Tag Archives: social media

How To Effectively Market Your Bed and Breakfast

Guest room with large bed, fireplace, windows, ceiling fan, view of outdoor area beyond the room

 

 

Wonder how to effectively market your B&B inn? You’re not alone. More and more innkeepers are realizing that in order to effectively market their bed and breakfast, they need the outside help of hospitality marketing professionals.

 

There are, of course, B&B owners that do a wonderful job marketing themselves. One of the best examples is Chloe Tuttle, Owner and Innkeeper of Big Mill Bed & Breakfast in Williamston, North Carolina. Chloe shares her own photographs (which include pictures of the bountiful produce and gorgeous flowers she grows). She writes Chloe’s Blog, and she makes her own recipes that she writes about in her blog posts. She also takes the time to let potential guests know what they can expect from a stay at her place.

Chloe is active on social media. In addition, she even gives her website visitors the opportunity to enter their email address to, “Sign up for Updates from Chloe at Big Mill B&B” and Get updates of happenings on the farm, recipes and things to do in eastern N.C.”

However, it is perfectly reasonable to want to focus on taking care of your guests and handling the administrative and operations parts of your business. If you are frustrated with marketing (or simply lack the time or interest to effectively market), hiring an outside expert may be exactly what you need.

A good hospitality marketer will make sure that you making the most with your website, your blog, email marketing, social media, advertising, and other promotions. An outside perspective can help you better see things from your guests’ perspective. They may share some great ideas that help your marketing take off.

These are all great ideas that B&B marketers should recommend that innkeepers do:

  • Join one or more hospitality associations for networking, education, and added credibility
  • Make sure your website is mobile responsive (it adjusts to the size of whatever device it is being viewed from)
  • Make sure your website is (https://) secure meaning that your data is encrypted and it has a firewall to protect it from hackers and viruses
  • Show plenty of professional photographs (of all areas that guests can access, make sure to have great lighting, and good photographers use props such as coffee mugs and blankets)
  • All photography on your website should be “pinnable” meaning that a visitor to your website can easily pin your images to their Pinterest account (millions of people use Pinterest)
  • Be sure to have social media icons on your website so that people can find you on social media. Bonus points if your social media handles match across networks.
  • Make sure your booking engine (your website reservation software) is easily accessible via your website (and the two work seamlessly together)
  • Prominently display your B&B name, city, location, phone number, and email address on your website
  • Be consistently active across a variety of social media websites. See my blog post about social media content themes. It is always good to share different types of content.
  • Your blog should feature the best about your inn, your local area (including other local businesses), and your local events (especially those that happen every year)
  • Be sure to have a thoroughly filled out About Us website page
  • Seek permission from each of your guests to add them to your email list, then they will continue to receive regular updates
  • Remember that innkeepers are not limited to earning income solely from overnight stays. There are plenty of extra things you can do to boost your income (such as offer packages, host events, and have a B&B shop, restaurant, tea room, and/or spa)
  • Encourage happy guests to give you a review online. Be sure to respond in a timely manner to anyone who leaves your inn an online review.
  • Reward your guests with a frequent stay and/or guest referral program.
  • Be sure to present your inn as a consistent brand (this includes your logo, your messaging, your topics of focus, and more).

If you are looking to hire a B&B marketing professional to effectively market your inn, Kristi Dement is available for a free 20-minute phone call. Contact Kristi and set up a phone appointment today.

I have been helping inns with their marketing since 2013. I am also the Marketing Director of Bed & Breakfast Magazine. I will be launching Retreat Business Academy with my partner (and Retreats Expert) Kirsten Polman in the next month. I will share more details as the time nears.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

10 Terrific Twitter Tips for B&B’s

10 twitter tips

 

Did you know that there are around 335 million monthly active Twitter users?  Did you know that 500 million tweets are sent each day?  Most of us know that Twitter is a popular social media website. In fact, a single day’s worth of tweets would fill a 10 million page book!

 

 

Here are some quick tips so you can get the best out of using Twitter to promote your bed and breakfast inn:

1) Know your audience in order to target your message to the right people.  You want to write to appeal to your specific market–not everyone.  What kind of bed and breakfast guests would you like to attract?    

  • Be pet friendly if you want guests with pets
  • Be couple friendly and require kids to be a minimum age
  • Promote being healthy by not allowing smoking on all grounds
  • Accommodate guests with allergies or restricted diets when you cook breakfasts
  • Reach out to those getting married or renewing their vows with ceremonies
  • Provide spa services to guests who like to be pampered
  • Offer extra amenities such as hot tubs or private balcony views

2) Regularly spend time listening to the needs and wants of your target market.  What would ease their pain and make their lives better?

  • Need time to get away from it all
  • Want to relax with a loved one
  • Want to visit a local relative without inconveniencing them
  • Like to visit tourist spots in your area
  • Want personal touch of a B&B versus big hotel

3) Have strategies behind who you follow.  You do not have to follow everyone. Be selective and show your audience what they like to see. 

  • Travel tips (give them useful information)
  • Scenic pictures of your area (entice them to visit)
  • Baby animals (who does not like baby animals?)
  • Recipes (you may even offer a cooking class to your guests)
  • Local activities (show them what they can do in your area)

4) Have a consistent presence online.  Tweet at least four to six times per day if possible.

5) Provide useful content based on your brands’ goals.  Selling should not be the focus.

  • Tweet powerful quotes
  • Update readers about your area events
  • Share meaningful stories

6) Tweet with images.  People are visual creatures and tweets with pictures are more than twice as likely to be retweeted.  Images can convey more than words do. 

  • Share pictures of the bedrooms in your bed and breakfast
  • Tweet pictures of your outdoor views including landscaping
  • Share pictures of your delightful breakfasts and goodies made
  • Share pictures of local community events including concerts and sports games

7) Be active on other social media channels and have a blog on your website.  Blogs provide fresh content the search engines love.  More online connections come from having a strong presence on other social media websites.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Linked In
  • Pinterest

8) Use hashtags (#) so the reach of your tweets spreads to people searching for that term. Use trending hashtags (labeled “trends”) on the bottom left.  Make sure the hashtags are relevant to the tweet and two hashtags is plenty.

  • Newsworthy events
  • Celebrities
  • Holidays (including national food holidays)
  • This day in history
  • Sports
  • Trending area activities

9) Always have a call to action.  Know what you want them to do after they read your tweet.

10) Monitor your Twitter results with other websites.  Some Twitter tools are available for free or to use on a free trial basis.  Try them out to see which you prefer.

  • Buffer
  • Hootsuite
  • Tweetdeck

When you use these tips consistently, you will see a dramatic increase in your numbers:

  • More Twitter followers
  • More retweets
  • More blog subscribers
  • More guests
  • And more income!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Are You Making These Easy Mistakes With Your Bed and Breakfast?

camera next to lap top and social media icons

As a bed and breakfast owner and/or innkeeper, you want your hospitality business to shine. However, there may be some things that you are doing, easy mistakes, that are causing you to lose potential guests who decide to book elsewhere. I’m talking about making mistakes that are relatively straightforward to fix yet are powerful in their results. This post will focus on photography, social media, and website tips.

Photography

Professional photography is essential to increasing your occupancy rates. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the photography on my website done by a professional hospitality photographer?
  • Are the photos attractive and do they inspire others to want to visit?
  • Are my pictures large enough and well lit so people can easily see in the rooms?
  • Do my pictures of indoor rooms also feature the view outside our rooms?
  • Does the image contain anything unsightly (such as a toilet or a trash can)?
  • Does the room look clean and well-organized (and free of clutter)?
  • Were the images made to include extra special touches like a vase of colorful flowers, a delicious-looking tray of tasty food, premium assorted chocolates, and your own branded pottery mugs (or wine glasses)?
  • Have your guests ever said that your pictures do not do your place justice? Or that your inn is so much better in person?
  • Do you feature everything your guests will see?
    • all the guest rooms (with detailed descriptions of their amenities)
    • your bath rooms (if they are attractive and without view of any toilet)
    • all the common rooms for your guests to hang out (including conference and entertainment rooms)
    • the outside of your B&B (including the grounds, any flower or vegetable gardens, private lakes, swimming pools, etc.)
    • anything else open to guests and/or the public on your property (restaurant, spa, tea room, game room, etc.)

Social Media

Social media is a great way for guests to know you more. In addition to sharing images and recipes, you can share blog posts, let people know about upcoming events (at your inn and/or your local area), use #hashtags so your content can be found by others easier, and much more.

Are you regularly sharing social media content so you stay top of mind?

Here is 2019 social media statistics of some of the most popular networks:

  • Facebook: 1.4 billion daily active users, 300 millions photos uploaded daily, 8 billion videos
  • Instagram: 500 million daily active users, 95 million photos uploaded daily
  • LinkedIn: 200 million dailiy active users, 20 million company pages
  • Pinterest: 200 million daily active users, 1 billion boards created, 100 billion pins created
  • Snapchat: 178 million daily active users, 3 billion daily snaps, 10 billion daily videos
  • Twitter: 100 million daily active users, 140 million daily published tweets
  • YouTube: 30 million daily active users, 5 billion views daily, average length of visit 40 minutes

Website

Your website is a window that potential guests can get a sneak peek through before they decide to book. This is an ideal place to showcase everything your inn and local area offers to guests. The following questions are about key website features that will set you apart from other inns.

  • Does your website look professional, clean, and uncluttered (with easy-to-read font and plenty of white space)?
  • Is your website mobile responsive (does it adjust to whatever device it is being viewed from)?
  • Do you have an “About Us” page that details things like the history of your inn (if you own a historical property) and the reason you became an innkeeper?
  • Do you have pictures of every room/suite/cabin that guests can stay in? Do you list the individual amenities of each place?
  • Are the website pictures clickable for people to pin on Pinterest?
  • Do you have visible social media icons that represent everywhere your inn has a presence online?
  • Do you let people know what to expect for breakfast time? What about your complimentary refreshments and goodies?
  • Do you share the logos of professional organizations (like Select Registry and B&B associations) you belong to and major hospitality achievements (like Trip Advisor ratings or awards) you have received?
  • Do you have a Google map and directions for people to find you easily?
  • Do you have a mobile friendly booking engine connected to your website so people can “Book Now”?
  • Do you list your guest packages and specials? How easy can they be added by those booking online?
  • Is there a short (ideally less than five minutes) video of your inn that people can view directly from your website?
  • Do you have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page that answers questions people often ask you?
  • Do you offer a downloadable vacation guide to your local area?
  • Is it clear to people how they can contact you (phone number, email address and/or contact form)?

In this post we focused on three areas where easy mistakes can happen: your photography, your social media presence, and your website. When these areas are strong, your business will likely be strong, too.

How To Find The Best Social Media Content Themes

social media icons

Social media content themes are specific types of content shared via social media. The key is to consistently feature a variety of content that is aimed at attracting your target audience, the type of guests you serve.

No two bed and breakfast inns are alike. However, there are some common social media content themes that work well for a wide range of accommodations.

Amenities

Potential guests like to see what amenities are available to them during their stay. Be sure to show pictures of amenities such as private hot tubs and pool tables.

Behind the Scenes

Since people are naturally curious, showing a sneak peek at something (like preparing for an event) is quite popular. Show details like table settings.

Blog Posts

Always share your blog posts on social media. By regularly blogging and sharing blog posts on social media, you will have a strong online presence.

Branding

Feature what you want your inn to be known for including your logo and slogan which represent your hospitality business. Only share messages you want associated with your brand.

Events

Showcase events that your inn hosts. Whether they are private events or events open to the public, by featuring these events in social media, you draw attention to your inn.

Guest Services

Perhaps you offer a complimentary wine and cheese social time every day. Maybe you offer the option for breakfast to be delivered to guest rooms. Be sure to show evidence of your unique hospitality touches.

Holidays

Show off holiday decor at your inn and share upcoming holiday-related activities in your area. The holidays are a great thing to promote in social media. In fact, having holiday-themed pin boards on Pinterest is really popular.

Hospitality

Extending generous hospitality should be a part of your signature as an accommodations provider. Be sure to share guest testimonials that thank you for your hospitality.

Humor

Everyone likes to laugh now and then. It is okay to feature something funny as long as it is clean and appropriate.

Income Boosters

It is okay to occasionally promote extra products and services your guests can purchase. Be sure to feature images of these products and services to grab the attention of those on social media.

Local attractions

Since people often choose their location BEFORE they choose their lodging, it follows that you should promote your local attractions. Be sure to feature what draws most people to your local area.

Local businesses

To support your fellow local businesses (including restaurants and shops), it is always a good idea to promote (and tag them) in social media. You may want to arrange for exclusive deals your guests receive (like a coupon for free dessert at local restaurant).

Local events

Is your area known annual events that take place every year? Festivals, marathons, performances that regularly occur are great to promote.

Milestones

If you (or your inn or your town) is celebrating a milestone (like 20 years in business), then by all means feature that in your social media. With their permission, you can even feature the milestones your guests are celebrating (such as birthdays, anniversaries, and promotions).

Networking

Social media networking occurs as you interact with your public. This includes previous guests and potential guests as well as local organizations with whom you want to keep in touch (such as your Chamber of Commerce or local Welcome Center).

Niche related topics

This depends upon the types of guests your inn wants to attract. Your inn could be pet-friendly, on a farm, near famous attractions, attract adventure lovers, and/or being historic. Feature those things that attract those types of guests. Pictures are very helpful in attracting potential guests to your social media.

Occasions

These could be special occasions for your overnight guests or private events you host. If there is a specific theme to your celebration (ex: costume party), you can let your social media audience know that as well.

Packages

Feature your guest packages on social media. Show pictures of what comes with each package (like a romantic package that includes rose petals scattered on their bed).

Pictures

Almost every post should have an attractive or attention-getting picture with it. Wow your guests by letting them see what they will experience. Professional photographs are essential to attracting guests.

Press

Be sure to feature any positive press you receive. You can also set up a Press Kit on your website, which lists links to every mention of your inn in the media. You can provide the name of the person to contact for interviews.

Products

Whether you have your own gift shop or sell a handful of things like T-shirts and coffee mugs, you can share the occasional picture of your merchandise. Of course, for every promotional post or tweet, you should have four or five social media shares that are not.

Reputation

Always share something that enhances your reputation such as your high average guest rating. If you are a member of Select Registry or a bed and breakfast association, be sure to include that in social media as well as the logos on your website.

Rooms

Guests love to get a look at where they are staying BEFORE they book their rooms. Professional photographs of all of your rooms and guest bath rooms are essential to attracting guests.

Questions

Engagement happens when people interact with your content. By asking your social media audience questions, you are encouraging them to respond and interact with you.

Quotes

Quotes are always popular. They could be said by a famous or notable person or centered around topics such as love and travel.

Recipes

Be willing to share some of your most popular recipes in social media or provide information if you or your B&B association offers a cookbook. Be sure to share pictures along with your recipes.

Seasonal

You can promote the seasons in social media. These can be outdoor pictures as well as decor pictures. You can offer seasonal packages or specials as well.

Stories

Stories are memorable. When you share your own story (how you became an innkeeper) or the stories of your guests (like the couple who returns every year to your inn), you develop a connection with your readers.

Testimonials

Testimonials are a great way to share the awesome things guests are saying about you (without being the one to brag about it)! People trust reviews from guests who have stayed with you. That is why guest satisfaction is so important.

Trending topics

On Twitter, there is always a list of trending topics. If there is something trending that is positive, and you’d like to mention it, then you can.

Trivia

Make getting to know more about your inn or your location fun with trivia facts you can share in social media. Some social media contest have guests guess how many of something is in the glass jar (like jellybeans) and the closest answer wins something like a free overnight stay.

User-generated content

If a guest shares a great picture they took and gives you permission to post it, then by all means do so and be sure to give them credit for their image. You can also share guest comments you have received. If they wrote their comments in a guest book, you can take a picture of their comments.

Videos

Video content is in high demand. According to the Wall Street Journal, over one billion hours of video are watched on YouTube each day.

Summary

By consistently varying your social media content themes, you will attract (and/or maintain) a high social media following. Innkeepers, would you rather focus on your guests than do social media and/or blogging? Contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging today!

 

How To Increase Your Bookings

palm trees by the ocean

 

Do you know how to increase your bookings? This blog post will share insights from the book, The Tourist Magnet Formula: Transform Your Hotel Into a Fully-Booked Tourist Attraction Using Modern, Practical Digital Marketing Tools by Andrei Tiu.

 

Understand Your Values and Communicate Your Brand

  • Look at what guests mention in their reviews
  • Know what marketing messages you want to communicate
  • Analyze your guests’ perception and the way you actually want to be perceived
  • See how the two perspectives match
  • Identify where there are gaps or differences

Assess Your Communication Activity

  • Note followers, engagement, and posting consistency on all social media
  • Look at email open (% of people who opened the email) and click-through rates (% of people who clicked on specific links in your email)
  • Examine partnerships with any travel booking sites and travel agencies
  • Make a list of any media attention and publicity you receive
  • Determine what drives the most traffic, engagement, bookings, and effective social media results
  • How well is your marketing message being conveyed to your customers?

Ask the Right Questions

  • What is your ideal vision for your hospitality business?
  • Do guests associate your business/association with certain values?
  • If so, are they the ones you wanted them to be?
  • Identify the best ways to enhance your unique offerings and attract your ideal guests
  • What insight can you draw from your guest feedback?
  • How would you like for your guests to refer to their experiences from now on?

Design Your Objectives the SMART Way

  • Specific, simple, and significant: What exactly do you want to achieve? Why is the goal important? What resources will you need?
  • Measurable and meaningful: How much? How many? How will you know when you achieve your goals?
  • Achievable and attainable: How realistic are your goals? How will you achieve them considering other constraints that may interfere?
  • Relevant and realistic: Will it get you closer to your “dream business scenario”? Is it the right time to put in the energy?
  • Time bound, time sensible, and time limited: When do you need to achieve your goals? What can you do today, this week, this month, and this year that will get you closer?

Know Which Areas You Would Like to Improve, By How Much, and In What Time Frame

  • Bookings/reservations
  • Branding (customer perceptions)
  • Growth (more guests or association members)
  • Marketing (including email marketing and social media)
  • Revenue

Define Your Marketing Strategy

  • Know where you are
  • Know where you want to go
  • Have deadlines for measuring and achieving success
  • Know your target audience (your ideal guests)
  • Establish how you will reach them
  • Gain clarity over your desired branding

Define Your Target Audience

  • Have an “ideal customer persona” (description of your ideal guests)
  • Then segment groups of people that will fit under that criteria
  • The language used for each segment should be different and match as closely as possible to their type of language and attitudes
  • Deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time using the right language and right channel

Define Your Marketing Channels Mix

  • Decide which actions to take first to maximize your impact
  • Try to be active on at least 4 or 5 social media channels (where your audience is)
  • Determine how you want to position your inn/association
  • Understand your unique features and how they are important to your guests to communicate them effectively
  • Identify your brand values to differentiate yourself from your competition
  • Consider new products and services valuable to your ideal customers

Check For These Website Factors

  • Clean and easy to navigate (does it visually make sense?)
  • Descriptions (how well does your content appeal to potential guests?)
  • Loading time (the slower the website, the faster they leave)
  • Local area (do you feature local attractions and events?)
  • Mobile optimization (does it adapt to different devices?)
  • Partners (do you promote any partnerships with local businesses?)
  • Pictures (are they attractive and professional?)
  • Reviews (do you include the comments of previous guests?)
  • Social Media (do you have links to each of your ACTIVE social media networks?)
  • Usability (how user friendly is it?)
  • Video (do you have video content to give guests a more personal look?)

Use Social Media Wisely

  • Blog regularly and share on social media
  • Convey your brand personality
  • Encourage your guests to follow your social media and mention you
  • Follow accounts with 1,000+ followers
  • Hashtags to get discovered easier
  • Interact with your audience
  • Links to articles and recipes
  • Planned posts and consistent activity
  • Post pictures
  • Real-time updates
  • Share descriptions
  • Show what makes your accommodations unique
  • Strong call to action
  • Time of day your audience is most active
  • Titles that include keywords your public uses
  • Upload videos
  • Use language your audience uses

Build Your Online Reputation

  • 3rd party opinions and guest recommendations tend to be far more trusted
  • Ask for guest reviews in the best possible way
  • Automate email to follow up with guests
  • Encourage corporate travelers
  • Influencer marketing (post guest reviews from notable people)
  • Partner with local information and travel centers
  • Show your intention to keep in touch further

Reach Your Dreams

When you successfully implement these factors in your marketing, you will increase your bookings. Need more clarity? Contact Kristi from Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free 15-minute phone conversation.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

 

How to Have a Thriving Bed and Breakfast Biz

snow-covered cabin in woods

Wondering how to have a thriving bed and breakfast biz? Consistently booked rooms AND a profitable hospitality business? Bed and Breakfast Blogging helps make that happen with our professional blogging and social media expertise.

Blogging is a great way for guests (and potential guests) to get to know all about your fabulous bed and breakfast as well as your area attractions. The benefits of blogging include:

  • attracting more people to your bed and breakfast
  • providing fresh content that search engines reward
  • positioning yourself as a top bed and breakfast
  • increasing trust and credibility with your guests

We can tailor keyword specific content for your bed and breakfast website as well as attract more visitors with a regular blog.  We can describe wonderful amenities of your bed and breakfast such as a cozy fireplace, romantic whirlpool tub, and plush king-sized bed as well as a private balcony, spacious swimming pool, and flowering gardens.

Imagine your potential customers reading about your delicious breakfasts and even sharing some of your delicious recipes with them. Bed and Breakfast Blogging can discuss the unique history of your own bed and breakfast. We can even write about your custom packages that may include concert tickets, spa treatments, and tickets to local attractions.  

We take the time to understand what make your accommodations so special so we can communicate that with your audience. We can feature any of the following (and more) that apply to your property:

  • Amenities
  • Art
  • Classes available to guests
  • Cookbook(s)
  • Complimentary (extras that guests receive at no additional charge)
  • Flowers (arrangements and plantings)
  • Gardens and landscaping
  • Gift shop
  • Guest rooms and bathrooms
  • Jacuzzi/hot tub(s)
  • Meeting space
  • Parking space
  • Pools to pool tables
  • Private events (birthdays, anniversaries, showers, etc.)
  • Restaurant
  • Retreats you host
  • Spa and spa services
  • Tea room
  • Vehicle charging station
  • Weddings
  • Wine collection or tours
  • Yoga

Contact us today so we can set up your own personalized business strategy to unlock your B&B’s greatest potential. We help bed and breakfasts become more profitable as well as grow their social media presence and add effective blog posts that feature what makes you, and your local area, worth experiencing. We take care of marketing your bed and breakfast inn so you can take care of your guests! 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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

Amazing Bed and Breakfast Marketing From A to Z

aerial view of mansion with pool, parking lot, and grass with trees

 

Amazing Bed and Breakfast Marketing From A to Z

What if there was an amazing way to market your bed and breakfast by keeping the alphabet in mind? These are some of the most important factors to consider when blogging about your bed and breakfast inn.

 

 

  • Amenities: What extra amenities does your B&B have that others do not? It is important to know what sets you apart from your competition. Whether you have in-room hot tubs or fireplaces, this is a great thing to mention in your blog and on your website.
  • Antiques: Do you have any unique antiques that guests can look at? You may want to keep priceless or fragile antiques behind glass to protect them. Some B&B’s sell antiques to their guests.
  • Art: Do guests admire your art collection? Whether you have paintings, murals, or sculptures, people enjoying looking at art. You may refer them to your local art museums and galleries.
  • Awards: Do you have some honor or distinction that is noteworthy? It is okay to mention your Diamond Rating level, your prize-winning recipe, or anything else that distinguishes you from other places of lodging.
  • Bathrooms: Show off your spacious, well-decorated, and luxurious bathrooms with pictures and blog about recent upgrades.
  • Beach: Having a beach or waterfront property adds to your appeal. Share plenty of outdoor pictures as well as pictures of the outside view from inside your inn.
  • Bedrooms: You could let guests know the meaning behind the names of your bedrooms. Is it named after a former resident, your state bird, or a local sports team? Blog about what your own guests tell you they love about your guest rooms.
  • Benefits: Blog about the benefits that come to those who take a break to relax and spend time with loved ones. With permission, you could feature some of your guests and have them share how they have benefited from their stay at your B&B.
  • Birthdays: It is always great to ask guests the reason for their visit. Even if the reason is not a birthday, it may be a good idea to find out those dates so you can send guests a postcard or email on their birthday to remind them of their stay and entice them to want to come back.
  • Breakfasts: Do you cater to special diets like gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan? How do guests receive their breakfast: delivered to their room or eaten in a common place? These are all things you can blog about. Even give a behind the scenes look at your kitchen or interview your chef.
  • Business: Do you host a number of business travelers in your area? Do you have a conference room and technology resources like free Wi-Fi and guest access to a printer and fax machine? Blogging about this may result in hosting more business travelers.
  • Classes: Do you teach, or know of someone who could do this, a certain skill? This could be cooking, dancing, photography, etc. By offering unique classes, you can attract more people to your inn.
  • Complimentary: Emphasize all the free things that come to your B&B guests versus those who stay at your local hotels. This includes: breakfast, concierge services, parking, etc. This gives people a reason to choose to stay with you over your local hotel competition.
  • Concerts: Are you near a big venue like a concert hall or stadium? Blog about the next musician or theatre performance coming to your area.
  • Decks: If you have a deck with an amazing view, by all means blog about it and show pictures of the view.   People like to get away to scenic places.
  • Dining out: Do you provide your guests with a list of local restaurants or have local restaurant menus available for guests to browse? You could feature certain restaurants you know are popular with your guests.
  • Eco-Friendly: If you are an environmentally friendly bed and breakfast, then you should write about what things you do to earn that green distinction. If you line dry your blankets and/or offer an electric car charging station, guests will appreciate that.
  • Events: Keep an eye on events that are happening in your local area. A great way to do this is to regularly check your local and state visitors’ bureaus.
  • Farms: If you live on a farm that grows crops and/or has animals, blog about this. Some guests would love to meet animals from your petting zoo. Other guests want the experience of picking berries, for example.
  • Fireplaces: If you have fireplaces inside and/or fire pits outside, this is an attractive feature. Mention that indoor guests can sip hot cocoa or drink wine by the fire. Outside they could roast marshmallows and make s’mores.
  • Flowers: As long as you know your guests do not have any allergies, displaying fresh flowers on throughout your B&B is a nice added touch. These flowers could come from your own garden or a local florist, farmers market, or grocery store.
  • Frequent stay: Reward your repeat guests in some way. This could be a free upgraded room, a free bottle of wine, free massage, or even an extra night.
  • Games: Do you offer cards, board games, or even video games at your inn? You may have a pool table or air hockey table or even have a horseshoe pit outside. Blog about the games that your guests enjoy playing at your bed and breakfast.
  • Garden: Guests love to walk the grounds of bed and breakfasts with gardens of all kinds, including: flower gardens, produce gardens, and rock gardens.
  • Handicap accessible: Do you accommodate handicapped people? If you have these available, discuss your ramps, ground floor guest rooms, wheelchair friendly bathrooms, and elevators in a blog post.
  • History: Many bed and breakfasts are registered historic places. You could blog about the history of your B&B including its former occupants and what it was used for. Some bed and breakfasts were once private residences, boarding schools, or used for other purposes.
  • Holiday: Use the time leading up to holidays to show pictures of how your inn is decorated and discuss local events related to the holidays.
  • Honeymooners: Many couples choose to stay at a bed and breakfast for their honeymoon. You may even have a Honeymoon Suite as part of your inn.
  • Innkeepers: Your guests want to know more about the innkeepers, the people who run your inn.
  • Just in Time: You could offer discounts based on the time of their stay. This could be last minute specials, mid-week discounts, or stay for a specific number of nights and get the next night free.
  • Kid-friendly: All bed and breakfast inns need to establish their minimum age requirement. Some bed and breakfasts cater to romance and do not allow anyone under a specific age to stay overnight. Others B&B’s are known as “kid friendly” and welcomes kids as well as provide accommodations like adjoining rooms.
  • Lakes: Being located on a lake is a tremendous advantage. If your guests can go fishing, swimming, waterskiing, rafting, canoeing, or do any other water-related activities, this is an opportunity to blog about it and share pictures.
  • Leisure activities: Anything that your guests can do for fun should be mentioned in your blog. I recommend having a list of links to local leisure activities such as amusement parks and golf courses.
  • Libraries: Do you have a common room that is perfect for guests to read in? Do you have a library of books available for them to use during their stay? If so, you could write a blog post about it. If you know a local author (or happen to be one yourself), consider hosting a book talk or book signing. Your library can include movies that guests can watch in their rooms.
  • Linens: Brag about your high thread count sheets, plush towels, and luxurious robes.
  • Local area: Find out why most people visit your area and blog about those reasons often. For example, if you are located near a famous race car track, feature that.
  • Membership: Belonging to associations can attract more guests. Guests rest easy when they know that you are part of a bed and breakfast association; have a certain Diamond rating, and so on. Membership in these organizations adds credibility.
  • Mountains: Bed and breakfasts located in the mountains can show their breathtaking views and discuss those pictures on their blog and website.
  • Museums: There are many types of museums that could be in your local area: art museums, history museums, natural science museums, and even sports museums (or hall of fames). If your inn is near any museums, blog about this.
  • Mysteries: Some bed and breakfasts offer Murder Mystery evenings or weekends. This may even include a dinner and/or getting into a costume. Those who like reading mystery novels are great candidates for people who are likely to enjoy these kinds of mysteries.
  • Night walk: Some local area events happen late at night or you could host your own night tour.
  • Occasion: A special occasion might bring people to your inn. This could be an anniversary or even a family reunion or class reunion.
  • Outdoors: It is important to know what people like to do outdoors in your area.   It often depends upon the weather your area receives and the topography of your region.
  • Packages: Add more value by putting together guest packages based upon interests, seasons, area activities, occasions, and much more. This could mean making arrangements, on behalf of your guests, for restaurants, tours, concerts, and more.
  • Partnerships: You may decide it is in your best interest to form partnerships with local business people. For example, in exchange for exclusively using only their business, you can get a deal with a local florist to reduce their rates.
  • Patios: If you have an outdoor patio area for your guests, take pictures of it. Blog about any outdoor events you hosted on your patio.
  • Patriotic: American patriotic holidays include Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veterans Day. Your bed and breakfast may decorate, host events, and/or offer patriotic packages.
  • Pets: Your bed and breakfast may not allow pets or the only pets allowed are the innkeepers. Other bed and breakfast inns may accommodate pets in certain places of the inn (like the first floor, rooms with private exits, and private cottages) or it could be entirely pet friendly. If your B&B does allow pets, you could devote a blog post about the lovable pets that have stayed.
  • Pictures: They can say much more than words ever will. Be sure to have flattering pictures of your bed and breakfast inn on your website and in your blog posts. The pictures should accurately represent what your inn looks like today.
  • Pools: If your B&B has an indoor or outdoor pool or hot tub, you can share pictures of that. Guests really appreciate private in room hot tubs.
  • Porches: Many bed and breakfasts are known for their porches. Share pictures of your porch with its rockers, swing, and other furniture.
  • Promotions: Bed and breakfasts can offer special promotions based on the holidays, seasons, and local events. This could include discounts, complimentary services, and free upgrades.
  • Quiet: Guests like to get away from the noise of everyday life. If you live in a tranquil setting, write about the compliments you receive about being a quiet place to stay.
  • Recreation: Discuss types of recreation guests can take part in on your property as well as in your local area.
  • Redecorating/remodeling: Feature the before and after pictures from a recent redecorating or remodeling project. Blog about how and why you decided to make those changes as well as why guests will want to visit.
  • Referrals: Give your guests incentives to make referrals to their friends and family. The incentive could be a discount on their next stay.
  • Restaurant: If you own your own bed and breakfast restaurant, this part of your inn may be open to the public. This is a great way to draw new overnight guests by giving them a taste of your incredibly delicious food when they come to dine at your restaurant.
  • Retreats: You could offer retreats like yoga retreats, scrapbooking retreats, or business retreats. Blog about the variety of retreats you offer.
  • Reviews: Share genuinely positive reviews you have of local places of interest to your potential guests.
  • Romantic: Bed and breakfasts may be the perfect place to rekindle the romance in your relationship. Relationship building is one of the primary reasons people take vacations.
  • Seasons: Decorate your inn to reflect each new season. This encourages people to return at a different time in the year to enjoy that time, too.
  • Shopping: Whether you have your own bed and breakfast shop or you are near a lot of wonderful area shopping malls and retail outlets, guests who like to shop will want to read about the shopping that is available in your local area.
  • Spas: You may have your own spa or have a partnership with a local spa or masseuse to provide spa services. Having these services sets you apart from other lodging accommodations.
  • Sports: Bed and breakfasts near sporting arenas and stadiums can blog about local sports teams season schedules, players, and coaches. Innkeepers might provide a Sports Package that includes tickets to their choice of certain local sporting events.
  • Tea: Bed and breakfasts may have a tea time or even a tea room. They may serve scones, tea sandwiches, cookies, and other finger food.
  • Ultimate experience: Position your bed and breakfast inn as the ultimate experience in lodging accommodations, hospitality, and cuisine. Encourage guests to give you a five star rating, or if they cannot do so, to talk with you about it instead of sharing their less than 5 star rating. This keeps up your image as the ultimate experience and gives you valuable input for how you can improve your guest experience.
  • Videos: If your bed and breakfast has its own video, be sure to put that on your website in a prominent place for your web visitors to see. Videos show more than pictures do. This allows your guests to get a feel for the layout of your bed and breakfast.
  • Weddings: If your inn hosts weddings, it is wise to dedicate a place on your website for that as well as to blog about it. Smaller bed and breakfasts may do small weddings or elopements.
  • Wine: Depending upon your state laws and licensing, you may host wine tastings or allow your guests to bring their own wine. You may even offer your guests the opportunity to tour one or more local vineyards in your area.
  • Xtra special: This was my “extra special” attempt to come up with a word that starts with “X.” It is important that your guests feel extra special not just when they arrive, but from the moment they see your website and speak with you over the phone.  Your bed and breakfast should have a great reputation.
  • Young and old guests: Bed and breakfasts appeal to young couples as well as older ones. You may have guests that return regularly over the years. That is great to have such loyalty and friendship with your guests.
  • Zzz…. Are your guests ready to have a restful experience at your inn? Make sure that your mattresses are comfortable. Be sure to offer extra pillows and blankets. Have a night light for guests to see their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Be sure to share your blog posts regularly in social media.  No time to write your own blog posts?  Contact us about your bed and breakfast blogging.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Easily Attract More Guests To Your Inn

bedroom with trey ceiling with open glass doors overlooking balcony

 

 

 

How to easily attract more guests to your inn?  One key component is to focus on good things to do, things to see, food to taste, places to explore, and places to go in your local area.

 

 

First, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do most people visit our local area? (ex: for a romantic getaway in a secluded area or in a bustling city with lots of culture)
  • What do people like to do when they visit my area? (ex: attend a major business conference or participate in a marathon for your favorite cause)
  • How could I convince someone to want to visit my area? (ex: write great content about your local area and develop a reputation for showing warm hospitality to your guests)
  • Do I ask for guests to give me great online reviews?  Tell guests when they arrive,  that if for some reason they do not have a five star experience with you, to let them know in person how it could have been better.  For the few who were disappointed, perhaps offer them an upgraded room or some other perk if they decide to return again.  Make it your marketing mission to get 5 star reviews online so others will want to visit.

As you read this list, think about what you could feature in your local area:

Things to Do

  • Bowling
  • Canoeing
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Fairs
  • Festivals
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Horseback riding
  • Hunting
  • Local shopping
  • Marathons
  • Miniature golf
  • Quilting
  • Reading
  • Shopping
  • Spa relaxing
  • Sports
  • Walking
  • Writing
  • Yoga

Things to See

  • Ballet
  • Bird watching
  • Book stores
  • Circus
  • Comedy
  • Concerts
  • Movies
  • Parades
  • Photography
  • Sporting events
  • Theatre

Food to Taste

  • Bakeries
  • Bars
  • Coffee shops
  • Food trucks
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Picnicking
  • Restaurants

Places to Explore

  • Attractions
  • Colleges and universities
  • Galleries
  • Historical landmarks
  • House hunting
  • Lakes
  • Malls
  • Mountains
  • Museums
  • Parks

Places to Go

  • Arenas
  • Churches
  • Conferences
  • Retreats
  • Stadiums
  • Workshops

bed in front of brick fireplace

 

Another important key to attract more guests is to establish relationships with these other local proprietors. Perhaps the business person will give you a reasonable deal in exchange for exclusively their particular type of business (such as using only one local florist for all of your flower arrangements).  Consider putting together guest packages that include local area businesses:

 

  • Reservations at a nearby restaurant
  • Tickets to a local game
  • Gift certificate to a relaxing spa (or your own spa)

When you categorize your blog posts, this allows your web visitors to easily go to the content that best fits their needs.  For example, some of my blog categories include:

  • Activities
  • Amenities
  • Conferences
  • Events
  • Food
  • Guests
  • Publicity
  • Renovating
  • Success

Write about what makes your area a destination for most people.  For some, this could mean featuring local concerts at your popular entertainment venues or dishes from award-winning restaurants.  If your bed and breakfast is in a place known for popular events (such as film festivals), be sure to promote that.

Write about things that make your inn unique.  Give them reasons to choose your inn for their accommodations.  Does your bed and breakfast have its own restaurant, horse farm, gift shop, spa, or something else?  Maybe you have amenities such as hot tubs and fireplaces in private guest rooms.  For those who cater to the business traveler, be sure to talk about your free wi-fi internet access as well as desks with comfortable office chairs.

In summary, write blog posts and put on social media the things that are popular in your local area as well as what makes your inn so special.  Offer packages that include things only found in your area.  Be sure to encourage five star reviews from your guests.  This is how you will easily attract more guests to your bed and breakfast inn!

 

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Fantastic Fill in the Blanks Social Media

the words "Fantastic Fill-in-the-Blanks on Social Media" with drawings of laptops and mobile phones

 

Fantastic fill in the blanks social media can definitely attract more traffic to your website.  People love to use their imagination and share it with others online.

Do you remember Mad Libs? Those books filled with one-page stories filled with blanks that invited you to insert your own keywords? They were  invented in 1953 by Leonard Stern and Roger Price, who published the first Mad Libs book themselves in 1958.  It turns out that  these guys were ahead of their time in recognizing the power of the ‘blank’.

 

Fill in the blanks social media can prompt people to think about activities they would like to do and places they would love to visit.  For example, Disney posted, “If I could spend a day with a Disney character, I would choose _______.”

This is a great way to encourage creative responses as well as to promote engagement with your posts and tweets.  The blanks are essentially ‘platforms’ for people to share their creativity.

  • My favorite way to relax after a long hard day is to _______.
  • _______ always makes me feel inspired.
  • The best afternoon snack of all time is _______.
  • My favorite board game is _______.

These types of posts often garner fun and short comments, which then encourage your audience to react and interact.  Share a great photo and a good fill-in-the-blank sentence to inspire your audience to engage with you and your brand.

a tweet "I'm ready for Spring so I can _________" @bandbblogging with close up of yellow flower with water droplets

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Fill-in-the-blank posts feel incomplete until they’re engaged with. People love filling in blanks, and the most effective fill-in-the-blank posts are the ones that let fans share their ideas.

Make fill-in-the-blank posts and tweets relevant to your fans and the space you’re working in to see the best results.

Use fill-in-the-blank posts as a two-pronged engagement tactic: interact with your online community and get to know them better for future marketing campaigns.

Use the post tactic in conjunction with a specific event, such as a holiday.

Fill in the blank contests are great as they have the potential to actually get people thinking. The contest consists of a sentence of paragraph, and your fans are asked to add their own unique perspective by, obviously, filling in the blanks.

Fill-in-the-blanks are similar to questions.  They are simple and create engagement.  Some samples of these are:

  • My favorite social media site is _______________.
  • I’ve lived in ___________cities in my life.
  • I laugh every time I think about ______.

Have fun with these, but one piece of advice is to be careful that you don’t leave the blank too open ended for a potentially bad response. Be careful what you make a fill in the blank because people can turn it ugly.  That is what happened when the German grocery chain posted this:

“I became an ALDI-lover when I tasted _______ for the first time.”

Tweet out a straightforward question that’s easy to answer.  When questions are short and simple, it’s easy for followers to respond because they don’t need to spend a lot of time thinking about their answer or trying to fit a longer reply into 140 characters (or fewer if there is a hashtag).

Fill-in-the-blanks social media gets your followers thinking and you challenge to them to show their creative side. The key to making fill-in-the-blank tweets work for your company is to relate them to your followers’ interests.  Then you will have success!

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