How To Finally Stand Out From The Crowd

Anomaly Book Cover next to large orange game piece with little white game pieces behind it

 

 

Want to stand out from the crowd? The book Anomaly: How to Finally Stand Out From The Crowd by Zack Miller tells us exactly how to do that.

 

 

An anomaly is defined as something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected. The author advises us not to be afraid to do something different than others. Being different is what gets us noticed. When we stand out, people want to see what we’re all about.

Offer some free content to your ideal guests (your target market) in exchange for their name and email. Find creative ways to stand out to them. They will stay on your e-mail list if they feel they are receiving value from you. Emails should be short, sweet, and to the point. If you do not follow up, nothing will happen.

Stay consistent in the way you communicate. Your relationship with your guest (or potential guest) should not end after they leave your accommodations. You can continue to reach out to them via email (as long as they do not unsubscribe). By sending a regular email (such as weekly or bi-monthly), you are teaching your following to expect something.

Your content is unique because it is from your point of view. Take inventory of the content you already have (website, blog posts, social media, and so on). Your best content should be given away and consistently promoted.

What other kinds of content can you offer? According to Miller, the most important thing is producing content people crave and engage with.

Promote any past wins relevant to your hospitality business. This could be your award-winning recipe or your leadership in a B&B association.

Create a content calendar and automate your social media. Schedule when you want to post and note which keywords, hashtags, and phrases you will use for your content.

Write down the questions you are asked by guests and potential guests. The questions you receive may come from email, over the phone, in person, and through social media. Take the top questions and create content around them.

By asking questions, you can learn a lot. Let the market guide you as to what you offer your guests.

Display your awards, media recognition, association memberships, inspection rating, average online travel review, and much more to attract new guests. Add their logos to your website and social media. Prominently display your achievements for guests to see when they enter your bed and breakfast inn.

A simple handwritten “thank you” (such as thanking them for being your guest) can go a long way towards keeping their visit with you top of mind. Send them home with some homemade goodies, a coffee mug with your inn’s logo on it, or something else that makes you more memorable.

When guests are booking their rooms with you, do you make it easy for them to add extras? This could be add-on items like roses and chocolate, or even bigger items like guest packages.

By regularly adding blog posts to your website, you are sharing fresh, relevant content that makes you more visible in online search engines. The longer a guest stays on your website, the more likely they are to book a room or a private event with you.

By not doing what everyone else does, you will stand out and not be lost in the crowd. Tell the story you want your followers to know about you. The more they can learn about you, the better your chances of them becoming a customer.

Display your positive testimonials on your website and in social media. This can mean the difference from a guest choosing you over your local competition. Learn from bad reviews and promote good reviews. Publicly respond to every review (since they took the time to leave a review). Also, other readers will benefit from reading your responses.

Read reviews of your competitors to learn what they are doing, see what their guests are posting, see ways you can improve your own business. You must be conscious of the customer experience from the moment they arrive until they leave.

Feeling overwhelmed and/or you’d rather focus on your guests? Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging. During our first conversation, I can get to know more about you, your inn, and your future vision for your hospitality business. You are welcome to ask me questions as well.

I successfully manage the online marketing of bed and breakfast inns (Bed and Breakfast Blogging began in 2013). I am a Vendor Member of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International. I provide my clients with consistent and effective blogging, emailing, and social media marketing as well as hospitality consulting. Together, we will choose what services are best for you.

 

Do You Know What “Hygge” Really Means?

Flag of Denmark, The Hygge Game, colorful buildings in Denmark

 

Do you know what “hygge” really means? “Hygge” is a Scandinavian (specifically Danish) word for enjoying the good things in life. It evokes an atmosphere of coziness accompanied by a feeling of contentment and well-being. There is nothing more “hygge” than spending quality time with the people you love.

 

The board game Hygge has over 300 thought-provoking questions designed to spark meaningful discussions. Cozy conversation in pleasant company.

Responses will allow the others to better get to know each participant’s:

  • character
  • desires
  • emotions
  • interests
  • motivations
  • opinions
  • personality traits
  • values

25 of my favorite questions:

  • How would you define intelligence?
  • In what ways to you make other people’s lives better?
  • If you could be guaranteed an honest answer, what would you ask and to whom?
  • If you could have one million of anything (except money), what would you choose?
  • If you could live anywhere, where would you live and why?
  • If you had enough money to retire tomorrow, what would you do with the rest of your life?
  • If you had the whole world’s attention for thirty seconds, what would you say or do?
  • Name one thing most people don’t know about you?
  • Should students get to grade their teachers?
  • What actor/actress would play you in the movie version of your life?
  • What book changed your life?
  • What can we learn from children?
  • What compliment have you received and never forgotten?
  • What does the world need more of?
  • What do you do differently than most people?
  • What is the best song ever written?
  • What is the best television show of all time?
  • What is the most meaningful gift you ever received?
  • What is the one key trait that makes people successful?
  • What is your greatest wish for the upcoming year?
  • What kind of people do you most admire?
  • What movie do you wish they would make a sequel to?
  • What personal quality do people appreciate about you?
  • What quality do you appreciate the most in a friend?
  • What would you do if you won the lottery?

What board games, if any, do your guests play during their stay with you? Do you offer them a library of books to read during their stay? Guests appreciate the extras, such as access to games and books, that you offer them during their stay.

On a personal note, my daughter participated in a high school student exchange program a few years back. We hosted a Dane (someone from Denmark) and then she stayed with another Danish student during her time in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was her first international trip and it was a very memorable experience. She understands what hygge really means.

You are welcome you to share related comments about any of the following below:

  • The name of the most popular board game your guests play
  • A meaningful experience hosting guests from Denmark
  • If you are an innkeeper of a B&B or guest house in Denmark

 

Recipes You’ll Want to Add to Your Menu

food on tablecloth covered-table with 5 B&B association logos

Looking to add to your menu? If you want some online recipe inspiration, consider going to these five bed and breakfast association websites which feature absolutely delicious innkeeper recipes. The recipes are not just breakfast either! It includes tasty recipes for appetizers, baked goods, dinner meals, and even desserts!

 

CABBI (California Association of Boutique and Breakfast Inns) Recipes

CABBI welcomes you to a taste of California with our collection of bed and breakfast and boutique inn recipes. Each recipe was carefully selected to tell the story of the inn from where it is served. Some recipes are house specialties, others are family traditions. Some dishes include locally-grown ingredients from an inn’s region, while other dishes are the reason guests return time and again. The bed and breakfast inn was born of sharing food with friends. We hope that you will enjoy these CABBI favorites with your friends and loved ones, as we do with ours.”

IBBA (Indiana Bed and Breakfast Association) Recipes

“A beautiful Bed and Breakfast Inn is not complete without the tastes and smells of homemade cooking. The Bed & Breakfast Inns of Indiana have opened up their secret recipe books and would like to share the meals and deserts that you enjoyed when you were their guest. These recipes represent some of the personal favorites of the innkeepers, and we are proud to bring them to you.”

NCBBI (North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns Association) Recipes

“Our innkeepers love to cook. Here are some of their favorite recipes – not just for breakfast!”

TBBIA (Bed and Breakfast Association of Tennessee) Recipes

“A beautiful Bed and Breakfast Inn is not complete without the tastes and smells of homemade cooking. The Bed & Breakfast Inns of Tennessee have opened up their secret recipe books and would like to share the meals and deserts that you enjoyed when you were their guest. These recipes represent some of the personal favorites of the innkeepers, and we are proud to bring them to you.”

WBBG (The Washington Bed and Breakfast Guild) Recipes

“Enjoy making these great breakfast recipes from experienced member innkeepers and chefs of the Washington Bed and Breakfast Guild.”

Many innkeepers share their recipes on their own websites and some even have their own cookbook. Foodies especially love to taste yummy new foods.

Bed and breakfast guests appreciate having a variety of foods available to them. Most innkeepers offer complimentary snacks and beverages. Some innkeepers offer extra food to their guests in packages or picnics. Of course, inns that host events most definitely will offer refreshments to their guests.

Half of “B&B” stands for breakfast so inns may be known for their delectable “signature dishes”! With that in mind, there are plenty of resources available (including these websites) for ideas and inspiration to add to your menu. Bon appetit!

 

Food Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

 

Proven Activities For Health, Wealth, Happiness, and Success

Book Cover Napoleon Hill's Action Activities
Who does not want health, wealth, happiness, and success in life? The book Napoleon Hill’s Action Activities: for Health, Wealth, and Happiness is an official publication of the Napoleon Hill Foundation to continue his legacy of leadership. It includes excerpts from his books as well as ideas for ways to apply his teachings in today’s world.

Attributes of Personal Initiative include:

  • Adoption of a definite major purpose
  • Motivation to inspire continuous action toward that purpose
  • Self-discipline and persistence to keep moving forward
  • Habit of going the extra mile
  • Capacity to concentrate your full attention on one task at a time
  • A positive mental attitude at all times
  • Habit of following through with any task once begun

Anything worth having is worth pursuing. According to Hill, the desires would not be placed in us unless we had the potential to achieve them.

Have a world vision that is larger than yourself. Give yourself away for a cause that is greater than you. This must be something you willingly give to others because you find it rewarding.

Many innkeepers decide to become B&B owners and hosts because of their desire to help their guests feel welcome. Proprietors also have the opportunity to promote their local area.

Magnificent Outcome (M.O.):

  • What you desire: Who am I? What is my special calling? Innkeepers may ask, “How can my inn reflect the talents and gifts that are uniquely my own?”
  • How you will achieve it: What positive dream engages my mind, monopolizes my thoughts, and pushes me forward? What is it I would do for the sole enjoyment of doing?
  • The positive outcome you can expect to achieve for staying the course: How, when, and where do I envision my magnificent outcome?

There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from using your unique talents and gifts. Your gifts could include teaching a cooking class, guiding guests on local trails, giving yoga instruction, hosting private parties, demonstrating art techniques in your retreat, coordinating weddings, leading conferences, and so much more. The key is to choose the things that you love doing and that will help your inn to stand out from your competition.

Habits Are the Stairway to a Richer Life

You can see many outcomes in your life (and the lives of others) based upon examining personal habits. When habits are entrenched, people operate on autopilot. Little brain power is involved in recalling these habits once learned.

Little actions taken over time create profound lifetime habits that determine our destiny. Through our simple daily actions we create the patterns that become automatic through repetition in our lives. Habits of action will create the life you choose to live one step at a time.

“A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.” (Napoleon Hill)

Habits begin with thought. Look for the positive (rather than the negative). Look for something to praise (rather than something to complain about). Our thoughts shape our world and, in turn, shape our earthly destiny.

The 12 Riches of Life:

  • A positive mental attitude
  • Sound physical health
  • Harmony in human relationships
  • Freedom from fear
  • The capacity for faith
  • Willingness to share one’s blessings
  • A labor of love
  • An open mind on all subjects
  • Self-discipline
  • The capacity to understand people
  • Financial security

When we discipline ourselves, our life goes better. Our lives are the results of the choices we make. When we delay gratification, we can reach higher, more ideal levels of performance. Self-discipline begins with the mastery of our thoughts. Self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward.

Develop the Habit of Going the Extra Mile:

  • Do more than you are paid for
  • When you sow the seeds of excellent service, you reap the harvest
  • Listen to those around you to see if you can uplift them in some way
  • Do something special for someone else

Going the extra mile is related to the hospitality that innkeepers extend to their guests. Innkeepers seem to be blessed with the seemingly effortless ability to anticipate the needs of their guests. I admire their dedication to go above and beyond guest expectations.

Live Life to the Fullest:

  • Celebrate the beauty of life and cherish the time given to you
  • Choose life each moment and live it to your fullest potential
  • Think good thoughts and keep focused on advancing your life
  • Memorize and recite positive affirmations and quotes
  • Express heartfelt gratitude for what you already have
  • Make time for relaxation and fun
  • Read biographies of successful people
  • Identify positive attributes that you want to develop
  • Move beyond your comfort zone to expand your horizons
  • Share your blessings and be a giver
  • Be true to your calling by defining your purpose and acting upon it
  • Focus on completion and not perfection
  • Bloom when you are ready
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” (Napoleon Hill)

I believe it is important to continue to read and learn throughout your life. I read more books now than I did in college and graduate school! I love that this book encourages readers to continue to develop your mind and your habits because that influences your destiny. Napoleon Hill lived an inspirational life and his legacy continues through his foundation.

 

How To Find The Best Social Media Content Themes

social media icons

Social media content themes are specific types of content shared via social media. The key is to consistently feature a variety of content that is aimed at attracting your target audience, the type of guests you serve.

No two bed and breakfast inns are alike. However, there are some common social media content themes that work well for a wide range of accommodations.

Amenities

Potential guests like to see what amenities are available to them during their stay. Be sure to show pictures of amenities such as private hot tubs and pool tables.

Behind the Scenes

Since people are naturally curious, showing a sneak peek at something (like preparing for an event) is quite popular. Show details like table settings.

Blog Posts

Always share your blog posts on social media. By regularly blogging and sharing blog posts on social media, you will have a strong online presence.

Branding

Feature what you want your inn to be known for including your logo and slogan which represent your hospitality business. Only share messages you want associated with your brand.

Events

Showcase events that your inn hosts. Whether they are private events or events open to the public, by featuring these events in social media, you draw attention to your inn.

Guest Services

Perhaps you offer a complimentary wine and cheese social time every day. Maybe you offer the option for breakfast to be delivered to guest rooms. Be sure to show evidence of your unique hospitality touches.

Holidays

Show off holiday decor at your inn and share upcoming holiday-related activities in your area. The holidays are a great thing to promote in social media. In fact, having holiday-themed pin boards on Pinterest is really popular.

Hospitality

Extending generous hospitality should be a part of your signature as an accommodations provider. Be sure to share guest testimonials that thank you for your hospitality.

Humor

Everyone likes to laugh now and then. It is okay to feature something funny as long as it is clean and appropriate.

Income Boosters

It is okay to occasionally promote extra products and services your guests can purchase. Be sure to feature images of these products and services to grab the attention of those on social media.

Local attractions

Since people often choose their location BEFORE they choose their lodging, it follows that you should promote your local attractions. Be sure to feature what draws most people to your local area.

Local businesses

To support your fellow local businesses (including restaurants and shops), it is always a good idea to promote (and tag them) in social media. You may want to arrange for exclusive deals your guests receive (like a coupon for free dessert at local restaurant).

Local events

Is your area known annual events that take place every year? Festivals, marathons, performances that regularly occur are great to promote.

Milestones

If you (or your inn or your town) is celebrating a milestone (like 20 years in business), then by all means feature that in your social media. With their permission, you can even feature the milestones your guests are celebrating (such as birthdays, anniversaries, and promotions).

Networking

Social media networking occurs as you interact with your public. This includes previous guests and potential guests as well as local organizations with whom you want to keep in touch (such as your Chamber of Commerce or local Welcome Center).

Niche related topics

This depends upon the types of guests your inn wants to attract. Your inn could be pet-friendly, on a farm, near famous attractions, attract adventure lovers, and/or being historic. Feature those things that attract those types of guests. Pictures are very helpful in attracting potential guests to your social media.

Occasions

These could be special occasions for your overnight guests or private events you host. If there is a specific theme to your celebration (ex: costume party), you can let your social media audience know that as well.

Packages

Feature your guest packages on social media. Show pictures of what comes with each package (like a romantic package that includes rose petals scattered on their bed).

Pictures

Almost every post should have an attractive or attention-getting picture with it. Wow your guests by letting them see what they will experience. Professional photographs are essential to attracting guests.

Press

Be sure to feature any positive press you receive. You can also set up a Press Kit on your website, which lists links to every mention of your inn in the media. You can provide the name of the person to contact for interviews.

Products

Whether you have your own gift shop or sell a handful of things like T-shirts and coffee mugs, you can share the occasional picture of your merchandise. Of course, for every promotional post or tweet, you should have four or five social media shares that are not.

Reputation

Always share something that enhances your reputation such as your high average guest rating. If you are a member of Select Registry or a bed and breakfast association, be sure to include that in social media as well as the logos on your website.

Rooms

Guests love to get a look at where they are staying BEFORE they book their rooms. Professional photographs of all of your rooms and guest bath rooms are essential to attracting guests.

Questions

Engagement happens when people interact with your content. By asking your social media audience questions, you are encouraging them to respond and interact with you.

Quotes

Quotes are always popular. They could be said by a famous or notable person or centered around topics such as love and travel.

Recipes

Be willing to share some of your most popular recipes in social media or provide information if you or your B&B association offers a cookbook. Be sure to share pictures along with your recipes.

Seasonal

You can promote the seasons in social media. These can be outdoor pictures as well as decor pictures. You can offer seasonal packages or specials as well.

Stories

Stories are memorable. When you share your own story (how you became an innkeeper) or the stories of your guests (like the couple who returns every year to your inn), you develop a connection with your readers.

Testimonials

Testimonials are a great way to share the awesome things guests are saying about you (without being the one to brag about it)! People trust reviews from guests who have stayed with you. That is why guest satisfaction is so important.

Trending topics

On Twitter, there is always a list of trending topics. If there is something trending that is positive, and you’d like to mention it, then you can.

Trivia

Make getting to know more about your inn or your location fun with trivia facts you can share in social media. Some social media contest have guests guess how many of something is in the glass jar (like jellybeans) and the closest answer wins something like a free overnight stay.

User-generated content

If a guest shares a great picture they took and gives you permission to post it, then by all means do so and be sure to give them credit for their image. You can also share guest comments you have received. If they wrote their comments in a guest book, you can take a picture of their comments.

Videos

Video content is in high demand. According to the Wall Street Journal, over one billion hours of video are watched on YouTube each day.

Summary

By consistently varying your social media content themes, you will attract (and/or maintain) a high social media following. Innkeepers, would you rather focus on your guests than do social media and/or blogging? Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging today!

 

Find Your Why to Boost Your Success

Book Cover Find Your Why and question marks

To boost your success, you must find your why. Previously I wrote a blog post about Simon Sinek’s bestselling book Start With Why. This post will discuss his companion book, co-written with David Mead and Peter Docker, called Find Your Why. Simon explains that this book provides the steps to show people exactly how to find their why.

 

Sinek explains it is not what you do that keep you fulfilled, but why you do what you do. Everyone has a why, their deep-seated purpose, a cause or belief, that is the source of your passion and inspiration. Fulfillment comes when what we do connects directly to our why.

Once you understand your why, you will be able to clearly express what makes you fulfilled. Knowing the why helps us set a vision to inspire others and guides us to act with purpose, on purpose.

WHY statements are always:

  • simple
  • clear
  • actionable
  • focused on the effect you will have on others

 

TO ___________ SO THAT ____________.

 

  • The first blank is the contribution you make to the lives of others.
  • The second blank is the impact of your contribution.
  • Your why must be relevant in both your personal and professional life.
  • Your why is a statement of value. It’s who you truly are.

The book advises that you choose a partner (someone who knows you, but not so much that they can finish your stories). Tell them at least five or six meaningful stories from your past. Each story must be a specific time, place, or moment and share it in detail.

Find Your Why suggests two different methods. The first method, “Peaks and Valleys” is where you think of both happy memories and memories you would not want to relive but have shaped who you are today. The second method, “Memory Prompt” is where you answer questions like:

  • Who has helped make you who you are today?
  • What was a pivotal moment in your life?
  • What happened that changed the way you think about your world and your role in it?
  • What have you accomplished in your life that you are really proud of?

Have the person you are telling your stories make notes of the facts in one column and the meaning or feelings in the column next to it. The stories you tell can be those that shed light on who you are at your best as well as specific experiences and people that have shaped who you are today.

Later both of you will look for recurring themes, words, phrases, and ideas. Once you tell stories and identify themes, you are ready to draft your WHY statement. As mentioned, your why statement should read, to _______ so that _________. It should be expressed in affirmative language that resonates with you.

Perhaps, as an innkeeper, your why has to do with serving your guests. It may be about providing them with friendly hospitality and luxurious accommodations that allow them to relax and strengthen their relationships.

Your WHY statement should be something that you agree with completely. It should not be written for your guests, but written for you as a guide to help you make decisions in life. Knowing your WHY statement will provide you with direction and boost your success.

 

How to Have an Attractive Personality

SMILE (in Scrabble tiles) plus smiley faces plus think +

 

Having an attractive personality makes a significant impact on one’s life, according to the late Napoleon Hill, who is thought to be one of the great writers on success. “Your personality is your greatest asset or liability. It embraces everything you control, your mind, your body, and your soul.” We will look at several components of a pleasing personality:

  • Positive mental attitude: people must be positive to attract others to them
  • Flexibility: to adapt oneself to any circumstances by controlling emotions and without losing composure
  • Ability to control or direct your energy: having a genuine enthusiasm and fondness for people (especially your guests)
  • Sincerity of purpose: a character quality which cannot be faked; a true and lasting dedication to your definite major purpose in life
  • Pleasing facial expressions: develop the habit of smiling sincerely and frequently to make your personality more appealing to others
  • Pleasing tone of voice: controlling your tone of voice so it carries meaning beyond mere words
  • Appropriateness of words: speak with precision, tactfulness, the habit of doing or saying the right thing at the right time and remaining silent (when not all thoughts should be expressed)
  • Common courtesy in speech and mental attitude: respecting people’s feelings in all circumstances
  • Tolerance: be fair toward those whose opinions, practices, or beliefs are different than yours
  • Versatility: knowing what to talk about, having a wide range of knowledge of people and world events
  • Promptness of decision making: reaching a decision definitely and quickly
  • Keen sense of humor: relax and remain positive, learn to laugh at yourself, helps in adapting to the changing circumstances of life
  • Habit of going the extra mile: doing more than what is required of you, going “above and beyond the call of duty”
  • Patience: under all circumstances remaining patient and understanding of others

An attractive personality can truly make one rich. Rich in friendships, returning guests, and an excellent reputation for hospitality. Thus, according to Mr. Napoleon Hill, an attractive personality is vital to one’s success in life.

How to Keep Guest Conversations Interesting

neon ASK sign, banquet tables and chairs

Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Changes by Frank Sesno has a chapter on entertaining questions called “The Inspired Host.”

For innkeepers who host events such as dinners and private parties, knowing entertaining questions to ask allows you to engage your audience and keep guest conversations interesting.

The objective always revolves around creating an experience that all your guests will enjoy and remember. You can steer the conversation to draw in guests and energize the room. Create a mood that connects people in stimulating and surprising ways.

First, the author advises, you must know your audience by asking:

  • Who is my audience?
  • What do they know?
  • What don’t they know?
  • What do they care about?
  • What will they find interesting and funny and why?

Starting with an exchange that is spontaneous and a little unexpected often breaks the ice and sets the tone for a more relaxed and more genuine experience.

Then begin with a few topics that interest everyone. Mix it up with a few lighter, open-ended questions. Listen closely. Ask for different levels of experience and awareness. Ask for examples and encourage stories.

Pick questions that intrigue and interest everyone and are relevant to the event or occasion. Draw from a menu of topics and questions to create flow and engage different people on different levels.

Set the mood through signals, prompts, words, and timing. Trigger emotions through the subjects you pick and the questions you ask.

Try the one-word association game to open the conversation more and perhaps get a few laughs. Figure out what you want to talk about and map out questions and anticipated responses. You can excite the imagination, or you can prompt reflection.

Your questions should invite participation at whatever level your guests feel comfortable. Frame your questions in a way that is approachable and real. Be willing to change directions when someone observes an altogether different slice of life.

Good hosts are always on, always listening, and always interested in their guests and the conversation around them. The role of hosts is to draw out other people and make them interesting, funny, or noteworthy. Ask guests to contribute new ideas or share interesting experiences.

Make your questions open-ended (they cannot be answered with a yes or no response) as well as friendly. Avoid controversial topics like politics, money, and religion.

To make sure everyone responds, try throwing out a question with the challenge that everyone must respond in just one sentence.

  • “What’s the one thing you want everyone to know about you?”
  • “If you could transport yourself anywhere in the world right now, go to any country just to eat dinner, where would you go and what would you eat?”

By applying a little “conversation leadership” to get guests interacting with each other, you can create an environment that is inclusive, interesting, and dynamic.

According to Author Frank Sesno, good hosts use questions to have fun, make people laugh, or dive into the ridiculous. He encourages hosts to produce an experience their guests will enjoy and remember.

The more hosts understand the people in the room, the better you can steer the discussion. Hosts should ask questions, but don’t answer them. Be principally interested in drawing out others.

The objective of hosting is to direct the conversation, not dominate it. Direct questions so that everyone gets a chance to talk, but also recognize that some people prefer to listen. Alternate topics and moods to keep the conversation moving, varies, and interesting.

Hosting dinner parties and other private events are excellent opportunities for asking and answering entertaining questions, to getting to know one another, and to having a good time while examining life along the way. I hope this inspires more innkeepers to host events which involve guests in conversation with each other.

Why Time Should Be Important To You

time management book next to different colored clocks

 

Time should be important to you. According to the 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse, successful people think about their values, priorities, and consistent habits. We all have 1,440 minutes in each day. How effectively are we using them?

 

Highly successful people rank time was the most important item they have. It’s the one true equalizer. You can never lose time and get it back again. Time is your most valuable and scarcest resource. Innkeepers have a lot of demands on their time as well as guests to please.

You must know what to focus on and how you are going to get it done. Understand what is most important to you and what activities will provide you with the greatest leverage to getting there. What do your guests appreciate the most?

Identify your most important tasks (MIT) and do those before you do anything else. If you truly want to get it done, you must schedule time for it. Work from your calendar, not your to-do list. Master the practice of letting go of other things. Accept the fact that there will always be more to do and more that can be done. A dilemma not unique to innkeepers. Your guests also have pressures in their lives. They may be coming to you for much needed rest and relaxation!

Always carry a notebook to write down your ideas. When billionaire Richard Branson did not have his notebook with him, he wrote his idea down in his passport. Think of how many times you had a great idea, but since you didn’t write it down when you thought of it, you later forgot what it was! The notebook can be little in size, so it is convenient to put in your pocket and have with you at all times.

Email is a great way for other people to put their priorities in your life. If you send less email, you will receive less email. Use the subject line to indicate the action required. Keep emails short to respect other people’s time (as well as your own). Innkeepers can provide links to information that is on their website so emails to guests are shorter. Consider having a “frequently asked questions” section for guests to read on your website.

Billionaire Warren Buffet said that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything. Every ‘yes’ is a ‘no’ to something else. Say no to everything that does not support your goals. We should always be accommodating to guests, but that does not necessarily mean we offer ten different packages. Choose the ones that are the most popular and profitable.

80% of your results come from just 20% of your actions. This is known as the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule. Look for time saving methods. Do the most important things exceptionally well. For all other tasks, “good enough” will do or hire them out to another person. This is NOT to say we cut corners in providing hospitality, but we should be as efficient as possible. Perfection is impossible.

  • How valuable is this task?
  • Am I the only one who can do this?
  • How can the same outcome be achieved with a faster process?

Focus your time only on the things that use your unique strengths and passions. Invest the first sixty minutes of each day to rituals that strengthen your mind, body, and spirit. If a task can be completed in less than five minutes, do it immediately. Of course, we cannot anticipate all the issues (including guest complaints and maintenance problems) that we inevitably will face each day, but we can be strategic in how we handle them.

Productivity is about energy and focus, not time. We must be mindful and live with intention. Focus on the things that bring you further to your goals each and every day. Remember we all have 1,440 minutes in a day. That is why time should be important to you.

There Has to Be a Better Way

Moonshot! multiple doors gray doors with one red door

 

There has to be a better way. According to John Sculley, former CEO of Pepsi and Apple, in his book Moonshot!: Game-Changing Strategies to Build a Billion-Dollar Business, adaptive innovators deliver an incredible customer experience on a quality level never experienced before.

 

The power of customer ratings, customer recommendations, and customer complaints cannot be overstated. In addition, consumers also have continuous contact with their friends on various social media sites like Facebook.

Sculley recommends that business owners have a passionate commitment because present day opportunities are boundless. Napoleon Hill said, “Our only limitations are those we set up in our own minds.” We are all capable of so much more.

Sculley advocates for people to be flexible and be willing to look at alternative ways of doing things. For example, those receiving Green Leader awards in the hospitality industry are those who find ways to conserve more and waste less in order to be more environmentally friendly for the greater good of the earth.

Asking the right questions is much more valuable than having knowledge (knowing the right answers). Really listening to the suggestions of your guests is also key. If you hear or read the same guest comments over and over, there may be some truth to what they are stating.

Every “moonshot” begins with a noble cause, a higher calling, a mission that can make a real difference in people’s lives. It is important to know why you do what you do. According to author Simon Sinek, communicating what your organization believes in allows you to connect with your ideal audience.

“There has to be a better way” is the philosophy that Mr. John Sculley lives by. There is always a more effective or efficient solution to the way things are currently being done.

The opportunity to innovate always starts with customer experience. Exceptional customer service with the idea that “there has to be a better way” leads to adaptive innovation at it best.

Getting customers (your guests) to buy the products and services is only the beginning of the relationship. The transaction, Sculley states, is not the destination, but the launching point of a long journey. Personal service is pivotal to the success of many businesses.

Sculley argues, “If you want customers to remember you with profound regard, then you must go out and study their needs and desires with intensity.” Do you have your guests fill out any surveys to give you feedback? What other things could you do to learn more about delivering high guest satisfaction?

Success often hinges on asking the right questions and nowhere is that truer than in creating an exceptional customer experience. Sculley quotes famous Chef and Restauranteur Wolfgang Puck, “We’re not in the food service business, we’re in the hospitality business. It’s all about giving the customer an unforgettable experience.” Deliver a positive, memorable, and matchless customer experience.

The future belongs to those who see possibilities BEFORE they become obvious. Sculley said that before Uber existed, people wondered how to get better taxi service. Entrepreneur Henry Ford said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Business owners need to have an intense curiosity and ask questions. Am I actually open-minded to what my competition may be doing? Is the market ready for what I’m trying to do?

Sculley says that you don’t really understand something until you understand it more than one way. Having multiple ways to think about a problem and process information is also important. Look at other industries and imagine a similar scenario playing out in your competitive world.

The hospitality industry was disrupted by AirBnB. They thought outside of the box to come up with their idea. I am certainly not in favor of the corners cut by AirBnB, but what could you do to help positively change the hospitality industry as we know it?

Monitor negative comments and suggestions with intense attention. There is no substitute for talking with guests one-on-one. Companies and business owners that can adapt will be the big winners.

John Sculley encourages people to be curious, be optimistic, be inspired by what’s possible, but also focused on what’s probable. Develop a context for good ideas so they may actually become valuable. Learn in layers, keep a notebook with you for ideas, and never be afraid to borrow a good idea as long as you attribute the source.

Be committed to finding a better way and never give up in finding it. Prepare, like athletes with hours of practice, and question why things are done in a certain way. Put the customer at the center of your business.

Mr. John Sculley ends his book telling his readers that survival is driven by adaptation and that change is happening faster than ever. Zero in on your most challenging customer problems. Be obsessed with continually creating exceptional customer experiences. Be perpetually governed by the principle that “there has to be a better way.”

 

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