Tag Archives: search engines

How To Finally Stand Out From The Crowd

Anomaly Book Cover next to large orange game piece with little white game pieces behind it

 

 

Want to stand out from the crowd? The book Anomaly: How to Finally Stand Out From The Crowd by Zack Miller tells us exactly how to do that.

 

 

An anomaly is defined as something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected. The author advises us not to be afraid to do something different than others. Being different is what gets us noticed. When we stand out, people want to see what we’re all about.

Offer some free content to your ideal guests (your target market) in exchange for their name and email. Find creative ways to stand out to them. They will stay on your e-mail list if they feel they are receiving value from you. Emails should be short, sweet, and to the point. If you do not follow up, nothing will happen.

Stay consistent in the way you communicate. Your relationship with your guest (or potential guest) should not end after they leave your accommodations. You can continue to reach out to them via email (as long as they do not unsubscribe). By sending a regular email (such as weekly or bi-monthly), you are teaching your following to expect something.

Your content is unique because it is from your point of view. Take inventory of the content you already have (website, blog posts, social media, and so on). Your best content should be given away and consistently promoted.

What other kinds of content can you offer? According to Miller, the most important thing is producing content people crave and engage with.

Promote any past wins relevant to your hospitality business. This could be your award-winning recipe or your leadership in a B&B association.

Create a content calendar and automate your social media. Schedule when you want to post and note which keywords, hashtags, and phrases you will use for your content.

Write down the questions you are asked by guests and potential guests. The questions you receive may come from email, over the phone, in person, and through social media. Take the top questions and create content around them.

By asking questions, you can learn a lot. Let the market guide you as to what you offer your guests.

Display your awards, media recognition, association memberships, inspection rating, average online travel review, and much more to attract new guests. Add their logos to your website and social media. Prominently display your achievements for guests to see when they enter your bed and breakfast inn.

A simple handwritten “thank you” (such as thanking them for being your guest) can go a long way towards keeping their visit with you top of mind. Send them home with some homemade goodies, a coffee mug with your inn’s logo on it, or something else that makes you more memorable.

When guests are booking their rooms with you, do you make it easy for them to add extras? This could be add-on items like roses and chocolate, or even bigger items like guest packages.

By regularly adding blog posts to your website, you are sharing fresh, relevant content that makes you more visible in online search engines. The longer a guest stays on your website, the more likely they are to book a room or a private event with you.

By not doing what everyone else does, you will stand out and not be lost in the crowd. Tell the story you want your followers to know about you. The more they can learn about you, the better your chances of them becoming a customer.

Display your positive testimonials on your website and in social media. This can mean the difference from a guest choosing you over your local competition. Learn from bad reviews and promote good reviews. Publicly respond to every review (since they took the time to leave a review). Also, other readers will benefit from reading your responses.

Read reviews of your competitors to learn what they are doing, see what their guests are posting, see ways you can improve your own business. You must be conscious of the customer experience from the moment they arrive until they leave.

Feeling overwhelmed and/or you’d rather focus on your guests? Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging. During our first conversation, I can get to know more about you, your inn, and your future vision for your hospitality business. You are welcome to ask me questions as well.

I successfully manage the online marketing of bed and breakfast inns (Bed and Breakfast Blogging began in 2013). I am a Vendor Member of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International. I provide my clients with consistent and effective blogging, emailing, and social media marketing as well as hospitality consulting. Together, we will choose what services are best for you.

 

How To Get More Positive Reviews and How To Handle Negative Reviews

how to get more positive reviews

 

Do you wonder how to get more positive reviews or how to handle negative reviews? Online guest reviews are increasingly important to travelers.  Around 9 out of 10 consumers read reviews before booking.  “Word of mouth” (especially online reviews) is a powerful thing.

 

 

Good reviews can attract more guests to your B&B and raise your profits.  Positive guest reviews give third-party proof that your inn is good as your website says it is. A higher number of positive online guest reviews encourages potential guests to stay at your accommodations since you appear reliable and trustworthy.

 

Like it or not, reviews have a direct impact on:

  • your ranking on review sites
  • your ranking on third party websites (like online travel agencies)
  • your ranking in the search engines
  • your overall online reputation score
  • your overall sales and conversion rates

 

Your best line of defense is to always provide an exceptional stay and the best customer experience possible.  Set expectations appropriately: always under-promise and over-deliver.  Exceed your guests’ expectations.  Give every single guest the personal touch and make them feel like they have had a remarkable 5-star experience.  The majority of positive guest reviews come when guests are pleasantly surprised by the hospitality they receive.

As guests are checking out, you can ask them about their stay.  Guests that give loved their stay should be encouraged to leave online reviews.  Tell them that reviews are important to your business and influential in improving the experience of their future visits.

You may want to give your guests a scenic postcard (maybe with a photo of your inn’s best feature) with a personal message on it asking them for a review.  They will think of the good times and it will motivate them to write a kind review.

In follow-up emails you can ask recent guests to leave a review.  If someone states something positive about your inn, encourage them to share their praise online. Social media is a good place to share positive online reviews.

Respond to all reviews (good and bad) even with a brief comment.  Thank them for taking the time to write their review and show your appreciation of their visit.  This demonstrates how to get more positive reviews.

Did you know that the #1 cause of dissatisfied guests is unfulfilled expectations? For the guests who bring up a negative issue, do everything in your power to make it right. Respond to 100% of negative reviews within 24 hours.  Address the specifics in their complaint.

Always maintain a professional tone in response to negative reviews. Start by addressing the guest’s name, show your sincerity, let the reviewer and potential guests know you are sorry if it was your fault and you can apologize that their experience was not to their satisfaction.  Let them know about your standard of service.

Do not confront the person publicly.  Too many businesses make the mistake of defending themselves and not acknowledging their own mistakes.  This always makes the situation worse.  Sincerely apologize that they didn’t feel you met their expectations.

Remember that an apology is not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing.  In your response you can note how many years you have been in business and how many guests you have hosted.  “Our team uses very rare incidents like this one to fine tune our operations so that this never happens again.”  This is a good way to frame your business and make the guest feel acknowledged.

Highlight any changes you have made or intend to make.  When answering a negative review, write it with your future guests in mind.  “We can guarantee that we won’t miss the mark in the future with our guests.”

The proper response to a bad review can minimize the damage to your inn’s reputation by influencing prospective guests to think more highly of you.  Expressing sympathy that the guest experience fell short of their expectations can also repair your relationship with the unhappy reviewer.

Thank them for their candid review of their recent stay.  Let them know that their feedback is extremely valuable to them as you strive to improve with each and every guest’s visit. Tell them you appreciate that they brought this to your attention.  Managing your B&B reputation can go a long way when it comes to keeping guests happy and more coming through your front door.

What To Look For In a Bed and Breakfast Blogger

bed and breakfast blogger

 

Do you wonder what to look for in a bed and breakfast blogger?  You may (or may not) have a blog for your bed and breakfast inn.  If you do have a blog, chances are you are so busy as an innkeeper that you really do not want to take the time to write about your inn.  The key is to focus on what you do best (providing excellent hospitality) and let a professional bed and breakfast blogger do the rest!

 

Why do I specify “professional bed and breakfast blogger”?  First of all, you want someone who is a professional blogger.  Someone who understands key strategies to effectively blog online so that search engines notice your content.  Secondly, you want someone who is familiar with the bed and breakfast industry.  Plenty of people can blog, but they need to convey the awesome benefits of staying at a bed and breakfast.

 

Another key factor is how well they can promote your local area.  You want to give potential guests a reason to want to visit your area.  A few important ways to promote your local area that include:

 

  • Feature local places of interest: arenas, colleges, gardens, museums, restaurants, stadiums, theaters, tourist attractions
  • Promote local events: concerts, festivals, marathons, parades, etc.
  • Recommend fun activities: biking, fishing, hiking, canoeing, touring

 

A professional bed and breakfast blogger should have these personality traits:

 

  • Adaptable: readily adjusts to different situations
  • Brilliant: shows great intelligence and talent
  • Creative: has original thoughts and imagination
  • Dedicated: committed to doing a fantastic job
  • Efficient: competent and capable; makes good use of time
  • Focused: pays attention to what is important
  • Genuine: authentic, real, and sincere
  • Honest: truthful, credible, upright, and fair
  • Innovative: tends to do things that are new or improved
  • Just: guided by principle; does what is right
  • Kind: benevolent, considerate, and gentle
  • Loyal: faithful to commitments
  • Motivational: inspiring; has a positive influence on others
  • Neat: organized and orderly
  • Optimistic: expects positive outcomes; has a favorable view of events
  • Perceptive: shows keenness of insight and intuition
  • Quotable: words things clearly and succinctly
  • Reliable: dependable in achievement and accuracy
  • Steadfast: firm in purpose; unwavering resolution
  • Trustworthy: deserving of trust and confidence
  • Understanding: superior power of discernment; compassionate
  • Valuable: worthy of respect and admiration; contributes profitable work
  • Web savvy: has practical experience using the internet and online resources
  • X-traordinary: exceptional, noteworthy, and remarkable
  • Young at heart: has a youthful outlook regardless of one’s age; energetic
  • Zealous: enthusiastic, devoted, and diligent

 

Kristi-Dement

 

If you are looking for a bed and breakfast blogger who can help you add a blog or provide fresh blog content on a consistent basis, please contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free consultation.

 

 

Top image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Labor Day Weekend Road Trip

Labor Day weekend road trip

Some of your bed and breakfast guests will be traveling by car and we hope they have a lovely Labor Day weekend road trip.  First, some fun facts about how the Labor Day holiday got started in the United States.  Did you know the United States workers’ unions chose the first Monday in September because it was halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving? The first Labor Day was observed on September 5th, 1882.  

Labor Day was created to rally for the adoption of eight hour work days and other more suitable working conditions.  Labor Day now carries less significance as a celebration of working people and more as a great way to finish the summer. Schools, government offices, and businesses are closed on Labor Day so people can get in one last road trip to the beach or have one last cookout before the weather starts to turn colder.

AAA is a company known in the lodging industry for their AAA diamond rating approval system. Guests can be reassured that those properties have been selected on the basis of merit alone.   Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney explained, “With Labor Day symbolizing the American workers’ contributions to the strength and prosperity of our country, it’s only fitting that millions are choosing to celebrate this positive direction with an all-American road trip.”

AAA offers a Fuel Cost Calculator on their website.  Drivers can select, from about 125 different locations in the United States, the closest starting city and destination location. They can indicate their vehicle’s make, year, and model.  Drivers can select “one-way” or “round trip.” The Fuel Cost Calculator will show you the miles, gallons used, and fuel cost.  The fuel price data is provided by Oil Price Information Service.  You can put a link to this Fuel Cost Calculator from your own website.

We have tremendous respect for innkeepers who consistently get great online reviews from previous guests for their hospitality.  Remember you can team up with complimentary local businesses to set up packages for your guests.  Innkeepers, while entertaining guests:

Remember, when hosting, it is the little details that make a big difference.  Your phone communication is a great way to start the process of building relationships with your guests so that they become repeat guests and refer their friends and family to stay at your B&B. You may even often a frequent stay and referral program to help you gain more business and rewards your guests for returning and referring.

Innkeepers, we know you stay busy.  For those of you who want to focus on innkeeping and give the blogging and social media responsibilities to a knowledgeable and dedicated company, think of Bed and Breakfast Blogging as a great solution.  We can provide fresh blog content the search engines reward with higher rankings as well as an active and positive social media presence so you stay top of mind to potential and returning guests.

 

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.

Getting to Know Kristi Dement

Getting To Know Kristi Dement

Getting to know Kristi Dement. I was born and raised in Holland, Michigan.  My great-grandmother was originally from Holland, Netherlands.  After graduating from West Ottawa High School,  I completed my bachelors degree in psychology from Michigan State University’s Honors College in East Lansing, Michigan just three years later.

 

Since I did not want to meet someone who wanted to stay in the cold six-month-long winters of Michigan, I met my husband Glen online.  He lived in Maryland at the time I was finishing my last year at MSU. We got married and I moved to the Baltimore area for a year.

When he had an opportunity to transfer with his work to the Raleigh area in North Carolina, November of 1999, I wholeheartedly supported it.  This Michigan girl thought Maryland weather would be warm enough, but going further South sounded even better to me!

I went back to school to earn my masters degree in library science from North Carolina Central University in 2006. I have been a school librarian and professional writer since then.  I look forward to serving more bed and breakfast owners in this new year.

If writing is just “not your thing” (and/or you just do not have time as a busy innkeeper), hiring me is a great solution to getting you more traffic to your website through a regularly updated blog with fresh content for the search engines!  I can also set up your social media business profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linked In.  I look forward to helping you book more rooms in your bed and breakfast throughout this New Year!

Top 5 Reasons to Stay at a B&B

 

reasons to stay at a B&B

Do you know that your blog is the perfect place to promote reasons to stay at a B&B? Bed and Breakfast Blogging will write a blog for your B&B that entices your website visitors to book rooms!

The following are excellent reasons why a potential guest should choose to stay at your bed and breakfast versus a hotel.

 

1. Bed and breakfasts treat all of their guests with special care and attention.  You may personalize their visits with little extras like flowers in their room and chocolate on their pillow.

2. B&B’s can be very romantic places to stay at. Several bed and breakfasts have honeymoon suites!  You may offer dessert and wine served to their room in the evening.

3. Your guests will enjoy the best home-cooked breakfast they ever have because you cook delicious gourmet food including Eggs Benedict and French toast!

4. Your visitors will be staying in the comforts of your bed and breakfast home and have the amenities of a hotel.  It is important to have pictures (even a video tour) of your bed and breakfast on your website for potential guests to see all your B&B has to offer.

5. Their special event is happening at your B&B.  Many bed and breakfasts specialize in doing weddings or hosting meetings–yours may be one of them.

Bed and breakfast owners, it is important for your blog to highlight what makes your particular bed and breakfast unique. Give them reasons to stay at a B&B. Bed and Breakfast Blogging can write you online content that is targeted to market to your ideal B&B guests.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Why Your B&B Needs a Blog

According to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, “A new bed and breakfast will get 95% of its guests from the Internet.” Even if you are an established bed and breakfast, you want people to find your place when they go online.

Search engines love fresh content.  Blogs provide new and attractive information to your current guests and entice your potential guests. We can share your own homemade recipes, reveal how your B&B celebrates the various holidays and seasons, and let your guests know about the fun things to do in your area.

Your bed and breakfast’s blog can be tailored include keywords for which you want to be known.  For example, if you want to be known for having guest rooms with hot tubs, we can write about the romance and fun of soaking in hot tubs as you renew your relationship with your special someone.

We can also emphasize the theme of your B & B.  If you are on the beach and every room is decorated to reflect that, we can talk about the spectacular view, the warm sun, and the refreshing water.

We can share the benefits of relaxation and time away from everyday life.  Our main goal is for you to have a waiting list of guests who want to stay at your bed and breakfast because all of your rooms stay booked!

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!