Tag Archives: successful

What If You Knew You Could Not Fail?

the word "success" is written in the beach sand with water coming closer to it

What if you knew you could not fail, what would you try to do?  I think most people, by nature, do not like taking risks. Most people like a safety net.

The people who achieve success in life make their dreams so much bigger than their fears.  Successful people do not focus on what could go wrong, but on how they can do something better next time. Successful people do not let any of their perceived failures stop them from trying again.

 

Where does that confidence come from?

Sources of Confidence:

  • Real life examples: observe people who are successful and imitate them
  • Relationships: find family and friends who believe in you and tell you they know you can do it
  • Reading: actively pursue reading positive and motivating material (and avoid the negative)
  • Remembering: reflect upon previous successes and remind themselves yourself that can do it again
  • Realizing: realize the potential YOU have for greatness and do something great

But what if you lack confidence in yourself?

Steps to Add Confidence:

  • Spend time with encouraging people (rather than downers or critics)
  • Read biographies of successful people (to discover some of their secrets)
  • Put together a dream board/Pinterest board (of pictures of places you want to go, motivating quotes, etc.)
  • Seek out a mentor (a person you think is successful in life and who is willing to give you advice)
  • Reward your small successes along the way (to motivate you to achieve even more)

Over time, it will become more natural for you to set and achieve your goals.  Do not let any setbacks get in the way of your vision for a better future for you and your loved ones. What if you knew you could not fail, what would you do? Keep dreaming, keep going, no matter what! Never give up!

What The Most Successful Inns Have In Common

lit fireplace next to sofa and coffee table with ice tea pitcher and glasses

Ever wonder what the most successful inns have in common?:

A strong focus on guest satisfaction. What are your guests saying about you? Since guests are our #1 priority, place great importance on pleasing them. Be available to give local recommendations (for a variety of interests) as well as directions. Offer concierge services and extras like evening wine and dessert for two. During their stay, ask them if there is anything you can do to make their stay with you more pleasant. For example, if you find out that someone is celebrating something special, consider offering something complimentary. They will remember that you went the extra mile and will be likely to return again as well as recommend your inn to others.

A great website with awesome pictures. When was the last time you touched up your website and your photos? Make it easy for them to do business with you. Your website should be easy for others to find online. Feature current professional photography of each place (inside and outside) guests may spend time in. Give them the option to check availability online and book a room. Your website should clearly specify your address (ideally your webmaster can insert a Google map), list phone numbers, and always include all your social media icons. This allows guests to connect with you on social media if they haven’t already.

A distinct niche or focus. What are you known for? The most successful inns set their inns apart to specific audiences so they attract more guests. The audience could be specific groups of people: adults only, family friendly, LGBT friendly, pet-friendly, special diet friendly, etc. It could be specific interests: photography, culinary-minded, adventurous (such as skiing and zip-lining), and history buffs. It could be for different types of retreats: corporate, yoga, writers, quilters, etc. It could be for your packages: restaurant, performing arts, sports, local attractions like amusement parks and museums, etc. 

A delicious breakfast. Are guests happy with your menu? With breakfast representing the second letter B (in B&B), the most successful inns offer something special. This could be your commitment to catering to special diets, a complimentary wine & cheese hour, or 24/7 access to goodies and treats. Perhaps your inn has a restaurant or tea room. Maybe you offer in-room breakfast delivery for an extra fee. Be sure to have a page on your website devoted to discussing your inn’s culinary offerings. Share pictures of your food in social media. Mouths will water!

A connection to local businesses. Do you promote your local area? Could you arrange for your guests to receive a discount from local restaurants, attractions, and other venues? This would give guests a reason to visit those businesses (that would be why the businesses offer the discount) as well as make you look good for having arranged for them to receive the better rate.

A consistent presence. How often are you blogging and posting on social media? By regularly blogging and posting on social media, this builds awareness for your place of hospitality and what you offer. Blog posts provide fresh new content which attracts visitors to your page. For example, consider writing blog posts about: local attractions, your amenities, your packages, a behind-the-scenes blog post, and so on.

A variety of incentives. Do you offer specials? This could be discounts for multiple night stays, weekday stays, etc. Do you offer packages? You could plan all the details for your guests so it is less work for them. Do you offer referral discounts? Do you reward your guests who refer other guests who stay at your inn in some way? This could be a free upgrade in room, a free massage, a discount in their room rate, etc.

A superb selection of amenities. What amenities do guests love using at your inn? Most guests (especially the millennial generation) expect access to free wireless internet. Be sure to feature the extra luxuries you offer in photos on your website and in pictures you share on social media. This includes fireplaces, spas, libraries, and more.

A follow up. Do you send a follow-up email to thank them for staying and a survey to get their feedback? Is there a way for people to opt into receiving regular e-mail newsletters? By sending regular emails, you remind previous guests of their experience as well as attract new potential guests to stay at your inn. The most successful inns follow up with guests.

A solid reputation. What is your reputation? Favorable online guest reviews offer proof to future guests that they can expect to also have a positive experience.  Strong testimonials (always ask for permission and include only their first name and the first letter of their last name as well as their location) can be included on your website and shared in social media.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How One Man Immediately Improved His Company

Author Marcus Sheridan next to his book cover: They Ask You Answer

They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer by Marcus Sheridan is a must read for business owners, including those in the hospitality industry.  Mashable rated this the #1 marketing book to read in 2017.  It is the true story of how one man immediately improved his company.

 

Mr. Sheridan, a co-owner of River Pools and Spas, in the wake of the 2008 economy struggles, witnessed his business rapidly declining.  Rather than see his company go bankrupt, he decided if he simply answered the questions that people were asking about pools on his website (writing articles and making videos), he could become an authority and go-to resource that people could trust.  According to Marcus, the business we are all in is trust.

We must understand what our customer is searching for, asking, feeling, and fearing. We must not be afraid any and all questions.  First, he brainstormed all of the questions he received about fiberglass swimming pools. Then he spent all his spare time answering these questions.

He emphasizes that business owners should take on more of the “teacher” mentality than the sales role.  Sheridan advocates against sticking your head in the sand (like the myth that ostriches do) and hoping your problems go away.  Rather, he argues that we should do everything we can to earn our customer’s trust.

He uses CarMax as an example of a company that admitted their industry (selling used cars) had no consumer trust, and gave examples of what they did to earn back people’s trust:

  • One price is listed for vehicles (nothing more and nothing less)
  • Sales team is given the same commission regardless of what vehicle is sold
  • A five-day money back guarantee to those who purchase their used cars
  • An intensive inspection process that all their cars go through
  • A CarFax vehicle history report that details its history of repairs
  • Listing the Kelley Blue Book Value with all their vehicles

This eliminated the four major fears that used car buyers have:

  • Dealing with the salesperson
  • Buyer’s remorse
  • Buying a lemon
  • Not getting ripped off

Brainstorm every single reason why someone would not buy from your company (or for the case of innkeepers, stay at their B&B).  How many of these reasons have been addressed by your website?  Sheridan said that most companies never take the time to properly address the biggest fears of their consumers.  For example, bed and breakfast inns should educate their potential guests on how they are different from hotels.

Marcus advises that it does not matter what you or I think, but what the consumers think, how they behave, and what they expect.  Are we willing to meet their expectations? Write out the specific messages you want to get across to your most ideal guests.  Figure out what your guests are thinking, feeling, asking, and going through. Assume your potential guests already know about all of the alternative places to stay in your local area.

Sheridan very boldly made a list of the pluses and minuses of his competitors’ pools.  Because he stayed objective, and based his information on facts, he was able to gain a lot of trust from others.  Some of his competitors were surprised (and even thankful) that their brands were mentioned in his blog post.  Of course, others were disappointed at his reviews, and a few even threatened to sue him, but because it was based on fact there was nothing they could do. By explaining the pros and cons of each type of swimming pool, he let the consumer decide what was best for their needs.  The key is the willingness to objectively address his competition and become a trusted source in his industry.

Marcus urges business owners to have a steadfast commitment to helping consumers make the most well-informed purchasing decisions as possible.  Sheridan asserts that the most successful companies have a very clear understanding of the fact that they are not a good fit for everyone.  Focus only on the group that matters–the customers–and not the competition or guests that are not a good fit for what your inn offers.  Be a resource to help them make the best decision for themselves.  Distill the facts into simple-to-understand words that travelers find helpful.

Every time someone consumes a piece of your content (video, article, etc.), the trust factor continues to rise.  In fact, with River Pools and Spas, they discovered that if someone read thirty or more of their website pages before their initial sales appointment, they would buy from them 80% of the time whereas if they didn’t read thirty or more pages, the average closing rate in terms of appointment-to-sale was only 20%.

The moment your prospect sees you as more of a teacher than versus a salesperson, the amount of respect dramatically increases.  The goal of Google (and other search engines) is to give its customer (the searcher) the best, most specific answer to their question (or need, problem, query, etc.) in that very moment.  Places of hospitality that regularly offer fresh content that answers questions, will get more visitors to their website which can lead to more visitors to their inn.

Did you know that one-third of all time spent online is watching video?  Thus, videos and video blogs (vlogs) can be extremely beneficial.  People care about having their questions and concerns answered.  Sheridan recommends that for those just getting started on adding more content to their website, that they begin with the big five subjects:

  • Cost (focus on showing your value with customized packages)
  • Problems (address problems such as food allergies and handicap accessibility)
  • Comparisons (don’t be afraid to make a list of the pros and cons of your local competitors if they are based on fact)
  • Reviews (feature five-star guest reviews on your website and in social media)
  • Best of (feature the best of your local community: restaurants, attractions, etc.)

I really enjoyed reading this book and I know it will inspire other business owners, especially owners of places of hospitality such as bed and breakfast inns and restaurants.  If you would like a free phone consultation with Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging, I would be happy to speak with you about generating more traffic to your website with a focus on increasing the bottom line of your business.

Make It All About Your Bed and Breakfast Guests

Book Cover: All About Them

Make it all about them. Make it all about your bed and breakfast guests.  Author Bruce Turkel, in his insightful book All about Them: Grow Your Business by Focusing on Others makes it clear that what really matters to consumers is their own self-interest. Business owners (including innkeepers) can use that knowledge to make their businesses (specifically bed and breakfasts) about the people they are trying to reach (potential guests).

Author Bruce Turkel states that successful businesses created for today’s “all about them” economy realize what you do is less important than identifying who you are and why that resonates with current and potential customers (guests).

Turkel stresses that “good brands make you feel good, but great brands make you feel good about yourself.” Things sell not because of what they can do, but because of how they make consumers feel.

What attracts business to you and separates you from the competition (other accommodations)? Understand exactly what your customers are buying.  What do you provide that they cannot find anywhere else?

Figure out who you are and what you stand for then communicate that identity.  Translate your message into customer centered communication that resonates with your audience.

What opportunities does your business provide for increasing customer satisfaction and company revenue?  What do you stand for?  Can you describe that in just a few words?  To determine what those few words are, Turkel recommends you consider five components.

  • First, write down your company features and benefits.  This means everything you and your business offer including products, services, talents, skills, experiences, and so on.
  • Then write down your points of distinction.  What sets you apart from your competition? What do your clients identify about you?
  • Next, focus on the functional side of your business.  What features and attributes do you offer?
  • Then focus on the emotional side of your business.  How do your customers feel?
  • Lastly, this is when you can take reflect upon that information and know what you stand for and know who you are.  This is your brand promise.

Innkeepers, do you make it all about your bed and breakfast guests?  Do potential guests know how you are different from other accommodations in your area?

If you need help defining what makes your inn unique, so you stand out from other lodging choices, the Bed and Breakfast Blogging team is here to help.  Contact Kristi Dement for a free consultation today and she can start help you share your inn’s story with the world!

Fun Bed and Breakfast Retreats

fun bed and breakfast retreats

I went online to BnB Finder to search for bed and breakfasts and to my pleasant surprise, I found some fun bed and breakfast retreats. These retreats include a board game tournament, a night walk, private art classes, and a literary weekend.  Typically, most bed and breakfasts do not offer these kinds of special retreats which makes these bed and breakfasts all the more attractive. Read on for more retreat ideas that you can apply to grow your own B&B business.

 

In Saugatuck, Michigan (near where I grew up in Holland, Michigan) at Sherwood Forest Bed and Breakfast they offer a Monopoly Tournament from November through April. If the entire B&B is booked, they promise to organize the “hippest” Monopoly Tournament ever played! The winner receives a complete set of Sherwood Forest Gear.  Lunch will be catered. This offer may expire at the end of this year.  Call for details at 800-838-1246. This reminds me of my Pinterest Board called Bed and Breakfast Games which features different board games and game rooms at various bed and breakfasts.

In the Saratoga Region of New York at Mariaville Lake Bed and Breakfast, they offer a Night Walk for a small extra fee.  This B&B invites guests to take a walk, guided by the innkeeper, to experience the full night sky. Guests will use a night vision scope and will be amazed at what they can see such as beavers working hard at their famous beaver pond. Advance notice is required and subject to availability and weather conditions. The offer may expire at the end of this year.  Contact the innkeeper for more details.

In the Hudson Valley Region of New York, at the Pine Bush House, they offer Stay and Paint private art classes with local artist Lana Privitera.  Originally from Spain, Lana graduated from the Fine Arts School of Zaragoza, where she majored in Fashion Design and Art History. Lana has won numerous art awards.  She is the current Art Curator for the Pine Bush Public Library.  A sampling of her work can be found on her website.

Currently, there are one day and two day Watercolor Workshops (four hours each) available and all tailored to suit individual needs, taste, and ability.  Supplies loaned by the instructor, but guests have the opportunity to purchase.  Guests receive one FREE double white mat and backing piece (plus an acetate sleeve to protect their “masterpiece”).  A list of art material suppliers as well as recommended art books will be provided.

Contact Lana Privitera at lanaprivitera@gmail.com or Barbara at barbara@pinebushhouse.com for detailed pricing! Discounts available if staying two or more nights.  This opportunity is available at least through June 20, 2015.

In lovely Vermont, The Governor’s House in Hyde Park offers Jane Austen Weekends full of literary-inspired diversions.  Quietly slip back into Regency England in a beautiful historic mansion.  Take afternoon tea.  Share your thoughts at a book discussion.  Attend an informal talk over desserts. Test your knowledge at the quiz brunch and possibly take home a prize.

Take a carriage ride or sleigh ride (depending upon the season).  Join every activity or simply spend the weekend watching the movies. Try English country dancing. Dress in whichever century suits you. Jane Austen fans unite!

Examples of bed and breakfast retreats, special packages, and events include:

Innkeepers are only limited by their imagination.  So get creative and think about what you have passion for. What interests, skills, experience, and talents do you have?  Innkeepers do not have to be the instructors.  In the Stay and Paint retreat example, the innkeeper has a professional artist and art curator coming to her inn. Arrangements can be made with the experts hosting the event if they are not the bed and breakfast owners or innkeepers.

If you are a bed and breakfast owner or innkeeper and have been successful with a particular retreat, package, excursion, or other event at your B&B, I would love to know about it.  Write about your successes to Kristi Dement below.  I promise to read every comment and reply when appropriate.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Get Started Blogging

how to get started blogging

 

I recently received a comment from a reader asking about how they could get started blogging. As a professional blogger and librarian, the first thing I recommend to get started blogging is to read successful blogs and to read about blogging. I recommend the following resources:

 

 

Technorati is a website that lists the top 100 blogs.  Since it is updated daily, the list stays current.  By reading the top blogs, you can get a feel for different blogging styles and techniques as well as what is popularly read. You will have your own style of writing, but this is a great place to start. This website also offers a directory of blogs.

When you do read other blogs, ask yourself:

  • What do I like about this blog?  What do I dislike?
  • What sort of content does it provide?
  • Does the blogger put a unique spin on the topic and/or share their opinions?
  • Do the readers give comments?  Does the blogger respond to the comments?

Another cool website is ProBlogger.  On the home page, you can sign up for free blogging tips to be sent to your e-mail.  This website is run by Darren Rowse, co-author of the very informative book Problogger: Secrets For Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income.

Some other blogging books I recommend:

Bloggers Boot Camp: learning how to build, write, and run a successful blog by Charlies White and John Biggs

Blogging for Creatives: how designers, artists, crafters, and writers can blog to make contacts, win business, and build success by Robin Houghton

Born To Blog: building your blog for personal and business success one post at a time by Mark W. Schaefer and Stanford A. Smith

Creative Blogging: your first steps to a successful blog by Heather Wright-Porto

A couple more websites about blogging I recommend:

Daily Blog Tips, Daniel Scocco

CopyBlogger, Brian Clark

In upcoming blog posts, I plan to write about how to blog and why some blogs become very successful.  I appreciate your comments and questions below.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence

Trip Advisor Excellence

TripAdvisor®, one of the world’s largest travel sites, offers trusted advice from real travelers on a wide variety of travel choices (including bed and breakfasts). TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 200 million unique monthly visitors and over 100 million reviews and opinions covering more than 2.5 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. 

 

Trip Advisor also awards hospitality excellence only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Stephen Kaufer, president and CEO, TripAdvisor said, “The Certificate of Excellence award provides top performing establishments the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers.”

Winning bed and breakfasts can showcase their success a number of ways, including displaying the Certificate of Excellence they receive, uploading the award to their own website, or by promoting the achievement to local media with a press release. Last year’s winners promoted their award to great advantage through social media, highlighted their success on Twitter and on their business’s Facebook page, as well as notified past guests and customers of their win, thereby encouraging repeat visits!

TripAdvisor provides access to promotional services and tips for successful PR campaigns through the Management Center. To qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

If your bed and breakfast earns awards, Bed and Breakfast Blogging, can write about it in a blog for your website. Awards of this caliber make a great impression on potential guests and make great content for your website!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Stay Inn-spired

stay inn spired

 

 

Especially around the holidays, it is easy to feel like you have too much to do to actually have time to enjoy it.  Remember that, as a bed and breakfast owner, you are helping to make other people’s Christmases very special so it is important to stay inn spired.

 

Even if you cannot take time off from inn-keeping, you can still be inn-spired. Think of at least 5 positives that happened this year associated with your bed and breakfast. Now think of 5 positives you would like to see happen in 2014.

When you focus on the good, you tend to get more of it.  You can make your bed and breakfast even more successful in the coming New Year.

What actionable steps can you take toward making those 5 things happen in 2014?  The secret to success is step by step. A little bit each and every day turns what seems impossible into a reality!  The solution is making progress every day toward achieving your bed and breakfast goals and to stay inn spired.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

PAII Conference January 16, 2014

We have been looking at the Professional Association of Innkeepers International conference being held from Monday January 13 through Thursday January 16.  From 8 am to 9:30 am on Thursday ten different innkeepers will each have five minutes to present fifteen different informative slides as they share encouraging and uplifting stories.

The final trade show hours are from 9:30 am to noon on Thursday.  This is also the last chance to get your silent auction bids in.

The Innkeeping Industry Awards lunch will present various awards to different innkeepers, reveal the winners of the silent auction items, and raffle winners will be picked.

From 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm will be various learning opportunities, including:

  • Live Website Reviews– “Your website must showcase the emotional experience by accurately portraying how your guests will be taken on a journey of relaxation, romance, and adventure. The primary communication tool to impart this experience for a guest is your website. Does your website entice visitors to part with their hard-earned cash or are they booking with your competitor?”
  • All-Star Panel in the Art of Mastering Hospitality-“Brilliant minds unite spreading innovation, creativity, and time-tested strategies for innkeepers. Take a journey down a fellow innkeeper’s path- one of pain, laughter, and implausible success. Discover the secret strategies that catapulted other innkeepers into surpassing unreachable goals. Bring your tough questions to our experienced panel – a group who will candidly share their expertise. Join us as the most sought after industry experts reveal all for the first time together.”
  • A Day in the Life of an Innkeeper-“Find out from experienced successful innkeepers what goes on behind the scenes and how the most successful innkeepers spend their days. Learn about everything from menu planning to staffing, from social media marketing to local high touch business to business networking, from check-in to check-out and everything in between. Get valuable tips that only an experienced innkeeper can give. Learn how to spend your time and what jobs you need to take on vs. those that you need to hire out. Ask your questions and get answers tested in the innkeeping trenches. “
  • Cooking Classes B&B Style-“Offering cooking classes in your inn using the local ingredients and even, in some cases, local chefs will enhance your reputation with local business and with your guests.  Learn to create a farm-to-table experience that you can cash in on along the journey.”
  • A Taste of Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking-“Vegetarian cuisine is now more popular than ever. Increasing health and ethical concerns, and an appetite for adventure, have sparked a growing demand for attractive, appetizing, and creative vegetarian dishes that hold their own against any meat choice on the menu. Chef Bergeron will show how to harness traditional cooking methods and techniques to produce exciting and elegant meatless creations bursting with freshness and flavor. Moving from appetizers and side dishes to delicious entrees, breads, and desserts.”

You will not want to miss this last day of fun and camaraderie with your peers. Your enthusiasm for innkeeping and your love of entertaining guests in your own bed and breakfast will all be renewed as you make important contacts.  This is a great opportunity that happens only once per year and it is being held in Charleston, South Carolina!

Professional Association of Innkeepers Conference

2014 Innkeeping Show

Join PAII and hundreds of innkeepers and industry vendors in PAII’s hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, January 13-16 for the 2014 Innkeeping Conference & Trade Show. This is your destination to build relationships, check out the latest goods and services and learn new ways to be successful in your profession.

Our focus for these amazing annual conferences has always been to bring each innkeeper in attendance the best array of cutting edge education and tools as well as to help you to gain important insight and ideas to help you succeed in meeting and exceeding your business goals.  They want to provide you with that much needed time and space to swap ideas with your peers, and meet personally with the vendors who supply you and your inn with much needed products and services.

The 2014 Innkeeping Show is the ultimate experience.  Developed to allow you to spend a few days away from your inn in order to focus and get connected, or reconnected to the passion that drove you into this business.  With over 50 classes to choose from, you can tailor this experience to meet your personal needs and wants.

Additionally, you can save a bundle as you shop and chat with vendors in the trade show, last year they had 65+ vendors and this year they’re aiming for more!

http://www.innkeepingshow.com/conference/2014-annual-innkeeping-conference-trade-show

 

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