Tag Archives: Pinterest

How To Add Bed and Breakfast Pillows That Impress

bed and breakfast pillowsc

 

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

 

 

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

Look at Home Decorating Magazines:

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

Watch Home Decorating TV Channels:

Visit Bed and Breakfast Websites Listing Award Winners:

Pillows have all different looks, such as:

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

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

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

Details can be added to pillows, like:

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

Pillow Pointers:

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

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

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Bed and Breakfast Promotions

bed and breakfast promotions

Bed and breakfast promotions include marketing special deals and packages throughout the year. These opportunities include various holidays, seasons, and other special times.

This can be a chance for your bed and breakfast to stand out and show its own personality.  Innkeepers who are creative and thoughtful can really improve the experiences of their guests.

 

The benefits of staying at a bed and breakfast include your guests getting a break, reducing their stress, and focusing on strengthening their relationships.  Guests also experience the beauty of your local area as well as enjoy the luxury of your gourmet breakfasts and plush amenities.

We have talked about the advantages of offering guests special packages.  Now we will concentrate on developing specific promotions.  You can entice with discounts (lower price), complimentary services (free massage or tasting hour), and free upgrades (such as rooms with more amenities).  It is important to create a sense of urgency and give a call-to-action:

  • Hurry!  Offer ends…
  • This weekend only!
  • Back for a limited time!
  • Last chance to…

Your bed and breakfast promotions can be put on your website and blog as well as social media and email marketing.  If you assign promo codes, you can track how they found about the promotion.  A bed and breakfast can have the same promotion, but give it different promo codes depending upon where the guest saw it.  For example, if it were a patriotic holiday promotion (Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Veteran’s Day), it could have the following festive PROMO CODES to indicate the place they found your promotion:

  • “Red, White, and Blue” (website/blog)
  • “Let Freedom Ring” (Facebook)
  • “Home of the Brave” (Google+)
  • “Star Spangled Banner” (Twitter)
  • “Lady Liberty” (Pinterest)

Guests will enjoy holiday promotions and themes throughout the year:

Season promotions could be titled:

  • “Spring Forward” or “Have a Spring Fling”
  • Summer Sun Adventure” or “Dog Days of Summer” (for pet friendly B&B’s)
  • “Fall Back in Love” or “Autumn Leaves”
  • Winter Wonderland” or “Ski the Slopes” (for ski lodges)

Promote during special times:

  • Last Minute Promotions (keep rooms consistently booked)
  • Midweek Discounts (encourage guests to stay during the week)
  • Weekend Deals (popular time for guests to visit)

Bed and breakfasts that have blogs can write a blog post to explain more of the fun details associated with your specific promotion.  The fresh content from regular blog posts offers a great way to become more visible online.  Greater online visibility means not only more web visitors, but also a consistent source of regular bookings. Innkeepers who do not have the time for (or interest in) writing a blog can contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

What Should My Inn Blog About?

inn blog about

What should my inn blog about, you ask?  Since each inn is unique, your blog should give readers a better understanding of your particular bed and breakfast. Is your location a relaxed beach setting, a scenic mountain location, a rural country farm, a contemporary urban inn, or something else entirely?  Entice your website visitors to stay at your bed and breakfast.  Pictures are a very visual way to attract vacationers.

Why do people visit your local area?  What local leisure activities can guests participate in?  Does your area have any local tourist attractions?  Blogging about this will give you fresh content and keywords for search engine optimization.  Moreover, knowing this information helps you target different types of guests:

Do you offer any special packages or retreats?

How does your inn serve breakfast?  Some B&B inns have their own restaurant.  Some bring breakfast to your room on a tray while others have a common dining area for guests.  At some bed and breakfasts, guests can choose from a menu what they would like to have while at others everyone the same delicious gourmet cooking.

Be sure to ask guests if they have special dietary needs.  Your blog can feature pictures of your breakfasts as well as recipes of guests’ favorite dishes.

What kind of amenities can your guests enjoy?

Potential guests also like to know more about the owners, innkeepers, and staff members of bed and breakfasts.  Be sure to put their pictures on your website including their name, a couple sentences about what they do, and what they recommend guests try when they visit.  You could even feature staff members that receive a lot of compliments from your guest feedback.

Be sure to tell guests what you, as an innkeeper, love the most.  Let them know that you will be attentive to their needs, but also give them the privacy they desire.  If you have a historic bed and breakfast, be sure to share your inn’s history.

Do you have any accreditations or affiliations?  Membership in a bed and breakfast association and/or having received a certain award or level of distinction will set you apart from other bed and breakfasts.

Do you have your own bed and breakfast shop?

How does your inn celebrate the seasons?

How does your inn celebrate holidays?

Your inn can blog about remodeled or redecorated rooms.  Improvements to your inn are worth talking about.  Previous guests may want to return based on your description of the new changes.

Do you offer any incentives for frequent stays and/or referrals?  Reward your guests for returning and recommending your B&B to friends. On the topic of frequency, be sure to have a frequently asked questions section on your website.

Let guests know how to connect with your bed and breakfast on other social media websites. Have a presence on one or more of the following websites can make a big difference in your visibility online.

 

When you share your blog on social media, this lets people know more about you and your bed and breakfast inn.  Give website visitors an “inn-side” look at your B&B from behind the scenes.  Having a blog and being active on social media is a great way to draw more attention to your website.

Don’t have the time or desire to write a blog or stay active on social media?  Let Kristi Dement and her team at Bed and Breakfast Blogging do all the hard work for you.  Her clients see results with consistently booked rooms.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Bed and Breakfast Bathrooms

bed and breakfast bathrooms

Bed and breakfast bathrooms can really enhance the experience of your appreciative guests.  Your unique decorations, attractive colors, magnificent materials, fancy fixtures, luxurious linens, and plush amenities all make a big impression on them.  Likewise, it is important to have complimentary bathroom supplies made available in each guest bathroom.  Your guests will remember your attention to the details.

This blog post features links to our corresponding Pinterest pages.  These Pinterest boards show photos from a variety of bed and breakfasts as well as of various products and ideas.  Given its visual nature, Pinterest is a great way to showcase your bed and breakfast.  Share pictures of what your inn looks like (both inside and outside) as well as share pictures of your delicious food and special events you host, such as weddings and tea time.

Be sure to decorate your bathrooms in a way that complements the look of the corresponding bedrooms and overall theme of your place.  Guests will expect the d├ęcor of bathrooms to be different depending upon the style or location of your bed and breakfast.  The following are just a few suggestions and there are many more decorating options available to the bed and breakfast owner.

  • Beach bed and breakfast bathrooms
    •  feature shells, starfish, sand dollars, sea horse, fish, coral reef, a captains wheel, anchor, or surfboards
    • have water, sand, or coral colors
  • Farm bed and breakfast bathrooms
    • feature roosters, cows, horses, gardens, corn stalks, or seeds
    • have farm colors like grass green, barn red, or sunflower yellow
  • Historic bed and breakfast bathrooms
    • feature pictures of previous residents, antique furniture, vintage signs, or a claw-foot tub
    • colors like black and white (like old photos) or rust

There are a variety of materials used in bathrooms, including:

Fixtures, such as:

  • Cabinets
  • Lights
  • Mirrors
  • Showers
  • Sinks
  • Towel bars and hooks
  • Tubs
  • Vanities

Linens:

  • Robes
  • Towels (double loop with high thread count)
  • Washcloths

Luxury amenities and other extras like:

Guests will be thankful for complimentary bathroom supplies, such as:

  • Bath gel
  • Bath mats
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Drinking glasses
  • Hairdryer
  • Lotion
  • Make-up remover pads (to avoid stains on your washcloths and towels)
  • Mouthwash (travel size)
  • Shampoo and conditioner (travel size)
  • Shower cap
  • Soap (soap bars should be individually wrapped)
  • Tissues (with lotion)
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste (travel size)
  • Toilet paper (individually wrapped rolls)
  • Waste basket (with throw-away liner)

You may want to reward your guests by having a frequent stay and referral program and give discounts for those returning again and recommending your B&B to their friends.  Keep in mind the image your bed and breakfast seeks to portray to your guests: comfort, luxury, eco-friendly, and more.  The possibilities are endless as to how you decorate your bathroom and what amenities you offer to your guests.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Visual Storytelling: Facebook

visual storytelling Facebook

The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand is written by authors and social media experts Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio. They devote a whole section of their book to informing the reader about Facebook statistics and giving profitable strategies for businesses using Facebook.

With over 1 billion active users, Facebook allowed brands and organizations to set up public pages in 2007.  Text, image, and video posts can all be seamlessly integrated in a user-friendly design.  Businesses can encourage comments, likes, and shares from their followers.

Facebook Statistics:

  • Half of Facebook fans prefer the brand pages to company websites
  • Posts between 100-250 characters get about 60% more likes, comments, & shares
  • Post at least one to two times per week to stay top-of-mind and relevant
  • Pictures receive 120-180% more engagement from fans than text-based posts.
  • 200 million photos get uploaded to Facebook on an average day
  • 80% of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook.
  • Facebook is available in more than 70 languages
  • Facebook accounts for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online
  • Facebook accounts for 3 of every 4 minutes on social networking websites
  • U.S. desktop users spend an average of about six hours every month on Facebook
  • U.S. mobile users spend an average of eleven hours every month on Facebook
  • 2.5 billion content shares a day on Facebook
  • 2.7 billion likes a day on Facebook
  • 15 million brand pages on Facebook

Facebook Strategies:

  • Create photos specifically to generate conversations
  • Ask fans to upload their own videos
  • Create campaigns specifically for Facebook fans
  • Photos and videos work really well
  • Great creative with your header photo by choosing something eye-catching and inspiring
  • Change the header photo now and then to keep it fresh
  • Offer creative visual contests to engage your fans in a sustainable way
  • Ask questions to spark engagement
  • Improve customer service by talking to fans, encouraging feedback, and sharing images
  • Encourage user-generated content
  • Followers relate more to brands
  • Fans feel like they are an active part of the product experience than a passive consumer

The authors recommend that businesses use Facebook in order to attract fans, build brand awareness, and increase customer loyalty.  The key is engaging in conversations with fans, sharing useful content, and posting pictures and videos (from the brand itself as well as from the fans). Facebook is a valuable social media platform with which businesses can tell their story and interact with their fans.

Visual storytelling can take place on Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Slideshare, and Google Plus.  We will look at more social media platforms as the Visual Storytelling series continues.

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is 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.

Power of Visual Storytelling

power of visual storytelling

Another great book is The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand co-written by Ekaterina Walter (cofounder and chief marketing officer at Branderati)  and Jessica Gioglio (social media manager for Dunkin Donuts).  The back of the book says, “Attention is the new commodity. Visual storytelling is the new currency.”

 

According to this book, “Visual content in real time can give people a different perspective instantly.”  The goal is to create visual, shareable content that conveys your brand’s central message. Visual storytelling has the potential to:

 

  • Enhance loyalty
  • Strengthen customer relationships
  • Increase awareness
  • And much more!

With 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions at the end of 2012, about 96% of the world population has a cell phone. With the on-the-go nature of people’s lives in this present age, sharing user-generated images and visuals is happening in real time.  According to the authors, visuals are processed by the human brain 60,000 times faster than text!

Creating the right image to convey your message means you must know who you are as a brand, what you stand for, and how this relates to the goals of your customers.  The book reveals some fascinating statistics about what website visitors think is important:

  • 46.1% of people say that a website’s design is the #1 criterion for discerning the credibility of the company (research from Billion Dollar Graphics)
  • 67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to be very important, and carry even more weight that then product information, full description, and customer ratings (MDG Advertising Research)
  • 51% of Americans trust user-generated content over other information on a company website

The Power of Visual Storytelling details the vast variety of visual content that is available for companies to use:

  • Images
  • Photography
  • Graphs
  • Drawings
  • User-generated images
  • Collages
  • Images with text overlays (captions, quotes, stats)
  • Word photos
  • Memes (imitated things)
  • Postcards and e-cards
  • Cartoons
  • GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format)
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Presentations
  • Aggregators

Collaborative storytelling benefits both customers and companies.  Customers get to see their images liked by fans of the brand.  Companies get insight on what customer motivation. According to BuzzFeed, every minute online:

  • 208,300 photos are posted to Facebook
  • 27,800 photos are shared on Instagram
  • 510,000 photos are liked on Instagram
  • 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube

The authors caution readers that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to social media. Each network has its own character and audience.  Instead of being “broadcasted to” audiences want to feel “listened to” as we invite them to be part of the conversation.  The next series of posts will feature their tips for various social media networks, including:

Later we will highlight their tips to developing a visual story road map from strategy to implementation.  I highly recommend that businesses read The Power of Visual Storytelling!

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is 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

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

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

5 Ways to Attract More Attention Online

5 ways to attract attention

 

 

What can we do to grab the attention of the online world and become more visible to our internet audience?  These are five ways we can attract more attention online.

1) Words–The words we use really help determine our online visibility.  In the online world, fresh content is everything.  We need to make a list of keywords we want associated with us and our brand.  We should consistently use those keywords in our content.

 

 

 

2) Actions–Ever hear the phrase, “What we do speaks louder than what we say“? People observe others. Whether we want them to or not, people see actions as well as lack of taking action.  For example, if we consistently receive the same negative comments online, then we know we need to take action.  This is not the time for us to ignore it and hope it goes away! We should appreciate comments and respond to both positive and negative feedback.

3) Formatting–People like easy to read content.  Most people don’t read word for word online. They like to scan the page.

  • Use bullet points
  • Add numbers
  • Offer descriptive subheadings
  • Make important text bold
  • etc.

4) Links–We should provide links to other places in our website/blog as well as outside resources. This goes a long way in showing others that we like to be helpful and provide useful information. We are more likely to be seen as leaders on our subjects.

5) Get visual–Images and videos attract eyeballs.  People notice meaningful pictures.  Pinterest is a great visual social media platform that literally has billions of pins.

We should ask ourselves, “What does my target audience like to see online?”  When we see things from their perspective, we can be more creative.  Are we using the right keywords?  Are we taking appropriate action? Does our formatting make our content easy to read?  Have we provided great links?  Have we featured attention-getting images or video? When we can say yes to all five questions, we will attract more attention online!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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