Tag Archives: successful

Make It All About Your Bed and Breakfast Guests

Make it all about them. Make it all about your bed and breakfast guests.  Author Bruce Turkel, in his insightful book All About Them: Grow Your Business by Focusing on Others, makes it clear that what really matters to consumers is their own self-interest. Business owners (including innkeepers) can use that knowledge to make their businesses (specifically bed and breakfasts) about the people they are trying to reach (potential guests).

Author Bruce Turkel states that successful businesses created for today’s “all about them” economy realize what you do is less important than identifying who you are and why that resonates with current and potential customers (guests).  

Turkel stresses that “good brands make you feel good, but great brands make you feel good about yourself.” Things sell not because of what they can do, but because of how they make consumers feel.  

What attracts business to you and separates you from the competition (other accommodations)? Understand exactly what your customers are buying.  What do you provide that they cannot find anywhere else?  

Figure out who you are and what you stand for then communicate that identity.  Translate your message into customer centered communication that resonates with your audience.

What opportunities does your business provide for increasing customer satisfaction and company revenue?  What do you stand for?  Can you describe that in just a few words?  To determine what those few words are, Turkel recommends you consider five components.  

  • First, write down your company features and benefits.  This means everything you and your business offer including products, services, talents, skills, experiences, and so on.
  • Then write down your points of distinction.  What sets you apart from your competition? What do your clients identify about you?
  • Next, focus on the functional side of your business.  What features and attributes do you offer?
  • Then focus on the emotional side of your business.  How do your customers feel?
  • Lastly, this is when you can take reflect upon that information and know what you stand for and know who you are.  This is your brand promise.   

Innkeepers, do you make it all about your bed and breakfast guests?  Do potential guests know how you are different from other accommodations in your area?  

If you need help defining what makes your inn unique, so you stand out from other lodging choices, the Bed and Breakfast Blogging team is here to help.  Contact Kristi Dement for a free consultation today and she can start help you share your inn’s story with the world!

How To Make a Successful Bed and Breakfast Press Kit


Successful bed and breakfast press kits can increase your inn’s likelihood for receiving media attention. Wondering what is a press kit?  It is a package of media about your inn that makes it easier for a journalist or reporter to do a story about your bed and breakfast.

When you do most of the work for reporters up front, they will be more receptive to your pitch for press for their website, publication, or news story. In addition, it looks more professional and makes your bed and breakfast more appealing to write about.

Consider adding a press kit link on your website.  “Are you a journalist working on a story about inns or bed and breakfasts? We would be happy to help you with your story or article.”

Your valuable bed and breakfast press kit can include:

  • Contact’s name, phone number, and email address (the owner, innkeeper, public relations person)
  • High resolution photos (your gorgeous view, the outside of your inn, your guest rooms and common rooms, the best breakfasts meals you serve, etc.)
  • Map of your local area (and its nearby attractions)
  • Brief history of your inn (its location, year it was built, original owners, type of architecture, its history as a bed and breakfast, etc.)
  • Innkeepers/owners story (share your story or how your B&B came to be, a little about yourself and your team, and why you’re doing what you’re doing)
  • Pictures of your luxurious amenities (such as a pool or private hot tub, fireplace, library, spa, garden, etc.)
  • Current promotions (your own specials, custom packages, and description of private events you host like weddings, etc.)
  • Awards received (from bed and breakfast associations, contests won, your AAA Diamond rating, your BBB grade, etc.)
  • Online guest reviews (share links to positive guest testimonials)
  • Your blog (which features local activities and area events)
  • Existing press coverage (list of and links to articles in newspapers, magazines, and online attention)
  • Videos (made about your B&B or that you had filmed to promote your inn)

Include anything you think will enhance your reputation as providing exceptional hospitality. This is your opportunity make it accessible for the press to report about your bed and breakfast. Even curious potential guests will be impressed by it when they see it.

Having an available press kit, makes you media friendly and more likely to get more publicity for your inn.  If you do not mind members of the press coming to your bed and breakfast to interview you and/or make a video, then be sure to state that on-site tours can be arranged. There is nothing better than free publicity!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Katie Couric: The Best Advice I Ever Got

Katie Couric The Best Advice I Ever Got Lessons from Extraordinary LivesThe Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives by Katie Couric is full of practical information for people from all walks of life. Each chapter features a famous person who gives us a sneak peak into what they have learned from their own experiences. At the end of this post is a YouTube video of Katie talking about how she wrote the book and which celebrities contributed their stories.

Comedian and Actor George Lopez: “If you quit, you’ll never find out what could have happened.”

Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur Mario Batali: “As you cook up your own life, never let anyone else’s recipe for success intimidate you…”

Emmy Award-Winning Television and Radio Host Larry King: “Learn how to listen.  You don’t learn anything when you are talking.”

Emmy Award-Winning Television Broadcaster, Journalist, and Co-Host of Good Morning America Robin Roberts: “Be patient and persistent.  Life is not so much about what you accomplish as what you overcome.”

Professional Football Player Drew Brees: “What is meant to be will happen for me, and all I should concern myself with is the things I can control.”

Figure-skating Champion Michelle Kwan: “Your finest moments in life aren’t necessarily those in which you finish first but, instead, the times when you know you simply gave your best–when you did it heart and soul, and held nothing back.”

Co-founder of Twitter Biz Stone: “Think about what is valuable before thinking about what is profitable and know that there’s compound interest in helping others–start early!”

Professional Psychologist, Bestselling Author, and Television Host “Dr. Phil” McGraw: “Instead of ignoring these dreams and hoping you can get around to them later on, you have to be committed to developing an action plan, to creating a “life script” with measurable goals, and to building a core of supporters around you to keep you going in the right direction.”

Grammy Award-Winning Artist, Musician, Entrepreneur, Actress, and Activist Alicia Keys: “When you make a decision because you really love what you’re doing, because you’re really passionate about it, believe in it, and because you’d do it no matter what the outcome–that’s when you become most successful.”

Bestselling Cookbook Author and Television Host Ina Garten: “You can’t figure out what you want to do from the sidelines.  You need to jump into the pond and splash around to see what the water feels like.  You might like that pond or it might lead to another pond, but you need to figure it out in the pond.”

Sixty-sixth United States Secretary of State and Stanford University Professor Condoleeza Rice: “The point is that life is full of surprises and serendipity.  Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success.  If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns.”

Four-Star General and Sixty-Fifth United States Secretary of State Colin Powell: “So it doesn’t matter where you start in life but where you finish and, along the way, whether you do something that you love and enjoy doing.  Never settle for anything less than what you love doing and do well.”

Olympic Speed Skater Apolo Ohno: “It’s not really about the destination, but about what it took to get you there.”

Taking Larry King’s advice to learn how to listen, identify at least 3 people who have achieved success and ask them to share their thoughts.  Possible questions could be:

  • What was your greatest challenge?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What do you know now that you wish you could have known earlier in life?
  • Was there anyone who mentored you?
  • How did you become so successful?
  • Is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
  • What are you most excited about for your future?

Essentially, informally interview them (much like Katie Couric interviewed these people) to gain more insight.  If the person you are interviewing knows you well, they will be able to relate this to your goals.

While we each need to do something that aligns with our own personal interests, passions, and goals; we can benefit by the wisdom and experience of the successful people around us.  In addition, we should all be open to sharing the lessons we have learned with those who come to us for advice.

Here is a YouTube video of Katie Couric talking about how she wrote this book!

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

How To Get Started Blogging

how-to-get-started-blogging

I recently received a comment from a reader asking about how they could get started blogging. As a professional blogger and librarian, the first thing I recommend to get started blogging is to read successful blogs and to read about blogging. I recommend the following resources:

Technorati is a website that lists the top 100 blogs.  Since it is updated daily, the list stays current.  By reading the top blogs, you can get a feel for different blogging styles and techniques as well as what is popularly read. You will have your own style of writing, but this is a great place to start. This website also offers a directory of blogs.

When you do read other blogs, ask yourself:

  • What do I like about this blog?  What do I dislike?
  • What sort of content does it provide?
  • Does the blogger put a unique spin on the topic and/or share their opinions?
  • Do the readers give comments?  Does the blogger respond to the comments?

Another cool website is ProBlogger.  On the home page, you can sign up for free blogging tips to be sent to your e-mail.  This website is run by Darren Rowse, co-author of the very informative book Problogger: Secrets For Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income.

Some other blogging books I recommend:

Bloggers Boot Camp: learning how to build, write, and run a successful blog by Charlies White and John Biggs

Blogging for Creatives: how designers, artists, crafters, and writers can blog to make contacts, win business, and build success by Robin Houghton

Born To Blog: building your blog for personal and business success one post at a time by Mark W. Schaefer and Stanford A. Smith

Creative Blogging: your first steps to a successful blog by Heather Wright-Porto

A couple more websites about blogging I recommend:

Daily Blog Tips, Daniel Scocco

CopyBlogger, Brian Clark

In upcoming blog posts, I plan to write about how to blog and why some blogs become very successful.  I appreciate your comments and questions below.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence

trip-advisor-excellence

TripAdvisor®, one of the world’s largest travel sites, offers trusted advice from real travelers on a wide variety of travel choices (including bed and breakfasts). TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 200 million unique monthly visitors and over 100 million reviews and opinions covering more than 2.5 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. 

Trip Advisor also awards hospitality excellence only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Stephen Kaufer, president and CEO, TripAdvisor said, “The Certificate of Excellence award provides top performing establishments the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers.”

Winning bed and breakfasts can showcase their success a number of ways, including displaying the Certificate of Excellence they receive, uploading the award to their own website, or by promoting the achievement to local media with a press release. Last year’s winners promoted their award to great advantage through social media, highlighted their success on Twitter and on their business’s Facebook page, as well as notified past guests and customers of their win, thereby encouraging repeat visits!

TripAdvisor provides access to promotional services and tips for successful PR campaigns through the Management Center. To qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

If your bed and breakfast earns awards, Bed and Breakfast Blogging, can write about it in a blog for your website. Awards of this caliber make a great impression on potential guests and make great content for your website!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Stay Inn-spired

stay-inn-spired

Especially around the holidays, it is easy to feel like you have too much to do to actually have time to enjoy it.  Remember that, as a bed and breakfast owner, you are helping to make other people’s Christmases very special.

Even if you cannot take time off from inn-keeping, you can still be inn-spired. Think of at least 5 positives that happened this year associated with your bed and breakfast. Now think of 5 positives you would like to see happen in 2014.

When you focus on the good, you tend to get more of it.  You can make your bed and breakfast even more successful in the coming New Year.

What actionable steps can you take toward making those 5 things happen in 2014?  The secret to success is step by step. A little bit each and every day turns what seems impossible into a reality!  The solution is making progress every day toward achieving your bed and breakfast ownership goals.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

PAII Conference January 16, 2014

We have been looking at the Professional Association of Innkeepers International conference being held from Monday January 13 through Thursday January 16.  From 8 am to 9:30 am on Thursday ten different innkeepers will each have five minutes to present fifteen different informative slides as they share encouraging and uplifting stories.

The final trade show hours are from 9:30 am to noon on Thursday.  This is also the last chance to get your silent auction bids in.

The Innkeeping Industry Awards lunch will present various awards to different innkeepers, reveal the winners of the silent auction items, and raffle winners will be picked.

From 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm will be various learning opportunities, including:

  • Live Website Reviews– “Your website must showcase the emotional experience by accurately portraying how your guests will be taken on a journey of relaxation, romance, and adventure. The primary communication tool to impart this experience for a guest is your website. Does your website entice visitors to part with their hard-earned cash or are they booking with your competitor?”
  • All-Star Panel in the Art of Mastering Hospitality-“Brilliant minds unite spreading innovation, creativity, and time-tested strategies for innkeepers. Take a journey down a fellow innkeeper’s path- one of pain, laughter, and implausible success. Discover the secret strategies that catapulted other innkeepers into surpassing unreachable goals. Bring your tough questions to our experienced panel – a group who will candidly share their expertise. Join us as the most sought after industry experts reveal all for the first time together.”
  • A Day in the Life of an Innkeeper-“Find out from experienced successful innkeepers what goes on behind the scenes and how the most successful innkeepers spend their days. Learn about everything from menu planning to staffing, from social media marketing to local high touch business to business networking, from check-in to check-out and everything in between. Get valuable tips that only an experienced innkeeper can give. Learn how to spend your time and what jobs you need to take on vs. those that you need to hire out. Ask your questions and get answers tested in the innkeeping trenches. “
  • Cooking Classes B&B Style-“Offering cooking classes in your inn using the local ingredients and even, in some cases, local chefs will enhance your reputation with local business and with your guests.  Learn to create a farm-to-table experience that you can cash in on along the journey.”
  • A Taste of Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking-“Vegetarian cuisine is now more popular than ever. Increasing health and ethical concerns, and an appetite for adventure, have sparked a growing demand for attractive, appetizing, and creative vegetarian dishes that hold their own against any meat choice on the menu. Chef Bergeron will show how to harness traditional cooking methods and techniques to produce exciting and elegant meatless creations bursting with freshness and flavor. Moving from appetizers and side dishes to delicious entrees, breads, and desserts.”

You will not want to miss this last day of fun and camaraderie with your peers. Your enthusiasm for innkeeping and your love of entertaining guests in your own bed and breakfast will all be renewed as you make important contacts.  This is a great opportunity that happens only once per year and it is being held in Charleston, South Carolina!

Professional Association of Innkeepers Conference

2014 Innkeeping Show


Join PAII and hundreds of innkeepers and industry vendors in PAII’s hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, January 13-16 for the 2014 Innkeeping Conference & Trade Show. This is your destination to build relationships, check out the latest goods and services and learn new ways to be successful in your profession.

Our focus for these amazing annual conferences has always been to bring each innkeeper in attendance the best array of cutting edge education and tools as well as to help you to gain important insight and ideas to help you succeed in meeting and exceeding your business goals.  They want to provide you with that much needed time and space to swap ideas with your peers, and meet personally with the vendors who supply you and your inn with much needed products and services.

The 2014 Innkeeping Show is the ultimate experience.  Developed to allow you to spend a few days away from your inn in order to focus and get connected, or reconnected to the passion that drove you into this business.  With over 50 classes to choose from, you can tailor this experience to meet your personal needs and wants.

Additionally, you can save a bundle as you shop and chat with vendors in the trade show, last year they had 65+ vendors and this year they’re aiming for more!

http://www.innkeepingshow.com/conference/2014-annual-innkeeping-conference-trade-show

 

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