Tag Archives: reward

What If You Knew You Could Not Fail?

the word "success" is written in the beach sand with water coming closer to it

What if you knew you could not fail, what would you try to do?  I think most people, by nature, do not like taking risks. Most people like a safety net.

The people who achieve success in life make their dreams so much bigger than their fears.  Successful people do not focus on what could go wrong, but on how they can do something better next time. Successful people do not let any of their perceived failures stop them from trying again.

 

Where does that confidence come from?

Sources of Confidence:

  • Real life examples: observe people who are successful and imitate them
  • Relationships: find family and friends who believe in you and tell you they know you can do it
  • Reading: actively pursue reading positive and motivating material (and avoid the negative)
  • Remembering: reflect upon previous successes and remind themselves yourself that can do it again
  • Realizing: realize the potential YOU have for greatness and do something great

But what if you lack confidence in yourself?

Steps to Add Confidence:

  • Spend time with encouraging people (rather than downers or critics)
  • Read biographies of successful people (to discover some of their secrets)
  • Put together a dream board/Pinterest board (of pictures of places you want to go, motivating quotes, etc.)
  • Seek out a mentor (a person you think is successful in life and who is willing to give you advice)
  • Reward your small successes along the way (to motivate you to achieve even more)

Over time, it will become more natural for you to set and achieve your goals.  Do not let any setbacks get in the way of your vision for a better future for you and your loved ones. What if you knew you could not fail, what would you do? Keep dreaming, keep going, no matter what! Never give up!

Do You Know What Your Guests Really Crave?

Book Cover: What Customers Crave next to picture of author Nicholas J. Webb

Do you know what your guests really crave? What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint by popular speaker and corporate strategist Nicholas J. Webb gives more insight into the desires of customers.  Mr. Webb explains with customers being able to rate their experiences and express their opinions online so easily, especially on websites like Amazon, TripAdvisor, and Yelp; there has been an irreversible shift of power from businesses to consumers. There is no place to hide for those who deliver poor products and services because they will be vetted by customers who will share that information throughout cyberspace forever.

Mr. Nicholas Webb argues that we, as business people, first must understand our consumers better and then create relevant experiences to specific customer types.  What does he mean by “types”?  Simply, knowing what customers love and what customers hate.  Make the effort to understand what customer types we serve, and then learn what those types love and what they hate to design beautiful experiences throughout your time together.

5 Critical Touchpoints:

  • The pre-touch moment is when your potential guests are checking you out online and looking at how you maintain your inn.
  • The first-touch moment sets the theme for how your customer will view their experience with you.
  • The core-touch moment represents how you serve them throughout their stay.
  • The past-touch moment is the final experience they have with you so send them off with a memorable good-bye, so they want to come back.
  • The in-touch moment is how you stay connected with them after their experience with you.  Consistently and pleasantly provide them with ongoing value so they willingly want to come back.  This is not the time to be sales-y.

When you go far above what they expect, you have given them a memorable experience.  Listen to your customers.  Read their comments in reviews and in your guest books.  Ask your guests when they book how they found you and if there is a reason for their visit.

Webb advises that you must invent the experiences that fit your market, service product, and customer types. Not sure of your audience(s)? Create a one-sentence mission statement that is powerful and to the point.  It should define the foundation for why you are in business.

The author writes about an experience he had staying at a luxury hotel in San Jose, California.  At the extravagant price he was charged, he expected an extraordinarily high level of service.  He was disappointed with several things:

  • He found a plastic card informing him that he would be paying $29.99 a night for internet service (most B&B inns offer free wireless internet)
  • There was a large Evian bottle with a card hanging from its neck reading, “Enjoy this for $19.95” (B&B inns are known for giving their guests access to free refreshments and goodies)
  • On the back of the remote there was a sticker warning him that if he stole the remote, he would be charged for it (given the unlikelihood of a “remote-control heist”, he said he would forgo the label that insults a customer’s integrity)

Webb points out that when your customers love you, they will buy more and stay longer all while referring their friends and family to stay with you.  However, if you deliver only what your customers expect, Webb states that you will lose your guests to a competitor that wows them.  The “innovation zone” is where you begin to exceed your customers’ expectations.  The better you get at this, the further you will rise.

What gets even better is that your customers will become your marketing machines through social media and word of mouth and you will rapidly build a reputation as the best place to stay in your local area.  Satisfied customers will nurture you with sales, repeat visits, referrals, and incredibly powerful ratings on social media as well as through digital sharing.

Nicholas Webb reminds us that acquiring new guests is much more expensive than keeping current guests.  That is why we should deliver exceptional and relevant experiences to build an excellent reputation across all touch points and to all customer types.

If your price is less than the value customers expect, you will increase sales as well as happy customers.  However, if the price exceeds the value customers expect to receive from you, they will leave in droves.

As you begin to distinguish between customer types, your perspective on how you view customer expectations changes. You can see the world through your customers’ eyes, including what they love and what they hate.

You customers can clue you in to areas that need improvement and tell you how to improve them, which allows you to provide the most exceptional and relevant experiences.  Reward your guests who present ideas on how to improve their experience at various touchpoints.  If customers leave because they are not being properly served, your hospitality business eventually fails.

Mr. Webb advocates for collaboration with people in your same industry since it can add to greater mutual prosperity through an exchange of ideas, experiences, and skills.  This explains why bed and breakfast inn associations are a great resource.  There is strength in coming together as fellow proprietors who want to offer the best hospitality possible.

Your customers can do a complete background search on your business literally in seconds. To stay on top of your business reputation, Nicholas recommends using Google Alerts on keywords that are relevant to your business name, industry, and competition.

Put together a contest encouraging people to specify what they love and what they hate in overnight accommodations.  Reward prizes to the top three people who offer most helpful suggestions (such as a free night’s stay or free room upgrade during their next visit).

Mr. Webb gives practical tips for making an upset customer (guest) a lifelong guest in five easy steps:

  • State to the customer that you intend to listen to them and work hard to make them happy.
  • Know that sometimes you just need to remain quiet while the customer releases steam and talks about why they are upset (if you listen carefully, you can learn what will make them happy).
  • Confirm with them that you heard them correctly by restating it back to them and asking if that is correct.
  • Offer a solution based on what you learned from carefully listening.
  • Follow up on the mistake to make sure you met with their approval (this shows them that making the situation right was a priority for you & your inn).

Great organizations love their customers and want them to be happy.  Businesses get better when companies get better.  Constantly look for ways to reinvent the customer experience by removing pain and adding pleasure.

Always leave your guests wanting more!  Continue to provide exceptional service throughout their stay.  Customer experiences are not just one event, but a series of events.  Think of your last touch as a way to prove to your guests that you love and cherish the relationship.  Then continue the relationship by offering personal, relevant, and valuable information on your website, in social media, and in e-newsletters.

Providing excellent service is vital to those in the hospitality industry.  Mr. Webb stated that one of his clients who operates high-end lodges and resort hotels started having team members take pictures of the guests throughout their stay and a few weeks after guests returned home, they would receive a complimentary and beautifully bound photo album ($40) delivered to them (for less than $20).  Annual re-bookings increased by 78%!

What’s more is that hundreds of customers posted the pictures on their social media which resulted in a 20% uptick in new bookings because of this practice.  Today, guests are also sent a digital photo album to make it easier for them to share their photos on influential social networks.  This proved to be a fabulous idea well worth the investment because of the additional business (from returning guests and new guests).

Taking Mr. Nicholas Webb’s advice, we should discover what our guests love and what they hate.  Of course, this depends upon who we are trying to attract.  What types of guests stay at your B&B?  Are these your ideal guests?  What do your ideal guests love and what do they hate?   Keep track of all of your ideas, brainstorm with employees or others in your industry, and listen to your guests, so you can know what your guests really crave.

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

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Responses

visual storytelling responses

Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, authors of the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand remind us that anything can happen at a moment’s notice online. Companies need to identify common occurrences, both positive and negative.  It means looking for opportunities to create visual storytelling responses all around us.  Some strategies include:

 

  • Understand the most important factors that can influence sales and customer leads
  • Weather may be an important theme to craft content around
  • At key times of the year, companies can announce awards, rankings, events, speeches, partnerships, and make other announcements
  • Understand the most frequently asked service inquiries and comments, both positive and negative
  • Develop a robust content library to allow time for real-time opportunities
  • The best storytellers play off their audience responses to hit the message home
  • Extend the life of conversations and engagement as long as it is relevant
  • Look at the content fans are sharing each day

While on the topic of user generated content, there is a higher barrier to engagement if it is not natural for fans to share visual content.  Reward sharing behavior with a campaign, contest, and/or rewards.  Look for themes in the most common types of photos, videos, hashtags, and sentiment.

Choose a clear call to action such as a unique hashtag available across all social media channels.  Make full disclosure to customers how and where their photos and videos will be shared.  Highlight examples to show a range of creativity.  Give rewards and recognition by having an “image of the week” or randomly sending a thank you.

Customers can share their own content through videos shared on social networks like YouTube, Instagram, and the Vine.  Look at your content calendar to determine which video(s) will help tell your visual story in a way that other media cannot.  Think about your target audience, desired end goals, and what resources are available.  Evaluate the needs of your audience and show off your personality.  Mix up the content to a variety of different types and lengths of videos. Common videos include:

  • Announcements
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Case studies
  • Celebrity partnerships
  • Community involvement
  • Company overview
  • Demos
  • Event highlights
  • FAQs
  • Goals
  • How-to
  • Live streams
  • Office tours
  • Parodies
  • Testimonials
  • Video blogs
  • Visual portfolios

Fan shared content as well as company made videos can show another side to a business. The key is to make the most of what customers are saying about you.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Frequent Stay and Referral Program

frequent stay and referral program

Did you know that you can reward your guests for staying frequently and for referring their friends to you?  Repeat business and referrals bring in money.  As a bed and breakfast owner, you can put in place a program to encourage guests to come again and tell their friends about your B&B.  Having a frequent stay and referral program is a great way to reward your guests.

 

You can say, “The highest compliment you can give us is to return again as a guest and to refer us to others.”  There are a variety of arrangements bed and breakfasts offer, such as:

  • When five of your referrals have booked with us, you get a free night’s stay.
  • Refer another couple who stays two nights, and you get $50 off your next visit.
  • With three referrals, you earn a free night in our standard room or 50% off one of our hot tub suites.

You may need to specify certain restrictions including:

  • When your friends make a reservation online, they must type your name as the referral.
  • Must show their receipts from previous stays.
  • Only when your first night’s stay is on a Sunday through a Thursday.
  • Excludes special events, holidays, and peak periods.
  • Not redeemable for cash.
  • Other restrictions may apply.
  • Expiration date (if any).

You can promote this frequent stay and referral program on your website, in your blog, and through social media. Make sure you mention this as your guests leave to remind them of this unique opportunity.  You will enjoy seeing the familiar faces of your returning guests as well as meeting their friends!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Social Media Success

Social media success is possible for any business owner including innkeepers. Using social media is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to get the word out about your own business, products, and ideas.  The popular social media websites include:

  • Facebook (one of the first big social media sites)
  • Twitter (limited to 140 characters per tweet–which forces people to get to the point!)
  • Linked In (the best business social media network where you establish connections with other professionals)
  • Google Plus (you can add people to your circles)
  • Pinterest (you can post pictures of your bed and breakfast–inside and out!)

Social media is an industry by itself. People can actually earn social media certification through various programs both online and offline. There are search engine optimization (SEO) experts who will tell you that it is extremely important that people have blogs using keywords that are relevant to their audience.

The search engines love it when you generate a lot of traffic regularly to your website and they reward you with higher rankings.  Many businesses seek to be one of the first search results for a specific set of keywords.

Blogs need to be written regularly so people know they can come back to your blog for relevant, useful, up-to-date information. I hope I have encouraged you to think about the possibilities of widening your particular audience by using social media!