Monthly Archives: February 2018

The Quick and Easy Way to Market Your Bed and Breakfast

Outdoor lawn furniture around a fire pit

 

 

Looking for the quick and easy way to market your bed and breakfast? Share information from our essential bed and breakfast content checklist.  This can be shared on your website pages, in blog posts, in social media, in emails, in videos, and more.

 

 

Essential Bed and Breakfast Content Checklist:

 

  • Activities: What can people do when they stay at your inn?  This includes activities at the inn as well as activities at places and events in your local area.
  • Amenities: What amenities do your guests have access to?  Perhaps you have something as unique as a heated pool or billiards room.  The picture shows a lovely outdoor area for guests to relax and hear music.  Be sure to list every amenity your inn offers.
  • Area: Think about why people visit your local area.  Do you provide information that includes the many reasons people decide to stay at your inn?
  • Associations/Ratings: Do you belong to any B&B associations that regularly inspect your inn for quality assurance? Let your guests know what professional associations you belong to as well as any ratings of distinction such as Select Registry or Historic Hotels of America.
  • Blog: Do you have a blog? Blogs are great places to regularly share new information such as seasonal changes, local annual events, and more.
  • Decorating: Do you have any decorating tips to share? Perhaps you could feature pictures of your decor and give ideas for how guests can make their own homes more decorative.
  • Employees: No matter the size of your staff, you can share a picture of them and some fun facts about them.  Include where they are originally from and a brief background like their favorite sports team, college alma mater, favorite breakfast food, favorite thing to do in your local area, etc.  Also let guests know what roles they have at your inn.
  • Events: This includes both activities that happen at your inn as well as local activities.  Be aware of any major local activities and conferences to specifically attract those guests.
  • Food: Food is so popular that entire television channels are devoted to it! Share recipes to your most popular items and share behind-the-scenes photos of preparing for breakfast.  Feature your farm fresh produce.
  • Fun: Highlight the fun that happens at your inn.  This could feature guests (with their permission) having fun in common rooms or anywhere on your property.
  • Gardening/Landscaping: Do you have award-winning gardens? Do you have attractive fountains and outdoor sculptures? Do you have hanging outdoor lights to shine at night? What is in bloom right now at your inn?  Focus on seasonal changes and promote Fall Foliage if that is something your area is known for.
  • Guests: Think about what types of guests you attract.  If the guests tell you the reason for their visit or activities they participated in, make a note of it.  Offer recommendations to local restaurants and shops.
  • History: Do you have a historical inn? If so, consider sharing your B&B’s unique history.  If you built your inn, share pictures of its construction and your motivation for building your own B&B.
  • Holidays: Does your inn show off unique decorations with each holiday? Valentine’s Day is just one of the many holidays that bed and breakfasts can feature in blog posts and on social media. If you have any holiday-related packages, be sure to feature them during that time.
  • Promotion: Consider promoting local events and businesses. You may want to feature a contest on your website and/or social media.  Require those who enter your contest to enter by sharing their email address.  Then you can add them to your email list.
  • Publicity: Was your inn featured in a magazine or the local news?  Be sure to have links to any publicity your inn receives listed on your website and share it in social media.
  • Renovation: Did you renovate or redecorate any areas of your inn?  Share before and after photos of any indoor or outdoor transformations.  Describe the process it took to get it from the before picture to the after picture.  There are lots of people who would be interested in learning how you remodeled that space.
  • Success: Did you receive an award for something? Perhaps your won a local recipe contest.  Maybe you received an award in your local town as an elite place to stay overnight.  Be sure to include this in your content.
  • Support: Do you support any charities or host charity events? Do you sponsor any local teams or events? Any community outreach you do can be featured in your content.  Share pictures of the events.

This list is certainly not exhaustive. There may be other areas to promote, depending upon where you are located, the types of guests you host, and the unique accommodations you provide.  The key is to regularly share new content. This makes you more visible online when people go to search for specific keywords.

Not sure what keywords you should feature? Consider using the name of your city, popular tourist destinations, popular local activities, and so on.  That way if someone types in “your city name and a popular activity” they could find your content and land on your website.

Need help marketing your inn?  Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free consultation.  Bed and Breakfast Blogging specializes in not only blogging, but also social media marketing, email marketing, reputation management, and more.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Yellow House in Waynesville, NC

Bedroom at The Yellow House in Waynesville, North Carolina

As soon as we met Owners and Innkeepers Ken and Kelli Todtenhagen, we felt very welcome at The Yellow House in Waynesville, North Carolina. We were in town to tour Western Carolina University in nearby Cullowhee.

We stayed in the Rockwell Suite (pictured above), named in honor of the famous 20th-century American author and prolific artist Norman Rockwell, who produced more than 4,000 works in his lifetime.  Rockwell is most famous for the color illustrations of everyday life he created for the Saturday Evening Post for nearly five decades.

In the suite, some of Mr. Rockwell’s pictures are on the walls and there are art supplies (including sketch pads and adult coloring books) available for guests who like to draw.  Ken and Kelli are amazed at some of their talented guests who have left pictures for them.

There are many reasons why guests love to visit The Yellow House, including:

  • Luxurious guest rooms and suites in their Main House and Pond House
  • All ten guest areas include their own gas fireplaces
  • Two dog-friendly rooms in the Pond House
  • Guest amenities including complimentary wine & hors d’oeuvres, 24-hour access to drinks & snacks, comfy robes, and private baths (some with jetted tubs)
  • Gorgeous mountain views
  • “Rest and Relaxation” and “Playing Hooky” specials
  • “Gone Fishing”, “Girls Getaway”, and “Honeymoon/Anniversary Picnic” packages
  • Extras including balloons, chocolate, picnic lunches, wine & cheese tray, flowers
  • Delicious fresh complimentary gourmet breakfasts each morning

There are many special occasions guests celebrate at The Yellow House, including:

  • Memorable anniversaries
  • Unforgettable birthdays
  • Joyous graduation parties
  • Festive holidays
  • Elegant weddings

The Yellow House is close to so many noteworthy and scenic places, such as:

  • Biltmore Estate
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Brevard Music Center
  • Cherokee Indian Reservation
  • Folkmoot
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Pisgah National Forest

Guests of The Yellow House enjoy activities and adventures, like:

  • Flyfishing
  • Golfing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Mountain and road biking
  • Rock and ice climbing
  • Skiing
  • White water rafting

Some favorite restaurants where guests like to dine are:

  • Bourbon Barrel Beef and Ale
  • Boojum Brewing Company
  • Frogs Leap Public House
  • The Chef’s Table
  • Trailhead Cafe and Bakery

Ken and Kelli have done some major renovating to the house (built in the late 1800s) to restore its grand historic appeal.  They have added antique furniture and some of their delightful decor changes throughout the year to reflect the seasons and holidays.  We highly recommend a visit to The Yellow House and we look forward to many return visits.

The Secret to Improving Your Guest Experience

luxurious outdoor pool with landscaping and chairs around it

If you want to know the secret to improving your guest experience, the answer is found in several areas of hospitality.  It begins by asking yourself questions like the following.

What do you find out about your guests before they stay at your inn?  When your guests book a room, do you learn the purpose of their visit?  Whether they have any food allergies or dietary restrictions?  Knowing these things can help you prepare.

What on-site amenities do you offer your guests? Amenities can include free wireless internet throughout your inn, watching television and movies from the privacy of guest rooms, large hot tubs, indoor or outdoor pools, a game room, a workout room, spa treatments, a library, a conference room, privately stocked guest room refrigerators, 24-hour access to free refreshments and goodies, and so on.  The more amenities you have at your property, the more likely guests will write positive reviews of their experiences.

Do you offer concierge services to your guests? This could range from making restaurant reservations, to arranging for spa treatments, procuring tickets to special events, assisting with various travel arrangements, and booking tours of local attractions.

How does the innkeeper benefit from offering concierge services like these? You may set up partnerships with local restaurants, spas, event venues, tours, and travel options.  If you receive about as many referrals as you give, this may be a win-win situation with no need for an exchange of money from any of the parties.

However, if it is more one-sided and you are not receiving as many business referrals as you are giving, then think about requesting a referral fee when you refer business to them and giving them a referral fee when they refer business to you. That way it is more equitable.   The point is to have a fair incentive to refer business to each other.

Do you host events? People often come to bed and breakfast inns because of celebrating special occasions.  You could host private parties for a variety of occasions, including: anniversaries, baby and wedding showers, birthdays, family reunions, graduations, and so on.  The more special you make these events for your guests, the better their guest experience.

What kind of feedback are you receiving from guests about your food?  How well do you accommodate guests with food allergies and dietary restrictions?  Do guests ask for your recipes or if your inn sells a cookbook? Even if you are not the caterer for all of the events you host, the food you provide at events you host affects their guest experience and perceptions of you as hosts.

Do you offer custom packages for your guests? These could include restaurant gift certificates, tickets to a local event, fresh flowers, desserts delivered to your room, and so on.  Are you attracting the types of guests you would like to host? One way to do that is to offer packages they would be interested in.

How do your guests sleep?  Whether they are looking for a more restful sleep or a more passionate romance, make that possible for them.  Do you have extra blankets and pillows?  Do you offer a turn-down service or romance package with rose petals and LED lights?

How will you know if your guests have had positive experiences?  Encourage feedback by asking non-intrusive questions (questions that do not pry, but show that you care about making sure they receive the best hospitality possible).  Read the comments in your guest books and online reviews.  Take guest advice to heart.  As you see evaluations of guest experiences increase, you will experience a tremendous amount of satisfaction.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Why Local Partnerships Can Make You Rich

a store with glass cases with food inside and other merchandise

Do you know why local partnerships can make you rich?  Do you know that your local area could be your best asset?  Travelers tend to pick the area of their destination BEFORE they choose their accommodations.  So innkeepers can profit from thinking about: “Why do guests visit my local area?”

Word-of-mouth marketing can also be very powerful.  What do you want to become known for?  A big part of becoming more well known is developing ties with other local businesses and organizations in your community.

Who, in your local area, offers complementary products and services?  There are many reasons why it is in both your interests to form a mutually beneficial relationship:

  • You can refer each other business (since you don’t have all the same customers)
  • You can promote each other in a variety of ways (such as via social media)
  • You can form exclusive partnerships (more on that later)

So, you may be thinking, what types of places and with whom could I form local partnerships?:

  • Caterers
  • Chocolatier
  • Entertainment providers
  • Florist
  • Gift shops
  • Museums
  • Nonprofit organizations and charities
  • Realtors
  • Restaurants
  • Spas (if you do not have your own spa)
  • Sports
  • Tourist attractions
  • Wedding planners

There is a whole movement going on to support local businesses and service professionals.  Spread the love for your local area by featuring these other businesses:

  • Brochures (display them at your inn)
  • Coupons (arrange for your guests to receive discounts for using their services)
  • Menus (let people see what they offer by providing their menus)
  • Preferred list of vendors (such as caterers and wedding planners)
  • Social Media (share a picture of them and write about why people should want to use their products and/or services)
  • Video (partner with other businesses to promote your town as a vacation destination)
  • Word-of-mouth (if guests ask for your recommendations)

Develop “exclusive partnerships” in which you agree to only buy from them and they offer you a reduced rate for doing so.  This works out well in the case of using one chocolatier and one florist.  Especially if you offer packages to your guests which include chocolate and flowers.

An “influencer” is a person who has the power to influence many people.  How do you meet and form relationships with the “influencers” in your community?

  • Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce which will have local business owners and service providers as members.
  • LinkedIn is a powerful social media network for finding other local business owners
  • There is nothing like meeting face-to-face to discuss how you can help each other’s businesses grow
  • Look online (like at TripAdvisor) to find lists for the best restaurants near you and the top things to do in (and near) your area for ideas of people and places to contact

That is why local partnerships can make you rich.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography