Author Archives: Kristi Dement

What You Need To Know About She Sheds

Outside of Gray She Shed with bedroom and shower

She Sheds are a growing trend. The following is my interview with She Shed Living expert and author, Erika Kotite, in my quest to know more about how more innkeepers could have them available at their accommodations.

Q: My blog readers are mainly B&B innkeepers. Some have large properties with lodges, cabins, carriage houses, and/or cottages. Do you think their renaming their extra buildings (outdoor structures) as “She Sheds” could attract more guests?

A: The idea of having a she shed on the property of a bed and breakfast could be a good thing. If we can measure it to the response we get at home and garden shows, and in our own retail gallery where we have an 8 x 10 shed fixed up with a cozy couch and chair, then I’d say yes. It could simply be the “She Shed” or something like the “Sleeping Porch” or “Nap Shack.” The State Farm commercial has created an extraordinary awareness of the term she shed, though, and it does seem to appeal to women. If the outbuilding housed multiple guests then maybe it could be called the “We Shed.”

Q: Have you consulted with any innkeepers/hospitality providers about She Sheds and/or visited accommodations with She Sheds?

A: I haven’t personally visited B&Bs (nor have any come to me) with the intent to discuss adding or naming a she shed on their property. However, in my first book I included one she shed owner, who made her “Casita” by merging two old broken-down sheds into one very pretty space. This shed was outfitted with a small European style kitchen and bath. She uses this space for herself while her own home is rented out to airbnb guests. (She travels for business a lot–her work as a photographer/stylist is highly satisfying but provides an uncertain income. Having rental income gives her the freedom to continue doing what she loves.)

Q: Since some innkeepers are Green Leaders (by implementing environmentally-friendly practices), I think they would be open to using salvage and recycled finds. What are the best ways for them to find materials? Also, who (& what organizations) approve(s) the construction of She Sheds and where would they find local building codes? I understand they will need to consider factors such as building a certain distance from the property line and meeting guidelines to pass inspections if they want to host guests.

A: The best way to build green she sheds is to rehab something that already exists on the property. Many older sheds require new roofs, more windows, insulation, etc. to be habitable (not to mention electrical and plumbing). I write about sheds that aren’t completely set up for overnight guests, especially for reasons of permitting. Storage sheds under 120 square feet (in most cities) do not require a permit as long as they are not plumbed or wired. Most of our clients go this route. Obviously to make the space appropriate for guests this wouldn’t be an option so applying for the right permits must be part of the plan. Local codes are found in the city government website, as well as many other resources for building and safety. I recommend finding a contractor who specializes in tiny homes or small structures to help the innkeeper navigate the permitting process and help with the rehab or construction of the she shed.

Another way to build green (from scratch) is to work with reclaimed materials. Our shed siding is made from urban forested lumber that ordinarily would have been sent to the chipping machine. We also scrounge around at construction sites for throwaway doors, stained glass windows, even old carriage doors incorporated into the walls of their guest house. Some good resources would be craigslist, ReStore (Habitat for Humanity’s construction goods stores) and even local contractors who might be willing to call when there is salvage to be had.

Q: I love how you detail the carious types of She Sheds. Many of which could host classes and retreats based on the type of She Shed it is (artists, writers, gardeners, cooks, book clubs, floral arrangers, tea times, etc.). I also like that you share pictures of different decorating styles (modern, romantic/vintage, classic, rustic, French country, Spanish-stle, shabby chic, etc.). There are so many options. Is that part of the beauty of She Sheds the fact that it can fulfill almost any purpose and have so many different looks?

A: Yes indeed, she sheds directly reflect the passions and pursuits of their owners! Most of us share our main home with others and we need to adapt rooms and design so that it works for all. A she shed is an intensely personal space; simple and direct. My own she shed is quite small and provides me with a small cozy nook for my favorite hobby: reading. That’s about it. But the color, the artful windows, brick floor, rag rug, etc. are all my own personal touches. Guests of course will not be bringing their furniture and artwork into a she shed they’re renting but you can still theme it will the iconic elements: a pretty chandelier, flag bunting strings, chaise lounge, signage, etc.

Erika Kotite's personal yellow she shed with blue door

Erika Kotite’s own 6 x 6 she shed that lets her read her books in peace. The front windows are leaded glass and were an antique store find. She invested a few hundred dollars to have them completely restored. Worth every penny. (Photo: Rebecca Ittner)

ethereal she shed with dropdown bar

This ethereal shed from She Shed Living is 8 x 10 and is a gathering spot for the Salinas CA family who own it. They are a winemaking family so of course there is a dropdown bar in the back. (Photo: Rebecca Ittner)

 

She Shed wooden with teal door

Another one of her own (She Shed Living) custom designed sheds, made with reclaimed materials & vintage windows. This shed is used for entertaining friends, working on crafts, offering a private spot for the lady of the house. (Photo: Maggie Bond)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q: I have clients, who are former B&B owners, who now have a downtown shop that sells vintage signs, nostalgic items, and other memorabilia. Do you have any suggestions for the types of items they could have for those who want to decorate their She Sheds?

A: Signage is a really important and popular category! Simple lighting that is battery powered or easily connected to an extension cord is another. String lighting, fabric bunting, small shelf brackets, small-scale furniture, throws, nesting tables, small weather vanes are some other ideas.

Q: What would you tell someone who owns hospitality accommodations if they asked how they could go about building their own She Shed(s) that would be used to host guests? Do you recommend using She Shed Kits?

A: A kit shed could work for a lodging space but again, it would need to be modified significantly to become a guest house (insulated, wired, etc.) You could probably avoid plumbing if you have a bathroom nearby that could be used. However, that would limit the type of guest who wants something cute, but also wants all the modern conveniences right in the space. Look for kit designs that are intended for habitation, such as a home studio or even a pool cabana. They could save you some money as opposed to building from scratch. There are some great companies out there including Summerwood, Modern Shed and Studio Shed.

Q: There are so many different talents that are needed to successfully build and decorate She Sheds: architecture, carpentry, interior design & decor, landscaping and more. What is your best advice for doing things in the right order? Do you have a checklist?

A: At the risk of shameless self promotion, I believe that my second book She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own, provides a solid checklist for all the considerations you would have when creating a she shed guest space. Chapters include architecture, landscaping, doors and windows, color selection, interior design and important details. A good architect and builder/contractor would also provide invaluable advice. Again, look to professionals for specialize in small structures.

Q: What are some things most people don’t know about She Sheds (common misconceptions)?

A: When people see a she shed in person, they instantly know a lot about it. I think it’s because they are reminded of their childhood, when they had a playhouse or a tree fort of their own. It’s a gut thing! Sometimes men feel a little left out but in our experience, they admire the craftsmanship or our sheds so much that they don’t complain. They often are just as excited as their wives/girlfriends! The one challenge to overcome is that a solid, comfortable and attractive she shed is not something you can pick up at a local home improvement store. Those structures are not meant for habitation–they are mass produced with sturdy but nowhere near home-quality materials. So you are going to need to budget more money than you may think. But trust me, it’s so worth it.

Thank you, Erika, for allowing me to interview you. I love the gorgeous She Sheds in Erika’s She Shed Living gallery. I recommend you read her books and visit her website!

 

How to Transform Your Outdoor Structures

Book Cover: Shed Decor

 

Want to transform your outdoor structures? Bed and breakfast inns may also have additional dwellings such as cabins, cottages, lodges, and sheds. Sally Coulthard, author of Shed Decor: How To Decorate and Furnish Your Favorite Garden Room, was kind enough to answer my questions. According to Amazon, “Shed Decor reveals how the right combination of colors, fabrics, furniture, and accessories can transform an outdoor building.”

“Have you ever been asked to decorate sheds as a consultant or interior decorator?”

“I often give advice for free – it’s much more fun and relaxed than a paid project.  I could talk about sheds endlessly – it’s a bit of an obsession really.  I’ve designed garden buildings and shepherds huts professionally for people, which often a collaborative process – and it’s so nice when people are pleased with the end result.  I built my own shed – finally – a few years back and I absolutely love the freedom and peace it gives me.  It’s got a great view of the orchard on our farm, and I love sitting in there with the wood-turning stove roaring away and cup of tea. Heaven.”

“I love how sheds can be used for multiple purposes and be decorated in many different ways. What are your best tips on Shed Decor?”  

“To be honest, I think the best money is spent on making the shed as warm and dry as possible – damp sheds are a nightmare and you never end up using them or getting the most from your space.  So, plenty of insulation, power sockets, a source of heating and decent ventilation are the priorities.  Once those are sorted the world is your oyster!  Personally, I like simple, honest materials – lots of muted shades and natural light.  Simple furniture, lots of pictures and treasured items to make it cosy, and a splash of colour from a favourite rug or throw.”

“I have clients, who are former B&B owners, who now have a downtown shop that sells vintage signs, nostalgic items, and other memorabilia. Do you have any suggestions for types of items they could have for those who want to decorate their She Sheds?”

“Wow – such potential! I love a vintage shed – so packed full of character. Things like old metal signs – they’re so graphic and colourful. Vintage enamelware and wire storage racks/bins look great. Love the industrial look too – salvaged factory lighting, metal school lockers, office seating, robust tables – all these work really well in a shed office.”

“There are so many different talents that are needed to successfully decorate sheds. Is there a particular order things should be done in?”

“To be honest, no more than decorating a home.  So, you need plenty of enthusiasm, an eye for design and a practical side.  Get the building basics right first, electrics, heating and wifi sorted, then floor and wall coverings and then the finishing touches.  Don’t try and cram too much in your shed.  Less is definitely more.  Clever storage solutions and plenty of natural light will help make it a genuinely useable space.”

“What are some things that most people don’t know about decorating sheds?”

“Get the professionals in for any woodburning stoves and electrics – they can be deadly if badly fitted and, depending where you live, it’s the law. Use eco-paints and finishes – there are so many fantastic brands out there it’s easy to be environmentally friendly.  Insulate, insulate, insulate.  And think of ways to make your shed a bit quirky – could you fit a living roof, for example, or solar panels?”

“Please feel free to share any information that you think would help educate my innkeeping audience about decorating sheds and other spaces.”

“Basically, over the years I’ve learned that a shed is only useful if you put as much energy and resources into it as you would a room in your house.  Sheds that can only be used in summer tend to get neglected, so it’s worth making it a year-round space.  Also, try and imagine different uses for your shed to make it as multi-functional as possible – it might be a kids’ playroom now, for example, but it could come in useful as a spare room, art studio or office somewhere down the line.” 

As a general rule, guests seem to love a ‘sleeping shed’ – I think they like the playfulness of sleeping outside, in a small space, and the privacy it offers – they’re great for romantic retreats or writer’s dens.  Sheds can also make fantastic dining or entertaining spaces for guests – we’ve had some great parties over the years, in and around various garden buildings, watching the sun go down and enjoying the conviviality of it all.”

In Closing

I appreciate Author Sally Coulthard for answering these questions. There are so many ways to transform your outdoor structures. In response to my gratitude…

“You are super welcome! Might be worth mentioning I also have a book called How To Build a Shed if anyone fancies trying it themselves!”

My next blog post will feature “She Sheds” since they are growing in popularity.

 

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.

 

Did You See “Falling Inn Love” The Movie?

Netflix Movie "Falling Inn Love"

 

At the time of this writing, there is a new movie called, “Falling Inn Love” that is streaming on Netflix. It is an American romantic comedy film directed by Roger Kumble. From a screenplay by Elizabeth Hackett and Hilary Galanoy that was released on August 29, 2019. The movie stars Christina Milian and Adam Demos.

 

Meet Gabby

A busy professional woman named Gabby Diaz, from San Francisco, wins a bed and breakfast in an essay contest. Since she lost her job and left her boyfriend, her hopes lift after the news of earning this prize. However, the inn is located all the way over in New Zealand.

After three bus rides, she sets her suitcase down on a steep gravel road and it crashes into the truck of a guy willing to give her a ride. She declines his help. When she finally gets there, it is nothing like the picture shown in the contest. As she is touring this place (in much need of repair) she hears a strange noise coming from inside a closet. When she opens the closet, she is shocked to see a goat she later learns is named Gilbert.

Meet Jake

Gabby is an independent woman and is reluctant to receive help fixing up her place. However, being low on funds, she makes an agreement with an attractive contractor named Jake Taylor (who happens to be the same person that offered her a ride earlier).  Sadly, Jake’s girlfriend died a few years ago so he is also single. They keep running into each other in town. He teases that she is following him.

Their Renovating Challenges

Together they make an agreement to restore the inn and split the profits. Of course, it would not be a very good story, if the characters did not have even more challenges. Her challenges include a local innkeeper wanting to buy her inn, having differences of opinion with Jake about the restoration of the inn, and her former boyfriend surprising her with a visit and bringing along another prospective buyer.

Along the way, as she gets to know more about Jake, she also grows closer to the helpful people in the town. Not being from New Zealand, she hears several interesting phrases and learns she is driving on the wrong side of the road! I highly recommend this movie if you like romantic, feel-good movies. The “Falling Inn Love” movie is rated PG and is 98 minutes.

 

How To Increase Your Revenue and Improve Your Results

Inside of cabin with brown wrap around coach, stone by wood burning fireplace

 

 

Do you know what your ideal guests want? Who are you trying to attract to stay at your inn? The more you understand about who you want to serve, the better you become at meeting their specific needs.

Know What Your Guests Love About You and Your Inn

Are you getting their attention with the headlines you use? What do you receive the most compliments about from your guests? Be sure to feature what you know guests love.

The Benefits Of Frequent Guests and Guest Referrals

It is much easier to host returning guests than to find new guests. Do you offer incentives for frequent stays? Do you reward guests who refer you new business? This could be complimentary room upgrades and other incentives.

There Are Other Ways To Earn Money (Besides Overnight Stays)

Do you offer more than just the option of staying overnight? There are other ways of earning additional money. Why limit your hospitality earning potential?

Earn More By Offering Related Guest Products

You can offer additional related products and services to “up-sell” your guests. Of course, they have to really want what you offer. The best way to know what your guests want, is to ask them directly!

Increase Your Income With Guest Packages

Be sure to show professional pictures of each item for sale or that comes as part of a package. Guest packages can be centered around activities, specific themes, special occasions, and the four seasons. Think about what your guests like to do and the common reasons for their visit.

Host Events and Groups To Boost Your Earnings

You can also host private events and groups. Do you have enough space to host weddings and/or private local groups? The more details you can provide, the more inquiries you will receive.

Most People Buy Based Upon Their Emotions (Not Logic)

Do you tap into their fear of missing out? Most people making purchasing decisions based on their emotions. Expiration dates motivate!

Share Content That People Can Connect With

Do you provide them with enough content (blog posts, emails, website information, social media) to convince them that your place is the next place they want to visit? Share inspiring stories.

Prominently Feature Your Guest Testimonials

Do you feature guest testimonials on your website and in your social media? People put more stock into what previous guests say about you than what you say about you. That is why online review sites are so popular.

In Summary

The more of these suggestions you implement, the greater your odds of hospitality success. You can become the go-to accommodations in your local area.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Effectively Market Your Bed and Breakfast

Guest room with large bed, fireplace, windows, ceiling fan, view of outdoor area beyond the room

 

 

Wonder how to effectively market your B&B inn? You’re not alone. More and more innkeepers are realizing that in order to effectively market their bed and breakfast, they need the outside help of hospitality marketing professionals.

 

There are, of course, B&B owners that do a wonderful job marketing themselves. One of the best examples is Chloe Tuttle, Owner and Innkeeper of Big Mill Bed & Breakfast in Williamston, North Carolina. Chloe shares her own photographs (which include pictures of the bountiful produce and gorgeous flowers she grows). She writes Chloe’s Blog, and she makes her own recipes that she writes about in her blog posts. She also takes the time to let potential guests know what they can expect from a stay at her place.

Chloe is active on social media. In addition, she even gives her website visitors the opportunity to enter their email address to, “Sign up for Updates from Chloe at Big Mill B&B” and Get updates of happenings on the farm, recipes and things to do in eastern N.C.”

However, it is perfectly reasonable to want to focus on taking care of your guests and handling the administrative and operations parts of your business. If you are frustrated with marketing (or simply lack the time or interest to effectively market), hiring an outside expert may be exactly what you need.

A good hospitality marketer will make sure that you making the most with your website, your blog, email marketing, social media, advertising, and other promotions. An outside perspective can help you better see things from your guests’ perspective. They may share some great ideas that help your marketing take off.

These are all great ideas that B&B marketers should recommend that innkeepers do:

  • Join one or more hospitality associations for networking, education, and added credibility
  • Make sure your website is mobile responsive (it adjusts to the size of whatever device it is being viewed from)
  • Make sure your website is (https://) secure meaning that your data is encrypted and it has a firewall to protect it from hackers and viruses
  • Show plenty of professional photographs (of all areas that guests can access, make sure to have great lighting, and good photographers use props such as coffee mugs and blankets)
  • All photography on your website should be “pinnable” meaning that a visitor to your website can easily pin your images to their Pinterest account (millions of people use Pinterest)
  • Be sure to have social media icons on your website so that people can find you on social media. Bonus points if your social media handles match across networks.
  • Make sure your booking engine (your website reservation software) is easily accessible via your website (and the two work seamlessly together)
  • Prominently display your B&B name, city, location, phone number, and email address on your website
  • Be consistently active across a variety of social media websites. See my blog post about social media content themes. It is always good to share different types of content.
  • Your blog should feature the best about your inn, your local area (including other local businesses), and your local events (especially those that happen every year)
  • Be sure to have a thoroughly filled out About Us website page
  • Seek permission from each of your guests to add them to your email list, then they will continue to receive regular updates
  • Remember that innkeepers are not limited to earning income solely from overnight stays. There are plenty of extra things you can do to boost your income (such as offer packages, host events, and have a B&B shop, restaurant, tea room, and/or spa)
  • Encourage happy guests to give you a review online. Be sure to respond in a timely manner to anyone who leaves your inn an online review.
  • Reward your guests with a frequent stay and/or guest referral program.
  • Be sure to present your inn as a consistent brand (this includes your logo, your messaging, your topics of focus, and more).

If you are looking to hire a B&B marketing professional to effectively market your inn, Kristi Dement is available for a free 20-minute phone call. Contact Kristi and set up a phone appointment today.

I have been helping inns with their marketing since 2013. I am also the Marketing Director of Bed & Breakfast Magazine. I will be launching Retreat Business Academy with my partner (and Retreats Expert) Kirsten Polman in the next month. I will share more details as the time nears.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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