Tag Archives: accommodations

How to Have a Thriving Bed and Breakfast Biz

snow-covered cabin in woods

Wondering how to have a thriving bed and breakfast biz? Consistently booked rooms AND a profitable hospitality business? Bed and Breakfast Blogging helps make that happen with our professional blogging and social media expertise.

Blogging is a great way for guests (and potential guests) to get to know all about your fabulous bed and breakfast as well as your area attractions. The benefits of blogging include:

  • attracting more people to your bed and breakfast
  • providing fresh content that search engines reward
  • positioning yourself as a top bed and breakfast
  • increasing trust and credibility with your guests

We can tailor keyword specific content for your bed and breakfast website as well as attract more visitors with a regular blog.  We can describe wonderful amenities of your bed and breakfast such as a cozy fireplace, romantic whirlpool tub, and plush king-sized bed as well as a private balcony, spacious swimming pool, and flowering gardens.

Imagine your potential customers reading about your delicious breakfasts and even sharing some of your delicious recipes with them. Bed and Breakfast Blogging can discuss the unique history of your own bed and breakfast. We can even write about your custom packages that may include concert tickets, spa treatments, and tickets to local attractions.  

We take the time to understand what make your accommodations so special so we can communicate that with your audience. We can feature any of the following (and more) that apply to your property:

  • Amenities
  • Art
  • Classes available to guests
  • Cookbook(s)
  • Complimentary (extras that guests receive at no additional charge)
  • Flowers (arrangements and plantings)
  • Gardens and landscaping
  • Gift shop
  • Guest rooms and bathrooms
  • Jacuzzi/hot tub(s)
  • Meeting space
  • Parking space
  • Pools to pool tables
  • Private events (birthdays, anniversaries, showers, etc.)
  • Restaurant
  • Retreats you host
  • Spa and spa services
  • Tea room
  • Vehicle charging station
  • Weddings
  • Wine collection or tours
  • Yoga

Contact us today so we can set up your own personalized business strategy to unlock your B&B’s greatest potential. We help bed and breakfasts become more profitable as well as grow their social media presence and add effective blog posts that feature what makes you, and your local area, worth experiencing. We take care of marketing your bed and breakfast inn so you can take care of your guests! 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Managing Your B&B Reputation

white picket fence with greenery and blooming purple flowers

Managing your B&B reputation is more important than ever in this fast-paced world of easily accessed online information. Whether bed and breakfast innkeepers monitor it or not, people are talking about their inns. Do you know what others are saying about your bed and breakfast?  Do you look at reviews written by your previous guests? Conversation goes on whether or not you participate in it.  You can’t afford not to know what is being said about you and your inn!

According to Trip Advisor, 93% of people find reviews important when determining where they want to stay.  This is why receiving positive feedback from satisfied guests is so critical.  Every effort should be made to reduce negative reviews and improve the reputation and appeal of your place of lodging.

Online reputation management means monitoring and influencing the image of your property throughout the internet.  Places of hospitality should focus on review sites, social media, and search engine results.  People from all backgrounds and all over the world use the internet for online travel research before booking their accommodations.

B&B Reputation Management Tips:

  • Monitor all feedback avenues regularly
  • Spend most of your time listening and paying attention
  • Read everything travelers are saying about your B&B on OTAs & review sites
  • Set up a Google Alert for the name of your B&B and other relevant keywords
  • Communicate why people should recommend your brand vs. your competitors
  • Know what messages about your brand you want guests to share
  • Provide plenty of opportunities for guest feedback during their stay
  • Answer all questions in a timely manner
  • Respond with an open mind to comments
  • Engage with sincerity and authenticity
  • Take all precautions to prevent negative events from occurring

Owning a hospitality business means you need to actively protect your image.  In the event that your reputation management escalates to crisis management, ignoring negative guest comments does not make them go away.

Actions To Protect Your Hospitality Brand:

  • Identify the naysayers and respond promptly
  • Make the appropriate apologies and explanations
  • Seek to positively solve their problem
  • Isolate them so the conversation becomes more personal, but far less public
  • Talk in a one-on-one private discussion to find the solution to their problem
  • For every zealot trying to hurt you, your loyal guests are ready to defend you
  • Consumers will generally “shout down” detractors who are way off base
  • Reputation terrorists often base their arguments on feelings vs. facts
  • Have an escalation plan in place for excessive bashing in multiple forums
  • Pick your battles and tactfully respond to criticism
  • Always take the high road

Gathering a lot of mostly positive feedback will increase your visibility because guest reviews will be distributed efficiently on social media as well as booking platforms. At the same time, you can avoid high provision fees by getting people to use your website and your booking engine.  A high rating means your reputation is on a good level, automatically driving demand for your B&B and creating more revenue for you and your employees.

The key is to be attentive and responsive to guests in person, on the phone with callers, and online with those asking questions or making comments.  If you do not have a blog already, considering adding one so that people can get to know the details about you, your inn, and your local area.

Managing your B&B reputation is critical to the success of your bed and breakfast.  Our elite reputation management service tracks comments on review sites (like TripAdvisor and Yelp), gives you tips to encourage more positive guest reviews, and we prevent (and defuse) reputation crises so you maintain your reputation for superior hospitality. Contact Bed and Breakfast Blogging if you would like to know more about it!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Easily Attract More Guests To Your Inn

bedroom with trey ceiling with open glass doors overlooking balcony

 

 

 

How to easily attract more guests to your inn?  One key component is to focus on good things to do, things to see, food to taste, places to explore, and places to go in your local area.

 

 

First, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do most people visit our local area? (ex: for a romantic getaway in a secluded area or in a bustling city with lots of culture)
  • What do people like to do when they visit my area? (ex: attend a major business conference or participate in a marathon for your favorite cause)
  • How could I convince someone to want to visit my area? (ex: write great content about your local area and develop a reputation for showing warm hospitality to your guests)
  • Do I ask for guests to give me great online reviews?  Tell guests when they arrive,  that if for some reason they do not have a five star experience with you, to let them know in person how it could have been better.  For the few who were disappointed, perhaps offer them an upgraded room or some other perk if they decide to return again.  Make it your marketing mission to get 5 star reviews online so others will want to visit.

As you read this list, think about what you could feature in your local area:

Things to Do

  • Bowling
  • Canoeing
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Fairs
  • Festivals
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Horseback riding
  • Hunting
  • Local shopping
  • Marathons
  • Miniature golf
  • Quilting
  • Reading
  • Shopping
  • Spa relaxing
  • Sports
  • Walking
  • Writing
  • Yoga

Things to See

  • Ballet
  • Bird watching
  • Book stores
  • Circus
  • Comedy
  • Concerts
  • Movies
  • Parades
  • Photography
  • Sporting events
  • Theatre

Food to Taste

  • Bakeries
  • Bars
  • Coffee shops
  • Food trucks
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Picnicking
  • Restaurants

Places to Explore

  • Attractions
  • Colleges and universities
  • Galleries
  • Historical landmarks
  • House hunting
  • Lakes
  • Malls
  • Mountains
  • Museums
  • Parks

Places to Go

  • Arenas
  • Churches
  • Conferences
  • Retreats
  • Stadiums
  • Workshops

bed in front of brick fireplace

 

Another important key to attract more guests is to establish relationships with these other local proprietors. Perhaps the business person will give you a reasonable deal in exchange for exclusively their particular type of business (such as using only one local florist for all of your flower arrangements).  Consider putting together guest packages that include local area businesses:

 

  • Reservations at a nearby restaurant
  • Tickets to a local game
  • Gift certificate to a relaxing spa (or your own spa)

When you categorize your blog posts, this allows your web visitors to easily go to the content that best fits their needs.  For example, some of my blog categories include:

  • Activities
  • Amenities
  • Conferences
  • Events
  • Food
  • Guests
  • Publicity
  • Renovating
  • Success

Write about what makes your area a destination for most people.  For some, this could mean featuring local concerts at your popular entertainment venues or dishes from award-winning restaurants.  If your bed and breakfast is in a place known for popular events (such as film festivals), be sure to promote that.

Write about things that make your inn unique.  Give them reasons to choose your inn for their accommodations.  Does your bed and breakfast have its own restaurant, horse farm, gift shop, spa, or something else?  Maybe you have amenities such as hot tubs and fireplaces in private guest rooms.  For those who cater to the business traveler, be sure to talk about your free wi-fi internet access as well as desks with comfortable office chairs.

In summary, write blog posts and put on social media the things that are popular in your local area as well as what makes your inn so special.  Offer packages that include things only found in your area.  Be sure to encourage five star reviews from your guests.  This is how you will easily attract more guests to your bed and breakfast inn!

 

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How to Find Your Inspiration as an Innkeeper (Part 1)

a kitchen table set with orange juice glasses and breakfast on plates

Wondering how to find your inspiration as an innkeeper? Bed and Breakfast innkeepers each have their own unique story of how they entered the hospitality industry.  Think about how YOU got started as a bed and breakfast owner.  For your own reviewing, write down your own personal story of how you came to be a travel accommodations provider. Consider including your answers to some of the following questions.

Motivation:

  • Do you love cooking for others?
  • Do you like entertaining guests?
  • Do you desire to work from home?
  • Do you need to feel independent?
  • Do you enjoy helping others relax?
  • Do you receive fulfillment from serving others?
  • Do you like recommending things for people to do in your local area?
  • Are you a first-generation B&B owner, or does your family already have a history of hospitality management experience or ownership?

Innkeeping:

  • What do you like the most about B&B innkeeping?
  • What could you do more of? (things you find enjoyable)
  • What could you do less of? (things you dislike doing)
  • Do you have (or have you thought about hiring) part-time employees to fulfill the roles you least like (or are challenged by)?

Niche:

  • What amenities does your inn have?
  • What is your inn known for? (ex: artwork, restaurant, spa, etc.)
  • What in your local area attracts guests to stay for a visit?
  • What type of guests do you (or would you) like to attract?
  • How do you describe your place of hospitality to others (on your website, in your social media, over the phone, and in person)?

There needs to be a match with your motivation for working, your individual talents, and your hospitality niche/ideal guests.  Consider the following 3 hypothetical scenarios…

1) Innkeeper Irene loves cooking for others and entertaining guests. She dislikes anything involving paperwork–especially finances.  Her B&B restaurant is becoming more known in the community. She does not have the time or desire to learn online marketing. How can she keep doing the things she loves (cooking and entertaining) and hire out for other things (financial and marketing)?

2) Bob the B&B owner is very successful with marketing his inn.  His grown children manage the day-to-day operations of their thriving business.  Their occupancy rate is very good, but he is wondering how to earn more income outside of bookings.

3) Shirley & Dale are a husband and wife innkeeping couple. Shirley’s favorite thing to do is to plant and grow flowers and produce in their gorgeous garden as well as to decorate their inn. Dale loves construction and renovation projects (both inside and outside). However, they have a real need for adding housekeeping and kitchen staff (not to mention their need to promote their inn). What can they do?

Please add your comments and suggestions below and watch for Part 2 of this blog post!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Why Local Partnerships Can Make You Rich

a store with glass cases with food inside and other merchandise

Do you know why local partnerships can make you rich?  Do you know that your local area could be your best asset?  Travelers tend to pick the area of their destination BEFORE they choose their accommodations.  So innkeepers can profit from thinking about: “Why do guests visit my local area?”

Word-of-mouth marketing can also be very powerful.  What do you want to become known for?  A big part of becoming more well known is developing ties with other local businesses and organizations in your community.

Who, in your local area, offers complementary products and services?  There are many reasons why it is in both your interests to form a mutually beneficial relationship:

  • You can refer each other business (since you don’t have all the same customers)
  • You can promote each other in a variety of ways (such as via social media)
  • You can form exclusive partnerships (more on that later)

So, you may be thinking, what types of places and with whom could I form local partnerships?:

  • Caterers
  • Chocolatier
  • Entertainment providers
  • Florist
  • Gift shops
  • Museums
  • Nonprofit organizations and charities
  • Realtors
  • Restaurants
  • Spas (if you do not have your own spa)
  • Sports
  • Tourist attractions
  • Wedding planners

There is a whole movement going on to support local businesses and service professionals.  Spread the love for your local area by featuring these other businesses:

  • Brochures (display them at your inn)
  • Coupons (arrange for your guests to receive discounts for using their services)
  • Menus (let people see what they offer by providing their menus)
  • Preferred list of vendors (such as caterers and wedding planners)
  • Social Media (share a picture of them and write about why people should want to use their products and/or services)
  • Video (partner with other businesses to promote your town as a vacation destination)
  • Word-of-mouth (if guests ask for your recommendations)

Develop “exclusive partnerships” in which you agree to only buy from them and they offer you a reduced rate for doing so.  This works out well in the case of using one chocolatier and one florist.  Especially if you offer packages to your guests which include chocolate and flowers.

An “influencer” is a person who has the power to influence many people.  How do you meet and form relationships with the “influencers” in your community?

  • Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce which will have local business owners and service providers as members.
  • LinkedIn is a powerful social media network for finding other local business owners
  • There is nothing like meeting face-to-face to discuss how you can help each other’s businesses grow
  • Look online (like at TripAdvisor) to find lists for the best restaurants near you and the top things to do in (and near) your area for ideas of people and places to contact

That is why local partnerships can make you rich.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How to Host Elegant Private Parties at Your Inn

Night time outdoor water fountain illuminated

Wondering how to host elegant private parties at your inn?  All types of private parties may be hosted at your inn, depending upon your inn’s location, accommodations, amenities, and space.  Another factor in determining which types of parties to host can be the number of rooms or areas (indoor and outdoor) that you have to offer your party guests.

 

It is important to specify on your website and in your marketing materials the square footage of each space as well as the number of guests you can comfortably accommodate. Indicate if there are handicap-accessible areas for your guests.  Also specify your policies on catering and access to your kitchen. Do you want to cater the events yourself or do you have a “preferred list of vendors” that you work with?

Rental rates depend upon the time of year, the type of event, and the length of their visit.  It is important to NOT specify prices IF you want to give yourself some flexibility when it comes to pricing.  Some types of parties are more expensive to host than others.  Also, some guests can be “harder to please” than others.

 

Let’s talk about parties that typically take place during the day time.  This could include the following:

Baby showers: Have you thought of hosting baby showers for expectant parents?

Tea parties: Do you have a tea room or host afternoon tea parties for your guests?

Wedding showers: Even if you do not host actual weddings, could you host wedding showers for soon-to-be-married couples?

 

Parties that typically could take place both day time and night time:

Book signings: Do you have famous local authors interested in you hosting their private book signing party?

Family reunion celebrations: Is your inn located in a centrally convenient place for families from several popular areas to meet?

Fundraisers: Do you host parties for non-profit organizations raising money for good causes?

Graduation parties: Are you located in a city known for its local colleges and universities?

 

Now, let’s focus on parties that typically take place during the evening.  They include:

Dinner parties: What organizations (profit and nonprofit) would potentially be interested in you hosting their dinner party?

Formal dances: Perhaps your local Historical Society or Chambers of Commerce would like you to host a formal dance?

Murder mystery parties:  Even if you have not hosted them before, what about arranging for a murder mystery party at your inn?

Wedding receptions:  Do you host weddings and/or receptions?

 

Have a different checklist of items, depending upon the type of party:

Beverages: is this an event that typically serves alcohol?; do you have a license to sell alcohol or do you allow guests to bring their own libations?; non-alcoholic beverages include: punch, juice, non-alcoholic fruity drinks (a.k.a. “mocktails”), soda, tea, and water

Date and time options: list available dates and times for each type of event (this is why you must keep a very organized calendar)

Decorations: of course the decorations will depend not only on the type of gathering you are hosting, but also if it has a particular theme; you may have some decorations that you can buy to regularly display (such as a lacy antique baby buggy as baby shower decor for every baby shower you host)

Flowers: consider coordinating all of your floral arrangement requests with one particular florist (so in exchange they give you a discount for your exclusive business)

Food: if you are catering, offer a variety of menu choices for each type of party; consider accommodating particular dietary needs or preferences of your group (such as gluten-free, low cholesterol, low sugar, non-dairy, vegan, vegetarian, etc.)

Location: specify the places on your property that will be reserved strictly for the party guests for each party type you host as well as how many people each place can accommodate

Music: provide a list of music (either a selection of live performers or recordings of musicians) that guests have the option of hearing; the music you play at a baby shower will be different than the music played at a wedding reception

Party events and games: fundraising parties may feature an auction whereas baby showers may have a variety of fun games for the expectant parents

Pictures: if possible, take lots of pictures of the event to share with the people who arranged for the event to take place at your inn; always ask permission before sharing photos of guests attending private parties at your inn with the public (through your website, blog, social media, or in photo collections for potential clients to see)

Price: of course you should make a profit from hosting private parties; think about potential costs associated with different events (including the cleaning and not being able to use the inn for other events at that time)

It helps, but it is not a requirement to have a professional wedding or party planner on your staff.  You may want to work out an arrangement with a local wedding or party planner to handle all of the planning details given your specific list of requirements (including costs, caterers, etc.).  In addition to renting out rooms, you can make a pretty profit hosting events (even when you have to give a percentage to a professional party planner who manages all the details for you).

For even more suggestions, please watch the Professional Association of Innkeepers International webinar where I gave a presentation of how to host elegant private parties at your inn.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Shatter the Disastrous Myths About Bed and Breakfasts

outdoor pool with picnic basket on umbrella table with a red rose in a vase

It is time to shatter the disastrous myths about bed and breakfasts. There are a handful of reporters recently who have published stories that seem to be more about their own awkward hang-ups than about having real issues with where they stayed. Also, most of their disappointments could have been prevented through simple actions like looking at the accommodations’ website and reading guest reviews before their booking rooms.

Most bed and breakfasts are NOT about staying at grandma’s house with doilies. While some bed and breakfasts are located in historic mansions, that does not mean they have thin walls, squeaky bed frames, and creaky floors. Many of those inns have been painstakingly returned to their original glory with added insulation (if needed), restored or new furniture, and repaired or refinished flooring.

99% of bed and breakfasts offer private, connected bathrooms for their guests to use. Bed and breakfasts with good websites always show pictures of their guest rooms and bathrooms and even specify which amenities come with each of their rooms. Hotels are not the only ones with private balconies, sitting areas, gardens, pools, restaurants, and gift shops. There are plenty of inns offering these same luxuries.

Bed and breakfasts are always unique. Every inn is different and offers its own special personality and experiences. Guests choose bed and breakfasts based on its location, style, local attractions, and personal preferences. Bed and breakfast inns can come in a wide variety of types to choose from, including:

  • scenic mountain bed and breakfasts
  • modern boutique inns
  • bed and breakfast farms
  • pet-friendly inns
  • B&B retreats for authors or artists
  • bed and breakfasts on the water
  • environmentally friendly inns
  • bed and breakfasts in secluded locations
  • kid-friendly inns

There is a reason why they are called bed and breakfasts. Hotels often offer “continental” breakfasts that leave much to be desired. Innkeepers often have culinary training as well as a natural talent and passion for cooking. Many bed and breakfasts accommodate guests on restricted diets.

Preferably while booking your room, be sure to indicate any food allergies or dietary guidelines. Whether you are on a gluten-free, dairy-free, low cholesterol, reduced fat, no sugar added, vegan, or vegetarian diet, bed and breakfast chefs can make something you will enjoy eating that does not compromise those standards.

You do NOT have to have conversations with other guests if you feel like keeping to yourself. There is no “dreaded obligation” to have small talk with strangers. At breakfast time, many inns offer tables for two or even in-room dining. It is less common for there to be one common breakfast table for all the guests to sit at. This is a win-win for shy and outgoing guests as well as perky and not-so-perky guests. You can seek interaction or keep to yourself. It is completely up to you!

Innkeepers want to provide their guests with the best hospitality experience possible. Bed and breakfast staff do not try to “hover” over their guests. They remain attentive (they are there if you need them) yet not intrusive (they give you space and privacy). They respect their guests’ wishes for peace and quiet. Some places offer private entrances, separate cottages or guest houses.

Bed and breakfasts are a great value. They offer free breakfast, free parking, and complimentary refreshments. Most offer free wireless internet and some have free DVD libraries and even provide free streaming video services like Netflix. Hotels charge extra for these things. There is no such thing as “free room service” at hotels.

If you like impersonal and stuffy hotel chains, then maybe bed and breakfast inns are not for you. However, many of you (if you have not already) will visit a bed and breakfast inn and never go back to staying at hotels!

Owners and innkeepers, are you looking to improve your online marketing results?  Want to educate potential guests about what makes your inn more appealing than your local competition? Bed and breakfast blogging offers professional services including blogging, e-mail marketing, social media, and reputation management.  Don’t have time or don’t know where to start? Contact Kristi today for a free consultation!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Make It All About Your Bed and Breakfast Guests

Book Cover: All About Them

Make it all about them. Make it all about your bed and breakfast guests.  Author Bruce Turkel, in his insightful book All about Them: Grow Your Business by Focusing on Others makes it clear that what really matters to consumers is their own self-interest. Business owners (including innkeepers) can use that knowledge to make their businesses (specifically bed and breakfasts) about the people they are trying to reach (potential guests).

Author Bruce Turkel states that successful businesses created for today’s “all about them” economy realize what you do is less important than identifying who you are and why that resonates with current and potential customers (guests).

Turkel stresses that “good brands make you feel good, but great brands make you feel good about yourself.” Things sell not because of what they can do, but because of how they make consumers feel.

What attracts business to you and separates you from the competition (other accommodations)? Understand exactly what your customers are buying.  What do you provide that they cannot find anywhere else?

Figure out who you are and what you stand for then communicate that identity.  Translate your message into customer centered communication that resonates with your audience.

What opportunities does your business provide for increasing customer satisfaction and company revenue?  What do you stand for?  Can you describe that in just a few words?  To determine what those few words are, Turkel recommends you consider five components.

  • First, write down your company features and benefits.  This means everything you and your business offer including products, services, talents, skills, experiences, and so on.
  • Then write down your points of distinction.  What sets you apart from your competition? What do your clients identify about you?
  • Next, focus on the functional side of your business.  What features and attributes do you offer?
  • Then focus on the emotional side of your business.  How do your customers feel?
  • Lastly, this is when you can take reflect upon that information and know what you stand for and know who you are.  This is your brand promise.

Innkeepers, do you make it all about your bed and breakfast guests?  Do potential guests know how you are different from other accommodations in your area?

If you need help defining what makes your inn unique, so you stand out from other lodging choices, the Bed and Breakfast Blogging team is here to help.  Contact Kristi Dement for a free consultation today and she can start help you share your inn’s story with the world!

How Bed and Breakfasts Can Win Like Amazon

Amazon Prime logo

Think about how your inn can win like Amazon and uniquely excel in hospitality, cuisine, and accommodations. Fast Company ranked Amazon the World’s Most Innovative Company in 2017.  Amazon is the largest American e-commerce company.

Founded on July 5 of 1994, Jeff Bezos selected the name Amazon as he looked through the dictionary.  He settled on “Amazon” because it was a place that was “exotic and different” just as he envisioned for his Internet enterprise.  Bed and breakfasts should each strive to be different and stand out in a unique and impressive way.

Bezos also noted that the Amazon river was by far the “largest” river in the world and he planned to make his store the largest in the world.  Amazon, as a company, has achieved enormous success. Back in 1996, Amazon was only a $16 million company while Barnes and Noble was at the time a gigantic $2 billion company.  However, Amazon was the fastest company to reach one billion in sales. In 2016, Amazon’s revenue was $136 billion United States dollars while Barnes and Noble increased to a significantly smaller $4.16 billion.

How did Amazon do it?  Amazon set goals to create something superior and completely new.  Jeff Bezos, who continues to record ideas as he thinks of them, made a list of 20 possible categories for his business and then decided that his best option was to start with books.  Years later Amazon would become one of the world’s best known companies and be referred to as “the everything store.”

While publishers complained when Amazon let its users publish book reviews (showing both the positive and negative comments), Jeff Bezos stated, “We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions.”  To him, it was so people could make informed choices.  The user-generated content did give Amazon viewers an extra reason to visit their website: actual buyers of books were giving their honest opinions.  Now consumers can leave written evaluations of any of Amazon’s products.  Bed and breakfasts would do well to encourage their happy guests to leave reviews as well.

Amazon strives for continuous improvement and efficiency.  While you may be satisfied with the size of your business, there are always things innkeepers can do to make more money with each guest who visits.  Whether through added packages, special retreats, retail merchandise, or other extras, make it a goal to win like Amazon by gaining more business from every customer (guest) who contacts your inn.

Names are so important for both people and places. Names help define people and brands. One of the most successful brands is Amazon.  Bed and breakfasts can look to Amazon for its success as a brand and its successful brand name.

Since June 19, 2000, Amazon’s logotype has featured a curved arrow leading from A to Z, representing that the company carries every product from A to Z, with the arrow shaped like a smile.  A good bed and breakfast logo can appear on merchandise you sell like coffee mugs, cookbooks, and aprons.

Amazon carefully selects who they hire to join the company.  According to Amazon, they hire only the best and the brightest.  Some interview questions have been known to catch people off guard like, “Do you know why manhole covers are round?”  This is to judge the reasoning skills of interviewees as much as it is assess their intelligence.  This sets a high bar for the talent they hire.

While they have had some personnel issues as far as people electing to leave the company, many employees have done very well for themselves by staying.  Bed and breakfasts can win like Amazon by being selective when hiring more staff members.

One of Amazon’s core values is innovation.  They remain on the cutting edge of technology with their products and services.  As a company they love inventing things.  They are not held back by conventional thinking. They will quickly abandon old notions and embrace new ones when better options present themselves.  Likewise, innkeepers should stay on the cutting edge with their online marketing, reservation software, and so forth.

Amazon is known for their excellent customer service. They offer a generous 30-day return policy. They are resolved to offer the lowest prices anywhere.  Amazon has expanded not only the types of merchandise it sells, but also the programs it offers.

With a focus on long-term customer loyalty, those who are Amazon Prime members get several perks including free shipping.  Bed and breakfasts can win like Amazon by rewarding returning guests and guests who make referrals.

Amazon is obsessed with customer satisfaction.  This online giant offers a personalized version of their website and gives recommendations to each shopper based on their previous searches and purchases. Amazon’s wide selection, low prices, and excellent customer service is remaking industries.

Through strategic marketing, including blogging, social media, and phone conversations, bed and breakfast guests can win like Amazon by persuading guests to spend more money during their visits on custom packages and other options.

Amazon arguably has the most authoritative online product catalog.  To make it easier for customers to learn more about the products on Amazon, they offer the following lists and tools:

  • Amazon Bestseller Lists
  • Amazon Sales Rank
  • Amazon Wishlists
  • Amazon Look Inside The Book
  • Amazon Search Inside The Book

Amazon’s overarching goal is to be the first place people look to buy anything. Amazon is also referred to as the “unstore.”  According to Bezos, Amazon is not bound by the traditional rules of retail. This is a list of some of Amazon’s products and services:

Perhaps having a company name beginning with “A” was preferential due to the probability it would occur at the top of any list that was alphabetized.  Does this mean that your bed and breakfast name must start with the letter A?  No, absolutely not.  You can think of a clever and profitable bed and breakfast business name by taking into account: your location, your inn, your decorating theme(s), and so on.

Maybe I should rename my company name from Bed and Breakfast Blogging to something else?  Any suggestions??  Feel free to comment below with positively creative suggestions!

How To Get More Positive Reviews and How To Handle Negative Reviews

how to get more positive reviews

 

Do you wonder how to get more positive reviews or how to handle negative reviews? Online guest reviews are increasingly important to travelers.  Around 9 out of 10 consumers read reviews before booking.  “Word of mouth” (especially online reviews) is a powerful thing.

 

 

Good reviews can attract more guests to your B&B and raise your profits.  Positive guest reviews give third-party proof that your inn is good as your website says it is. A higher number of positive online guest reviews encourages potential guests to stay at your accommodations since you appear reliable and trustworthy.  

 

Like it or not, reviews have a direct impact on:

 

  • your ranking on review sites

 

  • your ranking on third party websites (like online travel agencies)

 

  • your ranking in the search engines

 

  • your overall online reputation score

 

  • your overall sales and conversion rates

 

Your best line of defense is to always provide an exceptional stay and the best customer experience possible.  Set expectations appropriately: always under-promise and over-deliver.  Exceed your guests’ expectations.  Give every single guest the personal touch and make them feel like they have had a remarkable 5-star experience.  The majority of positive guest reviews come when guests are pleasantly surprised by the hospitality they receive.  

 

As guests are checking out, you can ask them about their stay.  Guests that give loved their stay should be encouraged to leave online reviews.  Tell them that reviews are important to your business and influential in improving the experience of their future visits.  

 

You may want to give your guests a scenic postcard (maybe with a photo of your inn’s best feature) with a personal message on it asking them for a review.  They will think of the good times and it will motivate them to write a kind review.  

 

In follow-up emails you can ask recent guests to leave a review.  If someone states something positive about your inn, encourage them to share their praise online. Social media is a good place to share positive online reviews. 

 

Respond to all reviews (good and bad) even with a brief comment.  Thank them for taking the time to write their review and show your appreciation of their visit.  This demonstrates how to get more positive reviews.

 

Did you know that the #1 cause of dissatisfied guests is unfulfilled expectations? For the guests who bring up a negative issue, do everything in your power to make it right. Respond to 100% of negative reviews within 24 hours.  Address the specifics in their complaint.  

 

Always maintain a professional tone in response to negative reviews. Start by addressing the guest’s name, show your sincerity, let the reviewer and potential guests know you are sorry if it was your fault and you can apologize that their experience was not to their satisfaction.  Let them know about your standard of service.  

 

Do not confront the person publicly.  Too many businesses make the mistake of defending themselves and not acknowledging their own mistakes.  This always makes the situation worse.  Sincerely apologize that they didn’t feel you met their expectations.

 

Remember that an apology is not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing.  In your response you can note how many years you have been in business and how many guests you have hosted.  “Our team uses very rare incidents like this one to fine tune our operations so that this never happens again.”  This is a good way to frame your business and make the guest feel acknowledged.  

 

Highlight any changes you have made or intend to make.  When answering a negative review, write it with your future guests in mind.  “We can guarantee that we won’t miss the mark in the future with our guests.”

 

The proper response to a bad review can minimize the damage to your inn’s reputation by influencing prospective guests to think more highly of you.  Expressing sympathy that the guest experience fell short of their expectations can also repair your relationship with the unhappy reviewer.  

 

Thank them for their candid review of their recent stay.  Let them know that their feedback is extremely valuable to them as you strive to improve with each and every guest’s visit. Tell them you appreciate that they brought this to your attention.  Managing your B&B reputation can go a long way when it comes to keeping guests happy and more coming through your front door.

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