In Carmine Gallo's bestselling book Five Stars: The Communication Secrets to Get from Good to Great, he teaches that you must be able to persuade others to buy into your vision. Also, you must answer the question, "What's your story?" Innkeepers should answer, "What's your signature hospitality story?
According to Mr. Gallo, your "signature story" has the following components:
- It is a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end (resolution)
- It's intriguing, thought-provoking, novel, informative, interesting, entertaining
- It's authentic (it must be true, or it could harm your credibility)
- It includes specific details that enhance its authenticity
- It reveals a surprise (people love surprises)
- It introduces empathetic characters (your audience should be able to see themselves in your shoes)
- It includes conflict and tension as well as overcoming a meaningful hurdle to achieve success
- This signature story will help you, your product, and your brand story stand out
- It differentiates you from your competition because no two brands share the same story
- You must appeal to your audience's emotion in order to persuade them
- The story is about your brand or company
Keeping Mr. Gallo's advice in mind, ask yourself:
- What is my story of how I became an innkeeper?
- What is the beginning, middle, and end (present day)?
- What true facts should I tell others so that my story is worthy of their attention?
- What specific details can I add to enhance the authenticity of my story?
- What surprises have happened to me along the way as an innkeeper?
- How can I connect my past to the present day in a way that others could picture themselves in my shoes?
- What conflicts and tension did I experience as I overcame obstacles to achieve what I have today?
- Does this story help me, my inn, and my brand story stand out?
- Does this story help set me apart from my competition?
- Does this story appeal to my audience's emotion so I can persuade them to stay at my inn?
- Is this story a positive representation of my business?
Great storytellers build trust. Think about the overall message you want to convey to your guests. The world needs to know what makes you different from other innkeepers and accommodations.
If you do not have an "About Us" page on your website, consider having one. Many guests would like to know who they are staying with before they book a room at your bed and breakfast inn. This is an opportunity to share about your signature hospitality story.
Feel free to share your experiences both inside and outside the hospitality industry. This will help you look more well-rounded. You can even include volunteer experience (if it is relevant).
You may want to include the names of some of the countries you have visited, if you have traveled across the world. This encourages guests outside your country to visit your inn. If you speak more than one language fluently, be sure to include that in your story.
If you have a talent (like playing a musical instrument) or skill (teaching cooking lessons) you are welcome to include that in your story. This is part of what sets you apart from other innkeepers and bed and breakfast inns.
When you can show what makes you and your inn special, then guests will be more likely to stay with you. If you (or your inn) has earned awards and distinctions, or earned media attention, be sure to add that to your website as well. The better you are at communicating what makes your inn special, with your signature hospitality story, the more likely you are to receive bookings.
Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography