Posts Tagged ‘guests’

Some Guidelines for Staying in a Bed and Brekfast or Inn

Monday, June 13th, 2016

by Linda Burchell Ard

Although staying in a bed or breakfast while traveling in Europe is pretty common, many American have never stayed in this type of lodging facility. During breakfast recently, I asked some guests from England and Germany what they would want to tell Americans about staying in a Bed & Breakfast or Inn.
They said B&Bs are a great way to travel and really learn about areas. The locals always know, among other things, the best places to eat, and the cheapest places to buy gas, and the highway construction areas to avoid. They can also recommend interesting local activities, historic sites and even fun shopping. The properties are well loved and so clean—and the breakfasts are freshly made and delicious. The innkeepers are usually very friendly and welcoming so it is like staying with family.
Then I asked, “How is this different from staying in hotels or motels?”
They said that sometimes, when you are in a hurry and are just looking for a convenient bed for the night, a motel might work better. But many hotel rooms look just the same and some are noisy or brightly lighted. The guestrooms are not relaxing and lack charm.
Feeling on a roll, I continued with, “Some people who haven’t stayed in Bed and Breakfasts are concerned that they might not know the right way to act in a B&B.”
The couple laughed at this question and the wife explained that her husband still didn’t know the right way to act. He just shook his head and agreed. Then, combining their wealth of experience, they clicked off a few simple suggestions:
• Remember that you are staying in someone’s home so you’ll want to be respectful.
• Ring the doorbell, unless directed otherwise, before walking in.
• If you arrived before check-in (usually 4 to 6 p.m.), your room might not be ready. Also, if you are going to be later than you had planned, just contact the innkeeper in case she/he has made plans for the evening or needs to run to the store.
• Every Bed and Breakfast is unique and has different policies so ask the innkeeper. There are often rules about children, pets, parking, smoking, use of alcohol, forms of payment, or cancellation.
• In most Bed and Breakfasts, there are “common areas” for the guests to use and enjoy as well as private areas reserved for the innkeepers, their staff and families. Such areas may be used for storage, office work, meal preparation or just relaxing. It is important to respect the innkeepers’ need for privacy.
I thought their advice might be helpful for other folks who have always thought it would be fun to stay in a Bed and Breakfast but never had the experience.
As I cleaned up the breakfast table, they were getting ready to pack up and hit the road again. Before they left, I got hugs from both of them and I wished them safe travels. They stopped to pat Buster, our friendly farm dog, and take a picture of the Inn. I bet that departing ritual doesn’t happen often at most motels or hotels!
Linda Burchell Ard and her husband Bob are Innkeepers and owners of at Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn, historical bed and breakfast located in the middle of a family owned working farm in Minden, NE. To learn more, visit “” or Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn on Facebook or email You can also check out wonderful Nebraska B&B locations at and enjoy the better way to stay.

Establishing the USP of a hotel for online marketing

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Establishing the USP of a hotel for online marketing

November 7, 2011 By

NB: This is a guest article by Martin Soler, marketing director of World Independent Hotels Promotion (WIHP).

Every hotel needs to discover what is unique about its brand and then promote heavily in its marketing efforts on the web – that statement is simple.

This is true for independent hotels, for hotel chains, individual hotels within a chain and all the way to an inn or bed and breakfast.

But establishing the unique selling point (USP), however, appears to be more difficult than many property owners think.

Before taking on a hotel as a client, we do a thorough study of the property to determine it’s unique selling point(s). Several factors are used for this, but often to the amazement of many of our customers we’re often looking first outside of the actual hotel.

Typically one thinks of USPs by comparing against the competition or hotels in the immediate vicinity.

If there is a modern decoration, a hotelier will tend to think of that as the USP. If the interior design was created done by a famous designer, many a hotelier will choose that as the USP.

But there is something which is often omitted when working out a USP: customer perception.

What is it?

What do you want your guests to see and feel when they experience a hotel – this is ultimately what a property needs to take into account when working out the online marketing USP.

Walking around the hotel and actually looking is far better than work it all out from behind a desk. Equally, working out a successful USP also means talking to guests and finding out how they felt about their experience at the hotel.

A USP needs to be something that will personally affect the life of the end user. Not esoterically, not in some far-fetched manner, but at the moment they touch the brand for the first time.

Common mistakes

The biggest mistake we’ve seen in working out the USP is to forget that it has to be something that the guest will benefit from.

Some examples:

  • Using a historical fact as a USP. That Oscar Wilde lived in a hotel is not much of a USP because it doesn’t show much benefit to the individual.
  • Focusing on interior design elements. Mentioning LED lighting or other fancy technology features as a USP doesn’t help understand the comfort.
  • Using the decoration theme as USP. That the hotel is decorated based on Marylin Monre or after the theme of cars is nice but the guest isn’t staying there to watch the theme.

Key elements of a USP

There are three factors that determine a hotel’s USP and only three.

  • Location
  • Comfort
  • Value

A good USP integrates all three elements to form a clear concept of the hotel. If a hotel is unique (and positively so) on all three points, the USP will be perfect.

But that’s rare, a property will often find one of these points is totally unique and the other two are passable.

It can often happens that only one is great and the other two are not good at all, so better for a hotel to put all its focus on the positive element, as in could actually be enough to drive people to a property.

More about location, comfort and value

Here are some examples:

  • Location – if there is there’s a direct subway to the city center or other point of interest from a property, then use it to your advantage in the messaging around the USP
  • Comfort – tell a guest how they will personally benefit from it the design and asthetics associated with the property. Essentially, a hotel needs to tell the guest how a stay will make their life better.
  • Value – how will a hotel save a guest money? This does not necessarily mean a property is cheap, but a focus on value, rather than cost. Just like the classic ad campaign by Avis “We’re only number two but we try harder.” A hotel can use it’s negative position as an advantage.

Every property needs a USP, regardless of its size, status, cost, brand – simply because guests aren’t interested in staying somewhere that will not meet their expectations.

But don’t just sit and think! Go out and look, talk to people and read their comments, monitor what they say in social media and collect feedback. Lots of it.

Once a hotel has established its USP – it is still incredible now many do not have an understanding of what it actually is – then the rest of the web marketing campaign will be a lot easier to execute.

NB: This is a guest article by Martin Soler, marketing director of World Independent Hotels Promotion (WIHP)

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Bed and breakfast offers guests a taste of farm living

Saturday, June 4th, 2011
Wednesday May 25, 2011
Bed and breakfast offers guests a taste of farm living
VIDEO: Ponderosa Lodge Farm and Bed and Breakfast in Lookout, WV offers a way for people to get back to nature, relax and learn about self sufficiency.
Daily Mail Staff

Craig Cunningham
Intern Rhianna Twomey, 18, of Portland, Maine, leads the way down the stairs to a rabbit hutch at the Ponderosa Lodge Farm Bed and Breakfast in Lookout, Fayette County. Twomey is followed by intern Emily Landis, 25, of Washington, D.C. Another intern, Sydney Cole, 20, of Portland, Maine, awaits the pair at the bottom of the stairs.

LOOKOUT – Guests at the Ponderosa Lodge, Farm and Bed and Breakfast can certainly take advantage of the serene mountain retreat to rest and relax, but the Fayette County lodge offers much more than picturesque vistas.

Guests can peruse the farm, work in the multitude of gardens or even help feed and water animals.

Ken Toney and his wife, Jorene Soto, moved to the lodge from the Washington, D.C., area in May 2005 hoping to find a place where they could escape the hectic pace of city life. And that’s what they found in the hills outside Fayetteville along U.S. 60.

The couple immediately fell in love with the 40-year-old lodge that had previously served as a bed and breakfast as well as a zoo in the 1970s, Toney said. And instead of using the place as a retreat for themselves exclusively, they decided to invite others to enjoy it.

“We bought this place to run as a bed and breakfast,” Toney said. “We always had the goal to turn it into a farm and group retreat.”

They wasted no time in attracting guests who wanted a little taste of what it’s like to live on a working West Virginia farm. The first patrons stayed at the lodge a couple of weeks after the couple arrived.

They rent the entire facility rather than by the room. Organizations such as church groups and corporations often rent the lodge for group retreats as do families wanting to secure the place for reunions, Toney said.

The lodge has 10 bedrooms and can sleep 32. A “great hall” where friends and family can gather is also available in the 10,000-square-foot facility.

A full kitchen is available, Toney said. Guests may do their own cooking or hire the couple to prepare meals.

The lodge has modern amenities such as wireless Internet service and cable television, and a nearby tower provides cell phone service to the area, Toney said. However, guests rarely spend their time hanging around the lodge using their computers or watching television.

That is because there is so much to do outside. The lodge sits on 16 acres of land just off the Midland Trail.

There is a large garden and smaller herb garden on the lodge grounds. Another large garden is about six miles down the road.

There are also fruit trees, strawberry beds and blackberry, raspberry and blueberry bushes. Animals such as goats, cattle and even turkeys can also be found.

“Most people come for the farm,” Toney said. “They want to get back to nature.”

And so far the educational experience offered at the lodge has generated a lot of interest, Toney said.

People staying at the lodge often work in the garden or help Toney take care of the animals, he said. They also like to walk through the woods or just sit on the porch and take in the sights.

“This is a safe place for parents to bring their kids and sit on the porch and watch them look at the animals or walk through the garden,” Toney said. “It’s very relaxing.”

Guests also can learn to garden or can vegetables, Toney said. Produce raised on the farm feeds guests and Toney’s family, he said. The produce is raised organically and the meat served on his table comes from the animals on his land.

Tourism and Trade Show

Saturday, June 4th, 2011
June 2011
Tourism and Trade Show

Trade shows have long been seen as an important marketing tool for a large number of industries that need to exhibit their products to a specific audience.  Since almost the beginning of time business people have known that trade shows offer merchants the opportunity to market their goods before huge crowds in a relatively short period of time. Trade shows can also be an important tourism and economic development generator and bring thousands of dollars into the coffers of hotels, restaurants and attractions.  From the tourism perspective, trade shows are more than mere platforms for marketing one’s wears.  These shows are an important part of the convention and meetings industry. Tourism industry leaders are well aware of the fact that trade shows produce not only primary business (the business that takes place on the trade show floor) but also secondary business (business that is the result of servicing the trade show participants, such as hotels and restaurants) and even tertiary business (business that comes from trade show participants returning at a later time to the trade show’s host community).  Many tourism leaders view trade shows as “conventions with a product to sell”.

From the perspective of the tourism industry trade shows then provide a number of important challenges and opportunities.  For example even a small or medium size trade show may attract as many as 10,000 people from out-of-town who will fill hotel rooms and eat at local establishments. For many of the reasons mentioned above Tourism professionals compete to gain trade show market share.  They also realize that people who come to their community for trade shows may return at a later time for additional recreation and fun.

While there are great similarities between the classical convention and trade shows there are also major differences.  Trade shows often need large amounts of convention hall space, and easy access for products and trade show booths.  Because trade shows have multiple events occurring at the same time, the trade show floor must be designed to allow people to hear against a cacophony of sounds and permit private conversations in a public arena.

Tourism Tidbits suggests that those tourism communities that seek to attract trade shows consider some or all of the following:

-Have both a pre-show plan and a during-show plan of action.  Many communities offer the trade show planners a set of show benefits, good lighting, easy access, security guards at the entrances and exits.  Communities that also offer pre-show ad-ons including free nights at places of lodging, discount tickets to local attractions, and restaurant coupons have an additional advantage in attracting trade shows.

– Provide clear and precise information about what services your local community can provide to and for trade show hosts, guests and participants. Make sure that your community’s information appears in a font size that is easy for most people to read. In a like manner provide information regarding secondary and tertiary site locations that is clear and not cluttered. To avoid these problems create “Trade show check lists” that can be reviewed with the tradeshow organizers prior to the start of the show.

-Do not overestimate what you can handle. Many communities “bite off” more than they can chew.  Remember that the success of a trade show is determined not only by what takes place within the show, but also by what happens off the trade show floor

-Use your security team as a selling tool to attract tradeshows and to encourage people to consider post-trade show vacations in your community. Trade shows are places where all sorts of merchandise are available and are soft target spots for pilferage.  One way to win trade shows for your community is to demonstrate to potential trade shows hosts that there is a total security plan and that the local police department has been trained in tourism security issues.

-Make sure that you use the fact that people are at tradeshow to promote your community. Think of give-away bags promoting local products and services, interesting posters and regular information updates on things to do before and after trade show hours.  Make sure that your community is part of the local trade show rather than merely as passive location in which the tradeshow occurs.

Ask yourself who is exhibiting in your community and what special needs to these exhibitors. The best way to get brilliant results in attracting trade shows is to demonstrate that you understand what the trade shows’ hosts’ needs are and that you have a plan to meet their needs.  Make sure you demonstrate to the trade show host that you understand who their target audience is and the message that they are trying to get across. Take the time to ask the organizers how they will define a successful show and what part the local tourism industry can play in making sure that they meet their objectives.

Remember that there are really two shows occurring at the same time. The first is the actual trade show in which merchants are exhibiting products. The second trade show is that your community is also on exhibit.  To gain brilliant results use the personal touch and a sense of caring to distinguish your community from other communities that are also seeking to attract the trade show business.

Unique Turn Down Amenities

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Unique Turn Down Amenities

Have We Evolved Past Chocolates on the Pillow?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Sarrah Candee
Turndown Aphorism at Morgans Hotels
Turndown Aphorism at Morgans Hotels

With haute hotel design making a comeback, long and drawn out hotel renovations finally getting off the ground, and true luxury making a comeback, there is still one question that remains: With all of the expansive changes being made to positively impact guests, what happened to one of the simplest hotel pleasures from long ago – the turndown amenity? Have we evolved passed chocolates on the pillow, or are we not there yet? With that question in mind, the following hotels are doing their part to raise the bar for incorporating creative turndown amenities into their guests’ experience.

The Benjamin hotel in midtown Manhattan is a boutique hotel luxury that guarantees a good night’s sleep to their guests, so its no wonder they have an impressive choice of turn down amenities. As part of its Sleep program, the hotel features a 12 choice-pillow menu and Sleep Concierge that will work with guests prior to arrival to personalize the sleep experience. The Sleep Concierge helps guest select the perfect pillow, aromatherapy fragrance, or even bedtime snack at turn down, and they also ensure that special attention is given to their youngest guests.

“Being in a new environment or the excitement of traveling sometimes makes it challenging for kids to fall asleep,” said The Benjamin’s Sleep Concierge Anya Orlanska. “We drew from The Benjamin’s 10 years of sleep expertise to create Winks’ Kidzzz Club.”

Winks’ Kidzzz Club amenities include the use of a sound pillow and audio bedtime stories and Kidzzz Club robes. Children also receive a Winks doll, and milk and cookie turndown.

Morgans Hotel Group recently launched a global partnership with The School of Life, which will include a series of bespoke amenities and initiatives that also tie into their turndown service.

“The School of Life represents the best of creative and cutting edge thinking,” said Morgans Hotel Group’s Creative Director and SVP of Marketing Kim Walker. “We are committed to offering our guests a stimulating and authentic experience. This exciting partnership will compliment the unique cultural offering that we deliver to our guests in design, food, nightlife and events.”

Starting in January, guests at all Morgans properties will be treated to a Daily Aphorism card at turndown service. Offering insights from some of the greatest literary minds, guests are encouraged to expand their minds by pondering and discussing the wisdom of words such as Samuel Beckett’s “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail better” before bedtime.

One of New York’s most unique luxury hotels, The Surrey, takes a slightly different approach to turndown. Instead of creating standard turndown amenities, The Surrey creates unique moments and specially crafted amenities for guests based on their personality and preferences. This can include surprising a guest with a favorite dessert by Café Boulud at turndown or providing a nighttime in-room cocktail service to celebrate a special occasion stay.

In addition to honoring the traditional holidays with turndown amenities, The Surrey provides their guests with unexpected treats for occasions such as Golden Week and The Armory Show and other exclusive neighborhood happenings at museums, boutiques, and the Spa at The Surrey.

Whether you are visiting The Benjamin, Morgans’ Hotels, or The Surrey, all of these turndown amenities are definitely much sweeter than traditional chocolate on the pillow.

Top 5 myths about staying at a bed and breakfast inn

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

The Evolution Of The B and B
Top 5 myths about staying at a bed and breakfast inn

* accommodation
* B&B
* bed and breakfast
* inn
* myth
* USA & Canada

The Evolution Of The B and B

When travelers were asked by the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns if they had ever stayed at a bed and breakfast, some of their answers led to the discovery of interesting myths surrounding B&Bs.

B&B decor is limited to lace doilies, paisley wallpaper, antiques, and patchwork quilts
The decor of some inns recall earlier eras, but increasingly, more inns are trending toward clean, sophisticated decor with modern furnishings and amenities. Even many Victorians feature individually decorated rooms to appeal to a variety of tastes.

You have to share a bathroom with other guests
The majority of inns offer private bathrooms. For those that don’t, most have policies of only renting rooms with shared bathrooms to families and couples traveling together to ensure the safety and comfort of guests.

You have to eat breakfast with total strangers and eat whatever the innkeeper prepares that morning
Many inns offers guests a variety of choices for breakfast and pride themselves on accommodating guests with special diets or food allergies. Some offer brunch featuring lots of items.

You have to abide by a curfew set by the innkeeper
Curfews are one of the most common myths. Guests usually are given keys to the main house and guest room doors, providing them with the flexibility to come and go as they please.

B&Bs are only for couples and strictly prohibit children and pets
Many inns offer family units with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, and a number of inns offer pet-friendly rooms as well. These pet-friendly inns are also a good resource for pet-friendly restaurants and activities.

“Expressing Gratitude to our Guests” by Dr. Peter Tarlow

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010


Expressing Gratitude to our Guests

On an ever-increasing basis the careful observer of tourism and travel hears phrases such as: “remember when travel used to be fun?” or “I used to love to travel and now I dread it!” Few people will disagree that the fun and elegance of travel and tourism has now given way to the mundane and world of hassles. Often the travel and tourism industry blames the events of September 11, 2001 for many of its ills. Certainly September 11th plays a role in the decline of travel and tourism, but perhaps tourism and travel professionals need to ask ourselves if this decline is also not due to factors very much within our control. There are exceptions to this rule, for example many hotels have gone out-of-their way to improve service over the past few years. Free wireless internet and breakfasts have become almost standard fare. Many hotels offer a welcome cookie or other sweet to guests, and the classical checkout times have been modified to meet the needs of the business traveler. Despite these improvements the travel and tourism industry has a long way to go if it is to regain its customers’ confidence. One of the ways to do this is to demonstrate to our customers that they are more than needed, that they are appreciated. When our visitors feel appreciated they have a higher tendency not only to return but also to recommend that other frequent your establishment. Appreciated customers often view themselves as part of your team and will go out of their way to help you develop new ideas to make your business even more successful.
Tourism & More suggests that everyone in the travel community consider some of the following ideas.
-Have an appreciative attitude. All too many people in tourism have come to think of their customers as the enemy. The best customer appreciation policies simply will not work if you forget that were there no customers, passengers, or visitors you would be out of business. It is important that our mindset is one in which we are grateful for every customer.

-Remember that tourists do not need to return. Often tourism professionals speak about the value of the repeat customer, but do nothing to gain the customer’s loyalty or desire to return. No matter in what area of tourism you work, develop a new or creative way to get visitors to want to return to your establishment.
-Put your best foot forward. Frontline personnel set the tone of a tourism experience. It does not matter if that person works in a hotel or on an airline, at a ticket booth or as a waiter or waitress. It also does not matter if the person is a repeat customer or a new one, treat every single customer as it’s the first time doing business with you. Putting your best foot forward goes a long way making your customers feel worthwhile
– Treat your frontline people as kings and queens. These are the people who are the “face of tourism”. Visitors do not care about the policies developed at the head office. What they care about is how they are treated and if they have a problem, if that problem will be handled in an efficient and kind manner. For this reason, choose your frontline people carefully. There is nothing wrong with being an introvert or shy but these people are not meant for the frontline. Choose people who like people, who are gregarious, kind and tend not to become high strung.

– Go out of your way to host as many customer appreciation parties as possible. Have a party to celebrate a new product, a new store opening, or just a party to celebrate your gratitude toward your customers. Appreciation parties do not need to be lavish; often cookies, a soft drink, coffee or tea will be sufficient. What really counts is the atmosphere that you create that says: “we care!

-Use the customer’s preferred names in conversation after the first conversation. Try to figure out if the person wishes to be addressed on an informal first name basis or on a more formal basis. Us the name that makes the customer feel the most comfortable. Remember that being appreciative is not about you, but about the customer.

-Develop a “friends and family” event where both employees and your best customers get special rewards. Remember that it is best to give something smaller to everyone than to exclude someone. People often feel better or get more upset about the small things than the big picture.
-Send a thank you card, email or letter for every purchase somebody makes. In today’s world, emails are almost instantaneous and act not only as a way to show appreciation, but permit follow=up dialogue and branding re-enforcement.
-Ask yourself if you are doing the following: When there is a problem do you become defensive or do you ask what you can do to make this person feel better? How often do my employees and I smile? Do I bring my home troubles to work? Do I make people feel so good about my business that they want to return? Have I shown a customer today that he or she is a special person?

Ideas for Your Inn

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Ideas for Your Inn

This beautiful vase will wow your guests this holiday season. Display anywhere it will get the most attention!

You will need:

15-inch oversized glass vase
20 frosted glass ornaments
5 yards wired ribbon
White Floral Tape
20 count set craft lights with white wiring
2 packages Crystal Fiber

What you do

Start with a 15-inch oversized glass vase that has enough volume to contain the ornaments, lights and crystal fiber.

Wire Up the Ornaments: Remove the caps from all the frosted ornaments. Insert one clear light into each glass ball and secure it with white floral tape.

Put in the Crystal Fiber and Arrange the Wired Ornaments: Layer some crystal fiber in the bottom of the vase, then layer several glass ornaments on top of the fiber, placing the cord towards the center of the vase so it is not visible from the outside. Add some more crystal fiber and more ornaments alternatively and use some of the fiber in specific places to hide the wire.

Tie on the Wired Ribbon, Plug in Your Lights and Enjoy the Results! Use enough ribbon to tie full bow with multiple loops. Wired ribbon is great for shaping and arranging the loops for a more pleasing effect. Now you are ready! Plug in and enjoy your wintery new Crystal Reflections vase!

Design by Rita Fleehart

This tip courtesy of

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