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:

 

  • Fine Living Network

 

 

  • Style Network

 

  • The Learning Channel

 

Visit Bed and Breakfast Websites Listing Award Winners:

 

  • Bedandbreakfast.com Awards

 

  • BnBFinder.com Guest Favorite Awards

 

  • TripAdvisor.com Traveler’s Choice Awards Top 25 B&Bs and Inns

 

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

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

What Makes A Blog Post Go Viral?

what makes blog post viral

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How will you know if your blog post was successful?

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

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

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Can We Grab Your Attention?!

can we grab your attention

 

 

Can we grab your attention? People who read things online do not take the time to read everything they see.  It is important to put the key information up front and to use bullet points often:

 

 

  • Keep content short and punchy
  • This is a world of instant gratification
  • Another website is just one mouse click away
  • Do not tell the reader more than they want to know
  • Use graphs, images, and other visual forms
  • Make a clear call to action for what you want your readers to do next

In the case of bed and breakfast owners, you want your readers to subscribe to your blog, like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, connect with you on Linked In, follow you on Pinterest, subscribe to your YouTube channel, etc.

If this sounds like too much work, then have Bed and Breakfast Blogging do the work for you. Contact us today at 919-931-6168. Search engines love the fresh content that our blog posts provide and we can give you an active social media presence so you stay on the minds of potential guests!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

B&B Social Media Success

B&B Social Media SuccessSocial Media Success is the name of a Pin Board I have on the social media network called Pinterest. I pinned the pins on that board for the sole purpose of helping bed and breakfast owners successfully use social media.  What I did not expect, and I was completely surprised about, was the response from those not even in the bed and breakfast industry.  I currently have over 1700 followers on that board alone!  What is crazy is that I did not start it more than a few months ago!

That is the power of numbers and how things can go viral fast.  I highly recommend the book, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” by Jonah Berger. Berger is the James G. Campbell Associate Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He discusses six principles of “Contagiousness”:

 

  • Social currency: people desire to share cool things to look good in the process
  • Triggers: people talk about things cued in their environment
  • Emotion: when people have high arousal emotions (like excitement or anger) they are more likely to share it
  • Public: behavior that is made more public enables social influence
  • Practical Value: people share things to help others (save time, save money, become more healthy, etc.)
  • Story: people share memorable stories

So what can you do to have social media success and your bed and breakfast become “contagious”? 

  • Blog Posts (about your local area and your inn’s amenities)
  • Holidays (this could even be food holidays or silly holidays)
  • Pictures (inside and outside of your inn as well as of your food and events)
  • Recipes (share recipes to the dishes your guests rave about the most)
  • Quotes (from famous people or related to travel and vacations)

Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging is here to help!  Contact Kristi today so you can have social media success and more guests at your B&B!

Affiliate Disclaimer: This 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.

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