Category Archives: Associations and Ratings

The Many Benefits of B&B Association Membership

association membership

 

There are many benefits of B&B Association Membership.  While each bed and breakfast association has their own unique benefits, the following lists commonly offered benefits from such groups.  Innkeepers not belonging to any professional associations will learn why membership is valuable.

 

 

  • Advocacy: promoting B&B industry and traveler interests, raising the stature of the state’s hospitality industry, growing the state’s travel economy

 

  • Affiliations: state tourism department, state travel council, Professional Association of Innkeepers International, etc.

 

  • Brochures/rack cards/travel guides: distributed at member inns, welcome centers, tourist attractions, visitor bureaus, chambers of commerce, and in response to visitor requests

 

  • Collaboration: socialize, peer support, share, network, learn, encourage, exchange lessons learned as well as recipes, and enhance the lodging experience of guests

 

  • Cookbooks: member inns can buy association cookbooks at wholesale and sell at retail for a profit (see some B&B association cookbooks below)

 

  • Credibility: association membership provides bed and breakfasts with added credibility; licensed, inspected, and approved distinction; passed high standards bed and breakfast checklists

 

  • Directory: profile information and pictures in online and print directories

 

  • Discounts: lower cost to related products and services (such as credit card processing, conferences and trade shows, floral arrangements, insurance coverage, membership to other hospitality associations, reciprocal or discount lodging with other member inns, travel deals, and web reservations)

 

  • Education: foster professional development of members and improve service and professionalism of their staff through annual meetings, experts, featured speakers, round tables, seminars, vendors, webinars, workshops

 

  • Legal representation: expert support, legal hotline, industry updates, and a better understanding of applicable laws and regulations

 

  • Lobbying: have a voice in legislative issues, support state’s lodging sector, work proactively with governmental agencies that regulate the B&B industry, produce favorable industry public policy, and champion for safety and security in the hospitality industry

 

  • Logo: members can use their association logo on their website and marketing materials

 

  • Marketing: collective advertising, email marketing, e-newsletter, public relations, social media

 

  • Gift certificate program: reimbursement for association gift certificates redeemed

 

  • Inspections:  regularly conducted property inspections; evaluated with high standards on specific criteria having to do with safety, comfort, and hospitality

 

  • Mentorship: seasoned innkeepers can mentor less experienced innkeepers, foster profitability and sustainability

 

  • Networking: learn from fellow innkeepers and receive their business referrals

 

  • Partnerships: restaurant and lodging expos; engage in charitable and community endeavors

 

  • Real estate listings: list of bed and breakfast member inns for sales

 

  • Reservations: availability calendar, reservations scheduler

 

  • Travel planner: list of area events, specials, and attractions near each member B&B

 

  • Website: many offer their members an exclusive web page with photos, contact information, inn names and descriptions, locations, amenities, and specials; links to member website, Trip Advisor and other review sites, social media, and member inn’s blog.

association membership

 

There are many advantages to belonging to a bed and breakfast association.  Perhaps the most motivating is making connections with fellow innkeepers and having the accountability and support from your innkeeping peers as well as more marketing opportunities.

 

 

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Upcoming Innkeeping Conferences

upcoming innkeeping conferences

Don’t miss these upcoming innkeeping conferences in 2016.  In January, hundreds of innkeepers and industry partners from all over the country (and beyond) will meet in Austin, Texas to experience the biggest industry conference in the U.S. The PAII Innkeeping Conference & Trade Show January 10 – 14, 2016, will showcase industry trends, best practices, and encourage you to renew and build new relationships with industry partner vendors and innkeepers alike.

Join in special events, mixers, and cutting-edge education, tailored to aspiring to novice to master innkeepers.  You’ll learn new ways to drive your business forward, refine your services, and exceed your business goals at over 40 live sessions.  You’ll consult face-to-face with industry professionals, and engage all of your senses at the Innkeeper Trade Show.

Hosted by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, this conference will provide insight and perspective on our vibrant, challenging, ever changing industry, and more specifically, your investment. Gain a renewed focus, build vital connections, and reignite the passion that drives your hospitality business.

Upcoming-Innkeeping-Conferences
Celebrate 25 years of CABBI (the California Assocation of Bed and Breakfast Inns).

Join them January 31 – February 2, 2016 at the Monterey Marriott for this once-a-year opportunity! Network with fellow innkeepers during the 2016 InnSpire Conference & Trade Show. This year’s trade show is the largest yet and promises to introduce you to the latest and greatest in industry products and services. Join us Monday night on the 10th floor of the Marriott as we host a celebration in honor of CABBI’s 25th anniversary!

The conference will kick off on Sunday with opening keynote speaker Nancy Friedman! An expert in customer service, Nancy is excited to provide InnSpire attendees with real-world takeaways to implement right away and make a difference in your business.  CABBI has over a dozen educational sessions planned, including their always-popular round-table sessions.

upcoming innkeeping conferences

Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers from all over the Mid-Atlantic region are invited to attend the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Trade Show and Conference at the Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia from March 6 through March 8.  Learn from nationally known bed and breakfast industry experts.  Products and services related to the B&B industry will be on exhibit.

 

upcoming innkeeping conferences
The 2016 Knowledge Sharing Summit and Marketplace, hosted by the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals, will take place in Nashville, Tennessee from April 4 through the 6th.  This event will feature over 50 learning opportunities including Think Tank problem busting round tables and workshops that span educational paths from everything from Future Innkeepers to Back of the House to Guest Experience to Heads in Beds, plus multiple pre-conference sessions including professionally facilitated state and local association leader events and more.

If you want to share other bed and breakfast industry events (such as innkeeping conferences) that will take place in 2016, feel free to comment below.  Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging improves the marketing success of bed and breakfast businesses.  Contact us to learn how we help increase your inn’s revenue.  Let’s have our best year yet!

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7 LinkedIn Groups for Innkeepers

linkedin groups for innkeepers

LinkedIn Groups for Innkeepers can be a helpful way to get support and advice from other bed and breakfasts and others in the hospitality industry.  LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 400 million members in over 200 countries and territories.  All LinkedIn groups are private and those open to membership must request to join the group.

 

Upon acceptance, each group has their own rules for what its members are allowed to post.  If the group’s profile and rules state that no links whatsoever should be posted, its members must abide by that. If you would rather find and join a group with a less stringent view of links, then simply look for a different group.

Group members are not obligated to post anything.  They can just read what other members have posted.  However, many social media experts advise that newcomers introduce themselves to their group. Not only does this let the group know about their new members, but the group will likely reach out to welcome its new members.

Things inn-keeping groups share with each other include hospitality-related articles, online marketing tips, questions for inn-keeping best practices, and much more! A great way to learn information is to ask questions from your group.

The following is a list of just some of the LinkedIn groups innkeepers may want to join:

Bed and Breakfast Business has over 900 members. “Bed and Breakfast group is a group for BnB owners who want to collaborate and communicate with other BnB owners about their business, best practices, tips, etc…”

Bed and Breakfast and Guest House Owners has over 2,000 members.  “Have you ever wondered how you can make 6 figures…from just 4 rooms? Want to know how to get raving fans coming back again and again?…If you’re a bed and breakfast owner, small hotel owner, guest house owner, then join our group and let’s share and help each other.”

Bed and Breakfast Inns has over 400 members.  “BedBreakfastTraveler.com’s goal with the Bed and Breakfast Inns group is to foster partnership, networking, and collaboration among the innkeeping industry. Through sharing of information, resources, and advice, the collective standards and profitability of the group shall increase.”

Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers has over 3,700 members.  “This group page is for Bed&Breakfast Owners across the Globe. Finding your niche as a B&B Owner and making it a success. Sharing what is your unique about your B&B, it’s amenities in what you offer and why you know that an experience at your B&B will be well remembered, and one that ensures your guest will return time and time again.”

B&B Owners Association has over 950 members.  “The B&B Owners Association has 3 main purposes:  1) To provide an independent, stable and well funded Internet marketing organization for the accommodation & hospitality sectors.  2) To ensure cost effective & comprehensive Internet marketing for its members and a effective global promotional vehicle on which to promote their businesses.  3) To ensure the public and Internet user have an easy to use and easy to find accommodation resource.”

Innkeepers has around 2,500 members.  “Bed and Breakfast Business Owners worldwide are welcome to network and share on this Group, whether you are an established Bed and Breakfast business or you want to own and run a bed and breakfast business.”

Just Bed and Breakfast Network has around 250 members.  “Justbedandbreakfast.net is the fastest growing worldwide bed and breakfasts directory offering the most complete list of unique properties from historic inns and guest houses to cabins and farm stays. View bed and breakfast descriptions, photos, reviews, and more.”

At the top of the LinkedIn page under “Interests” click “Groups” and this allows searching for these group titles or using other keywords.  Underneath the search box it will list any groups of which you are currently a member.  Underneath that, users can even create their own LinkedIn group should they desire to do so.  They can focus their membership on a specific geographical area or direct the discussion to a specific topic of interest.

Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging may start her own LinkedIn group.  If I did, what kind of topics would you like to see covered?  Please feel free to share a comment below or use my contact form to notify me directly.

Also, if you are a member of one of these LinkedIn groups (or a different LinkedIn group related to hospitality) and think it beneficial for other innkeepers to join, please tell us the name of your group and what you like about it.  I read all my comments and respond when appropriate.  Thank you!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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NC Bed and Breakfast Inns

NC Bed and Breakfast Inns

NC Bed and Breakfast Inns Association started in 1985.  For over thirty years, they have been dedicated to serving those traveling to North Carolina.  This non-profit, statewide organization recognized the need for an association to ensure high standards in safety, housekeeping, food service, comfort, and hospitality for all member inns.  The traveling public can have confidence in their lodging.

NC Bed and Breakfast Inns is the first state association in the United States to require rigorous inspections as a condition of membership.  To maintain these standards, NCBBI re-inspects member inns every two years. 

 

The Many Benefits to B&B Membership in the NCBBI Association:

 

  • Networking, educational, and marketing opportunities
  • Remain knowledgeable and up-to-date about meeting the needs of travelers
  • Keep up with the latest requirements for state and local laws and standards
  • Show potential guests that they can expect a higher level of service
  • The prestige and credibility of passing their rigorous inspection
  • Regular blog and social media activity
  • Their printed travel planners found at welcome centers, tourism attractions, visitor bureaus & chambers of commerce throughout North Carolina
  • Quarterly newsletters and monthly emails with important industry-related news, alerts, opportunities, reminders, and updates

 

From East to West, North Carolina measures 580 miles. That is more than a day’s drive, so NCBBI encourages guests to stay in more than one region as they travel around our gorgeous state. Based on the topography of North Carolina, the association has assigned three different regions.

 

  • Coastal Region: to find the perfect B&B in the Coast, near the Atlantic Ocean, beautiful beaches, birding, water sports, boating and summer fun.
  • Piedmont Region: to find the perfect B&B in the middle Piedmont region, where you’ll find dynamic growing cities, wineries, universities, golf, lakes and rivers.
  • Mountain Region: to find the perfect B&B in the Western Mountains region, home to the beautiful Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge parkway, the Biltmore Estate, waterfalls, hiking and fall foliage.

 

The North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns Association features specials and packages from member inns on their website.  The specials include for military, veterans, and emergency workers (like police, fire and EMS) as well as last minute guestsInnkeepers also offer creative packages so guests can relax and enjoy their stay:

 

  • Anniversary or birthday
  • Girlfriends getaway
  • Local activities
  • Picnic lunch
  • Romance
  • Spa
  • Wedding
  • Wine and Dine

 

From their website, The North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns Association offer its online visitors an opportunity to purchase their NCBBI cookbook so they can sample the best of North Carolina cooking with their collection of bed and breakfast and inn recipes. In addition to the cookbook, give the gift of memories by purchasing lodging gift certificates (available in $50 increments) that may be used at any NCBBI member B&B. 

 

An NCBBI gift certificate is a thoughtful way to say “thank you” or to surprise someone special. They are also great gifts for special occasions like anniversaries, honeymoons, birthdays, and retirements.

 

The NC Bed and Breakfast Inns website lists North Carolina events (searching either by name, type of event, event date, or venue).   They also provide a way to search for local North Carolina attractions by its name, location and type of attraction, or by a specific local area (within a designated amount of miles).

 

Together you can promote all the wonderful things that your state has to offer its visitors.  You can educate potential guests about everything that comes included when they stay at a bed and breakfast.  You will also have a network of innkeepers with which to ask questions and refer each other business when your own inns are full.  Those are just some of the many reasons why it is important to belong to a bed and breakfast association.

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Professional Associations

   

Do you know the value of belonging to professional associations?  Many inns and bed and breakfasts are members of professional associations. There are international, national, regional, and local associations, all of which provide services to both their members and the travelling public. Many require their members to meet specific standards of quality, while others simply require a lodging establishment to pay dues. These associations also facilitate marketing of the individual B&Bs and provide a stamp of approval that the business in question is reputable.

While various local governments have regulations and inspect lodging establishments for health and safety issues, membership in a state or national bed and breakfast association can indicate a higher standard of hospitality. Associations sometimes review their members’ properties and tend to have additional standards of care.  Associations may offer informative conferences.

In the US for example, each state has an innkeeping association (usually non-profit) that exists to promote the industry and tourism. Within those state associations, many city and regional bed and breakfast associations can be found. Many state, city and regional associations, have inspection criteria that often exceed government requirements for safety and cleanliness.  We have talked about organizations like AAA, the Better Business Bureau, and the Professional Association of Innkeepers International in previous blog posts.  People find comfort in staying at places that have earned high ratings.  Think about your B&B’s marketing strategy.

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Are You Media Friendly?

are you media friendly

 

Are you media friendly?  Why not make it easy for a journalist or reporter to do a story on your bed and breakfast? Have a press kit on your website.  Consider asking, “Are you a journalist working on a story about inns or bed and breakfasts? We would love to help you with your story or article.”

 

 

The press kit can include:

  • Media contact‘s name, phone number, e-mail address (owner, innkeeper, public relations person for your B&B)
  • The history of the bed and breakfast: location, year it was built, original owners, type of architecture, date it became a bed and breakfast, etc.
  • Information about the innkeepers/owners: where they are originally from, their career history, their hobbies, pets, kids, etc.
  • Awards you and your B&B have received: from bed and breakfast associations, cooking contests won, your AAA rating, your Better Business Bureau grade, etc.
  • Press coverage: list of and link to articles in newspapers, magazines, online attention
  • High resolution photos of the inside including the rooms as well as the outside of the bed and breakfast as well as the best breakfasts and other food you serve
  • Map of area and nearby attractions
  • Videos made about your B&B or ones that you have had filmed to promote your bed and breakfast
  • Amenities: private hot tub, fireplace, library, spa, garden, etc.
  • Current promotions: such as special packages and upcoming events like weddings
  • Online guest reviews: share positive guest testimonials
  • Your blog

Anything that you think will enhance your reputation as providing exceptional hospitality, this is your opportunity make it accessible for the press to report on it.  Even curious potential guests will be impressed by it when they see it.

If you do not mind members of the press coming to your bed and breakfast to interview you and/or make a video, then be sure to state that on-site tours can be arranged.  There is nothing better than free publicity! Then the press will not have to ask, “Are you media friendly?”

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Is Your B&B Green?

is your B&B green?

 

 

Is your B&B green? Would you like to know a way to possibly reduce your costs and be environmentally friendly? A “green” bed and breakfast has the goal of promoting the sustainability of the earth’s natural resources.

 

There are four main areas of green initiatives:

  • energy efficiency
  • conservation of water and other natural resources
  • waste reduction
  • education

Some practical applications of this include:

  • encouraging guests to re-use their towels and linens
  • using soap dispensers instead of individually wrapped bars of soap
  • low-flow shower heads and toilets
  • using green cleaning supplies with safe cleaning agents
  • replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact flourescent light bulbs
  • re-insulating your bed and breakfast
  • installing solar panels on the roof
  • having an energy efficient furnace
  • installing a rainwater collection system to redirect the water to your inn’s garden
  • composting everything possible
  • recycling and purchasing recycled products

You can proclaim your inn’s commitment to protecting the environment by implementing these practices.  In the long run, this could save you money with lower energy bills.  If you belong to a state bed and breakfast association, they may be able to endorse you as a green bed and breakfast if someone evaluates your green practices.  You can promote to your guests that you are a green bed and breakfast.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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When You Need to Unwind…

when you need to unwind

 

 

 

There are days when you need to unwind. For the bed and breakfast owner, it could be any of the following situations:

 

 

 

  • An unexpected expense (anything from needing a new roof to a new refrigerator)
  • Guests (most are great, but a few can be hard to deal with)
  • No time to yourself (you are always attending to everyone and everything else)
  • Not enough bookings (not earning enough)

Possible Solutions:

  • Fix repairs yourself or barter your rooms in exchange for something you need
  • Stick to your bed and breakfast policies even if it means turning away business
  • Hire an additional employee (housekeeper, chef, etc.) at your B&B
  • Hire inn-sitters or interim innkeepers
  • Add a blog with fresh content to bring more visitors to your website
  • Pay to be listed in popular bed and breakfast directories

There are always steps you can take to make the bed and breakfast way of life easier for you, the innkeeper.  Don’t forget about reaching out to your community and making affiliations with a local florists, restaurants, spas, chambers of commerce, and so on. Remember too that there are bed and breakfast associations in which you can become members. The more interaction with other people, the more likely you will have success!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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BBB Accreditation Standards

BBB Standards

Do you know what BBB accreditation means to your bed and breakfast? Better Business Bureau Accreditation is an honor – and not every business is eligible. Businesses that meet their high standards are invited to join BBB. Businesses deemed to meet Accreditation Standards are presented to the BBB’s Board for review and acceptance as a BBB Accredited Business.

BBB ensures that high standards for trust are set and maintained. They exist so consumers and businesses alike have an unbiased source to guide them on matters of trust. BBB provides educational information and expert advice that is free of charge and easily accessible.

BBB sees trust as a function of two primary factors – integrity and performance. Integrity includes respect, ethics and intent. Performance speaks to a business’s track record of delivering results in accordance with BBB standards and/or addressing customer concerns in a timely, satisfactory manner.

The BBB Code of Business Practices represents sound advertising, selling and customer service practices that enhance customer trust and confidence in business. The Code is built on the BBB Standards for Trust, eight principles that summarize important elements of creating and maintaining trust in business.

1. Build Trust
Establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace.

2. Advertise Honestly
Adhere to established standards of advertising and selling.

3. Tell the Truth
Honestly represent products and services, including clear and adequate disclosures of all material terms.

4. Be Transparent
Openly identify the nature, location, and ownership of the business, and clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy.

5. Honor Promises
Abide by all written agreements and verbal representations.

6. Be Responsive
Address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally, and in
good faith.

7. Safeguard Privacy
Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of customers regarding the use of their
information.

8. Embody Integrity
Approach all business dealings, marketplace transactions and
commitments with integrity.

Each bed and breakfast, whether BBB accredited or not, has a rating. The BBB letter grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, your grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about your bed and breakfast despite their requests for the information.

BBB assigns letter grades from A+ (highest) to F (lowest). In some cases, BBB will not grade your business (indicated by an NR, or “No Rating”) for reasons that include insufficient information about a business or ongoing review/update of your business’ file.

BBB Business Reviews generally explain the most significant factors that raised or lowered a business’ grade.  BBB grades are not a guarantee of a business’ reliability or performance, and BBB recommends that consumers consider a business’ grade in addition to all other available information about the business grading elements.

BBB grades are based on information in BBB files with respect to the following factors:

1. Business’ complaint history with BBB.

2. Type of business.

3. Time in business.

4. Background information on business in BBB files.

5. Failure to honor commitments to BBB.

6. Licensing and government actions known to BBB.

7. Advertising issues known to BBB.

Bed and breakfast owners, if you are unsure if you have a BBB grade, look up your own name in the BBB directory to see what your file says.  If there are any unresolved complaints, you can contact your local BBB to resolve any issues with your BBB Standards.  It is best to be on good terms with the BBB.  People do consider a business’ BBB grade.  You can apply for membership by contacting the nearest BBB location if you are not already a member.

 

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Online Guest Book

online-guest-book

You may already have a guest book in each room of your bed and breakfast for guests to make their comments, but did you ever think of putting their written praises on your website in an “online guest book page”?  Of course, you will need to get their permission in order to use their comment and please respect their wishes if they prefer you not give their full name or specific city when you quote them in a testimonial.

Website visitors will gain insight from what previous guests have said about their experience staying at your bed and breakfast. Some bed and breakfasts already have a web page devoted entirely to feedback they have received.

Your guests may think of reasons that you did not even think of as to why they liked staying at your bed and breakfast! It does not get any better than putting unsolicited positive feedback on your website so potential guests can feel good about booking one of your rooms because they heard recommendations directly from actual guests who have stayed with you!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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