Monthly Archives: November 2013

Phone Communication with Your B&B Guests

phone communication

 

As bed and breakfast innkeepers, it is likely that you will speak to your guests and potential guests over the phone. We are going to look at ways you can make the most positive impression on guests during your phone communication.

When speaking to your guests over the phone, it is important to clearly and cheerfully pronounce the name of your bed and breakfast as well as your name when you answer the phone. This way they know they have reached the right number and answering with a pleasant voice is your first way to extend your hospitality to them.

 

If you receive a call during the time you are with your current guests and/or making breakfast, it is best to let your callers leave a message so that you can respond at a time when you can give them your full attention.  If you sound distracted or like you are busy (which you can often be) they may not think they will receive the care and attention they expect when visiting your bed and breakfast.

Be sure to take notes of every phone call.  Including the following information:

  • Caller’s name and contact information
  • The purpose of their call
  • Any questions they asked you
  • Their reservation information (if applicable)
  • Comments about their interests and reason for staying
  • Other relevant information you do not want to forget

Having this phone log will save you precious time.  This can let any other innkeepers and/or staff become aware of the phone conversations you had without you having to take the time to verbally provide the details to every phone conversation to other employees.  It also helps remind you of previous conversations with the guest(s).

You should have a list of things to do in your area–including recommended restaurants, tourist attractions, community activities, and so forth.  This will be your quick reference guide so you can answer questions without having to hunt for the information during your time on the phone.  Guests will appreciate how organized you are.

Make sure that guests know a phone number to reach you at during every moment of their stay.  This is vital to providing them with a pleasant experience, answering their questions, exchanging important information, and for safety in case of emergencies.

Be sure to ask, “Is anything else we can help you with?” before ending every call. They will appreciate this courteous phone communication and it shows that you care about their experience at your bed and breakfast. This goes a long way towards establishing repeat business as well as gaining referrals!

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AAA Diamond Rating

 

AAA Diamond Rating

Today, AAA Membership has grown to over 53 million, with more than 1,000 offices and 38,000 employees throughout the United States and Canada.  To get your Bed and Breakfast evaluated by AAA, click on this Application for AAA Lodging Evaluation.

 

What the Diamond Ratings Mean:

One Diamond

These establishments typically appeal to the budget-minded traveler. They provide essential, no-frills accommodations. They meet the basic requirements pertaining to comfort, cleanliness, and hospitality.

Two Diamond

These establishments appeal to the traveler seeking more than the basic accommodations. There are modest enhancements to the overall physical attributes, design elements, and amenities of the facility–typically at a moderate price.

Three Diamond

These establishments appeal to the traveler with comprehensive needs. Properties are multifaceted with a distinguished style, including marked upgrades in the quality of physical attributes, amenities, and level of comfort provided.

Four Diamond

These establishments are upscale in all areas. Accommodations are progressively more refined and stylish. The physical attributes reflect an obvious enhanced level of quality throughout. The fundamental hallmarks at this level include an extensive array of amenities combined with a high degree of hospitality, service, and attention to detail.

Five Diamond

These establishments reflect the characteristics of the ultimate in luxury and sophistication.  Accommodations are first class. The physical attributes are extraordinary in every manner. The fundamental hallmarks at this level are to meticulously serve and exceed all guest expectations while maintaining an impeccable standard of excellence. Many personalized services and amenities enhance an unmatched level of comfort.

Importance

Being able to say that you have been rated by AAA and indicating how many diamonds are in your rating lets people know what to expect from their stay at your Bed and Breakfast.  It is truly an honor (not to mention very hard work) to achieve a five diamond ranking.

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California B&B Recipes

The California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) is the largest and most influential bed & breakfast inn association in the nation.  Check out their California Bed and Breakfast Cookbook.

You will find all the delectable flavors of California cuisine from quality-certified California bed and breakfast inns. Entertain with confidence and praise thanks to the owners and chefs who have shared their award-winning recipes.

Delight your guests, family, and friends with tasty recipes like: California Poachies, Occidental Eggs Benedict, Persimmon Orange Nut Bread, Old Yacht Club Inn Beer Bread, Best Friends Chocolate Cake, Rainbow Beet Salad, Mexican Soufflé and more!

Each recipe was carefully selected to tell the story of the inn from where it is served. Some recipes are house specialties, others are family traditions. Some dishes include locally-grown ingredients from an inn’s region, while other dishes are the reason guests return time and again.

The bed and breakfast inn was born of sharing food with friends. Regardless of where your B&B is located, enjoy these CABBI favorites with your own guests.

Affiliate Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

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Innkeepers Association

innkeepers association

 

From a tiny office in Santa Barbara, California, the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) has grown into a national organization of nearly 3000 members.  It is the largest innkeepers association in the world.

 

PAII’s mandate is to provide education, information, networking, advocacy, business opportunities and research relating to the innkeeping industry.

PAII provides continuing education programs in many formats, the largest being the annual Innkeeping Conference & Tradeshow where experienced innkeepers are challenged and new innkeepers brought up to speed at events featuring dozens of workshops, nationally known experts, and the industry’s largest trade show.

PAII fulfills its national leadership role by being the voice of the industry, representing the innkeeping profession in Washington, in the media, and where needed to defend the industry.

The B&B Industry has an estimated worth of $3.4 billion. The core of this starts with the estimated 17,000 inns in the U.S. and then branches out to all the product and services needed to enable these inns to be the desired destination for millions and millions of travelers, both domestic and international. Real estate, finance, insurance, hospitality, furniture, food and beverage, cleaning, safety, heating and cooling…the list is endless.

Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging is a Vendor Member of the largest innkeepers association, The Professional Association of Innkeepers International. She has had the honor of being the presenter for several PAII webinars.

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Bed and Breakfast Associations

There are many benefits to becoming members of bed and breakfast associations.  For one thing, it adds credibility to your establishment.  In order to be allowed to join the group, your bed and breakfast will be inspected by members of the association to confirm its high quality standards and hospitable service.

Select Registry inspects each of its nearly 400 member Inns and Bed & Breakfasts. Independent inspectors evaluate the accommodations to ensure your guests’ stay will be in a class all its own.

You have the support of a network of fellow Bed and Breakfast innkeepers.  This allows you:

  • get advice from one another
  • refer each other business
  • swap recipes and tips
  • share memorable stories
  • give and receive encouragement

Potential guests can find you in their membership directory (print and/or online). A listing of the links to bed and breakfast associations in your state, can be found here.

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For Guests Who Love To Read

For guests who love to read, your bed and breakfast can house a small library or even a parlor or study with a large selection of books on your shelves.  If you are wondering what kind of books to have on the shelves, the following are some great suggestions:

  • Architecture–for those interested in construction and architectural styles
  • Biographies–of any legends about the people who live in your town or former tenants of your home or anyone famous in your area
  • Cooking–people may be looking for a new recipe–especially if it is your cookbook (that you have for sale)!
  • Fiction–if the setting in the book is in your local area it may really be attractive to your guests
  • Flora and fauna–for the garden lovers, horticultural experts, biologists, and green thumbs
  • Guidebooks–for people who want to get to know your area and its attractions
  • History books–many people love to read about history (especially the history of your location)
  • Home decorating–people who stay in bed and breakfasts usually appreciate home decor
  • Success books–people love reading about how to have success, achieve more, and reach their dreams

You need not spend a lot of money if you do not already have a wide collection of books. There are plenty of good used bookstores and even yard sales that sell them.  Having good reading material for your guests who love to read. This helps them remember their stay at your bed and breakfast even more fondly.  See the B&B Books listed for a great selection of Bed and Breakfast related books!

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Let Your Guests Evaluate You

In order to receive feedback for the bed and breakfast experience you offer, why not let your guests evaluate you?  This gives you valuable information and provides them with an opportunity to give you a great testimonial and maybe point out some things they noticed.

Your evaluation form only needs to ask a few questions:

1) What did you like the most about staying at our bed and breakfast? (things they thought were great)

2) Any disappointments? (things they think you can improve)

3) If you could change one thing about our bed and breakfast, what would it be? (this does not necessarily mean you will get negative comments–they may offer great suggestions for you to think about)

4) Do you have any additional comments you wish to share? (this way they feel that they have had every opportunity to share their concerns or ideas)

This evaluation form lets them know you cared about their experience and hope that they will return.  It also allows them to reflect on their stay.

Take any negative comments with a grain of salt.  There may be some truth to them or you may have had a picky guest who is hard to please.

If you want to use any of their glowing statements as positive testimonials, ask permission before quoting them in marketing materials or on your website.

Overall, when you let your guests evaluate you, it gives you important information so you can be a better innkeeper.

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Your Own Guidebook for Guests

You will have many visitors who are not familiar with your area. This means that guests would really appreciate your own guidebook for guests (which can be a three-ring binder or a basket full of various items) with the following information:

  • Articles featuring your bed and breakfast
  • Typical breakfast menu items you serve
  • Seasonal weather tips
  • Maps and directions to important places
  • Brochures from local attractions
  • Fliers about special events
  • Menus to recommended area restaurants
  • Contact information for area real estate agents
  • College/university campus maps
  • and more!

There is no limit to your creativity in putting together your own guidebook for guests. Your main objective is to provide a resource that they can easily find key information that will answer their questions.  The more pictures, the better! Remind them why they came to the area!

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Guests Staying for Class Reunions

Guests may visit to attend their class reunions. The following comes from an actual online review of a Bed and Breakfast:

I stayed at *** B & B during a high school reunion weekend. The rooms were gorgeous, well-appointed, and very comfortable. The B & B is located very near many good restaurants and attractions in NW North Carolina…the innkeepers…seem to truly enjoy their work and taking care of their guests!!! They are friendly, knowledgeable and, above all, tremendous chefs; the breakfast each morning was out of this world!!!”

This tells us that guests can decide to stay with you because of a class reunion, family reunion, or any other kind of special gathering in your area.  If you live near a college or university, you are more likely to have people staying with you for a class reunion.

In addition, this shows us the power of online content.  This testimonial gives this particular bed and breakfast a great review. Your own blog can review all the wonderful things about your B & B.  Each blog post can highlight the things that make your bed and breakfast stand out.

Special amenities such as:

  • Rooms with their own private jacuzzi
  • A beautiful outdoor garden and porch swing
  • Spa facilities or in-room massages
  • Computers and internet access
  • Individually decorated rooms with distinctive features

So whatever makes your bed and breakfast extra special and for whenever any class reunions are happening in your area, having your own blog can attract more guests to your website.

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Encouraging Your Guests To Return

Encouraging guests to return is good for business. Did you know that your best future business comes from past customers?  This works in two ways: your past customers can return for another visit or they can give a referral about your bed and breakfast to someone they know who decides to stay.

By asking guests the reason for their visit, you can gain valuable information. Maybe they are coming to your bed and breakfast for an annual event in your community.  Knowing that, you can send a reminder of your inn at the right time next year.

It is a good idea to track guests’ birthdays and anniversaries. This information makes it easy for you to send a post card in plenty of time for them to book a room to celebrate their occasion.

This also gives you ideas on what to promote for services.  You could offer a birthday package or anniversary package. Packages can include things such as flower arrangements, chocolate, in-room massages, and tickets to an event. There is no limit to your creativity!

So by knowing the reason for their visit, you can promote your bed and breakfast to them at the right times of the year.  This makes them feel special that you remembered and it leads to more business for you!

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