Category Archives: Success

4 Secrets to Biltmore Success

secrets to Biltmore success

What are some of the secrets to Biltmore success?  I am referring to America’s largest private residence, the two-hundred and fifty room Biltmore Estate.  After six years of construction while collaborating with architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead, on Christmas Eve in 1895 George Vanderbilt officially opened Biltmore House.

 

George Vanderbilt pictured the possibilities for his family and friends on his eight thousand acres of Blue Ridge Mountain beauty.  In present day, the Estate includes:

  • delightful shops
  • four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate
  • gorgeous gardens
  • romantic restaurants
  • wonderful winery

Today, with two hundred full-time employees and a total of over eighteen-hundred employees working for The Biltmore, bed and breakfast owners may wonder what they have in common this hospitality giant.  If we can understand what helps make the Biltmore such a success, then hoteliers (as well as owners of restaurants, shops, and wineries) can apply this knowledge to run their own hospitality businesses better.

Secret #1: Offer add-ons, like tours and activities, to your guests.  This caters to individuals who have the ability and desire to pay more for these additional benefits.

The visitors to the Biltmore Estate can opt for additional tours:

  • Audio Guide to Biltmore House: capture the feeling of being guided through Biltmore’s grand rooms by our curators and hosts on this ninety-minute audio tour filled with stories about the Vanderbilts and treasures in their collection
  • Behind-the-Scenes Guided Upstairs-Downstairs Tour: in this sixty-minute guided tour, descend the back stairs to explore servant life at Biltmore, discover cutting-edge technology that kept America’s largest home humming, visit the domains of the butler, head housekeeper, and lady’s maids, then continue on to a suite of guest rooms to learn about grand house parties hosted by the Vanderbilts
  • Rooftop Tour: enjoy amazing views from rooftops and balconies and get a closer look at the design and construction of the Biltmore House with this sixty-minute guided tour of areas not on the regular house visit
  • Legacy of the Land Tour: take a motor coach tour of the estate and learn about the history of the land, structures, and former residents while visiting areas not usually open to guests

For an additional cost, visitors to the Biltmore Estate can participate in certain activities (available seasonally):

  • Biking
  • Carriage Rides
  • Fly-fishing School
  • Guided Horseback Trail Rides
  • Land Rover Experience Driving School
  • River Rafting, Kayaking, and Paddleboarding Trips
  • Segway Basic, Off-Road, and West Side Tours
  • Sporting Clays School

Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast of Durham, North Carolina gives guests options for extras, such as:

  • Greta’s Girlfriend Getaway
  • Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt Weekends (only offered on specific dates)
  • Picnic in the Park
  • Romance Package
  • Spa Services

Secret #2: Variety encourages your guests to return. Always keep things fresh.  Each Biltmore experience is different.  As the seasons and their themes change, so does their décor and displays.

For example, during our visit to the Biltmore, they had a Downton Abbey theme and featured real gowns worn on that popular British television show.  They had signs informing visitors about the material of the gown and what was happening in history during the time it was made as well as more information about the character who wore it on the television show.  A Biltmore employee revealed to us that each gown was literally made in that time period or individually hand-made to be authentic to that time.

Many inns choose to decorate during major holidays, such as Christmas.  One of the Biltmore’s biggest attractions are its Christmas displays.  In addition to the obvious holidays, how about choosing a less commonly celebrated holiday like Arbor Day?  Plant a tree in the backyard of your bed and breakfast.  Then show the growth of that tree by taking its picture each year.  Many innkeepers have their inn for more than twenty years, so this could really be a focal point in your yard.

On the topic of gardening and variety, Biltmore plants things that will bloom at different times of the year.  The acres of gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the father of American landscape architecture. That way whenever people visit, they will see something pretty.  When we visited the Biltmore Gardens, the tulips were in full bloom.

Secret #3: Offer a closer look at your inn.  The Biltmore Estate is full of carefully researched stories of its past.  The people who lived and worked at Biltmore, the events and people they hosted, and how historical events (including war) affected them.  The Biltmore has many stories to tell.

I was impressed that was a huge painting of the architect and one of the gardener.  The audio guide noted that this was rare for a wealthy person to have portraits made of two people that worked for the family.  This is a testament to how George Vanderbilt honored his employees and valued their contributions to the overall look of his estate.

The Esmeralda Inn and Restaurant of Chimney Rock, NC also is full of history, including a Presidential visit and two fires.  If your inn is brand new, then share pictures of its construction and let your guests know the steps it took from the time you decided to build your bed and breakfast to the time that you opened your doors.

Find your bed and breakfasts’ story.  Some name their rooms after a significant person in history or after their official state symbols such as the state bird and state tree.  Then you can tell stories about the people who made important contributions in history or about how your state symbols came to be.

Secret #4: Make visitors feel welcomed and appreciated.  Biltmore employees are very attentive, polite, knowledgeable, and helpful.   They go out of their way to help you and smile while doing so.  Let that be said of you and your inn.  Extend to your guests your greatest hospitality, and they will reward you by returning and referring others to visit.

While there is no other place quite like the Biltmore Estate, we can implement some of their secrets to Biltmore success and apply it to achieve our own success. Innkeepers can ask themselves if they offer extras, create a variety of looks and themes throughout the year, reveal a deeper look to guests, and help their guests feel appreciated. May your place of hospitality be profitable like the Biltmore.

Do you want help marketing your bed and breakfast online?  Bed and Breakfast Blogging writes search-engine-optimized blogs as well as gives inns an active presence in social media.  Let us do that work for you so you can focus on what you do best!

 

5 Reasons to Never Give Up!

reasons to never give up

 

 

Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” Whatever your dream is, there are at least five reasons to never give up!

 

 

  • You are closer than you think!  Even if you are just getting started, one new idea might really take off.  You never know until you try.  Think how one great idea spurs on several more after that.
  • You never want to wonder “what if?” Live a life of no regrets.  No one knows how much time they have left on earth, so live in the moment and do something now!
  • It is never too late to make a difference.  Everyone has something they can do to positively affect another life.  Even if it is just listening and showing you care.  That could be the best thing you can do for someone.
  • Others will help if you just ask them.  No one achieves anything of value alone.  Have you ever sat in the theater at the end of a movie, to read the credits naming everyone who helped make the movie possible? The right people would love to help you.  They do not know you need their help unless you ask!
  • Believe in yourself!  Everyone is capable of making significant accomplishments.  Remind yourself of what you do well each day.  Positive thinking only!

Think of all the world leaders, explorers, inventors, artists, musicians, athletes, and business leaders that have shaped the world around us for the good.  They never gave up!  Think of the everyday people in your life, who are not famous, but who have made an incredibly positive impact on your life and others around them.  Be the kind of person you want someone to be to you!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Maximizing Your Time

maximizing your time

We all have 24 hours in our day.  Since none of us can buy time, we must maximize (make the greatest and full use of) this limited resource. This means we must have a strategy (a plan for obtaining a specific goal or result).

So what are goals?  Goals are the results toward which our efforts are directed.  The best goals are SMART:

  • Specific–target a specific area for improvement
  • Measurable–quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
  • Action-oriented–state what action must be taken
  • Realistic–state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources
  • Time-related–specify when the results can be achieved

As an innkeeper of a bed and breakfast, you may want to categorize your goals based on the different areas in your job. I have included an example of a smart goal for each category.

  • Cooking–I will learn at least one new breakfast recipe each week and serve it to my guests.
  • Decorating–I will consult with a professional painter and get an estimate on interior and exterior painting costs.
  • Events–I will host a local chamber of commerce meeting every week.
  • Finances–I will keep an organized record of my earnings and expenses.
  • Gardening–I will plant at least 3 trees and 5 bushes this month.
  • Housekeeping–I will hire a maid to clean our rooms regularly.
  • Laundry–I will arrange for a laundry service to clean our linens.
  • Marketing and Promotion–I will hire someone to write a blog for our website.
  • Shopping–I will stick to my list every time I buy groceries.

You may think of other categories or come up with different goals.  The point is to make the best use of your time. This will allow you, the busy innkeeper, to get everything done and still have a little down time to yourself.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Do Your Best and Be Good For Your Word

If you always do your best (no matter what your situation), you will develop long-term, and mutually beneficial, relationships with others.

Cultivate a reputation of integrity so that when people hear your name, they immediately think of you as someone with whom they can trust. If you are good for your word in small things, people will trust you with bigger things.

Successful People Help Others Get What They Want

Successful people help others. The late success consultant, speaker, and author, Zig Ziglar, said that

“You can get everything you want in life, if you help enough people get what they want.”

So we must ask ourselves what we can offer people that they would want?  The answer to that question depends upon several factors.

First, do you have positive role models in your life?  Even if you do not personally know someone who is successful in your field of interest, of course you can read about accomplished people. Their success can motivate you.  Do what they did.  Read what they read. Learn what they learned.  Just take action!

In addition, use your resources (this includes your education and experiences) to seek out ways to meet the needs of others.  You can also use your skills (such as communicating or leading or researching) to your advantage.  Use the skills that people tell you they admire about you.

Also, the more connections you develop, the easier it is to refer people to others and to receive referrals from others.  Social media (such as Face Book, Linked In, and Twitter) makes it even easier to be connected to other people.

I think Mr. Zig Ziglar’s point was that when you put others needs before your own, then your needs will be taken care of as well. It is only natural that people will hear about how you helped other people and want you to help them, too.

So take your eyes off of yourself for the moment and look to solve someone else’s problem. In doing so, you will have solved your problem. That is the beauty of what Mr. Ziglar was talking about.

Zig’s most popular book is See You At The Top. Much of his sage advice is timeless wisdom that can be applied in modern everyday life.

 

 

 

 

5 Sources of Good Ideas

We all love good ideas and we want to know where and how to find them.  Good ideas come from many different sources.  Here is a list of five:

1. Conversations with others–you never know what someone will say that will spark a light bulb to shine in your head. This could even happen when you overhear others talking in a public place. They could be discussing the latest news story or anything that triggers you to think of a good idea.

2. What you read–this could be from a book, a magazine, a newspaper, an online article, a chat room discussion, a web page, etc. You would be amazed where people find sources of inspiration. It could even be from an advertisement!  You just never know!

3. What you watch–on the television or in the movies.  On the television, you could be watching the news, a documentary, or a funny sitcom.  It could be any kind of movie, too.  It could be a concept that is being discussed or watching the plot of a story that gives you an idea.  Even watching people you know interact in person and do things can help you come up with an idea.

4.What you do–when you are working or exercising or having fun, your body can focus on a new way to go about solving your problem or answering a need.  There is something to be said for concentration, whether it is from organizing or looking for information, taking a leisurely walk, or even singing the lyrics in a karaoke song.

5.When you sleep–Albert Einstein kept a pencil and notepad next to him so that, if his dream gave him an idea, he would write it down before he forgot the idea.  Some times your brain works on a problem for you overnight (or during a nap) and you wake up with new insight.

The important thing is to keep an awareness of your goals in the back of your mind, so that your brain can be working on a solution or answer.  Ideas can come from anywhere.  It does not matter how you thought of the idea or the source that sparked the idea, it just matters that the idea be something that will help you reach your goals.

The Love of Learning

If you have the love of learning, you might say yes to any of the following:

  • You read books titled “Useless Information” or other trivia or fact type books
  • You still take classes (even though you may already have one college degree or more)
  • You read the books from recommended reading lists
  • You know your library card number by heart
  • You watch Jeopardy on TV and play board games that make you think
  • You solve word puzzles and logic puzzles
  • You listen to audio books or lectures while you ride in the car or exercise
  • You like to ask people in-depth questions about anything and everything
  • You watch all the educational type programs on Net Flix versus mindless entertainment
  • You have taken an online class (or earned a degree online)
  • You love to ask questions and tend to be philosophical
  • You know the difference between a hold and an inter-library loan at your public library
  • You have continued reading this far
  • You love to make lists, set goals, tackle projects
  • People ask you for advice because they consider you to be “a smart person”

I confess that I will never stop learning!  There is absolutely too much exciting information to know!!  I wish you happy reading, listening, and watching if you have the love of learning!

The Power of Visualization

Did you know that the brain’s quickest and probably the longest-lasting response is to images? Having a mental picture of something in your brain can be very motivating as well as relaxing.

If you come to my house, you will see that I have a visualization dream board using different colored pieces of scrapbook paper that I have pinned to a bulletin board.  I cut out meaningful words and inspiring pictures from magazines to motivate me to achieve, relax, and be the best me I can be!

In addition to my dream board, I actively use Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/kristinedement/).  It is so cool to be able to collect tips and get ideas from looking at what other people put on their Pinterest boards.  You can even take your own images and share them with others on Pinterest.

So what means a lot to you?  Spend some time thinking about what kind of categories of pins you would like to set up.  For example, my categories include: social media success, inspiring art, libraries around the world, castles around the world, vacation destinations, etc.  The picture below is of America’s largest home–the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.

If you are an artist, you could paint an inspiring mural on a wall in your home or office or classroom as a way to powerfully visualize your dreams.  No matter how you visualize, it is important that you do!  Then you are one step closer to achieving another dream!

 

Top Ten Reasons to Love Change

I love change.  Life is about change. Here are the Top Ten Reasons to Love Change:

1.  Change happens whether you want it to or not–so you might as well embrace it.

2.  Being open to change allows you the freedom and courage to take on new and different things.

3.  People will admire your ability to roll with the punches.  You make it look effortless.

4.  Others will come to you for advice because you stay on the cutting edge of information and technology.

5.  Change can mean improvement if you seek to make things even better than they are right now.

6.  Change means not the same old, same old.  It is out with the old and in with the new.

7.  Welcoming new changes can lead to awesome opportunities.  Don’t be afraid to do something different.

8.  If it is not working, then why stick with it?

9.  Change brings about new experiences that could impact your life in many wonderful ways.

10. If you love change, then you love life because life is full of change.  So love life!

That is a general success principle in life–to always seek improvement (which, by the way, requires change)!

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