Tag Archives: restaurant

Do You Know What Makes Your Inn Stand Out?

balcony of chairs and tables with view of trees and water

 

 

What makes your inn stand out? Does it have a great view like the picture above?  It is critical to know what makes your bed and breakfast different from the others in your area. What types of guests do you attract?

 

Be sure to promote your unique features to potential guests on your website, on social media, in blog posts, and in the directories you are listed in.  Are you the #1 rated bed and breakfast in your area? Have you won a bed and breakfast recipe contest?  Are you one of the sponsors of an upcoming local event?

There are many things that you are already doing or could start doing that could attract the right kind of guests you are looking for.  It may have to do with what is in your local area, what types of amenities your B&B has, the policies upon which you run your business, or your attentive concierge services and warm hospitality.

Here is a list of ways to stand out:

  • Beach or waterfront property?  Ask your guests to share their photos online. Alternatively, ask the public to share their best pictures of relaxing in the sun to enter a photo contest to win a gift certificate to stay at your inn.
  • Eco-friendly bed and breakfasts can have a page on their website devoted to their environmentally safe practices and awards.
  • Game rooms?  With their permission, share photos of guests playing your games (ex: air hockey, chess, horseshoes, Scrabble, etc.).
  • Gift shop? Offer guests attractive items to purchase with your logo on them (such as decorative soaps, coffee mugs, aprons, and maybe even your own cookbook) so they are reminded of your inn every time they see or use the items.
  • Gourmet breakfasts so delicious they prompt guests to write great reviews about your inn.  Ask those who rave about your food to post on online review.
  • Handicap-accessible inns can show their ramps, bathrooms, ground floor rooms, and (if applicable) their elevators.  With guest permission, share pictures of trained guide dogs who have visited your inn.
  • Historical inn and/or unique antiques? Share photos and stories of the original family members that lived at your historic inn.  Share photos of the gorgeous antiques safely displayed throughout your inn.
  • Kid friendly?  Show pictures of rooms or suites that are suitable for families.  Write blog posts about local family attractions.
  • Library? Attract more guests by sharing pictures of your library and by featuring a local author who will be speaking at an event (in or around) your bed and breakfast.
  • Luxurious amenities (such as a pool, hot tub, or spa) should be featured on your website and in your social media.
  • Mountain inns can share photos of majestic views as well as promote local activities such as hiking, skiing, and zip-lining.
  • Mysteries? If you host murder mysteries, share pictures of your event (such as your guests dressed in costumes) on your website, blog, and social media.
  • Packages? Feature tickets to popular local attractions (such as a theater or amusement park) and/or gift certificates to local fine dining restaurants.
  • Patriotic bed and breakfasts can display their country’s flag and offer a discount to those on active military duty and to veterans.
  • Pet-friendly bed and breakfasts can show pictures of pets at their property and take about their pet policies (including where pets are allowed to go).
  • Restaurant? Bed and breakfast inns with their own restaurant can feature photos of seasonal events (like Thanksgiving Day) as well as social events (like private parties). Regularly blog about popular signature dishes or feature the chefs and write about their culinary training and experience.
  • Retreats hosted at your inn?  Notify the media.  This is especially important if the person speaking at the retreat is famous or notable in their field.
  • Settings that are breathtaking, peaceful, and gorgeous should be shown in pictures to attract more guests.
  • Tea time? Whether you have a dedicated tea room open to the public or specific tea times only for your guests, promote tea time with pictures of your tea table settings and food as well as guest events like social hours or book clubs.
  • Vegan or vegetarian bed and breakfasts can show pictures of delicious, hearty looking meals that are (surprisingly) within those diet restrictions.
  • Weddings at your inn?  Display pictures of places where the ceremony and reception can be held on the property.  With permission, share pictures of happy couples and of related events like vow renewals and elopements.
  • Wine tastings? Whether you own the winery or offer a package for your guests to tour local wineries, describe the experiences that guests will have as well as share photos (with permission) of guests touring vineyards.  If transportation is provided during tours, be sure to mention that as well.
  • Yoga is a great way for your guests to become stronger and more relaxed.  If you regularly offer yoga on site to your guests, be sure to share that on your website, in blog posts, and in photos on your social media.

Share your excellent ratings, reviews, and status.  This is not the time to be modest since your inn is your livelihood.  Link to your Trip Advisor rating, share guest reviews, and proudly put on your website if you belong to Select Registry, a bed and breakfast association, and other elite groups.

No time or desire to manage your online marketing? Please contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging.  We can put a plan in place that will make your inn stand out!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Bed and Breakfast Indoor Fun

bookcase filled with books and a few board games

 

 

Wonder what to do at a bed and breakfast? While getting extra rest (and more affection) can be incredible, there is other bed and breakfast indoor fun to experience.  I also will highlight some of the benefits of having fun.

 

Bed and breakfast inns may offer luxurious indoor amenities and places such as:

  • Gift shop
  • Hot tub
  • Libraries
  • Pool
  • Pool table
  • Restaurant
  • Sauna
  • Screening room
  • Spa

Innkeepers often have common rooms for B&B guests that include the following:

  • Artwork on display
  • Board games
  • Books
  • Coloring books (adult coloring books are now quite popular)
  • Decks of cards
  • Magazines
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Newspapers
  • Television

Most bed and breakfasts offer free wi-fi internet access in your guest room and in common rooms. This means that guests can go online for fun (or if you really must, for business).

Some bed and breakfasts offer indoor activities such as:

  • Birthday and anniversary celebrations
  • Book discussion club
  • Cooking classes
  • Scrap-booking retreat
  • Tea time
  • Quilting circle
  • Wine tastings

Some bed and breakfasts have entertainers come to their inn to perform for the guests on special occasions.  Sometimes it is the innkeepers that perform music for the guests. Other times, it is the guests who are encouraged to play the musical instruments at the inn (such as piano or guitar).

I have the kind of personality where I feel guilty if I am not working. Some of us really need to give ourselves “permission” to relax.  Here are just some of the important benefits we can all receive from unwinding and having fun:

  • Better perspective on what is really important in life
  • Increase in our overall productivity
  • Less stress and more peace of mind
  • More creativity to solve problems and/or earn income
  • Prevention of boredom (which can affect the ability to focus)
  • Replenishment of energy and motivation
  • Reward to yourself (and others) for having achieved specific goals

Regardless of the reason you would like to stay inside (such as the weather), bed and breakfast guests can find pleasant things to do.  Innkeepers are also more than happy to make suggestions for indoor activities.  Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until you ask.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Breakfast Food Holidays

breakfast food holidays

 

Breakfast food holidays occur throughout the year.  One way to vary your menu and impress your bed and breakfast guests is to fix them food that is celebrated on certain food holidays!  For example, the first Friday in June is National Donut Day.

 

 

So what are just some of the amazing breakfast food holidays innkeepers can use?

  • January 20: National Cheese Lover’s Day
  • January 24: National Peanut Butter Day
  • January 30: National Croissant Day
  • February 16: National Almond Day
  • February 21: National Sticky Bun Day
  • February 23: National Banana Bread Day
  • March 1: National Fruit Compote Day
  • March 7: National Cereal Day
  • March 25: National Pecan Day
  • April 7: Coffee Cake Day
  • April 16: National Eggs Benedict Day
  • April 25: National Zucchini Bread Day
  • May 4: National Orange Juice Day
  • May 6: National Crepes Suzette Day
  • May 14: National Buttermilk Biscuit Day
  • June 2: National Donut Day
  • June 3: National Egg Day
  • June 18: National Cherry Tart Day
  • June 21: National Peaches and Cream Day
  • July 5: National Apple Turnover Day
  • July 11: National Blueberry Muffin Day
  • July 27: National Crème Brulee Day
  • August 8: National Zucchini Day
  • August 24: National Waffle Day
  • August 31: International Bacon Day
  • September 8: National Date Nut Day
  • September 17: National Apple Dumpling Day
  • September 26: National Pancake Day
  • October 10: National Angel Food Cake Day
  • October 26: Pumpkin Day
  • October 29: National Oatmeal Day
  • November 14: National Guacamole Day
  • November 17: Homemade Bread Day
  • November 28: National French Toast Day
  • December 15: National Cupcake Day
  • December 17: National Maple Syrup Day
  • December 24: National Egg Nog Day

The cool thing about breakfast food holidays is that they correspond with the seasons of the year.  It makes sense National Egg Nog Day is in December!

Innkeepers and chefs, how do you come up with your menus each day?  Some of you get inspiration from (or have even created your own) cookbooks!  Others have tried and true family recipes.

I know a big emphasis (and rightly so) is placed on buying local farm fresh food.  Not only is it great that your food is prepared fresh in your kitchen, but that your bed and breakfast/restaurant supports your local community.

In addition to breakfast food holidays, if your bed and breakfast specializes in cooking a certain type of food, then by all means embrace that.  One deliciously distinctive type of cuisine is the Southwestern cooking cuisine.  Depending upon your bed and breakfast location and your family roots, your guests can enjoy a variety of delectable dishes authentic to your region and or ancestry.

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.

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

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

Bed and Breakfast Restaurants

 

bed and breakfast restaurants

 

 

Many bed and breakfasts also have restaurants. These bed and breakfast restaurants may offer the following important and useful information about their restaurant on their website:

 

 

 

  • If open to the public or just to the guests staying there
  • Pictures of the restaurant, cuisine, beautiful views from restaurant
  • Pictures of guests dining (taken with permission)
  • Awards won, press page, celebrities visited
  • Information about the chefs (including their culinary training and cultural heritage)
  • Hours (may be subject to change)
  • Menu (may vary seasonally)
  • House specialties (could be based on chef’s expertise or location of restaurant)
  • Specials (could be fresh from their own garden or holiday related)
  • Wine list and/or microbrewery
  • Catering options possible
  • Local delivery options
  • Group dining and private party rooms
  • Weddings (may offer a customized menu)
  • Making reservations (especially for large groups or holidays)
  • Cooking classes offered
  • Cookbooks for sale
  • Ways to contact the restaurant

They may even feature written reviews from people who have dined there.  If your bed and breakfast does not have a restaurant, do you have the time and resources to add one? Bed and breakfast restaurants should consider having blog posts written about different events or restaurant specials or musical guests coming.  Continue to post new pictures to your website and blog throughout the seasons, as you add new menu items, and after you host various events such as weddings.

 

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

The Christmas Farm Inn and Spa

Christmas Farm Inn and Spa

The Christmas Farm Inn and Spa, owned by innkeepers Gary and Sandra Plourde, is located on 3 Blitzen Way in Jackson, New Hampshire.  The names of the rooms in this 15 acre estate are in keeping with their Christmas theme.

In the Main Inn, the bedroom names are: Mr./Mrs. Santa Claus, Vixen, Blitzen, Three Wise Men, Cupid, Donner, Dasher, Sleigh Bells, and Star of the East.

The Salt Box Rooms are named: Mistletoe, Holly, Elves, Rudolph, Noel, North Star, Yuletide, Sugar and Spice, and Everything Nice.

The Family Barn Suites are named: Balsam, Hemlock, Pine, and Spruce.  The Hand Crafted Cottages are named: The Blacksmith Shop, The Sleigh House, The North Pole, The Smokehouse, The Livery Stable, The Sugar House, and The Log Cabin.

The Carriage House Suites are named after the 12 Days of Christmas Song: Partridge in a Pear Tree, Turtle Doves, French Hens, Calling Birds, Golden Rings, Geese-a-Laying, Swans-a-Swimming, Maids-a-Milking, Ladies Dancing, Lords-a-Leaping, Pipers Piping, Drummers Drumming.

Spa guests enjoy world-class facilities and all the amenities including 7 treatment rooms, relaxation lounge, indoor and outdoor pools, hot tub and fitness center.  Christmas Farm Inn and Spa has their own restaurant and they offer specials and packages as well as elegant weddings.

According to the Christmas Farm Inn and Spa blog, innkeepers Gary and Sandra Plourde, see themselves as, “caretakers of the inn and the traditions that live here – not just at Christmas time, but all throughout the year.”  Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging wishes you and your family a Merry Christmas!