Category Archives: Amenities

Do You Know What Makes You Different From Your Competition?

guest room with bed in front of lit fireplace

 

Businesses always have competitors, so do you know what makes you different from your competition? Do you clearly show why bed and breakfast guests should stay with you and NOT another local inn or a hotel?

No matter what kind of B&B you have, you can emphasize your specific amenities, strengths, and accomplishments. Examples include:

 

  • Accommodating to Guests’ Dietary Restrictions
  • Art on Display and/or Guests Creating Art (with Instructor) During Their Stay
  • Bikes Available for Guests to Use During Their Stay
  • Breakfast Delivered to Your Room
  • Business Amenities: High Speed Internet, Desks, Electronic Charging of Devices
  • Community Outreach, Local Volunteer Service, and/or Sponsoring a Cause
  • Consistent (and Exceptionally High) Online Reviews from Guests
  • Culinary Classes or Retreat for Your Guests or Your Own Cookbook
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Station
  • B&B Farm with Animals to Pet and Products (Such as Goat Cheese)
  • Fresh Floral Arrangements in Guest Rooms (Part of a Package)
  • Game Room with Pool Table, Ping Pong Table, Chess, etc.
  • Gardening Awards for Incredibly Beautiful and Well-Maintained Grounds
  • Gift Shop with Coffee Mugs, T-Shirts, Postcards, etc.
  • Gourmet Chocolate and/or Chocolate Desserts with Hot Cocoa or Coffee
  • Green Leader in the Hospitality Industry
  • Guest Packages Customized for Specific Interests and/or Occasions
  • Host Elegant Private Events Like Parties, Retreats, Receptions, and Weddings
  • Indoor and/or Outdoor Pool for Guests to Use
  • Library of Books and Other Media Available to Your Guests
  • Local Love from Other Local Businesses (Receiving Word of Mouth Referrals)
  • Logo That Is Memorable and/or Catchy Slogan for Your Inn
  • Luxurious Spa or Private In-Room Massage Service
  • Modern Inn with Modern Decor and Amenities
  • Movie Theater Screening Room
  • Only Historic Bed and Breakfast in Your Town
  • Partnership with a Tour Guide Company That Picks Up Your Guests
  • Picnic Lunch Option for Your Guests (Can Be Part of a Package)
  • Plenty of Free Parking Available to Guests and Well-Lit Inn at Night
  • Private Wine Tastings or a Complimentary Social Hour with Wine and Cheese
  • Professional Photography of Your Inn and The Food You Serve Your Guests
  • Restaurant Inn Open to the Public (Not Limited to Your Overnight Guests)
  • Strong Online Social Media Presence
  • Tickets to Local Concerts or Events (For An Additional Fee)
  • Won a Local, Regional, or Even National Best Recipe Contest
  • Yoga and/or Fitness Focused Inn with Classes for Guests

When you know HOW you are different from your competition, then you can be sure to communicate your message of uniqueness to attract even more guests. Be sure to feature what makes your inn different in regular blog posts as well as in social media. This is a successful way to position your own brand. Make your B&B the obvious first choice for those looking to stay in your area!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Choose The Right Bed and Breakfast Linens

deep white tub in log cabin with white guest towels

 

As owners of bed and breakfasts, you build your brand based on the quality and level of hospitality you offer to your guests.  This includes guests’ first impression of your place and their individual guest room down to the look and feel of your sheets and bed and breakfast linens.

 

Innkeepers should strive to provide an experience above and beyond their guests’ expectations.  Thus, choosing quality linens for your bed and breakfast is of great importance.  Create an environment where your guests will not want to leave.  This will encourage them to come back as soon as they can return.

Here are some tips to help guide you when selecting your bed and breakfast linens. Before you start buying linens for each bedroom, make note of how many beds you’ll be fitting within each room as well as their respective sizes (twin, queen, king, etc.). Make sure you have extra pillows for your guests as well as a couple quality blankets for each bed.  One blanket can be placed on the bed between the comforter and the top sheet while the other blanket can be put in an accessible guest drawer or closet space.

When choosing the quality of your bed and breakfast linens, ensure that the material is 100% natural content featuring a thread count of at least 500. Consider choosing white to avoid any fading colors. White also has the advantage of looking crisp and clean while giving an airy and welcoming feel to the room.

When selecting your bathroom sets, make sure you select plush, 100% cotton towels with a dense loop. Anything below these quality standards can detract from the guest experience. Also ensure that you have the correct sizes, including bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths.

Coordination is key. Colors should play off each other to give a natural flow from the bedroom to the bathroom.  What matters is the perceptions of each guest. Whatever you end up choosing, make sure the bedroom and bathroom colors complement each other.

Be sure to provide a generous number of towels, to give your guests the feeling of comfort and luxury.  By having an extra amount of linens and towels, they will last longer.  When your towels are plush and sheets are smooth, your guests are more likely to remember their positive experience (including restful sleep) and return to your inn for another visit.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Decorating and Amenities For Bed and Breakfast Bathrooms

deep bath tub with picture frame on wall by window with raised fabric window treatments

Bed and breakfast bathrooms can really enhance the experience of your appreciative guests.  Your unique decorations, attractive colors, magnificent materials, fancy fixtures, luxurious linens, and plush amenities all make a big impression on them.  Likewise, it is important to have complimentary bathroom supplies made available in each guest bathroom.  Your guests will remember your attention to the details.

Be sure to decorate your bathrooms in a way that complements the look of the corresponding bedrooms and overall theme of your place.  Guests will expect the décor of bathrooms to be different depending upon the style or location of your bed and breakfast.  The following are just a few suggestions and there are many more decorating options available to the bed and breakfast owner.

Beach bed and breakfast bathrooms

  • feature shells, starfish, sand dollars, sea horse, fish, coral reef, a captains wheel, anchor, or surfboards
  • have water, sand, or coral colors

Farm bed and breakfast bathrooms

  • feature roosters, cows, horses, gardens, corn stalks, or seeds
  • have farm colors like grass green, barn red, or sunflower yellow

Historic bed and breakfast bathrooms

  • feature pictures of previous residents, antique furniture, vintage signs, or a claw-foot tub
  • colors like black and white (like old photos) or rust

There are a variety of materials used in bathrooms, including:

  • Brick
  • Carpet
  • Glass
  • Rugs
  • Stonework
  • Tile
  • Wallpaper

Fixtures, such as:

  • Cabinets
  • Lights
  • Mirrors
  • Showers
  • Sinks
  • Towel bars and hooks
  • Tubs
  • Vanities

Linens:

  • Robes
  • Towels (double loop with high thread count)
  • Washcloths

Luxury amenities and other extras like:

  • Candles
  • Columns
  • Fireplace
  • Flowers
  • Furniture
  • Heated bathroom floors
  • Jetted tub
  • Lounging area
  • Murals
  • Plants
  • Shelving
  • Skylights
  • Television
  • View
  • Wine (chilled)

Guests will be thankful for complimentary bathroom supplies, such as:

  • Bath gel
  • Bath mats
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Drinking glasses
  • Hairdryer
  • Lotion
  • Make-up remover pads (to avoid stains on your washcloths and towels)
  • Mouthwash (travel size)
  • Shampoo and conditioner (travel size)
  • Shower cap
  • Soap (soap bars should be individually wrapped)
  • Tissues (with lotion)
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste (travel size)
  • Toilet paper (individually wrapped rolls)
  • Waste basket (with throw-away liner)

You may want to reward your guests by having a frequent stay and guest referral program allows you to give discounts for those returning again and recommending your B&B to their friends.  Keep in mind the image your bed and breakfast seeks to portray to your guests: comfort, luxury, eco-friendly, and more.  The possibilities are endless as to how you decorate your bathroom and what amenities you offer to your guests.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Gilchrist and Soames

Gilchrist and Soames offers luxury and eco-friendly bath amenities such as high-quality shampoos, conditioners, soaps, shower gels, and body lotions.  Gilchrist and Soames is based in Indianapolis, Indiana and Peterborough, London, England.

Bee Kind Jet Set Travel Pack

Their popular BeeKind Collection features honey and certified organic extracts of red clover, calendula, lemon grass, and chamomile.  A portion of the net profits from these products supports honey bee and sustainable pollination research. I like their cute travel size BeeKind Jet Set Travel Pack which includes: shampoo, condition, shower gel, body care lotion, and skincare bar that comes with a sleek, custom-designed BeeKind toiletry bag.

Gilchrist and Soames is committed to protecting the environment.  Safeguarding their delicate ecology is deeply rooted in their business philosophy.  They pursue new materials and technologies to make their packaging as recyclable/re-usable as possible.  Their products are never tested on animals.

Gilchrist and Soames supports Clean the World’s Parnership Recycling Program to advance the global hygiene revolution.  Did you know that today in the United States alone we will throw away 1 million bars of soap?

With the donation of your discarded soap and shampoo products to Clean the World, they will be closer to their goal of saving at least one million lives each year.

Donating unused soap as well as plastic bottles:

  • Reduces the spread of illnesses and deaths related to a lack of proper hygiene
  • Reduces waste
  • Minimizes environmental impact
  • Promotes a sustainable future
  • Creates “green” jobs across North America
  • Impacts those suffering domestically and globally

Value to participating hotels and bed and breakfasts:

  • Receive valuable recognition and positive guest perception by working with Clean the World
  • Spread the word with web content, newsletters, articles, and press releases
  • Appeal to the meeting and event planner industry by attracting professionals who are seeking to book with properties adopting sustainability initiatives
  • Reduce waste disposal and recycling fees

Hospitality recycling partners will receive:

  • Clean the World Collection/Shipping bins
  • Transportation of donated items from your property
  • Access to online training materials.
  • A customer service representative for support
  • Quarterly, detailed goods donation reports
  • A framed certificate that can be proudly displayed in the lobby area to inform guests of your bed and breakfast’s participation in their program

Gilchrist and Soames not only has excellent products, but they support green initiatives such as soap and bottle recycling, eco-friendly packaging, and no testing done on animals.  Clean the World is an affordable way to positively impact the environment as well as aid people in need of hygiene products.  See the video below for more information.

Hospitality Partner Program from Clean the World on Vimeo

Note: I receive Amazon Affiliate commissions from purchases made through the Amazon link.

Can Your B&B Guests Charge Their Devices?

large chairs with television, fireplace, and other technology

 

Can your B&B guests charge their devices? With an increasing number of people owning and traveling with multiple mobile electronic devices, bed and breakfast inns must think about offering places (especially in their guest rooms) for their bed and breakfast guests to charge their electronic devices.

 

For example, just one person could bring their business cell phone, personal cell phone, laptop, e-reader, tablet, i-Pod, etc. You get the picture!

The location of the charging stations/outlets should be conveniently located.  No one wants to move or duck behind furniture to get to them.  Ideally, they should be on either side of the bed, they can be built into lamps or desks, and be put near bathroom mirrors and guest room entryways.

New bed and breakfast construction should plan to offer more outlets and USB ports than what was once the standard number of outlets. Older accommodations can have their outlets “retro-fitted” to handle multiple devices.  Of course, make sure your outlet strips are surge protected.

The 1810 Emerson House Bed and Breakfast offers guest rooms with a dual USB wall outlet for ease of charging all their electronic devices.  If this historic property can add the technology later, then so can your inn if it needs to be updated.

The Inn on First in Napa, California not only offers iPod docks, but also i-Pods with curated playlists designed to heighten couples’ romance.  Now that is going above and beyond guest expectations!

Bed and breakfast inns should think about their “plug-ability” for the electronic devices of their guests. The last thing they want to do is search for hidden power outlets and find out they are not in convenient spots or that they have more devices than outlets in the room!

If you do have extra outlets and USB ports, be sure to mention that on the list of guest room amenities on your bed and breakfast website.  On social media, you can share a picture of your own phone, tablet, laptop, i-Pod, and/or e-reader charging in a guest room and write something clever like “Our guests can easily charge a variety of electronic devices in the privacy of their own rooms.”

This is especially useful if some of your guests tend to be business travelers.  Consider putting a blog post about your business amenities, including any meeting and/or banquet rooms.  Letting your guests charge their devices (usually people use multiple electronic devices) in their own guest rooms is smart hospitality.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Feature The Benefits of Your Unique Inn

feature the benefits

 

If you feature the benefits of your unique inn, you will attract more guests.  Good marketers use features to explain and develop benefits. People often get features and benefits mixed up.  That’s easy to do. Features are characteristics of the product or service, while benefits are positive values to the purchaser.

 

 

Let me illustrate with relevant bed and breakfast inn examples.

 

Bed and Breakfast Features:

  • 8 bedrooms each with private baths
  • conference room
  • electric vehicle charging
  • fireplaces
  • spa
  • outdoor swimming pool
  • wired internet

 

B&B Guest Benefits:

  • comfort of your own private bathroom
  • convenience of a conference room on site
  • environmental friendliness of electric vehicle charging
  • romantic appeal of fireplaces
  • relaxation and health appeal of your spa
  • refreshing dip in the pool on a hot summer day
  • enjoyment of free internet access throughout your inn

 

Also take the time to note what your previous guests have commented or listed in their online reviews. Not all feedback will be positive because you cannot possible please everyone all the time.  You can take potentially negative comments (or objections) and market them in a positive light.  Put this on your website and share in social media.

 

Examples:

  • “Out in the middle of nowhere”= “get away from the hustle and bustle of the city”
  • “Too expensive” = “great value for all that is included in your stay”
  • “Rains a lot” = “plenty to do inside if it rains such as…”

 

Now it’s your turn.  What benefits (not just features) do your guests receive when they stay with you? For example, if you have a game room, you can write, “Guests have fun playing our games in our billiard room.”  Be sure to show pictures of your pool table, chess set, Scrabble board game, and even jigsaw puzzles (see below) and post on Facebook, for instance.

Also, take note of any guest complaints you have and see if you can turn it into a positive. For example, a vegetarian bed and breakfast may receive a complaint that they do not serve meat, but they can share guest testimonials about their delicious, hearty, and healthy vegetarian breakfasts.  Of course, be sure to get the permission from guests, before you put any pictures of them online.

Since each inn is different, notice what your guests say about your inn.  Then you are well on your way to attracting more guests when you feature the benefits of your unique inn.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

 

Popular Guest Room Amenities

popular guest room amenities

 

 

Popular guest room amenities attract potential bed and breakfast guests.  Bed and breakfast guests are willing to pay more for bedrooms offering more amenities.  

 

 

Some bed and breakfasts have a room comparison chart that lists the guest room amenities available and then puts a dot or check by the amenities that correspond with each particular guest room.  This makes it easy for online visitors to see a room comparison and the price differences since there may be some rooms that have more amenities than others within the same bed and breakfast.

The amenities bed and breakfasts offer often depend upon the location and size of each bed and breakfast.  Geographical location plays a role in choosing guest room amenities (fireplaces usually more common in climates with cooler weather).  Likewise, the size of the bed and breakfast matters.  Typically the more rooms an inn has, the higher the likelihood of upscale amenities.

The amenities at bed and breakfasts range from small things (like an alarm clock and stationery) to big things (like wi-fi internet access and a large flat screen television). There are certain amenities that are usually standard.  For example, almost every bed and breakfast offers a private bathroom to their guests.

Other amenities in bedrooms are less common place.  For example, in-room hot tubs are seen as an added luxury.  This is typically found in bed and breakfasts that cater to those seeking a romantic destination.

The following is an alphabetical list of some guest bedroom amenities and features your bed and breakfast may offer:

  • Alarm clock radio
  • Antiques
  • Bathroom (private and connected)
  • Beds (oversized and comfortable)
  • Bedside table on each side of the bed
  • Blankets (extra)
  • Books
  • Bottled water
  • Ceiling fan(s)
  • Chairs
  • Chocolates
  • Coffee maker
  • Coasters
  • Coat rack
  • Comforters (extra)
  • Desk
  • DVD player
  • Ear plugs
  • Evening sweet treat
  • Fireplace (hand carved wood or marble)
  • Flowers
  • Furniture (such as antique or leather)
  • Guidebook with local maps and restaurant menus
  • Hair dryer
  • Handicap accessible amenities
  • Hangers
  • Hot tubs
  • Ice bucket and glassware
  • Individual climate control
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Lamps (such as Tiffany lamps)
  • Lighted make-up mirror
  • Luggage racks
  • Magazines
  • Microwave
  • Mini-Bar
  • Mini-Fridge
  • Mints
  • Mirror (full length)
  • Outlets with USB ports
  • Pillows (extra)
  • Pictures
  • Plants
  • Postcards
  • Private balcony, deck, patio, porch, or veranda
  • Private entrance
  • Reading lamps
  • Refrigerator (small)
  • Robes
  • Rose petals on your bed
  • Rugs
  • Separate sitting area
  • Sink (in the bedroom)
  • Slippers
  • Snacks or evening dessert in your room
  • Sofas
  • Stationery
  • Table
  • Tablet computer (stays in the room)
  • Technology charging stations
  • Television (large flat screen) with premium cable channels
  • Windows showing a breathtaking view
  • Wine and cheese
  • Wireless internet access (complimentary)

We did not include things that are typically found inside guest bathrooms which are additional amenities.  Bed and breakfasts may suggest a packing list to help their guests prepare for their visit.

Bed and breakfasts are wise to point out exactly everything that is included in the stay at their luxurious bed and breakfast versus what guests may have to pay for if they chose to stay at a hotel (concierge, breakfast, parking, free wi-fi, wine and cheese, and much more).  By offering popular guest bedroom amenities, bed and breakfasts can separate themselves from other lodging destinations and host more guests.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Bed and Breakfast Spas

bed and breakfast spas

 

Bed and breakfast spas can deliver the royal treatment to your guests.  If your B&B does not have a spa, an easy alternative involves scheduling massage therapists to visit your guests’ rooms at your bed and breakfast or making arrangements for your guests to receive a discount at a local spa.

 

Reasons for Spa Services:

  • Beauty treatments
  • Cleansing
  • Detoxification
  • Exfoliation
  • Improve complexion, circulation, and flexibility
  • Relaxation
  • Relieve aches, pains, and tension
  • Youthful appearance

Services:

  • Aromatherapy: relaxing with enjoyable aromas
  • Facials: including masks, exfoliating scrubs, acne treatments, etc.
  • Hair removal: waxing any unwanted hair
  • Manicure: finger nails and hands given royal treatment 
  • Massage: such as deep tissue, Swedish, prenatal, etc.
  • Pedicure: toe nails and feet given ultimate attention
  • Sauna: hot and steamy relaxation
  • Stones: strategically placed stones–hot to relax or cold to heal

Packages include a combination of services done on the same day.  Some B&B’s let their guests decide for half day or whole day treatments.  Couples love couples massages so be sure to promote them to couples who are newly engaged, honeymooning, or celebrating an anniversary!

Guests can be pampered all day long at bed and breakfast spas!  All guests will love receiving care from the outside in!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography