Tag Archives: plan

Assumptions Can Be Wrong

three large windmills outside by lake with colorful sunset

Your bed and breakfast guests usually have questions. Be careful to understand their frame of reference when they ask a question. Assumptions can be wrong!

While I was a young student at Michigan State University, I lived in an international dorm. For those of you who don’t know, Michigan State is located in East Lansing, Michigan. One of the reasons I chose to attend the university was that I lived only two hours away in a town called Holland, Michigan.

When an international student asked me what I was going to do over the weekend, I replied, “Go home to Holland.” She looked shocked and asked with a puzzled look, “Only for the weekend?” I had failed to take into account that she was thinking of Holland, Netherlands. Actually, the Netherlands is the country my great-grandmother and her family came from when they relocated to Holland, Michigan.

We laughed when we both understood we were talking about two completely different parts of the world. I wrongly assumed that since we were both currently living in the state of Michigan, that she would have heard of my local Michigan town called Holland! Remember assumptions can be wrong!

Often when recommending places your guests can visit and things they can do in your area, please remember my advice to never make assumptions. You could have an FAQ (frequently asked questions) page on your website with links to various places you suggest that they visit.  You could organize the recommended places by categories such as restaurants, museums, parks, and so on.

This helps your guests plan for their stay at your bed and breakfast and you can easily refer them to your website if they are calling or e-mailing you the question. I also recommend offering free brochures to local destinations to your guests while they visit in person.

Have you ever had a funny mix-up like mine with your bed and breakfast guests? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

Pinterest Strategy

Pinterest strategy

 

 

While Pinterest is fun, it is important that businesses form a Pinterest strategy centered around the feedback they have received from other pinners.

 

 

Strategy:

  • Develop a strategy based on your analytics
  • Tailor your boards to the needs and interests of your followers (based on your Pinterest analytics)
  • Showcase your pins in an organized way that makes sense
  • Find out who is pinning what and why
  • Measure your impact and focus on boards performing the best
  • Create a variety of different boards that each target certain words
  • Cross-promote on other social media platforms (ex: Twitter, Facebook)
  • Include hash tags (#) in your board descriptions
  • Invite specific types of travelers into your bed and breakfast (ex: couples, business people, girlfriends, etc.)
  • Determine if you want to be pet-friendly, kid-friendly, or offer special events such as weddings or retreats
  • Look at how other B&B’s (with a large number of followers) use Pinterest

Pinterest can help virtually any business establish brand and get the word out.  What you get out of Pinterest depends on what you put in it. With the proper Pinterest strategy, guests will be able to peek into your personality, style, loves, and aspirations.  Guests will feel like they know you before they arrive!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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: Sight Seers

sight seers

 

Your bed and breakfast may attract sight seers.  If you are near a great little town like Carlton or a major tourist attraction like the Grand Canyon, you will have guests who want to visit it.  If your B&B is near a university, you can find out when certain events, like Parents Weekend, are being held on the college campus.

Knowing , for example, that Grand Canyon National Park may have some free dates of admission (or more importantly, the facts about the attractions near you) can help you plan and promote your bed and breakfast marketing.

Remember that your website, blog, and social media presence are a big part of getting the word out to potential guests and will lead to more booked rooms!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Maximizing Your Time

maximizing your time

We all have 24 hours in our day.  Since none of us can buy time, we must maximize (make the greatest and full use of) this limited resource. This means we must have a strategy (a plan for obtaining a specific goal or result).

So what are goals?  Goals are the results toward which our efforts are directed.  The best goals are SMART:

  • Specific–target a specific area for improvement
  • Measurable–quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
  • Action-oriented–state what action must be taken
  • Realistic–state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources
  • Time-related–specify when the results can be achieved

As an innkeeper of a bed and breakfast, you may want to categorize your goals based on the different areas in your job. I have included an example of a smart goal for each category.

  • Cooking–I will learn at least one new breakfast recipe each week and serve it to my guests.
  • Decorating–I will consult with a professional painter and get an estimate on interior and exterior painting costs.
  • Events–I will host a local chamber of commerce meeting every week.
  • Finances–I will keep an organized record of my earnings and expenses.
  • Gardening–I will plant at least 3 trees and 5 bushes this month.
  • Housekeeping–I will hire a maid to clean our rooms regularly.
  • Laundry–I will arrange for a laundry service to clean our linens.
  • Marketing and Promotion–I will hire someone to write a blog for our website.
  • Shopping–I will stick to my list every time I buy groceries.

You may think of other categories or come up with different goals.  The point is to make the best use of your time. This will allow you, the busy innkeeper, to get everything done and still have a little down time to yourself.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Why You Need to Use Pinterest

use Pinterest

 

Pinterest may be the perfect tool for letting potential guests know about your bed and breakfast.  Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp, and Paul Sciarra co-founded this website in March 2010. Millions of people use Pinterest to pick up new hobbies, find their style, and plan life’s important projects.

 

Pinterest has pins that are like handsome little bookmarks. Whenever you find something on the web that you want to keep, add it to Pinterest. Your newly minted Pin will be here whenever you need it, and will always link back to the site it came from.

Boards are where you organize your Pins, and you get to decide what your boards will be all about. This is a great way for bed and breakfast owners to get ideas about cooking, decorating, gardening, hospitality, and more! Plus this is your chance to post pictures of your bed and breakfast, including:

  • The outside of your B&B
  • Your rooms and bathrooms
  • Your delicious breakfasts and recipes
  • Your garden, pool, hot tub, or any other amenity
  • Events such as weddings and music performances
  • Your library of books, DVD collection, etc.

Really the sky is the limit as far as how many pins you want to post. The point is that potential guests will see your bed and breakfast and click to find out more about you from your website.

This is a huge and free marketing opportunity to use Pinterest!  All it costs is the time it takes to share the pictures (your own and the millions of other pictures already on the Pinterest website)! Be sure to check out Bed and Breakfast Blogging’s very own Pinterest website!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography