • Blog subscriber numbers
  • E-mail sign ups
  • If people who have powerful influence refer to your blog
  • The number and quality of comments from your readers

Trust me, you will know!  Do you have any ideas about what makes a blog post go viral? Please share below.  I read all comments and respond when appropriate.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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