Category Archives: Blog and Social Media

Why Your Inn Will Profit From Blogging

your inn will profit from blogging

 

Your inn will profit from blogging.  If you are not already consistently offering quality blog posts, now is the time to do so.  Let’s examine the benefits of bed and breakfast blogging as well as learn what qualities to look for in a bed and breakfast blogger.

 

 

First of all, search engines like Google absolutely love and reward fresh content.  They give preference to websites which continually add new information.  A blog post is one more indexed page on your website. It signals to the search engine spiders that your website is active.

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

The more information you provide on your website and the more questions you answer, the more likely web visitors are to take action like contacting you, reading more of your website, following you on social media, and booking a room.

You can share the following information in blog posts:

  • Behind the scenes: feature your employees backgrounds and give fun facts about them
  • Events: let potential guests know about upcoming local events
  • Packages: people are willing to pay more for something that is already planned and included (such as flowers and tickets)
  • Recommendations: promote local businesses in your area and let them know you do (they might return the favor)
  • Reviews: share rave reviews from your previous guests
  • Rooms: show pictures of your guest rooms, tell each one’s amenities, reveal why the room has its particular name
  • Specials: offer discounts to mid-week stays or specific groups of people like senior citizens, veterans, and emergency workers

The effort you put it now will pay off well into the future because people will be able to view your blog posts years from now.  Providing valuable content means your content will spread. Blog posts can be shared in social media to expose yourself to a whole new audience.

Be sure to attract more guests with calls to action.  Encourage them to contact you, connect on social media, and book now.

Write for your ideal guest.   Know who you are trying to attract.  Pick a diverse range of keywords related to that topic.  For example, “eco-friendly inns” can also be described as “green”, “environmentally friendly” and use related keywords like “electric car charging”, “energy efficient lighting”, “rain water saving”, and so on.

List out relevant keywords describing your guest, your local area, what makes your inn so unique, and different seasons of the year.

Keywords to describe the type of guest you cater to:

  • adventure seeking
  • antique lovers
  • beach lovers
  • bird watchers
  • business travelers
  • celebrating birthdays and anniversaries
  • engaged couples and newlyweds
  • girlfriend getaways
  • mystery solvers
  • romantic couples
  • scrap-bookers
  • shopping lovers
  • sports enthusiasts
  • wine connoisseurs
  • winter sports participants
  • yoga exercisers

 

Keywords to describe your local area:

  • amazing views
  • amusement park
  • annual conferences
  • art galleries
  • breweries
  • business conferences
  • college campuses
  • concerts
  • sports games
  • theatre
  • tourist attractions
  • trade shows

 

Keywords to describe the uniqueness of your inn:

  • amenities
  • B&B inn association membership
  • awards
  • catering
  • diamond rating
  • eco-friendly
  • gardens
  • handicap accessible
  • historic
  • kid friendly
  • pet-friendly
  • press coverage
  • restaurant
  • retreats
  • Select Registry membership
  • spa
  • tea room
  • Trip Advisor reviews
  • vegetarian or vegan
  • waterfront property
  • weddings
  • wine tours

 

Keywords regarding different times of the year:

  • Christmas
  • Fall foliage
  • New Years
  • Patriotic holidays
  • Valentine’s Day

your inn will profit from blogging

 

Does this seem overwhelming?  Why not do what you do best as an owner/innkeeper and have a professional like me do your online marketing (blogging and social media)?  These are some qualifications you should look for from hospitality marketing professionals:

 

 

  • What is their education background?
  • What experience do they have?
  • Do they seem easy to work with?
  • Will they be dedicated to your bottom line and getting you the results you need?
  • Are they active in blogging and social media for their own business?
  • Do they have client testimonials?

 

Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free consultation today.  Feel free to add comments or questions below.

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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

Everybody Writes: Linked In

everybody writes linked in

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content gives some recommendations for writing on Linked In.  This is a social media platform for professional people.

First and foremost, you can optimize your profile with keyword-rich descriptions, a stand-out headline as well as a link to your blog and Twitter handle.  Actively share relevant content on a regular basis.

 

Everybody Writes LinkedIn Tips:

  • Use concise introductions
  • Use snappy headlines
  • Include a clear call to action
  • Use active language
  • Cite tangible outcomes
  • Include an image
  • Consider the keywords you want to be known for
  • Align your content to your member’s needs and interests
  • Make your content “snackable” and valuable
  • Manage your updates by measuring engagement
  • Follow up on comments
  • Keep in mind which audience you are targeting
  • Cater your message to a specific audience for better engagement
  • Be consistent and track your results

Top 10 Overused LinkedIn Buzzwords:

  • Responsible
  • Strategic
  • Creative
  • Effective
  • Patient
  • Expert
  • Organizational
  • Driven
  • Innovative
  • Analytical

Other Everybody Writes LinkedIn tips:

  • Claim your vanity URL
  • Customize your profile by moving parts around, embed examples or other media
  • http://help.linkedin.com/ is the link to getting help on LinkedIn

Since we are talking about LinkedIn, I wanted to also share some interesting facts and statistics about this professional social network that were recently compiled by Digital Marketing Ramblings:

  • 380 million people use LinkedIn
  • 107 million of those users live in the United States
  • LinkedIn gets two new users per second
  • Reaches over 200 countries and territories
  • LinkedIn profiles are 11 times more likely to be viewed if it has a photo
  • LinkedIn members are 13 times more likely to have their profiles viewed if they list specific skills
  • 56% of LinkedIn users are male
  • 8.33% of Americans use LinkedIn while they are on the job
  • 13% of all United States adults use LinkedIn daily
  • 29% of all American social media users use LinkedIn
  • 41% of millionaires use LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn has over 6,000 employees and offices in 26 different cities
  • 50% of those accessing LinkedIn do so from mobile devices
  • 3 million active job listings on LinkedIn
  • 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates

LinkedIn Groups may be a great way to post questions and/or share answers. Usually many people are willing to share best practices.  LinkedIn groups for Bed and Breakfast Owners include:

  • Bed and Breakfast Business
  • Bed and Breakfast Forum
  • Bed and Breakfast and Guesthouse Owners Groups
  • Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers
  • ed and Breakfast Inns
  • Bed and Breakfast, Inns, and Vacations Rentals.
  • Bed and Breakfast News
  • B&B Owners Association
  • Innkeepers
  • Just Bed and Breakfast Network
  • and many more!

Be sure to keep Ann Handley’s LinkedIn content advice in mind when you venture onto this professional social media website.  You may become connected via LinkedIn to past bed and breakfast guests as well as potential guests. LinkedIn is a great way to promote your B&B business.

Note: I receive Amazon Affiliate commissions from purchases made through these Amazon links.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

What Should My Inn Blog About?

inn blog about

What should my inn blog about, you ask?  Since each inn is unique, your blog should give readers a better understanding of your particular bed and breakfast. Is your location a relaxed beach setting, a scenic mountain location, a rural country farm, a contemporary urban inn, or something else entirely?  Entice your website visitors to stay at your bed and breakfast.  Pictures are a very visual way to attract vacationers.

 

Why do people visit your local area?  What local leisure activities can guests participate in?  Does your area have any local tourist attractions?  Blogging about this will give you fresh content and keywords for search engine optimization.  Moreover, knowing this information helps you target different types of guests:

  • Adventurers
  • Antique lovers
  • Art and drama lovers
  • Board game players
  • Business groups
  • Business travelers
  • Class reunion attendees
  • Environmentally conscious people
  • History buffs
  • Hobby lovers
  • Honeymooners
  • Mystery lovers
  • Pet owners
  • Readers
  • Relaxation seekers
  • Shoppers and antique lovers
  • Sight seers
  • Spa lovers
  • Special occasion reasons (birthday, anniversary, family reunion)
  • Sports spectators
  • Vegetarians
  • Wedding guests
  • Wine lovers

 

Do you offer any special packages or retreats?

  • Girlfriend getaways
  • Quilting retreats
  • Romance package
  • Writers retreats
  • Yoga retreats

 

How does your inn serve breakfast?  Some B&B inns have their own restaurant.  Some bring breakfast to your room on a tray while others have a common dining area for guests.  At some bed and breakfasts, guests can choose from a menu what they would like to have while at others everyone the same delicious gourmet cooking.

Be sure to ask guests if they have special dietary needs.  Your blog can feature pictures of your breakfasts as well as recipes of guests’ favorite dishes.

 

What kind of amenities can your guests enjoy?

  • Game rooms
  • Gardens
  • Hot tubs
  • Luxurious linens
  • Pool

 

Potential guests also like to know more about the owners, innkeepers, and staff members of bed and breakfasts.  Be sure to put their pictures on your website including their name, a couple sentences about what they do, and what they recommend guests try when they visit.  You could even feature staff members that receive a lot of compliments from your guest feedback.

Be sure to tell guests what you, as an innkeeper, love the most.  Let them know that you will be attentive to their needs, but also give them the privacy they desire.  If you have a historic bed and breakfast, be sure to share your inn’s history.

Do you have any accreditations or affiliations?  Membership in a bed and breakfast association and/or having received a certain award or level of distinction will set you apart from other bed and breakfasts.

 

Do you have your own bed and breakfast shop?

  • Coffee mugs
  • Cookbooks
  • Robes
  • Soap

 

How does your inn celebrate the seasons?

  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Winter

 

How does your inn celebrate holidays?

  • New Years
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

 

Your inn can blog about remodeled or redecorated rooms.  Improvements to your inn are worth talking about.  Previous guests may want to return based on your description of the new changes.

Do you offer any incentives for frequent stays and/or referrals?  Reward your guests for returning and recommending your B&B to friends. On the topic of frequency, be sure to have a frequently asked questions section on your website.

Let guests know how to connect with your bed and breakfast on other social media websites. Have a presence on one or more of the following websites can make a big difference in your visibility online.

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

 

When you share your blog on social media, this lets people know more about you and your bed and breakfast inn.  Give website visitors an “inn-side” look at your B&B from behind the scenes.  Having a blog and being active on social media is a great way to draw more attention to your website.

Don’t have the time or desire to write a blog or stay active on social media?  Let Kristi Dement at Bed and Breakfast Blogging do all the hard work for you.  Her clients see results with consistently booked rooms.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Tips

 

visual storytelling tips

 

This is the last of the series of blog posts discussing the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio.  This features their smart tips for social media photography.

 

 

Visual storytelling tips and social media photography tips:

  • Up your resolution to the highest resolution possible
  • Collages need to be of similar resolution
  • Divide your images into thirds either horizontally or vertically
  • Align your image slightly off center to make it more engaging
  • Variety matters, use a range of angles and setups
  • Take more pictures than you think you need
  • Frame your shot with less cluttered backgrounds
  • Use close-cropped images
  • Work the angles
  • Shine bright with lighting and filters
  • Show don’t sell
  • Celebrate occasions
  • Share great quotes
  • Include photos related to your company’s lifestyle
  • Inspire through the use of images by showcasing your company’s lifestyle, values, and opinions
  • Show how your products and services contribute to the greater good
  • Encourage emotion by featuring a sentimental side when appropriate
  • Propel action into a still image
  • Sprinkle in humor and have a little fun
  • Embrace creativity
  • Not all pictures have to have only one item
  • Go behind the scenes to make your customers feel like part of your brand

This is the conclusion to the blog series about the book The Power of Visual Storytelling.  I highly recommend this book.  I literally took twenty pages of handwritten notes from information in this book!  A special thank you to the authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio for letting me share some of their book.  I am not being compensated for this review, I just really think this book is great any business looking to grow their online marketing.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Responses

visual storytelling responses

Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, authors of the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand remind us that anything can happen at a moment’s notice online. Companies need to identify common occurrences, both positive and negative.  It means looking for opportunities to create visual storytelling responses all around us.  Some strategies include:

 

  • Understand the most important factors that can influence sales and customer leads
  • Weather may be an important theme to craft content around
  • At key times of the year, companies can announce awards, rankings, events, speeches, partnerships, and make other announcements
  • Understand the most frequently asked service inquiries and comments, both positive and negative
  • Develop a robust content library to allow time for real-time opportunities
  • The best storytellers play off their audience responses to hit the message home
  • Extend the life of conversations and engagement as long as it is relevant
  • Look at the content fans are sharing each day

While on the topic of user generated content, there is a higher barrier to engagement if it is not natural for fans to share visual content.  Reward sharing behavior with a campaign, contest, and/or rewards.  Look for themes in the most common types of photos, videos, hashtags, and sentiment.

Choose a clear call to action such as a unique hashtag available across all social media channels.  Make full disclosure to customers how and where their photos and videos will be shared.  Highlight examples to show a range of creativity.  Give rewards and recognition by having an “image of the week” or randomly sending a thank you.

Customers can share their own content through videos shared on social networks like YouTube, Instagram, and the Vine.  Look at your content calendar to determine which video(s) will help tell your visual story in a way that other media cannot.  Think about your target audience, desired end goals, and what resources are available.  Evaluate the needs of your audience and show off your personality.  Mix up the content to a variety of different types and lengths of videos. Common videos include:

  • Announcements
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Case studies
  • Celebrity partnerships
  • Community involvement
  • Company overview
  • Demos
  • Event highlights
  • FAQs
  • Goals
  • How-to
  • Live streams
  • Office tours
  • Parodies
  • Testimonials
  • Video blogs
  • Visual portfolios

Fan shared content as well as company made videos can show another side to a business. The key is to make the most of what customers are saying about you.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Shaping

visual storytelling shaping

 

According to the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, companies need to do visual storytelling shaping.  Each piece of content needs to have a clear theme and point of view as well as a take away message for the reader.

 

Content needs to be aligned with who you are as a company: voice, personality, and values. Once woven together, these themes shape your story.  It is important to list your goals and determine how visual content can help achieve them.  Ask yourself, if your company were a person, what would it look like in real life?

Embrace social media’s more personable, human side.  Look for the most commonly discussed conversation themes from your online consumers.  Shape your story and identify major themes to craft your visual content mix.  Look at your goals, company voice, and customer feedback by social media platform.

Determine Your Visual Content Mix:

  • The magic is in the mix to keep storytelling fresh
  • It allows you to deliver more personalized content to target audiences across different platforms
  • Evaluate your desired frequency per platform for posts, tweets, pins, etc.
  • Have a formula and clear plan of what steps you will take
  • Frequency varies by company and by social media channel
  • Quality content always trumps quantity and volume
  • Content must be interesting, important, and relevant to your audience
  • The usual shelf life of a tweet is considered an hour at most
  • The shelf life of a Facebook post is around 24 hours
  • Prioritize by social media platform the most important content themes that go into crafting your visual story
  • The mix needs to balance what is important from an ongoing visual storytelling perspective with goals, current events, questions, and general conversation from your customers
  • Content goals will likely change each month depending upon how much news your company has or tweets your making in response to fan engagement
  • Content should aim to be mostly upbeat, fun, motivating, and engaging
  • Outlining content themes makes it easy to identify what messages will be best conveyed as photos, videos, infographics, presentations, etc.

Authors Walter and Gioglio remind us to be listening and responding to what is being said about our company as well as learning the most commonly asked questions.  When we know that, companies can better respond to their own target audience.  This means setting goals and developing a strategy.  Our content will adjust in response to real time as we get live social media feedback.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Tumblr

visual storytelling tumblr

 

We have been promoting the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio. This particular blog post will give a sneak peak into the authors comments about Tumblr.

 

For those not familiar with it, Tumblr is a social media channel that allows users to quickly reblog posts (texts, images, links, quotes, music, or videos) by others. Recently, Yahoo! purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Tumblr is for quick visual inspiration and consumer lust. Users can only add comments if they reblog your post.

Tumblr Statistics:

  • 50% of posts on Tumblr are photos
  • Total unique worldwide visitors are more than 117 million
  • 52% of Tumblr visitors are male
  • 46.5% of Tumblr visitors are 18-34 years old
  • 35.2% of Tumblr visitors have a household income of greater than $100,000 per year
  • The average users spends 1 hr. 38 min. of time each month on the website doing nothing, but consuming content
  • The average Tumbler visit lasts 34 minutes

Tumblr Strategies:

  • Follow other Tumblr users and reblog relevant content
  • Post, promote, and participate in the Tumblr community
  • Let pictures tell the story on your Tumblr account, with text being secondary
  • The best time to post is between 7-10 pm EST on Monday through Thursday and anytime on Sunday
  • Use relevant tags so that your images show up in searches
  • Reblog plenty of content from other users
  • Keep a focus on your goals and repost only what is relevant to your message
  • Have a strategy and calendar to keep a steady stream of quality content
  • Keep a good mix of product info, lifestyle posts, and other content to not appear overly commercial
  • Combine visual, text, quotes, audio, and video in your feed
  • Stay consistent with tags and use a handful of “official” tags
  • Keep content fresh and post often
  • View analytics to see what sort of posts drive the most traffic, but still post a variety
  • Spend some time getting to know that platform and the kinds of content that people post

A Tumblr blog can be incorporated directly into a corporate website, which is great for search engine ranking. Businesses can use Tumblr as an overview of what is on their website.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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