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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 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

How To Accomplish Your Bed and Breakfast Goals


Consider writing down your bed and breakfast goals for next year.  Use the famous SMART acronym to make decisions.  This will help you accomplish your bed and breakfast goals.

Specific: Make sure that your goals are very specific.  First, ask yourself some questions.  

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What types of repeat guests would we like to attract?  
  • Are guests coming to our local area for a specific reason or activity?
  • What types of local events in our area attract guests?  
  • What do guests tell us they like about my inn?  

Measurable: Goals need to be measurable to know if you have reached them. Quantifying your goals gives you something to strive for.  

  • By what percentage do we want our occupancy rates to go up?
  • How many more B&B packages could we sell this year?
  • What number of local business partnerships do we want to add this year?
  • How much money could we set aside to sponsor a local event?
  • How many private events should we host?

Attainable: Goals need to be reachable to motivate you do achieve them.  Setting impossible goals does not help you.  Make it a goal that is a stretch but doable.  

  • How many blog posts could we do this year?
  • How many e-newsletters would we produce?
  • What social media campaigns could we do?
  • Do we need to change our reservation software to give us better results?
  • Should we join a bed and breakfast association?

Relevant: Goals need to be suitable to what your inn and your local area offers.  Represent what your guests can expect from their stay with at your bed and breakfast.

  • What inn amenities could we promote?
  • Do we have any of the following: a restaurant, a gift shop, or a spa?
  • Do we have excellent local entertainment venues or other attractions?
  • Do we have up-to-date pictures of our bed and breakfast and food?
  • Could we support a local cause that has an event?

Time bound: Giving yourself a deadline makes your goals even more real.  Vague goals do not equal results.  

  • What are the due dates for our blog posts?
  • How many calls to potential local business partners do we make each month?
  • By what date should our bed and breakfast website be redesigned?
  • When do we need to finish this renovation project?
  • No later than what date should we put up our new bed and breakfast sign?

Success does not happen by accident, but by dedication and SMART goal planning.  What goals does your inn have for the coming year?  Feel free to comment below with what your bed and breakfast would like to accomplish.

Do you want to add or improve your blogging, social media, and/or reputation management strategy? Contact Bed and Breakfast Blogging at 919-931-6168 or email contact@bedandbreakfastblogging.com

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Let Someone Know About Your Inn


Unique Angles Photography beach mural bedroom

How to let someone know about your inn…there are many ways to do this.  The more creative and original you let them know about your inn, the more likely you will get bookings.  Try answering questions that they will likely want to know.

  • Why do most people stay at your bed and breakfast?
  • What do guests love most about your inn?
  • What are you most known for?
  • What makes your inn unique?
  • Why do most people visit your city?
  • What is the best kept secret about your area?

It is important to understand why people stay at your bed and breakfast.  There could be many reasons, including some of the following:

  • Your luxurious amenities
  • Your gourmet breakfasts
  • Your warm hosptiality
  • Your ideal location
  • Your thoughtful packages
  • Your reasonable rates

Unique Angles Photography hot tub with brownie and sundae

Pay attention to your guest comments and feedback.  Keep track of guest compliments so you are sure to continue getting that response.  On the flip side, make note of negative feedback, so you can make the appropriate changes.  Knowing what guests love the most (and what they don’t love at all) helps you provide the best environment possible to your guests.

Are you, your inn, or your area famous for anything?  For example, you could have won a breakfast recipe. Your inn may have received a prestigious award.  You area could be home to the world’s most awesome event.

Be sure to emphasize these accolades in your marketing messages.  Marketing messages can be spoken (e.g. what you tell your guests in person or over the phone), be online (e.g. your blog, newsletter, or website), or be in print (e.g. your sign or your brochure).

It is fundamental that you know what makes your inn so special.  What do you offer that other area accommodations do not?  In marketing, this is called your “unique selling point(s).”

What attracts people to your local area?  It could be one or more of the following:

  • Business
  • Concerts
  • Conferences
  • Festivals
  • Nature
  • Sports
  • Universities

In response to the question, “What is your area’s best kept secret?” you could reply in any of the following ways:

  • Tell about a famous local legend
  • Recommend your favorite local restaurant
  • Reveal a local hot spot not commonly known to tourists
  • Reassure them you are not hiding any local area secrets and that you will gladly answer all of their questions to the best of your ability

Thus, answering guest questions they want more information on is a great way to let someone know about your bed and breakfast inn.

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Easy Ways to Better Understand Your Guests’ Lifestyles

LawnChairs-01Logo

Understand your guests’ lifestyles to satisfy their unique needs.  The more information you know about your potential guests, the better you are able to target your marketing messages and offer attractive hospitality services.

There is no point in trying to be everything to everyone.  It is rarely possible to satisfy all customers in the same way.  When you know what your potential guests’ values and what motivates them, you are better able to attract them.

Lifestyles are ways of living based on motivations, needs, and wants:

  • Activities: actions pursued for pleasure or relaxation
  • Attitudes: feelings about people, things, or situations
  • Beliefs: trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something
  • Interests: curiosity, attention, or concerns about something
  • Opinions: judgments or ways of thinking about something
  • Values: important and lasting ideals

These lifestyle factors can explain why your audience buys the products and services they do.  There is power in knowing how your prospects make their buying decisions.

How you package and promote your services is a key component of your marketing strategy.  Put together a list of different guest personas you want to attract that is based on what is in your local area, your unique talents, and your amenities.

First, ask yourself these three questions:

What is in my local area? This could be anything from college campuses, to concert venues, to national parks, to business conferences.  Once you know what is in your local area, you can better understand your potential guests’ lifestyles.

What are my unique talents?  If you are an official tour guide (local trail and/or hiking tours), a party planner (excellent anniversary parties), a massage therapist (with a spa on site), a vegetarian-only chef (cooking for vegetarians and vegans), then you have a better idea of the lifestyles’ of the guests you want to attract.

What amenities do I provide my guests?  This could be anything from game rooms, to gardens, to hot tubs, to luxurious linens, to indoor and/or outdoor pools, to tea rooms.  Understand what amenities you have that are attractive to potential guests.

Then segment your customers into different personas.  For example:

These are easy ways to better understand your guests’ lifestyles.  Then you can promote your place of hospitality (bed and breakfast, inn, resort, restaurant, etc.) on your website and through social media.

Kristi Dement at Bed and Breakfast Blogging can help you attract more guests.  Click here to contact me and/or feel free to comment below on what you do to attract more guests.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Fantastic Fill in the Blanks on Social Media

 

Fantastic-Fill-In-The-Blanks-on-Social-Media

Fantastic fill in the blanks for social media can definitely attract more traffic to your website.  People love to use their imagination and share it with others online.

Do you remember Mad Libs? Those books filled with one-page stories filled with blanks that invited you to insert your own keywords? They were  invented in 1953 by Leonard Stern and Roger Price, who published the first Mad Libs book themselves in 1958.  It turns out that  these guys were ahead of their time in recognizing the power of the ‘blank’.

Fill in the blanks can prompt people to think about activities they would like to do and places they would love to visit.  For example, Disney posted, “If I could spend a day with a Disney character, I would choose _______.”

This is a great way to encourage creative responses as well as to promote engagement with your posts and tweets.  The blanks are essentially ‘platforms’ for people to share their creativity.

  • My favorite way to relax after a long hard day is to _______.
  • _______ always makes me feel inspired.
  • The best afternoon snack of all time is _______.
  • My favorite board game is _______.

These types of posts often garner fun and short comments, which then encourage your audience to react and interact.  Share a great photo and a good fill-in-the-blank sentence to inspire your audience to engage with you and your brand.

Twitter Fill in the Blank at bandbblogging Spring

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Fill-in-the-blank posts feel incomplete until they’re engaged with. People love filling in blanks, and the most effective fill-in-the-blank posts are the ones that let fans share their ideas.

Make fill-in-the-blank posts and tweets relevant to your fans and the space you’re working in to see the best results.

Use fill-in-the-blank posts as a two-pronged engagement tactic: interact with your online community and get to know them better for future marketing campaigns.

Use the post tactic in conjunction with a specific event, such as a holiday.

Fill in the blank contests are great as they have the potential to actually get people thinking. The contest consists of a sentence of paragraph, and your fans are asked to add their own unique perspective by, obviously, filling in the blanks.

Fill-in-the-blanks are similar to questions.  They are simple and create engagement.  Some samples of these are:

  • My favorite social media site is _______________.
  • I’ve lived in ___________cities in my life.
  • I laugh every time I think about ______.

Have fun with these, but one piece of advice is to be careful that you don’t leave the blank too open ended for a potentially bad response. Be careful what you make a fill in the blank because people can turn it ugly.  That is what happened when the German grocery chain posted this:

“I became an ALDI-lover when I tasted _______ for the first time.”

Tweet out a straightforward question that’s easy to answer.  When questions are short and simple, it’s easy for followers to respond because they don’t need to spend a lot of time thinking about their answer or trying to fit a longer reply into 140 characters (or fewer if there is a hashtag).

Fill-in-the-blank tweets get your followers thinking and challenge to them to show their creative side. The key to making fill-in-the-blank tweets work for your company is to relate them to your followers’ interests.  Then you will have success!

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