Monthly Archives: August 2018

How To Choose The Right Bed and Breakfast Linens

bed and breakfast linens

 

As owners of bed and breakfasts, you build your brand based on the quality and level of hospitality you offer to your guests.  This includes guests’ first impression of your place and their individual guest room down to the look and feel of your sheets and bed and breakfast linens.

 

Innkeepers should strive to provide an experience above and beyond their guests’ expectations.  Thus, choosing quality linens for your bed and breakfast is of great importance.  Create an environment where your guests will not want to leave.  This will encourage them to come back as soon as they can return.

Here are some tips to help guide you when selecting your bed and breakfast linens. Before you start buying linens for each bedroom, make note of how many beds you’ll be fitting within each room as well as their respective sizes (twin, queen, king, etc.). Make sure you have extra pillows for your guests as well as a couple quality blankets for each bed.  One blanket can be placed on the bed between the comforter and the top sheet while the other blanket can be put in an accessible guest drawer or closet space.

When choosing the quality of your bed and breakfast linens, ensure that the material is 100% natural content featuring a thread count of at least 500. Consider choosing white to avoid any fading colors. White also has the advantage of looking crisp and clean while giving an airy and welcoming feel to the room.

When selecting your bathroom sets, make sure you select plush, 100% cotton towels with a dense loop. Anything below these quality standards can detract from the guest experience. Also ensure that you have the correct sizes, including bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths.

Coordination is key. Colors should play off each other to give a natural flow from the bedroom to the bathroom.  What matters is the perceptions of each guest. Whatever you end up choosing, make sure the bedroom and bathroom colors complement each other.

Be sure to provide a generous number of towels, to give your guests the feeling of comfort and luxury.  By having an extra amount of linens and towels, they will last longer.  When your towels are plush and sheets are smooth, your guests are more likely to remember their positive experience (including restful sleep) and return to your inn for another visit.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Decorating and Amenities For Bed and Breakfast Bathrooms

bed and breakfast bathrooms

Bed and breakfast bathrooms can really enhance the experience of your appreciative guests.  Your unique decorations, attractive colors, magnificent materials, fancy fixtures, luxurious linens, and plush amenities all make a big impression on them.  Likewise, it is important to have complimentary bathroom supplies made available in each guest bathroom.  Your guests will remember your attention to the details.

Be sure to decorate your bathrooms in a way that complements the look of the corresponding bedrooms and overall theme of your place.  Guests will expect the décor of bathrooms to be different depending upon the style or location of your bed and breakfast.  The following are just a few suggestions and there are many more decorating options available to the bed and breakfast owner.

Beach bed and breakfast bathrooms

  • feature shells, starfish, sand dollars, sea horse, fish, coral reef, a captains wheel, anchor, or surfboards
  • have water, sand, or coral colors

Farm bed and breakfast bathrooms

  • feature roosters, cows, horses, gardens, corn stalks, or seeds
  • have farm colors like grass green, barn red, or sunflower yellow

Historic bed and breakfast bathrooms

  • feature pictures of previous residents, antique furniture, vintage signs, or a claw-foot tub
  • colors like black and white (like old photos) or rust
  •  

There are a variety of materials used in bathrooms, including:

  • Brick
  • Carpet
  • Glass
  • Rugs
  • Stonework
  • Tile
  • Wallpaper

Fixtures, such as:

  • Cabinets
  • Lights
  • Mirrors
  • Showers
  • Sinks
  • Towel bars and hooks
  • Tubs
  • Vanities

Linens:

  • Robes
  • Towels (double loop with high thread count)
  • Washcloths

Luxury amenities and other extras like:

  • Candles
  • Columns
  • Fireplace
  • Flowers
  • Furniture
  • Heated bathroom floors
  • Jetted tub
  • Lounging area
  • Murals
  • Plants
  • Shelving
  • Skylights
  • Television
  • View
  • Wine (chilled)

Guests will be thankful for complimentary bathroom supplies, such as:

  • Bath gel
  • Bath mats
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Drinking glasses
  • Hairdryer
  • Lotion
  • Make-up remover pads (to avoid stains on your washcloths and towels)
  • Mouthwash (travel size)
  • Shampoo and conditioner (travel size)
  • Shower cap
  • Soap (soap bars should be individually wrapped)
  • Tissues (with lotion)
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste (travel size)
  • Toilet paper (individually wrapped rolls)
  • Waste basket (with throw-away liner)

You may want to reward your guests by having a frequent stay and guest referral program allows you to give discounts for those returning again and recommending your B&B to their friends.  Keep in mind the image your bed and breakfast seeks to portray to your guests: comfort, luxury, eco-friendly, and more.  The possibilities are endless as to how you decorate your bathroom and what amenities you offer to your guests.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Assumptions Can Be Wrong

assumptions can be wrong

Your bed and breakfast guests usually have questions. Be careful to understand their frame of reference when they ask a question. Assumptions can be wrong!

While I was a young student at Michigan State University, I lived in an international dorm. For those of you who don’t know, Michigan State is located in East Lansing, Michigan. One of the reasons I chose to attend the university was that I lived only two hours away in a town called Holland, Michigan.

When an international student asked me what I was going to do over the weekend, I replied, “Go home to Holland.” She looked shocked and asked with a puzzled look, “Only for the weekend?” I had failed to take into account that she was thinking of Holland, Netherlands. Actually, the Netherlands is the country my great-grandmother and her family came from when they relocated to Holland, Michigan.

We laughed when we both understood we were talking about two completely different parts of the world. I wrongly assumed that since we were both currently living in the state of Michigan, that she would have heard of my local Michigan town called Holland! Remember assumptions can be wrong!

Often when recommending places your guests can visit and things they can do in your area, please remember my advice to never make assumptions. You could have an FAQ (frequently asked questions) page on your website with links to various places you suggest that they visit.  You could organize the recommended places by categories such as restaurants, museums, parks, and so on.  

This helps your guests plan for their stay at your bed and breakfast and you can easily refer them to your website if they are calling or e-mailing you the question. I also recommend offering free brochures to local destinations to your guests while they visit in person.

Have you ever had a funny mix-up like mine with your bed and breakfast guests? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

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What If You Knew You Could Not Fail?

if you knew you could not fail

What if you knew you could not fail, what would you try to do?  I think most people, by nature, do not like taking risks. Most people like a safety net.

The people who achieve success in life make their dreams so much bigger than their fears.  Successful people do not focus on what could go wrong, but on how they can do something better next time. Successful people do not let any of their perceived failures stop them from trying again.

 

Where does that confidence come from?

Sources of Confidence:

  • Real life examples: observe people who are successful and imitate them
  • Relationships: find family and friends who believe in you and tell you they know you can do it
  • Reading: actively pursue reading positive and motivating material (and avoid the negative)
  • Remembering: reflect upon previous successes and remind themselves yourself that can do it again
  • Realizing: realize the potential YOU have for greatness and do something great

But what if you lack confidence in yourself?

Steps to Add Confidence:

  • Spend time with encouraging people (rather than downers or critics)
  • Read biographies of successful people (to discover some of their secrets)
  • Put together a dream board/Pinterest board (of pictures of places you want to go, motivating quotes, etc.)
  • Seek out a mentor (a person you think is successful in life and who is willing to give you advice)
  • Reward your small successes along the way (to motivate you to achieve even more)

Over time, it will become more natural for you to set and achieve your goals.  Do not let any setbacks get in the way of your vision for a better future for you and your loved ones. What if you knew you could not fail, what would you do? Keep dreaming, keep going, no matter what! Never give up!

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The Power of Making Lists

the power of making lists

 

In her book, How Much Joy Can You Stand?: A Creative Guide to Facing Your Fears and Making Your Dreams Come True, Suzanne Falter-Barns, focuses on the power of making lists.  She suggest making the following lists:

 

  • 10 Things You are Passionate About
  • 10 Things You Love About Your Life
  • 10 Things That Are Uniquely You
  • 10 Things You Would Like to Share
  • 10 Things You Could Fix or Change About the World
  • 10 Things You’d Like To Do Before You Die

The power of making lists comes from reflecting and writing down the answers to these lists.  You will know more about yourself. You will recognize what you are passionate about and what you love about your life.  You will know what makes you, well–you!

You will think of specific things you can share (time, talents, or money).  You will think about what you could help fix or what you would like to change about the world.

Lastly, you will have the opportunity to think of things you would like to do before you die (your personal bucket list). Many people have testified to putting down the most unlikely events and they came true! 

“Shark Tank” Investor and successful entrepreneur Barbara Cocoran, who uses lists to overcome her time constraints, organizes her lists into the following three sections:

  • Calls to make
  • Things to review
  • Projects to do

As you write the answers to these lists down, you will know more about yourself and your goals and dreams. I challenge you to experience the power of making lists! Lists also let you evaluate how you are spending your time. It is easy to be busy, but harder to be effective. The power of making lists may be that it changes your life!

Note: I receive Amazon Affiliate commissions from purchases made through the Amazon link.

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Fantastic Fill in the Blanks Social Media

blanks social media

 

Fantastic fill in the blanks 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 social media 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-blanks social media gets your followers thinking and you 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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Great Conversation Starters While Hosting Guests

 

conversation hosting guests

It is always a good idea to have some topics of conversation in mind if you regularly host guests at your bed and breakfast.  Having a mental list of what to talk about means you will feel comfortable interacting with perfect strangers at any time. The biggest secret to being a good conversationalist is simply allowing other people to talk about themselves. Why? It is a subject they probably know well and are comfortable talking about.

 

Since they are likely to be out of town guests when they visit, this automatically gives you some conversation topics, including the reason for their stay at your B&B.

  • Are you celebrating a special occasion(birthday, anniversary, reunion, etc.)?
  • What attracted you to visit us in this area?
  • Does our area have a leisure activity or event you will be participating in?
  • Where else have you been on vacation?
  • What was your most favorite vacation destination so far?
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

People love talking about what they eat or want to eat.  Think about the popularity of Food Network and online recipe websites!  Inquire about their favorite foods including breakfast dishes.  During the time they book the room is the best time to find out if they are allergic to any foods or on a restricted diet since you, or your staff, will be cooking for them.  If you realize that question was never answered, take the first opportunity to ask.

  • What is your favorite food?
  • If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • Where do you like to go when you eat out?
  • Do you like to cook? If so, do you have a signature dish?
  • Are there any foods that you would like to try?

If they bring up their family, then it is perfectly acceptable to have a discussion centered around that. Most people love talking about their family.  However, we need to be sensitive to people who may have strained family relationships, family members who are ill, infertility issues, or some other personal struggle in their lives.

  • Do you have any siblings?
  • What is your favorite childhood memory?
  • Did you have a pet growing up?  Do you have any pets now?
  • As a kid, how did you most like to spend your time?

Another topic of conversation could be about sports.  Since there are so many different sports, it is a safe bet that they, or someone they know, have an interest in sports.  They do not need to be a talented athlete to enjoy watching sports.

  • Do you play or follow any sports?
  • Who is your favorite athlete?
  • How do you like to exercise?
  • What is your favorite sports team?

Ask them about their technology and entertainment preferences.  This can lead to lively discussions about favorites.  Then you can mention (if it is available for them) that you offer a free Wi-Fi connection and/or a book, CD and/or DVD collection available for guests to borrow.

  • What are your favorite TV shows?
  • What kind of movies do you like?
  • What was the last movie you saw?
  • Who is your favorite actor/actress?
  • What is your favorite movie of all time?
  • What type of music do you like to listen to?  Who are your favorite musicians?
  • Do you like to read?  If so, what kind of books do you read?
  • What’s your favorite board game or card game?

Carefully ask about work, but try not to make it sound like a job interview.  Remember that your guest(s) may be studying, retired, or “between jobs”.  Also keep in mind your guest(s) may be traveling on business while they stay with you.

  • What do you do for a living? Where do you work (or study)?
  • What was your first job ever?
  • When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What do you like best about your job?
  • If money was no object yet you still wanted to work, what would be your dream job?

The key is to keep it light. The goal is to build rapport with your bed and breakfast guests.  Stick to topics that are interesting and entertaining to talk about.  Most people are looking for polite and lighthearted topics to discuss–it is wise to avoid controversial topics like politics and religion. Leave them with a great impression so they give you and your B&B a positive testimonial about your hospitality via your online guest book.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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10+ B&B Bedroom Names

B&B bedroom names

 

Bed and Breakfasts traditionally name each bedroom available to guests. This allows B&B owners, as well as their guests, to be able to distinguish between the rooms.  The B&B bedroom names can be based on any number of reasons.  Here are 10+ ways B&B bedroom names come about:

 

  • Activity (such as a hobby or a sport like photography or football)
  • Amenity (like a private hot tub or their own personal fireplace in the room)
  • Color in the room (like red or lavender walls or bedding)
  • Country or culture the room represents (such as China or Mexico)
  • Famous people (including famous writers and leaders like Hemingway and Lincoln)
  • History (named after the original residents; associated with the time period it was built)
  • Local connection (near a famous local attraction; common local flowers or foods)
  • Occasion (such as the Honeymoon Suite or Anniversary Room)
  • Style the room is decorated in (such as Victorian or French Country)
  • Theme (including a particular animal or season)
  • Type of location (such as on the beach or in a castle)

As bed and breakfast owners, you can have fun with what you name your rooms. Be creative and come up with names of rooms that people would like to say they stayed in. Sometimes B&B owners have signs by the doors to let guests know they have come to the right room.

Naming the rooms in your house gives your bed and breakfast character and distinguishes it from other B&B’s. This also allows your guests to recommend the particular rooms they stayed in by their B&B bedroom names to other people. 

You are welcome to share a link to your (named) rooms page on your bed and breakfast website as well as to tell us the reason they were named that way. 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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How to Choose Your Bed and Breakfast Name

your bed and breakfast name

Your bed and breakfast name sets the tone for what your guests can expect.  A good name says a lot about an inn.  You want the name to be memorable and give a great first impression.  It is important to take your time and come up with a long list of potential names before deciding. Get a talented group of friends together and just start randomly calling out names.  Have someone write down all the bed and breakfast name suggestions.

Permit your gathering of people to suggest whatever name comes to mind.  By allowing everything to be spoken, eventually you will have a list of great potential bed and breakfast names.

Only after you have generated this list of names should you then start to evaluate them.  Make sure that your bed and breakfast name is:

  • Simple to pronounce aloud by others (have others repeat the name aloud)
  • Spelled like it sounds (makes it easier to find)
  • Without an unintended meaning (think of the words in various contexts)
  • Not too common (make sure it is fresh)
  • Appropriate to your local surroundings (e.g. do not have beach in the name unless there really is one)
  • Not too funny (this may suggest you do not care about your hospitality business)
  • Easy for guests to remember (name recognition)

Other words for bed and breakfast include:

  • B&B
  • cabins
  • cottage
  • country inn
  • estate
  • farm
  • garden inn
  • guest house
  • hideaway
  • house
  • hotel
  • inn
  • lodge
  • manor
  • mansion
  • oasis
  • palace
  • place
  • ranch
  • resort
  • street inn
  • suites
  • valley
  • village inn

Visualize how your business name will look in a logo, outdoor sign, and on your website.  Be sure to get your own email address to be something like:

innkeeper@yourbedandbreakfastname.com

When you know what you want to call your bed and breakfast, you must make sure that the domain name (website address) is available before you register your business name.  If there are already bed and breakfast inns with that name (even in a different state), it is best to choose a different name to avoid confusion.

Above all, make sure you absolutely love your bed and breakfast name since you will likely say it over and over throughout your time as a bed and breakfast owner.  Smart innkeepers ask for ideas from others and take plenty of time when they choose their bed and breakfast name.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Experiences Are More Valuable Than Things

more valuable than things

 

 

It turns out that experiences are more valuable than things. Since most people are in the pursuit of happiness, hospitality owners can promote to potential guests/patrons the benefits of experiences over just things.

 

People assume that because materials things last longer than experiences, that things will increase our happiness more than so than experiences (such as dining out, vacationing, and attending a concert). However, because experiences only last a short time, that makes us value and savor them even more.

Over time, people’s satisfaction with things they bought quickly fades (since we get used to having them) while over time, people’s satisfaction with experiences they spent money on increases (since we are thankful for those wonderful opportunities and fond memories).

We get used to having new things, so we keep raising the bar to want more and more. There will always be someone out there with something better than we have.

Alternatively, “stuffocation” is a term used to define the concept of being stressed out from the build-up of junk we will never use. That is why there has been an increasing interest in “minimalism” which means owning less but valuing it more because we only keep and use (or enjoy) what we really love. 

Experiences can be more life-changing than things. They introduce us to new perspectives, we learn life lessons, and we express gratitude easier. Memories live on. Experiences can become part of our identity (for example, completing a marathon is a very meaningful event). Experiences can help define our purpose and passions which shapes our lives. 

Experiences cannot be quantified and they live on forever. Also, because we can share experiences with others, they become part of stories we recall with them later. Possessions do not contribute to social relationships.

In fact, we are less likely to negatively compare our own experiences to someone else’s than we would with material purchases. Moreover, while material things add to our routines, experiences allow us to take a break from them.  

Anticipation of experiences causes excitement and enjoyment while anticipation for material things causes impatience. Since our lives are an accumulation of events, it makes sense that experiences have a greater impact on us and are more valuable than things.

Places of hospitality can place an emphasis on the quality experiences their guests will cherish forever since experiences are more valuable than things

  • Enjoying the local cuisine
  • Going on fun adventures
  • Making fond memories with loved ones
  • Marveling at the beauty of nature
  • Seeing new places and learning about different cultures
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