Category Archives: Hospitality

20 Best New Years Resolutions for Bed and Breakfasts

SMART goals

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

 

Specific

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

Measurable

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

Achievable

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

Relevant

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

Time-Bound

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

The 20 Best Marketing Resolutions For Bed and Breakfasts

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

Your B&B New Years Resolutions

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

 

Why You Should Appreciate The Value of Local Tourism

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

 

 

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

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

Customized Solution

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

Exceed Expectations

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

Personalized Experience

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

Video Training

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

From Phil Bruno’s Website:

Some of Phil’s Clients:

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

Brand Awareness

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

Advocacy

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

Treat ‘em Right

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

Blogging and Social Media

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

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

 

How To Be Better Than Your Competition

wine cellar featuring table with wine bottle and cheese plate

Being better than your competition is the goal of most business owners. This post is for hospitality providers like bed and breakfast innkeepers. You must think of yourself as an entrepreneur because you are! Your goal is to stand out from all other lodging options. The best way to do that is to discover what is called your “unique selling proposition.” Basically, what do you offer than no one else does? By providing exceptional food, friendly hospitality, concierge services, and luxurious amenities, you will build a list of returning guests. There are a number of ways to do that, and it depends upon your preferences, priorities and personality.

Amazing Amenities

Do you offer spa treatments (either in your room or an actual spa)? Do you have a restaurant that also serves lunch and dinner to guests (and may be open to the public)? What kinds of amenities come in each of your guest rooms (mini-fridge, hot tub, free internet access, entertainment, etc.)? How do your linens feel? Do you add extra touches like mints on their pillows? When your guests feel special, they will want to return to feel that way again.

Concierge Services

Depending upon the type of guests you attract, concierge services can be on the high end. For example, before staying, if a guest contacted you and said they wanted to surprise who they are bring because it is their birthday or anniversary, do you have a plan in place? Are you connected to other local businesses? It is of great benefit to get to know the owners of local restaurants, boutiques, entertainment venues, etc. so you can network with them.

Custom Packages

Custom packages should be tailored around why people visit you and your local area. For example, if you are in wine country or near a popular winery, consider adding a wine tasting package that includes chauffeur service to a few local wineries. You know the area and your guests will appreciate not having to drive.

Another example, often destinations for romantic getaways offer packages that include couples’ massages, flowers, chocolates, restaurant gift certificates, event tickets, and so on. Think about what couples love to do in your local area.

Food Options

If you have relationships with local farmers, regularly shop from your local farmer’s markets, raise farm animals, and/or have your own garden, be sure to tell your guests about that. People love to hear stories about that.

Alternatively, if you accommodate the dietary needs of your guests, be sure to mention that. “With advance notice, we can provide alternative food options.” Perhaps you pride yourselves on being vegetarian, vegan, diabetic-friendly, heart-healthy, or even providing your guests with “comfort foods.”

Some bed and breakfasts offer a free wine tasting time in the afternoon. This can be a social time and opportunity to interact with other guests. You may offer premium nuts, select cheeses, and other delicious appetizers as well.

Most inns offer complimentary homemade goodies for guests to grab at their leisure. Some offer extras like dessert and wine delivered in the evenings. This can also be part of a package.

Hosting Retreats

When you host retreats, you have the option to lead the retreats entirely on your own, have guest speakers, or have other people host their own retreats using your food and accommodations. The options for types of retreats are endless. Think about why people visit your area. Various retreats include business retreats, relationship retreats, project retreats, and many more. Take the time to assess your interests and plug into your local area. This is yet another way to stand out and be better than your competition.

Offering Classes

Do you ever get told that you should teach a class about something you are talented at doing? If you are good at cooking, dancing, painting, photography, writing, yoga, or something entirely different, you can use your talent. Do you have a famous local talent that would be willing to teach classes at your inn? Even if you don’t teach the class, you can bring an expert who does.

Private Events

This depends upon your area and your interests. For example, if you live in a college town, then perhaps you can host graduation parties. If you have a background in coordinating weddings, and your accommodations is large enough, you can host weddings. Even smaller lodging places host elopements or intimate weddings. Hosting private events is another way to be better than your competition.

Strategic Marketing

Do you have a plan in place to grow your bed and breakfast business to the next level? Consider working with someone who is experienced at helping inns improve their bottom line.

Do they listen to your vision of what you would like to do with your accommodations? Are they providing helpful advice to get you there? Do they seek out opportunities for you to receive press? Are you open to their suggestions?

The relationship you have with a hospitality marketing company, like Bed and Breakfast Blogging, can mean all the difference in the world. We partner with innkeepers to attract their ideal audiences (including pet lovers, history buffs, and adventure seekers).

A good marketing strategy means carving out your own niche and uniquely marketing to them in a variety of ways including: blogging, email marketing, social media, local partnerships, publicity, and much more.

Association Memberships

I want to acknowledge the benefits professional association membership can bring. In this way, innkeepers are supportive of each other. Natural to their personalities, many innkeepers go out of their way to be helpful to others (especially their guests).

Belonging to an association allows for more networking, greater awareness of the hospitality industry, and coming together to encourage more direct bookings. By having a network of referral partners, when guests ask you to recommend a bed and breakfast in another area or when your inn is full, this is a great time to introduce them to other inns (and for other innkeepers to refer their guests to you).

Better Than Your Competition

By incorporating any of the ideas mentioned in this blog post, you are on your way to making your bed and breakfast business even better than your competition. Also, to establishing beneficial partnerships and associations. You are welcome to contact Kristi Dement for a complimentary 15-minute phone conversation.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

 

Improve Your Hospitality These 12 Awesome Ways

The Samuel Durfee House (a large blue inn with red front door)

 

Want to improve your hospitality? I’ll show you 12 awesome ways you can apply these well known sayings to your bed and breakfast business.

 



 

“Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”

There are a variety of ways to create more income beyond guests staying overnight. For example, you could host private events and offer extras like guest packages.

“Go the extra mile.”

There are a number of ways to go the extra mile. For example, give guests the option of having local folks also eat breakfast at your inn. Offer breakfasts that accommodate special diets.

“Less is more.”

Guests do not like clutter such as knick-knacks and doilies. By having less objects in your B&B, this allows more room for guests to put their luggage. There is also something calming about having a neat room.

“That’s like comparing apples to oranges.”

While Air B&B may appear to be cheaper, be sure to mention anything you offer complimentary to guests. Free parking, free refreshments & goodies, free wireless internet, full breakfasts, and no additional cleaning fees make a big difference.

“The more you learn, the less you know.”

This is true for all things in life. The more we learn about something, we realize how much there is that we don’t yet know! Lifelong learning is the key. This may mean learning container gardening options or implementing more environmentally friendly practices.

“You reap what you sow.”

Everything you do in your local community and for your guests (the seeds you sow), you will reap. This includes positive guest reviews, word of mouth referrals, and the loyalty of returning guests.

“Pay attention to the details.”

When innkeepers take note of things like why the guests are visiting (such as a special occasion) and what their interests are, they can make their guests stay that much more pleasant. Guests will appreciate gestures like giving them complimentary birthday balloons and/or flowers.

“Raise the bar.”

Provide a level of hospitality like no other accommodations in your area. When your guests can’t imagine staying anywhere else, you know you have earned their future business.

“Don’t toot your own horn.”

Let your guest reviews do that for you. What previous guests say about you is more believable than what you say about you.

“Take it with a pinch of salt.”

When guests share feedback (to your face or in reviews), be open to their suggestions. Perhaps they are giving advice that will improve your hospitality. At the same time, understand that guests could just be having a bad day if they complain about something.

“Timing is everything.”

Offer seasonal packages which can include tickets (to a local concert or sports game) and a restaurant gift certificate. You could even include a homemade seasonal dessert you deliver to their room in the evening. Additionally, promote annual events in your community such as a popular festival or cultural event.

“There’s no time like the present.”

Do you love showing hospitality to guests, but dislike managing the marketing required to keep you visible? Not every innkeeper loves to manage social media, email marketing, blogging, and public relations. Now is the time to consider getting outside expertise.

Did You Know?

Your marketing can more than pay for itself when you have a reputable company manage it for you. Contact me, Kristi Dement, to find out more about ways I can grow your B&B business. Let me help you improve your hospitality marketing.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

 

Behind the Scenes Secrets to Disney Hospitality Magic

Here are some behind the scenes secrets to Disney hospitality magic.  Disney Company focuses on giving their customers a memorable guest experience that exceeds their expectations by paying attention to details. Hospitality providers know that exceeded expectations leads to returning guests as well as word-of-mouth guest referrals.

 

 

Hospitality providers should always analyze the experience from the guest’s perspective.  Disney defines “guestology” as the art and science of knowing and understanding their customers. More commonly known as “market research.”

Disney’s theme is “We create happiness [their mission] by providing the finest in entertainment [how their mission is accomplished] for people of all ages everywhere [for whom].”

Disney set 4 criteria standards (in order of priority) which outline the the actions necessary to accomplish their service theme:

  • Safety (they look out for the welfare and peace of mind of their guests)
  • Courtesy (they require that every guest be treated like a very important person)
  • Show (they must offer seamless and exceptional entertainment for guests)
  • Efficiency (they strive for smooth operation and prioritize their standards)

 

disney hospitality magic

With the magic of service, Disney recognizes that the most important judges are your customers.  Thus, it’s extremely important to know and understand your customers.  Demographics are factual knowledge about your guests including who they are, where they are from, and how much they spend.  Psychographics seek to better understand guests’ mental states–their needs, wants, expectations, and emotions.

 

Disney, as a company, watches what people do in their theme parks, resorts, and stores to find out how they can make it more enjoyable for them.  They use methods like surveys, comment cards, guest observations, and mystery shoppers as well as read guest letters and emails.

Disney studies guest usage and visitation patterns.  Knowledge developed from guests is used to create and improve all elements of the quality service cycle.  According to Disney, it is crucial to gather information at a variety of points during a guest’s experience.

With the magic of the cast [what they call their staff], Disney understands that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Disney trains their cast in universal procedures and behaviors, with performance tips, and guidelines for guest service:

  • Make eye contact and smile: start and end every guest contact and communication with direct eye contact and a sincere smile
  • Greet everyone and welcome each guest: extend the appropriate greeting to each and every guest with whom you come into contact, make guests feel welcome by providing a special differentiated greeting in each area
  • Seek out guest contact: it is the responsibility of every cast member to seek out guests who need help or assistance (such as listening to your guests’ needs, answering questions, and offering assistance)
  • Provide immediate service recovery: it is the responsibility of all cast members to attempt, to the best of their abilities, to immediately resolve a guest service failure before it becomes a guest service problem; always find the answer for the guest and/or find another cast member who can help the guest
  • Display appropriate body language at all times: it is the responsibility of every cast member to display approachable body language when “on stage” (visible to guests):  be attentive, clean cut, have good posture, and appropriate facial expression
  • Preserve the “magical” guest experience: always focus on the positive rather than the rules and regulations; talking about personal or job-related problems in front of guests is unacceptable
  • Thank each and every guest: extend to every guest a sincere thank you at the conclusion of every transaction and give an expression of appreciation as he or she leaves  your area

 

disney hospitality magic

With the magic of setting, Disney wanted his cast to pull off fantasy without losing sight of reality.  It was important to him that others find their fantasy believable.  All organizations build messages to their customers into the settings in which they operate.  The setting communicates the quality of the person’s products and services that customers can expect as well as the price they are willing to pay.

Setting must be designed and managed effectively to effectively communicate and deliver service to customers.  Setting is not restricted to physical properties, but extends to reservation systems, cleanliness, comfort, and so on.

Setting Components:

 

  • Architectural design
  • Color
  • Directional design on carpet
  • Focal points and directional signs
  • Landscaping
  • Lighting
  • Music and ambient noise
  • Signage
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Texture of the floor surface
  • Touch/tactile experiences

Walt Disney’s motto was, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”  “Imagineering” was his term for the blending of creative imagination and technical know-how.

Disney’s 10 Setting Principles:

 

  • Know your audience: have a firm understanding of who will be using your setting
  • Wear your guest’s shoes: evaluate your setting from the customer’s perspective by experiencing it as a customer
  • Organize the flow of people and ideas: think of the setting as a story and tell that story in a sequenced, organized way; build the same order and logic in the design of customer movement
  • Create a visual magnet: Disney uses visual landmarks (like Cinderella’s Castle) to orient and attract customers
  • Communicate with visual literacy: use the languages of color, shape, and form to communicate through setting
  • Avoid overloads: do not bombard customers with data; let them choose the information when they want it
  • Tell one story at a time: create one setting for each big idea; avoid the confusion of mixing multiple stories into a single setting
  • Avoid contradictions: every detail and every setting should support and further your organizational identity and vision
  • For every ounce of treatment, provide a ton of treat: give your customers the highest value by building an interactive setting that gives them the opportunity to exercise all of their senses
  • Keeping it up: never get complacent and always maintain your setting; keep it clean, protect it from damage, and repair wear and tear

 

disney hospitality magic

What does your setting tell your customers? What they see is as important as what they don’t see.  Setting not only creates an impression, but it can guide guests through service experiences.  Appeal to all five senses: sight (ex: colors), sounds (ex: music), smell (ex: popcorn), touch (ex: water fountains), and taste (ex: changing menus).

 

The Disney cast must keep onstage [anywhere they are visible to guests] and backstage [not seen by guests] separate.  Did you know that Disney employees can go underneath the park to get from one area of the part to another? That is why you will never see a Disney character travel through a section of the theme park unrelated to their character.

Like the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, Disney offers behind-the-scenes tours.  Thus, the setting should support and enhance the guest experience and deliver quality service.

Important to Walt Disney was that he provide superior service and hospitality.  That meant hiring and training his “cast” to treat the guests with utmost respect.  Walt also paid attention to the details of setting.

Walt Disney and his brother Roy’s legacy lives on to this day.  Today, Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida has an average of 53,000 visitors each day and is the #1 most-visited theme park in the world.

The Disney empire also includes include Disneyland; EPCOT; Animal Kingdom; Disney television, radio, and movies; and Disney merchandise sold in Disney stores and at Disney theme park locations.  Thus, Disney hospitality magic is alive and well.

 

The Hospitality of Hosting

hospitality of hosting

A gracious host is very welcoming and immediately sets you at ease when you arrive. Hospitality is the relationship between the guest and the host, or the act or practice of being hospitable. This includes the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. It is important, as bed and breakfast owners and innkeepers, that guests feel at home in your home.

Hospitality is associated with etiquette and entertainment. It involves showing respect for one’s guests, providing for their needs, and treating them as equals. The word hospitality derives from the Latin hospes, meaning “host”, “guest”, or “stranger”.

 

Hospitable Things To Say

  • “Make yourself at home.”
  • “What brings you here to stay with us?”
  • “Do you need more fresh towels or pillows?”
  • “Can I get you anything else?”
  • “Feel free to select from our DVDs and books to take back to your room during your stay here.”
  • “Would you like to know about some fun things to do in our area?”
  • “Your homemade fresh-cooked breakfast will be ready at….”
  • “Would you care for some tea this afternoon?”

As an innkeeper, you will need to know the fine art of how much to interact with your guests. Be available to answer their questions, but also be sensitive to their need for privacy.  Take your cue from the guests themselves since each person is different.  This way you tailor your hospitality to match the needs and wants of your guests. That is the hospitality of hosting!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Why Bed and Breakfasts are Better Than Hotels

better than hotel

Staying at a bed and breakfast can be better than staying at a hotel. Your B&B could be located in a restored old home or even a mansion with antique furnishings.  Your gardens may be lush and offer comfortable seating, and your rooms range from cozy to luxurious. Staying in your B&B can be a really unique travel experience and not one to be missed. Here are the top 10 benefits you can emphasize to your bed and breakfast guests.

  1. Their bed and breakfast is included.  While this may seem obvious, it’s actually a wonderful amenity in terms of convenience and cost savings. B&B’s offer anything from a continental spread to a hot gourmet meal. As a special touch, you can even bring guests their breakfast in bed.
  2. You can give them the privacy and peace and quiet they desire.  As a B&B, you can be more exclusive with fewer guests. You often have guests looking for a place to spend a quiet weekend.
  3. They’ll get more personal service.  With fewer guests than a hotel, you can give your guests a much more personal experience. Wanting guests to return, you are invested in making sure you have a great stay.
  4. Your bed and breakfast may be located in a less traveled area.  Unlike hotels, your B&B could be located off the beaten path. This provides your guests with a great opportunity to see less traveled parts of your community that they would otherwise miss.
  5. It is the perfect romantic getaway.  In fact, B&B’s have become so popular for couples that you may cater to this romantic angle, offering special romantic packages. These may include events planned ahead or excursions that are included in their stay.
  6. Your bed and breakfast is more secure.  At a B&B, there are fewer people coming and going. With less going on, as a B&B owner, you can keep a much better eye on their property than a typical hotel staff can on a hotel.
  7. Your guests can get a taste of the local culture and style.  Your B&B has its own character. Even better, you have lots of advice for your guests concerning the best things to do and see in the local area.
  8. You can offer extra activities.  You may be one of the many B&B’s that offer additional recreational activities in your regular packages. Depending on the location, your guests may be able to enjoy biking, hiking, canoeing, golfing, or skiing.
  9. Your guests will encounter unexpected luxuries.  B&B’s tend to offer all those extra special touches that can make your guests’ stay pampering and luxurious. Luxury bed linens and bathrobes, organic food, and locally roasted coffee are only some of the many perks that you may offer. You may even stock snacks and drinks in the common areas and rooms in case your guests get hungry.
  10. You provide a great value.  Although B&B rooms tend to be priced higher than hotels, usually your place offers a better value overall than hotel rooms. More amenities are included such as free phone calls and Internet, you get much better service, and the experience tends to be much more unique than an average hotel stay.

So, as the bed and breakfast owner, be sure to emphasize (on your website, blog, and your other marketing) the unique benefits that guests will receive when they stay at your bed and breakfast and why staying with you will give them a better experience than if they were to go to a local hotel.  You can focus on how your B&B gives that extra special personal touch.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography