Tag Archives: audience

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

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!

Easy Ways to Better Understand Your Guests Lifestyles

understand your guests lifestyles

Understand your guests lifestyles to satisfy their unique needs.  The more information you know about your potential guests, the better you are able to target your marketing messages and offer attractive hospitality services.  There is no point in trying to be everything to everyone.  It is rarely possible to satisfy all customers in the same way.  When you know what your potential guests’ values and what motivates them, you are better able to attract them.

 

Understand your guests lifestyles are based on motivations, needs, and wants:

  • Activities: actions pursued for pleasure or relaxation
  • Attitudes: feelings about people, things, or situations
  • Beliefs: trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something
  • Interests: curiosity, attention, or concerns about something
  • Opinions: judgments or ways of thinking about something
  • Values: important and lasting ideals

These lifestyle factors can explain why your audience buys the products and services they do.  There is power in knowing how your prospects make their buying decisions.

How you package and promote your services is a key component of your marketing strategy.  Put together a list of different guest personas you want to attract that is based on what is in your local area, your unique talents, and your amenities.

 

First, ask yourself these three questions:

What is in my local area? This could be anything from college campuses, to concert venues, to national parks, to business conferences.  Once you know what is in your local area, you can better understand your potential guests’ lifestyles.

What are my unique talents?  If you are an official tour guide (local trail and/or hiking tours), a party planner (excellent anniversary parties), a massage therapist (with a spa on site), a vegetarian-only chef (cooking for vegetarians and vegans), then you have a better idea of the lifestyles’ of the guests you want to attract.

What amenities do I provide my guests?  This could be anything from game rooms, to gardens, to hot tubs, to luxurious linens, to indoor and/or outdoor pools, to tea rooms.  Understand what amenities you have that are attractive to potential guests.

 

Then segment your customers into different personas.  For example:

  • Adventurers
  • Antique lovers
  • Art and drama lovers
  • Board game players
  • Business groups
  • Business travelers
  • Class reunion attendees
  • Environmentally conscious people
  • History buffs
  • Hobby lovers
  • Honeymooners
  • Mystery lovers
  • Pet owners
  • Readers
  • Relaxation seekers
  • Shoppers
  • Sight seers
  • Spa lovers
  • Special occasion celebrators
  • Sports spectators
  • Vegetarians
  • Wedding guests
  • Wine lovers

These are easy ways to better understand your guests lifestyles.  Then you can promote your place of hospitality (bed and breakfast, inn, resort, restaurant, etc.) on your website and through social media.

Kristi Dement at Bed and Breakfast Blogging can help you attract more guests.  Click here to contact me and/or feel free to comment below on what you do to attract more guests.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes: Infographics

everybody writes infographic

 

This wraps up our series of posts about Ann Handley, the author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.  Ann offers practical infographic creating tips that we will illustrate with an excellent bed and breakfast industry infographic.

 

But first, just what is an “infographic”?  Infographics are expressed graphically via drawings, pictures, maps, diagrams, charts, and more and are all held together with a coherent visual theme and typically published as an image file.

According to Ann Handley, the best infographics express rich objective data in a more accessible and engaging way:

  • Checklist or resource
  • Compare and contrast study
  • Evolution of a movement, demographic, or industry
  • Illustration of the state of some business sector or function

Have the following characteristics:

  • Utility: entertaining, educational, intrinsically useful, applicable to your audience
  • Data: based on facts (not opinions); uses credible data and credible sources
  • Story: have a hypothesis and a narrative at their core
  • Logical sequence: organize your information so that it flows logically; the images and text need to make sense together
  • Great design: color, typography, illustrations, animation, videos, charts, text
  • Quality control: make sure your infographic is free of errors
  • Promotion: the goal is to drive attention to and interest in your brand
  • Shareable: make your infographics easy to share in social media

The infographic shared in this blog post was produced by Little Hotelier and the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.  First, they share the statistics that the B&B Industry in the United States has an estimated worth of $3.4 billion.  The core of this starts with the estimated 17,000 inns in the United States and then branches out to all of the product and services needed:

  • Real estate
  • Insurance
  • Hospitality
  • Furniture
  • Food and beverage
  • Cleaning
  • Safety
  • Heating
  • Cooling

The median performance:

  • Occupancy rate: 43.7%
  • Average daily rate: $150
  • Revenue per available room: $58

everybody writes infographic

The infographic tells us that the typical inn has between 4 and 11 rooms with 6 being the average number of rooms and the average size is 5700 square feet.

94% have private baths and 93% offer free high speed wireless internet.

Types of inns:

  • Suburban 5%
  • Urban 23%
  • Village 43%
  • Rural locations 29%
  • Historical designation 36%

everybody writes infographic

Their infographic portrays amenities at most inns both in the common areas and in the guest rooms.

Amenities in Common areas:

  • Internet
  • Magazines
  • Hot/cold beverages
  • Board games
  • Fireplace
  • Televisions
  • Refrigerator
  • Newspapers
  • Telephone
  • Cookies, cakes, candies, and fruit
  • Fresh flowers

Amenities in Guest rooms:

  • Internet
  • Magazines
  • Televisions
  • Fireplace
  • Luxury bed linens
  • Robes
  • Premium branded toiletries
  • Jetted tubs

everybody writes infographic

Their infographic ends with a statistic about the inn owners.  The percentage of inn owners that are 72% are couples, 18% are individual females, 5% are individual males, and 5% are non-couple partnerships.  Also it lets us know that 79% of owners live on the premises.

everybody writes infographic

A big thank you to Ann Handley, Little Hotelier, and the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.  If you would like help with your online marketing, please contact us at Bed and Breakfast Blogging.

 

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes: Email & More

everybody writes

 

 

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, offers tips for writing email and much more.  This can be applied to bed and breakfast marketing as well.

 

 

Writing For Email:

  • Use short subject lines (Vacation in “Your Location”)
  • Let your free flag fly (“your third night is free”)
  • Use the recipient’s first name (to personalize it)
  • Keep the email copy short (remember WHY you are writing it)
  • Be a real person and communicate with a real voice (write like a friend)
  • Show enormous empathy (“we understand your need to get away”)
  • Use real images (show inviting pictures of your B&B)
  • Have a specific call to action (ex: click here to subscribe to our blog posts)
  • Make sure you are aware of CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (spam = legal trouble)

Writing For Landing Pages:

  • Match the message to the promise
  • Avoid sharing too much information (keep it to the point)
  • Keep your headline benefit-driven (what is in it for them?)
  • Be brief in subheads (most of the time)
  • Use second person with action verbs (a lot of “you” and “your”)
  • Be blindingly obvious as to what the person should do next (“book now”)
  • Use buttons that are big, bright, and bold
  • Show, don’t tell
  • Keep things simple
  • Use trust indicators and social proof to reduce anxiety (ex: TRUST-e, BBB)

Writing Headlines:

  • Create a curiosity gap, but with moderation
  • Promise what you are going to deliver
  • Place your reader directly into the headline
  • Use numbers (helps people know what to expect before they read it)
  • Use lively words: ultimate, brilliant, awesome, intense, hilarious, smart, critical, surprising, etc.

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide To Creating Ridiculously Good Content, gives practical tips for writing your “Home” page and your “About Us” page.

Writing A Home Page:

  • Speak to your audience
  • Tell people what is in it for them
  • Know what motivates your audience
  • Keep it simple
  • Use words your audience uses
  • Communicate clear value
  • Convey trust
  • Social proof

Ann Handley recommends that your home page leave the reader feeling like, “We get you.  And what’s more, you belong here.  We understand your challenges, your fears, your pain, your hopes, your needs…”

Writing The About Us Page:

  • The best “About Us” pages are not really about the company
  • Those pages focus on relaying who they are in relation to the reader
  • Talk about what you do for customers (your B&B guests)
  • Show a human, accessible side
  • Show your people as real people
  • Bring your customers into your story (real stories from your guests)
  • Why do customers care about what you do?
  • How have you helped them?
  • Put customer testimonials on video (with guests permission, do video testimonials)

Getting To Know The Staff:

  • Favorite quotes
  • What they eat for breakfast (may be a signature dish from your inn)
  • Music preferences
  • Travel experiences
  • What they do in their spare time (may be leisure activities near your inn)

With any kind of writing these valuable suggestions from Ann Handley (from her Everybody Writes… book) can be implemented. Then bed and breakfasts will likely attract more business. If you are too busy as an innkeeper (or have no desire to do marketing), contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free consultation.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes: Linked In

everybody writes linked in

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content gives some recommendations for writing on Linked In.  This is a social media platform for professional people.

First and foremost, you can optimize your profile with keyword-rich descriptions, a stand-out headline as well as a link to your blog and Twitter handle.  Actively share relevant content on a regular basis.

 

Everybody Writes LinkedIn Tips:

  • Use concise introductions
  • Use snappy headlines
  • Include a clear call to action
  • Use active language
  • Cite tangible outcomes
  • Include an image
  • Consider the keywords you want to be known for
  • Align your content to your member’s needs and interests
  • Make your content “snackable” and valuable
  • Manage your updates by measuring engagement
  • Follow up on comments
  • Keep in mind which audience you are targeting
  • Cater your message to a specific audience for better engagement
  • Be consistent and track your results

Top 10 Overused LinkedIn Buzzwords:

  • Responsible
  • Strategic
  • Creative
  • Effective
  • Patient
  • Expert
  • Organizational
  • Driven
  • Innovative
  • Analytical

Other Everybody Writes LinkedIn tips:

  • Claim your vanity URL
  • Customize your profile by moving parts around, embed examples or other media
  • http://help.linkedin.com/ is the link to getting help on LinkedIn

Since we are talking about LinkedIn, I wanted to also share some interesting facts and statistics about this professional social network that were recently compiled by Digital Marketing Ramblings:

  • 380 million people use LinkedIn
  • 107 million of those users live in the United States
  • LinkedIn gets two new users per second
  • Reaches over 200 countries and territories
  • LinkedIn profiles are 11 times more likely to be viewed if it has a photo
  • LinkedIn members are 13 times more likely to have their profiles viewed if they list specific skills
  • 56% of LinkedIn users are male
  • 8.33% of Americans use LinkedIn while they are on the job
  • 13% of all United States adults use LinkedIn daily
  • 29% of all American social media users use LinkedIn
  • 41% of millionaires use LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn has over 6,000 employees and offices in 26 different cities
  • 50% of those accessing LinkedIn do so from mobile devices
  • 3 million active job listings on LinkedIn
  • 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates

LinkedIn Groups may be a great way to post questions and/or share answers. Usually many people are willing to share best practices.  LinkedIn groups for Bed and Breakfast Owners include:

  • Bed and Breakfast Business
  • Bed and Breakfast Forum
  • Bed and Breakfast and Guesthouse Owners Groups
  • Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers
  • ed and Breakfast Inns
  • Bed and Breakfast, Inns, and Vacations Rentals.
  • Bed and Breakfast News
  • B&B Owners Association
  • Innkeepers
  • Just Bed and Breakfast Network
  • and many more!

Be sure to keep Ann Handley’s LinkedIn content advice in mind when you venture onto this professional social media website.  You may become connected via LinkedIn to past bed and breakfast guests as well as potential guests. LinkedIn is a great way to promote your B&B business.

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

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes: Tweet & Post

everybody writes

 

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content discusses practical tips for writing on Twitter and Facebook.  Using social media the right way can be very beneficial to your bed and breakfast brand.  Using social media the wrong way has the very real potential to damage your B&B’s reputation.

 

Writing For Twitter:

  • Establish who you are (how your bed and breakfast improves peoples lives)
  • Tell your bigger story (your passion for hospitality and hosting guests)
  • Share the why & who, not just the what (ex: what specific book are you reading and why–do not just tweet that you are reading)
  • Personalized, not too personal (there is a fine line between sharing yourself and sharing too much)
  • Be cautious with automation (also do real-time tweets)
  • Use Twitter to float ideas and see what gets nibbled (see what people are responding to)
  • Use a clear call to action (be obvious about how you want others to respond)
  • Use Bitly to shorten links (offers rich analytics and saves characters)
  • Tweets around 120 characters are optimal (most likely to be retweeted)
  • Share your history (ex: share pictures)
  • Tap into what people care about (ex: travel, food, relationships, etc.)
  • Convey your personality (ex: be you!)
  • Track and follow trending hashtags (what is trending and how can you join in the conversation?)
  • Do not use more than 2 or 3 hashtags in a single tweet (#otherwise #it #can #be #annoying)

Writing For Facebook:

  • Connect with existing communities of potential buyers
  • Target by niche, not by numbers (ex: those who have liked other bed and breakfasts)
  • Your brand’s online voice and tone are very important (be professional and friendly)
  • Post when your audience is online (makes sense to be online when they are!)
  • Posts with images get the greatest amount of engagement (always use images with permission)
  • Keep each Facebook post brief (ideal is 100-140 characters)

Bed and breakfasts can take advantage of using social media websites like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about their luxurious accommodations.  Be careful to tweet and post pictures and information that is consistent with the image you want to portray about your bed and breakfast.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Responses

visual storytelling responses

Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, authors of the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand remind us that anything can happen at a moment’s notice online. Companies need to identify common occurrences, both positive and negative.  It means looking for opportunities to create visual storytelling responses all around us.  Some strategies include:

 

  • Understand the most important factors that can influence sales and customer leads
  • Weather may be an important theme to craft content around
  • At key times of the year, companies can announce awards, rankings, events, speeches, partnerships, and make other announcements
  • Understand the most frequently asked service inquiries and comments, both positive and negative
  • Develop a robust content library to allow time for real-time opportunities
  • The best storytellers play off their audience responses to hit the message home
  • Extend the life of conversations and engagement as long as it is relevant
  • Look at the content fans are sharing each day

While on the topic of user generated content, there is a higher barrier to engagement if it is not natural for fans to share visual content.  Reward sharing behavior with a campaign, contest, and/or rewards.  Look for themes in the most common types of photos, videos, hashtags, and sentiment.

Choose a clear call to action such as a unique hashtag available across all social media channels.  Make full disclosure to customers how and where their photos and videos will be shared.  Highlight examples to show a range of creativity.  Give rewards and recognition by having an “image of the week” or randomly sending a thank you.

Customers can share their own content through videos shared on social networks like YouTube, Instagram, and the Vine.  Look at your content calendar to determine which video(s) will help tell your visual story in a way that other media cannot.  Think about your target audience, desired end goals, and what resources are available.  Evaluate the needs of your audience and show off your personality.  Mix up the content to a variety of different types and lengths of videos. Common videos include:

  • Announcements
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Case studies
  • Celebrity partnerships
  • Community involvement
  • Company overview
  • Demos
  • Event highlights
  • FAQs
  • Goals
  • How-to
  • Live streams
  • Office tours
  • Parodies
  • Testimonials
  • Video blogs
  • Visual portfolios

Fan shared content as well as company made videos can show another side to a business. The key is to make the most of what customers are saying about you.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Shaping

visual storytelling shaping

 

According to the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, companies need to do visual storytelling shaping.  Each piece of content needs to have a clear theme and point of view as well as a take away message for the reader.

 

Content needs to be aligned with who you are as a company: voice, personality, and values. Once woven together, these themes shape your story.  It is important to list your goals and determine how visual content can help achieve them.  Ask yourself, if your company were a person, what would it look like in real life?

Embrace social media’s more personable, human side.  Look for the most commonly discussed conversation themes from your online consumers.  Shape your story and identify major themes to craft your visual content mix.  Look at your goals, company voice, and customer feedback by social media platform.

Determine Your Visual Content Mix:

  • The magic is in the mix to keep storytelling fresh
  • It allows you to deliver more personalized content to target audiences across different platforms
  • Evaluate your desired frequency per platform for posts, tweets, pins, etc.
  • Have a formula and clear plan of what steps you will take
  • Frequency varies by company and by social media channel
  • Quality content always trumps quantity and volume
  • Content must be interesting, important, and relevant to your audience
  • The usual shelf life of a tweet is considered an hour at most
  • The shelf life of a Facebook post is around 24 hours
  • Prioritize by social media platform the most important content themes that go into crafting your visual story
  • The mix needs to balance what is important from an ongoing visual storytelling perspective with goals, current events, questions, and general conversation from your customers
  • Content goals will likely change each month depending upon how much news your company has or tweets your making in response to fan engagement
  • Content should aim to be mostly upbeat, fun, motivating, and engaging
  • Outlining content themes makes it easy to identify what messages will be best conveyed as photos, videos, infographics, presentations, etc.

Authors Walter and Gioglio remind us to be listening and responding to what is being said about our company as well as learning the most commonly asked questions.  When we know that, companies can better respond to their own target audience.  This means setting goals and developing a strategy.  Our content will adjust in response to real time as we get live social media feedback.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: YouTube

 

visual storytelling YouTube

 

Bed and Breakfast Blogging recommends the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio. Earlier, we gave an introduction to the book as well as featured some of their Pinterest tips.  This post will specifically look at their YouTube tips.

 

YouTube (the second largest search engine) began in 2005 and is owned by Google (the largest search engine).  It is great for brand channels since businesses can place an intelligent banner image, embed social media links, and even feature a thirty second video trailer.

Hyperlinks can be incorporated into the video itself to create a “clickable” interactive video. Streaming video delivers nearly three times higher brand awareness and 100% higher purchase intent.

Important YouTube facts to know:

  • The average YouTube viewer spends 900 seconds per day watching videos
  • 44% of YouTube users are between the ages of 12 to 34 years old
  • Over 829,000 videos are uploaded each day
  • 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute
  • 3 billion views daily on YouTube
  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
  • 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the United States
  • YouTube is localized in 53 countries and across 61 languages
  • 25% of global YouTube videos come from mobile devices

Authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio recommend that businesses be responsive to their audience.  Show an informal look at your company.  Video is a very flexible way to tell a company’s story and have a global reach. The key is to add value, inform, and entertain. This is a great way to do what social media expert Shannon Belew calls social selling.

The average video length is 2 minutes and 46 seconds.  Businesses should optimize their content for keywords used by their industry.  Discover the terms your target market is searching for and develop your videos around that.

Consider posting videos in response to comments and questions.  Let your fans and customers tell their own stories.  One of your videos could go viral (spread quickly over the internet).  Thus, businesses should use YouTube to tap into The Power of Storytelling.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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