Tag Archives: entertainment

Why You Need a Vacation Guide On Your Website

"traveling is everything" poster with camera and journal

Consider putting together a local vacation guide on your website for guests. It is so vital to promote your local area, so others will know exactly what they can do and see during their stay. Often innkeepers will have a list of places, brochures, and even menus available on-site for their guests to look at. Your local area guide can and should be put on your website for potential guests to easily download AND join your email list!

Activities and Entertainment

  • Galleries
  • Historic Monuments and Sites
  • Museums
  • Shopping
  • Spas (if you have your own spa, then just promote that one)
  • Sports Arenas
  • Theaters and Shows
  • University Campuses
  • Wildlife Areas and Zoos

Annual Events

  • Concert Series
  • Conferences
  • Cultural Celebrations
  • Festivals
  • Holiday Festivities
  • Marathons
  • Parades
  • Restaurant Weeks
  • Tournaments

Food and Drink

  • Bakeries and Cafes
  • Breweries
  • Casual Eateries
  • Coffee and Tea
  • Deli and Sandwich Shops
  • Dessert
  • Fine Dining
  • Food Trucks
  • Quick Bites
  • Restaurants
  • Wineries

Outdoor Recreation

  • Bird Watching
  • Canoeing (or kayaking)
  • Fishing
  • Golf (or miniature golf)
  • Hiking and Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Photography
  • Sailing
  • Skiing (snow and/or water)
  • Tennis
  • Zip lining

For each place you are featuring, be sure to link to its website as well as to Google directions. By making it easy for guests to learn about your local area, you make it more likely that they will choose to stay at your accommodations.

Think about what activities, restaurants, and sites your guests rave about. Those should definitely be included in your guide. Of course, what you put in your local guide will depend upon what is in your local area (so not everything listed will apply to your inn).

Customize packages that guests can buy ahead of time. By making it easy for them to get local tickets and restaurant reservations (among other options), guests are willing to pay more to have this already done for them. Think of a creative and catchy name for your package.

Partner with other local places to exclusively promote each other. For example, if there are two horseback riding places in your area, you can make a deal with one to exclusively promote them in exchange for your guests getting a discount (or by making some other fair arrangement).

Regularly email those now on your list (because they requested your vacation guide). You can update them with the latest news related to your inn or local area. Emails are also a great place to share links to your most recent blog posts.

By staying in regular communication with guests (with the required unsubscribe link at the bottom of each email), they will be reminded of their desire to come for the first time or return for another visit. Thus, I recommend having a vacation guide on your website.

You may know where your guests like to go, but you may have no interest or desire to put together a local vacation guide. Contact Kristi Dement for a free consultation about putting a local vacation guide on your own website (and getting guests to opt into your email list).

 

Why Local Partnerships Can Make You Rich

a store with glass cases with food inside and other merchandise

Do you know why local partnerships can make you rich?  Do you know that your local area could be your best asset?  Travelers tend to pick the area of their destination BEFORE they choose their accommodations.  So innkeepers can profit from thinking about: “Why do guests visit my local area?”

Word-of-mouth marketing can also be very powerful.  What do you want to become known for?  A big part of becoming more well known is developing ties with other local businesses and organizations in your community.

Who, in your local area, offers complementary products and services?  There are many reasons why it is in both your interests to form a mutually beneficial relationship:

  • You can refer each other business (since you don’t have all the same customers)
  • You can promote each other in a variety of ways (such as via social media)
  • You can form exclusive partnerships (more on that later)

So, you may be thinking, what types of places and with whom could I form local partnerships?:

  • Caterers
  • Chocolatier
  • Entertainment providers
  • Florist
  • Gift shops
  • Museums
  • Nonprofit organizations and charities
  • Realtors
  • Restaurants
  • Spas (if you do not have your own spa)
  • Sports
  • Tourist attractions
  • Wedding planners

There is a whole movement going on to support local businesses and service professionals.  Spread the love for your local area by featuring these other businesses:

  • Brochures (display them at your inn)
  • Coupons (arrange for your guests to receive discounts for using their services)
  • Menus (let people see what they offer by providing their menus)
  • Preferred list of vendors (such as caterers and wedding planners)
  • Social Media (share a picture of them and write about why people should want to use their products and/or services)
  • Video (partner with other businesses to promote your town as a vacation destination)
  • Word-of-mouth (if guests ask for your recommendations)

Develop “exclusive partnerships” in which you agree to only buy from them and they offer you a reduced rate for doing so.  This works out well in the case of using one chocolatier and one florist.  Especially if you offer packages to your guests which include chocolate and flowers.

An “influencer” is a person who has the power to influence many people.  How do you meet and form relationships with the “influencers” in your community?

  • Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce which will have local business owners and service providers as members.
  • LinkedIn is a powerful social media network for finding other local business owners
  • There is nothing like meeting face-to-face to discuss how you can help each other’s businesses grow
  • Look online (like at TripAdvisor) to find lists for the best restaurants near you and the top things to do in (and near) your area for ideas of people and places to contact

That is why local partnerships can make you rich.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Early Inn at the Grove in Rocky Mount, VA

Early Inn

 

The Early Inn at The Grove in Rocky Mount, Virginia offers luxurious accommodations for its guests.  The house, known as “the Grove” to all of the locals, was built and finished in 1854. There have been 3 families that have resided in this house until it was purchased in December of 2013 with the intent to turn it into a bed and breakfast.

 

The house is a Greek Revival Style house. It rests on 10 plus acres full of beautiful trees including ancient oaks, some of which were planted by the second owner in 1900.

 

Innkeeper Keri Jackson loves welcoming guests to this delightful inn.  Famous guests who have stayed at the Early Inn include comedienne Paula Poundstone and The Bacon Brothers band (and Keri did serve bacon to Kevin Bacon)!

 

Early Inn Innkeeper Keri

 

The Early Inn offers five elegantly decorated rooms:

 

Early Inn General Early Suite

General Early Suite

At one time, Jubal Early slept here.  He had his Law office at the foot of the property.  The General Early Suite celebrates the confederate soldier who served as a general.  His sister was married to the first wife of the original owner of the house.  Decorated in browns and burgundy, this room has a private connecting bathroom with shower.  The only downstairs bedroom. Be first in line for coffee and stay in the General’s suite. This is a very cozy, comfortable room.

 

Early Inn Wanderlust Room

The Wanderlust Room

 

Luxuriously decorated, you will feel pampered during your stay here in this room. Decorated in grays and blues, this room looks out over into the side yard.  The beautiful landscape will keep you wanting to stay forever.  The new King mattress, Comphy bedding and blankets, bluetooth radios and your own climate controlled ceiling fan will leave you feeling pampered and refreshed.

 

Early Inn Harvester Suite

The Harvester Suite

This room, decorated with the colors of a harvest, remind you of fall.  The oranges and browns bring you a peacefulness and such a sense of tranquility that you will not want to leave.  This room has 2 Queen beds. The view out the window not only shows you the walkway from a time back in history, you can actually see the Harvester Performance Center doors.  Definitely within walking distance, you will be able to walk right over to see a show.

 

Early Inn Magnolia Suite

The Magnolia Suite

 

When you think of romance, think of Magnolias and ruffles.  This room is beautiful!  With original floral wallpaper from the 1980’s, you feel like you have taken a walk back into a simpler time.  You will not need to leave your room.  The bathroom hosts a soaking tub as well as a double shower.  The King size bed boasts comfort and beauty. You will definitely want to try out this room.

 

Early Inn Conspiracy Suite

The Conspiracy Suite

Was it a conspiracy?  If you want to know, check into this room and settle in with a copy of previous owner Keister Greer’s book, “The Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935.”  This room gives you spectacular views of the front and side yards.  Decorated in blues and browns, this room hosts a connected bathroom with a shower.  This room has a king size bed, two chairs and a small table.  Individual temperature controls along with a ceiling fan ensure that you are comfortable at all times.

 

My husband and I loved our stay at Early Inn at the Grove in Rocky Mount, Virginia. This historic estate has maintained all of its charm yet is equipped with modern day technology including free Wi-Fi for its guests and flat screen televisions in each of their five bedrooms.

 

Whether you want to get married inside the inn (perhaps in their elegant library) or outside (near the large tent with its own dance floor), the Early Inn hosts weddings. The Early Inn also host private parties such as luncheons for class reunions, baby showers, and anniversaries.

 

While Innkeeper Keri Jackson was attending Floydfest, we enjoyed her delicious French Toast casserole. Nacasha took care of us during our stay.  She has a friendly, easygoing personality and she makes guests feel right at home.  Guests rave about Keri’s hospitality and so much more on TripAdvisor.

 

The town of Rocky Mount offers antiques, artwork, and awesome entertainment at the Harvester (which is right across the street from the inn). We recommend that guests also visit the nearby Kupkakery Bakery & Kafe as well as the relaxing Vintage Spa.

 

We look forward to coming again soon to the Early Inn at the Grove in Rocky Mount, Virginia.  Would you like your inn featured in this blog?  Please contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging.

25 Ways To Write Creative Blog Posts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valentine’s Day is Coming

valentines day is coming

 

 

Valentine’s Day is coming. It is time to start promoting how your bed and breakfast will be celebrating it. This is a great opportunity to put together a package deal for couples.

 

 

  • Make a connection with a local florist that you will only use their service in exchange for them giving you a discount.
  • If your bed and breakfast does not offer spa services, maybe you can arrange for a nearby spa to offer you a deal on massages, facials, and nails.
  • You may be located near to a card and candy gift shop.  This is another opportunity to make exclusive arrangements with them.
  • Look at romantic restaurants in your area and ask the manager if you can arrange for your couples to dine at their restaurant.
  • If you have a concert hall or arena in your area, you can check to see the performances showing or games being played during that time.
  • If you have rooms with their own private hot tubs, this is the time to emphasize that in your marketing.
  • Lastly, do not forget the wine or sparkled juice as well as dessert for two in the room.

The more you know about the couple, the more you can personalize the package.  Try to find out their preferences in food and entertainment.  What they would like done at the spa or if they are more likely to enjoy a concert or a game.

Sometimes one person is surprising the other person with this romantic trip. You can join in the fun.  Make sure to price your package at a cost where you will be making a healthy profit from your package after paying the other places.  This is your chance to play Cupid on February 14 because Valentine’s Day is coming.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Hospitality of Hosting

hospitality of hosting

A gracious host is very welcoming and immediately sets you at ease when you arrive. Hospitality is the relationship between the guest and the host, or the act or practice of being hospitable. This includes the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. It is important, as bed and breakfast owners and innkeepers, that guests feel at home in your home.

Hospitality is associated with etiquette and entertainment. It involves showing respect for one’s guests, providing for their needs, and treating them as equals. The word hospitality derives from the Latin hospes, meaning “host”, “guest”, or “stranger”.

 

Hospitable Things To Say

  • “Make yourself at home.”
  • “What brings you here to stay with us?”
  • “Do you need more fresh towels or pillows?”
  • “Can I get you anything else?”
  • “Feel free to select from our DVDs and books to take back to your room during your stay here.”
  • “Would you like to know about some fun things to do in our area?”
  • “Your homemade fresh-cooked breakfast will be ready at….”
  • “Would you care for some tea this afternoon?”

As an innkeeper, you will need to know the fine art of how much to interact with your guests. Be available to answer their questions, but also be sensitive to their need for privacy.  Take your cue from the guests themselves since each person is different.  This way you tailor your hospitality to match the needs and wants of your guests. That is the hospitality of hosting!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography