Tag Archives: social media

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!

Why Local Partnerships Can Make You Rich

a store with glass cases with food inside and other merchandise

Do you know why local partnerships can make you rich?  Do you know that your local area could be your best asset?  Travelers tend to pick the area of their destination BEFORE they choose their accommodations.  So innkeepers can profit from thinking about: “Why do guests visit my local area?”

Word-of-mouth marketing can also be very powerful.  What do you want to become known for?  A big part of becoming more well known is developing ties with other local businesses and organizations in your community.

Who, in your local area, offers complementary products and services?  There are many reasons why it is in both your interests to form a mutually beneficial relationship:

  • You can refer each other business (since you don’t have all the same customers)
  • You can promote each other in a variety of ways (such as via social media)
  • You can form exclusive partnerships (more on that later)

So, you may be thinking, what types of places and with whom could I form local partnerships?:

  • Caterers
  • Chocolatier
  • Entertainment providers
  • Florist
  • Gift shops
  • Museums
  • Nonprofit organizations and charities
  • Realtors
  • Restaurants
  • Spas (if you do not have your own spa)
  • Sports
  • Tourist attractions
  • Wedding planners

There is a whole movement going on to support local businesses and service professionals.  Spread the love for your local area by featuring these other businesses:

  • Brochures (display them at your inn)
  • Coupons (arrange for your guests to receive discounts for using their services)
  • Menus (let people see what they offer by providing their menus)
  • Preferred list of vendors (such as caterers and wedding planners)
  • Social Media (share a picture of them and write about why people should want to use their products and/or services)
  • Video (partner with other businesses to promote your town as a vacation destination)
  • Word-of-mouth (if guests ask for your recommendations)

Develop “exclusive partnerships” in which you agree to only buy from them and they offer you a reduced rate for doing so.  This works out well in the case of using one chocolatier and one florist.  Especially if you offer packages to your guests which include chocolate and flowers.

An “influencer” is a person who has the power to influence many people.  How do you meet and form relationships with the “influencers” in your community?

  • Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce which will have local business owners and service providers as members.
  • LinkedIn is a powerful social media network for finding other local business owners
  • There is nothing like meeting face-to-face to discuss how you can help each other’s businesses grow
  • Look online (like at TripAdvisor) to find lists for the best restaurants near you and the top things to do in (and near) your area for ideas of people and places to contact

That is why local partnerships can make you rich.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Do You Know What Your Guests Really Crave?

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

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

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

5 Critical Touchpoints:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Create Remarkable Holiday and Seasonal Packages

Pool with outdoor string lights shining over it

I am presenting a Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) webinar called “Creating Holiday and Seasonal B&B Packages” on Wednesday September 20, 2017 at 2 pm EST.  Attendees will hear examples from actual holiday and seasonal packages currently (or previously offered) at B&B inns.

You will learn WHY you should offer holiday and seasonal B&B packages to your guests.  Hint: it has to do with repeat visits throughout the year AND adding an additional stream of revenue to your business.

Discover why it is important to customize your own packages.  Take your local area into account as well as the interests of the types of guests you host.  Your packages can also relate to a specific culture, your inn’s history, your inn or city’s name, and your guest room themes.

We will discuss the disclaimers you may want to add to set clear guidelines and manage expectations.  I will discuss key issues that matter to your bottom line.

Your inn can celebrate many seasons and holidays, including:

  • Fall
  • Halloween
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Winter
  • December Holidays
  • New Years Eve
  • Groundhog Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Spring
  • Easter
  • Mother’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Summer
  • Father’s Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day

I give specific examples of real bed and breakfast packages that relate to the seasons and to holidays.  I state that the best way to learn more about the packages is to click on their respective website links.  For those of you who would like my list of links as well as my list of potential disclaimers you may want to add to your packages, please contact me and I will email you that information.

I do share which season of the year has the least amount of packages during its months.  This is a great opportunity to stand out by being the inn that offers a package for only during those few months.

You may email me any questions you have after watching my presentation.  I am happy to provide specific, practical advice about how you can maximize packages at your inn.  I will insert the link to watch the webinar right here.

Bed and Breakfast Blogging helps places of hospitality grow their business through strategic online marketing which includes blogging, social media, and email marketing.  The bottom line is that we can improve your bottom line!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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