Monthly Archives: October 2019

Improve Your Hospitality These 12 Awesome Ways

The Samuel Durfee House (a large blue inn with red front door)

 

Want to improve your hospitality? I’ll show you 12 awesome ways you can apply these well known sayings to your bed and breakfast business.

 



 

“Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”

There are a variety of ways to create more income beyond guests staying overnight. For example, you could host private events and offer extras like guest packages.

“Go the extra mile.”

There are a number of ways to go the extra mile. For example, give guests the option of having local folks also eat breakfast at your inn. Offer breakfasts that accommodate special diets.

“Less is more.”

Guests do not like clutter such as knick-knacks and doilies. By having less objects in your B&B, this allows more room for guests to put their luggage. There is also something calming about having a neat room.

“That’s like comparing apples to oranges.”

While Air B&B may appear to be cheaper, be sure to mention anything you offer complimentary to guests. Free parking, free refreshments & goodies, free wireless internet, full breakfasts, and no additional cleaning fees make a big difference.

“The more you learn, the less you know.”

This is true for all things in life. The more we learn about something, we realize how much there is that we don’t yet know! Lifelong learning is the key. This may mean learning container gardening options or implementing more environmentally friendly practices.

“You reap what you sow.”

Everything you do in your local community and for your guests (the seeds you sow), you will reap. This includes positive guest reviews, word of mouth referrals, and the loyalty of returning guests.

“Pay attention to the details.”

When innkeepers take note of things like why the guests are visiting (such as a special occasion) and what their interests are, they can make their guests stay that much more pleasant. Guests will appreciate gestures like giving them complimentary birthday balloons and/or flowers.

“Raise the bar.”

Provide a level of hospitality like no other accommodations in your area. When your guests can’t imagine staying anywhere else, you know you have earned their future business.

“Don’t toot your own horn.”

Let your guest reviews do that for you. What previous guests say about you is more believable than what you say about you.

“Take it with a pinch of salt.”

When guests share feedback (to your face or in reviews), be open to their suggestions. Perhaps they are giving advice that will improve your hospitality. At the same time, understand that guests could just be having a bad day if they complain about something.

“Timing is everything.”

Offer seasonal packages which can include tickets (to a local concert or sports game) and a restaurant gift certificate. You could even include a homemade seasonal dessert you deliver to their room in the evening. Additionally, promote annual events in your community such as a popular festival or cultural event.

“There’s no time like the present.”

Do you love showing hospitality to guests, but dislike managing the marketing required to keep you visible? Not every innkeeper loves to manage social media, email marketing, blogging, and public relations. Now is the time to consider getting outside expertise.

Did You Know?

Your marketing can more than pay for itself when you have a reputable company manage it for you. Contact me, Kristi Dement, to find out more about ways I can grow your B&B business. Let me help you improve your hospitality marketing.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

 

Why Focusing On The Guest Is The Best Marketing

Book Cover "Marketing Rebellion" by Mark Schaefer

Focusing on the guest and their experience is utterly essential for bed and breakfast owners and innkeepers. Now more so than ever. According to Mark Schaefer’s Book, Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins, people trust other people more than they trust companies. In other words, what someone else says about your B&B is weighted more heavily than what you say about your inn.

The Guest Will Always Win

The theme throughout his book is that the consumer will always win. Thus, businesses (especially in the hospitality industry) must be focusing on the guest and their satisfaction. According to Mr. Schaefer, “There is no one-size-fits-all marketing solution for every company and every industry.” We also need to adjust to a world where customers (guests) do most of the marketing.

People Want To Feel Loved

Your guest is your most important advocate. Companies (including hospitality businesses) will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf. People trust people. Thus, it is important to focus on consumer-generated marketing such as recommendations, conversations, social media posts, referrals, and reviews after their stay. Feature your guests as heroes of your brand. Build an emotional connection bordering on love.

People Want To Belong

People have a deep need to belong. Therefore, promote a sense of community and belonging. Share stories that serve, inspire, and entertain. According to Schaefer, the greatest companies are fans of their fans. Focusing on the guest will set your accommodations apart. Give people the attention they crave to receive. There is tremendous value in your face-to-face guest interactions. When you help people feel like they belong, then you will reap the benefits.

People Want To See Proof Of The Value You Provide Them

People trust businesses making a difference and helping others. Offer value people can see, touch, and take pride in. However, the focus should be on storymaking, not storytelling. Your most loyal guests become your brand ambassadors. In order to do this, you must know and understand your guests’ deepest self interests. Anchor your marketing strategy around that knowledge. Make your guest the hero.

People Care About Your Purpose

Guests care about your purpose and values. Did you know that the main driver of customer loyalty is “shared meaning”? A shared meaning is a believe that both the brand (the inn) and the consumer (the guest) have about values or broad philosophies. People want to be associated with brands that stand for something. Brands that are forces for change.

You have to choose what’s right for you, and most important, what’s right for your guests. Be clear on your values. Furthermore, know how your values relate to your customer’s why. Taking a stand to show your values does not have to be expensive, risky, or complicated. Be what people want and need. Above all, this means focusing on the guest.

People Want To Be Respected

To have a human connection, there must be consensual marketing. Moreover, in this day of robo-calls, unsolicited emails, pop-up ads, and spamming, it is especially important to build trust. In other words, come alongside your customers in a collaborative way. Measure your success by their successes. Furthermore, study your reviews to have a better understanding of what people like and don’t like about your business. Focus on what your customers love.

A Manifesto For Human-Centered Marketing

  • Stop doing what customers hate and discover what customers love
  • Technology should help your company be more compassionate, receptive, fascinating, and useful
  • Claim a market space and help people belong to it (you can’t own customers, a buyer’s journey, or a sales funnel)
  • Never intercept and never interrupt; earn your invitation
  • Be relevant, consistent, and superior by building trust into everything you do
  • Be a fan of your fans by making them heroes of your story
  • Transcend the public’s inherent mistrust of companies through relentless honesty
  • Play an active role in your community
  • Marketing is never about YOUR why; it’s about YOUR GUESTS’ why
  • The most human company wins

12 Ways To Effectively Reach Your Audience

  • Customer experience: focus on your guest by building an emotional connection into their experience
  • User-generated content: encourage testimonials, engage with customers, and provide extra touches 
  • Word-of-mouth marketing: establish stories about your B&B that are authentic, interesting, relevant, and repeatable; show how you make your guests’ life better, easier, more interest, and exciting
  • Peer observation: brand items since people often make purchasing decisions based on what they see their friends buy
  • Peak moments: provide guests with peak memorable experiences they can share with others
  • Psychological ownership: allow guests to customize their visit, so they feel invested in their stay
  • Experience marketing: offer fun, interactive, and mutually beneficial interactions with attention to detail (such as sharing the history of your historical inn with a full property tour)
  • Reviews: use the comments and ratings of guests to identify what needs improvement and focus on the things you know they love
  • Influencer marketing: borrow the trust earned by an influential person with their engaged audience since they can raise awareness of your accommodations and show the benefits that come from your hospitality, amenities, and local area
  • Social media: share testimonies, reviews, photos and videos of happy guests, awards, your social media presence, and your calls to action to connect to and serve
  • Content marketing: produce content people look forward to receiving; create conversations, consideration, and social sharing of that content
  • “New” cycles: contribute interesting news to promote social sharing; create something worthy of discussion (including events and announcements)

Peak Moments at Magic Castle Hotel

As an example of “peak moments”, author Mark Schaefer tells readers to consider one of the top-rated properties in Los Angeles, according to TripAdvisor. While the pool is small, the rooms are dated, and furnishings and wall decor sparse, Magic Castle Hotel offers several peak moments.

For example, they have a cherry red phone mounted near the pool, and when guests pick it up someone answers, “Hello, Popsicle Hotline” so you place your order, and minutes later, someone on staff wearing white gloves delivers your popsicles to you poolside on a silver tray for free.

In addition, other bonuses include a complimentary Snack Menu, Board Game Menu, DVD Menu, and they do unlimited loads of your laundry for free! Schaefer’s point is that customers will forgive some underwhelming things as long as you “deliver a few magical peak moments.”

What Really Matters

Most importantly, focusing on the guest is what matters. In fact, their words about you have more weight than your words about you. Thus, develop an ongoing relationship with your guests. Share behind-the-scenes images and information. Establish an emotional connection with your audience. Mark Schaefer reminds us to be more human. After all, the most human company wins!

 

Not All of Your Guests Visit For Happy Reasons

Book Cover "When Life Gives You Pears" by Jeannie Gaffigan holding purple umbrella, raining pears, comedian husband Jim Gaffigan and their 5 kids

 

 

Your guests visit your bed and breakfast for a number of reasons. Perhaps your local area has popular restaurants, shops, entertainment venues, events, and attractions. You may have a strong reputation for good hospitality and luxurious accommodations. Your location may be the perfect stopping point on their long road trip. Of course, guests arrive to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, retirements, and more. All of these are happy reasons for their stay.

 


We Never Know What Crisis May Come

However, not all of your guests visit for happy reasons. You never know what struggles they and their loved ones may be enduring. Jeannie Gaffigan (wife of stand-up comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan, and mother to their five children) certainly could not have predicted the health challenges she would have to go through. Fortunately for her, she had a strong support network of family, friends, and prayer warriors.

Life-Threatening Challenges

When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People released in the beginning of October is now the #1 bestselling comedy book on Amazon. While she faced life-threatening challenges (including a brain tumor the size and shape of a pear), she used her experience as an award-winning comedy writer and wife (to a famous comedian) and mother (of five) to poignantly share her journey (with humor mixed in).

She Gives Credit Where Credit Is Due

No one could have predicted the challenges she would have to overcome. She thanks the medical professionals for saving her life. She also gives credit to her husband Jim for his leadership in organizing around the clock care for their five kids and having at least one visitor with her at all times during her lengthy hospital stay. Plus, she needed major medical care and required physical therapy when she was finally released from the hospital. She is thankful for the prayers of loved ones and to God for the miracle that she survived.

The List of Do’s and Don’ts

Given her medical struggles, she (with the help of her sister Lizzy) made a DOs and DON’Ts list for family members helping in the hospital, including:

  • Don’t talk about delicious food if patient can’t eat
  • Do arrange room and organize personal property since the patient can’t move
  • Don’t say, “It’s not so bad.”
  • Do express empathy.
  • Don’t complain about not getting enough sleep.
  • Do organize the cards people have sent.
  • Don’t bring flowers into ICU; give them to the nurses’ station

She also made a list of rules for herself including: Do love your big family and be kind to them when they are health–they will save you when you are sick; Don’t make a rules list about your family and publish it in a book. (That made me laugh!)

Her Relationship With Comedian Husband Jim Gaffigan

Not only will you get to know Jeannie, you will learn how she and Jim came to know each other and read what she did the first time she saw where he was living as a single guy on the road a lot (it involves a lot of cleaning). She ends Part III of her book with, “The oldest of 9 children, the ultimate caregiver, marries the youngest of 6, the ultimate care-getter. A match made in co-dependent heaven.” (If there is any doubt as to who she was referring to, she was the oldest sibling in her family and Jim was the youngest sibling in his family.)

A New Appreciation For Her Life and Family

Their love for each other, their children, and their larger families is very evident when reading this book. In fact, she was surprised at how well Jim really learned what he needed to in order to take care of her medical needs at home. She realized that she should live in the moment more. Not everything in their house needs to be labeled and organized. She’s decided she will say yes more often when her children want her to read them a story, for example. Faith, family, and health are her highest priorities. Also humor!

Hosting Guests 

Innkeepers, while your guests may not share with you the sad reasons for their visit, most of you are very perceptive as to the level of interaction a guest would like to have with you. In fact, many of your returning guests come back because of the hospitality, sensitivity, and grace you show when your guests visit.

 

Do You Know How To Have The Storytelling Edge?

The Storytelling Edge book cover, word success, word customer, books

 

 

The Storytelling Edge, by Joe Lazauskas & Shane Snow, explains why businesses can succeed by telling stories. Everyone likes a good story. Stories make presentations better and ideas stick. Storytelling helps people remember you (over your competition). Great stories build relationships and make people care.

The Elements of Great Storytelling:

  • Relatability: your ideal guest should relate to the stories you tell
  • Novelty: while people crave the familiar, we also pay attention to what is new
  • Tension: conflict or curiosity gap (between what is and what could be) turns a good story into a great story
  • Fluency: great writing is easy to understand so people can focus on the story

Great stories (whether funny, fictional, or true) can dramatically increase your business. You need a mission that drives your content and resonates with people. You want readers to spend a lot of time reading your content and sharing it on their social media. Tell them stories they will remember. Evaluate what types of stories are working to share the right content with the right people.

Businesses that have the best relationships with their customers are those who tell stories. Figure out what your ideal guests want before you decide what technology to use. Create the content. Connect with your readers. Optimize both what you create and how you deliver the content.

Branding is whether and how people think of you. The stories we tell influence people’s perceptions of us. Conversion occurs when people take an action such as booking a room or calling your inn. The most powerful place to connect with your audience is on your website.

There are three main types of content. Timely content is pertinent based on news or current events. Seasonal content is relevant because of the time of year. Thirdly, evergreen content is valuable no matter when the audience sees or hears it.

Make sure you know what you want to achieve with your content. Then you can figure out what measurements matter the most. For example, if you want to promote aspect about your inn, such as its history, you could share a true story about the original owners.

The Future of Brand Storytelling:

  • Strategy: figure out what kind of story your audience wants, determine how you’ll reach them
  • Plan: decide how you will pull off your strategy
  • Create: create your story and make the right decisions to tell the best story possible
  • Activate: get your stories out there and use them to build connections with your ideal guests
  • Optimize: figure out what stories worked and tweak your strategy to do even better next time

Every story becomes part of your overarching story. The goal is to consistently tell your story in a variety of ways over time. Use stories to build relationships and make people care about you and your accommodations. Engage potential guests to build lifetime value with them. It is much easier to get guests to return than to find new guests every time! Use what is taught in The Storytelling Edge to attract more business!

 

What To Post on Social Media In The Fall Season

tall trees with orange leaves, red tree, close up of pumpkin and gourds, fall mums, fall trees on paved road

 

Your social media in the fall can be as creative as you make it. Looking for inspiration? How about changing your social media headers to be fall-themed? What about having Fall-related Pinterest boards? Wondering what to post in social media? The following suggests some festive fall content ideas.

 

Share Fall Activities, Events, & Places

Mention Apple Picking, Colorful Autumn Trails, Fall Parades, Farmers Markets, Fun Runs, Harvest Festivals, Hayrides, Leaf Peeping, and other things local.

 

Share Fall Decor

Feature items inside and outside of your inn, such as seasonal blankets, candles, flowers, pillows, towels, wreaths, & more.

 

Share Fall Jokes, Puns, & Quotes 

(Feel free to improve upon these suggestions!)

  • “Fall in love.”
  • “I only have pies for you…”
  • “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” (L.M. Montgomery)
  • “Keep calm and watch the leaves fall.”
  • “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  • “Pumpkin spice & everything nice.”
  • “Spice-tacular!”
  • “This weather is un-be-leaf-able!”
  • “You really autumn know…”
  • Q: “How do you fix a broken pumpkin?” | A: “With a pumpkin patch.”
  • Q: “What do you call a tree that doubts Autumn?” | A: “Disbe-leaf.”
  • Q: “What is the ratio of a pumpkin’s circumference to its diameter?” | A: “Pumpkin Pi.”

 

Share Fall Packages & Promotions

Direct attention to your Autumn packages and promotions that include Fall-related activities, foods, & events.

 

Share Fall Pictures & Videos

Show guests exactly what they will see when they visit. If relevant to your area, give them a local link to check your current Fall Foliage reports. You do not want to be in a situation where a guest is arrives disappointed because a picture you shared that was taken from a previous season or during a different time in the season (and the colors are not as vibrant).

 

Share Fall Recipes

Many of the following mouth-watering recipe titles come from Delish (or you can search online for these). Better yet, make your own famous secret homemade recipes for guests!

  • Apple Cinnamon French Toast
  • Apple Cinnamon Mini Monkey Breads
  • Apple Crisp Cheesecake
  • Apple Dumplings
  • Caramel Apples
  • Caramel Apple Crescent Roll Bites
  • Caramel Apple Pie
  • Carrot Zucchini Apple Bread
  • Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake
  • Churro Chips with Caramel Sauce
  • Cinnamon Apple Cake
  • Honey Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars
  • Maple Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
  • Maple Walnut Banana Bread
  • Pecan Pie
  • Perfect Apple Crumble
  • Puffy Pumpkin Waffles
  • Pumpkin Apple Muffins
  • Pumpkin Bread
  • Pumpkin Brown Sugar Pecan Pancakes
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bars
  • Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
  • Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
  • Pumpkin Coffee Cake
  • Pumpkin Dump Cake
  • Pumpkin Pie Granola
  • S’mores Pumpkin Cupcakes
  • Sweet Potato Cheesecake
  • Sweet Potato Cookies
  • Whole Grain Apple Nut Muffins
  • Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles

 

Share Fall Tips & Tricks

Suggest costume options, decorating tips, and party ideas are just a few of the tips and tricks to share with your social media in the fall.

 

Your only limit is your imagination. You can also ask seasonal questions to spark social media conversation. The key is to make it fun and make it about them and the experience they will have if they visit you during the fall season.

No time or desire to consistently post in social media? Contact me, Kristi Dement of Bed & Breakfast Blogging, to help you with your social media, blogging, and email marketing.