Author Archives: Kristi Dement

Fantastic Fill in the Blanks Social Media

the words "Fantastic Fill-in-the-Blanks on Social Media" with drawings of laptops and mobile phones

 

Fantastic fill in the blanks social media can definitely attract more traffic to your website.  People love to use their imagination and share it with others online.

Do you remember Mad Libs? Those books filled with one-page stories filled with blanks that invited you to insert your own keywords? They were  invented in 1953 by Leonard Stern and Roger Price, who published the first Mad Libs book themselves in 1958.  It turns out that  these guys were ahead of their time in recognizing the power of the ‘blank’.

 

Promote Activities and Places

Fill in the blanks social media can prompt people to think about activities they would like to do and places they would love to visit.  For example, Disney posted, “If I could spend a day with a Disney character, I would choose _______.”

Promote Events and Contests

Use the post tactic in conjunction with a specific event, such as a holiday.

Fill in the blank contests are great as they have the potential to actually get people thinking. The contest consists of a sentence of paragraph, and your fans are asked to add their own unique perspective by, obviously, filling in the blanks.

Promote Creativity

This is a great way to encourage creative responses as well as to promote engagement with your posts and tweets.  The blanks are essentially ‘platforms’ for people to share their creativity.

  • My favorite way to relax after a long hard day is to _______.
  • _______ always makes me feel inspired.
  • The best afternoon snack of all time is _______.
  • My favorite board game is _______.

Promote Engagement

These types of posts often garner fun and short comments, which then encourage your audience to react and interact.  Share a great photo and a good fill-in-the-blank sentence to inspire your audience to engage with you and your brand.

Fill-in-the-blank posts feel incomplete until they’re engaged with. People love filling in blanks, and the most effective fill-in-the-blank posts are the ones that let fans share their ideas.

a tweet "I'm ready for Spring so I can _________" @bandbblogging with close up of yellow flower with water droplets

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Make It Relevant

Make fill-in-the-blank posts and tweets relevant to your fans and the space you’re working in to see the best results.

Use fill-in-the-blank posts as a two-pronged engagement tactic: interact with your online community and get to know them better for future marketing campaigns.

More Examples

Fill-in-the-blanks are similar to questions.  They are simple and create engagement.  Some samples of these are:

  • My favorite social media site is _______________.
  • I’ve lived in ___________cities in my life.
  • I laugh every time I think about ______.

Be Very Careful

Have fun with these, but one piece of advice is to be careful that you don’t leave the blank too open ended for a potentially bad response. Be careful what you make a fill in the blank because people can turn it ugly.  That is what happened when the German grocery chain posted this:

“I became an ALDI-lover when I tasted _______ for the first time.”

Make It Simple

Tweet out a straightforward question that’s easy to answer.  When questions are short and simple, it’s easy for followers to respond because they don’t need to spend a lot of time thinking about their answer or trying to fit a longer reply to fit the Twitter character limit (or shorter if you want to include a hashtag).

Get Your Followers To Think

Fill-in-the-blanks social media gets your followers thinking and you challenge to them to show their creative side. The key to making fill-in-the-blank tweets work for your company is to relate them to your followers’ interests.  Then you will have success!

 

Why Passion Can Make You Irresistible To Guests

the passion economy book cover next to a success welcome sign

Passion can make or break any business. Author Adam Davidson wrote the book, The Passion Economy: The New Rules for Thriving in the 21st Century.

He argues that where we have both passion and ability should determine our pursuits. When we find something we love to do and that we do well, then we need to find the people (or guests) who most want that.

Value and Price

We need to create value that can’t easily be copied. The passion economy is about the quality we offer (which cannot be mass produced).

Moreover, he asserts that the price we charge should match the value we provide. Our products and services should be so special to guests that there is no obvious reference point with which they can compare.

First, Davidson advises that we imagine doubling our prices/rate. Second, we should think about what we would need to do (in order to deserve twice as much). We must understand what we offer that provides the most value.

Value pricing requires selling to the right people (the right guests). As you develop a reputation among your target customer base, more guests will reach out to you.

Your Story

You can (and should) tell the story of why you do what you do. Davidson claims that passion is story and that your story should be told in every detail of your business. Focus on the core value you create.

By definition, a passion business stands out from the competition. For that uniqueness, you can charge a higher price. Telling your story can be an inspiration to others.

Your Niche

Your passion can be your bed and breakfast niche. This passion can be based on activities and interests that you do for pleasure and that you’re talented at doing.

You can teach classes, host retreats, or offer guest packages that involve your both your interests and talents. The potential guests who share your unique passions, will be drawn to your place of hospitality.

Possibilities

By no means would I ever attempt to come up with an exhaustive list of hobbies that be incorporated into your hospitality business. However, I do want to share some ideas, as a starting point:

  • Acting
  • Adventure
  • Art
  • Astronomy
  • Baking
  • Bird watching
  • Biking
  • Boating
  • Calligraphy
  • Card making
  • Cooking
  • Fashion
  • Fishing
  • Flower arranging
  • Furniture building
  • Games
  • Gardening
  • Geo caching
  • Golfing
  • Hiking
  • Historic tours
  • Jewelry making
  • Karate
  • Karaoke
  • Movies
  • Photography
  • Reading
  • Scrap booking
  • Soap making
  • Quilting
  • Wine making
  • Wood turning
  • Writing
  • Yoga

Of course, innkeepers need not go it alone. Bringing in outside experts (as long as there is large enough interest and you can afford to compensate them) is always an option.

Passion Adds To Your Appeal

Guests who share the same passions, interests, and hobbies will start to come to you IF they know about you. This is why having the right marketing is essential to your hospitality business.

Blogging, email marketing, and social media marketing should align to spread the word. Consider adding a web page to introduce your new classes, retreats, or guest packages.

Your passion will attract those guests who enjoy similar activities and pastimes. This goes a long way in becoming irresistible to your target audience.

 

Why Blogging Can Boost Your Bottom Line

blog cloud post cloud boost your bottom line

 

Blogging can boost your bottom line. Wondering how to blog great content for your ideal guests? First, you must know who your are trying to attract. Second, you must know what content your audience wants. Third, you must consistently share that content.

 


Profile Your Audience

Create a clear picture of who is reading your blog. If you are just getting started, develop a picture of who you want to be your readers. Describe the characteristics of your audience:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geographic location
  • Lifestyle
  • Occupation
  • Education level
  • Marital status
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Income range

Share Great Content Frequently

Clearly show your readers the type of content they’ll find on your website. You can write about it on your website, in blog posts, and on social media. Make sure you satisfy your readers’ immediate interests, but leave them wanting to read more. Read your posts aloud before publishing them. Always pay attention to spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. Use bullet points for easy scanning.

Attract Your Readers

Start by having a catchy blog title. I recommend using the Headline Analyzer tool by Co-Schedule. Use keywords that might turn up in a search query. However, be careful not to mislead your readers with a title that doesn’t fit what your content is really about. Share multimedia (including images and video). Blog about trending topics. See Twitter for “Trending Hashtags.” Also, check Google Trends for more ideas. Share pictures of your food and recipes for guest favorites.

Serve Your Readers

Share with them detailed information about your local area including its activities, attractions, and events. Share content that appeals to your target audience. For example, if you host romantic couples, blog about the most romantic restaurants in your local area.

Give your readers what they need (blog how to articles). Also, give them what they want (useful advice as well as timeless tips and tricks). Create content worth referencing. For example, share useful information for traveling guests.

Track Your Results

Using Google Analytics, you can track the number of visitors who read your blog. Pay attention to which posts get the most views. Note the content that attracts the best response from your readers. Content also can boost your bottom line.

Compare Your Blog to Your Competition

Look at other hospitality providers to see what content they offer. Specifically, look at their search engine rankings and the amount of comments they receive.

Before you do that, understand what you blog about, the topics you cover, and your most frequent keywords. Then use those descriptive keywords (+ the word blog) to locate blogs that have similar content.

Factors to Evaluate Your Competition

  • Writing style (casual, formal, humorous)
  • The frequency of their blog posting
  • How much content their share each time
  • When they publish and share blog posts
  • What outside links do they have
  • Their use of multimedia (photos, audio, video)
  • Which blog posts get a lot of comments
  • Topics of blog posts that get very few comments

In Summary

Profile your audience to know who you want as your blog readers. Stay on their radar by sharing valuable content frequently. Attract and serve your readers. Track your results and compare to your blog competition by evaluating them on several factors. Finally, know that when you regularly share content you are becoming even more visible in the search engines. This can boost your bottom line.

 

Change Can Be Easy With These Simple Steps

 

Change can be easy. That’s right. It’s possible. At least according to the world’s leading expert on habit formation. BJ Fogg’s book Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything show us all how to have happier, healthier lives by starting small.

 

3 Things Required in Order To Design Successful Habits:

  • Stop judging ourselves
  • Take our aspirations and break them down into tiny behaviors
  • Embrace mistakes as discoveries and use them to move forward

First, we all can be too hard on ourselves. Usually we are our own worst critic. Fogg recommends that once we identify our aspirations, that we determine the little steps to making them happen. Inevitably, there will be mistakes. Making mistakes means that we’re moving towards our goals. The important thing is acting on our dreams!

3 Things That Create Lasting Change:

  • Have an epiphany
  • Change our environment
  • Alter our habits in tiny ways

Just what is an epiphany? According to the dictionary, it is “a sudden, intuitive perception or insight into reality, or the real meaning of something”. This new understanding “can come from something simple or commonplace”. However, we can’t make ourselves experience an epiphany.

Alternatively, we can change our environment. For example, maybe the people closest to us do not have the best influence on us. However, we cannot always walk away from our environments. Unfortunately, innkeepers will host some guests that are not as friendly or likable as others.

With BJ Fogg’s tiny habits method, he recommends that we focus on small actions. These are things we can do in less than 30 seconds. According to the author, “the only consistent, sustainable way to grow is to start small.” By taking this approach, he affirms that change can be easy.

The Anatomy of Tiny Habits:

  • Anchor moment: an existing routine or event that happens and that reminds us to do the new tiny behavior
  • Behavior: a simple version of the new tiny habit we want to do immediately after the anchor moment
  • Celebration: instantly celebrate to create positive emotions (such as saying aloud, “Good Job!”)

Determine the routines that we do from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed. It is by pairing the new habit with an established habit that we are more likely to consistently act.

The behavior is the new habit that we do right after the anchor moment (the existing routine). For example, innkeepers can pair the action of tactfully responding to online reviews when they get their mail each day.

Celebrating these new steps will encourage us to continue doing the new habit. Moreover, feeling positive emotions, reinforces our desire to consistently do the new habit.

Most importantly, author BJ Fogg says that we can change our lives by changing our behaviors. Furthermore, that only three variables drive those behaviors.

Behavior = Motivation + Ability + Prompt

For instance, the more motivated we are to do the behavior, the more likely we will do it. Conversely, the harder a behavior is to do, the less likely we are to do it. Thus, the amount we have of one affects the amount you need of the other. In other words, more motivation requires less ability. Alternatively, less ability requires more motivation. Moreover, no behavior occurs without a prompt.

Golden Behavior:

  • The behavior is effective in realizing our aspiration (impact)
  • Desire to do this behavior (motivation)
  • We can do this behavior (ability)

The key is to choose a behavior that helps us make an improvement we desire (impact). It is vital for us to want this behavior (motivation). Lastly, we must be able to do the activity (ability). Of course, it is pointless to choose something that we will never be able to do. We must be aware of our own limitations (including height, strength, speed, knowledge, etc.).

Steps in Behavior Design:

  • Get clear on our aspirations: be as specific as possible
  • Explore behavior options: many different behaviors can lead to our goals
  • Match with specific behaviors: choose effective behaviors that we can do
  • Start tiny: we can always go bigger once our new habit becomes consistent
  • Find a good prompt: determine an appropriate pairing of behaviors
  • Celebrate your successes: create positive emotions for reinforcement

In addition, BJ Fogg reminds us that every day we do the behavior, we build a bit of strength, flexibility, and skill. Thus, change can be easy over time. Therefore, we can make lasting change.

Ability Factors:

  • Time: Do we have enough time to do the behavior?
  • Money: Do we have enough money to do the behavior?
  • Physical effort: Are we physically capable of doing this behavior?
  • Mental effort: Does the behavior require a lot of creative or mental energy?
  • Routine: Does the behavior fit in our current routine or does it require us to make adjustments?

Thus, our time, resources, physical strength, mental stamina, and the ease of which we adjust to our routines, all play a role in determining our ability to implement these new habits.

2 Important Questions:

  • Discovery question: What is making the behavior hard for us to do?
  • Break through question: How can we make this behavior easier to do?

If we are facing challenges, author BJ Fogg recommends we ask these two questions. We need to reflect on what is making the behavior difficult for us. Furthermore, we should think what would make it easier to implement this new desired habit.

3 Approaches:

  • Increase our skills
  • Get tools and resources
  • Make the behavior tiny

First, to create a new habit, we need to find a behavior it should come after. In other words, this will be our anchor. Therefore, the author argues, change can be easy when we pair it with an existing habit.

Identify Our Anchors:

  • Match the physical location: same place
  • Meet the frequency: done the same amount of times
  • Match the theme/purpose: for a similar result

For example, it would make sense to pair an old habit that we do in the kitchen with a new habit we’d like to do in the kitchen. Secondly, to meet the frequency, if we brush our teeth 3 times a day and we want to read for 30 minutes a day, then we could read for 10 minutes after each time we brush our teeth. Thirdly, we can pair items done for the same purpose. For example, when we do laundry, we can line dry our sheets (which may be a new eco-friendly practice we want to make routine).

Why Celebrating Is Key:

  • Celebrating small wins gives our brains something to re-pattern our lives
  • Emotions create habits and make behavior more automatic
  • The feeling of success is a powerful catalyst for change

The author explains why celebrating the little victories along the way does wonders to make our new behaviors more automatic. Moreover, when we experience feelings of success, we are further motivated to make changes.

Skills of Change:

  • Behavior crafting: knowing how many new habits to do at once (focus on what interests us, embrace variety, and stay flexible)
  • Self-insight: knowing which new habits will have meaning to us (the new habit affirms a piece of the identity we want to cultivate, the new habit helps us approach an important aspiration, and/or the new habit has a big impact despite being tiny)
  • Process: knowing when to push ourselves beyond tiny and ramp up the difficulty of the habit

The more we practice our new habits while pairing them with existing habits, the easier it will become to do this consistently. It is essential that we desire to make these changes.

Behavior Change Masterplan:

  • Phase 1: focus on creating new habits
  • Part 2: focus on stopping the old habit
  • Phase 3: focus on swapping a new habit for an old one (if needed)

Once we successful create new habits, it will be easier to stop old habits. The author recommends that, if necessary, we replace a habit we want to stop with a habit we want to start.

Redesign Ability in Order to Stop Old Habit:

  • Increase the time required
  • Boost the money required
  • Increase the physical effort required
  • Raise mental effort required
  • Make the habit conflict with important routines

When we make it harder for us to continue the old habit, it is easier for us to stop it. Whether more time, more money, more physical or mental effort, or a schedule conflict, we literally can redesign our ability.

Scaling Back the Change:

  • Set a shorter time period for stopping the habit
  • Do an unwanted habit for a shorter duration
  • Fewer instances of the unwanted habit
  • Do the unwanted habit with less intensity

Alternatively, we can scale back bad habits by committing to stopping for a specific time (rather than forever). Second, we can reduce the amount of time we do the unwanted habit. Thirdly, we can have fewer occurrences of this unwanted habit. Lastly, we can do the unwanted habit with less intensity.

How Ability and Motivation Influence Habit Change:

  • Ability and new habit: make the new habit easier to do
  • Ability and old habit: make the old habit harder to do
  • Motivation and new habit: make the new habit more motivating
  • Motivation and old habit: make the old habit less motivating

First, the author explains why change leads to more change. As we build confidence and skills, we will become open to other types of changes. Moreover, author BJ Fogg encourages us to view our behavior as a puzzle to be solved. Similarly, the changes we make shape our work, family, friends, and community. Thus, step by step, change can be easy. In conclusion, it starts with tiny habits.

 

Take a Break and Hire Inn Sitters!

hire inn sitters

 

Are you running your bed and breakfast or is your B&B running you? There are moments when you cannot close your doors because your rooms are booked yet you need a break, have an innkeeping conference to attend, or a family emergency requires you to need to leave. Hire inn sitters, or interim innkeepers, to help solve your dilemma.

 

Interim Innkeepers

You want experienced professionals who may have been innkeepers in the past themselves.  Of course you will want to check their references, rates, and services which may vary depending upon the size of your bed and breakfast and the tasks you ask them to complete. They usually can give an approximate range of their fees before meeting in person with you.

Because every bed and breakfast is different, you will need to set aside training time so you can communicate how you run your B&B. Good inn sitters are willing to do things the way you ask for them to be done.  If you want them to cook your recipes, allow time to instruct them.  They will need to know the “inns” and outs of how you manage your B&B.

When you hire inn sitters that are trustworthy and have the experience and references that assure you they are capable, then you can leave your bed and breakfast knowing that it is in good hands.

Interview with Interim Innkeepers, Beth & Grant Robinson

Picture of Beth and Grant Robinson Hire Inn Sitters

 

I appreciate Beth & Grant Robinson of “Inn Reflection of You” for allowing me to interview them by phone while they were on the road driving from California to return home to Raleigh, North Carolina during the holidays. Please note that while I did not record our conversation, I did take thorough notes to be as accurate as possible when I wrote this blog post.

 

Q: Can you tell me about your success as owners & innkeepers of an award-winning B&B in California?

A: We not only owned but we created our Inn. We had it for 5 years. In 2015, our Inn was awarded TripAdvisor Travelers Choice naming our Inn among the Top 25 in the United States. This was based on the opinions and reviews of the TripAdvisor community.

Q: What did you do before that?

A: We both had stressful occupations. We knew we wanted to change to the hospitality industry. We thought about owning a lodging facility. After looking in Alaska, we found a property just outside Yosemite National Park in California. It is one of our favorite areas in the country.

Q: When and how did you make the transition to interim innkeeping?

A: In 2016, we moved to Raleigh, North Carolina to be near family. We provide interim innkeeping services for North Carolina as well as Virginia and South Carolina. We’ve had assignments in all three states with a concentration of Inns in Asheville, NC; Charlottesville, VA; and the Shenandoah region.

Q: Why did you name your interim innkeeping business “Inn Reflection of You”?

We try to keep the feel of the inn the same as if the innkeepers were there. Every inn has a different flavor and a different feel. All innkeepers are different. We do our best to honor that and be a reflection of them.

Q: What has been the feedback you’ve received from innkeepers when they return?

After our assignments as interim innkeepers, often the guests write 5-star reviews. One innkeeping couple in Asheville, NC refers to us as “The Dynamic Duo.” We create and cook gourmet breakfasts that meet the high standards of foodie towns such as Asheville and Charlottesville. Some inns request that we make their breakfasts and we love trying new recipes. Other times, they say you’re welcome to make breakfast the way you usually do. Often they ask us to do a combination of both.

Q: What are some of the reasons innkeepers look to interim innkeepers for help?

A: When you have an inn, it’s hard to get away for events like graduations, weddings, and to have fun. Sometimes there are emergencies and Innkeepers do not want to have to cancel guest reservations which may have been made a year in advance. Whether a planned event or emergency, rather than close down & lose the revenue, innkeepers hire us.

Q: What should B&B owners/innkeepers ask when they want to hire interim innkeepers?

First, they should find out if the innsitter has owned their own inn. If they have, they are more likely to conduct themselves as an Owner/Innkeeper. Second, ask the interim innkeeper if they are willing to come for a half day of training. Some inns have a binder full of information including the times when the lights go on and off, emergency contacts (like a plumber and an electrician), and instructions for doing things like laundry and breakfast. Of course, innkeepers can never cover everything that might happen, but they can be very thorough. Third, ask how long they have been innsitting. Also, make sure they are SERV-SAFE certified and comfortable accommodating a variety of dietary restrictions.

Q: What advice would you give to prospective interim innkeepers?

It is important to be accommodating and flexible. Be familiar with a variety of reservation systems. Provide references for innkeepers to call. Since the interim innkeeping industry is relatively new, a lot of innkeepers are not aware of this. A lot of clients have never heard of innsitting until they meet us. The best way to get business is to meet face to face with people. Don’t wait for people to call you. A lot of it depends upon word-of-mouth referrals and meeting people.

We belong to several professional associations including: Stay VA, North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns, South Carolina Bed and Breakfast Association, Interim Innkeepers Network, and since the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals (AIHP) merged with the Professional Association of Independent Innkeepers (PAII), we are also members of the Association of Lodging Professionals (ALP).

Overwhelming Interest on Pinterest

I hope this article is helpful to both innkeepers and interim innkeepers. I believe this is a topic worthy of more coverage. I updated this blog post when I saw that in the last 30 days, my Pinterest pin that linked to this blog post received almost 7,000 views!

Do You Have a Story to Share?

If you have a story about an experience you had (whether you were the one to hire inn sitters or you were the interim innkeeper), you are welcome to contact me, Kristi Dement. I’d love to hear about it! I could share it in a future blog post.

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

 

How to Develop a Winning Content Calendar

2020 content calendar

 

 

Developing a content calendar is an effective way to plan how your bed and breakfast communicates with guests. A winning content calendar is one that leads to more views, likes, shares, bookings, sales, and revenue!
 

Your Ideal Guests

First, think about who you are targeting–your ideal guests. When you know who you are trying to attract, then you can think about what they want to see. Why do people choose your accommodations over your competition? Reasons include your location, their lifestyle, your reputation, and much more.

Monthly Content Calendar

I recommend developing a content calendar for every month of the year. Think about the main messages and topics you want to communicate to potential guests. It is important to stay consistent for branding purposes. Be clear on what you’re about.

Show Consistent Themes

While sharing a variety of content is excellent, you want to convey around 10 consistent themes (this is just a suggested number). This is what you want to be known for. This allows potential guests to get to know you and your accommodations. As you draw followers, you can engage with them in a variety of ways including asking them questions.

Once you’ve identified your “Big 10” then you can plan your calendar. This will depend upon your location as well as what you want to emphasize about your B&B. Consider focusing on any of the following topics:

  • Accommodations: show what makes your inn uniquely awesome
  • Activities: things to do inside and outside your inn
  • Amenities: such as what’s included in every guest room
  • Community: local events, how you contribute, etc.
  • Events: private events you host like parties and weddings
  • Food: share delicious looking pictures of what you share with guests
  • Holidays/special days: major holidays, seasons, fun holidays, food holidays
  • Local area: attractions, local businesses, restaurants, shopping, venues, etc.
  • Niche: green leader, pet-friendly, romantic, vegetarian, etc.
  • Packages: consider having a variety of options including seasonal packages
  • People: owner(s), innkeeper(s), guests (with their permission)
  • Promotions: products, services, partners, contests, etc.
  • Quotes: your own, funny, motivational, or thoughtful
  • Reviews: share positive guest reviews
  • Tips/Trivia: travel tips, did you know?…

Variety Is The Key

It’s not about being perfect. It’s about being social. It’s a good idea to space your posts out so that there is a variety.

Think about the pictures, videos, and books you may want to share. By planning ahead of time, you will save time and be more consistent. For 30 posts in 10 categories, you need 3 posts in each category.

Be sure to store your images all together. Give specific details that describe the image. For example, “Breakfast French Toast Guest Smiling” In addition to any professional photography you have, you can create your own images. Be sure to use good lighting.

Blog Posts

At a minimum, you should be blogging at least once a month. Each blog post is another way for someone to come to your website. Depending upon what they type in search engines, you can become known for your information about something in your area. Be sure to tell people about your inn in part of each post. Tie it into the blog post topic.

E-Newsletter Updates

Consider sending an e-newsletter on a monthly basis (or every other week). The key to doing that is to (with their permission) enter the email addresses of your guests as they stay with you. In addition, you can ask them to opt into your e-newsletters on the home page of your website. That way you can develop the connection you have with previous guests as well as prospective guests.

Social Media Presence

Determine how many posts you will create for each social media network each month. Consider having a presence on networks like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. You do not have to regularly use all of them, but at least have your profile and one post sharing your name, location, and website address. I recommend choosing to regularly post on the social media networks your target audience uses most.

For example, the following are a selection of special days from the 2020 Calendar Year.

January

  • 1) New Year’s Day
  • 5) National Bird Day
  • 6) National Cuddle Up Day
  • 14) Dress Up Your Pet Day
  • 21) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • 28) Fun at Work Day

February

  • 2) Groundhog Day
  • 14) Valentine’s Day
  • 17) Random Acts of Kindness Day
  • 18) Drink Wine Day
  • 20) Love Your Pet Day
  • 25) Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday

March

  • 3) Day of Unplugging
  • 6) Oreo Day
  • 11) Napping Day
  • 14) Pi Day
  • 16) World Sleep Day
  • 17) St. Patrick’s Day

April

  • 1) April Fool’s Day
  • 3) Don’t Go To Work Unless It’s Fun Day
  • 7) National Beer Day
  • 11) National Pet Day
  • 12) Easter
  • 22) Earth Day

May

  • 4) Star Wars Day
  • 5) Cinco de Mayo
  • 11) Eat What You Want Day
  • 12) Mother’s Day
  • 25) Memorial Day
  • 25) National Wine Day

June

  • 1) National Donut Day
  • 16) Father’s Day
  • 19) National Kissing Day
  • 20) First Day of Summer / Summer Solstice
  • 21) National Selfie Day
  • 30) Social Media Day

July

  • 1) International Joke Day
  • 4) Independence Day
  • 7) Chocolate Day
  • 15) National Ice Cream Day
  • 17) World Emoji Day
  • 30) International Day of Friendship

August

  • 1) National Girlfriends Day
  • 9) Book Lover’s Day
  • 10) National S’mores Day
  • 16) National Tell a Joke Day
  • 20) National Lemonade Day
  • 26) National Dog Day

September

  • 1) International Bacon Day
  • 2) Labor Day
  • 19) Oktoberfest Begins
  • 21) First Day of Fall
  • 27) World Tourism Day
  • 29) Coffee Day

October

  • 1) World Vegetarian Day
  • 3) National Techies Day
  • 6) World Smile Day
  • 19) Sweetest Day
  • 27) Make a Difference Day
  • 31) Halloween

November

  • 1) World Vegan Day
  • 11) Veterans Day
  • 15) America Recycles Day
  • 26) Thanksgiving
  • 28) Small Business Saturday
  • 30) Cyber Monday

December

  • 1) Giving Tuesday
  • 18) Bake Cookies Day
  • 19) National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
  • 24) Christmas Eve
  • 25) Christmas Day
  • 31) New Year’s Eve

Post With Purpose

The most successful people consistently post with purpose. Even if that purpose is to convey how fun your inn is! It is important that your marketing has a strategy. Developing a content calendar is an excellent marketing strategy.

If you’d rather be serving your guests than blogging or being on social media, I get that! You’re welcome to contact Kristi Dement of Bed & Breakfast Blogging for a free 20-minute phone conversation.

20 Best New Years Resolutions for Bed and Breakfasts

SMART goals

New Years resolutions can be a successful way to set goals. The best goals are SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. First, we will talk about these 5 components to SMART goals. Next, will be a list of 20 areas for bed and breakfasts to set marketing goals. For each area, a SMART goal example will be given. Let this inspire you to achieve your B&B New Years resolutions.

 

Specific

The more specific you can be with goals, the easier it will be to attain them. In other words, vague goals don’t lead to consistent improvement. For instance, instead of having the general goal to “exercise more” you should specify the type of exercising you will do. The easiest way to exercise is to find a physical activity you enjoy doing.

Measurable

You must know how you will measure your progress. For example, a house painting company may set goals as to the average size of the houses they paint as well as how many houses they paint in the coming year. This makes it easy for them to know if they are reaching their goals.

Achievable

I do believe in dreaming big and achieving great things. However, most people will never score a perfect 300 in one game of bowling. Set goals that are possible to realize. As an illustration, a retail store with a location that gets more customers coming through is more likely to sell more than that same retail store if it only receives a handful of customers every day at another location.

Relevant

Each goal must be relevant to your overall goals. For example, juggling three balls at a time may be a worthwhile goal, but will it help you if your main goal is to make more money? It is rare to have a steady career as a professional juggler. However, since it has other benefits like improving hand-eye coordination and physical fitness, this may be an excellent hobby.

Time-Bound

Goals with deadlines are more likely to be achieved. Furthermore, if you have a large project (like a report), you can list the specific tasks involved (such as researching, reading, outlining your points, and writing several drafts) and set deadlines for those tasks. By holding yourself accountable (or having someone else hold you accountable), you have exponentially increased your chances of completing your overall goal.

The 20 Best Marketing Resolutions For Bed and Breakfasts

  1. Advertising: Boost 1 Facebook post each month for $X
  2. Associations: Belong to 2 hospitality associations each year for a total of $X
  3. Awards: Earn the TripAdvisor Award of Excellence this year
  4. Blogging: Blog once per week on topics relevant to your inn and local area
  5. Branding: Buy & Sell this # of coffee mugs with your B&B name and logo
  6. Content: Develop a monthly content calendar with consistent themes
  7. Email: Send e-newsletter every 2 weeks to those on your growing email list
  8. Events: Host this # of weddings, private parties, and/or retreats and earn $X
  9. Extras: Get a mini-fridge for each guest room as an added room amenity
  10. Local ambassador: Develop exclusive partnerships with 5 local businesses
  11. Packages: Add 1 holiday, 1 seasonal, and 1 occasion package for your guests
  12. Photography: Update professional photography for website for $X
  13. Press: Get published in Bed & Breakfast Magazine or be featured in the news
  14. Reviews: Respond personally to each online guest review in a tactful way
  15. Reputation: Set up a Google alert for your B&B name online (to stay aware)
  16. Reservation software: Increase your occupancy rates by X% from last year
  17. Rewards: Set up a frequent guest program and incentives for guest referrals
  18. Search engine optimization: Strive for 1st page of Google for certain keywords
  19. Social media: Post 2-3 times per week on 3 different social media channels
  20. Website: Increase page speed (how fast the content loads on your website)

Your B&B New Years Resolutions

If you would like some assistance setting, achieving, and even exceeding your B&B New Years Resolutions goals, you are welcome to contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging. I offer a free 20-minute phone consultation. Best wishes to you and your B&B business in the New Year!

 

How to Organize an Effective Content Strategy

The word "strategy" Effective content strategy begins with identifying your target market. Who is most likely to want what you offer? For bed and breakfasts, much of this depends upon why guests are visiting your area. Typically, those who stay at B&B inns pick the area first, then their accommodations. Think about why people come to your area (including your weather and local attractions). Additionally, reflect on what your inn provides that others do not (such as your amenities, breakfasts, and the events that you host).

Use Keywords To Attract Your Target Market

Know who you are trying to attract (your target market).  Moreover, pick a diverse range of keywords related to their interests.  For example, list out relevant keywords describing your:

  • Amenities (“game room” or “tearoom”)
  • Breakfasts (“farm fresh produce” or “accommodates special dietary needs”)
  • Ideal guests (“adventure seeking” or “romantic couples”)
  • Leisure activities (“antique shopping” or “wine tours”)
  • Local area (“mountain views” or “business conferences”)
  • Packages (“girlfriends’ getaway” or “honeymoon package”)
  • Retreats (“writers retreat” or “yoga retreat”)
  • Seasons/times of the year (“fall foliage” or “Valentine’s Day”)
  • Services (“catering” or “spa services”)
  • Uniqueness (“historic” or “pet friendly”)
  • Your other businesses (“gift shop” or “restaurant”)

Content Creates Opportunity

The content you offer is an opportunity for them to learn more about you. In other words, stand out (clarify your unique selling points) from your competition (other places of hospitality). For instance, guest packages are a great way to attract people who appreciate that you make plans for them (such as floral arrangements, premium chocolates, restaurant gift certificates, tickets to concerts or sporting events). Furthermore, people are willing to pay more for something that is already planned and included.

Your content includes what you share on your website, blog, brochures, emails, social media, and advertising. Your content formats include articles, videos, infographics, short reports, and more. Share pictures, videos, and stories of what happens at your B&B (with permission from guests). Guests want to know what to expect before they arrive!

Develop A Strong Reputation

As your guests experience your hospitality, you can develop a great reputation (from word of mouth, reviews, and press). Be sure to know what is being said about you and your inn online. Respond appropriately and promptly to all guest reviews (how you handle any criticism you receive speaks volumes to others).

Content Answers Questions

To save time and be consistent, answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) in your content. This can include estimated drive time to popular destinations and your process for guests to check in and check out.

  • What inspired your business? (such as a person or mission)
  • What AHA! moments has your company had? (major lightbulbs)
  • How has your business evolved? (process of changes)
  • How do you feel about your business, our customers, and ourselves? (state goals)
  • What’s a unique way to tell your story? (be creative)
  • What do you consider normal that other folks would think is cool? (stories from guests)
  • How will your company make a difference? (ex: eco-friendly)
  • Why should your company matter to guests? (what is in it for them?)

The more information you provide on your website and the more questions you answer, the more likely web visitors are to act. They will contact you, read more of your website, follow you on social media, and book a room. Be sure to attract more guests with calls to action.  Encourage them to contact you, connect on social media, and book now.

Blog Post Content

  • Behind the scenes information (including photos of staff and fun facts about them)
  • Breakfast (share images, recipes, and details about how you serve breakfast)
  • Events (that your inn will be hosting or local events)
  • History of your B&B (such as its founders and current owners/innkeepers)
  • Holidays (how your inn celebrates specific holidays)
  • Improvements (such as any redecorating, remodeling, or added amenities
  • Incentives (for frequent stays or guest referrals)
  • Occasions (celebrating anniversaries and birthdays or hosting reunions)
  • Problems you solve (such as adding enjoyment and reducing stress)
  • Professional memberships (like Select Registry or a state B&B association)
  • Reasons why guests love to stay (think about the compliments you receive)
  • Recommendations of local businesses (who may return the favor)
  • Reviews from previous guests (include quotes)
  • Room information (including pictures, list of amenities, reason for its name)
  • Specials like mid-week discounts or savings for specific groups (like emergency workers, senior citizens, and veterans)
  • Tips about your local area (including restaurants and attractions)
  • Your own Top 10 List (that relates to your B&B or local area)

Benefits of Regularly Adding Content

One of the most important aspects of blogging, is to consistently do it. The search engines reward fresh content by making it more visible online. They give preference to websites which continually add new information.  In addition, a blog post is one more indexed page on your website. Thus, it signals to the search engine spiders that your website is active.

Plus, you are keeping in touch with people and staying on their radar. Reminding previous guests about why they should come back again and compelling new people to visit for the very first time is an effective content strategy.

Become The Local Expert

Bed and breakfasts with blogs establish themselves as being an authority on hospitality and their local community. By offering helpful, travel-friendly advice, bed and breakfasts can get the attention of those wanting to know more about your local area while also telling others what makes your inn an ideal accommodations choice.

The effort you put it now will pay off well into the future because people will be able to view your blog posts years from now.  Providing valuable content means your content will spread.

Share In Social Media

In addition to sharing content on your own website, you can create content for other websites, social media, and issue press releases to attract media attention. Blog posts can be shared in social media to expose yourself to a whole new audience.

Let guests know how to connect with your bed and breakfast on other social media websites. When you share your blog on social media, this lets people know more about you and your bed and breakfast inn.  Have a presence on one or more of the following websites can make a big difference in your visibility online.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Linked In
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

The more information you provide on your website and the more questions you answer, the more likely web visitors are to contact you, read more of your website, follow you on social media, and book a room. These are all profitable results from an effective content strategy.

Editorial Calendar

One way to organize your content is to create an editorial calendar. This is where you decide what content you will create (earlier in this post is suggested ideas for blog posts and questions to answer), in what format (images, text, video, etc.), schedule how often you will create it (such as daily, weekly, or monthly), when you will create it (specify the day and time), and where you will share it (ads, blog, website, social media, etc.).

Increase Your Visibility and Profitability

Do not forget the power of blogging to become more visible in the search engines. In addition, the power of video to highlight your B&B and local attractions. Lastly, the power of social media to spread your message. By following this advice, you will take attract more guests to your bed and breakfast as well as position yourself as an expert on your local area. Thus, having an effective content strategy is key to the success of your business.

 

How Super Thinking Can Be Super Profitable

Book Cover Super Thinking and Book Cover Influence The Psychology of Persuasion

 

In Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann, the authors define “super thinking” as the ability to think better about the world. You can use it to your advantage to make better personal and professional decisions. Super thinking can be super profitable.

 

Make Better Decisions

We all make numerous decisions every day. Obviously, it would be better to be right more and wrong less. In order to be wrong less, you must increase your empathy with other people, opening up a deeper understanding of what they may be thinking.

For instance, seek to understand their frame of reference. Moreover, interpret the other person’s actions in the most respectful way possible (by giving them the benefit of the doubt).

Take every opportunity to figure out what actually causes things to happen. There may be an immediate cause, but the root cause (the reason for their behavior) may not be the real reason they did something. Ask “why did this happen” until you reach the root cause(s).

Life Can Be Unpredictable

You must continuously adapt to what life throws at you. You have free will and can actively make decisions. You can increase the probability of a successful outcome for yourself. However, many aspects of life have variability. Of course, not all things can be predicted with certainty. For example, you cannot entirely predict how someone will respond to your actions.

When People Are More Likely To Leave Reviews

People share more “out-of-the-ordinary” stories. For instance, people will be more likely to write a review when they had a terrible experience or an amazing experience. People do not usually write reviews about average experiences. That is why it is so important to exceed expectations!

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

  • Known knowns: you already know how to deal with them based on past experience, you need to execute that known plan
  • Known unknowns: it is not known how someone else will react
  • Unknown knowns: the risks you may not thinking about, but for which there exist clear mitigation plans
  • Unknown unknowns: the least obvious risks, which require a concerted effort to uncover, you still remain unsure of its likelihood or consequences

Try to get a full picture of the system to make better decisions. For instance, analyze different scenarios. For example, pose questions like “What would happen if…”

Characteristics That Lead To Accurate Predictions

  • Intelligence: brainpower is essential, especially the ability to enter a new domain and get up to speed quickly
  • Domain expertise: the more you learn about a particular domain, the more it helps
  • Practice: good forecasting is a skill you can get better at over time
  • Working in teams: groups of people can outperform individuals as long as they avoid “groupthink” (you must evaluate all ideas critically and establish a Devil’s advocate position)
  • Open-mindedness: people who can challenge their beliefs tend to make better predictions
  • Training in past probabilities: people who look at past probabilities of similar situations will be better able to assess the current probability
  • Taking time: the more time people take to make the prediction, the better they do
  • Revising predictions: those who continually revise their predictions based on new information will be the most successful

6 Types of Influence

The authors summarize Robert Cialdini’s Influence Models from his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

  • Reciprocity: you tend to feel an obligation to return (or reciprocate) a favor, whether the favor was invited or not
  • Commitment: if you agree to something small, you will be more likely to continue to agree later
  • Liking: you will be more likely to take advice from people you like, and you tend to like people who share characteristics with you
  • Social proof: drawing on social cues as proof that you will be making a good decision
  • Scarcity: you become more interested in opportunities the less available they area, triggering your “fear of missing out” (FOMO)
  • Authority: you tend to follow perceived authority figures

Apply Knowledge From Other Areas

Thus, the central theme of this book is that you can apply specific models of thinking from different fields to help you solve problems. What’s common knowledge in one field can be secret in another. In fact, many secrets may be hidden in plain sight. You need to know where to look. Super thinking can be super profitable.

 

Why You Should Appreciate The Value of Local Tourism

Phil Bruno, Treat 'em Right, "the guest experience is key!"

 

 

The value of local tourism is what Phil Bruno, President of the experiential marketing firm Treat ‘em Right, teaches others. Phil graduated from St. Louis University with a degree in Travel, Tourism, and Transportation. After working about 20 years for Fortune 500 companies, he came back to his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.

Phil is a world-class consultant, trainer, and speaker specializing in helping large and small organizations in travel, tourism, and hospitality. Through his online e-learning courses in twenty different cities, he has trained over 40,000 graduates.

Customized Solution

Residents of cities don’t necessarily know what there is for visitors to see and do. Treat ‘em Right visits your destination to uncover opportunities for enhancement and improvement. Based on first-hand research, they design a customized solution to help you extend the stay and pay of your customers.

Exceed Expectations

Treat ‘em Right helps you deliver state-of-the-art experiences that exceed visitor’s expectations. They work with stakeholders and experience providers by sharing the latest tools and training to benefit anyone who interacts with guests. Phil has demonstrated that better training leads to higher employee satisfaction and higher visitor ratings.

Personalized Experience

According to Phil, you must offer something that is memorable and outside the range of the normal experience. In the service industries, it’s the little things that add up to create the personalized experience that visitors want to blog, brag, and most importantly – return to your destination. Treat ‘em Right trains every member of your hospitality community to go the extra mile so guest feel noticed, appreciated, and valued.

Video Training

His training teaches valuable communication skills and educates people about different management styles. When you focus on putting quality into people, the industry becomes better. He develops video training, in conjunction with local convention and visitors bureaus, to educate employees on their local areas. There is a test after each video lesson. The city will send employees a certificate after they complete the course. The goal is to share their city’s brand promise with its hospitality and tourism employees.

From Phil Bruno’s Website:

Some of Phil’s Clients:

  • Destination Cleveland
  • National Park Service
  • Niagara Falls USA
  • Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • The Gateway Arch
  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum

Brand Awareness

Destination marketing is now converting to destination management organizations. As a result, the focus is much more community involved. Convention and Visitors’ Bureaus bring brand awareness to their communities. Coming to town is considered “being on brand.” The goal is to exceed the expectations of visitors by offering an incredible brand experience.

Advocacy

Much of Phil’s work is focused on advocacy for the tourism industry. Many people do not realize how much the tourism industry does to lower their taxes. Each household saves money each year because of the tourism industry. Phil is focused on educating communities about what tourism does by bringing money to their economy.

Treat ‘em Right

I appreciate Phil speaking with me about his work. To learn more about Mr. Bruno and his company Treat ‘em Right, visit his website. I know Phil’s destination marketing videos are helping thousands of people. Innkeepers can educate their guests about their area in conversation, display tourism brochures, and ask guests what they like to do and share local recommendations. Appreciate the value of local tourism!

Blogging and Social Media

Another great way to inform visitors is to feature local businesses and destinations in blog posts and on social media. Then when people search for a city and an activity or place, perhaps one of your blog posts will show up! That is a benefit of providing regular blog content.

Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free 15-minute consultation. Learn how improving your marketing will improve your business. I can help you with blogging, email marketing, social media marketing, and more.

 

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