Tag Archives: people

Extraordinary Productivity

extraordinary-productivity

I love the book, The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity by Kory Kogon, Adam Morrill, and Leena Rinne.  The authors explain what they mean about there being a “productivity paradox”.  It is both easier and harder than ever before to achieve extraordinary productivity and feel accomplished in our lives.  We all experience three challenges:
  • The overwhelming flow of decisions we have to make in daily life
  • That our attention is under unprecedented attack with modern technology
  • We feel a drain on our personal mental energy

The authors propose that we make five choices in order to experience extraordinary productivity. Choice 1 is to act on the important, but not to react to the urgent (what feels like it has to be done now, but may not lead to any results).  Borrowing from Stephen Covey, they use his 4 quadrants of how people spend their time.

  • Quadrant 1: Necessity: crises, emergency meetings, last minute deadlines, pressing problems, and unforeseen events
  • Quadrant 2: Extraordinary productivity (what we want to focus on): proactive work, high-impact goals, creative thinking, planning, prevention, relationship building, learning and renewal
  • Quadrant 3: Distraction: needless interruptions, unnecessary reports, irrelevant meetings, other people’s minor issues, unimportant emails/tasks/phone calls, etc.
  • Quadrant 4: Waste: trivial work, avoidance activities, excessive relaxation, TV, gaming, internet surfing, gossip, and other time wasters


They explain that the results we achieve in life are impacted by our discernment.  With practice we can rewire our brain to become more discerning and less reactive.  They recommend settings these goals:

  • Minimize the time spent in Quadrants 1 and 3
  • Eliminate entirely all of the Quadrant 4 time
  • Maximize what we invest in Quadrant 2
  • Speak the language of importance to those around you

The authors say that it takes three steps: pause, clarify, and decide.

  • Is this important?
  • When does this really need to be done?
  • How will this impact what we are currently working on?
  • Is there another resource for getting this done?
  • Where does this fit relative to the other priorities I am working on?

Choice 2 is to go for the extraordinary and not settle for ordinary.  They quote brain expert, Dr. Daniel Amen, “To harness your brain’s power, it needs direction and vision.  It needs a blueprint.”  According to the authors, most people do not take the time to clarify what is most important to them and do not end up spending their time on those things.  They recommend that those seeking to be more productive identify our few most important roles and define what success looks like in each role.  These roles should be:

  • Represent our key relationships and responsibilities
  • Be relevant to our life right now (not the future)
  • Be meaningful to us
  • Give a balanced perspective of our life
  • Be limited to about five to seven (maximum)

We should then determine our vision of success in each role.  Anchor our purpose and passion in a role title and craft a role statement for each role.  Decide what contribution we want to make in each role.  As (role title), I will (extraordinary outcomes) by (specific activities).  The authors remind us that roles are dynamic therefore constantly changing. They discuss the importance of setting SMART goals.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Extraordinary productivity means going to bed each night feeling satisfied and accomplished.  By identifying the few most important roles we play, this gives us a framework for balance, motivation, and fulfillment.  Anchoring our role titles and statements strengthens our ability to make good decisions about our time.  Setting specific Q2 goals helps us direct our brains in the most productive ways.

Choice 3 is to schedule the big rocks, and don’t sort gravel. This is a figurative illustration.  The big rocks represent the important Q2 priorities in our lives.  We are to put those first.  The gravel represents the distractions (Q3) and time wasters (Q4).  If you start with the gravel, then there is no room for the rocks.

Everyone has the same amount of time, but some people can cram more in the spaces than others.  The key is to focus our very best attention and energy on the few priorities that really matter. The authors recommend that we spend thirty minutes each week and ten minutes each day in Q2 planning so we can dramatically increase our ability to be and feel accomplished at the end of every day.

  • Review our roles and goals to see if they connect with our vision for our Q2 life
  • Schedule the big rocks (the 1 or 2 most important things you can do this week)
  • Scheduling a specific time and place to do something represents our higher-level commitment
  • Organize the rest of our time

The bottom line is that we should decide what is most important and get those activities already scheduled before our week begins.  Schedule Q2 times during the week to proactively protect your Q2 priorities.

Choice 4 is to rule our technology and not let it rule us.  Technology in and of itself is not the problem.  It is how conscious and deliberate we are about how we use it that can be a problem.  The book discusses sorting tasks into one of the Core Four.

  • Our appointments set at specific times
  • The tasks we need to do that are not scheduled
  • Our information about people we interact with
  • Other information we want to keep track of that does not fit into any of the other 3 categories

The book asks readers if we know that over 196 billion emails are sent and received EVERY DAY?!  At the moment of choice, we can act to make an appointment or schedule a task or file away contact information and notes.  If this is not something we need, we can trash or delete the email.  No need for our emails to pile up!

Choice 5 is to fuel our fire, but not burn out.  The book discusses five energy drivers:

  • Move (exercising improves memory, brain health, and physical fitness)
  • Eat (choosing healthy foods and supplements over junk food and sugary food)
  • Sleep (we must get enough rest and not be sleep deprived which leads to poor decision making and even accidents)
  • Relax (to turn off our stress responses and restore our energy by taking regular breaks)
  • Connect (to make positive social interactions)

The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity states that our brain is our number one asset in a knowledge-work world.  Being conscious and intentional throughout the day takes a lot of energy.  We need to have a clear and motivating purpose and a healthy physical body (be as healthy as we can be) in order to fulfill our purpose.  Thus, we should invest regularly in the five energy drivers above to keep us from burning out. By implementing the five choices recommended in this book, we can be on the path to extraordinary productivity!

  • Act on the important and do not react to the urgent
  • Go for the extraordinary and not settle for the ordinary
  • Schedule the big rocks and do not sort gravel
  • Rule our technology and not let it rule us
  • Fuel our fire to not burn out

Affiliate Disclaimer: The links to the book are affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

How Bed and Breakfasts Can Win Like Amazon

Fast Company ranked Amazon the World’s Most Innovative Company in 2017.  Amazon is the largest American e-commerce company.  Founded on July 5 of 1994, Jeff Bezos selected the name Amazon as he looked through the dictionary.  He settled on “Amazon” because it was a place that was “exotic and different” just as he envisioned for his Internet enterprise.  Bed and breakfasts should each strive to be different and stand out in a unique and impressive way.  Think about how your inn can uniquely excel in hospitality, cuisine, and accommodations.

Bezos also noted that the Amazon river was by far the “largest” river in the world and he planned to make his store the largest in the world.  Amazon, as a company, has achieved enormous success.  Back in 1996, Amazon was only a $16 million company while Barnes and Noble was at the time a gigantic $2 billion company.  However, Amazon was the fastest company to reach one billion in sales. In 2016, Amazon’s revenue was $136 billion United States dollars while Barnes and Noble increased to a significantly smaller $4.16 billion.  

How did Amazon do it?  Amazon set goals to create something superior and completely new.  Jeff Bezos, who continues to record ideas as he thinks of them, made a list of 20 possible categories for his business and then decided that his best option was to start with books.  Years later Amazon would become one of the world’s best known companies and be referred to as “the everything store.”

While publishers complained when Amazon let its users publish book reviews (showing both the positive and negative comments), Jeff Bezos stated, “We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions.”  To him, it was so people could make informed choices.  The user-generated content did give Amazon viewers an extra reason to visit their website: actual buyers of books were giving their honest opinions.  Now consumers can leave written evaluations of any of Amazon’s products.  Bed and breakfasts would do well to encourage their happy guests to leave reviews as well.

Amazon strives for continuous improvement and efficiency.  While you may be satisfied with the size of your business, there are always things innkeepers can do to make more money with each guest who visits.  Whether through added packages, special retreats, retail merchandise, or other extras, make it a goal to gain more business from every person who walks into your inn.

Names are so important for both people and places. Names help define people and brands. One of the most successful brands is Amazon.  Bed and breakfasts can look to Amazon for its success as a brand and its successful brand name. Since June 19, 2000, Amazon’s logotype has featured a curved arrow leading from A to Z, representing that the company carries every product from A to Z, with the arrow shaped like a smile.  A good bed and breakfast logo can appear on merchandise you sell like coffee mugs, cookbooks, and aprons.  

Amazon carefully selects who they hire to join the company.  According to Amazon, they hire only the best and the brightest.  Some interview questions have been known to catch people off guard like, “Do you know why manhole covers are round?”  This is to judge the reasoning skills of interviewees as much as it is assess their intelligence.  This sets a high bar for the talent they hire.  While they have had some personnel issues as far as people electing to leave the company, many employees have done very well for themselves by staying.  Bed and breakfasts should also be selective when hiring more staff members.

One of Amazon’s core values is innovation.  They remain on the cutting edge of technology with their products and services.  As a company they love inventing things.  They are not held back by conventional thinking. They will quickly abandon old notions and embrace new ones when better options present themselves.  Likewise, innkeepers should stay on the cutting edge with their online marketing, reservation software, and so forth.

Amazon is known for their excellent customer service.  They offer a generous 30-day return policy.  They are resolved to offer the lowest prices anywhere.  Amazon has expanded not only the types of merchandise it sells, but also the programs it offers.  With a focus on long-term customer loyalty, those who are Amazon Prime members get several perks including free shipping.  Bed and breakfasts can reward returning guests and guests who make referrals.

Amazon is obsessed with customer satisfaction.  This online giant offers a personalized version of their website and gives recommendations to each shopper based on their previous searches and purchases. Amazon’s wide selection, low prices, and excellent customer service is remaking industries.  Through strategic marketing, including blogging, social media, and phone conversations, bed and breakfast guests can be persuaded to spend more money during their visits on custom packages and other options. 

Amazon arguably has the most authoritative online product catalog.  To make it easier for customers to learn more about the products on Amazon, they offer the following lists and tools:

  • Amazon Bestseller Lists
  • Amazon Sales Rank
  • Amazon Wishlists 
  • Amazon Look Inside The Book
  • Amazon Search Inside The Book

Amazon’s overarching goal is to be the first place people look to buy anything. Amazon is also referred to as the “unstore.”  According to Bezos, Amazon is not bound by the traditional rules of retail.  This is a list of some of Amazon’s products and services:

  • Amazon Kindle Fire (their own e-book reader)
  • Amazon Create Space (their e-book publishing company)
  • Amazon Audible (audio books)
  • Amazon Web Services (cloud computing)
  • Amazon Prime Video (similar to Netflix)
  • Amazon Marketplace (option to buy from third party sellers)
  • Amazon Fresh (groceries)

Perhaps having a company name beginning with “A” was preferential due to the probability it would occur at the top of any list that was alphabetized.  Does this mean that your bed and breakfast name must start with the letter A?  No, absolutely not.  You can think of a clever and profitable bed and breakfast business name by taking into account: your location, your inn, your decorating theme(s), and so on.

Maybe I should rename my company name from Bed and Breakfast Blogging to something else?  Any suggestions??  Feel free to comment below with positively creative suggestions!

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.

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.

Then, 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

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:

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:

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

3 Chocolate Bed and Breakfasts

If you have never heard of 3 chocolate bed and breakfasts, these 3 American B&B’s (from New Mexico, Texas, and Maine) have the word “chocolate” somewhere in their name.  They sound so delicious, that it is “sweet” to feature them!

Chocolate-Bed-and-Breakfast

Located in Corrales, New Mexico, their serene mountain location does not let on that they are near the two largest cities in their state: Albequerque and Rio Rancho.  With four lovely Southwestern-decorated bedrooms, guests of the Chocolate Turtle Bed and Breakfast all receive fresh flowers and, of course, chocolate turtles!  Their hot chocolate is also complimentary.

Chocolate-Bed-and-Breakfast

The Chocolate Turtle Bed and Breakfast can provide intimate ceremonies and memorable receptions for up to 50 people at their beautiful, unique New Mexico wedding location.  If your wedding is too large for this B&B, they suggest reserving the Chocolate Turtle for your special guests coming from out of town. The Turtle will provide a fantastic venue for family members who don’t get to see each other very often to gather, catch up, and relax during your wedding weekend.

Chocolate-Bed-and-Breakfast

Loaded with Hill Country charm hosting complimentary chilled Champagne from the famous local Beckard Vineyards and fresh fruit and pastries as well as scrumptious chocolate treats left on their King size bed with luxurious linens, Chocolate Diamond Bed and Breakfast is one of the more popular B&B’s in the heart of Fredericksburg, Texas!

Chocolate-Bed-and-Breakfast

Guests get this 1930’s Bungalow style cottage all to themselves to celebrate their special occasion while enjoying a romantic evening sitting in the new jacuzzi hot tub.  Ultimate elegance within walking distance to Main Street. This charming cottage with it’s own private hot tub is to die for!

Chocolate-Bed-and-Breakfast

This peaceful inn, named Chocolate Chip Bed and Breakfast, is located on six acres with a scenic pond in Lamoine, Maine.  The original house was built in 1850, but in 2011 this B&B was renovated and it expanded. A full gourmet breakfast is served each morning in Breakfast room or in our Library. Books and board games are for all their guests to enjoy. Sunny porch with plenty of rockers and adirondack chairs to relax with a book and cup of coffee.

Chocolate-Bed-and-Breakfast

All four rooms, at the Chocolate Chip Bed and Breakfast, have private bathrooms with shower, thermostats in rooms for radiant heat in floors, cable TV and wifi. Guests savor delicious home-baked cookies each evening, along with turndown service. They are within walking distance to Lamoine Beach and Lamoine State Park.

Guests do not have to love chocolate to want to visit these three inns: Chocolate Turtle Bed and Breakfast, Chocolate Diamond Bed and Breakfast, and Chocolate Chip Bed and Breakfast.  However, if you are a chocolate lover, consider it a bonus!

Everybody Writes: Tweet & Post

everybody-writes

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content discusses practical tips for writing on Twitter and Facebook.  Using social media the right way can be very beneficial to your bed and breakfast brand.  Using social media the wrong way has the very real potential to damage your B&B’s reputation.

Writing For Twitter:

  • Establish who you are (how your bed and breakfast improves peoples lives)
  • Tell your bigger story (your passion for hospitality and hosting guests)
  • Share the why & who, not just the what (ex: what specific book are you reading and why–do not just tweet that you are reading)
  • Personalized, not too personal (there is a fine line between sharing yourself and sharing too much)
  • Be cautious with automation (also do real-time tweets)
  • Use Twitter to float ideas and see what gets nibbled (see what people are responding to)
  • Use a clear call to action (be obvious about how you want others to respond)
  • Use Bitly to shorten links (offers rich analytics and saves characters)
  • Tweets around 120 characters are optimal (most likely to be retweeted)
  • Share your history (ex: share pictures)
  • Tap into what people care about (ex: travel, food, relationships, etc.)
  • Convey your personality (ex: be you!)
  • Track and follow trending hashtags (what is trending and how can you join in the conversation?)
  • Do not use more than 2 or 3 hashtags in a single tweet (#otherwise #it #can #be #annoying)

Writing For Facebook:

  • Connect with existing communities of potential buyers
  • Target by niche, not by numbers (ex: those who have liked other bed and breakfasts)
  • Your brand’s online voice and tone are very important (be professional and friendly)
  • Post when your audience is online (makes sense to be online when they are!)
  • Posts with images get the greatest amount of engagement (always use images with permission)
  • Keep each Facebook post brief (ideal is 100-140 characters)

Bed and breakfasts can take advantage of using social media websites like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about their luxurious accommodations.  Be careful to tweet and post pictures and information that is consistent with the image you want to portray about your bed and breakfast.

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to her book is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

everybody-writeseverybody-writes

Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content shows you how to “create ridiculously good content!  This “Go-To Guide” offers practical tips that can be applied to owning and running bed and breakfast inns.

Author Ann Handley explains a 12-step “Writing GPS”:

  1. Goal: know what you are trying to achieve and why it matters to your readers. Is it to educate them about your local area?  Inform them about upcoming events?  Entice them to vacation at your B&B?
  2. Reframe: phrase the idea in a way that relates to your readers.  Can they relate to needing a break?  Are they seeking to improve a relationship?
  3. Seek out the data and examples: use credible sources that support your main points and/or discuss personal experiences.  Your sources could be about travel and leisure, health and fitness, or food and wine.  The personal experiences could be yours or a story (told with permission) of a couple renewing their vows, for example.
  4. Organize: know what structure best helps communicate your point.  The story about the couple could be put in interview format, for instance.
  5. Write to one person: your goal is for your readers to recognize and relate to the issues. If may help to speak as though you are writing to a dear friend about the benefits of a bed and breakfast stay.
  6. Produce the ugly first draft: you first just want to get your initial thoughts written down.  This may not be pretty, but the object is to start writing!  You can edit it later.  What compliments do you hear from your bed and breakfast guests?
  7. Walk away: put some distance between your first draft and your second draft.  Even if it is to get up and make breakfast for your current guests.  The point is to allow yourself some time to get away from what you are writing.
  8. Rewrite: shape it into something a reader wants to read.  You may think of some additional points or some more specific examples to illustrate your points.  Perhaps you live in a historical bed and breakfast and learned more about the people who lived here and/or the guests they entertained.
  9. Give it a great headline or title: make sure you deliver on what the title says.  If your title is “10 Ways to Have Fun In [insert your area here]” make sure that you list 10 Ways and that people really have fun doing those leisure activities.
  10. Have someone else edit it: for grammar, usage, style, and punctuation.  Spell check is not enough and even that will not correct every spelling error.
  11. One final look for readability: make sure it is alluring, easy to scan, maybe part of a list or have bullet points.  Can people easily find my main points or do they have to hunt for them?
  12. Publish: know what you want your readers to do next so you can give your call to action.  This could include following you on social media, subscribing to your blog, booking a room, etc.

Ann Handley says that the more you think about what you want to say, and plan for it, the easier it is to say.

  • Why am I creating this?  Your content has to matter to your target audience.
  • What is my objective?  Know what you want people to do as a result of reading your content.
  • What’s my point of view?  Always be focused on your readers perspective (have a customer-centric point of view).
  • How will this impact my readers?  Put your readers into the story.

Creative Approaches To Frame Your Writing (examples listed apply to B&B’s):

  1. Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Bed and Breakfast Etiquette
  2. Skeptic: Are Bed and Breakfasts Really Better Than Hotels?
  3. Explainer: The Bed and Breakfast Difference in Plain English
  4. Case study: How One Couple Renewed Their Relationship At a B&B
  5. Contrarian: Why Relaxation Is Underrated: The Key To More Productivity?
  6. How-to: How To Plan Your B&B Vacation
  7. Quick how-to: 3 Ways To Jump Start Your Vacation Plans
  8. How NOT to: 5 Ways to Compromise Your Relationships
  9. First person: My Personal Experience At Bed and Breakfasts
  10. Comparison: How B&B’s Measure Up To Hotels
  11. Questions and Answers: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  12. Data:Are People Working Longer Hours? Yes, Says Survey
  13. Man on the Street: Experts Offer Opinions On B&B Stays
  14. Outrageous: Why No Breaks Can Actually Make You Sick
  15. Insider secrets: The One Thing You Need To Know About Bed and Breakfasts

Bed and breakfasts can write using the 12 Steps of Writing GPS and they have many different ways to creatively frame their writing to their readers.  The important thing is that consistent, quality content keeps you in the forefront of people’s minds when they go to book their next vacation!

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

Bed and Breakfast Patriotic Holiday Celebrations

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Bed and breakfast patriotic holiday celebrations in the United States of America occur on special days like Flag Day, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day.  It is during these times that we can honor our country as well as the men and women who serve in the military, our nation’s veterans, and those who sacrificed their lives while fighting to protect our freedoms.

Bed and breakfasts across the country can take the lead by decorating their B&B inside and out, hosting events on site, informing guests of local events in the community, offering holiday specials to attract guests to their inn, and cooking festive looking and fabulous tasting foods.  First, did you ever wonder about the history behind this patriotic holidays?  Here is an up close look:

  • Memorial Day, May 30 (traditionally), is a sacred day to all war veterans. America’s citizens are reminded of the deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime. By honoring the nation’s war dead, we preserve their memory and thus their service and sacrifice. They came from all walks of life and regions of the country, but they all had one thing in common: love of and loyalty to country.
  • Flag Day is June 14 and celebrates the official symbol for the United States: our Stars and Stripes. Flag Day was first recognized by Congress on June 14, 1777. The colors used in the flag give special meaning to the flag: red for valor and zeal; white for hope and cleanliness of life; and blue for reverence and loyalty. When you are looking at the American flag, you are looking at the magnificent history of all Americans who have lived before us and the most enduring nation of free people that has ever existed.
  • Fourth of July is a day when Americans celebrate the pivotal moment in history on July 4, 1776, when the signers of the Declaration of Independence boldly asserted that all are “created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” With these words, our forefathers formed a new nation and put forth a vision of liberty and democracy that would forever alter history. This set into motion the development of a land of freedom and opportunity without equal in the world.
  • Veterans Day is an opportunity to publicly commemorate the contributions of living veterans. Formally the holiday was called Armistice Day through a congressional action in America. If World War I had been “the war to end all wars,” November 11 might be still called Armistice Day. Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of World War II and Korea, Congress decided to make the day an occasion to honor all those who have served America. In 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day.

Decorating your bed and breakfast is a patriotic expression of our thankfulness to be citizens of our free country.  You can add unique displays of red, white, and blue with American flags, banners, decorative crepe paper, table centerpieces, fireplace mantel decorations, and even displaying your very own fireworks show at night!

While hosting an event to celebrate a patriotic holiday at your bed and breakfast, your inn could have some of those actively serving our country or military veterans as guests.  Reach out to your local community and invite a guest speaker to give a speech. You can serve tasty treats at your event and hand out patriotic goodie bags so visitors can remember their visit to your inn.

Letting guests know about local events in the community such as parades or public nighttime firework displays allows you to promote your area.  There may be some local museums that allow your bed and breakfast guests to get a closer look at America’s military history.

Offering guests attractive holiday specials at your bed and breakfast will likely bring more business.  You may gain some first time guests to your inn.  This could be from a patriotic discount to American guests or a military discount to military families and veterans during these specific holidays.

bed-and-breakfast-patriotic-holiday-celebrations Lastly, creating patriotic breakfast dishes adds to the experiences of your guests.  In particular, using strawberries, bananas, and blueberries (to represent red, white, and blue) innkeepers could make a mixed fruit dish, add the berries to French toast, or even make a berry fruit smoothie.  Only limited by your own creativity, you will think of something amazing that your bed and breakfast guests will be delighted to eat!

 

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Managing Your B&B Reputation

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Managing your B&B reputation is more important than ever in this fast-paced world of easily accessed online information. Whether bed and breakfast innkeepers monitor it or not, people are talking about their inns. Do you know what others are saying about your bed and breakfast?  Do you look at reviews written by your previous guests? Conversation goes on whether or not you participate in it.  You can’t afford not to know what is being said about you and your inn!

According to Trip Advisor, 93% of people find reviews important when determining where they want to stay.  This is why receiving positive feedback from satisfied guests is so critical.  Every effort should be made to reduce negative reviews and improve the reputation and appeal of your place of lodging.

Online reputation management means monitoring and influencing the image of your property throughout the internet.  Places of hospitality should focus on review sites, social media, and search engine results.  People from all backgrounds and all over the world use the internet for online travel research before booking their accommodations.

Reputation management tips:

  • Monitor all feedback avenues regularly
  • Spend most of your time listening and paying attention
  • Read everything travelers are saying about your B&B on OTAs & review sites
  • Set up a Google Alert for the name of your B&B and other relevant keywords
  • Communicate why people should recommend your brand vs. your competitors
  • Know what messages about your brand you want guests to share
  • Provide plenty of opportunities for guest feedback during their stay
  • Answer all questions in a timely manner
  • Respond with an open mind to comments
  • Engage with sincerity and authenticity
  • Take all precautions to prevent negative events from occurring

Owning a hospitality business means you need to actively protect your image.  In the event that your reputation management escalates to crisis management, ignoring negative guest comments does not make them go away. Here are many things you can actively do to protect your hospitality brand.

  • Identify the naysayers and respond promptly
  • Make the appropriate apologies and explanations
  • Seek to positively solve their problem
  • Isolate them so the conversation becomes more personal, but far less public
  • Talk in a one-on-one private discussion to find the solution to their problem
  • For every zealot trying to hurt you, your loyal guests are ready to defend you
  • Consumers will generally “shout down” detractors who are way off base
  • Reputation terrorists often base their arguments on feelings vs. facts
  • Have an escalation plan in place for excessive bashing in multiple forums
  • Pick your battles and tactfully respond to criticism
  • Always take the high road

Gathering a lot of mostly positive feedback will increase your visibility because guest reviews will be distributed efficiently on social media as well as booking platforms. At the same time, you can avoid high provision fees by getting people to use your website and your booking engine.  A high rating means your reputation is on a good level, automatically driving demand for your B&B and creating more revenue for you and your employees.

The key is to be attentive and responsive to guests in person, on the phone with callers, and online with those asking questions or making comments.  If you do not have a blog already, considering adding one so that people can get to know the details about you, your inn, and your local area.  Managing your B&B reputation is critical to the success of your bed and breakfast.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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