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How to Have a Better Bed and Breakfast Blog

covered patio with lounge chairs, chair cushions, coffee table, and plants

Want a better bed and breakfast blog? Here are some top hospitality blogging tips to attracting more readers and more business to your inn.

 

Be sure to blog about WHY people visit you. Because it could be for a variety of reasons, I am going to list some possible reasons.  Each of those reasons can be a blog post! Mentally answer the questions as you read on.

 

Your LOCATION could be a big reason as to why guests stay with you. Whether you offer a secluded place for them to get away from it all (a peaceful place for relaxation and romance) or exciting urban accommodations with lots to do (a thriving place for fun and entertainment), your location could be a factor.

  • What, if any, major attractions are in your area?
  • What are the top 3 reasons that people come to your city?

 

Your AMENITIES can play a vital role in why people choose to stay with you. Guests appreciate being able to experience luxuries they don’t necessarily have in their everyday lives.

  • What amenities do you have?
  • Do you list your amenities on your website?

 

Your EVENTS that you host can attract guests. Whether you host private parties, weddings, or other special events, this can attract people to become overnight guests.

  • What events do you host?
  • Do you have a blog post (or web page) about each event you host?

 

Your REPUTATION for hospitality is another compelling reason. Word of mouth can be very powerful as a way to attract new guests. When we have an enjoyable time doing something, it is only natural to bring it up in conversation with another person.

  • What is it about your hospitality that sets you apart from other inns?
  • Do you monitor what is being said about you and your inn online?

 

Your FOOD can be a major pull factor when it comes to attracting more guests. If you are one of the inns that also has a restaurant open to the public, that is another way to become known. First they dine with you, then they decide to become overnight guests. However, those who do not have restaurants can also do extra things like offer 24/7 access to refreshments.

  • Do you have a wine and cheese hour or a special time of the day for tea and goodies?
  • Are you able to accommodate those with special dietary needs?

 

Your PACKAGES can also contribute to why guests decide to stay with you versus your local competitors. Guests appreciate having things already arranged ahead of time.

  • Do you offer packages that include things like event tickets, restaurant gift certificates, local walking tours, etc.?
  • Do you offer themed packages like romance or adventure?

 

Give people a SNEAK PEEK into life at your inn. Many famous tourist attractions like Disney and The Biltmore Estate offer Behind the Scenes tours. You could share pictures, videos, and stories of what happens at your B&B.

  • Share things that ONLY you or your inn has (more details about your guest rooms, previous residents, the current innkeepers, etc.)
  • Share funny things that happen (amusing little pranks staff members pull on each other, or comical things with guests such as two people who don’t know each other yet show up to breakfast wearing the same shirt)

 

Answer frequently asked questions in your blog posts. If you get asked the same questions over and over, how about answer those questions before your guests even arrive at your inn!

  • The number of miles (and estimated drive time) to key points of interest that guests may want to visit in your area
  • How you do breakfast at your inn (time, typical menu options, in-room delivery of breakfast, etc.)
  • Checking in and check out procedures as well as coming and going during their stay with you

 

Creatively add other unique content to your blog posts, including any of the following:

  • Recipes of things you make here at the inn
  • Tips about your local area including restaurants and attractions
  • Your very own Top 10 List that relates to your B&B or local area

 

One of the most important aspects of blogging, is to consistently do it. The search engines reward fresh content by making it more visible online. Plus, you are keeping in touch with people and staying on their radar. Remind previous guest about why they should come back again and compel new people to visit for the very first time.

 

Another strong factor in having a better bed and breakfast blog is sharing pictures and videos. “A pictures is worth a thousand words.” Guests want to know what they can expect before they come to your inn!

 

You are welcome to put a link to YOUR bed and breakfast blog in the comments below and share what works well for you. If you do not have a blog (or do not consistently blog), feel free to contact me for advice.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

25 Ways To Write Creative Blog Posts

If you are reading this, then I assume you are looking to be CREATIVE (and definitely not boring) when you write creative blog posts.  This way you will have plenty of admiring fans! 25 ways to write CREATIVE blog posts:

1. ADVICE You have unique advice that only you can offer to your readers.  Once you understand who your audience is, then you can write like you are writing to a friend.  They will feel like they know you and you will develop a huge following.

2. CA– USE– Why not rally your readers behind a cause you support?  Let them know what you are doing to make a difference and how they can help. Give a call to action. Seriously, don’t leave that out.

3. COMMUNITY Your community could be defined by your local area or it could be people who share a common interest or goal.  Reach out to “your peeps” and connect with them!

4. COMPARISON Take two things and compare them.  Whether you compare two breakfast foods or two fun activities, the fun is in comparing and contrasting them. This could be educational, entertaining, or funny as well. Speaking of…

5. EDUCATIONAL– People like learning about things.  That is one reason why search engines are so popular.  Tell them something that not everyone knows, but you know because you are an expert at it.  Everyone is an expert at something.  Blog about what you know best.

6. ENTERTAINING Everyone likes to laugh and have fun.  You could blog about entertainment that is coming to your community whether it is a music concert, sporting event, or theatrical production. Be sure to make it “entertaining” to read!  Since blogging is writing that is typically less formal than say a report, let your personality shine in the post.

7. EVENTS People like finding out about events–ones that will happen and ones that already happened.  If you have the “inside scoop” on the latest, you can “tell all” in your blog!

8. FAQ This common acronym is short for “frequently asked questions.”  Many websites have an FAQ page on them.  Blog about commonly asked questions.  Blog answers to familiar questions so you can refer your readers to when they ask them.  Saves you time in the process!

9. FAMILY Some of your best material can come from your family members and others with whom you are close. As long as you make it generic enough that you don’t single out any one person or you know they won’t mind your sharing it, go ahead.  You know you want to!

10. GUIDE A guide-type blog post could be a collection of tips about a specific topic. While similar to advice blog posts, they are different in that these tips can be applied by a variety of different people–not advice for one type of problem.  Example: Simple Tips to Get Clients To Pay on Time, Quick Ways to Find Just What You Want Online, etc.

11. HYPOTHETICAL Ask your readers what they would do in a hypothetical situation. Maybe answer that question as well. These types of blog posts tend to get a lot of comments because people like to imagine, “What if….?” Sometimes I imagine, “What if I win a ton of money in the lottery and get to quit my day job?!”  I kind of have to buy a lottery ticket first. Oh well.

12. INSPIRATIONAL Share something motivational with your readers.  Help them connect to you in a powerful way through your telling of someone overcoming a challenge and beating the odds.  Maybe that someone who overcame something big is you.  Don’t be afraid to share since it could encourage someone else!

13. INSTRUCTIONAL or “HOW TO” Give instructions on how to do something that others want to know how to do, and suddenly you have a captive large audience.  You can be creative with your titles of these posts as well. Two examples: How To Teach Your Dog Fun New Tricks, How To Make Delicious Homemade Ice Cream, How To Make a Memorable Family Scrapbook, etc.

14. INTERVIEW If you don’t have any famous celebrities you happen to know (most of us are in this boat), then you could always interview a person notable for what they do. A person who is accomplished in a career or sport or another area of life.  If you interview a person who has an inspiring story and then you have an “inspirational interview“! Wow, two different ways to write a blog post combined! You are an overachiever!

15. LISTS People love lists.  Examples: 10 Ways You Can Change Your Spouse, 20 Best Party Appetizers, Top 40 Bestselling Books About Fitness, etc.  You get the idea and they will too!

16. MEMORIES Often, we like to recall fond memories or retell funny situations.  We may even want to remember how we overcame a trauma for the sake of helping another person who finds themselves in the same emergency. When you blog about a memory, be sure to create a vivid picture in their minds of all the important details of your experience.

17. NEWS Did you know that sometimes bloggers are the first to break a news story? There have been cases where a blogger has gotten in trouble for sharing some kinds of sensitive information.  Keep your day job and don’t blog about company trade secrets. Another word of advice is to keep your love life private so no one tries to sue you for disclosing personal details.  However, if you are in attendance at an exclusive event that you have permission to be blogging about, then by all means SHARE!

18. OPINIONS If you loving sharing your opinions, then blogging is right up your alley!  As long as you are tactful and the topic is appropriate, it is alright to share what you think. You don’t have to have all positive comments from your readers.  In fact, it makes it more interesting when some of your readers do not agree with you.  Usually readers who do agree with you, will come to your defense when you are criticized by others.

19. PHOTOS If you took a great picture or want to share several incredible pictures, then you may want to have a photo blog post.  When your text is all about what is in your photo(s), then you have a photo blog post.  Whether your pictures are of smiling people, grand buildings, gorgeous nature, or something entirely different, there are others who would love to learn about how you managed to capture the photos and the techniques you used in getting it to look the way it does.

20. PREDICTIONS It is common at the end of the year (or the beginning of the new year) for people to come up with their predictions about some topic.  Examples: The Future of Technology, 10 Social Media Predictions, What is To Come in American Education, etc. Similar to the hypothetical “what if” posts, these are your thoughts as to what will come about in the next year (or whatever time frame you select) concerning a particular topic. Inquiring minds want to know!

21. PROBLEMS Life would not be nearly as exciting if there were no glitches.  Inevitably, snags come along.  You spill chocolate ice cream on your brand new white dress shirt.  You get a ticket for speeding on your way to work early one morning.  Your problem post could be written to be a funny look at everyday life or it could be a solution post in which you address how to solve a particular problem with a specific idea, product, or service. People are always looking for solutions!

22. QUIZZES Some people love taking quizzes for fun.  Why not write a blog post that is a quiz about something interesting?  Examples: 15 Questions to Discover the Vacation of Your Dreams, How Well Do You Know Yourself?, etc.  The point is to make your quiz blog post appealing enough to your audience, so that they want to take it.

23. REVIEW Everybody loves reading reviews.  You could blog a book review, a restaurant critique, or a movie screening.  Reviews help other people who, for example, were thinking about reading the same book, dining at the same restaurant, or watching the same movie; decide if they want to based on your review.  When you write a review blog post, you have the power to influence your readers to take action or avoid it.  Don’t let the power go to your head!

24. SECRETS This could mean quick shortcuts, little known facts, or juicy details.  Like news posts, people like finding out things they would not normally know had they not read your blog.  Same cautions apply!

25. STORIES People love reading fascinating stories.  A story blog post captures the attention of your audience yet is brief enough to be the length of a blog post. Stories with important lessons for your readers earn you loyal readers.

Try one (or a combination of several) of these types of blog posts the next time you write! Don’t be afraid to write CREATIVE blog posts. Most importantly, enjoy the process that blogging requires.  It always helps me to visualize my readers reading this.  Will they think this is funny?  Does that tell them everything they need to know?  etc.  Feel free to share your CREATIVE blog post ideas or to ask me a question related to this post.

Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions

 

When potential guests arrive at your website, do they have all the pertinent information they need in order to know that they want to stay at your bed and breakfast?  Your website needs to be informative and friendly enough so that guests can be assured that your bed and breakfast is the one they want to stay at.

 

Consider having a “FAQ” (frequently asked questions) section on your website. This can list questions and answers about your inn and the surrounding area. The following are examples:

  • What amenities do you offer? This is your opportunity to list things like their own telephone, wi-fi access, jacuzzi or hot tub, air conditioning, cable television, library, a suite, private bathroom, etc.
  • What can I do in the area?  Answering this question gives you the chance to brag about the fun things to do in your area.  This is when you can talk about shopping, area attractions, favorite restaurants, arenas to see sports and concerts, and more!
  • Can you tell me what to expect for breakfast?  You can indicate the time breakfast is normally served, if they can make arrangements to adjust the time, what is normally served, if special dietary needs can be accommodated, and if breakfast can be delivered to their room.
  • Do you allow children to be guests?  You may allow children, but require a specific minimum age or you may decide to keep it only open to adults.
  • Do you allow pets?  Do you have pets living at your bed and breakfast? You may allow pets or have separate cottages for your guests to stay in with their pets. Some B&B owners have pets that live in the B&B, but their pets may be restricted to only specific areas of the place.
  • What about the details?  This is where you can bring up how you handle early arrivals and late departures, your credit card policies, if you have a minimum number of nights they must stay, and if you have any discounts or special packages.
  • How much privacy will we have?  You can answer their questions such as if there is a common area to meet other guests and if they have to interact with the other guests at breakfast and if they will hear the other guests behind the walls.
  • Do you allow smoking?  92% of all B&B’s do not allow smoking inside. There is a trend for healthier environments.  Most states do not allow smoking in public restaurants.
  • Where do the innkeepers sleep?  Many times you live on the premises or just a few minutes away. It gives guests peace of mind to know that they will be able to reach you if and when they need to do so.

Having an FAQ section, on your website, helps answer any frequently asked questions they may be too timid to ask, but truly want to know.  I also recommend giving guests, who have paid for one of your rooms, a number where they can always reach you in case of emergency.  This helps everyone feel more comfortable!

PAII Conference January 16, 2014

We have been looking at the Professional Association of Innkeepers International conference being held from Monday January 13 through Thursday January 16.  From 8 am to 9:30 am on Thursday ten different innkeepers will each have five minutes to present fifteen different informative slides as they share encouraging and uplifting stories.

The final trade show hours are from 9:30 am to noon on Thursday.  This is also the last chance to get your silent auction bids in.

The Innkeeping Industry Awards lunch will present various awards to different innkeepers, reveal the winners of the silent auction items, and raffle winners will be picked.

From 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm will be various learning opportunities, including:

  • Live Website Reviews– “Your website must showcase the emotional experience by accurately portraying how your guests will be taken on a journey of relaxation, romance, and adventure. The primary communication tool to impart this experience for a guest is your website. Does your website entice visitors to part with their hard-earned cash or are they booking with your competitor?”
  • All-Star Panel in the Art of Mastering Hospitality-“Brilliant minds unite spreading innovation, creativity, and time-tested strategies for innkeepers. Take a journey down a fellow innkeeper’s path- one of pain, laughter, and implausible success. Discover the secret strategies that catapulted other innkeepers into surpassing unreachable goals. Bring your tough questions to our experienced panel – a group who will candidly share their expertise. Join us as the most sought after industry experts reveal all for the first time together.”
  • A Day in the Life of an Innkeeper-“Find out from experienced successful innkeepers what goes on behind the scenes and how the most successful innkeepers spend their days. Learn about everything from menu planning to staffing, from social media marketing to local high touch business to business networking, from check-in to check-out and everything in between. Get valuable tips that only an experienced innkeeper can give. Learn how to spend your time and what jobs you need to take on vs. those that you need to hire out. Ask your questions and get answers tested in the innkeeping trenches. “
  • Cooking Classes B&B Style-“Offering cooking classes in your inn using the local ingredients and even, in some cases, local chefs will enhance your reputation with local business and with your guests.  Learn to create a farm-to-table experience that you can cash in on along the journey.”
  • A Taste of Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking-“Vegetarian cuisine is now more popular than ever. Increasing health and ethical concerns, and an appetite for adventure, have sparked a growing demand for attractive, appetizing, and creative vegetarian dishes that hold their own against any meat choice on the menu. Chef Bergeron will show how to harness traditional cooking methods and techniques to produce exciting and elegant meatless creations bursting with freshness and flavor. Moving from appetizers and side dishes to delicious entrees, breads, and desserts.”

You will not want to miss this last day of fun and camaraderie with your peers. Your enthusiasm for innkeeping and your love of entertaining guests in your own bed and breakfast will all be renewed as you make important contacts.  This is a great opportunity that happens only once per year and it is being held in Charleston, South Carolina!