Tag Archives: pet friendly

Shatter the Disastrous Myths About Bed and Breakfasts

myths about bed and breakfasts

It is time to shatter the disastrous myths about bed and breakfasts. There are a handful of reporters recently who have published stories that seem to be more about their own awkward hang-ups than about having real issues with where they stayed. Also, most of their disappointments could have been prevented through simple actions like looking at the accommodations’ website and reading guest reviews before their booking rooms.

Most bed and breakfasts are NOT about staying at grandma’s house with doilies. While some bed and breakfasts are located in historic mansions, that does not mean they have thin walls, squeaky bed frames, and creaky floors. Many of those inns have been painstakingly returned to their original glory with added insulation (if needed), restored or new furniture, and repaired or refinished flooring.

99% of bed and breakfasts offer private, connected bathrooms for their guests to use. Bed and breakfasts with good websites always show pictures of their guest rooms and bathrooms and even specify which amenities come with each of their rooms. Hotels are not the only ones with private balconies, sitting areas, gardens, pools, restaurants, and gift shops. There are plenty of inns offering these same luxuries.

Bed and breakfasts are always unique. Every inn is different and offers its own special personality and experiences. Guests choose bed and breakfasts based on its location, style, local attractions, and personal preferences. Bed and breakfast inns can come in a wide variety of types to choose from, including:

  • scenic mountain bed and breakfasts
  • modern boutique inns
  • bed and breakfast farms
  • pet-friendly inns
  • B&B retreats for authors or artists
  • bed and breakfasts on the water
  • environmentally friendly inns
  • bed and breakfasts in secluded locations
  • kid-friendly inns

There is a reason why they are called bed and breakfasts. Hotels often offer “continental” breakfasts that leave much to be desired. Innkeepers often have culinary training as well as a natural talent and passion for cooking. Many bed and breakfasts accommodate guests on restricted diets.

Preferably while booking your room, be sure to indicate any food allergies or dietary guidelines. Whether you are on a gluten-free, dairy-free, low cholesterol, reduced fat, no sugar added, vegan, or vegetarian diet, bed and breakfast chefs can make something you will enjoy eating that does not compromise those standards.

You do NOT have to have conversations with other guests if you feel like keeping to yourself. There is no “dreaded obligation” to have small talk with strangers. At breakfast time, many inns offer tables for two or even in-room dining. It is less common for there to be one common breakfast table for all the guests to sit at. This is a win-win for shy and outgoing guests as well as perky and not-so-perky guests. You can seek interaction or keep to yourself. It is completely up to you!

Innkeepers want to provide their guests with the best hospitality experience possible. Bed and breakfast staff do not try to “hover” over their guests. They remain attentive (they are there if you need them) yet not intrusive (they give you space and privacy). They respect their guests’ wishes for peace and quiet. Some places offer private entrances, separate cottages or guest houses.

Bed and breakfasts are a great value. They offer free breakfast, free parking, and complimentary refreshments. Most offer free wireless internet and some have free DVD libraries and even provide free streaming video services like Netflix. Hotels charge extra for these things. There is no such thing as “free room service” at hotels.

If you like impersonal and stuffy hotel chains, then maybe bed and breakfast inns are not for you. However, many of you (if you have not already) will visit a bed and breakfast inn and never go back to staying at hotels!  

Owners and innkeepers, are you looking to improve your online marketing results?  Want to educate potential guests about what makes your inn more appealing than your local competition? Bed and breakfast blogging offers professional services including blogging, e-mail marketing, social media, and reputation management.  Don’t have time or don’t know where to start? Contact Kristi today for a free consultation!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Do You Know What Makes Your Inn Stand Out?

what makes your inn stand out

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

Here is a list of ways to stand out:

  • Beach or waterfront property?  Ask your guests to share their photos online. Alternatively, ask the public to share their best pictures of relaxing in the sun to enter a photo contest to win a gift certificate to stay at your inn.

 

  • Eco-friendly bed and breakfasts can have a page on their website devoted to their environmentally safe practices and awards.

 

  • Game rooms?  With their permission, share photos of guests playing your games (ex: air hockey, chess, horseshoes, Scrabble, etc.).

 

  • Gift shop? Offer guests attractive items to purchase with your logo on them (such as decorative soaps, coffee mugs, aprons, and maybe even your own cookbook) so they are reminded of your inn every time they see or use the items.

 

  • Gourmet breakfasts so delicious they prompt guests to write great reviews about your inn.  Ask those who rave about your food to post on online review.

 

  • Handicap-accessible inns can show their ramps, bathrooms, ground floor rooms, and (if applicable) their elevators.  With guest permission, share pictures of trained guide dogs who have visited your inn.

 

  • Historical inn and/or unique antiques? Share photos and stories of the original family members that lived at your historic inn.  Share photos of the gorgeous antiques safely displayed throughout your inn.

 

  • Kid friendly?  Show pictures of rooms or suites that are suitable for families.  Write blog posts about local family attractions.  

 

  • Library? Attract more guests by sharing pictures of your library and by featuring a local author who will be speaking at an event (in or around) your bed and breakfast.

 

  • Luxurious amenities (such as a pool, hot tub, or spa) should be featured on your website and in your social media.

 

  • Mountain inns can share photos of majestic views as well as promote local activities such as hiking, skiing, and zip-lining.  

 

  • Mysteries? If you host murder mysteries, share pictures of your event (such as your guests dressed in costumes) on your website, blog, and social media. 

 

  • Packages? Feature tickets to popular local attractions (such as a theater or amusement park) and/or gift certificates to local fine dining restaurants.

 

  • Patriotic bed and breakfasts can display their country’s flag and offer a discount to those on active military duty and to veterans.

 

  • Pet-friendly bed and breakfasts can show pictures of pets at their property and take about their pet policies (including where pets are allowed to go).

 

  • Restaurant? Bed and breakfast inns with their own restaurant can feature photos of seasonal events (like Thanksgiving Day) as well as social events (like private parties). Regularly blog about popular signature dishes or feature the chefs and write about their culinary training and experience.

 

  • Retreats hosted at your inn?  Notify the media.  This is especially important if the person speaking at the retreat is famous or notable in their field.

 

  • Settings that are breathtaking, peaceful, and gorgeous should be shown in pictures to attract more guests.

 

  • Tea time? Whether you have a dedicated tea room open to the public or specific tea times only for your guests, promote tea time with pictures of your tea table settings and food as well as guest events like social hours or book clubs.  

 

  • Vegan or vegetarian bed and breakfasts can show pictures of delicious, hearty looking meals that are (surprisingly) within those diet restrictions.

 

  • Weddings at your inn?  Display pictures of places where the ceremony and reception can be held on the property.  With permission, share pictures of happy couples and of related events like vow renewals and elopements.  

 

  • Wine tastings? Whether you own the winery or offer a package for your guests to tour local wineries, describe the experiences that guests will have as well as share photos (with permission) of guests touring vineyards.  If transportation is provided during tours, be sure to mention that as well.  

 

  • Yoga is a great way for your guests to become stronger and more relaxed.  If you regularly offer yoga on site to your guests, be sure to share that on your website, in blog posts, and in photos on your social media.

 

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

 

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

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

B&B Travel Packing List

travel packing list

 

Does your bed and breakfast suggest a B&B Travel Packing List?  Depending upon where you are located, your suggestions of what they should bring will vary.  Location, season, climate, and local attractions and recreation all play a part in determining your recommendations.

 

Keep in mind, your guests may be driving or flying.  You may be hosting international guests.  This B&B Travel Packing List is meant as a suggestion and can be tailored to fit what is appropriate for your guests.

You can put the list up on your own website as a courtesy to your guests.  You also do not have to go into as much detail as we have chosen to do.  There will likely be things that you can think of that are not on this list.  This is a starting point for developing your own travel packing list.

Important Necessities:

  • Addresses of friends and family
  • Airline tickets
  • Calling card
  • Car rental confirmations
  • Cash
  • Contact info for bank and credit card companies
  • Copy of traveler’s insurance policy
  • Credit and ATM cards
  • Directions
  • Driver’s license and photocopies
  • E-tickets
  • Emergency Contacts
  • Gift certificates or giftcards
  • Guidebook(s)
  • House keys
  • Identification
  • Insurance information
  • Itineraries
  • List of medications
  • Lodging information and reservations
  • Maps
  • Medical and vaccination records
  • Membership cards (AAA, frequent flier)
  • Money belt/pouch
  • Passport, visa(s) and photocopies
  • Reservation confirmations
  • Tickets to concerts, events, and games
  • Traveler’s checks

Personal Items and Hygiene

  • Aftershave
  • Body lotion
  • Cologne/perfume
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • Cosmetics
  • Cotton swabs/cotton balls
  • Deodorant
  • Eye drops
  • Face wash
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Floss
  • Glasses
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Hair care products
  • Hair styling appliances
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lip balm
  • Lotions
  • Makeup
  • Makeup remover
  • Moisturizers
  • Moist towelettes
  • Mouthwash
  • Nail clippers/files
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Shaving supplies
  • Soap
  • Sunscreen
  • Tissues/paper towels
  • Toiletry bag
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Towel/wash cloth
  • Tweezers

Clothing and Accessories

  • Belts
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Dresses
  • Dress shoes
  • Exercise clothing
  • Extra hangers
  • Gloves/mittens
  • Hats
  • Hiking boots
  • Jacket/fleece
  • Jeans
  • Jewelry
  • Knit hat
  • Long underwear
  • Pajamas/sleepwear
  • Pants/trousers
  • Rain boots
  • Rainwear
  • Sandals
  • Scarves
  • Shirts (dressy and/or casual)
  • Shorts
  • Shower shoes
  • Skirts
  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • Stockings
  • Suits
  • Sweaters
  • Sweatshirts
  • Swimsuit/Cover-up
  • Ties
  • T-shirts
  • Undergarments
  • Watch
  • Water shoes
  • Wide-brimmed hat

Medications and Health

  • Allergy pills
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Bandages
  • Cold medicine
  • First-aid kit
  • Herbal supplements
  • Insect repellant
  • Motion sickness remedies
  • Nausea and diarrhea remedies
  • Pain relievers
  • Prescriptions
  • Sleep medications
  • Vitamins

Technology

  • Batteries
  • Camera and charger
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Converters and adapters
  • E-books
  • Electronic chargers
  • Extension cord(s)
  • Film
  • GPS
  • Laptop and accessories
  • MP3 player
  • Memory cards
  • PDA
  • Shortwave radio
  • Tablet/e-reader
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Underwater camera
  • Video camera and charger
  • Video player
  • Walkie-talkies

On the Plane

  • Books or magazines
  • Chewing gum
  • Earplugs
  • Eye mask
  • Quart-size bag for liquids/gels
  • Tissues
  • Travel blanket

In the Car

  • Antifreeze
  • Driving directions
  • Ice scraper
  • Jumper cables
  • Keys
  • Maps
  • Motor oil
  • Pillow and blanket
  • Spare tire or donut
  • Windshield wiper fluid

Outdoors

  • Beach bag
  • Beach towel
  • Binoculars
  • Compass/GPS
  • Flashlight
  • Insect repellent
  • Lighter
  • Rain poncho
  • Shortwave radio
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Sunscreen
  • Umbrella
  • Water bottles

Entertainment

  • CD’s/DVD’s
  • Playing cards
  • Portable DVD player
  • Travel games
  • Video games

Miscellaneous

  • Cooler
  • Drinks
  • Double-sided/duct tape
  • Highlighters
  • Laundry (bag, soap, stain remover)
  • Journal
  • Pen(s)
  • Pet items (if traveling to pet-friendly bed and breakfast)
  • Plastic bags
  • Puzzles (crosswords, jigsaw, word search)
  • Safety pins
  • Sewing kit
  • Snacks
  • Swiss army knife
  • Toys (if traveling with children)

Guests will be bringing purses, tote bags, carry-ons, suitcases, and other luggage.  Thanks to your handy packing list, guests will be less likely to forget bringing something they wanted to have during their stay at your lovely bed and breakfast.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

10 Terrific Twitter Tips for B&B’s

10 twitter tips

 

 

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

Pinterest Strategy

Pinterest strategy

 

 

While Pinterest is fun, it is important that businesses form a Pinterest strategy centered around the feedback they have received from other pinners.

 

 

Strategy:

  • Develop a strategy based on your analytics
  • Tailor your boards to the needs and interests of your followers (based on your Pinterest analytics)
  • Showcase your pins in an organized way that makes sense
  • Find out who is pinning what and why
  • Measure your impact and focus on boards performing the best
  • Create a variety of different boards that each target certain words
  • Cross-promote on other social media platforms (ex: Twitter, Facebook)
  • Include hash tags (#) in your board descriptions
  • Invite specific types of travelers into your bed and breakfast (ex: couples, business people, girlfriends, etc.)
  • Determine if you want to be pet-friendly, kid-friendly, or offer special events such as weddings or retreats
  • Look at how other B&B’s (with a large number of followers) use Pinterest

Pinterest can help virtually any business establish brand and get the word out.  What you get out of Pinterest depends on what you put in it. With the proper Pinterest strategy, guests will be able to peek into your personality, style, loves, and aspirations.  Guests will feel like they know you before they arrive!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

B&B’s That Welcome Pets

B&Bs that welcome pets

Petswelcome.com features accommodations that allow lodging for traveler’s pets.  This website has a specific section that allows guests to locate B&Bs that welcome pets.

The advantages to allowing pets include: standing out to potential guests only willing to stay at a place that allows pets, looking hospitable to animals, and enabling the B&B owners to have their own pets.

The disadvantages include: not attracting people who are afraid of or allergic to pets, the wear and tear of housing pets, and the potential negative interactions between pets and unfamiliar people or pets with each other.

There is a happy compromise that some bed and breakfast owners are able to do. For the owners that have separate cottages or rooms with private entrances, they can be pet friendly while insuring to their other guests that the pets will remain in those areas only.

Whichever you decide, you can make it an important selling point.  To the B&B’s that welcome pets, you will attract pet owners.  To the B&B’s that do not allow pets, you may attract more romantic couples.  Be sure to designate whether you allow pets or not on your website and marketing materials. You can check out our Pinterest page of bed and breakfast pets!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography