Monthly Archives: December 2018

The Best Hospitality is Personalized to Guests

best hospitality is personalized

 

The best hospitality is personalized to guests. Owner and Innkeeper Amy Lindner-Lesser, of The Rookwood Inn in Lenox, Massachusetts, attributes the longevity of her hospitality business (22 years) to her continually adapting to the needs and wishes of her guests. Part of her B&B logo says, “Where memories are made.”

 

She says it is the responsibility of both the guests and the inn’s staff to be sure that wonderful memories are made. “We have guests, a couple who came the first fall we owned The Rookwood Inn and they have stayed more than thirty-seven times since then.” She has many repeat guests.

As both a MA licensed Justice of the Peace and a Universal Life Church (ULC) Minister, Amy performs interfaith and intercultural weddings. She takes the time to learn about the couples’ individuality, how they met, what they share, their ideas for their special day, family traditions, and wedding likes and dislikes. She strives to make this the dream wedding for every couple. She also enjoys working with more mature couples for whom this is their second or third wedding. “These are the type of couples who prefer our more intimate and unique setting for their wedding.”

I like that she features a room comparison chart, on her website so guests can easily make choices among the inn’s twenty rooms on three floors. It lists the type of fireplace (11 guest rooms), type of bath (all have showers; some have separate clawfoot tubs or a shower combination with tub), MP3 dock (8 guest rooms), porch or deck (4 guest rooms), TV (10 guest rooms), bed size(s), sleeper (4 guest rooms), location (3 floor levels), and maximum occupancy (2, 3, or 4 guests per room). Since the price varies by season, she does not list that in the chart.

Guest compliments include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Best hospitality around
  • Cleanliness
  • Location (in the heart of the Berkshires on a residential street half a block for the center of town)
  • Walking distance to shopping, restaurants, museum theater; close to Boston symphony

The Rookwood Inn guests come for the culture as well as to celebrate special occasions and for romance. The summer and fall are the busiest times of the year. She also hosts retreats throughout the year. She recently hosted a two-day retreat for entrepreneurs called, “Awakening the Shaman Within” to help them become new people for the new year (she graciously had furniture moved around at their request). She also hosted a retreat for Inn Partners for prospective B&B owners (she provided the needed equipment for them). Amy is accommodating to whatever the needs are and her guests appreciate that.

Amy tells guests, “The only cookie cutters we have are in the kitchen.” Everything they do is customized to best suit the wishes of each of their guests. Guests say Amy and The Rookwood Inn go above and beyond with their extra touches. They offer an individualized experience that hotels lack. The best hospitality is personalized to guests.

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The Only Historic Bed and Breakfast in a Beautiful Georgia Town

beautiful Georgia town

The Simmons-Bond Inn is the only historic bed and breakfast in a beautiful Georgia town. The name of this town is Toccoa which literally means “beautiful” in the Cherokee language. People love their 115-year old Victorian Queen Anne with ornate woodwork especially the stairs (built by a furniture maker who owned a lumber yard). Guests love the stained-glass windows.


Amenities include flat screen televisions with free premium cable and free coffee service in every guest room, free wi-fi throughout the house, antique and modern books, numerous games and other entertainment. Their wrap-around porch has an exquisite view of an historic courthouse that offers public tours.

They are within walking distance from antiques, art galleries, museums, and restaurants. They are close to a hospital (they host doctors) and to Toccoa Falls College (they also host visiting professors and prospective college students). A train station is only two blocks away and an airport is just four miles away.

The Simmons-Bond Inn is centrally located on Main Street of Downtown Toccoa (part of Northeast Georgia) with more than two-dozen places with fun things to do located within thirty or forty minutes. Less than a two-hour drive from Atlanta.

They are now hosting private events:

  • Baby Showers
  • Business Gatherings
  • Chamber of Commerce Meetings
  • Church Groups
  • Family Reunions
  • Holiday Parties
  • Luncheons
  • Weddings
  • Wedding Receptions
  • Wedding Showers

The Simmons-Bond Inn can host up to 25 people in the common areas of their downstairs. The B&B can accommodate 13 overnight guests (this will book the entire house) for occasions like family reunions and weddings.

The Simmons-Bond Inn accepts guests of all ages, but no pets. They receive rave reviews for their delicious three-course breakfasts. Guests tell them they appreciate their warm hospitality and they love being treated like family.

Call friendly Innkeepers Dan and Tanya directly at 706-282-5183 and they will be happy to plan your event with you. They have access to local bakers, catering companies, and florists to make your meeting or celebration even more special. The Simmons-Bond Inn customizes events to meet the desires of their clients in their beautiful Georgia town.

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Why You Need To Feature Your Local Community

feature your local community

Do you feature your local community? Margi and Doug Erickson, innkeepers of the historic C. W. Worth House, the longest running B&B in Wilmington, North Carolina (open since 1985), do an excellent job promoting their historic town of Wilmington. Their 7-room B&B (each with private bathroom) was first constructed in 1893 by Charles W. Worth, a wholesale grocery merchant and a commission merchant in cotton and naval stores at the turn of the 20th century.

On their website, they provide a sample itinerary to let people know all that is available in their local area. Innkeepers can promote their community in many different places: on their websites, blog posts, and social media. Margi & Doug feature:

  • Activities (like golfing, kayaking, and shopping)
  • Airport (Wilmington International Airport)
  • Antiques (like Cape Fear Antique Center and Antiques of Old Wilmington)
  • Aquarium (NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher)
  • Arboretum (New Hanover County Arboretum)
  • Architecture (19th century urban architecture)
  • Attractions (including historic sites, gardens, parks, and trails)
  • Battleship North Carolina (open daily to visitors)
  • Beaches (they are midway between Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach)
  • Bicycle Rental (City Bicycle Company)
  • Craft Breweries (Waterline Brewing Company and Edward Teach Brewery)
  • Chocolate (Mon Ame Chocolate and Wine Bar)
  • Colleges (Cape Fear Community College)
  • Convention center (Wilmington Convention Center)
  • Dining (including Pilot House, Manna, and Pinpoint)
  • Downtown (one of the largest historic districts in NC covering 200 blocks)
  • Entertainment (various live entertainment)
  • Event Venues (including The Loft on Front and Bakery 105)
  • Festivals (Azalea Festival; Wilmington Wine and Chocolate Festival)
  • Film Locations (Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill, Iron Man 3, Safe Haven, etc.)
  • Food Tours (Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours)
  • Galleries (like the New Elements Gallery and Art in Bloom)
  • Gardens (Airlie Gardens by the Sea)
  • Ghost Walks (Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington)
  • Golf Courses (Magnolia Greens and Coastal Golf)
  • Historic Sites and Tours (3 Historic Mansions Open to The Public)
  • Holiday Events (holiday parades, Christmas by the Sea, Island of Lights)
  • Horse-Drawn Carriage Tours (Historic District)
  • Museums (Cape Fear Museum of History and Science; Cameron Art Museum; Wilmington Railroad Museum)
  • Music (including jazz and blues)
  • Nightlife (Satellite Bar & Lounge and Tavern Law)
  • Parks (Greenfield Lake Park and Hugh MacRae Park)
  • Performing Arts Center (The Wilson Center and Thalian Hall)
  • Plantation (Poplar Grove Historic Plantation)
  • Ports (a Coast Guard City that is home to USCGC Diligence)
  • Real Estate (they have 2 local realtor links)
  • Restaurants (like NeMa Lounge & Eatery, Elijah’s Seafood, and Caprice Bistro)
  • Running Trail (lots of trails to choose from)
  • Segway Tour (Historic Wilmington Segway Tours)
  • Shopping (The Cotton Exchange, Cape Fear Spice Merchants, Candles Etc.)
  • Theater (5 local theater groups performing year-round)
  • Trolley Tour (Wilmington Trolley Tours)
  • Universities (University of North Carolina-Wilmington)
  • Walks (Cape Fear River Walk)
  • Water Taxi and Water Tours (Wilmington Water Tours)
  • Wine Tastings (Fortunate Glass Wine Bar and Mon Ame)

Like many innkeepers do, Margi and Doug think of themselves as ambassadors to their city. They stay active in their community and welcome guests to visit them. They are open all year long. They set a great example for other innkeepers on how to feature your local community.

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Insightful Questions Can Lead to Remarkable Results

lead to remarkable results

 

Insightful questions can lead to remarkable results. It is amazing how just thinking about the answers to questions (like the following listed below), can give innkeepers more clarity about what should be their priorities. It is important to regularly examine your goals (as well as the reasoning behind those goals).

 

  • What do you (and your inn) have to offer? (like innkeeper strengths & on-site amenities)
  • What do you excel at? (culinary skills, event management, hospitality, teaching, organization, property management, etc.)
  • Is your inn known for something? (the best place for…)
  • Do you have a mission statement or overall goal? (why do you exist?)
  • What is your focus? (this depends upon your inn’s purpose)
  • Who do you serve? (these are your current guests)
  • Who needs what you offer? (these are your ideal guests)
  • What problems do you solve? (this can explain why people visit you)
  • Why should they want your accommodations and services? (the benefits you offer)
  • What would make a lasting difference in your guests’ lives? (how you encourage repeat visits)
  • How do you (or will you) get your message across? (blog, social media, website, advertisements, press, etc.)
  • How do you (or will you) follow up to guest inquiries? (do you note who called and the questions they asked?)
  • Do you stay in touch with your guests? If so, how and how often? (weekly or monthly email list, mailing list, phone call, text, etc.)
  • Going forward, what is your plan of action? (how can you attract more of your ideal audience?)

It is a good idea to have a little notebook with you to record any random (yet potentially useful) thought that comes into your head. You never know when you may think of the next big thing your inn could do or offer! 

Guests are also a great source of information and inspiration. What do your guests compliment you about that you do have (or provide)? What do your guests ask you about that you currently do not have (or provide)? Read over your guest reviews as well as reflect upon what they have told you in person. Thus, insightful questions can lead to remarkable results!

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How To Make Your Hospitality Better With Marketing By Seth Godin

marketing by seth godin

This is Marketing by Seth Godin is a must-read for anyone in business. Though this resource is useful for professionals from a variety of industries, this book is especially helpful for those who own and operate hospitality businesses. Seth Godin is a bestselling author many times over, the founder of many successful businesses, a former VP at Yahoo, and a member of the Marketing Hall of Fame. Thus, he has proven his expertise.

Godin advises that we must focus our work on the dreams and desires of those we serve. Obviously, innkeepers serve their guests. Effective marketing comes from understanding our target audience’s desires and connecting with them.

Godin recommends that we begin with an audience worth serving. Start with the needs, wants, and dreams of your ideal guests. Build your hospitality around what that audience desires. Tell a story that matches their hopes and greatest expectations.

  • What is the true story they want to hear?
  • Does your story match their worldview?
  • Is your story worded in a way that your audience will understand?
  • Does your story resonate with your audience?
  • Is your story memorable?
  • Is this a story your audience will want to share with others?
  • Have you positioned yourself to be the clear and obvious choice for accommodations in your local area?

Godin goes on to explain that what YOU (innkeepers) say about you is not nearly as important as what OTHERS (guests) say about you. This explains why quoting positive guest reviews on your website, in blog posts, and sharing on social media is so effective. Potential guests look at the words of your previous guests to let them know what they can expect. Your best guests become your new sales people when the words from their reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations spread.

How do we determine your audience (your ideal guests)? This means you decide who you can best serve. This is based upon the factors such as:

  • Your accommodations
  • Your amenities
  • Your events
  • Your food
  • Your guests
  • Your interests
  • Your local area
  • Your packages
  • Your weather

Examples of ideal hospitality guests (this varies depending on your inn):

  • Adventure seekers
  • Business travelers
  • Couples (romantic)
  • Culinary interests (“Foodies”)
  • Entertainment lovers
  • Families
  • Friends (Girls Getaway or Mancation)
  • History buffs
  • Pet owners
  • Sports fans

Based on Seth Godin’s advice to craft compelling true stories to attract your ideal customers, if you do not currently have it in writing, document the ideal guests you want to attract and write specifically to them. The more specific and personalized you make your content (including your blog, social media, and website), the more focused your content becomes on bringing in your ideal audience. Thus, you can make your hospitality (within your own specific niche) better.

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Why Big Mill Bed and Breakfast Is So Special

big mill bed and breakfast

 

Big Mill Bed and Breakfast is more than a bed and breakfast. It is the original farmstead in Williamston, North Carolina that has been in the family since 1922. In fact, Innkeeper Chloe Tuttle was born here! With over 200 acres of grounds, guests are free to roam the original farm buildings and explore the expansive woodlands.

All five of her guest rooms and suites have private entrances and magnificent views of the lake. Guests are welcome to fish from a row boat on this lake.

Chloe continues to update and redecorate this special inn to keep it fresh. It is hard to believe that the Pack House, now a spacious suite, was once used to grade the tobacco for market.

Guests enjoy jams and preserves in season (blackberries, blueberries, figs, and grapes) from the farm orchard. Chloe’s menu uses many locally grown foods. She is happy to share her delicious recipes (including homemade granolas) with her guests and many of her recipes can be found on her Chloe’s Blog. She also is a talented photographer that captures not only her food, but outdoor nature photography.

Chloe Tuttle, and Big Mill Bed and Breakfast, is no stranger to media attention:

  • Our State Magazine has featured Chloe & Big Mill both in print and online
  • Scott Simon from NPR’s Weekend Edition interviewed Chloe about her “Snow Cream” recipe
  • ABC News featured Big Mill as one of the “10 Eco-Friendly Inns for Earth Day”

Here on the farm, they have been “earth friendly” for generations. Big Mill Bed and Breakfast has been honored with the highest award NC Green Travel gives and Chloe is part of Trip Advisor’s Green Leaders program.

  • Laundry is hung to dry on a long, sturdy clothesline
  • Everything that can be gets recycled or reused
  • Low-voltage lighting used wherever possible
  • Air-circulating ceiling fans are in most of the rooms throughout the inn
  • Water is drawn from the inn’s well
  • Plants are grown in a “rain gutter garden”
  • On the North Carolina Birding Trail

In addition, Big Mill Bed and Breakfast hosts weddings. Chloe’s website says, “Tuxedos to blue jeans–this is your day.” More than one bride has been pictured in her wedding dress alongside her groom on a motorcycle! Ask Chloe about her all-inclusive elopement or vow-renewal package.

Chloe Tuttle is a friendly and talented innkeeper, gardener, chef, blogger, photographer, historian, and so much more. Just ask Chloe if you want to have an extended stay at Big Mill B&B. She loves to have the traveling nurses and doctors.

Guests will love staying at Big Mill Bed and Breakfast in Williamston, a member of the prestigious North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns. Conveniently located just two hours from Raleigh, North Carolina and two hours from Norfolk, Virginia yet a stay at Big Mill B&B can be a fun vacation away from your cares!

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