Tag Archives: inspiration

How To Develop The Right Idea At The Right Time

Book Cover "The Creative Curve: How To Develop The Right Idea At The Right Time" next to computer keyboard with button "create"

The Creative Curve: How To Develop The Right Idea At The Right Time by Allen Gannett is an inspiring read for all entrepreneurs, including hospitality providers. I absolutely loved this book. With compelling research and examples, the author shows us that creativity is not limited to the chosen few. The author argues that the world’s best known creative people actually follow a consistent pattern of behavior.

 

4 Ways To Develop The Right Idea At The Right Time:

 

  • Imitation: Learning the necessary constraints and formulas of your industry. Constraints include length of guest stay, dietary restrictions, and guest budget. Guest satisfaction comes from factors like attention to detail and offering extras including packages. This leads to positive reviews, returning guests, and guest referrals.
  • Creative Communities: Building communities refines skills, increases motivation, and finds people with whom to collaborate. This includes:
    • Certifications: from respected organizations like TripAdvisor
    • Listings: in elite clubs like Select Registry & Historic Hotels of America
    • Memberships: in professional hospitality associations
    • Partnerships: with local businesses (florist, restaurants, spa, etc.)
  • Iterations: Being aware of timing and engaging in iterations enables using data and processes to improve work. Ways to measure progress include:
    • Accounting: evaluating revenue/profit (from bookings, events, packages, etc.) and costs/loss (food, maintenance, staff, etc.)
    • Email service provider: email open rates, clicks on links, etc.
    • Google Analytics: to tell the performance of website pages and blog
    • Guest reviews: take note of what guests are saying about you (share positive reviews and make necessary improvements)
    • Reservation software: mobile friendliness, occupancy rates, visitor behavior, etc.
    • Social media: reach, likes, comments, follows, shares, clicks, etc.

Author Allen Gannett refers to “The Creative Curve” as a measure of the balance of the familiar (for guests to feel comfortable) and the novel (different enough to attract their interest). Implementing and monitoring these four ways enables hospitality providers to find that sweet spot and to develop the right idea at the right time.

How to Find Your Inspiration as an Innkeeper (Part 2)

the word "inspiration" written over a pretty sunset sky

To find you inspiration as an innkeeper, there needs to be a match with your motivation for working, your individual talents, and your hospitality niche/ideal guests.  In Part One of this blog post I gave three hypothetical situations.  I will give some suggestions for each scenario.

Innkeeper Irene loves cooking for others and entertaining guests, but she dislikes anything involving paperwork–especially finances.  I suggest that she finds a skilled accountant or bookkeeper to manage her finances.  She should seek referrals from other innkeepers or other people in her local community.

Since Irene’s restaurant is becoming more known in the community, having an active online marketing presence is very important.  She can also hire someone to actively manage her online marketing which should include consistent and strategic blogging and social media.  By focusing on what she loves (cooking and entertaining), she Irene will likely grow her business and be able to afford to hire two experts who are skilled at those tasks and able to ease her burden.

Bob the B&B owner is very successful with marketing his inn. His grown children manage the day-to-day operations of their thriving business.  If you remember his situation from the last blog post, his occupancy rate is very good, but he is wondering how to earn more income outside of bookings.  Even if Bob does not have a restaurant or a spa in addition to his inn, he can still increase his income in a variety of different ways:

  • Hosting private events (such as private parties, murder mysteries, book signings, wedding or baby showers, holiday or seasonal gatherings, etc.)
  • Offering customized guest packages (such as a Girls Getaway package, Romance package, or Local Attractions package)
  • Providing items for sale at his B&B (such as coffee mugs with his B&B logo, T-shirts/sweatshirts, signature goodies for guests to take home, etc.)
  • Teaching classes (such as cooking, writing, painting, etc.) to guests

In the third example, Shirley & Dale are a husband and wife innkeeping couple. Shirley’s favorite thing to do is to plant and grow flowers and produce in their gorgeous garden as well as to decorate their inn. Dale loves construction and renovation projects (both inside and outside). I think the long-term goal is for Shirley & Dale should keep doing what they love.  However, since they have a real need for adding housekeeping and kitchen staff, they will need to continue to handle those responsibilities until part-time employees are found.

Shirley & Dale should advertise for part-time employees in a variety of places including any professional hospitality associations to which they belong.  Their ad should provide information (or a link to more specific information) detailing specifically what they are looking for so that they are more likely to find someone with the exact skills they need. Once housekeeping and kitchen staff are found, then they should focus on achieving a consistent marketing presence.

Some professional innkeeping organizations have Vendor Members.  For example, Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging is a Vendor Member of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.  I am happy to set up a free (no obligation), 20-minute phone conversation to answer any questions innkeepers have as well as provide practical ideas for bringing in more business.

How to Find Your Inspiration as an Innkeeper (Part 1)

a kitchen table set with orange juice glasses and breakfast on plates

Wondering how to find your inspiration as an innkeeper? Bed and Breakfast innkeepers each have their own unique story of how they entered the hospitality industry.  Think about how YOU got started as a bed and breakfast owner.  For your own reviewing, write down your own personal story of how you came to be a travel accommodations provider. Consider including your answers to some of the following questions.

Motivation:

  • Do you love cooking for others?
  • Do you like entertaining guests?
  • Do you desire to work from home?
  • Do you need to feel independent?
  • Do you enjoy helping others relax?
  • Do you receive fulfillment from serving others?
  • Do you like recommending things for people to do in your local area?
  • Are you a first-generation B&B owner, or does your family already have a history of hospitality management experience or ownership?

Innkeeping:

  • What do you like the most about B&B innkeeping?
  • What could you do more of? (things you find enjoyable)
  • What could you do less of? (things you dislike doing)
  • Do you have (or have you thought about hiring) part-time employees to fulfill the roles you least like (or are challenged by)?

Niche:

  • What amenities does your inn have?
  • What is your inn known for? (ex: artwork, restaurant, spa, etc.)
  • What in your local area attracts guests to stay for a visit?
  • What type of guests do you (or would you) like to attract?
  • How do you describe your place of hospitality to others (on your website, in your social media, over the phone, and in person)?

There needs to be a match with your motivation for working, your individual talents, and your hospitality niche/ideal guests.  Consider the following 3 hypothetical scenarios…

1) Innkeeper Irene loves cooking for others and entertaining guests. She dislikes anything involving paperwork–especially finances.  Her B&B restaurant is becoming more known in the community. She does not have the time or desire to learn online marketing. How can she keep doing the things she loves (cooking and entertaining) and hire out for other things (financial and marketing)?

2) Bob the B&B owner is very successful with marketing his inn.  His grown children manage the day-to-day operations of their thriving business.  Their occupancy rate is very good, but he is wondering how to earn more income outside of bookings.

3) Shirley & Dale are a husband and wife innkeeping couple. Shirley’s favorite thing to do is to plant and grow flowers and produce in their gorgeous garden as well as to decorate their inn. Dale loves construction and renovation projects (both inside and outside). However, they have a real need for adding housekeeping and kitchen staff (not to mention their need to promote their inn). What can they do?

Please add your comments and suggestions below and watch for Part 2 of this blog post!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

You Can Do Pinterest

you can do Pinterest

 

You can do Pinterest!  As promised when I started our series of blog posts on using Pinterest, I will share with you some of my Pinterest boards and how I organized them.  This is for you to get some inspiration when you pin on your boards!  It gets exciting when you grow more followers. You can see which pins get repinned the most.

 

Of course, food is a big deal for a bed and breakfast so I have more than one board for food.  Perhaps I will have enough pins to have a separate board for eggs (including omelets and frittatas).  I did have enough pins to have separate boards for crepes, French toast, pancakes, and waffles–even desserts!  Currently, I have the following boards:

Bed and Breakfast Cooking

Bed and Breakfast Crepes

Bed and Breakfast French Toast

Bed and Breakfast Pancakes

Bed and Breakfast Waffles

Bed and Breakfast Desserts

I also have a board for cookbooks and for other books, including fiction related to bed and breakfasts and nonfiction about running bed and breakfasts.

B&B  Cookbooks

Bed and Breakfast Books

Then I have few boards featuring bed and breakfast in the United States, bed and breakfasts in the world, and award-winning bed and breakfasts.

Bed and Breakfasts USA

Bed and Breakfasts World

B&B Award Winners

In case you are wondering why sometimes I spell out Bed and Breakfast and sometimes I shorten the name of the board to say “B&B”–it is so that the name of the whole board fits on the screen.  Otherwise, if the name you give your board is too long, it will show a … after it to show that there are more letters, but not enough room.  To me, it makes sense to name my boards short enough so that everyone can read its entire title.

I also name my boards with titles that are appropriate. For example, if it is a specific area of the house, I include that in the name of the board.

Bed and Breakfast Bathrooms

Bed and Breakfast Bedrooms

Bed and Breakfast Dining

Bed and Breakfast Kitchens

I also feature less thought of areas that can really look special in a bed and breakfast.

Bed and Breakfast Stairs

Bed and Breakfast Fireplaces

Bed and Breakfast Lights

B&B Stained Glass

Since so much of the visual appeal for a bed and breakfast comes from its outside, I put together the following boards:

Bed and Breakfast Entrances

Bed and Breakfast Porches

Bed and Breakfast Gazebos

Bed and Breakfast Gardening

There are some bed and breakfasts that specialize in an area.  They could offer weddings, be located on a farm, have a spa, and/or a restaurant.

Bed and Breakfast Weddings

Bed and Breakfast Farms

Bed and Breakfast Spas

B&B Restaurants

Some bed and breakfasts are unique because they are located in a registered historic home or even located in a lovely castle!

B&B’s with History

Bed and Breakfast Castles

Because of what services I provide, I have a board for social media and one specifically for Pinterest.  

B&B Social Media Success

Promote with Pinterest

Of course, I have not listed every board I have nor do you need to have the same boards as me.  It is really deciding what you think visitors would like best about your bed and breakfast and featuring those in pins as well as pinning other B&B’s from non-competing parts of the country or those of your innkeeper friends and fellow association members.

Be sure to use the name of your bed and breakfast (or a shortened version of it) on your boards and in your pins as often as possible. This is key so when your pins get repinned they will know it was from your bed and breakfast.

What do guests say they like about your B&B?  Start with that.  You can also offer tips such as home organization, kitchen gadgets, decorating advice, etc.  The sky is the limit. Whatever your strengths are as an innkeeper (ex: cooking, decorating, gardening, etc.) you can feature that in your pins.

You truly are free to make it what you want it to be!  Once you get started, you may not realize how fast the time goes by!  So starting pinning so you will be winning more business!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Loving Linked In

loving LinkedIn

 

 

Linked In is the world’s largest professional network, with more than 250 million people. There are several advantages for bed and breakfast owners to join. You will be loving Linked In!

 

 

  • Build your professional identity online
  • Connect with other B&B industry contacts
  • Discover opportunities
  • Get the latest news, inspiration, and insight
  • Join Interest Groups such as B&B Breakfast Inns

Use Linked In as a way to promote your Bed and Breakfast.  Kristi Dement is on Linked In, too!