Tag Archives: inns

5 New Bed and Breakfast Novels Your Guests Will Love

Book Covers: Inn at Hidden Run, Magnolia Inn, Peach Clobbered, Seeing Red, Summer HouseIntroducing five new bed and breakfast novels your guests are sure to love. All of these books are centered around B&B businesses. Plots include discovering family histories, chasing killers, reading about secrets, falling in love, and uncovering other mysteries. It is always good to have books available for guests to read. You already know they love inns!

 

The Inn at Hidden Run by Olivia Newport (Book #1 Tree of Life)

A father-daughter genealogy team link present to past on family trees. Meri’s family has been producing doctors for so many generations that no one remembers why, so when she flunks out of medical school, she runs as far from her parents as she can get. In the small town of Canyon Mines, Colorado, she takes a job at the Inn at Hidden Run B&B. And waits. It’s only a matter of time. What she doesn’t count on is genealogist Jillian Parisi-Duffy and her father, Nolan, having her back when it takes everything she has not to bolt again but to stay and face the truth that only unfolding her family’s history will reveal. While Nolan works on keeping Meri calm–and in town–Jillian pulls out of her gems of information she doesn’t know she has and arranges the puzzle pieces. But none of that changes the fact that Meri’s family is closing in to haul her back to her “real” life. When their arrival inflames tensions and Meri finally does bolt, Nolan and Jillian may be out of time.

The Magnolia Inn by Carolyn Brown

A #1 Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller. New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown brings together two wounded hearts in a Texas romance of second chances and twice-in-a-lifetime true love. Inheriting the Magnolia Inn, a Victorian home nestled in the East Texas pines, is a fantasy come true for Jolene Broussard. After living with the guilt of failing to rescue her self-destructive mother, Jolene knows her aunt and uncle’s B&B is the perfect jump start for a new life and a comforting place to call home. There’s just one hitch: stubborn and moody carpenter Tucker Malone. He’s got a half interest in the Magnolia Inn, and he’s planting his dusty cowboy boots squarely in the middle of her dream. Ever since his wife’s death, Tucker’s own guilt and demons have left him as guarded as Jolene. The last thing he expects is for his new partner to stir something inside him he thought was gone forever. And as wary as Jolene is, she may have found a kindred spirit–someone she can help, and someone she can hold on to. Restoring Magnolia Inn is the first step toward restoring their hearts. Will they be able to let go of the past and trust each other to do it together again?

Peach Clobbered by Anna Gerard (A Georgia B&B Mystery)

What’s black and white and dead all over? Georgia bed and breakfast proprietor Nina Fleet finds out when she comes across a corpse in a penguin costume. Nina Fleet’s life ought to be as sweet as a Georgia peach. Awarded a tiny sum in her divorce, Nina retired at 41 to a historic Queen Anne house in quaint Cymbeline, Georgia. But Nina’s barely settled into her new B&B-to-be when a penguin shows up on her porch. Or, at least, a man wearing a penguin suit. Harry Westcott is making ends meet as an ice cream shop’s mascot and has a letter from his great-aunt, pledging to leave him the house. Too bad that’s not what her will says. Meanwhile, the Sisters of Perpetual Poverty have lost their lease. Real estate developer Gregory Bainbridge intends to turn the convent into a golfing community, so Cymbeline’s mayor persuades Nina to take in the elderly nuns. And then Nina finds the “penguin” again, this time lying in an ally with a kitchen knife in his chest. A peek under the beak tells Nina it’s not Harry inside the costume, but Bainbridge. What was he doing in Harry’s penguin suit? Was the developer really the intended victim, or did the culprit intend to kill Harry? Whoever is out to stop Harry from contesting the sale of his great-aunt’s house may also be after Nina, so she teams up with him to cage the killer before someone clips her wings.

Seeing Red by Dana Dratch (A Red Herring Mystery)

If it wasn’t for art thieves, spies, and killers, Alex Vlodnachek’s life would be bliss. Her freelance career is catching fire. Her relationship with B&B owner Ian Sterling is flirty and fun. She’s even attending a glittering cocktail party at his sprawling Victorian inn. But, to this ex-reporter, something seems “off.” When Ian’s father vanishes, the enigmatic innkeeper asks for her discretion, And her assistance. Meanwhile, Alex is having the opposite problem at her tiny bungalow. People keep piling in uninvited. Including a mysterious intruder found sleeping in her kitchen. Her grandmother, Baba, who shows up “to help”–with Alex’s own mother hot on her heels. When the intrepid redhead discovers a body in the B&B’s basement and a “reproduction” Renoir in the library, she begins to suspect that Ian is more than just a simple hotel owner. With editor pal Trip, brother Nick, and rescue-pup Lucy riding shotgun, Alex scrambles to stay one step ahead of disaster–and some very nasty characters. Can she find the missing man before it’s too late? Or will Alex be the next one to disappear?

The Summer House by Jenny Hale

From this USA Today bestselling author comes a delightful read about friendship, family, and the healing power of love. Callie Weaver and her best friend, Olivia Dixon, have finally done it: put their life savings into the beach house they admired through childhood summers, on the dazzling white sand of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. They’re going to buff the salt from its windows, paint it’s sun-bleached sidings, and open it as a bed and breakfast. Callie’s too busy to think about her love life, but when she catches the attention of local heartthrob Luke Sullivan, his blue eyes and easy smile make it hard to say no. He’s heir to his father’s real estate empire, and the papers say he’s just another playboy. But as they laugh in the ocean waves, Callie realizes there’s more to this man than money and good looks. Just when true happiness seems within reach, Callie and Olivia find a diary full of secrets…secrets that stretch across the island and have the power to turn lives upside down. As Callie reads, she unravels a mystery that makes her heart drop through the floor. Will Callie and Luke be pulled apart by the storm the diary unleashes, or can true love save them?

If you have a common room that is perfect for guests to read in, consider having a library of books available for them to read during their stay. Books like these five new bed and breakfast novels. See our blog post about the perfect bed and breakfast books for guests. Happy reading, to you and your guests! Feel free to comment below with your own B&B book recommendation!

 

Catapult Your Business Growth with Gift Cards

Large home with tall trees around it

Did you know you can catapult your business growth with gift cards?  Bed and breakfast gift cards work well for both innkeepers and guests.  Individual inns as well as B&B associations offer gift cards or gift certificates for purchase. The North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns (NCBBI) makes their gift certificates available in $50 increments and guests can use them at any of their member inns.

Special Occasions for Gift Cards:

  • Anniversaries
  • Birthdays
  • Employment appreciations
  • Holiday gifts
  • Honeymoons
  • Retirements
  • Surprising a loved one
  • Thanking a friend

Make sure you clearly communicate the the terms and conditions of your gift certificates and gift cards to those who purchase them.  You may restrict guests from using their gift certificates in combination with other offers, additional discounts, or third-party promotions.  Your place of hospitality may also exclude their use for group services including accommodations and catering for weddings and other large functions.

Be sure to state in writing that all property specific policies, including deposit, minimum stay, and cancellation policies still apply.  You may want to add that no blackout dates apply. If there is an expiration date, please state that directly on the gift certificate.  Give guests the option of allowing money left over to be put toward future stays.

Consider offering a discount on your gift certificates or gift cards during the holidays.  Promote that they make great presents for those who are difficult to shop for!

Reasons Why We Should All Love Gift Cards:

  • Gift card recipients have the freedom to choose when they visit (as long as it is before it expires), the reason for their stay (they could save it for their birthday or anniversary), and even their choice of which inn (in the case of B&B association gift cards)
  • Gift givers do not have the usual stress involved in choosing a gift especially for the hard-to-shop-for people in your life
  • Saves time (no need for givers to drive all over the map to find the perfect gift and these are great for last-minute shoppers)
  • Saves money (givers decide the amount you want to give and stay within their budget)

If your inn or association offers gift cards or gift certificates, be sure to dedicate a web page to provide information and list all the necessary details.  Allow people to purchase your gift cards or certificates directly from your website.  Be sure to promote your gift certificates in blog posts (with their permission, share stories about guests who used gift cards).  Don’t forget that social media is a great place to announce that your inn offers gift cards.  Gift cards are a great way to catapult your B&B business growth!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes: Infographics

everybody writes infographic

 

This wraps up our series of posts about Ann Handley, the author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.  Ann offers practical infographic creating tips that we will illustrate with an excellent bed and breakfast industry infographic.

 

But first, just what is an “infographic”?  Infographics are expressed graphically via drawings, pictures, maps, diagrams, charts, and more and are all held together with a coherent visual theme and typically published as an image file.

According to Ann Handley, the best infographics express rich objective data in a more accessible and engaging way:

  • Checklist or resource
  • Compare and contrast study
  • Evolution of a movement, demographic, or industry
  • Illustration of the state of some business sector or function

Have the following characteristics:

  • Utility: entertaining, educational, intrinsically useful, applicable to your audience
  • Data: based on facts (not opinions); uses credible data and credible sources
  • Story: have a hypothesis and a narrative at their core
  • Logical sequence: organize your information so that it flows logically; the images and text need to make sense together
  • Great design: color, typography, illustrations, animation, videos, charts, text
  • Quality control: make sure your infographic is free of errors
  • Promotion: the goal is to drive attention to and interest in your brand
  • Shareable: make your infographics easy to share in social media

The infographic shared in this blog post was produced by Little Hotelier and the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.  First, they share the statistics that the B&B Industry in the United States has an estimated worth of $3.4 billion.  The core of this starts with the estimated 17,000 inns in the United States and then branches out to all of the product and services needed:

  • Real estate
  • Insurance
  • Hospitality
  • Furniture
  • Food and beverage
  • Cleaning
  • Safety
  • Heating
  • Cooling

The median performance:

  • Occupancy rate: 43.7%
  • Average daily rate: $150
  • Revenue per available room: $58

everybody writes infographic

The infographic tells us that the typical inn has between 4 and 11 rooms with 6 being the average number of rooms and the average size is 5700 square feet.

94% have private baths and 93% offer free high speed wireless internet.

Types of inns:

  • Suburban 5%
  • Urban 23%
  • Village 43%
  • Rural locations 29%
  • Historical designation 36%

everybody writes infographic

Their infographic portrays amenities at most inns both in the common areas and in the guest rooms.

Amenities in Common areas:

  • Internet
  • Magazines
  • Hot/cold beverages
  • Board games
  • Fireplace
  • Televisions
  • Refrigerator
  • Newspapers
  • Telephone
  • Cookies, cakes, candies, and fruit
  • Fresh flowers

Amenities in Guest rooms:

  • Internet
  • Magazines
  • Televisions
  • Fireplace
  • Luxury bed linens
  • Robes
  • Premium branded toiletries
  • Jetted tubs

everybody writes infographic

Their infographic ends with a statistic about the inn owners.  The percentage of inn owners that are 72% are couples, 18% are individual females, 5% are individual males, and 5% are non-couple partnerships.  Also it lets us know that 79% of owners live on the premises.

everybody writes infographic

A big thank you to Ann Handley, Little Hotelier, and the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.  If you would like help with your online marketing, please contact us at Bed and Breakfast Blogging.

 

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Mike’s Road Trip To B&B’s

Mike's Road Trip

 

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

 

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

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

Mike makes these suggestions to bed and breakfast owners:

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

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

Professional Associations

   

Do you know the value of belonging to professional associations?  Many inns and bed and breakfasts are members of professional associations. There are international, national, regional, and local associations, all of which provide services to both their members and the travelling public. Many require their members to meet specific standards of quality, while others simply require a lodging establishment to pay dues. These associations also facilitate marketing of the individual B&Bs and provide a stamp of approval that the business in question is reputable.

While various local governments have regulations and inspect lodging establishments for health and safety issues, membership in a state or national bed and breakfast association can indicate a higher standard of hospitality. Associations sometimes review their members’ properties and tend to have additional standards of care.  Associations may offer informative conferences.

In the US for example, each state has an innkeeping association (usually non-profit) that exists to promote the industry and tourism. Within those state associations, many city and regional bed and breakfast associations can be found. Many state, city and regional associations, have inspection criteria that often exceed government requirements for safety and cleanliness.  We have talked about organizations like AAA, the Better Business Bureau, and the Professional Association of Innkeepers International in previous blog posts.  People find comfort in staying at places that have earned high ratings.  Think about your B&B’s marketing strategy.

Are You Media Friendly?

are you media friendly

 

Are you media friendly?  Why not make it easy for a journalist or reporter to do a story on your bed and breakfast? Have a press kit on your website.  Consider asking, “Are you a journalist working on a story about inns or bed and breakfasts? We would love to help you with your story or article.”

 

 

The press kit can include:

  • Media contact‘s name, phone number, e-mail address (owner, innkeeper, public relations person for your B&B)
  • The history of the bed and breakfast: location, year it was built, original owners, type of architecture, date it became a bed and breakfast, etc.
  • Information about the innkeepers/owners: where they are originally from, their career history, their hobbies, pets, kids, etc.
  • Awards you and your B&B have received: from bed and breakfast associations, cooking contests won, your AAA rating, your Better Business Bureau grade, etc.
  • Press coverage: list of and link to articles in newspapers, magazines, online attention
  • High resolution photos of the inside including the rooms as well as the outside of the bed and breakfast as well as the best breakfasts and other food you serve
  • Map of area and nearby attractions
  • Videos made about your B&B or ones that you have had filmed to promote your bed and breakfast
  • Amenities: private hot tub, fireplace, library, spa, garden, etc.
  • Current promotions: such as special packages and upcoming events like weddings
  • Online guest reviews: share positive guest testimonials
  • Your blog

Anything that you think will enhance your reputation as providing exceptional hospitality, this is your opportunity make it accessible for the press to report on it.  Even curious potential guests will be impressed by it when they see it.

If you do not mind members of the press coming to your bed and breakfast to interview you and/or make a video, then be sure to state that on-site tours can be arranged.  There is nothing better than free publicity! Then the press will not have to ask, “Are you media friendly?”

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Girlfriend Getaways

girlfriend getaways

 

Did you know that your bed and breakfast could be the place for girlfriend getaways? Whether these ladies need to get away from the stresses of family life or their job or they simply want to dedicate a weekend to hang with the girls, this is a perfect package option you can offer. Packages personalize the experience of your inn’s guests.

Your package could include:

  • A wine and cheese tasting
  • Tickets to a local performance or attraction
  • T-shirts and coffee mugs with the name of your B&B
  • Personal massages and other spa services
  • Lunch in a picnic basket
  • A floral arrangement
  • Gourmet chocolates
  • Private hot tub in their room
  • Cookies and milk brought to their room

After together time with friends, those who have experienced your girlfriend getaways, will come home refreshed, renewed, and invigorated. Be sure to follow up with them and ask them to write down or tell you what they liked about their experience.  If they give a good testimonial, you can ask for permission to add that to your website, blog, and marketing materials.  Remember, like the song says, “Girls just want to have fun”!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Creative and Fun Decorating Ideas

creative decorating ideas

 

 

You want your bed and breakfast to stand out to your guests and make a great impression.  The following is a list of creative decorating ideas:

 

 

 

  • Keep in mind the geographical location of your bed and breakfast when you choose your color theme.  So if it is near water, you can use a them based on light brown sand, pink seashells and corals, ocean blues, and sunny yellows.  If you are in the mountains or a forested area, you can use colors found in the woods, such as deep greens and cranberry reds.
  • There are many different approaches to decorating your inns’ bedrooms.  For a traditional bed-and-breakfast look, use Victorian-style furniture.  For a cottage-style B&B, put handmade quilts on the bed with matching shams.
  • In order for your decor to flow, keep a consistent period or style decor throughout, varying in color themes only from room to room.
  •  Put natural-finish or painted wicker chairs near the bedroom windows.  Put floral fabric cushions in the chairs and add a matching ottoman.  If your B&B has wicker furniture, it is best to use the same style of wicker seating in the main living area as on the front porch.
  •  Decorate the main living area according to its size.  For an extra large living room, arrange several small groups of chairs.  For a smaller room, place a large couch in front of a fireplace, with a chair on each side.  For a relaxed cottage-style look, put loose-fitting canvas slipcovers on the furniture.
  • Accessorize with wall art that reflects nature in the area or local artists and artisans. Fill a large empty vase with rocks or shells that you or your guests have collected from the beach, woods or a neighboring lake.  Place skis on the wall like shown in the above picture for artistic flair.

You can get even more creative decorating ideas for home decorating from Better Homes and Gardens and at Pinterest.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

History of the B&B Industry in the United States

History of the U.S. B&B Industry

The history of the U.S. B&B Industry began when travel for business and/or pleasure in the United States started in the 1700’s.  Many coaching or stagecoach inns, common in England and the Eastern United States, typically provided stabling for horses and lodging for travelers.  However, the accommodations were extremely modest (at best).

 

Once railroads were constructed, the convenience of railroads provided a huge boost in travel comfort, and hundreds of hotels were constructed close to train stations to accommodate growing numbers of travelers.

As the United States industrialized, more people had time and the discretionary income for travel.  Summer escapes from the sweltering cities to cooler mountain or seaside villages became popular. Wealthy families summered in private villas or luxury resorts, while the working classes headed for boarding houses.

During the Great Depression in the United States, taking in boarders to help meet expenses proliferated. Homes located on state routes (this was long before Interstate Highways) often posted signs reading Tourist Home or Guests, where travelers could typically find a room for the night for about $2, usually including breakfast.

Travel to Europe boomed after World War II; a strong U.S. dollar allowed millions of Americans to discover England’s and Ireland’s B&B’s, and equivalent accommodations on the Continent. Throughout the 1980’s, the seeds for the B&B boom were planted.

Interestingly, although history of the U.S. B&B industry began with informal, inexpensive places to stay with shared baths and minimal amenities, they are now largely luxury accommodations with high levels of comfort, service, and luxury.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography