Tag Archives: support

7 LinkedIn Groups for Innkeepers

linkedin groups for innkeepers

LinkedIn Groups for Innkeepers can be a helpful way to get support and advice from other bed and breakfasts and others in the hospitality industry.  LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 400 million members in over 200 countries and territories.  All LinkedIn groups are private and those open to membership must request to join the group.

 

Upon acceptance, each group has their own rules for what its members are allowed to post.  If the group’s profile and rules state that no links whatsoever should be posted, its members must abide by that. If you would rather find and join a group with a less stringent view of links, then simply look for a different group.

Group members are not obligated to post anything.  They can just read what other members have posted.  However, many social media experts advise that newcomers introduce themselves to their group. Not only does this let the group know about their new members, but the group will likely reach out to welcome its new members.

Things inn-keeping groups share with each other include hospitality-related articles, online marketing tips, questions for inn-keeping best practices, and much more! A great way to learn information is to ask questions from your group.

The following is a list of just some of the LinkedIn groups innkeepers may want to join:

Bed and Breakfast Business has over 900 members. “Bed and Breakfast group is a group for BnB owners who want to collaborate and communicate with other BnB owners about their business, best practices, tips, etc…”

Bed and Breakfast and Guest House Owners has over 2,000 members.  “Have you ever wondered how you can make 6 figures…from just 4 rooms? Want to know how to get raving fans coming back again and again?…If you’re a bed and breakfast owner, small hotel owner, guest house owner, then join our group and let’s share and help each other.”

Bed and Breakfast Inns has over 400 members.  “BedBreakfastTraveler.com’s goal with the Bed and Breakfast Inns group is to foster partnership, networking, and collaboration among the innkeeping industry. Through sharing of information, resources, and advice, the collective standards and profitability of the group shall increase.”

Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers has over 3,700 members.  “This group page is for Bed&Breakfast Owners across the Globe. Finding your niche as a B&B Owner and making it a success. Sharing what is your unique about your B&B, it’s amenities in what you offer and why you know that an experience at your B&B will be well remembered, and one that ensures your guest will return time and time again.”

B&B Owners Association has over 950 members.  “The B&B Owners Association has 3 main purposes:  1) To provide an independent, stable and well funded Internet marketing organization for the accommodation & hospitality sectors.  2) To ensure cost effective & comprehensive Internet marketing for its members and a effective global promotional vehicle on which to promote their businesses.  3) To ensure the public and Internet user have an easy to use and easy to find accommodation resource.”

Innkeepers has around 2,500 members.  “Bed and Breakfast Business Owners worldwide are welcome to network and share on this Group, whether you are an established Bed and Breakfast business or you want to own and run a bed and breakfast business.”

Just Bed and Breakfast Network has around 250 members.  “Justbedandbreakfast.net is the fastest growing worldwide bed and breakfasts directory offering the most complete list of unique properties from historic inns and guest houses to cabins and farm stays. View bed and breakfast descriptions, photos, reviews, and more.”

At the top of the LinkedIn page under “Interests” click “Groups” and this allows searching for these group titles or using other keywords.  Underneath the search box it will list any groups of which you are currently a member.  Underneath that, users can even create their own LinkedIn group should they desire to do so.  They can focus their membership on a specific geographical area or direct the discussion to a specific topic of interest.

Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging may start her own LinkedIn group.  If I did, what kind of topics would you like to see covered?  Please feel free to share a comment below or use my contact form to notify me directly.

Also, if you are a member of one of these LinkedIn groups (or a different LinkedIn group related to hospitality) and think it beneficial for other innkeepers to join, please tell us the name of your group and what you like about it.  I read all my comments and respond when appropriate.  Thank you!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

everybody writeseverybody writes

 

Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content shows you how to “create ridiculously good content!”  This “Go-To Guide” offers practical tips that can be applied to owning and running bed and breakfast inns.

 

 

Author Ann Handley explains the Everybody Writes 12-step “Writing GPS”:

  1. Goal: know what you are trying to achieve and why it matters to your readers. Is it to educate them about your local area?  Inform them about upcoming events?  Entice them to vacation at your B&B?
  2. Reframe: phrase the idea in a way that relates to your readers.  Can they relate to needing a break?  Are they seeking to improve a relationship?
  3. Seek out the data and examples: use credible sources that support your main points and/or discuss personal experiences.  Your sources could be about travel and leisure, health and fitness, or food and wine.  The personal experiences could be yours or a story (told with permission) of a couple renewing their vows, for example.
  4. Organize: know what structure best helps communicate your point.  The story about the couple could be put in interview format, for instance.
  5. Write to one person: your goal is for your readers to recognize and relate to the issues. If may help to speak as though you are writing to a dear friend about the benefits of a bed and breakfast stay.
  6. Produce the ugly first draft: you first just want to get your initial thoughts written down.  This may not be pretty, but the object is to start writing!  You can edit it later.  What compliments do you hear from your bed and breakfast guests?
  7. Walk away: put some distance between your first draft and your second draft.  Even if it is to get up and make breakfast for your current guests.  The point is to allow yourself some time to get away from what you are writing.
  8. Rewrite: shape it into something a reader wants to read.  You may think of some additional points or some more specific examples to illustrate your points.  Perhaps you live in a historical bed and breakfast and learned more about the people who lived here and/or the guests they entertained.
  9. Give it a great headline or title: make sure you deliver on what the title says.  If your title is “10 Ways to Have Fun In [insert your area here]” make sure that you list 10 Ways and that people really have fun doing those leisure activities.
  10. Have someone else edit it: for grammar, usage, style, and punctuation.  Spell check is not enough and even that will not correct every spelling error.
  11. One final look for readability: make sure it is alluring, easy to scan, maybe part of a list or have bullet points.  Can people easily find my main points or do they have to hunt for them?
  12. Publish: know what you want your readers to do next so you can give your call to action.  This could include following you on social media, subscribing to your blog, booking a room, etc.

Ann Handley says that the more you think about what you want to say, and plan for it, the easier it is to say.

  • Why am I creating this?  Your content has to matter to your target audience.
  • What is my objective?  Know what you want people to do as a result of reading your content.
  • What’s my point of view?  Always be focused on your readers perspective (have a customer-centric point of view).
  • How will this impact my readers?  Put your readers into the story.

Creative Approaches To Frame Your Writing (examples listed apply to B&B’s):

  1. Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Bed and Breakfast Etiquette
  2. Skeptic: Are Bed and Breakfasts Really Better Than Hotels?
  3. Explainer: The Bed and Breakfast Difference in Plain English
  4. Case study: How One Couple Renewed Their Relationship At a B&B
  5. Contrarian: Why Relaxation Is Underrated: The Key To More Productivity?
  6. How-to: How To Plan Your B&B Vacation
  7. Quick how-to: 3 Ways To Jump Start Your Vacation Plans
  8. How NOT to: 5 Ways to Compromise Your Relationships
  9. First person: My Personal Experience At Bed and Breakfasts
  10. Comparison: How B&B’s Measure Up To Hotels
  11. Questions and Answers: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  12. Data:Are People Working Longer Hours? Yes, Says Survey
  13. Man on the Street: Experts Offer Opinions On B&B Stays
  14. Outrageous: Why No Breaks Can Actually Make You Sick
  15. Insider secrets: The One Thing You Need To Know About Bed and Breakfasts

Bed and breakfasts can write using the Everybody Writes 12 Steps of Writing GPS and they have many different ways to creatively frame their writing to their readers.  The important thing is that consistent, quality content keeps you in the forefront of people’s minds when they go to book their next vacation!

 

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Twitter

visual storytelling Twitter

The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand is a fantastic online marketing book for businesses.  Authors Ekaterina Walter (@Ekaterina)and Jessica Gioglio (@savvybostonian) do an excellent job of giving practical advice that businesses can apply to better market themselves online.  This particular blog post focuses on what the authors tell us about Twitter.

 

Twitter is an innovative marketing tool as well as a keen way for businesses to connect with their audiences and provide quality customer service.  In fact, of all the social media platforms, Twitter is currently the most popular with Fortune Global 100 Companies.

Super Twitter Statistics:

  • More than half of all links shared on Twitter are images
  • Over 460,000 accounts are created every day
  • 20.6 million adults in the United States access Twitter at least once a month
  • 177 million tweets are sent every day
  • 24% of Twitter users check Twitter at least once a day
  • 54% of Twitter users are male and 46% are female
  • 46% of users are aged 18-34, so a high percentage of young people
  • 67% of users more likely to buy products from brands they follow on Twitter

Smart Twitter Capabilities:

  • Companies that use Twitter gain twice the number of leads each month that their non-tweeting counterparts
  • Twitter cards make it possible to attached media experiences to tweet that link to your content
  • Tweets that link to participating websites can be expanded by users to show a whole range of media
  • If you add the code on your own site, you can determine what sort of content will be shown by a Twitter link
  • Users interested in a particular offer or promotion will be able to fill out a field on the card
  • That field links their existing information, allowing them to quickly register

Savvy Twitter Strategies:

  • Develop your company’s voice
  • Tweet around several key passion points
  • Provide company news and updates
  • Offer unique deals to your Twitter followers
  • Give your clients (and potential clients) excellent customer service
  • Know what you want your followers to associate with your brand
  • Give them reasons to follow your company
  • The photos and videos you share should integrate with your overall strategy
  • Show a more relaxed side to your brand
  • Each tweet should be able to be understood on its own
  • Mix up your content
  • Ask questions to spark conversations
  • Use links to articles, photos, videos, and blog posts
  • Retweet your followers
  • Find out what your followers are interested in and share that
  • Use hashtags (#) to join in bigger conversations on a topic or start your own (#)
  • Use calls to action including RT (retweet)
  • Consider the locations and time zones of your audience
  • Use Promoted Tweet or Trend features to support your key messages

Given the popularity of Twitter and its capabilities, it makes sense for businesses to follow these social media strategies in order to promote their business and provide excellent customer service.  A special thank you to authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio for letting me share some of the content in their book.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

25 Ways To Write Creative Blog Posts

If you are reading this, then I assume you are looking to be CREATIVE (and definitely not boring) when you write creative blog posts.  This way you will have plenty of admiring fans! 25 ways to write CREATIVE blog posts:

1. ADVICE You have unique advice that only you can offer to your readers.  Once you understand who your audience is, then you can write like you are writing to a friend.  They will feel like they know you and you will develop a huge following.

2. CA– USE– Why not rally your readers behind a cause you support?  Let them know what you are doing to make a difference and how they can help. Give a call to action. Seriously, don’t leave that out.

3. COMMUNITY Your community could be defined by your local area or it could be people who share a common interest or goal.  Reach out to “your peeps” and connect with them!

4. COMPARISON Take two things and compare them.  Whether you compare two breakfast foods or two fun activities, the fun is in comparing and contrasting them. This could be educational, entertaining, or funny as well. Speaking of…

5. EDUCATIONAL– People like learning about things.  That is one reason why search engines are so popular.  Tell them something that not everyone knows, but you know because you are an expert at it.  Everyone is an expert at something.  Blog about what you know best.

6. ENTERTAINING Everyone likes to laugh and have fun.  You could blog about entertainment that is coming to your community whether it is a music concert, sporting event, or theatrical production. Be sure to make it “entertaining” to read!  Since blogging is writing that is typically less formal than say a report, let your personality shine in the post.

7. EVENTS People like finding out about events–ones that will happen and ones that already happened.  If you have the “inside scoop” on the latest, you can “tell all” in your blog!

8. FAQ This common acronym is short for “frequently asked questions.”  Many websites have an FAQ page on them.  Blog about commonly asked questions.  Blog answers to familiar questions so you can refer your readers to when they ask them.  Saves you time in the process!

9. FAMILY Some of your best material can come from your family members and others with whom you are close. As long as you make it generic enough that you don’t single out any one person or you know they won’t mind your sharing it, go ahead.  You know you want to!

10. GUIDE A guide-type blog post could be a collection of tips about a specific topic. While similar to advice blog posts, they are different in that these tips can be applied by a variety of different people–not advice for one type of problem.  Example: Simple Tips to Get Clients To Pay on Time, Quick Ways to Find Just What You Want Online, etc.

11. HYPOTHETICAL Ask your readers what they would do in a hypothetical situation. Maybe answer that question as well. These types of blog posts tend to get a lot of comments because people like to imagine, “What if….?” Sometimes I imagine, “What if I win a ton of money in the lottery and get to quit my day job?!”  I kind of have to buy a lottery ticket first. Oh well.

12. INSPIRATIONAL Share something motivational with your readers.  Help them connect to you in a powerful way through your telling of someone overcoming a challenge and beating the odds.  Maybe that someone who overcame something big is you.  Don’t be afraid to share since it could encourage someone else!

13. INSTRUCTIONAL or “HOW TO” Give instructions on how to do something that others want to know how to do, and suddenly you have a captive large audience.  You can be creative with your titles of these posts as well. Two examples: How To Teach Your Dog Fun New Tricks, How To Make Delicious Homemade Ice Cream, How To Make a Memorable Family Scrapbook, etc.

14. INTERVIEW If you don’t have any famous celebrities you happen to know (most of us are in this boat), then you could always interview a person notable for what they do. A person who is accomplished in a career or sport or another area of life.  If you interview a person who has an inspiring story and then you have an “inspirational interview“! Wow, two different ways to write a blog post combined! You are an overachiever!

15. LISTS People love lists.  Examples: 10 Ways You Can Change Your Spouse, 20 Best Party Appetizers, Top 40 Bestselling Books About Fitness, etc.  You get the idea and they will too!

16. MEMORIES Often, we like to recall fond memories or retell funny situations.  We may even want to remember how we overcame a trauma for the sake of helping another person who finds themselves in the same emergency. When you blog about a memory, be sure to create a vivid picture in their minds of all the important details of your experience.

17. NEWS Did you know that sometimes bloggers are the first to break a news story? There have been cases where a blogger has gotten in trouble for sharing some kinds of sensitive information.  Keep your day job and don’t blog about company trade secrets. Another word of advice is to keep your love life private so no one tries to sue you for disclosing personal details.  However, if you are in attendance at an exclusive event that you have permission to be blogging about, then by all means SHARE!

18. OPINIONS If you loving sharing your opinions, then blogging is right up your alley!  As long as you are tactful and the topic is appropriate, it is alright to share what you think. You don’t have to have all positive comments from your readers.  In fact, it makes it more interesting when some of your readers do not agree with you.  Usually readers who do agree with you, will come to your defense when you are criticized by others.

19. PHOTOS If you took a great picture or want to share several incredible pictures, then you may want to have a photo blog post.  When your text is all about what is in your photo(s), then you have a photo blog post.  Whether your pictures are of smiling people, grand buildings, gorgeous nature, or something entirely different, there are others who would love to learn about how you managed to capture the photos and the techniques you used in getting it to look the way it does.

20. PREDICTIONS It is common at the end of the year (or the beginning of the new year) for people to come up with their predictions about some topic.  Examples: The Future of Technology, 10 Social Media Predictions, What is To Come in American Education, etc. Similar to the hypothetical “what if” posts, these are your thoughts as to what will come about in the next year (or whatever time frame you select) concerning a particular topic. Inquiring minds want to know!

21. PROBLEMS Life would not be nearly as exciting if there were no glitches.  Inevitably, snags come along.  You spill chocolate ice cream on your brand new white dress shirt.  You get a ticket for speeding on your way to work early one morning.  Your problem post could be written to be a funny look at everyday life or it could be a solution post in which you address how to solve a particular problem with a specific idea, product, or service. People are always looking for solutions!

22. QUIZZES Some people love taking quizzes for fun.  Why not write a blog post that is a quiz about something interesting?  Examples: 15 Questions to Discover the Vacation of Your Dreams, How Well Do You Know Yourself?, etc.  The point is to make your quiz blog post appealing enough to your audience, so that they want to take it.

23. REVIEW Everybody loves reading reviews.  You could blog a book review, a restaurant critique, or a movie screening.  Reviews help other people who, for example, were thinking about reading the same book, dining at the same restaurant, or watching the same movie; decide if they want to based on your review.  When you write a review blog post, you have the power to influence your readers to take action or avoid it.  Don’t let the power go to your head!

24. SECRETS This could mean quick shortcuts, little known facts, or juicy details.  Like news posts, people like finding out things they would not normally know had they not read your blog.  Same cautions apply!

25. STORIES People love reading fascinating stories.  A story blog post captures the attention of your audience yet is brief enough to be the length of a blog post. Stories with important lessons for your readers earn you loyal readers.

Try one (or a combination of several) of these types of blog posts the next time you write! Don’t be afraid to write CREATIVE blog posts. Most importantly, enjoy the process that blogging requires.  It always helps me to visualize my readers reading this.  Will they think this is funny?  Does that tell them everything they need to know?  etc.  Feel free to share your CREATIVE blog post ideas or to ask me a question related to this post.

Helpful Furniture Buying Tips

furniture buying tips

Whether you are just starting your bed and breakfast and need to buy a whole houseful of furniture, or if you just want to add a few pieces of furniture, check out these helpful furniture buying tips!

  • Bring swatches or color samples of furniture, drapes, fabrics, paint or wallpaper that you will need to color match. If swatches aren’t available, take good color pictures & bring them with you.
  • If you are buying furniture for a whole room or your entire bed and breakfast, bring a floor plan of each room (include window, door & ceiling measurements) to help you select furniture with the correct dimensions. Measure other pieces of furniture in the room to ensure that your new furniture will be compatible in scale.
  • If necessary, take hall measurements, door measurements and ceiling measurements. If you are buying furniture that will go upstairs in a two or three story bed and breakfast, bring measurements of the hall and stairway so that you can make sure any furniture that you buy can be carried up your stairway.
  • Decide on the furniture style that you like. You can bring pictures of furniture that you like from your favorite home furnishings magazines.
  • With today’s eclectic styles of decorating, many people use different types and finishes of wood in the same room. Select interesting pieces of furniture that complement each other and reflect your taste.
  • If you have oriental and/or decorative rugs that you will be using, make certain that the fabric that you choose for upholstery will complement the colors and design of your rug.
  • To make small rooms look bigger, select furniture and accessories with colors that closely match the walls and floors. Also, reduce the number of pieces of furniture in the room and add reflective surfaces such as mirrors and glass-top table tops.
  • To make a large room look smaller and more intimate, position furniture away from the wall and use taller pieces such as an entertainment center, armoire or screen. Use rugs, patterned upholstery fabrics and printed wallpaper to give the area a warm and more comfortable feeling.
  • When shopping for upholstered furniture, try to get the facts about the basic construction: springs, frames, padding, cushions and fabric.
  • Always test furniture that will be used for seating by doing just that: sit on it! Consider how well the chair fits your particular body build. The height of the arms, the pitch of the back and the support under your knees should feel right for your body.

Remember these furniture buying tips and have fun shopping. Keep track of your receipts so you can write off the expenses for your bed and breakfast. 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography