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The Quick and Easy Way to Market Your Bed and Breakfast

Looking for the quick and easy way to market your bed and breakfast? Share information from our essential bed and breakfast content checklist.  This can be shared on your website pages, in blog posts, in social media, in emails, in videos, and more.  

Essential Bed and Breakfast Content Checklist:

  • Activities: What can people do when they stay at your inn?  This includes activities at the inn as well as activities at places and events in your local area.
  • Amenities: What amenities do your guests have access to?  Perhaps you have something as unique as a heated pool or billiards room.  The picture shows a lovely outdoor area for guests to relax and hear music.  Be sure to list every amenity your inn offers.
  • Area: Think about why people visit your local area.  Do you provide information that includes the many reasons people decide to stay at your inn? 
  • Associations/Ratings: Do you belong to any B&B associations that regularly inspect your inn for quality assurance? Let your guests know what professional associations you belong to as well as any ratings of distinction such as Select Registry or Historic Hotels of America.
  • Blog: Do you have a blog? Blogs are great places to regularly share new information such as seasonal changes, local annual events, and more.  
  • Decorating: Do you have any decorating tips to share? Perhaps you could feature pictures of your decor and give ideas for how guests can make their own homes more decorative.
  • Employees: No matter the size of your staff, you can share a picture of them and some fun facts about them.  Include where they are originally from and a brief background like their favorite sports team, college alma mater, favorite breakfast food, favorite thing to do in your local area, etc.  Also let guests know what roles they have at your inn. 
  • Events: This includes both activities that happen at your inn as well as local activities.  Be aware of any major local activities and conferences to specifically attract those guests.  
  • Food: Food is so popular that entire television channels are devoted to it! Share recipes to your most popular items and share behind-the-scenes photos of preparing for breakfast.  Feature your farm fresh produce.
  • Fun: Highlight the fun that happens at your inn.  This could feature guests (with their permission) having fun in common rooms or anywhere on your property.  
  • Gardening/Landscaping: Do you have award-winning gardens? Do you have attractive fountains and outdoor sculptures? What is in bloom right now at your inn?  Focus on seasonal changes and promote Fall Foliage if that is something your area is known for.  
  • Guests: Think about what types of guests you attract.  If the guests tell you the reason for their visit or activities they participated in, make a note of it.  Offer recommendations to local restaurants and shops.
  • History: Do you have a historical inn? If so, consider sharing your B&B’s unique history.  If you built your inn, share pictures of its construction and your motivation for building your own B&B.
  • Holidays: Does your inn show off unique decorations with each holiday? Valentine’s Day is just one of the many holidays that bed and breakfasts can feature in blog posts and on social media. If you have any holiday-related packages, be sure to feature them during that time.
  • Promotion: Consider promoting local events and businesses. You may want to feature a contest on your website and/or social media.  Require those who enter your contest to enter by sharing their email address.  Then you can add them to your email list.
  • Publicity: Was your inn featured in a magazine or the local news?  Be sure to have links to any publicity your inn receives listed on your website and share it in social media.
  • Renovation: Did you renovate or redecorate any areas of your inn?  Share before and after photos of any indoor or outdoor transformations.  Describe the process it took to get it from the before picture to the after picture.  There are lots of people who would be interested in learning how you remodeled that space.
  • Success: Did you receive an award for something? Perhaps your won a local recipe contest.  Maybe you received an award in your local town as an elite place to stay overnight.  Be sure to include this in your content.
  • Support: Do you support any charities or host charity events? Do you sponsor any local teams or events? Any community outreach you do can be featured in your content.  Share pictures of the events. 

This list is certainly not exhaustive. There may be other areas to promote, depending upon where you are located, the types of guests you host, and the unique accommodations you provide.  The key is to regularly share new content. This makes you more visible online when people go to search for specific keywords.  

Not sure what keywords you should feature? Consider using the name of your city, popular tourist destinations, popular local activities, and so on.  That way if someone types in “your city name and a popular activity” they could find your content and land on your website.  

Need help marketing your inn?  Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free consultation.  Bed and Breakfast Blogging specializes in not only blogging, but also social media marketing, email marketing, reputation management, and more. 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Yellow House in Waynesville, NC

As soon as we met Owners and Innkeepers Ken and Kelli Todtenhagen, we felt very welcome at The Yellow House in Waynesville, North Carolina. We were in town to tour Western Carolina University in nearby Cullowhee.

We stayed in the Rockwell Suite (pictured above), named in honor of the famous 20th-century American author and prolific artist Norman Rockwell, who produced more than 4,000 works in his lifetime.  Rockwell is most famous for the color illustrations of everyday life he created for the Saturday Evening Post for nearly five decades.

In the suite, some of Mr. Rockwell’s pictures are on the walls and there are art supplies (including sketch pads and adult coloring books) available for guests who like to draw.  Ken and Kelli are amazed at some of their talented guests who have left pictures for them.

There are many reasons why guests love to visit The Yellow House, including:

  • Luxurious guest rooms and suites in their Main House and Pond House 
  • All ten guest areas include their own gas fireplaces
  • Two dog-friendly rooms in the Pond House
  • Guest amenities including complimentary wine & hors d’oeuvres, 24-hour access to drinks & snacks, comfy robes, and private baths (some with jetted tubs)
  • Gorgeous mountain views
  • “Rest and Relaxation” and “Playing Hooky” specials
  • “Gone Fishing”, “Girls Getaway”, and “Honeymoon/Anniversary Picnic” packages
  • Extras including balloons, chocolate, picnic lunches, wine & cheese tray, flowers
  • Delicious fresh complimentary gourmet breakfasts each morning

There are many special occasions guests celebrate at The Yellow House, including:

  • Memorable anniversaries 
  • Unforgettable birthdays
  • Joyous graduation parties
  • Festive holidays
  • Elegant weddings

The Yellow House is close to so many noteworthy and scenic places, such as:

  • Biltmore Estate
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Brevard Music Center
  • Cherokee Indian Reservation
  • Folkmoot
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Pisgah National Forest

Guests of The Yellow House enjoy activities and adventures, like:

  • Flyfishing
  • Golfing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Mountain and road biking
  • Rock and ice climbing
  • Skiing
  • White water rafting

Some favorite restaurants where guests like to dine are:

  • Bourbon Barrel Beef and Ale
  • Boojum Brewing Company
  • Frogs Leap Public House
  • The Chef’s Table
  • Trailhead Cafe and Bakery

Ken and Kelli have done some major renovating to the house (built in the late 1800s) to restore its grand historic appeal.  They have added antique furniture and some of their delightful decor changes throughout the year to reflect the seasons and holidays.  We highly recommend a visit to The Yellow House and we look forward to many return visits.

Why Local Partnerships Can Make You Rich

Do you know why local partnerships can make you rich?  Do you know that your local area could be your best asset?  Travelers tend to pick the area of their destination BEFORE they choose their accommodations.  So innkeepers can profit from thinking about: “Why do guests visit my local area?” 

Word-of-mouth marketing can also be very powerful.  What do you want to become known for?  A big part of becoming more well known is developing ties with other local businesses and organizations in your community.

Who, in your local area, offers complementary products and services?  There are many reasons why it is in both your interests to form a mutually beneficial relationship:

  • You can refer each other business (since you don’t have all the same customers)
  • You can promote each other in a variety of ways (such as via social media)
  • You can form exclusive partnerships (more on that later)

So, you may be thinking, what types of places and with whom could I form local partnerships?:

  • Caterers
  • Chocolatier 
  • Entertainment providers
  • Florist
  • Gift shops
  • Museums
  • Nonprofit organizations and charities
  • Realtors
  • Restaurants
  • Spas (if you do not have your own spa)
  • Sports
  • Tourist attractions
  • Wedding planners

There is a whole movement going on to support local businesses and service professionals.  Spread the love for your local area by featuring these other businesses:

  • Brochures (display them at your inn)
  • Coupons (arrange for your guests to receive discounts for using their services)
  • Menus (let people see what they offer by providing their menus)
  • Preferred list of vendors (such as caterers and wedding planners)
  • Social Media (share a picture of them and write about why people should want to use their products and/or services)
  • Video (partner with other businesses to promote your town as a vacation destination)
  • Word-of-mouth (if guests ask for your recommendations)

Develop “exclusive partnerships” in which you agree to only buy from them and they offer you a reduced rate for doing so.  This works out well in the case of using one chocolatier and one florist.  Especially if you offer packages to your guests which include chocolate and flowers. 

An “influencer” is a person who has the power to influence many people.  How do you meet and form relationships with the “influencers” in your community? 

  • Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce which will have local business owners and service providers as members. 
  • LinkedIn is a powerful social media network for finding other local business owners
  • There is nothing like meeting face-to-face to discuss how you can help each other’s businesses grow 
  • Look online (like at TripAdvisor) to find lists for the best restaurants near you and the top things to do in (and near) your area for ideas of people and places to contact

That is why local partnerships make you rich.  No time to connect with others in your area (since you are so busy with the responsibilities of innkeeping)?  Or are you not comfortable networking with other people and other places?  Contact Bed and Breakfast Blogging for help today!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Shatter the Disastrous 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

How You Can Profit From Creating Memorable Guest Packages


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I would like to invite you to attend the webinar, “How You Can Profit From Creating Memorable Guest Packages.” This is scheduled for Wednesday November 16 at 2 pm. All members of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International may register to attend. 

How You Can Profit From Creating Memorable Guest Packages: Regardless of the number of rooms your inn has, every innkeeper can profit from designing memorable packages for their guests.  Since guests do not want to “work” to put together a great vacation, you can coordinate things on the front end (before they arrive) so your guests can relax and enjoy their experience. Guests are willing to pay more for things to be planned in advance for them.  In this webinar, we will discuss creative ways to put packages together using your knowledge of your inn’s local area and by partnering with local businesses including restaurants and attractions. This is extra income that is there for the earning and for the satisfaction of pleasing your guests who will no doubt return again soon because of their memorable stay. 

You Will Learn:

  • What It Means To Be Memorable
  • 5 Essential Questions To Ask Before Designing a Package
  • 10 Types of Packages and What They Can Include
  • Don’t Forget To Add “The Fine Print”
  • and much more!

Enjoy hospitality photographer Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography‘s images throughout the presentation.  Marcus travels across the country to take pictures of bed and breakfast inns, hotels, restaurants, and food.  

With his talent for lighting, Marcus Berg is able to capture what is outside a window from inside a room. Marcus is easy to work with and will makes very flattering pictures of fine accommodations and cuisine.  

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This webinar, “How You Can Profit From Creating Memorable Guest Packages” will be recorded and I will add the link to this webinar once the Professional Association of Innkeepers International posts it on their website.  Innkeepers interested in contacting me can use the contact form on my website.  Thank you.

Food image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Easily Attract More Guests To Your Inn

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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

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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

Professional Hospitality Photographer Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Professional Hospitality Photographer Marcus Berg, from Unique Angles Photography, develops beautiful pictures for his hospitality clients.  When asked how he first got interested in photography, he said he received a phone call from a friend who asked him to take photos at her wedding reception.

This was back in the late 1980s when he did not even own a camera.  Borrowing a camera from his brother-in-law, Marcus later was told that his images of the wedding reception came out the best.  It was then that he decided to take a class at a community college.  Marcus Berg started his Unique Angles Photography business in January of 1994.  From his website, his bio reads:

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Marcus takes his wife to a bed and breakfast on every wedding anniversary.  In 2007, he was asked to attend a bed and breakfast conference.  This was his introduction to the world of hospitality.  After a few years, he devoted all of his interest in the hospitality industry.

His clientele is mainly in the B&B industry, but he has grown into serving boutique hotels as well.  He has done work from hotels, wineries, architects, and restaurants. He has kept the mindset for the hospitality image.

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What he likes most about being a professional photographer is being able to be creative and unique.  He is happy when he can make an image that attracts viewers to his client’s particular location.  Marcus also enjoys making so many new friends while doing his expert photography work.

When I asked him how he was able to masterfully capture the beauty of what is outside from inside a room, he explained that he captures the same lighting with an interior image, matching the exterior light because of his photography experience using lights and angles while keeping an interest in details.

Before Picture                                                         After Picture

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Marcus said that it is crucial for a hospitality business to have excellent photography because of how fast technology is moving these days.  Guests looking for places to stay make decisions based on the images they see.  First impressions stick in one’s memory.

Hospitality owners not only should have images with warm colors, but also an invitational feeling.  Images that enable potential guests to picture themselves right there.  According to Marcus, people do not read about a location before they see images of it.  They read to confirm the images.

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It is important for innkeepers to hire a good professional photographer who specializes in hospitality.  Updated images help hospitality businesses with reservations and they will see an increase in their bookings.  This increase in occupancy rates improves their bottom line.  Thus, good images make a profitable difference on a website.

Bed and breakfast innkeepers more than make back what they spend on professional photography and the images last.  Innkeepers can use last years’ photos to continue to build reservations, even though the photographer was only there a short period of time.

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Since Marcus is based in Oregon, his ventures started taking him around the state.  Then after he started attending more conferences, he made more contacts and soon was traveling the whole west coast.  Then he decided to branch out and made a contact in Texas and got the job.

Since then, he has made contacts all over the nation.  He has traveled to all four corners of the United States and many states in between.  Taking photos at conferences supports the association putting on the conference and helps increase his exposure to potential hospitality clients.

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Marcus said that the greatest part of the type of work he does is being able to meet so many wonderful people across the nation.  The hospitality industry has become a family set for him and every time he attends a conference or returns to a familiar inn, he said it is like being home.

You can see more of Marcus Berg’s Unique Angles Photography work on his website that lists some of his previous hospitality clients and their testimonials.  You can also follow Marcus on social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter.  Thank you, Marcus Berg, for letting me display some of your gorgeous photography on the Bed and Breakfast Blogging website as well!

Thee Matriarch Boutique Inn

 

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Thee Matriarch Boutique Inn is celebrating three years of upscale bed and breakfast hospitality.  Rachelle Jamerson-Holmes used her design talents to skillfully decorate their Victorian manor in Orangeburg, South Carolina.  Husband Chef Fred Holmes is the culinary expert behind all the delicious gourmet food they prepare.

They actively host a wide variety of events right at their inn:

  • Top Chef Tuesdays: Every third Tuesday the community can come out and enjoy an international food, dessert and beverage tasting in a relaxed environment complete with sheer fun and networking. The cooking is prepared by local featured chefs, pastry chefs, caterers, cafes, bistros, and restaurants.
  • First Fridays: Every first Friday of each month Thee Matriarch invites you to experience a tantalizing feast of savory mouthwatering southern style favorites and their healthy alternatives.  Enjoy delightful lunch and dinner items created by Chef Fred!
  • Wine Tastings: Thee Matriarch offers a complimentary private guided wine tour of boutique, handcrafted, artisan wines from the wine country of California.  Taking their guests on a “colorful journey” of whites and red as they pair them with cheese and chocolates.

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Thee Matriarch is listed in Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the 7 Top Black-Owned Bed and Breakfasts in America.  Rachelle and Fred make their guests feel welcome from the moment they walk in the door.  Whether they come for an event or stay overnight as a guest, their guests leave feeling even better than when they first arrived.

Everyone needs a little rest and relaxation.  They were voted one of the 12 Unforgettable Vacations in South Carolina If You Feel Like Really Splurging by the “Only In Your State” South Carolina website.

Millenium Magazine stated in their recent article, “Thee Matriarch Ranks Among the Top Boutiques” that “the couples love for people and their community fuels their enthusiasm to service their guest with excellent customer service, attention to details and personal attention.”

In Carolina Panorama’s article, “Best of the Best Orangeburg Couple’s Bed and Breakfast Named Among The Best Regional and National Boutique Inns”: “Designer Rachelle has elegantly restored and beautifully designed Thee Matriarch to appeal to business and leisure travelers satisfying the need for a full-service small- to medium-size venue for corporate retreats, seminars, family and class reunions, showers, weddings and receptions. An ideal setting for BFF, spa and golf getaways, Thee Matriarch’s Chef Fred crafts tantalizing cuisines of every genre for any occasion offering on and off property catering services.  Each bite will make your soul sing and yearn for more.”

Hosts Rachelle and Fred show their guests warm Southern hospitality.  Stay with them the next time you travel to the Palmetto State!

Amazing Bed and Breakfast Marketing From A to Z

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Amazing Bed and Breakfast Marketing From A to Z

What if there was an amazing way to market your bed and breakfast by keeping the alphabet in mind? These are some of the most important factors to consider when blogging about your bed and breakfast inn.

  • Amenities: What extra amenities does your B&B have that others do not? It is important to know what sets you apart from your competition. Whether you have in-room hot tubs or fireplaces, this is a great thing to mention in your blog and on your website.
  • Antiques: Do you have any unique antiques that guests can look at? You may want to keep priceless or fragile antiques behind glass to protect them. Some B&B’s sell antiques to their guests.
  • Art: Do guests admire your art collection? Whether you have paintings, murals, or sculptures, people enjoying looking at art. You may refer them to your local art museums and galleries.
  • Awards: Do you have some honor or distinction that is noteworthy? It is okay to mention your Diamond Rating level, your prize-winning recipe, or anything else that distinguishes you from other places of lodging.
  • Bathrooms: Show off your spacious, well-decorated, and luxurious bathrooms with pictures and blog about recent upgrades.
  • Beach: Having a beach or waterfront property adds to your appeal. Share plenty of outdoor pictures as well as pictures of the outside view from inside your inn.
  • Bedrooms: You could let guests know the meaning behind the names of your bedrooms. Is it named after a former resident, your state bird, or a local sports team? Blog about what your own guests tell you they love about your guest rooms.
  • Benefits: Blog about the benefits that come to those who take a break to relax and spend time with loved ones. With permission, you could feature some of your guests and have them share how they have benefited from their stay at your B&B.
  • Birthdays: It is always great to ask guests the reason for their visit. Even if the reason is not a birthday, it may be a good idea to find out those dates so you can send guests a postcard or email on their birthday to remind them of their stay and entice them to want to come back.
  • Breakfasts: Do you cater to special diets like gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan? How do guests receive their breakfast: delivered to their room or eaten in a common place? These are all things you can blog about. Even give a behind the scenes look at your kitchen or interview your chef.
  • Business: Do you host a number of business travelers in your area? Do you have a conference room and technology resources like free Wi-Fi and guest access to a printer and fax machine? Blogging about this may result in hosting more business travelers.
  • Classes: Do you teach, or know of someone who could do this, a certain skill? This could be cooking, dancing, photography, etc. By offering unique classes, you can attract more people to your inn.
  • Complimentary: Emphasize all the free things that come to your B&B guests versus those who stay at your local hotels. This includes: breakfast, concierge services, parking, etc. This gives people a reason to choose to stay with you over your local hotel competition.
  • Concerts: Are you near a big venue like a concert hall or stadium? Blog about the next musician or theatre performance coming to your area.
  • Decks: If you have a deck with an amazing view, by all means blog about it and show pictures of the view.   People like to get away to scenic places.
  • Dining out: Do you provide your guests with a list of local restaurants or have local restaurant menus available for guests to browse? You could feature certain restaurants you know are popular with your guests.
  • Eco-Friendly: If you are an environmentally friendly bed and breakfast, then you should write about what things you do to earn that green distinction. If you line dry your blankets and/or offer an electric car charging station, guests will appreciate that.
  • Events: Keep an eye on events that are happening in your local area. A great way to do this is to regularly check your local and state visitors’ bureaus.
  • Farms: If you live on a farm that grows crops and/or has animals, blog about this. Some guests would love to meet animals from your petting zoo. Other guests want the experience of picking berries, for example.
  • Fireplaces: If you have fireplaces inside and/or fire pits outside, this is an attractive feature. Mention that indoor guests can sip hot cocoa or drink wine by the fire. Outside they could roast marshmallows and make s’mores.
  • Flowers: As long as you know your guests do not have any allergies, displaying fresh flowers on throughout your B&B is a nice added touch. These flowers could come from your own garden or a local florist, farmers market, or grocery store.
  • Frequent stay: Reward your repeat guests in some way. This could be a free upgraded room, a free bottle of wine, free massage, or even an extra night.
  • Games: Do you offer cards, board games, or even video games at your inn? You may have a pool table or air hockey table or even have a horseshoe pit outside. Blog about the games that your guests enjoy playing at your bed and breakfast.
  • Garden: Guests love to walk the grounds of bed and breakfasts with gardens of all kinds, including: flower gardens, produce gardens, and rock gardens.
  • Handicap accessible: Do you accommodate handicapped people? If you have these available, discuss your ramps, ground floor guest rooms, wheelchair friendly bathrooms, and elevators in a blog post.
  • History: Many bed and breakfasts are registered historic places. You could blog about the history of your B&B including its former occupants and what it was used for. Some bed and breakfasts were once private residences, boarding schools, or used for other purposes.
  • Holiday: Use the time leading up to holidays to show pictures of how your inn is decorated and discuss local events related to the holidays.
  • Honeymooners: Many couples choose to stay at a bed and breakfast for their honeymoon. You may even have a Honeymoon Suite as part of your inn.
  • Innkeepers: Your guests want to know more about the innkeepers, the people who run your inn.
  • Just in Time: You could offer discounts based on the time of their stay. This could be last minute specials, mid-week discounts, or stay for a specific number of nights and get the next night free.
  • Kid-friendly: All bed and breakfast inns need to establish their minimum age requirement. Some bed and breakfasts cater to romance and do not allow anyone under a specific age to stay overnight. Others B&B’s are known as “kid friendly” and welcomes kids as well as provide accommodations like adjoining rooms.
  • Lakes: Being located on a lake is a tremendous advantage. If your guests can go fishing, swimming, waterskiing, rafting, canoeing, or do any other water-related activities, this is an opportunity to blog about it and share pictures.
  • Leisure activities: Anything that your guests can do for fun should be mentioned in your blog. I recommend having a list of links to local leisure activities such as amusement parks and golf courses.
  • Libraries: Do you have a common room that is perfect for guests to read in? Do you have a library of books available for them to use during their stay? If so, you could write a blog post about it. If you know a local author (or happen to be one yourself), consider hosting a book talk or book signing. Your library can include movies that guests can watch in their rooms.
  • Linens: Brag about your high thread count sheets, plush towels, and luxurious robes.
  • Local area: Find out why most people visit your area and blog about those reasons often. For example, if you are located near a famous race car track, feature that.
  • Membership: Belonging to associations can attract more guests. Guests rest easy when they know that you are part of a bed and breakfast association; have a certain Diamond rating, and so on. Membership in these organizations adds credibility.
  • Mountains: Bed and breakfasts located in the mountains can show their breathtaking views and discuss those pictures on their blog and website.
  • Museums: There are many types of museums that could be in your local area: art museums, history museums, natural science museums, and even sports museums (or hall of fames). If your inn is near any museums, blog about this.
  • Mysteries: Some bed and breakfasts offer Murder Mystery evenings or weekends. This may even include a dinner and/or getting into a costume. Those who like reading mystery novels are great candidates for people who are likely to enjoy these kinds of mysteries.
  • Night walk: Some local area events happen late at night or you could host your own night tour.
  • Occasion: A special occasion might bring people to your inn. This could be an anniversary or even a family reunion or class reunion.
  • Outdoors: It is important to know what people like to do outdoors in your area.   It often depends upon the weather your area receives and the topography of your region.
  • Packages: Add more value by putting together guest packages based upon interests, seasons, area activities, occasions, and much more. This could mean making arrangements, on behalf of your guests, for restaurants, tours, concerts, and more.
  • Partnerships: You may decide it is in your best interest to form partnerships with local business people. For example, in exchange for exclusively using only their business, you can get a deal with a local florist to reduce their rates.
  • Patios: If you have an outdoor patio area for your guests, take pictures of it. Blog about any outdoor events you hosted on your patio.
  • Patriotic: American patriotic holidays include Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veterans Day. Your bed and breakfast may decorate, host events, and/or offer patriotic packages.
  • Pets: Your bed and breakfast may not allow pets or the only pets allowed are the innkeepers. Other bed and breakfast inns may accommodate pets in certain places of the inn (like the first floor, rooms with private exits, and private cottages) or it could be entirely pet friendly. If your B&B does allow pets, you could devote a blog post about the lovable pets that have stayed.
  • Pictures: They can say much more than words ever will. Be sure to have flattering pictures of your bed and breakfast inn on your website and in your blog posts. The pictures should accurately represent what your inn looks like today.
  • Pools: If your B&B has an indoor or outdoor pool or hot tub, you can share pictures of that. Guests really appreciate private in room hot tubs.
  • Porches: Many bed and breakfasts are known for their porches. Share pictures of your porch with its rockers, swing, and other furniture.
  • Promotions: Bed and breakfasts can offer special promotions based on the holidays, seasons, and local events. This could include discounts, complimentary services, and free upgrades.
  • Quiet: Guests like to get away from the noise of everyday life. If you live in a tranquil setting, write about the compliments you receive about being a quiet place to stay.
  • Recreation: Discuss types of recreation guests can take part in on your property as well as in your local area.
  • Redecorating/remodeling: Feature the before and after pictures from a recent redecorating or remodeling project. Blog about how and why you decided to make those changes as well as why guests will want to visit.
  • Referrals: Give your guests incentives to make referrals to their friends and family. The incentive could be a discount on their next stay.
  • Restaurant: If you own your own bed and breakfast restaurant, this part of your inn may be open to the public. This is a great way to draw new overnight guests by giving them a taste of your incredibly delicious food when they come to dine at your restaurant.
  • Retreats: You could offer retreats like yoga retreats, scrapbooking retreats, or business retreats. Blog about the variety of retreats you offer.
  • Reviews: Share genuinely positive reviews you have of local places of interest to your potential guests.
  • Romantic: Bed and breakfasts may be the perfect place to rekindle the romance in your relationship. Relationship building is one of the primary reasons people take vacations.
  • Seasons: Decorate your inn to reflect each new season. This encourages people to return at a different time in the year to enjoy that time, too.
  • Shopping: Whether you have your own bed and breakfast shop or you are near a lot of wonderful area shopping malls and retail outlets, guests who like to shop will want to read about the shopping that is available in your local area.
  • Spas: You may have your own spa or have a partnership with a local spa or masseuse to provide spa services. Having these services sets you apart from other lodging accommodations.
  • Sports: Bed and breakfasts near sporting arenas and stadiums can blog about local sports teams season schedules, players, and coaches. Innkeepers might provide a Sports Package that includes tickets to their choice of certain local sporting events.
  • Tea: Bed and breakfasts may have a tea time or even a tea room. They may serve scones, tea sandwiches, cookies, and other finger food.
  • Ultimate experience: Position your bed and breakfast inn as the ultimate experience in lodging accommodations, hospitality, and cuisine. Encourage guests to give you a five star rating, or if they cannot do so, to talk with you about it instead of sharing their less than 5 star rating. This keeps up your image as the ultimate experience and gives you valuable input for how you can improve your guest experience.
  • Videos: If your bed and breakfast has its own video, be sure to put that on your website in a prominent place for your web visitors to see. Videos show more than pictures do. This allows your guests to get a feel for the layout of your bed and breakfast.
  • Weddings: If your inn hosts weddings, it is wise to dedicate a place on your website for that as well as to blog about it. Smaller bed and breakfasts may do small weddings or elopements.
  • Wine: Depending upon your state laws and licensing, you may host wine tastings or allow your guests to bring their own wine. You may even offer your guests the opportunity to tour one or more local vineyards in your area.
  • Xtra special: This was my “extra special” attempt to come up with a word that starts with “X.” It is important that your guests feel extra special not just when they arrive, but from the moment they see your website and speak with you over the phone.  Your bed and breakfast should have a great reputation.
  • Young and old guests: Bed and breakfasts appeal to young couples as well as older ones. You may have guests that return regularly over the years. That is great to have such loyalty and friendship with your guests.
  • Zzz…. Are your guests ready to have a restful experience at your inn? Make sure that your mattresses are comfortable. Be sure to offer extra pillows and blankets. Have a night light for guests to see their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Be sure to share your blog posts regularly in social media.  No time to write your own blog posts?  Contact us about your bed and breakfast blogging.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

4 Secrets to Biltmore Success

secrets-to-Biltmore-success

What are some of the secrets to Biltmore success?  I am referring to America’s largest private residence, the two-hundred and fifty room Biltmore Estate.  After six years of construction while collaborating with architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead, on Christmas Eve in 1895 George Vanderbilt officially opened Biltmore House.

George Vanderbilt pictured the possibilities for his family and friends on his eight thousand acres of Blue Ridge Mountain beauty.  In present day, the Estate includes:

  • delightful shops
  • four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate
  • gorgeous gardens
  • romantic restaurants
  • wonderful winery

Today, with two hundred full-time employees and a total of over eighteen-hundred employees working for The Biltmore, bed and breakfast owners may wonder what they have in common this hospitality giant.  If we can understand what helps make the Biltmore such a success, then hoteliers (as well as owners of restaurants, shops, and wineries) can apply this knowledge to run their own hospitality businesses better.

Secret #1: Offer add-ons, like tours and activities, to your guests.  This caters to individuals who have the ability and desire to pay more for these additional benefits.

The visitors to the Biltmore Estate can opt for additional tours:

  • Audio Guide to Biltmore House: capture the feeling of being guided through Biltmore’s grand rooms by our curators and hosts on this ninety-minute audio tour filled with stories about the Vanderbilts and treasures in their collection
  • Behind-the-Scenes Guided Upstairs-Downstairs Tour: in this sixty-minute guided tour, descend the back stairs to explore servant life at Biltmore, discover cutting-edge technology that kept America’s largest home humming, visit the domains of the butler, head housekeeper, and lady’s maids, then continue on to a suite of guest rooms to learn about grand house parties hosted by the Vanderbilts
  • Rooftop Tour: enjoy amazing views from rooftops and balconies and get a closer look at the design and construction of the Biltmore House with this sixty-minute guided tour of areas not on the regular house visit
  • Legacy of the Land Tour: take a motor coach tour of the estate and learn about the history of the land, structures, and former residents while visiting areas not usually open to guests

For an additional cost, visitors to the Biltmore Estate can participate in certain activities (available seasonally):

  • Biking
  • Carriage Rides
  • Fly-fishing School
  • Guided Horseback Trail Rides
  • Land Rover Experience Driving School
  • River Rafting, Kayaking, and Paddleboarding Trips
  • Segway Basic, Off-Road, and West Side Tours
  • Sporting Clays School

Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast of Durham, North Carolina gives guests options for extras, such as:

Rosemary House Bed and Breakfast of Pittsboro, North Carolina offers add-ons, such as:

  • bouquet of roses or variety of flowers
  • chocolate-dipped strawberries
  • fruit and cheese plate
  • handmade Deneen pottery mugs
  • restaurant gift certificates
  • wine tastings for two at five local wineries

Secret #2: Variety encourages your guests to return.  Always keep things fresh.  Each Biltmore experience is different.  As the seasons and their themes change, so does their décor and displays.

For example, during our visit to the Biltmore, they had a Downton Abbey theme and featured real gowns worn on that popular British television show.  They had signs informing visitors about the material of the gown and what was happening in history during the time it was made as well as more information about the character who wore it on the television show.  A Biltmore employee revealed to us that each gown was literally made in that time period or individually hand-made to be authentic to that time.

Many inns choose to decorate during major holidays, such as Christmas.  One of the Biltmore’s biggest attractions are its Christmas displays.  In addition to the obvious holidays, how about choosing a less commonly celebrated holiday like Arbor Day?  Plant a tree in the backyard of your bed and breakfast.  Then show the growth of that tree by taking its picture each year.  Many innkeepers have their inn for more than twenty years, so this could really be a focal point in your yard.

On the topic of gardening and variety, Biltmore plants things that will bloom at different times of the year.  The acres of gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the father of American landscape architecture. That way whenever people visit, they will see something pretty.  When we visited the Biltmore Gardens, the tulips were in full bloom.

Secret #3: Offer a closer look at your inn.  The Biltmore Estate is full of carefully researched stories of its past.  The people who lived and worked at Biltmore, the events and people they hosted, and how historical events (including war) affected them.  The Biltmore has many stories to tell.

I was impressed that was a huge painting of the architect and one of the gardener.  The audio guide noted that this was rare for a wealthy person to have portraits made of two people that worked for the family.  This is a testament to how George Vanderbilt honored his employees and valued their contributions to the overall look of his estate.

1898 Waverly Inn of Pittsboro, NC has photo albums with historical pictures of the people that actually lived at their inn.  The Esmeralda Inn and Restaurant of Chimney Rock, NC also is full of history, including a Presidential visit and two fires.  If your inn is brand new, then share pictures of its construction and let your guests know the steps it took from the time you decided to build your bed and breakfast to the time that you opened your doors.

Find your bed and breakfasts’ story.  Some name their rooms after a significant person in history or after their official state symbols such as the state bird and state tree.  Then you can tell stories about the people who made important contributions in history or about how your state symbols came to be.

Secret #4: Make visitors feel welcomed and appreciated.  Biltmore employees are very attentive, polite, knowledgeable, and helpful.   They go out of their way to help you and smile while doing so.  Let that be said of you and your inn.  Extend to your guests your greatest hospitality, and they will reward you by returning and referring others to visit.

While there is no other place quite like the Biltmore Estate, we can implement some of their secrets and apply it to achieving our own success. Innkeepers can ask themselves if they offer extras, create a variety of looks and themes throughout the year, reveal a deeper look to guests, and help their guests feel appreciated. May your place of hospitality be profitable like the Biltmore.

Do you want help marketing your bed and breakfast onlineBed and Breakfast Blogging writes search-engine-optimized blogs as well as gives inns an active presence in social media.  Let us do that work for you so you can focus on what you do best!

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