Tag Archives: feature

Why Bed and Breakfast Gazebos Are So Popular

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Feature The Benefits of Your Unique Inn

feature the benefits

 

If you feature the benefits of your unique inn, you will attract more guests.  Good marketers use features to explain and develop benefits. People often get features and benefits mixed up.  That’s easy to do. Features are characteristics of the product or service, while benefits are positive values to the purchaser.

 

 

Let me illustrate with relevant bed and breakfast inn examples.

 

Bed and Breakfast Features:

  • 8 bedrooms each with private baths
  • conference room
  • electric vehicle charging
  • fireplaces
  • spa
  • outdoor swimming pool
  • wired internet

 

B&B Guest Benefits:

  • comfort of your own private bathroom
  • convenience of a conference room on site
  • environmental friendliness of electric vehicle charging
  • romantic appeal of fireplaces
  • relaxation and health appeal of your spa
  • refreshing dip in the pool on a hot summer day
  • enjoyment of free internet access throughout your inn

 

Also take the time to note what your previous guests have commented or listed in their online reviews. Not all feedback will be positive because you cannot possible please everyone all the time.  You can take potentially negative comments (or objections) and market them in a positive light.  Put this on your website and share in social media.

 

Examples:

  • “Out in the middle of nowhere”= “get away from the hustle and bustle of the city”
  • “Too expensive” = “great value for all that is included in your stay”
  • “Rains a lot” = “plenty to do inside if it rains such as…”

 

Now it’s your turn.  What benefits (not just features) do your guests receive when they stay with you? For example, if you have a game room, you can write, “Guests have fun playing our games in our billiard room.”  Be sure to show pictures of your pool table, chess set, Scrabble board game, and even jigsaw puzzles (see below) and post on Facebook, for instance.

Also, take note of any guest complaints you have and see if you can turn it into a positive. For example, a vegetarian bed and breakfast may receive a complaint that they do not serve meat, but they can share guest testimonials about their delicious, hearty, and healthy vegetarian breakfasts.  Of course, be sure to get the permission from guests, before you put any pictures of them online.

Since each inn is different, notice what your guests say about your inn.  Then you are well on your way to attracting more guests when you feature the benefits of your unique inn.

 

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

Autumn Colors and Fall Foliage

autumn colors and fall foliage

The autumn colors and fall foliage at bed and breakfasts can be remarkably beautiful to take in this time of year.  We would like to feature one B&B known for this season’s splendor, the appropriately named The Maple Leaf Inn of Barnard, Vermont.  They are ten miles north of Woodstock, Vermont on a beautiful lake.  It is an elegant Victorian style farmhouse nestled within sixteen acres of maple and birch trees.

 

The friendly owners, Nancy and Mike Boyle, welcome you to come anytime of the year since they are open year round.  In fact, four of their bedrooms are named after the four seasons: Autumn Woods, Winter Haven, Spring Hollow, and Summer Retreat.  They have seven guest bedrooms (six are pictured below) that are spacious and luxurious with all of the mattresses recently upgraded to king-size pillow top mattresses.  Five of the rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and four of the rooms have whirlpool tubs.

Autumn Woods Room                                                 Winter Haven Room

autumn colors and fall foliageautumn colors and fall foliage

Spring Hollow Room                                                   Summer Retreat Room

autumn colors and fall foliageautumn colors and fall foliage

Country Garden Room                                                 Morning Glory Room

autumn colors and fall foliageautumn colors and fall foliage

Guests love the special and delicious three-course gourmet breakfasts at The Maple Leaf Inn.

autumn colors and fall foliageautumn colors and fall foliage

After enjoying a hearty breakfast each morning, guests can just relax or enjoy a variety of fun activities in their local area:

  • driving tours and hiking tours (especially beautiful in the fall)
  • golfing
  • biking
  • horseback riding
  • fishing
  • boating
  • winter activities like cross country skiing, ice skating, downhill skiing, and snowmobile riding

autumn colors and fall foliageautumn colors and fall foliage

The Maple Leaf Inn offers Special Occasion Packages for romance, birthdays, and anniversaries.  The packages include some of the following:

  • choice of champagne, wine, or sparkling cider in your room upon arrival
  • two Maple Leaf Inn keepsake glasses
  • a single rose bud, a bouquet of fresh flowers in a vase, or long-stemmed roses
  • a box of Vermont chocolates
  • a personalized Maple Leaf Inn birthday cake

Between the two of them, Nancy and Mike speak the following languages: English, Russian, German, and Italian. They enjoy conversations with guests from all over the world. Now is the perfect time to enjoy a fall vacation.  If you need to hire an interim innkeeper for your bed and breakfast, you should.  Nancy and Mike welcome everyone to their lovely and quiet inn set in a scenic area with lots of fun activities.  See them talk about The Maple Leaf Inn in the video below.

The Art of Pinning

art of pinning

 

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

 

 

Pictures:

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

Social media

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

Remember:

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

Etiquette or “Netiquette”:

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

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

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

B&B Guests: Relaxation #1 Priority

relaxation

 

Relaxation may be the #1 priority of some of your guests. These guests will retreat to your bed and breakfast simply because they want a calm scenic place to relax and not have anything to do. They may just sit and watch the lovely ocean or mountain views your B&B may have.

 

 

Their idea of relaxation may be quiet things such as reading, picnicking, and crocheting. You can assure them they will have the peace and tranquility they are seeking when they become your guests.  If you offer an in-room massage or house a home library, be sure to mention that in your phone conversation and feature that on your website.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Promote with Packages

promote with packages

 

 

Promote with packages that your bed and breakfast guests can purchase.  These packages may be based on the season, occasion, local area, classes, or the need to feel pampered.

 

 

  • Classes--you may have guests who are attending conferences, workshops, and other learning opportunities at your B&B or near it
  • Local area–has its own attractions, things to do, and events throughout the year
  • Occasion–your guests may be celebrating their wedding, anniversary, birthday, reunion, graduation, or some other significant event
  • Pampering–your guests may like spa services, chocolates, flowers, or dessert for two delivered to their guest room to enhance their memories of their stay at your bed and breakfast
  • Season–you may offer specials during the slow times of your year or offer special holiday packages such as Valentine’s Day

As a bed and breakfast owner, you may make arrangements with local restaurants, attractions, florists, spa facilities, and more.  There is power in creating affiliations and associations with complimentary businesses to yours.  You both can profit from these mutually beneficial arrangements.

Never underestimate the power of packages.  People love to feel special and know that they will be making vacation memories they will fondly recall.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography