Tag Archives: bed and breakfast owners

Why Bed and Breakfast Gazebos Are So Popular

Gazebo with little white rocks surrounding in a bed and breakfast yard

 

As bed and breakfast owners, you know it is the little things that make a big difference.  Did you know that just by adding a gazebo to your property, you are making it more appealing to potential guests? Attractive landscaping, including bed and breakfast gazebos, enhances the look for your bed and breakfast.

 

 

A gazebo is sometimes octagonal (or tent shaped) and can be free standing or attached to a garden wall.  It is typically built with wood and has standard roofing materials.  It can be open on all sides or have netting to keep out bugs. Bed and breakfast gazebos are popular because they have a variety of styles and can serve a variety of purposes:

  • A quiet place to enjoy the view outdoors
  • Host meals, parties, and small musical performances
  • Meditation, prayer, or spiritual place
  • Ornamental feature in landscaped lawns
  • Provides shade (even for a hot tub)
  • Shelter from rain
  • In weddings, it is used for exchanging vows and cutting the cake

If you have one, do you feature your gazebo with landscaping around it? Do you use it for outdoor events?  If you do not have a gazebo, is there room for one and, if so, do you know how you would like for it to be used?

You do not have to be a professional builder in order to build a gazebo yourself. They can also be purchased from home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.

However, before constructing or adding a gazebo to your property, you need to make sure you are abiding by zoning laws and community regulations. There could be height restrictions, allowable lot coverage (rules about the percentage of your property with a building on it), and restricted areas (used for utilities, emergency access, and your property line).

Furthermore, if you must abide by the rules of a homeowners association, you will need to understand their guidelines concerning things like style, height, and material used. In this case, it is much better to seek permission before adding a gazebo than to find out that you are in violation of a law or rule and you will need to make (what could be expensive) changes.

You can feature pictures of your gazebo on your website. You can also talk about its addition and/or construction in a new blog post and in social media.

Bed and breakfast readers, if you have a gazebo, please comment below about how you and your guests use it. If you are considering adding a gazebo, please tell us your reasons for doing so.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Fun Bed and Breakfast Retreats

fun bed and breakfast retreats

I went online to BnB Finder to search for bed and breakfasts and to my pleasant surprise, I found some fun bed and breakfast retreats. These retreats include a board game tournament, a night walk, private art classes, and a literary weekend.  Typically, most bed and breakfasts do not offer these kinds of special retreats which makes these bed and breakfasts all the more attractive. Read on for more retreat ideas that you can apply to grow your own B&B business.

 

In Saugatuck, Michigan (near where I grew up in Holland, Michigan) at Sherwood Forest Bed and Breakfast they offer a Monopoly Tournament from November through April. If the entire B&B is booked, they promise to organize the “hippest” Monopoly Tournament ever played! The winner receives a complete set of Sherwood Forest Gear.  Lunch will be catered. This offer may expire at the end of this year.  Call for details at 800-838-1246. This reminds me of my Pinterest Board called Bed and Breakfast Games which features different board games and game rooms at various bed and breakfasts.

In the Saratoga Region of New York at Mariaville Lake Bed and Breakfast, they offer a Night Walk for a small extra fee.  This B&B invites guests to take a walk, guided by the innkeeper, to experience the full night sky. Guests will use a night vision scope and will be amazed at what they can see such as beavers working hard at their famous beaver pond. Advance notice is required and subject to availability and weather conditions. The offer may expire at the end of this year.  Contact the innkeeper for more details.

In the Hudson Valley Region of New York, at the Pine Bush House, they offer Stay and Paint private art classes with local artist Lana Privitera.  Originally from Spain, Lana graduated from the Fine Arts School of Zaragoza, where she majored in Fashion Design and Art History. Lana has won numerous art awards.  She is the current Art Curator for the Pine Bush Public Library.  A sampling of her work can be found on her website.

Currently, there are one day and two day Watercolor Workshops (four hours each) available and all tailored to suit individual needs, taste, and ability.  Supplies loaned by the instructor, but guests have the opportunity to purchase.  Guests receive one FREE double white mat and backing piece (plus an acetate sleeve to protect their “masterpiece”).  A list of art material suppliers as well as recommended art books will be provided.

Contact Lana Privitera at lanaprivitera@gmail.com or Barbara at barbara@pinebushhouse.com for detailed pricing! Discounts available if staying two or more nights.  This opportunity is available at least through June 20, 2015.

In lovely Vermont, The Governor’s House in Hyde Park offers Jane Austen Weekends full of literary-inspired diversions.  Quietly slip back into Regency England in a beautiful historic mansion.  Take afternoon tea.  Share your thoughts at a book discussion.  Attend an informal talk over desserts. Test your knowledge at the quiz brunch and possibly take home a prize.

Take a carriage ride or sleigh ride (depending upon the season).  Join every activity or simply spend the weekend watching the movies. Try English country dancing. Dress in whichever century suits you. Jane Austen fans unite!

Examples of bed and breakfast retreats, special packages, and events include:

Innkeepers are only limited by their imagination.  So get creative and think about what you have passion for. What interests, skills, experience, and talents do you have?  Innkeepers do not have to be the instructors.  In the Stay and Paint retreat example, the innkeeper has a professional artist and art curator coming to her inn. Arrangements can be made with the experts hosting the event if they are not the bed and breakfast owners or innkeepers.

If you are a bed and breakfast owner or innkeeper and have been successful with a particular retreat, package, excursion, or other event at your B&B, I would love to know about it.  Write about your successes to Kristi Dement below.  I promise to read every comment and reply when appropriate.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Mike’s Road Trip To B&B’s

Mike's Road Trip

 

Mike Shubic of Mike’s Road Trip is an outgoing man of adventure.  He has been traveling on the road since 2010.  Mike hosts and produces high quality videos for hospitality businesses such as bed and breakfasts, inns, restaurants, and other “hidden gems of the road.”  He has been featured in USA Today Travel, Rand McNally Best of the Road, The Travel Channel, and more.

 

Check out Mike’s Road Trip’s Intriguing Inns and Beautiful B&B’s videos from YouTube.  I highly recommend him if you would like entertaining and professional videos made to highlight the unique strengths of your bed and breakfast.  From his website, Mike gives several reasons why your bed and breakfast inn should have a video:

  • If a picture is worth a 1000 words, how many is video worth?
  • Video builds trust with your prospects. Trust equals paying guests.
  • Videos attract attention and help set you apart from your competition.
  • Video is important for SEO (search engine optimization). Google is ranking pages with video higher for the same search terms.
  • Video is not a fad. Four billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube alone.

Mike makes these suggestions to bed and breakfast owners:

  • Have a professional overview video of your B&B/Inn produced.  Be sure to include the owner/innkeeper in front of the camera.  Let prospective guests know what makes your inn special and memorable.
  • Guest testimonial videos can be very powerful.  This allows the viewer to hear what the experience is like from varying viewpoints.  Your guests may talk about things they liked that you never even thought about!
  • Informal videos for your social network can be a great way to showcase area events and/or activities at your inn while keeping in touch with past and future guests.
  • The visual impact of videos gives them a long shelf life.  Trust and interest can be earned as long as the video is live on the Internet.  You can be media friendly and share your videos with local media.

Professional and informal videos can be put on your website as well as shared on social media websites including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube!  Mike is a well-spoken promoter of bed and breakfasts on his road trips all across America.  I recommend Mike Shubic of Mike’s Road Trip to all my Bed and Breakfast Blogging clients.

Can We Grab Your Attention?!

can we grab your attention

 

 

Can we grab your attention? People who read things online do not take the time to read everything they see.  It is important to put the key information up front and to use bullet points often:

 

 

  • Keep content short and punchy
  • This is a world of instant gratification
  • Another website is just one mouse click away
  • Do not tell the reader more than they want to know
  • Use graphs, images, and other visual forms
  • Make a clear call to action for what you want your readers to do next

In the case of bed and breakfast owners, you want your readers to subscribe to your blog, like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, connect with you on Linked In, follow you on Pinterest, subscribe to your YouTube channel, etc.

If this sounds like too much work, then have Bed and Breakfast Blogging do the work for you. Contact us today at 919-931-6168. Search engines love the fresh content that our blog posts provide and we can give you an active social media presence so you stay on the minds of potential guests!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Art of Pinning

art of pinning

 

The art of pinning on Pinterest is visual in nature.  This works very well for visually oriented businesses like bed and breakfasts.  People want to know what your inn looks like and what your breakfasts look like.  Seeing your pins helps them to imagine themselves at your bed and breakfast inn.

 

 

Pictures:

  • Motivate them to plan a vacation to stay at your inn
  • Each picture is worth 1,000 words
  • Are more appealing and stronger than words
  • Pin only images with strong visual content
  • Brighter colors bring more joy
  • Feature just one idea or product in each pin
  • Use descriptive keywords you want to be known for
  • If you resize an image, make sure it is still clear and easy to see

Social media

  • Builds relationships with guests and potential guests
  • Raises the visibility of your bed and breakfast online
  • Gets you ranked higher on Google
  • Finds you business contacts like fellow innkeepers and associations

Remember:

  • Share your story of how you came to be bed and breakfast owners/innkeepers
  • Share information you are interested in and that your followers will find useful (such as travel tips)
  • Educate your audience on the advantages of staying at a bed and breakfast
  • Pin pictures of your bed and breakfast
  • Pin pictures of you amenities such as pool, garden, spa, etc.
  • Pin pictures of your community to give guests reasons to want to stay in your area

Etiquette or “Netiquette”:

  • If you were not the first to pin it, give credit to the original pinner.
  • Share and repin to show you are interested in other things outside your own B&B

Pinterest users become part of a larger community.  When we promote other people’s pins they are more likely to follow us.  That is one of my secrets to the art of pinning and how I grew such a quick following on Pinterest.  You can too!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

What Motivates You?

what motivates you

 

 

What motivates you?  What inspires you?  If you know the answer to those two questions, it can give you the strength and energy you need to persevere day in and day out.

 

 

 

How did you come to be bed and breakfast owners?  Whether you are new to inn-keeping or have been hosting guests for years, we all need to remind ourselves why we do what it is we do.

Your reasons can include:

  • Like to have your own business
  • Love entertaining guests
  • Enjoy cooking gourmet breakfasts
  • Get to tend a beautiful and fruitful garden
  • Appreciate meeting new people
  • Skilled at managing the books
  • Having fun decorating and remodeling
  • Have a vision for its growth

When you remember why, then it becomes easier to tackle daily chores and responsibilities. You are building your future and allowing your guests to have a wonderful experience they will always remember.

When your guests have a great experience, they are likely to let their friends know all about it and to return at a later date. Some of your best visits will be from returning guests to which you had a special connection.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Encourage Yourself Every Day

encourage yourself every day

 

 

Bed and breakfast owners, do you want to know a good way to encourage yourself every day?  For the rest of the year you can write down something on a little piece of paper and fold it and put it in a jar.  Then, at the end of 2014, you can read all of your little notes!  You could write notes about:

 

 

 

  • Something funny a guest said
  • An unexpected good surprise
  • A compliment you were told
  • An unlikely happy coincidence
  • A blessing or favor from someone
  • Something that went smoother than you thought
  • A welcome phone call you received
  • A great breakfast guests loved
  • Something that made you laugh
  • Anything else you want to recall at the end of this year

You are giving yourself a present every day by adding to the jar.  At the end of the year, get ready for laughter, tears of joy, and fond memories! It is important to encourage yourself every day!

 

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