Tag Archives: stories

How To Increase Your Revenue and Improve Your Results

Inside of cabin with brown wrap around coach, stone by wood burning fireplace

 

 

Do you know what your ideal guests want? Who are you trying to attract to stay at your inn? The more you understand about who you want to serve, the better you become at meeting their specific needs.

Know What Your Guests Love About You and Your Inn

Are you getting their attention with the headlines you use? What do you receive the most compliments about from your guests? Be sure to feature what you know guests love.

The Benefits Of Frequent Guests and Guest Referrals

It is much easier to host returning guests than to find new guests. Do you offer incentives for frequent stays? Do you reward guests who refer you new business? This could be complimentary room upgrades and other incentives.

There Are Other Ways To Earn Money (Besides Overnight Stays)

Do you offer more than just the option of staying overnight? There are other ways of earning additional money. Why limit your hospitality earning potential?

Earn More By Offering Related Guest Products

You can offer additional related products and services to “up-sell” your guests. Of course, they have to really want what you offer. The best way to know what your guests want, is to ask them directly!

Increase Your Income With Guest Packages

Be sure to show professional pictures of each item for sale or that comes as part of a package. Guest packages can be centered around activities, specific themes, special occasions, and the four seasons. Think about what your guests like to do and the common reasons for their visit.

Host Events and Groups To Boost Your Earnings

You can also host private events and groups. Do you have enough space to host weddings and/or private local groups? The more details you can provide, the more inquiries you will receive.

Most People Buy Based Upon Their Emotions (Not Logic)

Do you tap into their fear of missing out? Most people making purchasing decisions based on their emotions. Expiration dates motivate!

Share Content That People Can Connect With

Do you provide them with enough content (blog posts, emails, website information, social media) to convince them that your place is the next place they want to visit? Share inspiring stories.

Prominently Feature Your Guest Testimonials

Do you feature guest testimonials on your website and in your social media? People put more stock into what previous guests say about you than what you say about you. That is why online review sites are so popular.

In Summary

The more of these suggestions you implement, the greater your odds of hospitality success. You can become the go-to accommodations in your local area.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Find Your Why to Boost Your Success

Book Cover Find Your Why and question marks

To boost your success, you must find your why. Previously I wrote a blog post about Simon Sinek’s bestselling book Start With Why. This post will discuss his companion book, co-written with David Mead and Peter Docker, called Find Your Why. Simon explains that this book provides the steps to show people exactly how to find their why.

 

Sinek explains it is not what you do that keep you fulfilled, but why you do what you do. Everyone has a why, their deep-seated purpose, a cause or belief, that is the source of your passion and inspiration. Fulfillment comes when what we do connects directly to our why.

Once you understand your why, you will be able to clearly express what makes you fulfilled. Knowing the why helps us set a vision to inspire others and guides us to act with purpose, on purpose.

WHY statements are always:

  • simple
  • clear
  • actionable
  • focused on the effect you will have on others

 

TO ___________ SO THAT ____________.

 

  • The first blank is the contribution you make to the lives of others.
  • The second blank is the impact of your contribution.
  • Your why must be relevant in both your personal and professional life.
  • Your why is a statement of value. It’s who you truly are.

The book advises that you choose a partner (someone who knows you, but not so much that they can finish your stories). Tell them at least five or six meaningful stories from your past. Each story must be a specific time, place, or moment and share it in detail.

Find Your Why suggests two different methods. The first method, “Peaks and Valleys” is where you think of both happy memories and memories you would not want to relive but have shaped who you are today. The second method, “Memory Prompt” is where you answer questions like:

  • Who has helped make you who you are today?
  • What was a pivotal moment in your life?
  • What happened that changed the way you think about your world and your role in it?
  • What have you accomplished in your life that you are really proud of?

Have the person you are telling your stories make notes of the facts in one column and the meaning or feelings in the column next to it. The stories you tell can be those that shed light on who you are at your best as well as specific experiences and people that have shaped who you are today.

Later both of you will look for recurring themes, words, phrases, and ideas. Once you tell stories and identify themes, you are ready to draft your WHY statement. As mentioned, your why statement should read, to _______ so that _________. It should be expressed in affirmative language that resonates with you.

Perhaps, as an innkeeper, your why has to do with serving your guests. It may be about providing them with friendly hospitality and luxurious accommodations that allow them to relax and strengthen their relationships.

Your WHY statement should be something that you agree with completely. It should not be written for your guests, but written for you as a guide to help you make decisions in life. Knowing your WHY statement will provide you with direction and boost your success.

 

Bestselling Bed and Breakfast Novels

bed and breakfast novels

 

 

Bed and breakfast novels have delighted and entertained many readers.  There is something wonderful about a bed and breakfast setting. All bed and breakfasts are unique. What is unique about these novels are the three authors who wrote them.  We look at bestselling books by Mary Daheim, Debbie Macomber, and Nora Roberts.

 

Mary Daheim has thirty-one books in her A Bed-and-Breakfast Mysteries series. She lives in her hometown in a century-old house not unlike Hillside Manor, except for the body count. Daheim likes to be creative with her book titles, including:

  • A Streetcar Named Expire
  • All The Pretty Hearses
  • Bantom of the Opera
  • Clam Wake
  • Creeps Suzette
  • Dead Man Docking
  • Gone With The Win
  • Here Comes The Bribe
  • Just Desserts
  • Legs Benedict
  • Loco Motive
  • Murder, My Suite
  • Silver Scream
  • Vi Agra Falls
  • The Wurst Is Yet To Come

 

Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope.

Macomber’s novels have spent over 950 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Ten of these novels hit the number one spot.  Macomber is also the author of the bestselling Cedar Cove Series which the Hallmark Channel chose as the basis for its first dramatic scripted television series. Debuting in 2013, Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove was a ratings favorite for three seasons.

Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including The Liar, The Collector, Whiskey Beach, The Witness, and many more. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print. Popular author Nora Roberts wrote The Boonsboro Trilogy. She introduces you to the Montgomery brothers–Beckett, Ryder, and Owen, as they bring an intimate bed and breakfast to life in their hometown.

Bed and breakfasts often have an assortment of books for their guests to read during their stay.  It can be fun to “snoop” through anyone’s book collection (only with their permission of course)!  These novels involve mystery, drama, romance, and so much more.  Some innkeepers have rooms that are filled with books for their guests to choose from.  Happy reading everyone!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

 

Katie Couric: The Best Advice I Ever Got

the best advice I ever got

 

The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives by Katie Couric is full of practical information for people from all walks of life. Each chapter features a famous person who gives us a sneak peak into what they have learned from their own experiences. At the end of this post is a YouTube video of Katie talking about how she wrote the book and which celebrities contributed their stories.

Comedian and Actor George Lopez: “If you quit, you’ll never find out what could have happened.”

Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur Mario Batali: “As you cook up your own life, never let anyone else’s recipe for success intimidate you…”

 

Emmy Award-Winning Television and Radio Host Larry King: “Learn how to listen.  You don’t learn anything when you are talking.”

Emmy Award-Winning Television Broadcaster, Journalist, and Co-Host of Good Morning America Robin Roberts: “Be patient and persistent.  Life is not so much about what you accomplish as what you overcome.”

Professional Football Player Drew Brees: “What is meant to be will happen for me, and all I should concern myself with is the things I can control.”

Figure-skating Champion Michelle Kwan: “Your finest moments in life aren’t necessarily those in which you finish first but, instead, the times when you know you simply gave your best–when you did it heart and soul, and held nothing back.”

Co-founder of Twitter Biz Stone: “Think about what is valuable before thinking about what is profitable and know that there’s compound interest in helping others–start early!”

Professional Psychologist, Bestselling Author, and Television Host “Dr. Phil” McGraw: “Instead of ignoring these dreams and hoping you can get around to them later on, you have to be committed to developing an action plan, to creating a “life script” with measurable goals, and to building a core of supporters around you to keep you going in the right direction.”

Grammy Award-Winning Artist, Musician, Entrepreneur, Actress, and Activist Alicia Keys: “When you make a decision because you really love what you’re doing, because you’re really passionate about it, believe in it, and because you’d do it no matter what the outcome–that’s when you become most successful.”

Bestselling Cookbook Author and Television Host Ina Garten: “You can’t figure out what you want to do from the sidelines.  You need to jump into the pond and splash around to see what the water feels like.  You might like that pond or it might lead to another pond, but you need to figure it out in the pond.”

Sixty-sixth United States Secretary of State and Stanford University Professor Condoleeza Rice: “The point is that life is full of surprises and serendipity.  Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success.  If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns.”

Four-Star General and Sixty-Fifth United States Secretary of State Colin Powell: “So it doesn’t matter where you start in life but where you finish and, along the way, whether you do something that you love and enjoy doing.  Never settle for anything less than what you love doing and do well.”

Olympic Speed Skater Apolo Ohno: “It’s not really about the destination, but about what it took to get you there.”

Taking Larry King’s advice to learn how to listen, identify at least 3 people who have achieved success and ask them to share their thoughts.  Possible questions could be:

  • What was your greatest challenge?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What do you know now that you wish you could have known earlier in life?
  • Was there anyone who mentored you?
  • How did you become so successful?
  • Is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
  • What are you most excited about for your future?

Essentially, informally interview them (much like Katie Couric interviewed these people) to gain more insight.  If the person you are interviewing knows you well, they will be able to relate this to your goals.

While we each need to do something that aligns with our own personal interests, passions, and goals; we can benefit by the wisdom and experience of the successful people around us.  In addition, we should all be open to sharing the lessons we have learned with those who come to us for advice.

Here is a YouTube video of Katie Couric talking about how she wrote this book!

4 Secrets to Biltmore Success

secrets to Biltmore success

What are some of the secrets to Biltmore success?  I am referring to America’s largest private residence, the two-hundred and fifty room Biltmore Estate.  After six years of construction while collaborating with architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead, on Christmas Eve in 1895 George Vanderbilt officially opened Biltmore House.

 

George Vanderbilt pictured the possibilities for his family and friends on his eight thousand acres of Blue Ridge Mountain beauty.  In present day, the Estate includes:

  • delightful shops
  • four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate
  • gorgeous gardens
  • romantic restaurants
  • wonderful winery

Today, with two hundred full-time employees and a total of over eighteen-hundred employees working for The Biltmore, bed and breakfast owners may wonder what they have in common this hospitality giant.  If we can understand what helps make the Biltmore such a success, then hoteliers (as well as owners of restaurants, shops, and wineries) can apply this knowledge to run their own hospitality businesses better.

Secret #1: Offer add-ons, like tours and activities, to your guests.  This caters to individuals who have the ability and desire to pay more for these additional benefits.

The visitors to the Biltmore Estate can opt for additional tours:

  • Audio Guide to Biltmore House: capture the feeling of being guided through Biltmore’s grand rooms by our curators and hosts on this ninety-minute audio tour filled with stories about the Vanderbilts and treasures in their collection
  • Behind-the-Scenes Guided Upstairs-Downstairs Tour: in this sixty-minute guided tour, descend the back stairs to explore servant life at Biltmore, discover cutting-edge technology that kept America’s largest home humming, visit the domains of the butler, head housekeeper, and lady’s maids, then continue on to a suite of guest rooms to learn about grand house parties hosted by the Vanderbilts
  • Rooftop Tour: enjoy amazing views from rooftops and balconies and get a closer look at the design and construction of the Biltmore House with this sixty-minute guided tour of areas not on the regular house visit
  • Legacy of the Land Tour: take a motor coach tour of the estate and learn about the history of the land, structures, and former residents while visiting areas not usually open to guests

For an additional cost, visitors to the Biltmore Estate can participate in certain activities (available seasonally):

  • Biking
  • Carriage Rides
  • Fly-fishing School
  • Guided Horseback Trail Rides
  • Land Rover Experience Driving School
  • River Rafting, Kayaking, and Paddleboarding Trips
  • Segway Basic, Off-Road, and West Side Tours
  • Sporting Clays School

Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast of Durham, North Carolina gives guests options for extras, such as:

  • Greta’s Girlfriend Getaway
  • Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt Weekends (only offered on specific dates)
  • Picnic in the Park
  • Romance Package
  • Spa Services

Secret #2: Variety encourages your guests to return. Always keep things fresh.  Each Biltmore experience is different.  As the seasons and their themes change, so does their décor and displays.

For example, during our visit to the Biltmore, they had a Downton Abbey theme and featured real gowns worn on that popular British television show.  They had signs informing visitors about the material of the gown and what was happening in history during the time it was made as well as more information about the character who wore it on the television show.  A Biltmore employee revealed to us that each gown was literally made in that time period or individually hand-made to be authentic to that time.

Many inns choose to decorate during major holidays, such as Christmas.  One of the Biltmore’s biggest attractions are its Christmas displays.  In addition to the obvious holidays, how about choosing a less commonly celebrated holiday like Arbor Day?  Plant a tree in the backyard of your bed and breakfast.  Then show the growth of that tree by taking its picture each year.  Many innkeepers have their inn for more than twenty years, so this could really be a focal point in your yard.

On the topic of gardening and variety, Biltmore plants things that will bloom at different times of the year.  The acres of gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the father of American landscape architecture. That way whenever people visit, they will see something pretty.  When we visited the Biltmore Gardens, the tulips were in full bloom.

Secret #3: Offer a closer look at your inn.  The Biltmore Estate is full of carefully researched stories of its past.  The people who lived and worked at Biltmore, the events and people they hosted, and how historical events (including war) affected them.  The Biltmore has many stories to tell.

I was impressed that was a huge painting of the architect and one of the gardener.  The audio guide noted that this was rare for a wealthy person to have portraits made of two people that worked for the family.  This is a testament to how George Vanderbilt honored his employees and valued their contributions to the overall look of his estate.

The Esmeralda Inn and Restaurant of Chimney Rock, NC also is full of history, including a Presidential visit and two fires.  If your inn is brand new, then share pictures of its construction and let your guests know the steps it took from the time you decided to build your bed and breakfast to the time that you opened your doors.

Find your bed and breakfasts’ story.  Some name their rooms after a significant person in history or after their official state symbols such as the state bird and state tree.  Then you can tell stories about the people who made important contributions in history or about how your state symbols came to be.

Secret #4: Make visitors feel welcomed and appreciated.  Biltmore employees are very attentive, polite, knowledgeable, and helpful.   They go out of their way to help you and smile while doing so.  Let that be said of you and your inn.  Extend to your guests your greatest hospitality, and they will reward you by returning and referring others to visit.

While there is no other place quite like the Biltmore Estate, we can implement some of their secrets to Biltmore success and apply it to achieve our own success. Innkeepers can ask themselves if they offer extras, create a variety of looks and themes throughout the year, reveal a deeper look to guests, and help their guests feel appreciated. May your place of hospitality be profitable like the Biltmore.

Do you want help marketing your bed and breakfast online?  Bed and Breakfast Blogging writes search-engine-optimized blogs as well as gives inns an active presence in social media.  Let us do that work for you so you can focus on what you do best!

 

B&B Social Media Success

B&B Social Media SuccessSocial Media Success is the name of a Pin Board I have on the social media network called Pinterest. I pinned the pins on that board for the sole purpose of helping bed and breakfast owners successfully use social media.  What I did not expect, and I was completely surprised about, was the response from those not even in the bed and breakfast industry.  I currently have over 1700 followers on that board alone!  What is crazy is that I did not start it more than a few months ago!

That is the power of numbers and how things can go viral fast. I highly recommend the book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger. Berger is the James G. Campbell Associate Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He discusses six principles of “Contagiousness”:

 

  • Social currency: people desire to share cool things to look good in the process
  • Triggers: people talk about things cued in their environment
  • Emotion: when people have high arousal emotions (like excitement or anger) they are more likely to share it
  • Public: behavior that is made more public enables social influence
  • Practical Value: people share things to help others (save time, save money, become more healthy, etc.)
  • Story: people share memorable stories

So what can you do to have social media success and your bed and breakfast become “contagious”?

  • Blog Posts (about your local area and your inn’s amenities)
  • Holidays (this could even be food holidays or silly holidays)
  • Pictures (inside and outside of your inn as well as of your food and events)
  • Recipes (share recipes to the dishes your guests rave about the most)
  • Quotes (from famous people or related to travel and vacations)

Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging is here to help!  Contact Kristi today so you can have social media success and more guests at your B&B!

 

Bed and Breakfast Associations

There are many benefits to becoming members of bed and breakfast associations.  For one thing, it adds credibility to your establishment.  In order to be allowed to join the group, your bed and breakfast will be inspected by members of the association to confirm its high quality standards and hospitable service.

Select Registry inspects each of its nearly 400 member Inns and Bed & Breakfasts. Independent inspectors evaluate the accommodations to ensure your guests’ stay will be in a class all its own.

You have the support of a network of fellow Bed and Breakfast innkeepers.  This allows you:

  • get advice from one another
  • refer each other business
  • swap recipes and tips
  • share memorable stories
  • give and receive encouragement

Potential guests can find you in their membership directory (print and/or online). A listing of the links to bed and breakfast associations in your state, can be found here.

If You Own a Historic Bed and Breakfast

If you own a historic bed and breakfast, do you emphasize its history to your guests?  Many Bed and Breakfasts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Up to 90% of Bed and Breakfasts occupy historic buildings that have been lovingly restored.  Some of them have received rewards from a Preservation Society.  

You can give tours of your historic home and talk about the people who formerly lived there.  If you know their names, talk about them.  Feel free to share any stories you know to be true. If they are rumors, then let your guests know that the information can not be confirmed.  Your guests will feel as though you are giving them a window into the life of those who once lived in your home.

If you have antique pictures of family members, hang them on your walls. Bed and breakfast owners, you can display precious momentos from your historic home.  If they are valuable and/or fragile, consider putting them in a locked glass display case for your guests to view.

You could even put together a scrapbook of old photos of your bed and breakfast and the people who formerly lived in your home.  If you put that scrapbook in a common area of the house, guests will be able to enjoy looking at the pages to get a sense of the history of the place they are staying in.

Guests love staying in places that have a fascinating history. Perhaps someone famous owned (or stayed at) your historic bed and breakfast.  You can mention that on your website and you can refer to that in a blog post.  Highlight the things that make your bed and breakfast unique and you will attract more visitors!