Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Don't get swept out to sea innkeepers

The good ol' days sure cost a lot
The days are long gone where innkeepers paid to have a listing in a travel guidebook and people called to make a reservation on an 800 number and that was that. We used to call it advertising, now what we do is called marketing.

We not only have it all hanging out, so to speak, online with our websites and B&B directories, but on social media as well. Social media has upped the ante and people of all ages are there and expect us to be there as well. Innkeepers are required to have more skin in the game than ever before. This is therefore the reason behind the "letting it all hang out" comment.

What does this mean for innkeepers?
We cannot simply use the "world wide web" as a source for selling, we need to interact. We need to use the social media platforms of our choice as a water cooler of sorts. Remember the old office water coolers? Beyond a source of gossip they were also place to shoot the breeze, share what we did over the weekend and talk about our upcoming plans for our next getaway or vacation.

Innkeepers need to be at the watercooler 
They need to share bits and pieces about themselves, their lives and their inns, all the while learning about their guests and prospective guests' lives. Reading about what they like and where they like to do it. This is nothing new of course; corporations have been studying and mining the market for decades. Innkeepers need to step up and shoot the breeze online. Isn't this what "social" media is all about, being social? We can no longer wait until they are at our table enjoying our breakfasts and conversation to be social, we must now reach out in advance and invite them over for a cup of tea, albeit online.

Don't get swept out to sea
For the old school innkeeper who has fought against this strong current and found themselves swept out to sea via a riptide, struggling and all alone looking back at the shore and muttering to themselves "How did I get out here? How the heck do I get back?" I recommend they swim with the current, not against it, and before they know it they are standing on the shore.

The Future Looks Bright
Here is the best part about social media, it's free! Yes, for the most part it doesn't cost a penny or a plug nickel. At the moment you can personalize it as you are able to use your own branding on all of your social media sites. This is free and you can post whatever you want, whenever you want. Now Facebook and its funky unpredictable algorithms are another story for another time, but you can surely post as many images, stories, blog posts, tweets, pins, pluses as you wish! 

Brand me Marlo
I recommend you use the force Luke, and make sure that you save any image you use online with your bed and breakfast name. Why should you do this? So when someone searches Google images your photo or photos will come up. I recommend you use as many images as possible on all social media sites as people are visual, people love pictures. Brand them, put your mark on them, if you have a beautiful waterfront location and happen to catch the sunrise over the water then put your B&B or URL right there on the photo and share it online, as many places as possible. Don't put all your eggs in one basket on Facebook, go to Twitter and tweet it, InstagramPinterest, Google Plus. If you can swing it add your location as well to the image saved file name. 

For us here at The Claiborne House B&B we compete for Google space with another Claiborne House B&B in different state (notice I did not spell it out, I actually want The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast of Virginia to come up first!) Here is what came up in Google Images when I searched for the term "Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast":

Literally pages and pages of images came up in Google Images for our bed and breakfast here in Virginia, with a few random images from the other Claiborne House.

If you don't have a preferred program to add your branding or edit images I suggest you check out picmonkey.com online. This is another free option and you can do photo edits such as cropping, resizing, effects, touch up, text, photo collages and even format a Facebook header for you in seconds.

Consider following Chefforfeng's Marketing blog here and Jim's Marketing blog here for more sound marketing advice. If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing from your favorite social media account. CHEERS!
HAPPY BLOGGING from InnkeeperVA

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

We Have the Top Reasons to Visit Us!

14 Things to Do in Maine - comes with a nifty slideshow! Take the Mail Boat on Casco Bay, visit birding hot-spots and discover the best lobster in the world with the many lobster shacks that abound along the coast of Maine! 

Each one of the 14 Things to Do in Maine on the list goes to a blog article with more information and more great things to do in Maine in 2014!  


--This list brought to you by White Cedar Inn B&B in Freeport Maine. 

10 Top Reasons To Visit Pocahontas and Randolph County in Arkansas! Another fantastic slideshow highlighting some fun and interesting things to from Pocahontas historic walking tours to incredible outdoor recreation on the Eleven Point River 
--This list brought to you by Lesmeister Guesthouse in Pocahontas Arkansas.

14 Reasons to Visit Rocky Mount in 2014! Starting the list is The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail and from there you can walk in the footsteps of history at Booker T Washington National Monument or sample some crafts beer at the new Chaos Brewing Company.
--This list brought to you by The Claiborne House B&B in Rocky Mount Virginia.


13 Reasons to Visit Gillum House in Shinnston West Virginia!
From the birthplace of a state to heart wrenching Mine Disaster Trail, you will find true blue Americana on this list of must see's in WV!

--This list brought to you by Gillum House B&B in Shinnston West Virginia.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

World's Weirdest Requests and Complaints at Hotel

From toilets filled with mineral water to baths of chocolate milk – we lift the lid on 10 of the oddest requests made by hotel guests ever. Plus, we reveal 10 of the strangest hotel complaints.

A DEAD MOUSE, goat bells and 16 pillows for a single guest are just a few of the bizarre requests that hotel staff from around the world have received from guests, according to our latest survey.
The majority of unusual requests relate to food, with staff reporting they have been asked to provide 15 cucumbers a day, only the right legs of a chicken and a single glass of water to be delivered to their room on the hour, throughout the night. The sound of goat bells to aid sleep also made the list of most unusual requests.
Read the rest here!

Innkeepers can relate
We typically do not share personal information such as this, and we don't want people to think we are complaining, but a fact is a fact! I had a guest who was a movie producer who required ten towels, not nine, not eleven, it had to be ten.

Stranger things have happened...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

We have curves...

And we know how to use them! 
Visit the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia - stay with us at The Claiborne House B&B in Rocky Mount! Just 15 miles to "America's Favorite Road" The Blue Ridge Parkway. This is the road you take from us to get to the BRP!

Friday, March 7, 2014

6 Reasons Why I Love Living in Boston

Reason 1.  Boston museums are one of the finest in the country, if not the world. And in just one city, I can find an endless array of exhibits ranging from art to science museums and from sports to historical museums. There’s the maritime heritage museum Battleship Cove in Fall River, Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and a lot more to fill up my schedule every weekend!
No, you're not in Europe. It's the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Reason 2. Parks and open spaces are like oases in the middle of a bustling city filled with skyscrapers and people. Whenever I want to relax, I can just take a long walk in any of the 30 parks in Boston. A must-see attraction is the Make Way for Ducklings bronze statue in Boston Public Garden. It’s so iconic a replica was installed in Moscow as a gift from former First Lady Barbara Bush.

      Reason 3. Our subway stations are the coolest in the world. So cool we call it “The T” (formally MBTA). And even though the MBTA officials are getting headaches from the graffiti, for us ordinary people, we can appreciate the bold, artistic efforts of train taggers.

      Reason 4.  Ice skating at the Common Frog Pond in the center of America’s oldest public park makes winter more endearing. No wonder the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships was hosted here with a total attendance of more than 100,000! And we expect the same turn out again in 2016!

      Reason 5. The Island Creek Oyster Bar got me hooked and no one else can take its place! They claim that they “bring the restaurant to the farmer” and I do agree on that wholeheartedly. The restaurant is sexy. The ambience is sexy. Even the food. It’s a top-notch restaurant that I highly recommend to anyone visiting Boston. Try the oysters (of course), the lobster roe noodles, and the lobster roll and you’ll thank me later for that one-of-a-kind, amazing seafood experience.

      Reason 6. Boston is only an hour and a half away from Cape Cod so during summer, most city dwellers take regular weekend trips to the lake for fishing, picnics, or any other water sports you can think of. Cape Cod also gets busy in the winter for ski enthusiasts. I stay at a bed and breakfast called Chatham Gables Inn, which I’m sure you will love too because of the surrounding atmosphere and luxury guest rooms.

Friday, February 21, 2014

King Cake - What is that?

There is always something delicious coming out of the kitchens in New Orleans and this time of year is no different.  With the festivities of Mardi Gras comes the tradition of King Cake.  A coffee cake of sorts with cinnamon and topped with icing in the colors of the season - purple, green and gold.  Some cakes are filled with cream cheese while others with strawberry or other rich berry flavors.

Oh, see that little baby resting in the center of that king cake?  That is the 'prize'.  When attending a king cake party, the baby is tucked inside the cake.  The lucky person that gets the piece with the baby gets to through the next party.  It is usually one each week through the season (season starts Jan. 6 and runs to Mardi Gras Day, aka Fat Tuesday or the day before Ash Wednesday (the beginning of the Lent). 

I was lucky enough to get to see one bakery in action,  Big Easy Grill LLC located in Pearl River.  And even luckier to get a king cake (see above) fresh out of the oven.  Let me tell ya - YUM doesn't do it justice.  Best king cake ever!  Ok, my mouth is watering for another bite, gotta go!

B&B's are a better way to stay, so while visiting Southeastern Louisiana, stay at Woodridge Bed and Breakfast - play hard, sleep well! Debbi & Tim Keepers of the Inn and Concierge to your perfect getaway!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I Smell Bacon!

Just thought you may want to know...
Brought to you by The Claiborne House B&B in Rocky Mount, VA http://www.claibornehouse.net/