Tag Archives: share

Managing Your B&B Reputation

white picket fence with greenery and blooming purple flowers

Managing your B&B reputation is more important than ever in this fast-paced world of easily accessed online information. Whether bed and breakfast innkeepers monitor it or not, people are talking about their inns. Do you know what others are saying about your bed and breakfast?  Do you look at reviews written by your previous guests? Conversation goes on whether or not you participate in it.  You can’t afford not to know what is being said about you and your inn!

According to Trip Advisor, 93% of people find reviews important when determining where they want to stay.  This is why receiving positive feedback from satisfied guests is so critical.  Every effort should be made to reduce negative reviews and improve the reputation and appeal of your place of lodging.

Online reputation management means monitoring and influencing the image of your property throughout the internet.  Places of hospitality should focus on review sites, social media, and search engine results.  People from all backgrounds and all over the world use the internet for online travel research before booking their accommodations.

B&B Reputation Management Tips:

  • Monitor all feedback avenues regularly
  • Spend most of your time listening and paying attention
  • Read everything travelers are saying about your B&B on OTAs & review sites
  • Set up a Google Alert for the name of your B&B and other relevant keywords
  • Communicate why people should recommend your brand vs. your competitors
  • Know what messages about your brand you want guests to share
  • Provide plenty of opportunities for guest feedback during their stay
  • Answer all questions in a timely manner
  • Respond with an open mind to comments
  • Engage with sincerity and authenticity
  • Take all precautions to prevent negative events from occurring

Owning a hospitality business means you need to actively protect your image.  In the event that your reputation management escalates to crisis management, ignoring negative guest comments does not make them go away.

Actions To Protect Your Hospitality Brand:

  • Identify the naysayers and respond promptly
  • Make the appropriate apologies and explanations
  • Seek to positively solve their problem
  • Isolate them so the conversation becomes more personal, but far less public
  • Talk in a one-on-one private discussion to find the solution to their problem
  • For every zealot trying to hurt you, your loyal guests are ready to defend you
  • Consumers will generally “shout down” detractors who are way off base
  • Reputation terrorists often base their arguments on feelings vs. facts
  • Have an escalation plan in place for excessive bashing in multiple forums
  • Pick your battles and tactfully respond to criticism
  • Always take the high road

Gathering a lot of mostly positive feedback will increase your visibility because guest reviews will be distributed efficiently on social media as well as booking platforms. At the same time, you can avoid high provision fees by getting people to use your website and your booking engine.  A high rating means your reputation is on a good level, automatically driving demand for your B&B and creating more revenue for you and your employees.

The key is to be attentive and responsive to guests in person, on the phone with callers, and online with those asking questions or making comments.  If you do not have a blog already, considering adding one so that people can get to know the details about you, your inn, and your local area.

Managing your B&B reputation is critical to the success of your bed and breakfast.  Our elite reputation management service tracks comments on review sites (like TripAdvisor and Yelp), gives you tips to encourage more positive guest reviews, and we prevent (and defuse) reputation crises so you maintain your reputation for superior hospitality. Contact Bed and Breakfast Blogging if you would like to know more about it!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Many Benefits of B&B Association Membership

log cabin deck with table and chairs overlooking trees surrounding a lake

 

There are many benefits of B&B Association Membership.  While each bed and breakfast association has their own unique benefits, the following lists commonly offered benefits from such groups.  Innkeepers not belonging to any professional associations will learn why membership is valuable.

  • Advocacy: promoting B&B industry and traveler interests, raising the stature of the state’s hospitality industry, growing the state’s travel economy
  • Affiliations: state tourism department, state travel council, Professional Association of Innkeepers International, etc.
  • Brochures/rack cards/travel guides: distributed at member inns, welcome centers, tourist attractions, visitor bureaus, chambers of commerce, and in response to visitor requests
  • Collaboration: socialize, peer support, share, network, learn, encourage, exchange lessons learned as well as recipes, and enhance the lodging experience of guests
  • Cookbooks: member inns can buy association cookbooks at wholesale and sell at retail for a profit (see some B&B association cookbooks below)
  • Credibility: association membership provides bed and breakfasts with added credibility; licensed, inspected, and approved distinction; passed high standards bed and breakfast checklists
  • Directory: profile information and pictures in online and print directories
  • Discounts: lower cost to related products and services (such as credit card processing, conferences and trade shows, floral arrangements, insurance coverage, membership to other hospitality associations, reciprocal or discount lodging with other member inns, travel deals, and web reservations)
  • Education: foster professional development of members and improve service and professionalism of their staff through annual meetings, experts, featured speakers, round tables, seminars, vendors, webinars, workshops
  • Legal representation: expert support, legal hotline, industry updates, and a better understanding of applicable laws and regulations
  • Lobbying: have a voice in legislative issues, support state’s lodging sector, work proactively with governmental agencies that regulate the B&B industry, produce favorable industry public policy, and champion for safety and security in the hospitality industry
  • Logo: members can use their association logo on their website and marketing materials
  • Marketing: collective advertising, email marketing, e-newsletter, public relations, social media
  • Gift certificate program: reimbursement for association gift certificates redeemed
  • Inspections:  regularly conducted property inspections; evaluated with high standards on specific criteria having to do with safety, comfort, and hospitality
  • Mentorship: seasoned innkeepers can mentor less experienced innkeepers, foster profitability and sustainability
  • Networking: learn from fellow innkeepers and receive their business referrals
  • Partnerships: restaurant and lodging expos; engage in charitable and community endeavors
  • Real estate listings: list of bed and breakfast member inns for sales
  • Reservations: availability calendar, reservations scheduler
  • Travel planner: list of area events, specials, and attractions near each member B&B
  • Website: many offer their members an exclusive web page with photos, contact information, inn names and descriptions, locations, amenities, and specials; links to member website, Trip Advisor and other review sites, social media, and member inn’s blog.

chairs on deck of log cabin overlooking lake with trees

 

There are many advantages to belonging to a bed and breakfast association.  Perhaps the most motivating is making connections with fellow innkeepers and having the accountability and support from your innkeeping peers as well as more marketing opportunities.

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Making Lists

sticky notes on cork board and on one sticky note are the words "make things happen"

 

In her book, How Much Joy Can You Stand?: A Creative Guide to Facing Your Fears and Making Your Dreams Come True, Suzanne Falter-Barns, focuses on the power of making lists.  She suggest making the following lists:

 

  • 10 Things You are Passionate About
  • 10 Things You Love About Your Life
  • 10 Things That Are Uniquely You
  • 10 Things You Would Like to Share
  • 10 Things You Could Fix or Change About the World
  • 10 Things You’d Like To Do Before You Die

The power of making lists comes from reflecting and writing down the answers to these lists.  You will know more about yourself. You will recognize what you are passionate about and what you love about your life.  You will know what makes you, well–you!

You will think of specific things you can share (time, talents, or money).  You will think about what you could help fix or what you would like to change about the world.

Lastly, you will have the opportunity to think of things you would like to do before you die (your personal bucket list). Many people have testified to putting down the most unlikely events and they came true!

“Shark Tank” Investor and successful entrepreneur Barbara Cocoran, who uses lists to overcome her time constraints, organizes her lists into the following three sections:

  • Calls to make
  • Things to review
  • Projects to do

As you write the answers to these lists down, you will know more about yourself and your goals and dreams. I challenge you to experience the power of making lists! Lists also let you evaluate how you are spending your time. It is easy to be busy, but harder to be effective. The power of making lists may be that it changes your life!

Do Your B&B Headlines Get Attention?

The #1 Headline Analyzer (from CoSchedule.com)

 

Do your B&B headlines get attention?  Co-Schedule offers a free tool called the “Headline Analyzer.”  It promises that you will learn how to write headlines that drive traffic, shares, and search results.  This is especially important in the travel industry.

So why are headlines so important? It’s because they’re the first lines of your copy that customers read. They create an initial impression that either draws readers in or pushes them away.  In this fast-paced online world, it is important to stand out and capture the focus of your potential bed and breakfast guests.

The headline alone can make or break your ad, homepage, or e-mail subject line. It sets the tone for the rest of the copy. If the headline pulls readers in, you may make more money; if not, you’ll be left wondering what happened.

Headline writing tips to keep in mind:

  • Your headline should be unique.
  • Your headline should be ultra-specific.
  • Your headline should convey a sense of urgency.
  • Your headline should be useful.

The following headline ideas are just a starting point.  You can be as creative as you want to be.  The goal is to create headlines that motivate people to continue to read about your inn.

The Secret [fill in the blank]

This is an opportunity to share insider knowledge of your local area to benefit your potential guests. Help your bed and breakfast guests know more about your local area.  Where are great local places for dining, sight-seeing, and other fun activities in your immediate area.

  • The Secret To Discovering

 

Who Else Wants [fill in the blank]

By asking “who else wants” you are implying that there is a consensus about this desire.

  • Who Else Wants More Fun and Less Stress When on Vacation?

 

What Everybody Wants To Know About [fill in the blank]

This headline challenges the reader’s curiosity to see if they are missing some knowledge.

  • What Everybody Wants To Know About Staying at a Bed and Breakfast

 

Now you can have [something desirable] and [great circumstance]

This is another version of the classic expression “have your cake and eat it too.”

  • Now You Can Go On Vacation and Enjoy It Too

 

[#] [Facts or Ideas or Lessons or Principles or Reasons or Secrets or Steps or Tricks or Ways] [fill in the blank]

Numbers in headlines get attention and people love lists.  They are easy to scan and readers know how much content to expect from the blog post.

  • 10 Facts About Bed and Breakfasts You Didn’t Know
  • 5 Ideas to Make Your Vacation More Memorable
  • 7 Lessons About Spending Time With Those You Love
  • 3 Principles to Making Love Relationships Work
  • 9 Reasons To Vacation More
  • 4 Secrets To Melting Stress Away
  • 8 Steps To Relaxing While On Vacation
  • 11 Tricks To Packing More Efficiently
  • 6 Ways To Strengthen Your Romantic Relationships

No time to write blog posts?  Bed and Breakfast Blogging is here to help.  Contact us to find out more about our tailor-made marketing services.

How To Promote Staycations at Your Bed and Breakfast

Outdoor flower garden with bench by tree and wood fence in background

 

Do you know how to promote staycations? As you may know, “staycations” are vacations spent at home or nearby.  Have you promoted your nearby bed and breakfast to locals in your community?  This is a great target market. Best of all, you are a “local” promoting your business to other locals.

 

The Victoria, a bed and breakfast in Bentonville, Arksansas,  lists four great reasons for locals in their community to stay at their bed and breakfast:

  • Less planning is necessary (since you know your local community and you can even go back home if you forgot something important)
  • Much more affordable (plane rides and car rentals are not necessary)
  • Get to know everything your area has to offer (such as its museums, gardens, and other tourist attractions)
  • Vacation at a more relaxed pace (a great alternative to stressful, activity-filled vacations far away from home)

According to The Project: Time Off Coalition, more than half of American workers (55%) left vacation time unused in 2015. This adds up to 658 million unused vacation days! Ironically, their data also showed that employees who take 10 or fewer days of vacation time are less likely to have received a raise or bonus in the last three years than those who took 11 days or more.

This is where owners and innkeepers of bed and breakfast inns can come in.  You could put together your own staycation package that could include tickets to local area attractions and gift certificates to local restaurants.

The Bridgeton House in the New Hope area of Pennsylvania offers a “Savory Staycation Package” that includes:

  • A welcoming wine and cheese upon arrival
  • Afternoon tea featuring a wonderful selection of homemade sweets and savories each day of your stay
  • A multi-course made to order breakfast each day of your stay
  • Their fireside basket dinner for 2 inclusive of a bottle of wine (choice of red, white or sparkling cider)

You can promote your package in a number of effective ways:

  • In a blog post that discusses the benefits of staycations and details your package
  • Share the information in social media (including Facebook and Twitter)
  • Since you are attracting local area guests, how about putting a sign outside your inn announcing your staycation package?  This can attract those who pass by.
  • Partner with local business owners to promote your staycation package (such as local attractions and restaurants)
  • Share this information with your local tourism board and local press
  • Volunteer at a local nonprofit or sponsor a local event in your community for word of mouth advertising.

Since you know what your specific local area offers, you know how to promote staycations by customizing your staycation package to fit your community.  It is becoming increasingly popular to “shop local” as well.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How to Use Twitter for Hospitality

twitter for hospitality

You can use Twitter for hospitality business growth.  Twitter For Dummies (3rd edition by Laura Fitton, Anum Hussain, and Brittany Leaning) is a book filled with practical information whether you are using Twitter for social or for business purposes or both!

 

Twitter’s limit of 140 characters forces you to focus your thoughts into concise, direct sound bites.  You have 160 characters for your bio statement which could also be your mission statement.

 

 

“@yourtwitterhandle” is where ___________ (types of people) can find ____________ (the value of following your account)

Be sure to link back to your main website so they can learn even more about you and visit/stay at your location.

The key is to give your audience a reason to follow your tweets.  What makes you and your place of hospitality so unique?

  • Amenities
  • Attractions
  • Packages

 

How Businesses Use Twitter:

  • To network with customers and see what they’re saying
  • To answer questions
  • To finely tune a company image
  • To poll and pull in feedback
  • To bring in new leads and customers
  • To take advantage of an innovative form of advertising

 

Twitter Tips:

  • Listen: pay attention to what is going on around you on Twitter
  • Balance: have a good ratio of conversational to business tweets
  • Engage: interact with other Twitter users, follow back people who follow you
  • Public relations: plan and promote events, proactively notify the press

 

Valuable Content to Tweet:

  • Images: pictures of your hospitality location
  • Links to articles: about your business or local area
  • Quotes: to make others think or share great reviews
  • Data: such as useful facts
  • Entertaining content: such as clean humor
  • Smart tips: relevant to what you do
  • Recognition and curation of other great accounts
  • Probing questions: to learn more about your audience
  • Smart answers to others’ questions: be helpful and genuine
  • Retweets: share the tweets that your happy customers mention you in

 

Whether you are a bed and breakfast inn, hotel, or restaurant, your place of hospitality can use Twitter to attract more guests.  With all of these ways to use Twitter and the types of valuable content to share, you can to use Twitter for hospitality business growth.

 

 

Upcoming Innkeeping Conferences

upcoming innkeeping conferences

Don’t miss these upcoming innkeeping conferences in 2016.  In January, hundreds of innkeepers and industry partners from all over the country (and beyond) will meet in Austin, Texas to experience the biggest industry conference in the U.S. The PAII Innkeeping Conference & Trade Show January 10 – 14, 2016, will showcase industry trends, best practices, and encourage you to renew and build new relationships with industry partner vendors and innkeepers alike.

Join in special events, mixers, and cutting-edge education, tailored to aspiring to novice to master innkeepers.  You’ll learn new ways to drive your business forward, refine your services, and exceed your business goals at over 40 live sessions.  You’ll consult face-to-face with industry professionals, and engage all of your senses at the Innkeeper Trade Show.

Hosted by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, this conference will provide insight and perspective on our vibrant, challenging, ever changing industry, and more specifically, your investment. Gain a renewed focus, build vital connections, and reignite the passion that drives your hospitality business.

Upcoming-Innkeeping-Conferences
Celebrate 25 years of CABBI (the California Assocation of Bed and Breakfast Inns).

Join them January 31 – February 2, 2016 at the Monterey Marriott for this once-a-year opportunity! Network with fellow innkeepers during the 2016 InnSpire Conference & Trade Show. This year’s trade show is the largest yet and promises to introduce you to the latest and greatest in industry products and services. Join us Monday night on the 10th floor of the Marriott as we host a celebration in honor of CABBI’s 25th anniversary!

The conference will kick off on Sunday with opening keynote speaker Nancy Friedman! An expert in customer service, Nancy is excited to provide InnSpire attendees with real-world takeaways to implement right away and make a difference in your business.  CABBI has over a dozen educational sessions planned, including their always-popular round-table sessions.

upcoming innkeeping conferences

Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers from all over the Mid-Atlantic region are invited to attend the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Trade Show and Conference at the Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia from March 6 through March 8.  Learn from nationally known bed and breakfast industry experts.  Products and services related to the B&B industry will be on exhibit.

 

upcoming innkeeping conferences
The 2016 Knowledge Sharing Summit and Marketplace, hosted by the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals, will take place in Nashville, Tennessee from April 4 through the 6th.  This event will feature over 50 learning opportunities including Think Tank problem busting round tables and workshops that span educational paths from everything from Future Innkeepers to Back of the House to Guest Experience to Heads in Beds, plus multiple pre-conference sessions including professionally facilitated state and local association leader events and more.

If you want to share other bed and breakfast industry events (such as innkeeping conferences) that will take place in 2016, feel free to comment below.  Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging improves the marketing success of bed and breakfast businesses.  Contact us to learn how we help increase your inn’s revenue.  Let’s have our best year yet!

Everybody Writes: Tweet & Post

everybody writes

 

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content discusses practical tips for writing on Twitter and Facebook.  Using social media the right way can be very beneficial to your bed and breakfast brand.  Using social media the wrong way has the very real potential to damage your B&B’s reputation.

 

Writing For Twitter:

  • Establish who you are (how your bed and breakfast improves peoples lives)
  • Tell your bigger story (your passion for hospitality and hosting guests)
  • Share the why & who, not just the what (ex: what specific book are you reading and why–do not just tweet that you are reading)
  • Personalized, not too personal (there is a fine line between sharing yourself and sharing too much)
  • Be cautious with automation (also do real-time tweets)
  • Use Twitter to float ideas and see what gets nibbled (see what people are responding to)
  • Use a clear call to action (be obvious about how you want others to respond)
  • Use Bitly to shorten links (offers rich analytics and saves characters)
  • Tweets around 120 characters are optimal (most likely to be retweeted)
  • Share your history (ex: share pictures)
  • Tap into what people care about (ex: travel, food, relationships, etc.)
  • Convey your personality (ex: be you!)
  • Track and follow trending hashtags (what is trending and how can you join in the conversation?)
  • Do not use more than 2 or 3 hashtags in a single tweet (#otherwise #it #can #be #annoying)

Writing For Facebook:

  • Connect with existing communities of potential buyers
  • Target by niche, not by numbers (ex: those who have liked other bed and breakfasts)
  • Your brand’s online voice and tone are very important (be professional and friendly)
  • Post when your audience is online (makes sense to be online when they are!)
  • Posts with images get the greatest amount of engagement (always use images with permission)
  • Keep each Facebook post brief (ideal is 100-140 characters)

Bed and breakfasts can take advantage of using social media websites like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about their luxurious accommodations.  Be careful to tweet and post pictures and information that is consistent with the image you want to portray about your bed and breakfast.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Tips

 

visual storytelling tips

 

This is the last of the series of blog posts discussing the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio.  This features their smart tips for social media photography.

 

 

Visual storytelling tips and social media photography tips:

  • Up your resolution to the highest resolution possible
  • Collages need to be of similar resolution
  • Divide your images into thirds either horizontally or vertically
  • Align your image slightly off center to make it more engaging
  • Variety matters, use a range of angles and setups
  • Take more pictures than you think you need
  • Frame your shot with less cluttered backgrounds
  • Use close-cropped images
  • Work the angles
  • Shine bright with lighting and filters
  • Show don’t sell
  • Celebrate occasions
  • Share great quotes
  • Include photos related to your company’s lifestyle
  • Inspire through the use of images by showcasing your company’s lifestyle, values, and opinions
  • Show how your products and services contribute to the greater good
  • Encourage emotion by featuring a sentimental side when appropriate
  • Propel action into a still image
  • Sprinkle in humor and have a little fun
  • Embrace creativity
  • Not all pictures have to have only one item
  • Go behind the scenes to make your customers feel like part of your brand

This is the conclusion to the blog series about the book The Power of Visual Storytelling.  I highly recommend this book.  I literally took twenty pages of handwritten notes from information in this book!  A special thank you to the authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio for letting me share some of their book.  I am not being compensated for this review, I just really think this book is great any business looking to grow their online marketing.

 

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

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