Tag Archives: bed and breakfast

How To Develop Guest Packages

how to develop guest packages

 

To attract more visitors to your bed and breakfast, develop guest packages.  Packages are a great way to reinforce your brand and your inn’s image.  This also allows you to offer discounts without cutting your room prices.  When you bundle several items, services, and features together, this adds more revenue to your B&B business.

 

 

Wondering how to come up with some great ideas for bed and breakfast packages? Can you offer some courses or classes?  If you teach a particular skill (or can find a teacher), offer to host a bed and breakfast retreat. Potentially, you could fill all of your rooms.

  • Artist Retreat
  • Bird Watching Retreat
  • Book Club Retreat
  • Culinary Kitchen Getaway
  • Farming Retreat
  • Board Games Retreat
  • Gardening Getaway
  • Photography Retreat
  • Quilters Retreat
  • Scrapbooking Retreat
  • Writers Retreat
  • Yoga Retreat

 

What about featuring local attractions in your area?

  • Entertainment Package
  • Historic Tours Package
  • Restaurant Package
  • Spectator Sports Package
  • Wine Lovers Package

 

Do you want to attract a specific group of people?

  • Class Reunions
  • Family Reunions
  • Girlfriend Getaways

 

How about offering a promotional package during each season?

  • Winter Specials: activities like ice skating, skiing, and snowmobiling
  • Spring Renewal: everything starts to bloom again
  • Summer Fun in the Sun: can include amusement or water park tickets
  • Fall Foliage: certain parts of the country are known for their beautiful autumn colors

 

Is there a specific sport or physical activity that is popular in your area?

  • Bike Tours
  • Golf Getaways
  • Horseback Riding
  • Snow Skiing

 

What about promoting the holidays to your guests?

  • New Year’s Package
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Package
  • Christmas Package

 

The bed and breakfast package could center around guests’ relationships.

  • Anniversary Package
  • Babymoon Package
  • Family Travel Deals
  • Honeymooners Package (you can offer this even if you do not host weddings)
  • Romance Package (not just for Valentine’s Day, but for any time of the year)
  • Wedding Package

 

There are so many different package possibilities, depending upon where you are located and your interests:

  • For mystery lovers, you could offer a Murder Mystery Weekend Package.
  • For couples or single travelers looking to be pampered have a Massage Package or Spa Retreat.
  • If you live near a university, you may offer a package to the Parents of College Students.
  • If your inn is close to a number of major businesses or hosts business conferences, you may offer a Business Travelers Package.
  • If you would like to offer discounts to a specific groups of people you can: Military Special, Senior Citizen Discount, Teachers Discount, etc.
  • If you are a green inn, you could offer a discount to those driving cars with alternative fuel options.  You can reward your guests for being eco-friendly and helping Clean the World.

For more alternatives, offer an a-la-carte approach and let your guests create their own package by choosing from specific add-ons you offer.  They could add chocolate, flowers, heart-shaped balloons, teddy bears, and other special upgrades to their room price.

Packages can be centered around the time of the week the stay, “Midweek Specials” for slower times during the middle of the week.  “Spontaneous Specials” for last minute bookings for spontaneous travelers.  Even a Frequent Stay or Extended-Stay Discount.

There are many more bed and breakfast packages that you can put together based on what is in your local area, the types of guests you are trying to attract, your skills, and your amenities.  The key is to design your packages around the desires of the guests you want to attract.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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How To Have Amazing Bed and Breakfast Curb Appeal

bed and breakfast curb appeal

 

Have you seen that HGTV Channel show called Curb Appeal?  That informative show is full of tips on how to attract people to want to come inside your home.  It is about becoming the best looking house in your neighborhood.  As a bed and breakfast owner, your goal is to look so appealing from the curb, that those passing by will want to book a stay.

 

The last thing you want is for people to visit your website that shows your bed and breakfast looking at its best, only for them be sadly disappointed when they visit and see that it has not been well maintained.  As you may already know, this is why first impressions are very important.

 

Useful Curb Appeal Questions

 

  • Do I have an attractive sign displaying the name of my bed and breakfast?  Well made signs can attract the attention of others from the road.

 

  • Does my home look inviting?  You want it to look loved and cared for, just as you will do for your guests in showing them hospitality.

 

  • Is there a clear path to my front door?  Guests should not be confused about the main entrance to your bed and breakfast.

 

  • Does my front door look welcoming?  You may need to refinish it and add a coat of fresh paint.  You may want to feature seasonal wreaths on it. Some even inns have front doors with stained glass.

 

  • Is there an outdoor focal point that tells guests where to look first?  This could be a fountain, bench, walkway, tree, or anything else attractive.

 

  • Do I have an attractive way to distinguish the boundaries of my property from that of my neighbors?  This could be fencing with landscaping inside your yard.  Or it could be trimmed hedges that add an attractive border.

 

  • Is my lawn well-manicured?  The key is to consistently mow and fertilize so that it is easy to maintain and you have the greenest turf on your street.  If your yard needs to be revitalized, talk to some local lawn care companies.

 

  • Do my windows sparkle and shine?  Make sure that windows are clean.  If they need replacing, go green with energy efficient windows.

 

  • Do I need to have anything repaired? This means looking at things like your roofing, gutters, decks, and siding.  Make sure that nothing is rotted.  Have regular pest inspections performed.

 

  • Are my driveways and walkways safe, clean, and attractive?  This could mean power-washing, repairing brick as well as repairing stonework and concrete.

 

  • Do I have any dead or diseased plants or trees that need removing?    Trim shrubs, prune overgrown plants, and remove dead trees and their stumps.

 

  • Do I have a variety of evergreens and flowering shrubs?  Group plants by height and layer the groups for visual interest.  You can also vary the colors and textures.

 

  • Is there something that sets my yard apart from others?  This could be a gazebo, a pond, a fountain, statues, porches, and swings.

 

  • Do I have plants in pots or urns in eye-catching places like near steps and walkways?  Some people prefer a symmetrical look at the front door with the same thing on each side of the front door.

 

  • Do I have a garden of some kind for guests to enjoy?  This could be a flower garden, rock garden, or a vegetable garden. You can even grow your own spices to flavor your meals.

 

  • Do I have a plan for irrigation?  Depending upon your climate, ideally you have sprinklers for hot and dry times of the year.

 

  • Is everything that is painted on my property look clean and bright?  You never want guests to see cracked or peeling paint.  It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to revive the look of something.

 

  • At night, will my guests be able to see when they return to my bed and breakfast?  There should be enough outdoor lighting that it is safe and attractive for guests to come back to your inn.  Any paths they should walk should be well lit.

 

It is important that your property gives them a great first impression and sets your guests at ease that they made the right choice to stay at your bed and breakfast.  Help them feel sure of their decision from the very moment they see your property and love your bed and breakfast curb appeal.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Wine Lovers Love Wonderful Vineyards and Tastings

wine lovers

 

Is your bed and breakfast located in wine country?  If so, do you invite wine lovers to your bed and breakfast for private wine tastings and tours of vineyards? Perhaps offer a Wine Lovers Package and assist your guests in arranging their wine-tasting itinerary depending on the date and the time of year they visit.

 

 

Recommend some wine-related activities (such as picnics) that you think your guests will love. Seasons play a role in the events that are offered, but there may be something ‘wine-related’ that is always happening nearby your inn.  Your guests could experience an exceptional wine tasting at some of your region’s premium, award winning wineries.

Whether your guest is a wine aficionado or just wants to try a new experience, he or she will discover the complexities of the vineyard, the artistry that takes place in the cellar, as well as the joys of tasting the result: elegant wines for every palate!

If guests are leaving your bed and breakfast for their wine tasting, consider providing them with a tour guide (and/or chauffeur) to help them experience some of the premium wines your local area has to offer.

Now, more than ever, wineries are eager for guests to stop by. Perhaps you could coordinate hosting an event with at least one local vineyard. If possible, give your guests the option of a half or whole day trip to arranging a multi-day tour. 

Alternatively, you can host your own wine tastings right from your inn. This is very convenient for your overnight guests (yet you have the option of adding even more wine tasters to your gathering).

Wine is commonly paired with cheese, fruit, and chocolate so you have several options for your menu. Your tasting could provide a full meal or just one course (like appetizers or desserts).

It is perfectly acceptable to invite a local wine aficionado (or sommelier) to educate your guests. Your expert may offer this as a complimentary service to you if he or she may bring bottles for your guests to purchase.  Whether your guests are going on a tour (or staying “inn”) you can give your wine lovers the best wine tasting experience possible!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Managing Your B&B Reputation

Managing Your B&B Reputation

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

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Amazing Bed and Breakfast Marketing From A to Z

bed and breakfast marketing

 

Amazing Bed and Breakfast Marketing From A to Z

What if there was an amazing way to market your bed and breakfast by keeping the alphabet in mind? These are some of the most important factors to consider when blogging about your bed and breakfast inn.

 

 

  • Amenities: What extra amenities does your B&B have that others do not? It is important to know what sets you apart from your competition. Whether you have in-room hot tubs or fireplaces, this is a great thing to mention in your blog and on your website.

 

  • Antiques: Do you have any unique antiques that guests can look at? You may want to keep priceless or fragile antiques behind glass to protect them. Some B&B’s sell antiques to their guests.

 

  • Art: Do guests admire your art collection? Whether you have paintings, murals, or sculptures, people enjoying looking at art. You may refer them to your local art museums and galleries.

 

  • Awards: Do you have some honor or distinction that is noteworthy? It is okay to mention your Diamond Rating level, your prize-winning recipe, or anything else that distinguishes you from other places of lodging.

 

  • Bathrooms: Show off your spacious, well-decorated, and luxurious bathrooms with pictures and blog about recent upgrades.

 

  • Beach: Having a beach or waterfront property adds to your appeal. Share plenty of outdoor pictures as well as pictures of the outside view from inside your inn.

 

  • Bedrooms: You could let guests know the meaning behind the names of your bedrooms. Is it named after a former resident, your state bird, or a local sports team? Blog about what your own guests tell you they love about your guest rooms.

 

  • Benefits: Blog about the benefits that come to those who take a break to relax and spend time with loved ones. With permission, you could feature some of your guests and have them share how they have benefited from their stay at your B&B.

 

  • Birthdays: It is always great to ask guests the reason for their visit. Even if the reason is not a birthday, it may be a good idea to find out those dates so you can send guests a postcard or email on their birthday to remind them of their stay and entice them to want to come back.

 

  • Breakfasts: Do you cater to special diets like gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan? How do guests receive their breakfast: delivered to their room or eaten in a common place? These are all things you can blog about. Even give a behind the scenes look at your kitchen or interview your chef.

 

  • Business: Do you host a number of business travelers in your area? Do you have a conference room and technology resources like free Wi-Fi and guest access to a printer and fax machine? Blogging about this may result in hosting more business travelers.

 

  • Classes: Do you teach, or know of someone who could do this, a certain skill? This could be cooking, dancing, photography, etc. By offering unique classes, you can attract more people to your inn.

 

  • Complimentary: Emphasize all the free things that come to your B&B guests versus those who stay at your local hotels. This includes: breakfast, concierge services, parking, etc. This gives people a reason to choose to stay with you over your local hotel competition.

 

  • Concerts: Are you near a big venue like a concert hall or stadium? Blog about the next musician or theatre performance coming to your area.

 

  • Decks: If you have a deck with an amazing view, by all means blog about it and show pictures of the view.   People like to get away to scenic places.

 

  • Dining out: Do you provide your guests with a list of local restaurants or have local restaurant menus available for guests to browse? You could feature certain restaurants you know are popular with your guests.

 

  • Eco-Friendly: If you are an environmentally friendly bed and breakfast, then you should write about what things you do to earn that green distinction. If you line dry your blankets and/or offer an electric car charging station, guests will appreciate that.

 

  • Events: Keep an eye on events that are happening in your local area. A great way to do this is to regularly check your local and state visitors’ bureaus.

 

  • Farms: If you live on a farm that grows crops and/or has animals, blog about this. Some guests would love to meet animals from your petting zoo. Other guests want the experience of picking berries, for example.

 

  • Fireplaces: If you have fireplaces inside and/or fire pits outside, this is an attractive feature. Mention that indoor guests can sip hot cocoa or drink wine by the fire. Outside they could roast marshmallows and make s’mores.

 

  • Flowers: As long as you know your guests do not have any allergies, displaying fresh flowers on throughout your B&B is a nice added touch. These flowers could come from your own garden or a local florist, farmers market, or grocery store.

 

  • Frequent stay: Reward your repeat guests in some way. This could be a free upgraded room, a free bottle of wine, free massage, or even an extra night.

 

  • Games: Do you offer cards, board games, or even video games at your inn? You may have a pool table or air hockey table or even have a horseshoe pit outside. Blog about the games that your guests enjoy playing at your bed and breakfast.

 

  • Garden: Guests love to walk the grounds of bed and breakfasts with gardens of all kinds, including: flower gardens, produce gardens, and rock gardens.

 

  • Handicap accessible: Do you accommodate handicapped people? If you have these available, discuss your ramps, ground floor guest rooms, wheelchair friendly bathrooms, and elevators in a blog post.

 

  • History: Many bed and breakfasts are registered historic places. You could blog about the history of your B&B including its former occupants and what it was used for. Some bed and breakfasts were once private residences, boarding schools, or used for other purposes.

 

  • Holiday: Use the time leading up to holidays to show pictures of how your inn is decorated and discuss local events related to the holidays.

 

  • Honeymooners: Many couples choose to stay at a bed and breakfast for their honeymoon. You may even have a Honeymoon Suite as part of your inn.

 

  • Innkeepers: Your guests want to know more about the innkeepers, the people who run your inn.

 

  • Just in Time: You could offer discounts based on the time of their stay. This could be last minute specials, mid-week discounts, or stay for a specific number of nights and get the next night free.

 

  • Kid-friendly: All bed and breakfast inns need to establish their minimum age requirement. Some bed and breakfasts cater to romance and do not allow anyone under a specific age to stay overnight. Others B&B’s are known as “kid friendly” and welcomes kids as well as provide accommodations like adjoining rooms.

 

  • Lakes: Being located on a lake is a tremendous advantage. If your guests can go fishing, swimming, waterskiing, rafting, canoeing, or do any other water-related activities, this is an opportunity to blog about it and share pictures.

 

  • Leisure activities: Anything that your guests can do for fun should be mentioned in your blog. I recommend having a list of links to local leisure activities such as amusement parks and golf courses.

 

  • Libraries: Do you have a common room that is perfect for guests to read in? Do you have a library of books available for them to use during their stay? If so, you could write a blog post about it. If you know a local author (or happen to be one yourself), consider hosting a book talk or book signing. Your library can include movies that guests can watch in their rooms.

 

  • Linens: Brag about your high thread count sheets, plush towels, and luxurious robes.

 

  • Local area: Find out why most people visit your area and blog about those reasons often. For example, if you are located near a famous race car track, feature that.

 

  • Membership: Belonging to associations can attract more guests. Guests rest easy when they know that you are part of a bed and breakfast association; have a certain Diamond rating, and so on. Membership in these organizations adds credibility.

 

  • Mountains: Bed and breakfasts located in the mountains can show their breathtaking views and discuss those pictures on their blog and website.

 

  • Museums: There are many types of museums that could be in your local area: art museums, history museums, natural science museums, and even sports museums (or hall of fames). If your inn is near any museums, blog about this.

 

  • Mysteries: Some bed and breakfasts offer Murder Mystery evenings or weekends. This may even include a dinner and/or getting into a costume. Those who like reading mystery novels are great candidates for people who are likely to enjoy these kinds of mysteries.

 

  • Night walk: Some local area events happen late at night or you could host your own night tour.

 

  • Occasion: A special occasion might bring people to your inn. This could be an anniversary or even a family reunion or class reunion.

 

  • Outdoors: It is important to know what people like to do outdoors in your area.   It often depends upon the weather your area receives and the topography of your region.

 

  • Packages: Add more value by putting together guest packages based upon interests, seasons, area activities, occasions, and much more. This could mean making arrangements, on behalf of your guests, for restaurants, tours, concerts, and more.

 

  • Partnerships: You may decide it is in your best interest to form partnerships with local business people. For example, in exchange for exclusively using only their business, you can get a deal with a local florist to reduce their rates.

 

  • Patios: If you have an outdoor patio area for your guests, take pictures of it. Blog about any outdoor events you hosted on your patio.

 

  • Patriotic: American patriotic holidays include Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veterans Day. Your bed and breakfast may decorate, host events, and/or offer patriotic packages.

 

  • Pets: Your bed and breakfast may not allow pets or the only pets allowed are the innkeepers. Other bed and breakfast inns may accommodate pets in certain places of the inn (like the first floor, rooms with private exits, and private cottages) or it could be entirely pet friendly. If your B&B does allow pets, you could devote a blog post about the lovable pets that have stayed.

 

  • Pictures: They can say much more than words ever will. Be sure to have flattering pictures of your bed and breakfast inn on your website and in your blog posts. The pictures should accurately represent what your inn looks like today.

 

  • Pools: If your B&B has an indoor or outdoor pool or hot tub, you can share pictures of that. Guests really appreciate private in room hot tubs.

 

  • Porches: Many bed and breakfasts are known for their porches. Share pictures of your porch with its rockers, swing, and other furniture.

 

  • Promotions: Bed and breakfasts can offer special promotions based on the holidays, seasons, and local events. This could include discounts, complimentary services, and free upgrades.

 

  • Quiet: Guests like to get away from the noise of everyday life. If you live in a tranquil setting, write about the compliments you receive about being a quiet place to stay.

 

  • Recreation: Discuss types of recreation guests can take part in on your property as well as in your local area.

 

  • Redecorating/remodeling: Feature the before and after pictures from a recent redecorating or remodeling project. Blog about how and why you decided to make those changes as well as why guests will want to visit.

 

  • Referrals: Give your guests incentives to make referrals to their friends and family. The incentive could be a discount on their next stay.

 

  • Restaurant: If you own your own bed and breakfast restaurant, this part of your inn may be open to the public. This is a great way to draw new overnight guests by giving them a taste of your incredibly delicious food when they come to dine at your restaurant.

 

  • Retreats: You could offer retreats like yoga retreats, scrapbooking retreats, or business retreats. Blog about the variety of retreats you offer.

 

  • Reviews: Share genuinely positive reviews you have of local places of interest to your potential guests.

 

  • Romantic: Bed and breakfasts may be the perfect place to rekindle the romance in your relationship. Relationship building is one of the primary reasons people take vacations.

 

  • Seasons: Decorate your inn to reflect each new season. This encourages people to return at a different time in the year to enjoy that time, too.

 

  • Shopping: Whether you have your own bed and breakfast shop or you are near a lot of wonderful area shopping malls and retail outlets, guests who like to shop will want to read about the shopping that is available in your local area.

 

  • Spas: You may have your own spa or have a partnership with a local spa or masseuse to provide spa services. Having these services sets you apart from other lodging accommodations.

 

  • Sports: Bed and breakfasts near sporting arenas and stadiums can blog about local sports teams season schedules, players, and coaches. Innkeepers might provide a Sports Package that includes tickets to their choice of certain local sporting events.

 

  • Tea: Bed and breakfasts may have a tea time or even a tea room. They may serve scones, tea sandwiches, cookies, and other finger food.

 

  • Ultimate experience: Position your bed and breakfast inn as the ultimate experience in lodging accommodations, hospitality, and cuisine. Encourage guests to give you a five star rating, or if they cannot do so, to talk with you about it instead of sharing their less than 5 star rating. This keeps up your image as the ultimate experience and gives you valuable input for how you can improve your guest experience.

 

  • Videos: If your bed and breakfast has its own video, be sure to put that on your website in a prominent place for your web visitors to see. Videos show more than pictures do. This allows your guests to get a feel for the layout of your bed and breakfast.

 

  • Weddings: If your inn hosts weddings, it is wise to dedicate a place on your website for that as well as to blog about it. Smaller bed and breakfasts may do small weddings or elopements.

 

  • Wine: Depending upon your state laws and licensing, you may host wine tastings or allow your guests to bring their own wine. You may even offer your guests the opportunity to tour one or more local vineyards in your area.

 

  • Xtra special: This was my “extra special” attempt to come up with a word that starts with “X.” It is important that your guests feel extra special not just when they arrive, but from the moment they see your website and speak with you over the phone.  Your bed and breakfast should have a great reputation.

 

  • Young and old guests: Bed and breakfasts appeal to young couples as well as older ones. You may have guests that return regularly over the years. That is great to have such loyalty and friendship with your guests.

 

  • Zzz…. Are your guests ready to have a restful experience at your inn? Make sure that your mattresses are comfortable. Be sure to offer extra pillows and blankets. Have a night light for guests to see their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Be sure to share your blog posts regularly in social media.  No time to write your own blog posts?  Contact us about your bed and breakfast blogging.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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How To Easily Attract More Guests To Your Inn

Attract-More-Guests

 

 

 

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

attract more guests

 

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

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Decorating and Amenities For Bed and Breakfast Bathrooms

bed and breakfast bathrooms

Bed and breakfast bathrooms can really enhance the experience of your appreciative guests.  Your unique decorations, attractive colors, magnificent materials, fancy fixtures, luxurious linens, and plush amenities all make a big impression on them.  Likewise, it is important to have complimentary bathroom supplies made available in each guest bathroom.  Your guests will remember your attention to the details.

Be sure to decorate your bathrooms in a way that complements the look of the corresponding bedrooms and overall theme of your place.  Guests will expect the décor of bathrooms to be different depending upon the style or location of your bed and breakfast.  The following are just a few suggestions and there are many more decorating options available to the bed and breakfast owner.

Beach bed and breakfast bathrooms

  • feature shells, starfish, sand dollars, sea horse, fish, coral reef, a captains wheel, anchor, or surfboards
  • have water, sand, or coral colors

Farm bed and breakfast bathrooms

  • feature roosters, cows, horses, gardens, corn stalks, or seeds
  • have farm colors like grass green, barn red, or sunflower yellow

Historic bed and breakfast bathrooms

  • feature pictures of previous residents, antique furniture, vintage signs, or a claw-foot tub
  • colors like black and white (like old photos) or rust
  •  

There are a variety of materials used in bathrooms, including:

  • Brick
  • Carpet
  • Glass
  • Rugs
  • Stonework
  • Tile
  • Wallpaper

Fixtures, such as:

  • Cabinets
  • Lights
  • Mirrors
  • Showers
  • Sinks
  • Towel bars and hooks
  • Tubs
  • Vanities

Linens:

  • Robes
  • Towels (double loop with high thread count)
  • Washcloths

Luxury amenities and other extras like:

  • Candles
  • Columns
  • Fireplace
  • Flowers
  • Furniture
  • Heated bathroom floors
  • Jetted tub
  • Lounging area
  • Murals
  • Plants
  • Shelving
  • Skylights
  • Television
  • View
  • Wine (chilled)

Guests will be thankful for complimentary bathroom supplies, such as:

  • Bath gel
  • Bath mats
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Drinking glasses
  • Hairdryer
  • Lotion
  • Make-up remover pads (to avoid stains on your washcloths and towels)
  • Mouthwash (travel size)
  • Shampoo and conditioner (travel size)
  • Shower cap
  • Soap (soap bars should be individually wrapped)
  • Tissues (with lotion)
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste (travel size)
  • Toilet paper (individually wrapped rolls)
  • Waste basket (with throw-away liner)

You may want to reward your guests by having a frequent stay and guest referral program allows you to give discounts for those returning again and recommending your B&B to their friends.  Keep in mind the image your bed and breakfast seeks to portray to your guests: comfort, luxury, eco-friendly, and more.  The possibilities are endless as to how you decorate your bathroom and what amenities you offer to your guests.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Assumptions Can Be Wrong

assumptions can be wrong

Your bed and breakfast guests usually have questions. Be careful to understand their frame of reference when they ask a question. Assumptions can be wrong!

While I was a young student at Michigan State University, I lived in an international dorm. For those of you who don’t know, Michigan State is located in East Lansing, Michigan. One of the reasons I chose to attend the university was that I lived only two hours away in a town called Holland, Michigan.

When an international student asked me what I was going to do over the weekend, I replied, “Go home to Holland.” She looked shocked and asked with a puzzled look, “Only for the weekend?” I had failed to take into account that she was thinking of Holland, Netherlands. Actually, the Netherlands is the country my great-grandmother and her family came from when they relocated to Holland, Michigan.

We laughed when we both understood we were talking about two completely different parts of the world. I wrongly assumed that since we were both currently living in the state of Michigan, that she would have heard of my local Michigan town called Holland! Remember assumptions can be wrong!

Often when recommending places your guests can visit and things they can do in your area, please remember my advice to never make assumptions. You could have an FAQ (frequently asked questions) page on your website with links to various places you suggest that they visit.  You could organize the recommended places by categories such as restaurants, museums, parks, and so on.  

This helps your guests plan for their stay at your bed and breakfast and you can easily refer them to your website if they are calling or e-mailing you the question. I also recommend offering free brochures to local destinations to your guests while they visit in person.

Have you ever had a funny mix-up like mine with your bed and breakfast guests? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

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How to Choose Your Bed and Breakfast Name

your bed and breakfast name

Your bed and breakfast name sets the tone for what your guests can expect.  A good name says a lot about an inn.  You want the name to be memorable and give a great first impression.  It is important to take your time and come up with a long list of potential names before deciding. Get a talented group of friends together and just start randomly calling out names.  Have someone write down all the bed and breakfast name suggestions.

Permit your gathering of people to suggest whatever name comes to mind.  By allowing everything to be spoken, eventually you will have a list of great potential bed and breakfast names.

Only after you have generated this list of names should you then start to evaluate them.  Make sure that your bed and breakfast name is:

  • Simple to pronounce aloud by others (have others repeat the name aloud)
  • Spelled like it sounds (makes it easier to find)
  • Without an unintended meaning (think of the words in various contexts)
  • Not too common (make sure it is fresh)
  • Appropriate to your local surroundings (e.g. do not have beach in the name unless there really is one)
  • Not too funny (this may suggest you do not care about your hospitality business)
  • Easy for guests to remember (name recognition)

Other words for bed and breakfast include:

  • B&B
  • cabins
  • cottage
  • country inn
  • estate
  • farm
  • garden inn
  • guest house
  • hideaway
  • house
  • hotel
  • inn
  • lodge
  • manor
  • mansion
  • oasis
  • palace
  • place
  • ranch
  • resort
  • street inn
  • suites
  • valley
  • village inn

Visualize how your business name will look in a logo, outdoor sign, and on your website.  Be sure to get your own email address to be something like:

innkeeper@yourbedandbreakfastname.com

When you know what you want to call your bed and breakfast, you must make sure that the domain name (website address) is available before you register your business name.  If there are already bed and breakfast inns with that name (even in a different state), it is best to choose a different name to avoid confusion.

Above all, make sure you absolutely love your bed and breakfast name since you will likely say it over and over throughout your time as a bed and breakfast owner.  Smart innkeepers ask for ideas from others and take plenty of time when they choose their bed and breakfast name.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Wonderful Wing’s Castle 48+ Years In The Making

wonderful wings castle

In 1969, on a hill in Millbrook, New York, Peter and Toni Ann Wing began a strange construction project using salvage and recyclable materials. In fact, over 80% of this four-story stone, timber, and stucco structure is made of recycled materials. The result was the wonderful Wing’s Castle, which is now a bed and breakfast.

 

The Area

Settlement in this region dates back to the eighteenth century. Today it features horse farms and vineyards along this rich heritage and beautiful countryside. This is an ideal setting for a castle. The main street of Millbrook features antique shops and historic architecture in a downtown that has not changed in one-hundred years.

Only a nineteen-minute drive from Manhattan, but in some ways a world apart. Many New York celebrities choose this quaint, peaceful village as their second home.

Wing’s Castle is considered one of New York’s great treasures. It sprang to life from the imagination and determination of one man born in the Hudson River Valley. Peter inherited the land that sits on a hill overlooking the Millbrook Winery. When he proposed to Toni Ann, he said that if she would marry him, that he would build her a castle.

The Dream

Together that put in long hours to make their dream a reality. In fact, for three years they lived in the basement. According to Toni, they didn’t need extra comforts because they were always working. 

The hard-working couple had no money and no architectural plans, but lots of ideas and energy. Peter always has his sketch pad and marker to draw his next big idea. They could afford the things things people were discarding. They dismantled eleven barns for their beams, floor boards, and anything else they could salvage and use.

This was in the seventies (before re-using materials was considered practical and environmentally friendly). Toni recalls that they definitely were not seen as normal. People were scratching their heads. According to a local historian (who is thankful for the incredible attraction Wing’s Castle brings to their tranquil area with only 1500 residents), depending upon their age, people either think Peter’s crazy or brilliant, odd or imaginative. 

The Inspiration

Inspired by the philosophy and work of architect Antonio Gaudi, Peter designed the outline of Wing’s Castle to resembles some of Gaudi’s famous structures in Barcelona, Spain. Like Gaudi, Peter used broken tile to add color to his castle in what he calls the “Gaudi Dragons Garden”. Visitors marvel at how “you feel like you could be in Europe”. 

Peter also appreciates the thousand-year history of the Tower of London. Stone structures withstand time and elements. It took twenty-two years (and 500,000 stones) for Peter to “finish” putting the stones around the castle. One close neighbor friend, fondly refers to the wonderful Wing’s Castle as “The Lemony Snicket House.”

At Wing’s Castle, there is always something to look at. It is full of artifacts and everything there has a story. Peter says the work remains unfinished. After more than forty-eight years, he is still creating and working on it. 

The Bed and Breakfast

Today, the wonderful Wing’s Castle (see the aerial YouTube video below) serves as a bed and breakfast with five unique places to stay that are all equipped with wi-fi internet access. All B&B guests receive a free, 45-minute guided tour of the castle.

  • The Annex Suite: queen size bed for up to 2 people, 2 levels with balcony and courtyard, kitchen stocked everyday with breakfast, dining room, full private bath, sitting area near fireplace
  • The Dungeon: queen size bed for up to 2 people, full private bath, private entrance near parking area, free continental breakfast set up in the Great Room of the castle every morning, connects to The Annex
  • The Chamber Room: queen size bed for up to 2 people, private bath, private entrance near parking area, free continental breakfast set up in the Great Room of the castle each morning
  • The Tower Room: queen size bed for up to 2 people, private bathroom, free continental breakfast set up in the Great Room of the castle every morning
  • The Cottage: located across the street from Wing’s Castle with 3 bedrooms for up to 5 people (breakfast is stocked in the Cottage Kitchen and guests have full access to the castle grounds and pool)

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