Tag Archives: message

Make It All About Your Bed and Breakfast Guests

Make it all about them. Make it all about your bed and breakfast guests.  Author Bruce Turkel, in his insightful book All About Them: Grow Your Business by Focusing on Others, makes it clear that what really matters to consumers is their own self-interest. Business owners (including innkeepers) can use that knowledge to make their businesses (specifically bed and breakfasts) about the people they are trying to reach (potential guests).

Author Bruce Turkel states that successful businesses created for today’s “all about them” economy realize what you do is less important than identifying who you are and why that resonates with current and potential customers (guests).  

Turkel stresses that “good brands make you feel good, but great brands make you feel good about yourself.” Things sell not because of what they can do, but because of how they make consumers feel.  

What attracts business to you and separates you from the competition (other accommodations)? Understand exactly what your customers are buying.  What do you provide that they cannot find anywhere else?  

Figure out who you are and what you stand for then communicate that identity.  Translate your message into customer centered communication that resonates with your audience.

What opportunities does your business provide for increasing customer satisfaction and company revenue?  What do you stand for?  Can you describe that in just a few words?  To determine what those few words are, Turkel recommends you consider five components.  

  • First, write down your company features and benefits.  This means everything you and your business offer including products, services, talents, skills, experiences, and so on.
  • Then write down your points of distinction.  What sets you apart from your competition? What do your clients identify about you?
  • Next, focus on the functional side of your business.  What features and attributes do you offer?
  • Then focus on the emotional side of your business.  How do your customers feel?
  • Lastly, this is when you can take reflect upon that information and know what you stand for and know who you are.  This is your brand promise.   

Innkeepers, do you make it all about your bed and breakfast guests?  Do potential guests know how you are different from other accommodations in your area?  

If you need help defining what makes your inn unique, so you stand out from other lodging choices, the Bed and Breakfast Blogging team is here to help.  Contact Kristi Dement for a free consultation today and she can start help you share your inn’s story with the world!

Everybody Writes: Email & More

everybody-writes

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide To Creating Ridiculously Good Content, offers tips for writing email and much more.  This can be applied to bed and breakfast marketing as well.

Writing For Email:

  • Use short subject lines (Vacation in “Your Location”)
  • Let your free flag fly (“your third night is free”)
  • Use the recipient’s first name (to personalize it)
  • Keep the email copy short (remember WHY you are writing it)
  • Be a real person and communicate with a real voice (write like a friend)
  • Show enormous empathy (“we understand your need to get away”)
  • Use real images (show inviting pictures of your B&B)
  • Have a specific call to action (ex: click here to subscribe to our blog posts)
  • Make sure you are aware of CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (spam = legal trouble)

Writing For Landing Pages:

  • Match the message to the promise
  • Avoid sharing too much information (keep it to the point)
  • Keep your headline benefit-driven (what is in it for them?)
  • Be brief in subheads (most of the time)
  • Use second person with action verbs (a lot of “you” and “your”)
  • Be blindingly obvious as to what the person should do next (“book now”)
  • Use buttons that are big, bright, and bold
  • Show, don’t tell
  • Keep things simple
  • Use trust indicators and social proof to reduce anxiety (ex: TRUST-e, BBB)

Writing Headlines:

  • Create a curiosity gap, but with moderation
  • Promise what you are going to deliver
  • Place your reader directly into the headline
  • Use numbers (helps people know what to expect before they read it)
  • Use lively words: ultimate, brilliant, awesome, intense, hilarious, smart, critical, surprising, etc.

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide To Creating Ridiculously Good Content, gives practical tips for writing your “Home” page and your “About Us” page.

Writing A Home Page:

  • Speak to your audience
  • Tell people what is in it for them
  • Know what motivates your audience
  • Keep it simple
  • Use words your audience uses
  • Communicate clear value
  • Convey trust
  • Social proof

Ann Handley recommends that your home page leave the reader feeling like, “We get you.  And what’s more, you belong here.  We understand your challenges, your fears, your pain, your hopes, your needs…”

Writing The About Us Page:

  • The best “About Us” pages are not really about the company
  • Those pages focus on relaying who they are in relation to the reader
  • Talk about what you do for customers (your B&B guests)
  • Show a human, accessible side
  • Show your people as real people
  • Bring your customers into your story (real stories from your guests)
  • Why do customers care about what you do?
  • How have you helped them?
  • Put customer testimonials on video (with guests permission, do video testimonials)

Getting To Know The Staff:

  • Favorite quotes
  • What they eat for breakfast (may be a signature dish from your inn)
  • Music preferences
  • Travel experiences
  • What they do in their spare time (may be leisure activities near your inn)

With any kind of writing these valuable suggestions from Ann Handley can be implemented. Then bed and breakfasts will likely attract more business. If you are too busy as an innkeeper (or have no desire to do marketing), contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free consultation.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Visual Storytelling: Responses

visual-storytelling-responses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Visual Storytelling: Tumblr

visual-storytelling-tumblr

We have been promoting the book The Power of Social Media: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio. This particular blog post will give a sneak peak into the authors comments about Tumblr.

For those not familiar with it, Tumblr is a social media channel that allows users to quickly reblog posts (texts, images, links, quotes, music, or videos) by others. Recently, Yahoo! purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Tumblr is for quick visual inspiration and consumer lust. Users can only add comments if they reblog your post.

Tumblr Statistics:

  • 50% of posts on Tumblr are photos
  • Total unique worldwide visitors are more than 117 million
  • 52% of Tumblr visitors are male
  • 46.5% of Tumblr visitors are 18-34 years old
  • 35.2% of Tumblr visitors have a household income of greater than $100,000 per year
  • The average users spends 1 hr. 38 min. of time each month on the website doing nothing, but consuming content
  • The average Tumbler visit lasts 34 minutes

Tumblr Strategies:

  • Follow other Tumblr users and reblog relevant content
  • Post, promote, and participate in the Tumblr community
  • Let pictures tell the story on your Tumblr account, with text being secondary
  • The best time to post is between 7-10 pm EST on Monday through Thursday and anytime on Sunday
  • Use relevant tags so that your images show up in searches
  • Reblog plenty of content from other users
  • Keep a focus on your goals and repost only what is relevant to your message
  • Have a strategy and calendar to keep a steady stream of quality content
  • Keep a good mix of product info, lifestyle posts, and other content to not appear overly commercial
  • Combine visual, text, quotes, audio, and video in your feed
  • Stay consistent with tags and use a handful of “official” tags
  • Keep content fresh and post often
  • View analytics to see what sort of posts drive the most traffic, but still post a variety
  • Spend some time getting to know that platform and the kinds of content that people post

A Tumblr blog can be incorporated directly into a corporate website, which is great for search engine ranking. Businesses can use Tumblr as an overview of what is on their website.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

10 Terrific Twitter Tips for B&B’s

10-terrific-Twitter-tips-for-B-and-Bs

Did you know that there are 255 million monthly active Twitter users?  Did you know that 500 million tweets are sent each day?  Most of us know that Twitter is a popular social media website.

Here are some quick tips so you can get the best out of using Twitter to promote your bed and breakfast inn:

1) Know your audience in order to target your message to the right people.  You want to write to appeal to your specific market–not everyone.  What kind of bed and breakfast guests would you like to attract?    

  • Be pet friendly if you want guests with pets
  • Be couple friendly and require kids to be a minimum age
  • Promote being healthy by not allowing smoking on all grounds
  • Accommodate guests with allergies or restricted diets when you cook breakfasts
  • Reach out to those getting married or renewing their vows with ceremonies
  • Provide spa services to guests who like to be pampered
  • Offer extra amenities such as hot tubs or private balcony views

2) Regularly spend time listening to the needs and wants of your target market.  What would ease their pain and make their lives better?

  • Need time to get away from it all
  • Want to relax with a loved one
  • Want to visit a local relative without inconveniencing them
  • Like to visit tourist spots in your area
  • Want personal touch of a B&B versus big hotel

3) Have strategies behind who you follow.  You do not have to follow everyone. Be selective and show your audience what they like to see. 

  • Travel tips (give them useful information)
  • Scenic pictures of your area (entice them to visit)
  • Baby animals (who does not like baby animals?)
  • Recipes (you may even offer a cooking class to your guests)
  • Local activities (show them what they can do in your area)

4) Have a consistent presence online.  Tweet at least four to six times per day if possible.

5) Provide useful content based on your brands’ goals.  Selling should not be the focus.

  • Tweet powerful quotes
  • Update readers about your area events
  • Share meaningful stories

6) Tweet with images.  People are visual creatures and tweets with pictures are more than twice as likely to be retweeted.  Images can convey more than words do. 

  • Share pictures of the bedrooms in your bed and breakfast
  • Tweet pictures of your outdoor views including landscaping
  • Share pictures of your delightful breakfasts and goodies made
  • Share pictures of local community events including concerts and sports games

7) Be active on other social media channels and have a blog on your website.  Blogs provide fresh content the search engines love.  More online connections come from having a strong presence on other social media websites.

8) Use hashtags (#) so the reach of your tweets spreads to people searching for that term. Use trending hashtags (labeled “trends”) on the bottom left.  Make sure the hashtags are relevant to the tweet and two hashtags is plenty.

  • Newsworthy events
  • Celebrities
  • Holidays (including national food holidays)
  • This day in history
  • Sports
  • Trending area activities

9) Always have a call to action.  Know what you want them to do after they read your tweet.

10) Monitor your Twitter results with other websites.  Some Twitter tools are available for free or to use on a free trial basis.  Try them out to see which you prefer.

  • Buffer
  • Hootsuite
  • Social Bro
  • Tweetdeck

When you use this tips consistently, you will see a dramatic increase in your numbers:

  • More Twitter followers
  • More retweets
  • More blog subscriptions
  • More guests
  • And more income!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Phone Communication with Your B&B Guests

phone-communication

As bed and breakfast innkeepers, it is likely that you will speak to your guests and potential guests over the phone.  We are going to look at ways you can make the most positive impression on guests during your phone conversations.

When speaking to your guests over the phone, it is important to clearly and cheerfully pronounce the name of your bed and breakfast as well as your name when you answer the phone. This way they know they have reached the right number and answering with a pleasant voice is your first way to extend your hospitality to them.

If you receive a call during the time you are with your current guests and/or making breakfast, it is best to let your callers leave a message so that you can respond at a time when you can give them your full attention.  If you sound distracted or like you are busy (which you can often be) they may not think they will receive the care and attention they expect when visiting your bed and breakfast.

Be sure to take notes of every phone call.  Including the following information:

  • Caller’s name and contact information
  • The purpose of their call
  • Any questions they asked you
  • Their reservation information (if applicable)
  • Comments about their interests and reason for staying
  • Other relevant information you do not want to forget

Having this phone log will save you precious time.  This can let any other innkeepers and/or staff become aware of the phone conversations you had without you having to take the time to verbally provide the details to every phone conversation to other employees.  It also helps remind you of previous conversations with the guest(s).

You should have a list of things to do in your area–including recommended restaurants, tourist attractions, community activities, and so forth.  This will be your quick reference guide so you can answer questions without having to hunt for the information during your time on the phone.  Guests will appreciate how organized you are.

Make sure that guests know a phone number to reach you at during every moment of their stay.  This is vital to providing them with a pleasant experience, answering their questions, exchanging important information, and for safety in case of emergencies.

Be sure to ask, “Is anything else we can help you with?” before ending every call. They will appreciate this courtesy and it shows that you care about their experience at your bed and breakfast. This goes a long way towards establishing repeat business as well as gaining referrals!