Monthly Archives: November 2018

Can Your Guests Get To Know You Before They Arrive?

guests get to know you

Looking for an excellent example of an inn with a detailed “About Us” section (where guests get to know you), I found Blessings on State’s “Meet Your Innkeepers” page! Gwenn, Glenn, and Valerie along with Mary and Kelly are the talented team of people making Blessings a friendly and elegant choice for accommodations in Jacksonsville, Illinois.┬áCelebrating their 10th anniversary, Blessings at State loves hosting guests!

Here’s what I like about their “Meet Your Innkeepers” page that other innkeepers who do not yet have a detailed “About Us” section can emulate:

  • Enthusiasm about sharing their historic home and gardens with their guests
  • Welcoming guests to explore their local area including its shops and restaurants
  • Serving as local experts to share recommendations & develop travel itineraries
  • Developing strategic partnerships (their recommended restaurant offers guests of Blessings a complimentary appetizer or dessert)
  • Showing it serves a variety of guests including couples and business travelers
  • Pictures, names, and a specific description of what each person likes to do (Gwenn recommends that this is regularly updated)
  • Positive quotes and advice from the innkeepers to their guests (guests notice)
  • Life challenges overcome, talents used, and achievements made
  • If relevant, featuring pets and their amount of interaction with guests
  • True appreciation for how each person contributes to making the inn run well
  • Including participation in annual and community events
  • Membership in hospitality associations, Convention & Visitors Bureaus and Chambers of Commerce
  • Credentials like hospitality education or culinary expertise

Other things included in the Blessings “About Us” section of their website:

  • Awards (including TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence and Glorious Garden)
  • Press Attention (the Red Chair even made a visit)
  • Top 10 Reasons to stay at their bed and breakfast
  • Discussion of history with long list of modern amenities (best of both worlds)
  • Breakfast options (formal dining, breakfast to go, sleep in with delivery)
  • Discussion of gracious living (grand entry, woodwork, chandeliers, baby grand)
  • Invitation to enjoy their porch and gardens
  • Policies (check in/out, parking, early/late night arrival, food allergies, smoking)
  • Contact Us page

Other details innkeepers can include:

  • Contests and Other Awards (recipe contest, green leader, etc.)
  • Participation at Hospitality Conferences and Culinary Events
  • Hobbies (such as photography or sports)
  • Favorites (favorite food, favorite recipe, favorite movie, favorite quote, etc.)

Many guests want to already “meet” the innkeepers BEFORE they arrive and the “About Us” and “Meet Your Innkeeper” sections really do help. So how well can guests get to know you before they arrive? Readers, if there something else about you (or your inn) that you share on your website, feel free to comment below.

Also, enjoy this video tour of Blessings on State Bed and Breakfast:

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Do You Know Your Signature Hospitality Story?

your signature hospitality story

 

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.

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Do You Know What Makes You Different From Your Competition?

different from your competition

 

Businesses always have competitors, so do you know what makes you different from your competition? Do you clearly show why bed and breakfast guests should stay with you and NOT another local inn or a hotel? 

No matter what kind of B&B you have, you can emphasize your specific amenities, strengths, and accomplishments. Examples include:

 

  • Accommodating to Guests’ Dietary Restrictions
  • Art on Display and/or Guests Creating Art (with Instructor) During Their Stay
  • Bikes Available for Guests to Use During Their Stay
  • Breakfast Delivered to Your Room
  • Business Amenities: High Speed Internet, Desks, Electronic Charging of Devices
  • Community Outreach, Local Volunteer Service, and/or Sponsoring a Cause 
  • Consistent (and Exceptionally High) Online Reviews from Guests
  • Culinary Classes or Retreat for Your Guests or Your Own Cookbook
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Station
  • B&B Farm with Animals to Pet and Products (Such as Goat Cheese)
  • Fresh Floral Arrangements in Guest Rooms (Part of a Package)
  • Game Room with Pool Table, Ping Pong Table, Chess, etc.
  • Gardening Awards for Incredibly Beautiful and Well-Maintained Grounds
  • Gift Shop with Coffee Mugs, T-Shirts, Postcards, etc.
  • Gourmet Chocolate and/or Chocolate Desserts with Hot Cocoa or Coffee 
  • Green Leader in the Hospitality Industry
  • Guest Packages Customized for Specific Interests and/or Occasions
  • Host Elegant Private Events Like Parties, Retreats, Receptions, and Weddings
  • Indoor and/or Outdoor Pool for Guests to Use
  • Library of Books and Other Media Available to Your Guests
  • Local Love from Other Local Businesses (Receiving Word of Mouth Referrals)
  • Logo That Is Memorable and/or Catchy Slogan for Your Inn
  • Luxurious Spa or Private In-Room Massage Service
  • Modern Inn with Modern Decor and Amenities
  • Movie Theater Screening Room
  • Only Historic Bed and Breakfast in Your Town
  • Partnership with a Tour Guide Company That Picks Up Your Guests
  • Picnic Lunch Option for Your Guests (Can Be Part of a Package)
  • Plenty of Free Parking Available to Guests and Well-Lit Inn at Night
  • Private Wine Tastings or a Complimentary Social Hour with Wine and Cheese
  • Professional Photography of Your Inn and The Food You Serve Your Guests
  • Restaurant Inn Open to the Public (Not Limited to Your Overnight Guests)
  • Strong Online Social Media Presence 
  • Tickets to Local Concerts or Events (For An Additional Fee)
  • Won a Local, Regional, or Even National Best Recipe Contest 
  • Yoga and/or Fitness Focused Inn with Classes for Guests

When you know HOW you are different from your competition, then you can be sure to communicate your message of uniqueness to attract even more guests. Be sure to feature what makes your inn different in regular blog posts as well as in social media. This is a successful way to position your own brand. Make your B&B the obvious first choice for those looking to stay in your area!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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How To Develop Guest Packages

how to develop guest packages

 

To attract more visitors to your bed and breakfast, develop guest packages.  Packages are a great way to reinforce your brand and your inn’s image.  This also allows you to offer discounts without cutting your room prices.  When you bundle several items, services, and features together, this adds more revenue to your B&B business.

 

 

Wondering how to come up with some great ideas for bed and breakfast packages? Can you offer some courses or classes?  If you teach a particular skill (or can find a teacher), offer to host a bed and breakfast retreat. Potentially, you could fill all of your rooms.

  • Artist Retreat
  • Bird Watching Retreat
  • Book Club Retreat
  • Culinary Kitchen Getaway
  • Farming Retreat
  • Board Games Retreat
  • Gardening Getaway
  • Photography Retreat
  • Quilters Retreat
  • Scrapbooking Retreat
  • Writers Retreat
  • Yoga Retreat

 

What about featuring local attractions in your area?

  • Entertainment Package
  • Historic Tours Package
  • Restaurant Package
  • Spectator Sports Package
  • Wine Lovers Package

 

Do you want to attract a specific group of people?

  • Class Reunions
  • Family Reunions
  • Girlfriend Getaways

 

How about offering a promotional package during each season?

  • Winter Specials: activities like ice skating, skiing, and snowmobiling
  • Spring Renewal: everything starts to bloom again
  • Summer Fun in the Sun: can include amusement or water park tickets
  • Fall Foliage: certain parts of the country are known for their beautiful autumn colors

 

Is there a specific sport or physical activity that is popular in your area?

  • Bike Tours
  • Golf Getaways
  • Horseback Riding
  • Snow Skiing

 

What about promoting the holidays to your guests?

  • New Year’s Package
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Package
  • Christmas Package

 

The bed and breakfast package could center around guests’ relationships.

  • Anniversary Package
  • Babymoon Package
  • Family Travel Deals
  • Honeymooners Package (you can offer this even if you do not host weddings)
  • Romance Package (not just for Valentine’s Day, but for any time of the year)
  • Wedding Package

 

There are so many different package possibilities, depending upon where you are located and your interests:

  • For mystery lovers, you could offer a Murder Mystery Weekend Package.
  • For couples or single travelers looking to be pampered have a Massage Package or Spa Retreat.
  • If you live near a university, you may offer a package to the Parents of College Students.
  • If your inn is close to a number of major businesses or hosts business conferences, you may offer a Business Travelers Package.
  • If you would like to offer discounts to a specific groups of people you can: Military Special, Senior Citizen Discount, Teachers Discount, etc.
  • If you are a green inn, you could offer a discount to those driving cars with alternative fuel options.  You can reward your guests for being eco-friendly and helping Clean the World.

For more alternatives, offer an a-la-carte approach and let your guests create their own package by choosing from specific add-ons you offer.  They could add chocolate, flowers, heart-shaped balloons, teddy bears, and other special upgrades to their room price.

Packages can be centered around the time of the week the stay, “Midweek Specials” for slower times during the middle of the week.  “Spontaneous Specials” for last minute bookings for spontaneous travelers.  Even a Frequent Stay or Extended-Stay Discount.

There are many more bed and breakfast packages that you can put together based on what is in your local area, the types of guests you are trying to attract, your skills, and your amenities.  The key is to design your packages around the desires of the guests you want to attract.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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