Tag Archives: vacation

Great Conversation Starters While Hosting Guests

 

partially covered deck with chairs and picnic table overlooking lake with trees

It is always a good idea to have some topics of conversation in mind if you regularly host guests at your bed and breakfast.  Having a mental list of what to talk about means you will feel comfortable interacting with perfect strangers at any time. The biggest secret to being a good conversationalist is simply allowing other people to talk about themselves. Why? It is a subject they probably know well and are comfortable talking about.

 

Since they are likely to be out of town guests when they visit, this automatically gives you some conversation topics, including the reason for their stay at your B&B.

  • Are you celebrating a special occasion(birthday, anniversary, reunion, etc.)?
  • What attracted you to visit us in this area?
  • Does our area have a leisure activity or event you will be participating in?
  • Where else have you been on vacation?
  • What was your most favorite vacation destination so far?
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

People love talking about what they eat or want to eat.  Think about the popularity of Food Network and online recipe websites!  Inquire about their favorite foods including breakfast dishes.  During the time they book the room is the best time to find out if they are allergic to any foods or on a restricted diet since you, or your staff, will be cooking for them.  If you realize that question was never answered, take the first opportunity to ask.

  • What is your favorite food?
  • If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • Where do you like to go when you eat out?
  • Do you like to cook? If so, do you have a signature dish?
  • Are there any foods that you would like to try?

If they bring up their family, then it is perfectly acceptable to have a discussion centered around that. Most people love talking about their family.  However, we need to be sensitive to people who may have strained family relationships, family members who are ill, infertility issues, or some other personal struggle in their lives.

  • Do you have any siblings?
  • What is your favorite childhood memory?
  • Did you have a pet growing up?  Do you have any pets now?
  • As a kid, how did you most like to spend your time?

Another topic of conversation could be about sports.  Since there are so many different sports, it is a safe bet that they, or someone they know, have an interest in sports.  They do not need to be a talented athlete to enjoy watching sports.

  • Do you play or follow any sports?
  • Who is your favorite athlete?
  • How do you like to exercise?
  • What is your favorite sports team?

Ask them about their technology and entertainment preferences.  This can lead to lively discussions about favorites.  Then you can mention (if it is available for them) that you offer a free Wi-Fi connection and/or a book, CD and/or DVD collection available for guests to borrow.

  • What are your favorite TV shows?
  • What kind of movies do you like?
  • What was the last movie you saw?
  • Who is your favorite actor/actress?
  • What is your favorite movie of all time?
  • What type of music do you like to listen to?  Who are your favorite musicians?
  • Do you like to read?  If so, what kind of books do you read?
  • What’s your favorite board game or card game?

Carefully ask about work, but try not to make it sound like a job interview.  Remember that your guest(s) may be studying, retired, or “between jobs”.  Also keep in mind your guest(s) may be traveling on business while they stay with you.

  • What do you do for a living? Where do you work (or study)?
  • What was your first job ever?
  • When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What do you like best about your job?
  • If money was no object yet you still wanted to work, what would be your dream job?

The key is to keep it light. The goal is to build rapport with your bed and breakfast guests.  Stick to topics that are interesting and entertaining to talk about.  Most people are looking for polite and lighthearted topics to discuss–it is wise to avoid controversial topics like politics and religion. Leave them with a great impression so they give you and your B&B a positive testimonial about your hospitality via your online guest book.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Art of Pinning

art of pinning

 

The art of pinning on Pinterest is visual in nature.  This works very well for visually oriented businesses like bed and breakfasts.  People want to know what your inn looks like and what your breakfasts look like.  Seeing your pins helps them to imagine themselves at your bed and breakfast inn.

 

 

Pictures:

  • Motivate them to plan a vacation to stay at your inn
  • Each picture is worth 1,000 words
  • Are more appealing and stronger than words
  • Pin only images with strong visual content
  • Brighter colors bring more joy
  • Feature just one idea or product in each pin
  • Use descriptive keywords you want to be known for
  • If you resize an image, make sure it is still clear and easy to see

Social media

  • Builds relationships with guests and potential guests
  • Raises the visibility of your bed and breakfast online
  • Gets you ranked higher on Google
  • Finds you business contacts like fellow innkeepers and associations

Remember:

  • Share your story of how you came to be bed and breakfast owners/innkeepers
  • Share information you are interested in and that your followers will find useful (such as travel tips)
  • Educate your audience on the advantages of staying at a bed and breakfast
  • Pin pictures of your bed and breakfast
  • Pin pictures of you amenities such as pool, garden, spa, etc.
  • Pin pictures of your community to give guests reasons to want to stay in your area

Etiquette or “Netiquette”:

  • If you were not the first to pin it, give credit to the original pinner.
  • Share and repin to show you are interested in other things outside your own B&B

Pinterest users become part of a larger community.  When we promote other people’s pins they are more likely to follow us.  That is one of my secrets to the art of pinning and how I grew such a quick following on Pinterest.  You can too!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Promote with Packages

promote with packages

 

 

Promote with packages that your bed and breakfast guests can purchase.  These packages may be based on the season, occasion, local area, classes, or the need to feel pampered.

 

 

  • Classes--you may have guests who are attending conferences, workshops, and other learning opportunities at your B&B or near it
  • Local area–has its own attractions, things to do, and events throughout the year
  • Occasion–your guests may be celebrating their wedding, anniversary, birthday, reunion, graduation, or some other significant event
  • Pampering–your guests may like spa services, chocolates, flowers, or dessert for two delivered to their guest room to enhance their memories of their stay at your bed and breakfast
  • Season–you may offer specials during the slow times of your year or offer special holiday packages such as Valentine’s Day

As a bed and breakfast owner, you may make arrangements with local restaurants, attractions, florists, spa facilities, and more.  There is power in creating affiliations and associations with complimentary businesses to yours.  You both can profit from these mutually beneficial arrangements.

Never underestimate the power of packages.  People love to feel special and know that they will be making vacation memories they will fondly recall.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visualization

Did you know that the brain’s quickest and probably the longest-lasting response is to images? Having a mental picture of something in your brain can be very motivating as well as relaxing.

If you come to my house, you will see that I have a visualization dream board using different colored pieces of scrapbook paper that I have pinned to a bulletin board.  I cut out meaningful words and inspiring pictures from magazines to motivate me to achieve, relax, and be the best me I can be!

In addition to my dream board, I actively use Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/kristinedement/).  It is so cool to be able to collect tips and get ideas from looking at what other people put on their Pinterest boards.  You can even take your own images and share them with others on Pinterest.

So what means a lot to you?  Spend some time thinking about what kind of categories of pins you would like to set up.  For example, my categories include: social media success, inspiring art, libraries around the world, castles around the world, vacation destinations, etc.  The picture below is of America’s largest home–the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.

If you are an artist, you could paint an inspiring mural on a wall in your home or office or classroom as a way to powerfully visualize your dreams.  No matter how you visualize, it is important that you do!  Then you are one step closer to achieving another dream!