Category Archives: Marketing

How To Make Your Hospitality Better With Marketing By Seth Godin

marketing by seth godin

This is Marketing by Seth Godin is a must-read for anyone in business. Though this resource is useful for professionals from a variety of industries, this book is especially helpful for those who own and operate hospitality businesses. Seth Godin is a bestselling author many times over, the founder of many successful businesses, a former VP at Yahoo, and a member of the Marketing Hall of Fame. Thus, he has proven his expertise.

Godin advises that we must focus our work on the dreams and desires of those we serve. Obviously, innkeepers serve their guests. Effective marketing comes from understanding our target audience’s desires and connecting with them.

Godin recommends that we begin with an audience worth serving. Start with the needs, wants, and dreams of your ideal guests. Build your hospitality around what that audience desires. Tell a story that matches their hopes and greatest expectations.

  • What is the true story they want to hear?
  • Does your story match their worldview?
  • Is your story worded in a way that your audience will understand?
  • Does your story resonate with your audience?
  • Is your story memorable?
  • Is this a story your audience will want to share with others?
  • Have you positioned yourself to be the clear and obvious choice for accommodations in your local area?

Godin goes on to explain that what YOU (innkeepers) say about you is not nearly as important as what OTHERS (guests) say about you. This explains why quoting positive guest reviews on your website, in blog posts, and sharing on social media is so effective. Potential guests look at the words of your previous guests to let them know what they can expect. Your best guests become your new sales people when the words from their reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations spread.

How do we determine your audience (your ideal guests)? This means you decide who you can best serve. This is based upon the factors such as:

  • Your accommodations
  • Your amenities
  • Your events
  • Your food
  • Your guests
  • Your interests
  • Your local area
  • Your packages
  • Your weather

Examples of ideal hospitality guests (this varies depending on your inn):

  • Adventure seekers
  • Business travelers
  • Couples (romantic)
  • Culinary interests (“Foodies”)
  • Entertainment lovers
  • Families
  • Friends (Girls Getaway or Mancation)
  • History buffs
  • Pet owners
  • Sports fans

Based on Seth Godin’s advice to craft compelling true stories to attract your ideal customers, if you do not currently have it in writing, document the ideal guests you want to attract and write specifically to them. The more specific and personalized you make your content (including your blog, social media, and website), the more focused your content becomes on bringing in your ideal audience. Thus, you can make your hospitality (within your own specific niche) better.

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Amazing Bed and Breakfast Marketing From A to Z

bed and breakfast marketing

 

Amazing Bed and Breakfast Marketing From A to Z

What if there was an amazing way to market your bed and breakfast by keeping the alphabet in mind? These are some of the most important factors to consider when blogging about your bed and breakfast inn.

 

 

  • Amenities: What extra amenities does your B&B have that others do not? It is important to know what sets you apart from your competition. Whether you have in-room hot tubs or fireplaces, this is a great thing to mention in your blog and on your website.

 

  • Antiques: Do you have any unique antiques that guests can look at? You may want to keep priceless or fragile antiques behind glass to protect them. Some B&B’s sell antiques to their guests.

 

  • Art: Do guests admire your art collection? Whether you have paintings, murals, or sculptures, people enjoying looking at art. You may refer them to your local art museums and galleries.

 

  • Awards: Do you have some honor or distinction that is noteworthy? It is okay to mention your Diamond Rating level, your prize-winning recipe, or anything else that distinguishes you from other places of lodging.

 

  • Bathrooms: Show off your spacious, well-decorated, and luxurious bathrooms with pictures and blog about recent upgrades.

 

  • Beach: Having a beach or waterfront property adds to your appeal. Share plenty of outdoor pictures as well as pictures of the outside view from inside your inn.

 

  • Bedrooms: You could let guests know the meaning behind the names of your bedrooms. Is it named after a former resident, your state bird, or a local sports team? Blog about what your own guests tell you they love about your guest rooms.

 

  • Benefits: Blog about the benefits that come to those who take a break to relax and spend time with loved ones. With permission, you could feature some of your guests and have them share how they have benefited from their stay at your B&B.

 

  • Birthdays: It is always great to ask guests the reason for their visit. Even if the reason is not a birthday, it may be a good idea to find out those dates so you can send guests a postcard or email on their birthday to remind them of their stay and entice them to want to come back.

 

  • Breakfasts: Do you cater to special diets like gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan? How do guests receive their breakfast: delivered to their room or eaten in a common place? These are all things you can blog about. Even give a behind the scenes look at your kitchen or interview your chef.

 

  • Business: Do you host a number of business travelers in your area? Do you have a conference room and technology resources like free Wi-Fi and guest access to a printer and fax machine? Blogging about this may result in hosting more business travelers.

 

  • Classes: Do you teach, or know of someone who could do this, a certain skill? This could be cooking, dancing, photography, etc. By offering unique classes, you can attract more people to your inn.

 

  • Complimentary: Emphasize all the free things that come to your B&B guests versus those who stay at your local hotels. This includes: breakfast, concierge services, parking, etc. This gives people a reason to choose to stay with you over your local hotel competition.

 

  • Concerts: Are you near a big venue like a concert hall or stadium? Blog about the next musician or theatre performance coming to your area.

 

  • Decks: If you have a deck with an amazing view, by all means blog about it and show pictures of the view.   People like to get away to scenic places.

 

  • Dining out: Do you provide your guests with a list of local restaurants or have local restaurant menus available for guests to browse? You could feature certain restaurants you know are popular with your guests.

 

  • Eco-Friendly: If you are an environmentally friendly bed and breakfast, then you should write about what things you do to earn that green distinction. If you line dry your blankets and/or offer an electric car charging station, guests will appreciate that.

 

  • Events: Keep an eye on events that are happening in your local area. A great way to do this is to regularly check your local and state visitors’ bureaus.

 

  • Farms: If you live on a farm that grows crops and/or has animals, blog about this. Some guests would love to meet animals from your petting zoo. Other guests want the experience of picking berries, for example.

 

  • Fireplaces: If you have fireplaces inside and/or fire pits outside, this is an attractive feature. Mention that indoor guests can sip hot cocoa or drink wine by the fire. Outside they could roast marshmallows and make s’mores.

 

  • Flowers: As long as you know your guests do not have any allergies, displaying fresh flowers on throughout your B&B is a nice added touch. These flowers could come from your own garden or a local florist, farmers market, or grocery store.

 

  • Frequent stay: Reward your repeat guests in some way. This could be a free upgraded room, a free bottle of wine, free massage, or even an extra night.

 

  • Games: Do you offer cards, board games, or even video games at your inn? You may have a pool table or air hockey table or even have a horseshoe pit outside. Blog about the games that your guests enjoy playing at your bed and breakfast.

 

  • Garden: Guests love to walk the grounds of bed and breakfasts with gardens of all kinds, including: flower gardens, produce gardens, and rock gardens.

 

  • Handicap accessible: Do you accommodate handicapped people? If you have these available, discuss your ramps, ground floor guest rooms, wheelchair friendly bathrooms, and elevators in a blog post.

 

  • History: Many bed and breakfasts are registered historic places. You could blog about the history of your B&B including its former occupants and what it was used for. Some bed and breakfasts were once private residences, boarding schools, or used for other purposes.

 

  • Holiday: Use the time leading up to holidays to show pictures of how your inn is decorated and discuss local events related to the holidays.

 

  • Honeymooners: Many couples choose to stay at a bed and breakfast for their honeymoon. You may even have a Honeymoon Suite as part of your inn.

 

  • Innkeepers: Your guests want to know more about the innkeepers, the people who run your inn.

 

  • Just in Time: You could offer discounts based on the time of their stay. This could be last minute specials, mid-week discounts, or stay for a specific number of nights and get the next night free.

 

  • Kid-friendly: All bed and breakfast inns need to establish their minimum age requirement. Some bed and breakfasts cater to romance and do not allow anyone under a specific age to stay overnight. Others B&B’s are known as “kid friendly” and welcomes kids as well as provide accommodations like adjoining rooms.

 

  • Lakes: Being located on a lake is a tremendous advantage. If your guests can go fishing, swimming, waterskiing, rafting, canoeing, or do any other water-related activities, this is an opportunity to blog about it and share pictures.

 

  • Leisure activities: Anything that your guests can do for fun should be mentioned in your blog. I recommend having a list of links to local leisure activities such as amusement parks and golf courses.

 

  • Libraries: Do you have a common room that is perfect for guests to read in? Do you have a library of books available for them to use during their stay? If so, you could write a blog post about it. If you know a local author (or happen to be one yourself), consider hosting a book talk or book signing. Your library can include movies that guests can watch in their rooms.

 

  • Linens: Brag about your high thread count sheets, plush towels, and luxurious robes.

 

  • Local area: Find out why most people visit your area and blog about those reasons often. For example, if you are located near a famous race car track, feature that.

 

  • Membership: Belonging to associations can attract more guests. Guests rest easy when they know that you are part of a bed and breakfast association; have a certain Diamond rating, and so on. Membership in these organizations adds credibility.

 

  • Mountains: Bed and breakfasts located in the mountains can show their breathtaking views and discuss those pictures on their blog and website.

 

  • Museums: There are many types of museums that could be in your local area: art museums, history museums, natural science museums, and even sports museums (or hall of fames). If your inn is near any museums, blog about this.

 

  • Mysteries: Some bed and breakfasts offer Murder Mystery evenings or weekends. This may even include a dinner and/or getting into a costume. Those who like reading mystery novels are great candidates for people who are likely to enjoy these kinds of mysteries.

 

  • Night walk: Some local area events happen late at night or you could host your own night tour.

 

  • Occasion: A special occasion might bring people to your inn. This could be an anniversary or even a family reunion or class reunion.

 

  • Outdoors: It is important to know what people like to do outdoors in your area.   It often depends upon the weather your area receives and the topography of your region.

 

  • Packages: Add more value by putting together guest packages based upon interests, seasons, area activities, occasions, and much more. This could mean making arrangements, on behalf of your guests, for restaurants, tours, concerts, and more.

 

  • Partnerships: You may decide it is in your best interest to form partnerships with local business people. For example, in exchange for exclusively using only their business, you can get a deal with a local florist to reduce their rates.

 

  • Patios: If you have an outdoor patio area for your guests, take pictures of it. Blog about any outdoor events you hosted on your patio.

 

  • Patriotic: American patriotic holidays include Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veterans Day. Your bed and breakfast may decorate, host events, and/or offer patriotic packages.

 

  • Pets: Your bed and breakfast may not allow pets or the only pets allowed are the innkeepers. Other bed and breakfast inns may accommodate pets in certain places of the inn (like the first floor, rooms with private exits, and private cottages) or it could be entirely pet friendly. If your B&B does allow pets, you could devote a blog post about the lovable pets that have stayed.

 

  • Pictures: They can say much more than words ever will. Be sure to have flattering pictures of your bed and breakfast inn on your website and in your blog posts. The pictures should accurately represent what your inn looks like today.

 

  • Pools: If your B&B has an indoor or outdoor pool or hot tub, you can share pictures of that. Guests really appreciate private in room hot tubs.

 

  • Porches: Many bed and breakfasts are known for their porches. Share pictures of your porch with its rockers, swing, and other furniture.

 

  • Promotions: Bed and breakfasts can offer special promotions based on the holidays, seasons, and local events. This could include discounts, complimentary services, and free upgrades.

 

  • Quiet: Guests like to get away from the noise of everyday life. If you live in a tranquil setting, write about the compliments you receive about being a quiet place to stay.

 

  • Recreation: Discuss types of recreation guests can take part in on your property as well as in your local area.

 

  • Redecorating/remodeling: Feature the before and after pictures from a recent redecorating or remodeling project. Blog about how and why you decided to make those changes as well as why guests will want to visit.

 

  • Referrals: Give your guests incentives to make referrals to their friends and family. The incentive could be a discount on their next stay.

 

  • Restaurant: If you own your own bed and breakfast restaurant, this part of your inn may be open to the public. This is a great way to draw new overnight guests by giving them a taste of your incredibly delicious food when they come to dine at your restaurant.

 

  • Retreats: You could offer retreats like yoga retreats, scrapbooking retreats, or business retreats. Blog about the variety of retreats you offer.

 

  • Reviews: Share genuinely positive reviews you have of local places of interest to your potential guests.

 

  • Romantic: Bed and breakfasts may be the perfect place to rekindle the romance in your relationship. Relationship building is one of the primary reasons people take vacations.

 

  • Seasons: Decorate your inn to reflect each new season. This encourages people to return at a different time in the year to enjoy that time, too.

 

  • Shopping: Whether you have your own bed and breakfast shop or you are near a lot of wonderful area shopping malls and retail outlets, guests who like to shop will want to read about the shopping that is available in your local area.

 

  • Spas: You may have your own spa or have a partnership with a local spa or masseuse to provide spa services. Having these services sets you apart from other lodging accommodations.

 

  • Sports: Bed and breakfasts near sporting arenas and stadiums can blog about local sports teams season schedules, players, and coaches. Innkeepers might provide a Sports Package that includes tickets to their choice of certain local sporting events.

 

  • Tea: Bed and breakfasts may have a tea time or even a tea room. They may serve scones, tea sandwiches, cookies, and other finger food.

 

  • Ultimate experience: Position your bed and breakfast inn as the ultimate experience in lodging accommodations, hospitality, and cuisine. Encourage guests to give you a five star rating, or if they cannot do so, to talk with you about it instead of sharing their less than 5 star rating. This keeps up your image as the ultimate experience and gives you valuable input for how you can improve your guest experience.

 

  • Videos: If your bed and breakfast has its own video, be sure to put that on your website in a prominent place for your web visitors to see. Videos show more than pictures do. This allows your guests to get a feel for the layout of your bed and breakfast.

 

  • Weddings: If your inn hosts weddings, it is wise to dedicate a place on your website for that as well as to blog about it. Smaller bed and breakfasts may do small weddings or elopements.

 

  • Wine: Depending upon your state laws and licensing, you may host wine tastings or allow your guests to bring their own wine. You may even offer your guests the opportunity to tour one or more local vineyards in your area.

 

  • Xtra special: This was my “extra special” attempt to come up with a word that starts with “X.” It is important that your guests feel extra special not just when they arrive, but from the moment they see your website and speak with you over the phone.  Your bed and breakfast should have a great reputation.

 

  • Young and old guests: Bed and breakfasts appeal to young couples as well as older ones. You may have guests that return regularly over the years. That is great to have such loyalty and friendship with your guests.

 

  • Zzz…. Are your guests ready to have a restful experience at your inn? Make sure that your mattresses are comfortable. Be sure to offer extra pillows and blankets. Have a night light for guests to see their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Be sure to share your blog posts regularly in social media.  No time to write your own blog posts?  Contact us about your bed and breakfast blogging.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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How to Choose Your Bed and Breakfast Name

your bed and breakfast name

Your bed and breakfast name sets the tone for what your guests can expect.  A good name says a lot about an inn.  You want the name to be memorable and give a great first impression.  It is important to take your time and come up with a long list of potential names before deciding. Get a talented group of friends together and just start randomly calling out names.  Have someone write down all the bed and breakfast name suggestions.

Permit your gathering of people to suggest whatever name comes to mind.  By allowing everything to be spoken, eventually you will have a list of great potential bed and breakfast names.

Only after you have generated this list of names should you then start to evaluate them.  Make sure that your bed and breakfast name is:

  • Simple to pronounce aloud by others (have others repeat the name aloud)
  • Spelled like it sounds (makes it easier to find)
  • Without an unintended meaning (think of the words in various contexts)
  • Not too common (make sure it is fresh)
  • Appropriate to your local surroundings (e.g. do not have beach in the name unless there really is one)
  • Not too funny (this may suggest you do not care about your hospitality business)
  • Easy for guests to remember (name recognition)

Other words for bed and breakfast include:

  • B&B
  • cabins
  • cottage
  • country inn
  • estate
  • farm
  • garden inn
  • guest house
  • hideaway
  • house
  • hotel
  • inn
  • lodge
  • manor
  • mansion
  • oasis
  • palace
  • place
  • ranch
  • resort
  • street inn
  • suites
  • valley
  • village inn

Visualize how your business name will look in a logo, outdoor sign, and on your website.  Be sure to get your own email address to be something like:

innkeeper@yourbedandbreakfastname.com

When you know what you want to call your bed and breakfast, you must make sure that the domain name (website address) is available before you register your business name.  If there are already bed and breakfast inns with that name (even in a different state), it is best to choose a different name to avoid confusion.

Above all, make sure you absolutely love your bed and breakfast name since you will likely say it over and over throughout your time as a bed and breakfast owner.  Smart innkeepers ask for ideas from others and take plenty of time when they choose their bed and breakfast name.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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The Quick and Easy Way to Market Your Bed and Breakfast

market-your-bed-and-breakfast

 

 

Looking for the quick and easy way to market your bed and breakfast? Share information from our essential bed and breakfast content checklist.  This can be shared on your website pages, in blog posts, in social media, in emails, in videos, and more.  

 

 

Essential Bed and Breakfast Content Checklist:

 

  • Activities: What can people do when they stay at your inn?  This includes activities at the inn as well as activities at places and events in your local area.

 

  • Amenities: What amenities do your guests have access to?  Perhaps you have something as unique as a heated pool or billiards room.  The picture shows a lovely outdoor area for guests to relax and hear music.  Be sure to list every amenity your inn offers.

 

  • Area: Think about why people visit your local area.  Do you provide information that includes the many reasons people decide to stay at your inn? 

 

  • Associations/Ratings: Do you belong to any B&B associations that regularly inspect your inn for quality assurance? Let your guests know what professional associations you belong to as well as any ratings of distinction such as Select Registry or Historic Hotels of America.

 

  • Blog: Do you have a blog? Blogs are great places to regularly share new information such as seasonal changes, local annual events, and more.  

 

  • Decorating: Do you have any decorating tips to share? Perhaps you could feature pictures of your decor and give ideas for how guests can make their own homes more decorative.

 

  • Employees: No matter the size of your staff, you can share a picture of them and some fun facts about them.  Include where they are originally from and a brief background like their favorite sports team, college alma mater, favorite breakfast food, favorite thing to do in your local area, etc.  Also let guests know what roles they have at your inn. 

 

  • Events: This includes both activities that happen at your inn as well as local activities.  Be aware of any major local activities and conferences to specifically attract those guests.  

 

  • Food: Food is so popular that entire television channels are devoted to it! Share recipes to your most popular items and share behind-the-scenes photos of preparing for breakfast.  Feature your farm fresh produce.

 

  • Fun: Highlight the fun that happens at your inn.  This could feature guests (with their permission) having fun in common rooms or anywhere on your property.  

 

  • Gardening/Landscaping: Do you have award-winning gardens? Do you have attractive fountains and outdoor sculptures? Do you have hanging outdoor lights to shine at night? What is in bloom right now at your inn?  Focus on seasonal changes and promote Fall Foliage if that is something your area is known for.  

 

  • Guests: Think about what types of guests you attract.  If the guests tell you the reason for their visit or activities they participated in, make a note of it.  Offer recommendations to local restaurants and shops.

 

  • History: Do you have a historical inn? If so, consider sharing your B&B’s unique history.  If you built your inn, share pictures of its construction and your motivation for building your own B&B.

 

  • Holidays: Does your inn show off unique decorations with each holiday? Valentine’s Day is just one of the many holidays that bed and breakfasts can feature in blog posts and on social media. If you have any holiday-related packages, be sure to feature them during that time.

 

  • Promotion: Consider promoting local events and businesses. You may want to feature a contest on your website and/or social media.  Require those who enter your contest to enter by sharing their email address.  Then you can add them to your email list.

 

  • Publicity: Was your inn featured in a magazine or the local news?  Be sure to have links to any publicity your inn receives listed on your website and share it in social media.

 

  • Renovation: Did you renovate or redecorate any areas of your inn?  Share before and after photos of any indoor or outdoor transformations.  Describe the process it took to get it from the before picture to the after picture.  There are lots of people who would be interested in learning how you remodeled that space.

 

  • Success: Did you receive an award for something? Perhaps your won a local recipe contest.  Maybe you received an award in your local town as an elite place to stay overnight.  Be sure to include this in your content.

 

  • Support: Do you support any charities or host charity events? Do you sponsor any local teams or events? Any community outreach you do can be featured in your content.  Share pictures of the events. 

This list is certainly not exhaustive. There may be other areas to promote, depending upon where you are located, the types of guests you host, and the unique accommodations you provide.  The key is to regularly share new content. This makes you more visible online when people go to search for specific keywords.  

Not sure what keywords you should feature? Consider using the name of your city, popular tourist destinations, popular local activities, and so on.  That way if someone types in “your city name and a popular activity” they could find your content and land on your website.  

Need help marketing your inn?  Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free consultation.  Bed and Breakfast Blogging specializes in not only blogging, but also social media marketing, email marketing, reputation management, and more. 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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How To Easily Brand Your Bed and Breakfast

brand-your-bed-and-breakfast

Branding your bed and breakfast is both easier and harder than you think.  What do I mean by that?  Well, little things can make a big difference so there are plenty of things you can do.  However, it is harder than you think because you don’t want to make costly mistakes along the way.  

Your goal is to attract a particular target audience to your bed and breakfast inn.  The type of inn you have including your location, its amenities, its surroundings, and its weather (among many other factors) all play a role in who will want to visit your accommodations.

The following are descriptions of very different places to visit:

  • A twenty-room mountain getaway for avid skiers and hikers 
  • A B&B spa in the woods with separate cabins, each with private hot tubs
  • A modern urban inn that caters to business travelers & hosts corporate retreats
  • A historical inn that has hosted celebs & famous people in history
  • A five-room inn with horse ranch and trails, riding lessons for guests
  • A tropical beach resort with its own restaurant and live music in the evenings
  • An inn located on a vineyard, with tours and tastings with cheeses and desserts
  • A B&B in a popular tourist town with lots of local activities and attractions
  • A Southern inn with an award-winning flower garden; gazebo, pool, swing, etc.

As you can tell, from the above examples, bed and breakfast inns, hotels, and resorts, can narrow their marketing to reach the most ideal audience for what they offer guests.  Since you cannot be all things to all people, the best brands:

  • Visually grab the attention of their target audience (with pictures, images, quotes, testimonials, etc.)
  • Emotionally attract (tug on the heart) their target audience (“because time passes by so quickly, capture memorable moments with us”)
  • Convey a simple message to that target audience (ex: guests deserve time away to enjoy their loved ones)
  • Differentiate themselves from their competitors (show why you are the best accommodations for your target audience in your local area)
  • Develop their reputation for excellent hospitality and exceeding guest expectations throughout multiple touch points along the way (check-in, front desk, guest services, hospitality, use of amenities, breakfast, check-out, and opting in for your e-mail list with a loyalty program)

Brands can differentiate themselves in the following ways:

  • Name
  • Logo
  • Slogan
  • Curb Appeal
  • Decor
  • Guest Rooms
  • Amenities
  • Photography
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Blog
  • Stories
  • Guests Testimonials
  • Email Marketing
  • Hosting Events
  • Videos

According to “Telling Your Brand: How Your Brand Purpose and Position Drive The Stories You Share” by Rob Marsh, the importance of differentiation can be seen through the efforts of four national pizza chains:

  • Pizza Hut (the market leader) uses their advertising to feature new innovations like hot dogs or cheese baked into their crusts, chocolate chip cookie pizzas, pizza sliders, stuffed crust pizzas.  Pizza Huts stands out with their innovations.
  • Dominoes (focuses on owning the “delivery” position), focused on it more before lawsuits forced them to soften their claim of “30 minutes or less or its free.”  Dominoes is the go-to choice for home delivery.
  • Little Caesar’s (focuses on the “value” position), offering 2 pizzas for the price of one, with tagline (“Pizza. Pizza.”) Today they offer ready-made, grab-and-go pizzas for $5, emphasizing their ownership of the low-price position in the market.
  • Papa Johns (focuses on fresher ingredients), with tagline “Better ingredients, better pizza”, the emphasis on high-quality ingredients reinforces this position in the minds of consumers.
  • The point of positioning is to own one idea.  The brand story you tell will help position your inn in the minds of your guests and potential guests.  

Mr. Marsh advises companies to think about these questions (which I have rephrased to apply to places of hospitality):

  • What benefits do guests receive from staying at your inn?
  • How are you different from competitors and how do guests experience that difference?
  • What are the stories your guests tell about themselves now?
  • If your brand were a person, what kind of personality would it have?
  • What adjectives describe your brand?  What adjectives do not?
  • Does your B&B brand have a compelling story?  
  • How does your company’s values and mission make an impact on your guests?
  • What’s your brand’s purpose?  

Denise Lee Yohn, in her book, “What Great Brands Do: The 7 Brand-Building Principles That Separate The Best From The Rest“, argues that your brand is WHAT your company DOES and HOW you do it and NOT what you SAY you are.  It matters more what you DO.  Identify the key values and attributes that define your inn.  People buy according to how brands make them feel, or what identity they help their guests experience and express. 

Focus on the unique way you bring value to your guests.  Understand and communicate what makes your business different and better than the rest.  According to Denise, “Great brands know that if you try to be all things to all people, you’ll never connect deeply with anyone.”  She offers the following template for companies to use building their brand:

“For ________ (your target audience), we are the _____________ (frame of reference) who does ______________ (the unique value you deliver), because ______________ (the reasons why consumers should believe that you deliver value).  

According to the book “Brand Intimacy: A New Paradigm in Marketing” by Mario Natarelli and Rina Plapler, the following are types of “Brand Strategies”:

  • Fulfillment: always exceeds expectations, delivers superior quality/service, good value for the money, reliable (ex: Amazon)
  • Identity: projects a favorable lifestyle, values your target market aspires to (or identifies with) (ex: Whole Foods)
  • Enhancement: makes your life easier, more effective, smarter, more capable, more connected (ex: Apple)
  • Ritual: part of your routine, ingrained in your life, more than a habitual lifestyle behavior (ex: Starbucks)
  • Nostalgia: reminds you of your past, evokes warm memories and feelings, associates with you in some way (ex: Lego)
  • Indulgence: a personal luxury, makes you feel pampered, pleasing to the senses (taste, touch, sight, smell, sound) (ex: Sephora, a beauty brand)

In the book, “Building Your Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Your Customers Will Listen,” Donald Miller argues that stories organize information in a way that compels people to listen.  Miller advises readers to make the customer the hero of the story and to position your brand as the guide.  Focus on the success of your customers (and not the success of your business).

Donald Miller explains that since human beings have two motivations in life (to escape something bad and to experience something good), we can include these motivations in our brand stories.  Great brands obsess about the transformation of their customers. 

With the permission of each guest, you could their personal story of what their life was like before coming to your destination and how your destination impacted their life for the better.  Using guest testimonials carries a lot of weight and provides social proof.

Motivation 1: To Escape Something Bad

  • Boredom with Life (Feel Stuck in a Rut)
  • Escape the Noise/Traffic of the City or Escape the Isolation of Rural Life
  • Fast Pace of Life (Escape the Busyness and Routines of Everyday Life)
  • Perceived Lack of Quality Time with Others
  • Stress from Job (or Other Responsibilities like Education and Parenting)
  • etc.

Motivation 2: To Experience Something Good

  • Adventure (for athletes, adventurers)
  • Business Success (for corporate travelers)
  • Culture (for art and music lovers)
  • Food (breakfast, local restaurants, etc.)
  • Health (improve fitness and nutrition)
  • Relationships (for family and friendships)
  • Romance (for stengthning committed relationships)
  • Shopping (for retail therapy)
  • Sports (for sports lovers)
  • Travel (for travel buffs)
  • etc.

All businesses need to distinguish themselves from the competition.  By determining your target audience, knowing what will attract their attention, and differentiating yourself from other inns with meaningful brand stories (with your customer as the hero and your brand as the guide), you can feature reasons why potential guests should escape their current circumstances to experience a variety of pleasant experiences that all begin with a stay at your place of hospitality.  This is how to easily brand your bed and breakfast inn.

Need help branding your bed and breakfast inn?  Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free phone consultation.  

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

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Hospitality Photography Advice From A Professional

hospitality-photography-advice

Photos are an important part of marketing your bed and breakfast inn to travelers.  Professional hospitality photographer Marcus Berg, of Unique Angles Photography, shines the light on this crucial aspect of promoting your hospitality business. He specializes in photographing B&B’s and frankly, his talented work speaks for itself.

His company, Unique Angles Photography (UAP) was established in 1994 and over the years has created a niche in serving the hospitality industry. With exceptional attention to detail and skillful use of lighting, UAP has been privileged to work with lodging facilities that include bed & breakfasts, boutique hotels and inns. UAP also specializes in culinary and wine photography to showcase other aspects of hospitality.  Marcus is located on the West Coast in Oregon and can travel to your location. 

Looking back, Marcus explains that he and his wife were spending an anniversary at a B&B and as he looked at their website; being an architectural photographer, he offered his services to improve their images. The second inn they visited, Marcus made the same offer and that innkeeper recommended he attend a B&B conference. Marcus said he’s been hooked on B&B’s ever since.

According to Mr. Berg, “It’s really not the equipment that is going to make the difference, it’s what the eye sees. It’s all about the lighting and where it’s placed. Turn on lights and try to bounce your additional lights off the ceiling.”  A poorly lit room can come off as stuffy, dark and small and may not be appealing to a traveler.  Utilize natural light to make your rooms shine. Taking interior photos during the middle of the day will help you maximize the sunlight.

According to Marcus, less is best.  The more you have the room cleaned the better.  Clutter in the background of an image can make your place less appealing.  Windows are often overlooked.  Remove the screen and clean the glass.  Hide the clocks, garbage can & telephone.  Set room up with some props for an invitational image, such as a robe, wine, fruit, coffee mug, chocolate, newspaper/book, reading glasses etc.

Marcus uses Photoshop to help with fixing his images.  Several things can be done on the computer. Lighting can be worked with, and levels of color to enhance the image. Removing reflections or unwanted objects and sharpening can also be done.

Berg advises that if you are going to do the exterior of the location, it’s usually best to have the sun behind you, which goes for interior photos too.  The two best times he likes to shoot is early in the morning or just at sunset or “the golden hour”.  One thing you want to stay away from is taking interior photos at night.

Avoid people in your photos, particularly when it comes to room or bathroom shots, as travelers want to imagine themselves in those spaces, not other people. 

When it comes to staging photos, set your dining room and guest rooms how you would normally but pay extra attention to background. Make sure TVs are turned off and wall decor is straight. Also, consider putting flowers and champagne next to the bed. A professional photographer can help with staging your rooms for photos.

Make your setting as inviting as possible.  For instance, taking a photo of a nice looking bed is great, however, if you turn down that same bed and add an inviting cup of coffee with and a flower, you have just turned that photo into something much more enticing.

In working with his clients, he begins with an agreed upon project and date. Upon his arrival, Marcus meets with the innkeeper(s) and reviews what they want to focus on.  He tries to use as many props as are available at the location.  We may choose to bring outside props in, such as flowers or wine/cheese plate.

Depending on the size of the facility, Marcus spends most of his time shooting the inn.  When editing photos, don’t add any borders, watermarks, arrows, or text. Photos are literally the window to marketing your B&B. Hiring a professional photographer, like Marcus Berg, is worth the investment. Marcus recommends that photos are at least 1024 x 768 pixels.

At the end of the shoot, Mr. Berg comes back to his office and then the work continues to prepare each image for its final print.  Once all the photos are done, he prepares a DVD in both a JPEG and TIFF file for the client.  JPEG is for the internet and the TIFF file is for printing or publication.

Potentially interested innkeepers can always reach him via his email address: uniqueangles@gmail.com or contact him through his website (link at the bottom). Other ways to contact Marcus Berg are through LinkedIn as well as several associations like: PAII, OBBG, CABBI, the Keizer Chamber of Commerce and the Wine and Hospitality Network.

Having high-resolution photos is no longer a luxury — it’s required. How will travelers know how great your B&B is if they can’t tell from a photo?  Photos can make or break how new visitors perceive your B&B.  Are the photographs of your B&B doing enough to invite and attract more bookings?

Thank you, Marcus, for sharing some of your professional hospitality photography advice.  I know that social audiences love stories AND they love photos. Share stories (along with your professional pictures) about how your guests enjoy all that you have to offer. 

By sharing photos on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter you can build your social following. Also, be sure to have social media icons easily visible on your website so that visitors can go directly from your website to your social media.  Make it as easy as possible for people to find your website and your social media online.  Pictures can make all the difference in the world!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Do You Know What Makes Your Inn Stand Out?

what makes your inn stand out

 

 

What makes your inn stand out? Does it have a great view like the picture above?  It is critical to know what makes your bed and breakfast different from the others in your area. What types of guests do you attract?    

 

 

Be sure to promote your unique features to potential guests on your website, on social media, in blog posts, and in the directories you are listed in.  Are you the #1 rated bed and breakfast in your area? Have you won a bed and breakfast recipe contest?  Are you one of the sponsors of an upcoming local event?

 

There are many things that you are already doing or could start doing that could attract the right kind of guests you are looking for.  It may have to do with what is in your local area, what types of amenities your B&B has, the policies upon which you run your business, or your attentive concierge services and warm hospitality.  

 

Here is a list of ways to stand out:

  • Beach or waterfront property?  Ask your guests to share their photos online. Alternatively, ask the public to share their best pictures of relaxing in the sun to enter a photo contest to win a gift certificate to stay at your inn.

 

  • Eco-friendly bed and breakfasts can have a page on their website devoted to their environmentally safe practices and awards.

 

  • Game rooms?  With their permission, share photos of guests playing your games (ex: air hockey, chess, horseshoes, Scrabble, etc.).

 

  • Gift shop? Offer guests attractive items to purchase with your logo on them (such as decorative soaps, coffee mugs, aprons, and maybe even your own cookbook) so they are reminded of your inn every time they see or use the items.

 

  • Gourmet breakfasts so delicious they prompt guests to write great reviews about your inn.  Ask those who rave about your food to post on online review.

 

  • Handicap-accessible inns can show their ramps, bathrooms, ground floor rooms, and (if applicable) their elevators.  With guest permission, share pictures of trained guide dogs who have visited your inn.

 

  • Historical inn and/or unique antiques? Share photos and stories of the original family members that lived at your historic inn.  Share photos of the gorgeous antiques safely displayed throughout your inn.

 

  • Kid friendly?  Show pictures of rooms or suites that are suitable for families.  Write blog posts about local family attractions.  

 

  • Library? Attract more guests by sharing pictures of your library and by featuring a local author who will be speaking at an event (in or around) your bed and breakfast.

 

  • Luxurious amenities (such as a pool, hot tub, or spa) should be featured on your website and in your social media.

 

  • Mountain inns can share photos of majestic views as well as promote local activities such as hiking, skiing, and zip-lining.  

 

  • Mysteries? If you host murder mysteries, share pictures of your event (such as your guests dressed in costumes) on your website, blog, and social media. 

 

  • Packages? Feature tickets to popular local attractions (such as a theater or amusement park) and/or gift certificates to local fine dining restaurants.

 

  • Patriotic bed and breakfasts can display their country’s flag and offer a discount to those on active military duty and to veterans.

 

  • Pet-friendly bed and breakfasts can show pictures of pets at their property and take about their pet policies (including where pets are allowed to go).

 

  • Restaurant? Bed and breakfast inns with their own restaurant can feature photos of seasonal events (like Thanksgiving Day) as well as social events (like private parties). Regularly blog about popular signature dishes or feature the chefs and write about their culinary training and experience.

 

  • Retreats hosted at your inn?  Notify the media.  This is especially important if the person speaking at the retreat is famous or notable in their field.

 

  • Settings that are breathtaking, peaceful, and gorgeous should be shown in pictures to attract more guests.

 

  • Tea time? Whether you have a dedicated tea room open to the public or specific tea times only for your guests, promote tea time with pictures of your tea table settings and food as well as guest events like social hours or book clubs.  

 

  • Vegan or vegetarian bed and breakfasts can show pictures of delicious, hearty looking meals that are (surprisingly) within those diet restrictions.

 

  • Weddings at your inn?  Display pictures of places where the ceremony and reception can be held on the property.  With permission, share pictures of happy couples and of related events like vow renewals and elopements.  

 

  • Wine tastings? Whether you own the winery or offer a package for your guests to tour local wineries, describe the experiences that guests will have as well as share photos (with permission) of guests touring vineyards.  If transportation is provided during tours, be sure to mention that as well.  

 

  • Yoga is a great way for your guests to become stronger and more relaxed.  If you regularly offer yoga on site to your guests, be sure to share that on your website, in blog posts, and in photos on your social media.

 

Share your excellent ratings, reviews, and status.  This is not the time to be modest since your inn is your livelihood.  Link to your Trip Advisor rating, share guest reviews, and proudly put on your website if you belong to Select Registry, a bed and breakfast association, and other elite groups.  

 

No time or desire to manage your online marketing? Please contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging.  We can put a plan in place that will make your inn stand out!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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How To Profit From Designing Bed and Breakfast Retreats

bed and breakfast retreats

 

 

Bed and breakfast retreats can be very profitable for bed and breakfast inn owners. I will be presenting on an upcoming Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) webinar.  Here is the blurb:

 

 

“From dreaming to planning and pricing to marketing, Kristi Dement will show you how to profit from designing retreats at your bed and breakfast.  She will reveal 15 different types of B&B retreats that your inn could host.  Plus, learn several reasons we should all love retreats!”

 

We will discuss:

 

  • 3 Essential Questions To Ask in the Dreaming Phase

 

  • Understanding the Role of Activities and Breaks

 

  • Crucial Planning Considerations

 

  • Option of Working with Outside Professionals

 

  • Types of Retreats and The Importance of Names

 

  • Customizing Retreats for Specific Clients

 

  • Critical Retreat Policies to Have in Place

 

  • Retreat Pricing Guidelines

 

  • Structuring Your Retreat

 

  • Building Retreat Buzz

 

  • Key Retreat Marketing Strategies

 

  • Reasons to Love Retreats

 

Throughout the Professional Association of Innkeepers International webinar, I will be sharing the images (like the one above) from talented hospitality photographer Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography.  

 

Click here for the blog post with a link to the YouTube video of my previous PAII webinar called, “How You Can Profit From Creating Memorable Guest Packages” led by Heather Turner, the Marketing Director for the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.

 

This PAII webinar is scheduled to take place on Wednesday January 25 at 2 pm.  After the webinar, I will provide a link to the presentation right here.  To get more ideas for designing retreats, look at BnBFinder’s website under Specials and then Classes, Courses, and Workshops.  

 

If you can think of another issue for me to address, with regards to designing bed and breakfast retreats, please feel free to comment below.  Alternatively, if you have experience leading bed and breakfast retreats, I welcome you to introduce yourself.  Tell us the name of your inn and where it is located and let us know what has worked well for your bed and breakfast retreats.

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How To Let Someone Know About Your Inn

how to let someone know

 

How to let someone know about your inn…there are many ways to do this.  The more creative and original you let them know about your inn, the more likely you will get bookings.  Try answering questions that they will likely want to know.

 

 

 

  • What do guests love most about your inn?

 

  • What are you most known for?

 

  • What makes your inn unique?

 

  • Why do most people visit your city?

 

  • What is the best kept secret about your area?

 

It is important to understand why people stay at your bed and breakfast.  There could be many reasons, including some of the following:

 

 

  • Your gourmet breakfasts

 

  • Your warm hosptiality

 

  • Your ideal location

 

  • Your thoughtful packages

 

  • Your reasonable rates

 

how to let someone know

 

Pay attention to your guest comments and feedback. Keep track of guest compliments so you are sure to continue getting that response. On the flip side, make note of negative feedback, so you can make the appropriate changes.  Knowing what guests love the most (and what they don’t love at all) helps you provide the best environment possible to your guests.

 

Are you, your inn, or your area famous for anything?  For example, you could have won a breakfast recipe. Your inn may have received a prestigious award.  You area could be home to the world’s most awesome event.

 

Be sure to emphasize these accolades in your marketing messages.  Marketing messages can be spoken (e.g. what you tell your guests in person or over the phone), be online (e.g. your blog, newsletter, or website), or be in print (e.g. your sign or your brochure).

 

It is fundamental that you know what makes your inn so special.  What do you offer that other area accommodations do not?  In marketing, this is called your “unique selling point(s).”

 

What attracts people to your local area?  It could be one or more of the following:

 

  • Business

 

  • Concerts

 

  • Conferences

 

  • Festivals

 

  • Nature

 

  • Sports

 

  • Universities

 

In response to the question, “What is your area’s best kept secret?” you could reply in any of the following ways:

 

  • Tell about a famous local legend

 

  • Recommend your favorite local restaurant

 

  • Reveal a local hot spot not commonly known to tourists

 

  • Reassure them you are not hiding any local area secrets and that you will gladly answer all of their questions to the best of your ability

 

Thus, answering guest questions they want more information on is a great way to let someone know about your bed and breakfast inn.

 

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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