Monthly Archives: December 2013

New Year’s Eve Resolutions

new years eve resolutions

Do you have any 2014 New Year’s Eve resolutions for your bed and breakfast?  Here are some possible improvements or new beginnings with your online presence:

1. Your Website:

  • What are its strengths?
  • What are its weaknesses?
  • What opportunities come about? (business)
  • What threats does it have? (competitors)

2. Your Blog:

  • Do we have one?
  • If so, is it attracting more visitors and more bookings?
  • Do we need to hire someone to blog for us?
  • Can that person blog about a variety of issues related to innkeeping?

3. Your Social Media Presence:

  • Facebook–does our B&B have a Business or Fan page?
  • Twitter–do we regularly tweet?  do we know what to tweet?
  • Pinterest–do we post pictures of our B&B?  pictures of our food?
  • Linked In–do we have a profile as an innkeeper on Linked In?
  • You Tube–do we have videos promoting our B&B?

4. Your Membership in Associations & Organizations Giving Web Presence:

5. Your Public Image and Community Outreach:

  • Conferences–do we attend conferences on Innkeeping?
  • Business meetings–do we hold business meetings at our B&B?
  • Weddings–do we offer weddings?  If not, could we?
  • Music–do we host concerts or recitals?

So think about your website, blog, social media presence, associations, and public image & outreach goals for 2014.  Kristi Dement, of Bed and Breakfast Blogging, wishes you a prosperous New Year full of wonderful guests that stay at your bed and breakfast!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Do you live in a Downton Abbey?

do you live in a Downton Abbey

Do you live in a Downton Abbey? Even if your bed and breakfast is historical, it may not have all the drama that comes with the television show called Downton Abbey.  One of the most talked about shows on television is the highest rated drama that PBS has ever had.

The show was set in Highclere Castle, where people may have lived as long as 1300 years ago. The structural work on the interior of the Castle was finally completed in 1878. Once built, the Castle became a center of political life during the late Victorian era.

In many ways Highclere Castle epitomized the confidence and glamour of the Edwardian period in the first few years of the twentieth century. Visitor books record the house parties full of politicians, technological innovators, Egyptologists, aviators and soldiers.

During the First World War, Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon, transformed the Castle into a hospital, and patients began to arrive from Flanders in September 1914. She became an adept nurse and a skilled healer and hundreds of letters from patients and their families bear testament to her untiring work and spirit of generosity.

The Castle returned to a private home and in 1922 the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, the first global world media event.

Following the death of the 5th Earl, his son, who then became the 6th Earl, returned to Highclere where he lived until 1986. During the Second World War, the Castle briefly became a home for evacuee children from north London.

The current (8th) Earl and Countess of Carnarvon live partly in the Castle and partly nearby but remain closely involved in the Castle’s day to day life and future.  If you live in a historical bed and breakfast, your guests would love to hear about its history–including the drama! Then you can answer the question, “Do you live in a Downton Abbey?”

Do You Live In A Downton Abbey

 

 

Downton Abbey aired for 6 straight seasons on PBS.  Although there are no plans in place, there are strong rumors of a future film adaptation.  If the movie is made, do you think that some of the actors from the TV show will play their same characters for the movie version?

 

 

 

 

 

Helpful Furniture Buying Tips

furniture buying tips

Whether you are just starting your bed and breakfast and need to buy a whole houseful of furniture, or if you just want to add a few pieces of furniture, check out these helpful furniture buying tips!

  • Bring swatches or color samples of furniture, drapes, fabrics, paint or wallpaper that you will need to color match. If swatches aren’t available, take good color pictures & bring them with you.
  • If you are buying furniture for a whole room or your entire bed and breakfast, bring a floor plan of each room (include window, door & ceiling measurements) to help you select furniture with the correct dimensions. Measure other pieces of furniture in the room to ensure that your new furniture will be compatible in scale.
  • If necessary, take hall measurements, door measurements and ceiling measurements. If you are buying furniture that will go upstairs in a two or three story bed and breakfast, bring measurements of the hall and stairway so that you can make sure any furniture that you buy can be carried up your stairway.
  • Decide on the furniture style that you like. You can bring pictures of furniture that you like from your favorite home furnishings magazines.
  • With today’s eclectic styles of decorating, many people use different types and finishes of wood in the same room. Select interesting pieces of furniture that complement each other and reflect your taste.
  • If you have oriental and/or decorative rugs that you will be using, make certain that the fabric that you choose for upholstery will complement the colors and design of your rug.
  • To make small rooms look bigger, select furniture and accessories with colors that closely match the walls and floors. Also, reduce the number of pieces of furniture in the room and add reflective surfaces such as mirrors and glass-top table tops.
  • To make a large room look smaller and more intimate, position furniture away from the wall and use taller pieces such as an entertainment center, armoire or screen. Use rugs, patterned upholstery fabrics and printed wallpaper to give the area a warm and more comfortable feeling.
  • When shopping for upholstered furniture, try to get the facts about the basic construction: springs, frames, padding, cushions and fabric.
  • Always test furniture that will be used for seating by doing just that: sit on it! Consider how well the chair fits your particular body build. The height of the arms, the pitch of the back and the support under your knees should feel right for your body.

Remember these furniture buying tips and have fun shopping. Keep track of your receipts so you can write off the expenses for your bed and breakfast. 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

 

Loving Linked In

loving LinkedIn

 

 

Linked In is the world’s largest professional network, with more than 250 million people. There are several advantages for bed and breakfast owners to join. You will be loving Linked In!

 

 

  • Build your professional identity online
  • Connect with other B&B industry contacts
  • Discover opportunities
  • Get the latest news, inspiration, and insight
  • Join Interest Groups such as B&B Breakfast Inns

Use Linked In as a way to promote your Bed and Breakfast.  Kristi Dement is on Linked In, too!

Breakfast Recipes

breakfast recipes

 

 

Delicious breakfast recipes are the key to making a breakfast so tasty and memorable that your guests are sure to return! These websites are full of wonderful breakfast and brunch recipes you can make for your guests.

 

All Recipes.com

Breakfast and Brunch Recipes

BnBFinder.com

Bed and Breakfast Recipes

Better Homes & Gardens: Heart Healthy Living

Breakfast Recipes

Food Network

Breakfast: Recipes and Cooking

 

Be sure to find out before your guests arrive if they have any dietary restrictions or preferences. That way you have advance notice so you can accommodate your guests during breakfast. Innkeepers can attest to the various dietary needs that guests may have: gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, low cholesterol, diabetic friendly, etc.

Consider keeping track of the different food holidays. For example, on National Pancakes Day, you could offer your guests a variety of types of pancakes. You can take pictures and post them on social media with the hashtag representing that particular #FoodHoliday.

You may have a breakfast dish that your B&B is famous for, but there is always room to add another new recipe to the table.  That way you can “spice it up” a bit! Palate-pleasing breakfast recipes are the key to winning over the hearts (and tummies) of your bed and breakfast guests.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Christmas Farm Inn and Spa

Christmas Farm Inn and Spa

The Christmas Farm Inn and Spa, owned by innkeepers Gary and Sandra Plourde, is located on 3 Blitzen Way in Jackson, New Hampshire.  The names of the rooms in this 15 acre estate are in keeping with their Christmas theme.

In the Main Inn, the bedroom names are: Mr./Mrs. Santa Claus, Vixen, Blitzen, Three Wise Men, Cupid, Donner, Dasher, Sleigh Bells, and Star of the East.

The Salt Box Rooms are named: Mistletoe, Holly, Elves, Rudolph, Noel, North Star, Yuletide, Sugar and Spice, and Everything Nice.

The Family Barn Suites are named: Balsam, Hemlock, Pine, and Spruce.  The Hand Crafted Cottages are named: The Blacksmith Shop, The Sleigh House, The North Pole, The Smokehouse, The Livery Stable, The Sugar House, and The Log Cabin.

The Carriage House Suites are named after the 12 Days of Christmas Song: Partridge in a Pear Tree, Turtle Doves, French Hens, Calling Birds, Golden Rings, Geese-a-Laying, Swans-a-Swimming, Maids-a-Milking, Ladies Dancing, Lords-a-Leaping, Pipers Piping, Drummers Drumming.

Spa guests enjoy world-class facilities and all the amenities including 7 treatment rooms, relaxation lounge, indoor and outdoor pools, hot tub and fitness center.  Christmas Farm Inn and Spa has their own restaurant and they offer specials and packages as well as elegant weddings.

According to the Christmas Farm Inn and Spa blog, innkeepers Gary and Sandra Plourde, see themselves as, “caretakers of the inn and the traditions that live here – not just at Christmas time, but all throughout the year.”  Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging wishes you and your family a Merry Christmas!

Top 5 Reasons to Stay at a B&B

 

reasons to stay at a B&B

Do you know that your blog is the perfect place to promote reasons to stay at a B&B? Bed and Breakfast Blogging will write a blog for your B&B that entices your website visitors to book rooms!

The following are excellent reasons why a potential guest should choose to stay at your bed and breakfast versus a hotel.

 

1. Bed and breakfasts treat all of their guests with special care and attention.  You may personalize their visits with little extras like flowers in their room and chocolate on their pillow.

2. B&B’s can be very romantic places to stay at. Several bed and breakfasts have honeymoon suites!  You may offer dessert and wine served to their room in the evening.

3. Your guests will enjoy the best home-cooked breakfast they ever have because you cook delicious gourmet food including Eggs Benedict and French toast!

4. Your visitors will be staying in the comforts of your bed and breakfast home and have the amenities of a hotel.  It is important to have pictures (even a video tour) of your bed and breakfast on your website for potential guests to see all your B&B has to offer.

5. Their special event is happening at your B&B.  Many bed and breakfasts specialize in doing weddings or hosting meetings–yours may be one of them.

Bed and breakfast owners, it is important for your blog to highlight what makes your particular bed and breakfast unique. Give them reasons to stay at a B&B. Bed and Breakfast Blogging can write you online content that is targeted to market to your ideal B&B guests.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

BBB Accreditation Standards

BBB Standards

Do you know what BBB accreditation means to your bed and breakfast? Better Business Bureau Accreditation is an honor – and not every business is eligible. Businesses that meet their high standards are invited to join BBB. Businesses deemed to meet Accreditation Standards are presented to the BBB’s Board for review and acceptance as a BBB Accredited Business.

BBB ensures that high standards for trust are set and maintained. They exist so consumers and businesses alike have an unbiased source to guide them on matters of trust. BBB provides educational information and expert advice that is free of charge and easily accessible.

BBB sees trust as a function of two primary factors – integrity and performance. Integrity includes respect, ethics and intent. Performance speaks to a business’s track record of delivering results in accordance with BBB standards and/or addressing customer concerns in a timely, satisfactory manner.

The BBB Code of Business Practices represents sound advertising, selling and customer service practices that enhance customer trust and confidence in business. The Code is built on the BBB Standards for Trust, eight principles that summarize important elements of creating and maintaining trust in business.

1. Build Trust
Establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace.

2. Advertise Honestly
Adhere to established standards of advertising and selling.

3. Tell the Truth
Honestly represent products and services, including clear and adequate disclosures of all material terms.

4. Be Transparent
Openly identify the nature, location, and ownership of the business, and clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy.

5. Honor Promises
Abide by all written agreements and verbal representations.

6. Be Responsive
Address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally, and in
good faith.

7. Safeguard Privacy
Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of customers regarding the use of their
information.

8. Embody Integrity
Approach all business dealings, marketplace transactions and
commitments with integrity.

Each bed and breakfast, whether BBB accredited or not, has a rating. The BBB letter grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, your grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about your bed and breakfast despite their requests for the information.

BBB assigns letter grades from A+ (highest) to F (lowest). In some cases, BBB will not grade your business (indicated by an NR, or “No Rating”) for reasons that include insufficient information about a business or ongoing review/update of your business’ file.

BBB Business Reviews generally explain the most significant factors that raised or lowered a business’ grade.  BBB grades are not a guarantee of a business’ reliability or performance, and BBB recommends that consumers consider a business’ grade in addition to all other available information about the business grading elements.

BBB grades are based on information in BBB files with respect to the following factors:

1. Business’ complaint history with BBB.

2. Type of business.

3. Time in business.

4. Background information on business in BBB files.

5. Failure to honor commitments to BBB.

6. Licensing and government actions known to BBB.

7. Advertising issues known to BBB.

Bed and breakfast owners, if you are unsure if you have a BBB grade, look up your own name in the BBB directory to see what your file says.  If there are any unresolved complaints, you can contact your local BBB to resolve any issues with your BBB Standards.  It is best to be on good terms with the BBB.  People do consider a business’ BBB grade.  You can apply for membership by contacting the nearest BBB location if you are not already a member.

 

Take a Break and Hire Inn Sitters!

hire inn sitters

 

Are you running your bed and breakfast or is your B&B running you?  There are moments when you cannot close your doors because your rooms are booked yet you need a break, have an innkeeping conference to attend, or a family emergency requires you to need to leave. Hire inn sitters, or interim innkeepers, to help solve your dilemma.

You want experienced professionals who may have been innkeepers in the past themselves.  Of course you will want to check their references, rates, and services which may vary depending upon the size of your bed and breakfast and the tasks you ask them to complete.  They usually can give an approximate range of their fees before meeting in person with you.

Because every bed and breakfast is different, you will need to set aside training time so you can communicate how you run your B&B.  Good inn sitters are willing to do things the way you ask for them to be done.  If you want them to cook your recipes, allow time to instruct them.  They will need to know the “inns” and outs of how you manage your B&B.

When you hire inn sitters that are trustworthy and have the experience and references that assure you they are capable, then you can leave your bed and breakfast knowing that it is in good hands.

One capable couple, Lynda and Howard Lerner, serve as Interim Innkeepers in their business called Inn Caring. After they do a great job filling in for you, please give them a positive testimonial for their website.  They also serve as expert bed and breakfast consultants and teach informative seminar training classes.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Hosting Group Meetings

hosting group meetings

 

Have you ever thought about facilitating a local event? Depending upon the size of your bed and breakfast, you may be able to accommodate hosting group meetings.  These could be chamber of commerce meetings, book groups, business leads groups, or some kind of club with a particular interest.

 

These are opportunities for local people who are not familiar with your bed and breakfast to be introduced via their group meeting.  You may decide to be available to give tours before and/or after the meeting to attendees.

This is also a way to make money because the groups will be compensating you for using your space to hold their meetings. Word of mouth will spread quickly that your experience hosting group meetings and other events such as weddings or music performances.

When people come to your bed and breakfast for a local event, they may be reminded that this would be a great place to spend the night.  Your bed and breakfast could be the perfect place for them to send their out of town relatives who are visiting.

Bed and breakfast blogging can devote blog posts promoting your events on your website. The events will draw more people to your bed and breakfast as they visit your B&B or read about your events in your blog.  It is a win-win situation!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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