Tag Archives: develop

How To Develop Guest Packages

couch in front of open French doors with balcony overlooking pool with sunset background

 

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

How To Easily Brand Your Bed and Breakfast

Log cabin bedroom with fireplace and desk with chair

Branding your bed and breakfast is both easier and harder than you think.  What do I mean by that?  Well, little things can make a big difference so there are plenty of things you can do.  However, it is harder than you think because you don’t want to make costly mistakes along the way.

Your goal is to attract a particular target audience to your bed and breakfast inn.  The type of inn you have including your location, its amenities, its surroundings, and its weather (among many other factors) all play a role in who will want to visit your accommodations.

The following are descriptions of very different places to visit:

  • A twenty-room mountain getaway for avid skiers and hikers
  • A B&B spa in the woods with separate cabins, each with private hot tubs
  • A modern urban inn that caters to business travelers & hosts corporate retreats
  • A historical inn that has hosted celebs & famous people in history
  • A five-room inn with horse ranch and trails, riding lessons for guests
  • A tropical beach resort with its own restaurant and live music in the evenings
  • An inn located on a vineyard, with tours and tastings with cheeses and desserts
  • A B&B in a popular tourist town with lots of local activities and attractions
  • A Southern inn with an award-winning flower garden; gazebo, pool, swing, etc.

As you can tell, from the above examples, bed and breakfast inns, hotels, and resorts, can narrow their marketing to reach the most ideal audience for what they offer guests.  Since you cannot be all things to all people, the best brands:

  • Visually grab the attention of their target audience (with pictures, images, quotes, testimonials, etc.)
  • Emotionally attract (tug on the heart) their target audience (“because time passes by so quickly, capture memorable moments with us”)
  • Convey a simple message to that target audience (ex: guests deserve time away to enjoy their loved ones)
  • Differentiate themselves from their competitors (show why you are the best accommodations for your target audience in your local area)
  • Develop their reputation for excellent hospitality and exceeding guest expectations throughout multiple touch points along the way (check-in, front desk, guest services, hospitality, use of amenities, breakfast, check-out, and opting in for your e-mail list with a loyalty program)

Brands can differentiate themselves in the following ways:

  • Name
  • Logo
  • Slogan
  • Curb Appeal
  • Decor
  • Guest Rooms
  • Amenities
  • Photography
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Blog
  • Stories
  • Guests Testimonials
  • Email Marketing
  • Hosting Events
  • Videos

According to “Telling Your Brand: How Your Brand Purpose and Position Drive The Stories You Share” by Rob Marsh, the importance of differentiation can be seen through the efforts of four national pizza chains:

  • Pizza Hut (the market leader) uses their advertising to feature new innovations like hot dogs or cheese baked into their crusts, chocolate chip cookie pizzas, pizza sliders, stuffed crust pizzas.  Pizza Huts stands out with their innovations.
  • Dominoes (focuses on owning the “delivery” position), focused on it more before lawsuits forced them to soften their claim of “30 minutes or less or its free.”  Dominoes is the go-to choice for home delivery.
  • Little Caesar’s (focuses on the “value” position), offering 2 pizzas for the price of one, with tagline (“Pizza. Pizza.”) Today they offer ready-made, grab-and-go pizzas for $5, emphasizing their ownership of the low-price position in the market.
  • Papa Johns (focuses on fresher ingredients), with tagline “Better ingredients, better pizza”, the emphasis on high-quality ingredients reinforces this position in the minds of consumers.
  • The point of positioning is to own one idea.  The brand story you tell will help position your inn in the minds of your guests and potential guests.

Mr. Marsh advises companies to think about these questions (which I have rephrased to apply to places of hospitality):

  • What benefits do guests receive from staying at your inn?
  • How are you different from competitors and how do guests experience that difference?
  • What are the stories your guests tell about themselves now?
  • If your brand were a person, what kind of personality would it have?
  • What adjectives describe your brand?  What adjectives do not?
  • Does your B&B brand have a compelling story?
  • How does your company’s values and mission make an impact on your guests?
  • What’s your brand’s purpose?

Denise Lee Yohn, in her book, “What Great Brands Do: The 7 Brand-Building Principles That Separate The Best From The Rest“, argues that your brand is WHAT your company DOES and HOW you do it and NOT what you SAY you are.  It matters more what you DO.  Identify the key values and attributes that define your inn.  People buy according to how brands make them feel, or what identity they help their guests experience and express.

Focus on the unique way you bring value to your guests.  Understand and communicate what makes your business different and better than the rest.  According to Denise, “Great brands know that if you try to be all things to all people, you’ll never connect deeply with anyone.”  She offers the following template for companies to use building their brand:

“For ________ (your target audience), we are the _____________ (frame of reference) who does ______________ (the unique value you deliver), because ______________ (the reasons why consumers should believe that you deliver value).

According to the book “Brand Intimacy: A New Paradigm in Marketing” by Mario Natarelli and Rina Plapler, the following are types of “Brand Strategies”:

  • Fulfillment: always exceeds expectations, delivers superior quality/service, good value for the money, reliable (ex: Amazon)
  • Identity: projects a favorable lifestyle, values your target market aspires to (or identifies with) (ex: Whole Foods)
  • Enhancement: makes your life easier, more effective, smarter, more capable, more connected (ex: Apple)
  • Ritual: part of your routine, ingrained in your life, more than a habitual lifestyle behavior (ex: Starbucks)
  • Nostalgia: reminds you of your past, evokes warm memories and feelings, associates with you in some way (ex: Lego)
  • Indulgence: a personal luxury, makes you feel pampered, pleasing to the senses (taste, touch, sight, smell, sound) (ex: Sephora, a beauty brand)

In the book, “Building Your Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Your Customers Will Listen,” Donald Miller argues that stories organize information in a way that compels people to listen.  Miller advises readers to make the customer the hero of the story and to position your brand as the guide.  Focus on the success of your customers (and not the success of your business).

Donald Miller explains that since human beings have two motivations in life (to escape something bad and to experience something good), we can include these motivations in our brand stories.  Great brands obsess about the transformation of their customers.

With the permission of each guest, you could their personal story of what their life was like before coming to your destination and how your destination impacted their life for the better.  Using guest testimonials carries a lot of weight and provides social proof.

Motivation 1: To Escape Something Bad

  • Boredom with Life (Feel Stuck in a Rut)
  • Escape the Noise/Traffic of the City or Escape the Isolation of Rural Life
  • Fast Pace of Life (Escape the Busyness and Routines of Everyday Life)
  • Perceived Lack of Quality Time with Others
  • Stress from Job (or Other Responsibilities like Education and Parenting)
  • etc.

Motivation 2: To Experience Something Good

  • Adventure (for athletes, adventurers)
  • Business Success (for corporate travelers)
  • Culture (for art and music lovers)
  • Food (breakfast, local restaurants, etc.)
  • Health (improve fitness and nutrition)
  • Relationships (for family and friendships)
  • Romance (for stengthning committed relationships)
  • Shopping (for retail therapy)
  • Sports (for sports lovers)
  • Travel (for travel buffs)
  • etc.

All businesses need to distinguish themselves from the competition.  By determining your target audience, knowing what will attract their attention, and differentiating yourself from other inns with meaningful brand stories (with your customer as the hero and your brand as the guide), you can feature reasons why potential guests should escape their current circumstances to experience a variety of pleasant experiences that all begin with a stay at your place of hospitality.  This is how to easily brand your bed and breakfast inn.

Need help branding your bed and breakfast inn?  Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free phone consultation.

Top 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: Twitter

visual storytelling Twitter

The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand is a fantastic online marketing book for businesses.  Authors Ekaterina Walter (@Ekaterina)and Jessica Gioglio (@savvybostonian) do an excellent job of giving practical advice that businesses can apply to better market themselves online.  This particular blog post focuses on what the authors tell us about Twitter.

 

Twitter is an innovative marketing tool as well as a keen way for businesses to connect with their audiences and provide quality customer service.  In fact, of all the social media platforms, Twitter is currently the most popular with Fortune Global 100 Companies.

Super Twitter Statistics:

  • More than half of all links shared on Twitter are images
  • Over 460,000 accounts are created every day
  • 20.6 million adults in the United States access Twitter at least once a month
  • 177 million tweets are sent every day
  • 24% of Twitter users check Twitter at least once a day
  • 54% of Twitter users are male and 46% are female
  • 46% of users are aged 18-34, so a high percentage of young people
  • 67% of users more likely to buy products from brands they follow on Twitter

Smart Twitter Capabilities:

  • Companies that use Twitter gain twice the number of leads each month that their non-tweeting counterparts
  • Twitter cards make it possible to attached media experiences to tweet that link to your content
  • Tweets that link to participating websites can be expanded by users to show a whole range of media
  • If you add the code on your own site, you can determine what sort of content will be shown by a Twitter link
  • Users interested in a particular offer or promotion will be able to fill out a field on the card
  • That field links their existing information, allowing them to quickly register

Savvy Twitter Strategies:

  • Develop your company’s voice
  • Tweet around several key passion points
  • Provide company news and updates
  • Offer unique deals to your Twitter followers
  • Give your clients (and potential clients) excellent customer service
  • Know what you want your followers to associate with your brand
  • Give them reasons to follow your company
  • The photos and videos you share should integrate with your overall strategy
  • Show a more relaxed side to your brand
  • Each tweet should be able to be understood on its own
  • Mix up your content
  • Ask questions to spark conversations
  • Use links to articles, photos, videos, and blog posts
  • Retweet your followers
  • Find out what your followers are interested in and share that
  • Use hashtags (#) to join in bigger conversations on a topic or start your own (#)
  • Use calls to action including RT (retweet)
  • Consider the locations and time zones of your audience
  • Use Promoted Tweet or Trend features to support your key messages

Given the popularity of Twitter and its capabilities, it makes sense for businesses to follow these social media strategies in order to promote their business and provide excellent customer service.  A special thank you to authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio for letting me share some of the content in their book.

 

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

Verify Your Website To Pin Smarter

 

pin smarter

 

Pinterest helps people discover things in a simple and visual way. Pinners might find something they love while browsing your boards, scrolling through a category you’re listed in or searching for your bed and breakfast directly.  It is important to verify your website to pin smarter.

 

 

Pinterest offers Business sites to help brands and businesses who wish to use Pinterest to connect with their audience. In this blog post I will tell you exactly why  you want to verify your bed and breakfast’s website for your Business Pinterest Profile. Without verifying your website, you will be missing some very important information!

First, to verify your website, visit your Settings page and click on the Verify Website button. When your website is verified, people will see a checkmark next to your domain in search results. They will also see the full website URL and checkmark on your profile.

The verification badge helps people identify high-quality sources of content and more easily find the business they want in search results.  There you’ll find Pinterest tools and resources relevant to you, and see examples of how other businesses are using Pinterest.

Pinterest offers tips to businesses, including:
  • Pinning from various sources rather than one specific site.
  • Pinning from within Pinterest to engage with others (pinning is one of the most social activities on Pinterest and it’s how any user really builds his/her network of followers)
  • Creating at least a few boards that cover a broad range of interests, rather than maintaining a single board devoted to one topic.
For businesses, pinning can be a great way to highlight aspects of your brand that may not come to mind at first when people consider your brand. For example, not everyone knows:

  • B&B’s can have spas, salons, and shops
  • Bed and breakfasts can offer retreats and some perform weddings
  • All the wonderful amenities bed and breakfasts offer
  • About your wonderful hospitality and homemade cooking

Pinterest can also be a great tool to learn what your audience and potential guests like. Once your website is verified, you have access to Pinterest Analytics.  This is the why I was talking about.  This shows you which pins are most popular with pinners and see which pins are driving the most traffic to your site!

You can also see what boards your stuff appears on, how the pins are described and what people pin along with your stuff.  All of these insights will help you make smarter choices about what you pin and even develop a pinning strategy when you pin smarter.  Watch out: pinning can be addictive!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography