Tag Archives: opportunities

Make It All About Your Bed and Breakfast Guests

Book Cover: All About Them

Make it all about them. Make it all about your bed and breakfast guests.  Author Bruce Turkel, in his insightful book All about Them: Grow Your Business by Focusing on Others makes it clear that what really matters to consumers is their own self-interest. Business owners (including innkeepers) can use that knowledge to make their businesses (specifically bed and breakfasts) about the people they are trying to reach (potential guests).

Author Bruce Turkel states that successful businesses created for today’s “all about them” economy realize what you do is less important than identifying who you are and why that resonates with current and potential customers (guests).

Turkel stresses that “good brands make you feel good, but great brands make you feel good about yourself.” Things sell not because of what they can do, but because of how they make consumers feel.

What attracts business to you and separates you from the competition (other accommodations)? Understand exactly what your customers are buying.  What do you provide that they cannot find anywhere else?

Figure out who you are and what you stand for then communicate that identity.  Translate your message into customer centered communication that resonates with your audience.

What opportunities does your business provide for increasing customer satisfaction and company revenue?  What do you stand for?  Can you describe that in just a few words?  To determine what those few words are, Turkel recommends you consider five components.

  • First, write down your company features and benefits.  This means everything you and your business offer including products, services, talents, skills, experiences, and so on.
  • Then write down your points of distinction.  What sets you apart from your competition? What do your clients identify about you?
  • Next, focus on the functional side of your business.  What features and attributes do you offer?
  • Then focus on the emotional side of your business.  How do your customers feel?
  • Lastly, this is when you can take reflect upon that information and know what you stand for and know who you are.  This is your brand promise.

Innkeepers, do you make it all about your bed and breakfast guests?  Do potential guests know how you are different from other accommodations in your area?

If you need help defining what makes your inn unique, so you stand out from other lodging choices, the Bed and Breakfast Blogging team is here to help.  Contact Kristi Dement for a free consultation today and she can start help you share your inn’s story with the world!

Reach More Success By Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Reach More Success By Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

 

Reach more success by applying the lessons found in the new book, Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Rise to the Challenge and Build Confidence by Andy Molinksky, Ph.D. Professor Molinsky teaches psychology and organizational behavior at Brandeis University.

He starts out by asking how many of us have avoided opportunities that could have potentially led to real growth and development?  I would say all of us have shied away from doing something because we felt it was outside of our comfort zone.

So what makes us hesitate to do things?  We have a tendency to avoid what makes us uncomfortable. Molinsky lists five challenges to overcome in order to step outside your comfort zone, rise to the challenge, and build your confidence:

  • Authenticity challenge: it may feel unnatural to you do this, but the more you do it the easier it will be
  • Likeability challenge: you fear that others won’t like you; don’t let what others think of you prevent you from doing something that will lead to your own improvement
  • Competence challenge: you fear you don’t have the skills or that you won’t be good at it; remember we are our own worst critic!
  • Resentment challenge: you are annoyed that you have to adapt your behavior; focus on what you are trying to accomplish and the annoyances will fade away
  • Morality challenge: you may feel unethical (the example the author gives is that of a pediatrician who regrets seeing babies cry when he/she is injecting them with necessary vaccines to protect their long term health)

Molinsky details the following solutions:

  • Conviction: have a deep sense of purpose that it is necessary to make these changes; focus on how this behavior is actually helping
  • Customization: change the way you do it so that it is more comfortable for you
  • Clarity: take an honest account of your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses
  • Take the leap: when you willingly take the leap, you will discover that this isn’t so bad and this will reduce your anxiety and make you more likely to take leaps in the future; the more you do it, the more your anxiety diminishes

Possible examples of how these solutions can be applied to the bed and breakfast inn-keeping world:

  • Conviction: you may decide to focus on how your excluding guests under 12 is helping you cater to your adult guests who visit for a romantic getaway
  • Customization: you may decide the best way to prepare for the next morning’s breakfast is to have your guests check or circle a designated # of items from a list of food choices (ex: French toast or pancakes or waffles) when they check in
  • Clarity: you may realize that it is worth the extra money to employ a housekeeper so you can focus on what you like and do best
  • Take the leap: when you speak to potential guests over the phone, the more often you talk about your inn’s custom packages, the easier and more natural it will become to regularly mention them in future phone calls (and more revenue should come as a result)

While innkeepers are known for being warm, gracious, and outgoing, there are always more things we can do to step outside of our comfort zone.  Innkeepers, how did stepping outside your comfort zone improve your bed and breakfast inn business?  Please feel free to comment below.

Bed and Breakfast Promotions

bed and breakfast promotions

Bed and breakfast promotions include marketing special deals and packages throughout the year. These opportunities include various holidays, seasons, and other special times.

This can be a chance for your bed and breakfast to stand out and show its own personality.  Innkeepers who are creative and thoughtful can really improve the experiences of their guests.

 

The benefits of staying at a bed and breakfast include your guests getting a break, reducing their stress, and focusing on strengthening their relationships.  Guests also experience the beauty of your local area as well as enjoy the luxury of your gourmet breakfasts and plush amenities.

We have talked about the advantages of offering guests special packages.  Now we will concentrate on developing specific promotions.  You can entice with discounts (lower price), complimentary services (free massage or tasting hour), and free upgrades (such as rooms with more amenities). 

Create a Sense of Urgency and Give a Call-To-Action:

  • Hurry!  Offer ends…
  • This weekend only!
  • Back for a limited time!
  • Last chance to…

Your bed and breakfast promotions can be put on your website and blog as well as social media and email marketing.  If you assign promo codes, you can track how they found about the promotion.  A bed and breakfast can have the same promotion, but give it different promo codes depending upon where the guest saw it.  For example, if it were a patriotic holiday promotion (Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Veteran’s Day), it could have the following

Festive PROMO CODES to Identify Where They Saw Your Promotion:

  • “Red, White, and Blue” (website/blog)
  • “Let Freedom Ring” (Facebook)
  • “Home of the Brave” (Google+)
  • “Star Spangled Banner” (Twitter)
  • “Lady Liberty” (Pinterest)

Guests Enjoy Holiday Promotions Throughout the Year:

  • New Year: New You (could be yoga retreat or vegetarian B&B)
  • Be My Valentine
  • At the End of the Rainbow (St. Patrick’s Day)
  • Celebrating Mom and Dad
  • Thanksgiving Getaway
  • December to Remember

Season Promotions Could Be Titled:

  • “Spring Forward” or “Have a Spring Fling”
  • “Summer Sun Adventure” or “Dog Days of Summer” (for pet friendly B&B’s)
  • “Fall Back in Love” or “Autumn Leaves”
  • “Winter Wonderland” or “Ski the Slopes” (for ski lodges)

Promote During Special Times:

  • Last Minute Promotions (keep rooms consistently booked)
  • Midweek Discounts (encourage guests to stay during the week)
  • Weekend Deals (popular time for guests to visit)

Bed and breakfasts that have blogs can write a blog post to explain more of the fun details associated with your specific promotion.  The fresh content from regular blog posts offers a great way to become more visible online.  Greater online visibility means not only more web visitors, but also a consistent source of regular bookings. Innkeepers who do not have the time for (or interest in) writing a blog can contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging.

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

B&B Guests: Shoppers and Antique Lovers

shoppers

Some guests consider themselves professional shoppers. They visit your bed and breakfast because of the terrific shopping available in your area.  Whether it is special boutiques, retail outlets, flea markets, or antique dealers, their mission is to find some great buys.  Some come as collectors to attend conventions for valuable items such as stamps, dolls, and cars. Whatever their reason, your website and blog can promote these opportunities and events.

B&B Guests: Adventurers

adventurers

 

Adventurers are guests who want to stay busy with physical activities since they love to stay active and explore.  Adventurers enjoy and seek exciting, and sometimes daring, experiences. This could be climbing mountains, golfing, hiking, horseback riding, skiing, or any other outdoor activity or sport.

 

If your bed and breakfast is located near anything that offers fun activities such as the ones mentioned, consider putting together a special promotion or package by contacting these businesses to get guests:

  • 36 holes of golf
  • passes to hiking trials or skiing mountains
  • horseback riding lessons or explorations
  • whitewater rafting adventures

By having a blog and a small part of your website marketing this, you will attract potential B&B guests who have adventurous spirits.  Be sure to think about what opportunities are available in your local and surrounding areas. Have fun with it and you can even create a guidebook of possible adventures for your guests!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

New Year’s Eve Resolutions

new years eve resolutions

Do you have any 2014 New Year’s Eve resolutions for your bed and breakfast?  Here are some possible improvements or new beginnings with your online presence:

1. Your Website:

  • What are its strengths?
  • What are its weaknesses?
  • What opportunities come about? (business)
  • What threats does it have? (competitors)

2. Your Blog:

  • Do we have one?
  • If so, is it attracting more visitors and more bookings?
  • Do we need to hire someone to blog for us?
  • Can that person blog about a variety of issues related to innkeeping?

3. Your Social Media Presence:

  • Facebook–does our B&B have a Business or Fan page?
  • Twitter–do we regularly tweet?  do we know what to tweet?
  • Pinterest–do we post pictures of our B&B?  pictures of our food?
  • Linked In–do we have a profile as an innkeeper on Linked In?
  • You Tube–do we have videos promoting our B&B?

4. Your Membership in Associations & Organizations Giving Web Presence:

5. Your Public Image and Community Outreach:

  • Conferences–do we attend conferences on Innkeeping?
  • Business meetings–do we hold business meetings at our B&B?
  • Weddings–do we offer weddings?  If not, could we?
  • Music–do we host concerts or recitals?

So think about your website, blog, social media presence, associations, and public image & outreach goals for 2014.  Kristi Dement, of Bed and Breakfast Blogging, wishes you a prosperous New Year full of wonderful guests that stay at your bed and breakfast!

 

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!

Hosting Group Meetings

hosting group meetings

 

Have you ever thought about facilitating a local event? Depending upon the size of your bed and breakfast, you may be able to accommodate hosting group meetings.  These could be chamber of commerce meetings, book groups, business leads groups, or some kind of club with a particular interest.

 

These are opportunities for local people who are not familiar with your bed and breakfast to be introduced via their group meeting.  You may decide to be available to give tours before and/or after the meeting to attendees.

This is also a way to make money because the groups will be compensating you for using your space to hold their meetings. Word of mouth will spread quickly that your experience hosting group meetings and other events such as weddings or music performances.

When people come to your bed and breakfast for a local event, they may be reminded that this would be a great place to spend the night.  Your bed and breakfast could be the perfect place for them to send their out of town relatives who are visiting.

Bed and breakfast blogging can devote blog posts promoting your events on your website. The events will draw more people to your bed and breakfast as they visit your B&B or read about your events in your blog.  It is a win-win situation!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

PAII Conference January 15, 2014

The Professional Association of Innkeepers International is holding a four-day conference starting Monday January 13.  This post will focus on day 3, Wednesday January 15.  The opportunities to learn abound. Speakers will be discussing topics including:

  • Tips for Running an Efficient Bed and Breakfast
  • The Basic Gourmet
  • Inn Property Valuation
  • Video Marketing 101
  • Insurance Strategies to Maximize Coverage and Minimize Cost
  • Capture Your Guest in Under 30 Seconds
  • Panel of Marketing Experts To Answer Questions
  • Google: Get Your Geek On!
  • Trends in Bed Linens
  • Back Office Secrets: Making Your Business Work When You are Not There
  • Trade Show Open with Lunch and Dessert
  • Inns and Outs of Serving Gluten-Free Desserts
  • Understanding Your Finances
  • Major Forces Transforming Travel in Today’s Market
  • Creating Your Niche for More Profits
  • Innkeeping Can Make a Difference: retreats, classes, support groups, outreach, etc.
  • Create a Winning Purchasing Agreement
  • Hands-On Public Relations
  • Elements of Hospitality Marketing
  • More Than a Bed and Breakfast: Innovative Programs and Partnerships to Increase Income and Publicity

This will be followed by a 25th anniversary celebration of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.  The dress will be casual and there will be barbecue, bluegrass music, and dancing.  This is the last evening of the conference. Another opportunity to make more connections with other important people in this industry.

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