Tag Archives: popular

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

3 Chocolate Bed and Breakfasts

If you have never heard of 3 chocolate bed and breakfasts, these 3 American B&B’s (from New Mexico, Texas, and Maine) have the word “chocolate” somewhere in their name.  They sound so delicious, that it is “sweet” to feature them!

chocolate bed and breakfasts

Located in Corrales, New Mexico, their serene mountain location does not let on that they are near the two largest cities in their state: Albequerque and Rio Rancho.  With four lovely Southwestern-decorated bedrooms, guests of the Chocolate Turtle Bed and Breakfast all receive fresh flowers and, of course, chocolate turtles!  Their hot chocolate is also complimentary.

 

chocolate bed and breakfasts

The Chocolate Turtle Bed and Breakfast can provide intimate ceremonies and memorable receptions for up to 50 people at their beautiful, unique New Mexico wedding location.  If your wedding is too large for this B&B, they suggest reserving the Chocolate Turtle for your special guests coming from out of town. The Turtle will provide a fantastic venue for family members who don’t get to see each other very often to gather, catch up, and relax during your wedding weekend.

chocolate bed and breakfasts

Loaded with Hill Country charm hosting complimentary chilled Champagne from the famous local Beckard Vineyards and fresh fruit and pastries as well as scrumptious chocolate treats left on their King size bed with luxurious linens, Chocolate Diamond Bed and Breakfast is one of the more popular B&B’s in the heart of Fredericksburg, Texas!

 

 

chocolate bed and breakfasts

 

Guests get this 1930’s Bungalow style cottage all to themselves to celebrate their special occasion while enjoying a romantic evening sitting in the new jacuzzi hot tub.  Ultimate elegance within walking distance to Main Street. This charming cottage with it’s own private hot tub is to die for!

 

 

chocolate bed and breakfasts

This peaceful inn, named Chocolate Chip Bed and Breakfast, is located on six acres with a scenic pond in Lamoine, Maine.  The original house was built in 1850, but in 2011 this B&B was renovated and it expanded. A full gourmet breakfast is served each morning in Breakfast room or in our Library. Books and board games are for all their guests to enjoy. Sunny porch with plenty of rockers and adirondack chairs to relax with a book and cup of coffee.

chocolate bed and breakfasts

 

All four rooms, at the Chocolate Chip Bed and Breakfast, have private bathrooms with shower, thermostats in rooms for radiant heat in floors, cable TV and wifi. Guests savor delicious home-baked cookies each evening, along with turndown service. They are within walking distance to Lamoine Beach and Lamoine State Park.

 

Guests do not have to love chocolate to want to visit these three inns: Chocolate Turtle Bed and Breakfast, Chocolate Diamond Bed and Breakfast, and Chocolate Chip Bed and Breakfast.  However, if you are a chocolate lover, consider it a bonus!

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Twitter

visual storytelling Twitter

The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand is a fantastic online marketing book for businesses.  Authors Ekaterina Walter (@Ekaterina)and Jessica Gioglio (@savvybostonian) do an excellent job of giving practical advice that businesses can apply to better market themselves online.  This particular blog post focuses on what the authors tell us about Twitter.

 

Twitter is an innovative marketing tool as well as a keen way for businesses to connect with their audiences and provide quality customer service.  In fact, of all the social media platforms, Twitter is currently the most popular with Fortune Global 100 Companies.

Super Twitter Statistics:

  • More than half of all links shared on Twitter are images
  • Over 460,000 accounts are created every day
  • 20.6 million adults in the United States access Twitter at least once a month
  • 177 million tweets are sent every day
  • 24% of Twitter users check Twitter at least once a day
  • 54% of Twitter users are male and 46% are female
  • 46% of users are aged 18-34, so a high percentage of young people
  • 67% of users more likely to buy products from brands they follow on Twitter

Smart Twitter Capabilities:

  • Companies that use Twitter gain twice the number of leads each month that their non-tweeting counterparts
  • Twitter cards make it possible to attached media experiences to tweet that link to your content
  • Tweets that link to participating websites can be expanded by users to show a whole range of media
  • If you add the code on your own site, you can determine what sort of content will be shown by a Twitter link
  • Users interested in a particular offer or promotion will be able to fill out a field on the card
  • That field links their existing information, allowing them to quickly register

Savvy Twitter Strategies:

  • Develop your company’s voice
  • Tweet around several key passion points
  • Provide company news and updates
  • Offer unique deals to your Twitter followers
  • Give your clients (and potential clients) excellent customer service
  • Know what you want your followers to associate with your brand
  • Give them reasons to follow your company
  • The photos and videos you share should integrate with your overall strategy
  • Show a more relaxed side to your brand
  • Each tweet should be able to be understood on its own
  • Mix up your content
  • Ask questions to spark conversations
  • Use links to articles, photos, videos, and blog posts
  • Retweet your followers
  • Find out what your followers are interested in and share that
  • Use hashtags (#) to join in bigger conversations on a topic or start your own (#)
  • Use calls to action including RT (retweet)
  • Consider the locations and time zones of your audience
  • Use Promoted Tweet or Trend features to support your key messages

Given the popularity of Twitter and its capabilities, it makes sense for businesses to follow these social media strategies in order to promote their business and provide excellent customer service.  A special thank you to authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio for letting me share some of the content in their book.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

25 Ways To Write Creative Blog Posts

If you are reading this, then I assume you are looking to be CREATIVE (and definitely not boring) when you write creative blog posts.  This way you will have plenty of admiring fans! 25 ways to write CREATIVE blog posts:

1. ADVICE You have unique advice that only you can offer to your readers.  Once you understand who your audience is, then you can write like you are writing to a friend.  They will feel like they know you and you will develop a huge following.

2. CA– USE– Why not rally your readers behind a cause you support?  Let them know what you are doing to make a difference and how they can help. Give a call to action. Seriously, don’t leave that out.

3. COMMUNITY Your community could be defined by your local area or it could be people who share a common interest or goal.  Reach out to “your peeps” and connect with them!

4. COMPARISON Take two things and compare them.  Whether you compare two breakfast foods or two fun activities, the fun is in comparing and contrasting them. This could be educational, entertaining, or funny as well. Speaking of…

5. EDUCATIONAL– People like learning about things.  That is one reason why search engines are so popular.  Tell them something that not everyone knows, but you know because you are an expert at it.  Everyone is an expert at something.  Blog about what you know best.

6. ENTERTAINING Everyone likes to laugh and have fun.  You could blog about entertainment that is coming to your community whether it is a music concert, sporting event, or theatrical production. Be sure to make it “entertaining” to read!  Since blogging is writing that is typically less formal than say a report, let your personality shine in the post.

7. EVENTS People like finding out about events–ones that will happen and ones that already happened.  If you have the “inside scoop” on the latest, you can “tell all” in your blog!

8. FAQ This common acronym is short for “frequently asked questions.”  Many websites have an FAQ page on them.  Blog about commonly asked questions.  Blog answers to familiar questions so you can refer your readers to when they ask them.  Saves you time in the process!

9. FAMILY Some of your best material can come from your family members and others with whom you are close. As long as you make it generic enough that you don’t single out any one person or you know they won’t mind your sharing it, go ahead.  You know you want to!

10. GUIDE A guide-type blog post could be a collection of tips about a specific topic. While similar to advice blog posts, they are different in that these tips can be applied by a variety of different people–not advice for one type of problem.  Example: Simple Tips to Get Clients To Pay on Time, Quick Ways to Find Just What You Want Online, etc.

11. HYPOTHETICAL Ask your readers what they would do in a hypothetical situation. Maybe answer that question as well. These types of blog posts tend to get a lot of comments because people like to imagine, “What if….?” Sometimes I imagine, “What if I win a ton of money in the lottery and get to quit my day job?!”  I kind of have to buy a lottery ticket first. Oh well.

12. INSPIRATIONAL Share something motivational with your readers.  Help them connect to you in a powerful way through your telling of someone overcoming a challenge and beating the odds.  Maybe that someone who overcame something big is you.  Don’t be afraid to share since it could encourage someone else!

13. INSTRUCTIONAL or “HOW TO” Give instructions on how to do something that others want to know how to do, and suddenly you have a captive large audience.  You can be creative with your titles of these posts as well. Two examples: How To Teach Your Dog Fun New Tricks, How To Make Delicious Homemade Ice Cream, How To Make a Memorable Family Scrapbook, etc.

14. INTERVIEW If you don’t have any famous celebrities you happen to know (most of us are in this boat), then you could always interview a person notable for what they do. A person who is accomplished in a career or sport or another area of life.  If you interview a person who has an inspiring story and then you have an “inspirational interview“! Wow, two different ways to write a blog post combined! You are an overachiever!

15. LISTS People love lists.  Examples: 10 Ways You Can Change Your Spouse, 20 Best Party Appetizers, Top 40 Bestselling Books About Fitness, etc.  You get the idea and they will too!

16. MEMORIES Often, we like to recall fond memories or retell funny situations.  We may even want to remember how we overcame a trauma for the sake of helping another person who finds themselves in the same emergency. When you blog about a memory, be sure to create a vivid picture in their minds of all the important details of your experience.

17. NEWS Did you know that sometimes bloggers are the first to break a news story? There have been cases where a blogger has gotten in trouble for sharing some kinds of sensitive information.  Keep your day job and don’t blog about company trade secrets. Another word of advice is to keep your love life private so no one tries to sue you for disclosing personal details.  However, if you are in attendance at an exclusive event that you have permission to be blogging about, then by all means SHARE!

18. OPINIONS If you loving sharing your opinions, then blogging is right up your alley!  As long as you are tactful and the topic is appropriate, it is alright to share what you think. You don’t have to have all positive comments from your readers.  In fact, it makes it more interesting when some of your readers do not agree with you.  Usually readers who do agree with you, will come to your defense when you are criticized by others.

19. PHOTOS If you took a great picture or want to share several incredible pictures, then you may want to have a photo blog post.  When your text is all about what is in your photo(s), then you have a photo blog post.  Whether your pictures are of smiling people, grand buildings, gorgeous nature, or something entirely different, there are others who would love to learn about how you managed to capture the photos and the techniques you used in getting it to look the way it does.

20. PREDICTIONS It is common at the end of the year (or the beginning of the new year) for people to come up with their predictions about some topic.  Examples: The Future of Technology, 10 Social Media Predictions, What is To Come in American Education, etc. Similar to the hypothetical “what if” posts, these are your thoughts as to what will come about in the next year (or whatever time frame you select) concerning a particular topic. Inquiring minds want to know!

21. PROBLEMS Life would not be nearly as exciting if there were no glitches.  Inevitably, snags come along.  You spill chocolate ice cream on your brand new white dress shirt.  You get a ticket for speeding on your way to work early one morning.  Your problem post could be written to be a funny look at everyday life or it could be a solution post in which you address how to solve a particular problem with a specific idea, product, or service. People are always looking for solutions!

22. QUIZZES Some people love taking quizzes for fun.  Why not write a blog post that is a quiz about something interesting?  Examples: 15 Questions to Discover the Vacation of Your Dreams, How Well Do You Know Yourself?, etc.  The point is to make your quiz blog post appealing enough to your audience, so that they want to take it.

23. REVIEW Everybody loves reading reviews.  You could blog a book review, a restaurant critique, or a movie screening.  Reviews help other people who, for example, were thinking about reading the same book, dining at the same restaurant, or watching the same movie; decide if they want to based on your review.  When you write a review blog post, you have the power to influence your readers to take action or avoid it.  Don’t let the power go to your head!

24. SECRETS This could mean quick shortcuts, little known facts, or juicy details.  Like news posts, people like finding out things they would not normally know had they not read your blog.  Same cautions apply!

25. STORIES People love reading fascinating stories.  A story blog post captures the attention of your audience yet is brief enough to be the length of a blog post. Stories with important lessons for your readers earn you loyal readers.

Try one (or a combination of several) of these types of blog posts the next time you write! Don’t be afraid to write CREATIVE blog posts. Most importantly, enjoy the process that blogging requires.  It always helps me to visualize my readers reading this.  Will they think this is funny?  Does that tell them everything they need to know?  etc.  Feel free to share your CREATIVE blog post ideas or to ask me a question related to this post.

Verify Your Website To Pin Smarter

 

pin smarter

 

Pinterest helps people discover things in a simple and visual way. Pinners might find something they love while browsing your boards, scrolling through a category you’re listed in or searching for your bed and breakfast directly.  It is important to verify your website to pin smarter.

 

 

Pinterest offers Business sites to help brands and businesses who wish to use Pinterest to connect with their audience. In this blog post I will tell you exactly why  you want to verify your bed and breakfast’s website for your Business Pinterest Profile. Without verifying your website, you will be missing some very important information!

First, to verify your website, visit your Settings page and click on the Verify Website button. When your website is verified, people will see a checkmark next to your domain in search results. They will also see the full website URL and checkmark on your profile.

The verification badge helps people identify high-quality sources of content and more easily find the business they want in search results.  There you’ll find Pinterest tools and resources relevant to you, and see examples of how other businesses are using Pinterest.

Pinterest offers tips to businesses, including:
  • Pinning from various sources rather than one specific site.
  • Pinning from within Pinterest to engage with others (pinning is one of the most social activities on Pinterest and it’s how any user really builds his/her network of followers)
  • Creating at least a few boards that cover a broad range of interests, rather than maintaining a single board devoted to one topic.
For businesses, pinning can be a great way to highlight aspects of your brand that may not come to mind at first when people consider your brand. For example, not everyone knows:

  • B&B’s can have spas, salons, and shops
  • Bed and breakfasts can offer retreats and some perform weddings
  • All the wonderful amenities bed and breakfasts offer
  • About your wonderful hospitality and homemade cooking

Pinterest can also be a great tool to learn what your audience and potential guests like. Once your website is verified, you have access to Pinterest Analytics.  This is the why I was talking about.  This shows you which pins are most popular with pinners and see which pins are driving the most traffic to your site!

You can also see what boards your stuff appears on, how the pins are described and what people pin along with your stuff.  All of these insights will help you make smarter choices about what you pin and even develop a pinning strategy when you pin smarter.  Watch out: pinning can be addictive!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Hosting Honeymooners

hosting-honeymooners

 

 

Did you ever think of putting together a Honeymoon Package for you bed and breakfast? Bed and breakfasts can be very romantic–especially for the newly married. Depending upon your B&B’s amenities, you could offer any of the following:

 

  • Beautiful fresh cut flowers in your own room
  • Choice of a chilled bottle of champagne, wine, or sparkling juice.
  • Box of chocolates by their bedside
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • Scented candles
  • Two luxurious robes
  • CD’s of romantic music
  • Romantic movies the couple can choose from for viewing in the privacy of their own room
  • Complimentary snack basket
  • Pampering that comes with a “his and her” massage
  • Relax at a spa and enjoy a facial and manicure
  • Private couples mineral bath
  • Gift certificate to local restaurant and/or local shopping
  • 2 tickets to a local popular attraction
  • Dessert served in the dining room by candlelight
  • Rose petal turn-down service (silk rose petals scattered on your bed)
  • A luscious gourmet breakfast served in your suite or the dining room

If you have a Honeymoon Suite or even a private cottage, you can let your guests stay there. You can even make the package “a la carte” and let them decide which services they would like to you to provide.  

When they make an online reservation, have them specify in one of the comments boxes on the confirmation page. Be sure to feature this package on your website, in your blog, and on social media.  You can help make their honeymoon be filled with treasured memories!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

When You Need to Unwind…

when you need to unwind

 

 

 

There are days when you need to unwind. For the bed and breakfast owner, it could be any of the following situations:

 

 

  • An unexpected expense (anything from needing a new roof to a new refrigerator)
  • Guests (most are great, but a few can be hard to deal with)
  • No time to yourself (you are always attending to everyone and everything else)
  • Not enough bookings (not earning enough)

Possible Solutions:

  • Fix repairs yourself or barter your rooms in exchange for something you need
  • Stick to your bed and breakfast policies even if it means turning away business
  • Hire an additional employee (housekeeper, chef, etc.) at your B&B
  • Hire inn-sitters or interim innkeepers
  • Add a blog with fresh content to bring more visitors to your website
  • Pay to be listed in popular bed and breakfast directories

There are always steps you can take to make the bed and breakfast way of life easier for you, the innkeeper.  Don’t forget about reaching out to your community and making affiliations with a local florists, restaurants, spas, chambers of commerce, and so on. Remember too that there are bed and breakfast associations in which you can become members. The more interaction with other people, the more likely you will have success!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

B&B Guests: Art and Drama Lovers

art and drama lovers

 

Art and drama lovers may want to stay at your bed and breakfast because of their love for the arts and drama and your local area is known for its performance venues.  They may plan on going to your local museums, theaters, opera houses, or dance stages.

 

 

Why not appeal to art and drama lovers with a special package?  This package could include long stem roses in their room, reservations to dine at your finest local restaurant, popular concert or theater tickets, and their night could end with a romantic dessert and fine wine back at your bed and breakfast.

Your package may be just the thing causes people to say, “That looks like a great deal.” Because you did the leg work of contacting the florist, the restaurant and the performance venue, you now have them as partners for future packages you offer at your bed and breakfast.  Way to go!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Why Bed and Breakfasts are Better Than Hotels

better than hotel

Staying at a bed and breakfast can be better than staying at a hotel. Your B&B could be located in a restored old home or even a mansion with antique furnishings.  Your gardens may be lush and offer comfortable seating, and your rooms range from cozy to luxurious. Staying in your B&B can be a really unique travel experience and not one to be missed. Here are the top 10 benefits you can emphasize to your bed and breakfast guests.

  1. Their bed and breakfast is included.  While this may seem obvious, it’s actually a wonderful amenity in terms of convenience and cost savings. B&B’s offer anything from a continental spread to a hot gourmet meal. As a special touch, you can even bring guests their breakfast in bed.
  2. You can give them the privacy and peace and quiet they desire.  As a B&B, you can be more exclusive with fewer guests. You often have guests looking for a place to spend a quiet weekend.
  3. They’ll get more personal service.  With fewer guests than a hotel, you can give your guests a much more personal experience. Wanting guests to return, you are invested in making sure you have a great stay.
  4. Your bed and breakfast may be located in a less traveled area.  Unlike hotels, your B&B could be located off the beaten path. This provides your guests with a great opportunity to see less traveled parts of your community that they would otherwise miss.
  5. It is the perfect romantic getaway.  In fact, B&B’s have become so popular for couples that you may cater to this romantic angle, offering special romantic packages. These may include events planned ahead or excursions that are included in their stay.
  6. Your bed and breakfast is more secure.  At a B&B, there are fewer people coming and going. With less going on, as a B&B owner, you can keep a much better eye on their property than a typical hotel staff can on a hotel.
  7. Your guests can get a taste of the local culture and style.  Your B&B has its own character. Even better, you have lots of advice for your guests concerning the best things to do and see in the local area.
  8. You can offer extra activities.  You may be one of the many B&B’s that offer additional recreational activities in your regular packages. Depending on the location, your guests may be able to enjoy biking, hiking, canoeing, golfing, or skiing.
  9. Your guests will encounter unexpected luxuries.  B&B’s tend to offer all those extra special touches that can make your guests’ stay pampering and luxurious. Luxury bed linens and bathrobes, organic food, and locally roasted coffee are only some of the many perks that you may offer. You may even stock snacks and drinks in the common areas and rooms in case your guests get hungry.
  10. You provide a great value.  Although B&B rooms tend to be priced higher than hotels, usually your place offers a better value overall than hotel rooms. More amenities are included such as free phone calls and Internet, you get much better service, and the experience tends to be much more unique than an average hotel stay.

So, as the bed and breakfast owner, be sure to emphasize (on your website, blog, and your other marketing) the unique benefits that guests will receive when they stay at your bed and breakfast and why staying with you will give them a better experience than if they were to go to a local hotel.  You can focus on how your B&B gives that extra special personal touch.

 

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