Tag Archives: reading

Shatter the Disastrous Myths About Bed and Breakfasts

outdoor pool with picnic basket on umbrella table with a red rose in a vase

It is time to shatter the disastrous myths about bed and breakfasts. There are a handful of reporters recently who have published stories that seem to be more about their own awkward hang-ups than about having real issues with where they stayed. Also, most of their disappointments could have been prevented through simple actions like looking at the accommodations’ website and reading guest reviews before their booking rooms.

Most bed and breakfasts are NOT about staying at grandma’s house with doilies. While some bed and breakfasts are located in historic mansions, that does not mean they have thin walls, squeaky bed frames, and creaky floors. Many of those inns have been painstakingly returned to their original glory with added insulation (if needed), restored or new furniture, and repaired or refinished flooring.

99% of bed and breakfasts offer private, connected bathrooms for their guests to use. Bed and breakfasts with good websites always show pictures of their guest rooms and bathrooms and even specify which amenities come with each of their rooms. Hotels are not the only ones with private balconies, sitting areas, gardens, pools, restaurants, and gift shops. There are plenty of inns offering these same luxuries.

Bed and breakfasts are always unique. Every inn is different and offers its own special personality and experiences. Guests choose bed and breakfasts based on its location, style, local attractions, and personal preferences. Bed and breakfast inns can come in a wide variety of types to choose from, including:

  • scenic mountain bed and breakfasts
  • modern boutique inns
  • bed and breakfast farms
  • pet-friendly inns
  • B&B retreats for authors or artists
  • bed and breakfasts on the water
  • environmentally friendly inns
  • bed and breakfasts in secluded locations
  • kid-friendly inns

There is a reason why they are called bed and breakfasts. Hotels often offer “continental” breakfasts that leave much to be desired. Innkeepers often have culinary training as well as a natural talent and passion for cooking. Many bed and breakfasts accommodate guests on restricted diets.

Preferably while booking your room, be sure to indicate any food allergies or dietary guidelines. Whether you are on a gluten-free, dairy-free, low cholesterol, reduced fat, no sugar added, vegan, or vegetarian diet, bed and breakfast chefs can make something you will enjoy eating that does not compromise those standards.

You do NOT have to have conversations with other guests if you feel like keeping to yourself. There is no “dreaded obligation” to have small talk with strangers. At breakfast time, many inns offer tables for two or even in-room dining. It is less common for there to be one common breakfast table for all the guests to sit at. This is a win-win for shy and outgoing guests as well as perky and not-so-perky guests. You can seek interaction or keep to yourself. It is completely up to you!

Innkeepers want to provide their guests with the best hospitality experience possible. Bed and breakfast staff do not try to “hover” over their guests. They remain attentive (they are there if you need them) yet not intrusive (they give you space and privacy). They respect their guests’ wishes for peace and quiet. Some places offer private entrances, separate cottages or guest houses.

Bed and breakfasts are a great value. They offer free breakfast, free parking, and complimentary refreshments. Most offer free wireless internet and some have free DVD libraries and even provide free streaming video services like Netflix. Hotels charge extra for these things. There is no such thing as “free room service” at hotels.

If you like impersonal and stuffy hotel chains, then maybe bed and breakfast inns are not for you. However, many of you (if you have not already) will visit a bed and breakfast inn and never go back to staying at hotels!

Owners and innkeepers, are you looking to improve your online marketing results?  Want to educate potential guests about what makes your inn more appealing than your local competition? Bed and breakfast blogging offers professional services including blogging, e-mail marketing, social media, and reputation management.  Don’t have time or don’t know where to start? Contact Kristi today for a free consultation!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Bestselling Bed and Breakfast Novels

bed and breakfast novels

 

 

Bed and breakfast novels have delighted and entertained many readers.  There is something wonderful about a bed and breakfast setting. All bed and breakfasts are unique. What is unique about these novels are the three authors who wrote them.  We look at bestselling books by Mary Daheim, Debbie Macomber, and Nora Roberts.

 

Mary Daheim has thirty-one books in her A Bed-and-Breakfast Mysteries series. She lives in her hometown in a century-old house not unlike Hillside Manor, except for the body count. Daheim likes to be creative with her book titles, including:

  • A Streetcar Named Expire
  • All The Pretty Hearses
  • Bantom of the Opera
  • Clam Wake
  • Creeps Suzette
  • Dead Man Docking
  • Gone With The Win
  • Here Comes The Bribe
  • Just Desserts
  • Legs Benedict
  • Loco Motive
  • Murder, My Suite
  • Silver Scream
  • Vi Agra Falls
  • The Wurst Is Yet To Come

 

Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope.

Macomber’s novels have spent over 950 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Ten of these novels hit the number one spot.  Macomber is also the author of the bestselling Cedar Cove Series which the Hallmark Channel chose as the basis for its first dramatic scripted television series. Debuting in 2013, Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove was a ratings favorite for three seasons.

Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including The Liar, The Collector, Whiskey Beach, The Witness, and many more. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print. Popular author Nora Roberts wrote The Boonsboro Trilogy. She introduces you to the Montgomery brothers–Beckett, Ryder, and Owen, as they bring an intimate bed and breakfast to life in their hometown.

Bed and breakfasts often have an assortment of books for their guests to read during their stay.  It can be fun to “snoop” through anyone’s book collection (only with their permission of course)!  These novels involve mystery, drama, romance, and so much more.  Some innkeepers have rooms that are filled with books for their guests to choose from.  Happy reading everyone!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

 

Quoting Experts Gets Results

quoting experts gets results

 

Did you know that quoting experts gets results? Those who quote experts show they recognize the key people associated with a specific subject. In Ali Luke’s blog post “26 Essentials for Blogging Success What You Need To Know” she wrote, “When you include quotes from established experts…you add authority, value, and interest to your blog.”

 

People love reading quotes from:

  • Actors
  • Activists
  • Athletes
  • Authors
  • Celebrities
  • Comics
  • Entertainers
  • Experts
  • Leaders
  • Inventors
  • Philanthropists
  • Politicians
  • Role models
  • Speakers
  • etc.

The following success quotes come from a variety of people:

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” (Albert Einstein)

“Each person must live their life as a model for others.” (Rosa Parks)

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” (Bill Cosby)

“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” (Charles Swindoll)

“Nothing is impossible.  The word itself says, ‘I’m possible.'” (Audrey Hepburn)

“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” (Mark Twain)

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” (Napoleon Hill)

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” (Wayne Gretzky)

What about you?  Do you have a favorite success quote you would like to share with us?  I respond, when appropriate, to every comment.

 

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.

B&B Guests: Relaxation #1 Priority

relaxation

 

Relaxation may be the #1 priority of some of your guests. These guests will retreat to your bed and breakfast simply because they want a calm scenic place to relax and not have anything to do. They may just sit and watch the lovely ocean or mountain views your B&B may have.

 

 

Their idea of relaxation may be quiet things such as reading, picnicking, and crocheting. You can assure them they will have the peace and tranquility they are seeking when they become your guests.  If you offer an in-room massage or house a home library, be sure to mention that in your phone conversation and feature that on your website.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Contests Create Customers

contests create customers

Did you realize that your holding a contest could actually bring you more business? Contests create customers. People love winning things and it will bring more visitors to your website.  If they do win, they tell all their friends about your bed and breakfast.  Even if they do not win, they may decide to become your guests anyway after reading all about your B&B on your website and blog.

 

First, I will mention two actual contests. Then I will share my ideas for other types of contests to promote your bed and breakfast.

Go to the contests page at BBOnline.com.  In January of 2014, the Parish Patch Farm and Inn in Normandy, Tennessee is offering a contest where the winner will receive 2 free nights after answering seven questions about the inn and an additional tie-breaker question asking you to guess on how many light bulbs are in the Inn Library.

Lifetime movies has a contest to win a stay at the Borden Bed and Breakfast because Lifetime has a television movie about the life of Lizzie Borden that is premiering on January 25.  The contest runs from January 6 to January 15, 2014.

http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/lizzie-borden-took-an-ax/bed-and-breakfast-sweepstakes

15 entries per person/email address per day
Prize: (1 winner) 3-day/2-night trip for winner and one (1) guest to Fall River, Massachusetts to visit and stay at the Borden Bed and Breakfast, the childhood home of Lizzie Borden. The guest traveler should be at least eighteen (18) years of age and if the winner is under twenty-one (21), the guest must be his/her parent or legal guardian. Trip includes round trip coach airfare to and from a major gateway airport nearest winner’s home city (as determined in Sponsor’s sole discretion), double occupancy standard hotel accommodations for 2-nights at the Borden Bed and Breakfast and a cash gift card of $1,500 or the same amount in cash to cover meals and ground transportation.

You could decide to do any number of type of merit-based contests such as:

  • the best essay on why someone wants to visit your bed and breakfast
  • the best pet photo
  • the best drawing/painting of the outside of your bed and breakfast
  • the best video commercial of your inn or a video about why someone should prefer to stay at a bed and breakfast over a hotel.

If you decide to do a merit-based contest, it is a good idea to require that the winner must be willing to share their entry on your website.  That way you can post their essay, photo, drawing, painting, or commercial on your website.  Be sure to state if you will not be able to return their entries if that is the case. Good luck and have fun with it.  Contests create customers so they are a great way to promote your bed and breakfast.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

For Guests Who Love To Read

For guests who love to read, your bed and breakfast can house a small library or even a parlor or study with a large selection of books on your shelves.  If you are wondering what kind of books to have on the shelves, the following are some great suggestions:

  • Architecture–for those interested in construction and architectural styles
  • Biographies–of any legends about the people who live in your town or former tenants of your home or anyone famous in your area
  • Cooking–people may be looking for a new recipe–especially if it is your cookbook (that you have for sale)!
  • Fiction–if the setting in the book is in your local area it may really be attractive to your guests
  • Flora and fauna–for the garden lovers, horticultural experts, biologists, and green thumbs
  • Guidebooks–for people who want to get to know your area and its attractions
  • History books–many people love to read about history (especially the history of your location)
  • Home decorating–people who stay in bed and breakfasts usually appreciate home decor
  • Success books–people love reading about how to have success, achieve more, and reach their dreams

You need not spend a lot of money if you do not already have a wide collection of books. There are plenty of good used bookstores and even yard sales that sell them.  Having good reading material for your guests who love to read. This helps them remember their stay at your bed and breakfast even more fondly.  See the B&B Books listed for a great selection of Bed and Breakfast related books!

The Love of Learning

If you have the love of learning, you might say yes to any of the following:

  • You read books titled “Useless Information” or other trivia or fact type books
  • You still take classes (even though you may already have one college degree or more)
  • You read the books from recommended reading lists
  • You know your library card number by heart
  • You watch Jeopardy on TV and play board games that make you think
  • You solve word puzzles and logic puzzles
  • You listen to audio books or lectures while you ride in the car or exercise
  • You like to ask people in-depth questions about anything and everything
  • You watch all the educational type programs on Net Flix versus mindless entertainment
  • You have taken an online class (or earned a degree online)
  • You love to ask questions and tend to be philosophical
  • You know the difference between a hold and an inter-library loan at your public library
  • You have continued reading this far
  • You love to make lists, set goals, tackle projects
  • People ask you for advice because they consider you to be “a smart person”

I confess that I will never stop learning!  There is absolutely too much exciting information to know!!  I wish you happy reading, listening, and watching if you have the love of learning!