Posts Tagged ‘lodging’

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 “http://www.burchellfarmhouseinn.com” or Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn on Facebook or email blard@gtmc.net. You can also check out wonderful Nebraska B&B locations at www.nebraskabb.com and enjoy the better way to stay.

PAII CEO Elected to U.S. Travel Association Board

Monday, April 18th, 2011

For Immediate Release – April 6, 2011
Contact:  Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, info@maynelymarketing.com

Haddon Heights, NJ – Jay Karen, president and chief executive officer of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), was elected by peers in the travel industry to serve a two-year term as an at-large member of the U.S. Travel Association board of directors.  This will be the first time a representative from the bed and breakfast industry will serve the organization in this capacity.

“U.S. Travel is pleased to welcome Jay to our board,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.  “Jay is a champion for the travel sector, and our board will benefit by having a voice for the bed and breakfast industry,” finished Dow.

Jay has fifteen years of experience in organizational and association management and leadership, fourteen of which has been in the hospitality and leisure market.  Since 2007, Jay has served the bed and breakfast industry as president and CEO of PAII.  For ten years prior to that, he served in senior staff positions with the National Golf Course Owners Association, representing and promoting the business interests of golf course operators worldwide.

“I have long admired the work of the U.S. Travel Association, especially over the past few years, during which they have made incredible public policy strides,” said Karen.  “I am honored to contribute to the strategic discussions and mission of the organization.  Inns and B&Bs are among the smallest businesses in the travel industry, and yet contribute to tourism and historic preservation in meaningful ways in every corner of the nation. I look forward to amplifying their voices.”

About PAII: The Professional Association of Innkeepers International, founded in 1988, is the innkeeping industry’s largest trade association. PAII provides education, communications, public relations, advocacy, networking, and research services to its membership and the greater industry. In addition, PAII has created and is spearheading “Better Way To Stay”, a groundbreaking, industry-wide campaign to help travelers discover today’s inns and B&B experience. For more information, visit www.innkeeping.org.

About U.S. Travel: The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $704 billion travel industry. U.S. Travel’s mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. For more information, visit www.ustravel.org.

B&B or Big-Box? from Hotel Interactive

Friday, March 4th, 2011

B&B or Big-Box?
Social media is stirring this sleeping micro-giant of the Lodging Industry. Here’s how they’re doing it.
Friday, March 04, 2011
Daniel Edward Craig

“I have no doubt we will be stealing some market share.” – Jay Karen, President & CEO, Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII).

Social media, the great equalizer, has allowed bed-and-breakfasts and independent boutiques to compete for the attention of travelers online with big-box, chain hotels. And when it comes to creative content and compelling stories, small, independents properties have emerged with some of the strongest voices.

Recently, the Professional Association of Innkeepers launched a campaign called “A Better Way to Stay” to convince travelers—especially Gen X and Y—to choose inns and B&Bs over hotels. PAII’s President & CEO Jay Karen calls it “a true grassroots campaign” that will feature “fresh and edgy content—perfect for social media—never seen from our industry.”

To find out more, I caught up with Jay. Here’s a condensed version of our Q A session.

Some wear boxers, others brief; some prefer B&Bs, others hotels. Convince us: Why choose a B&B over a hotel?

That’s easy! Do you prefer your breakfast made from food off a Sysco truck or hand-picked by an innkeeper (most likely sourced locally)? Do you like never having to pay for wi-fi? How do you feel about free parking? Historical settings? Beautiful properties? Afternoon or 24-hour free snacks? Sometimes wine and cheese hours or afternoon tea? Local knowledge of the best places for recreation and dining? Also, B&Bs are considered by many women business travelers as safer than hotels.

Guests at B&Bs aren’t just a room number and a stat that adds to the RevPAR and occupancy charts – they’re people looking for more than just a room, and innkeepers enjoy delivering more than an electronic key card.

Do B&Bs compete more against hotels or other B&Bs? Should hotels be worried?

When someone chooses a B&B, it’s safe to say they likely chose that B&B over another B&B, not a Hilton or Marriott. We compete with hotels every day of the week. I firmly believe that the loyalty index among B&B guests is much higher than hotel guests. And in the new world of social media, more and more loyal guests will be telling their friends and families about their fantastic experiences.

I’m not saying hotels should be shivering with fear, because our total room volume is incredibly modest by comparison, but the playing field has certainly been leveled in this new age of connectivity. I have no doubt we will be stealing some market share.

Lately there’s been a lot of controversy over the authenticity of online reviews. What’s your position on this?

My belief is that the vast majority of online reviews on travel sites are legitimate – at least in our neck of the woods. Travel websites that do not authenticate reviews by verifying that reviewers actually stayed at the properties in question have an inherent weakness. But the concept they rely on is that the law of large numbers will overcome that weakness … the wisdom of the crowds. There’s going to be the occasional fool or fake in the crowd, but the thought is they will be drowned out.

There is a problem with that in the B&B world – we don’t have the large numbers that hotels do. A good B&B that is actively soliciting reviews from guests will still only have a few dozen reviews over the course of a year – not a few hundred. A few bad apples can spoil things a hell of a lot faster for a B&B with 5 rooms than a hotel with 500 rooms.

To me, the bigger problem is review sites claim little or no responsibility when it comes to the details within the review and won’t get involved in the veracity of the reviews. When it comes to negative reviews that have been embellished or falsified, the property owners have everything to lose. Joe Schmoe Reviewer has nothing to lose, and that’s still very troublesome at times.

TripAdvisor: friend or foe of innkeepers?

On balance? Definitely a friend. While we still suffer from second-class-citizenship on the site (we’re mostly found behind the “hotels” moniker instead of beside them, like vacation rentals, in the most visible areas of the site), the site allows the smallest of inns to compete with the largest of hotels in the same city. TripAdvisor is a great site for those who love doing their homework when deciding where to stay.

TripAdvisor reviews can work really well for local, independent players. The rest of the commerce on the site, i.e. banner ads, booking, etc., is no friend to the innkeeper. Nine out of ten B&Bs do not participate in the GDS system, so when someone is searching for availability, we are left out almost completely. It would be good to build a bridge with the off-GDS platforms that most B&Bs use and the TripAdvisor availability search tool.

Over the past few years, we have gained a good bit of attention through our high-profile discussions with TripAdvisor. I believe we have been the only lodging organization that is persistently meeting with their senior staff about parity, fairness and responsiveness with their very powerful system. I’ve been blogging about it since 2008.

Do B&B’s play the OTA game?

B&Bs generally do not play the OTA game for a few reasons. Those who do play the game, though, are generally pleased. The reasons for opting out include not being able to afford the commission structure (25-30%), the lack of good information on the guests that gets passed between the OTAs and the innkeepers, and the lack of supply with which to play in the yield management game. It’s a bit of a hassle to contribute only one or two rooms to the system and have to manage that.

Companies like BedandBreakfast.com have done a good job building that bridge between an innkeeper’s PMS system, booking engine and the OTAs, but it takes a lot of hands-on management on the innkeeper’s part to make it all work. Oh, and then they have to go turn three rooms, shop for tomorrow’s breakfast and respond to the latest online review.

The major search engines are still the biggest players for B&Bs. Google Places (and various iterations of Google Maps and Google Local) have always been an influential player, and even more so if they keep stepping up their game in the travel space.

Given such limited resources, which social media tools and resources if any do you recommend B&B owners engage in?

Facebook – no doubt. There is no better tool that allows a happy B&B guest to tell their hundreds of friends and family what a wonderful time they had. We haven’t even seen the beginning of the fruits Facebook will produce for innkeepers. I’m encouraged greatly by the social buying sites out there – especially LivingSocial. Twitter is great, but only if you’re posting content that is relevant to Twitter users, and if you look at it as a search engine.

How is 2011 looking for the innkeeping industry?

The only weak point in our industry as a result of this recession has been the transaction market. Our RevPAR, occupancy and revenue numbers have remained steady. Changes in travel preferences have benefited our industry – the desire to stay closer to home, long weekend trips, smaller, boutique properties (duh), etc. Therefore, we are generally poised for strong performance in the coming months and years, as long as the economy doesn’t tank again.

Our biggest challenge seems to be that more and more gets added to the plate of innkeepers each year, but nothing gets taken off. Innkeepers pine for the days when SEO was the only internet-related marketing game they had to keep up with. Keeping all the plates spinning in an ever-more-complex world is a big challenge. But that’s where PAII comes in, right Daniel?

Daniel Edward Craig is a former general manager turned hotel consultant specializing in social media strategy, storytelling, and reputation management for the lodging industry. He is the author of three hotel-based novels, a popular blog, and various articles about issues in the hotel industry. His new e-book, The Hotelier’s Guide to Online Reputation Management, is now available. Visit www.danieledwardcraig.com or email dec@danieledwardcraig.com. Twitter: dcraig.

Copyright © 2011 Daniel Edward Craig. All rights reserved.

2010 Nebraska Travel Industry Award Winners Announced

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

2010 Nebraska Travel Industry Award Winners Announced

LINCOLN, NEB. (Oct. 14, 2010)—More than 150 tourism professionals were on hand to honor their peers at the annual travel awards banquet Thursday evening at The Cornhusker, A Mariott Hotel, in Lincoln. The event capped the 35th Annual Nebraska Travel and Tourism Conference organized by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division and hosted by the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Lieutenant Gov. Rick Sheehy announced the following 2010 Nebraska Travel Industry award winners.

The 2010 Henry Fonda Award – the state’s highest tourism award representing leadership, vision and dedication to the tourism industry – went to Chard Hirsch of Broken Bow, who has been an avid spokesperson and supporter for her community, county and the Sandhills Region for most of her life. Through the year’s she’s won Outstanding Elementary Teacher of the Year, Elks Outstanding Citizen of the Year, Junior Chamber of Commerce Boss of the Year, Outstanding Nebraska Retailer, Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, and the KOLN/KGIN “People You Can Count On” Award.

For the past six years, Hirsch has been active in promoting and developing tourism along the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway. She was active in bringing the scenic byway interpretive center to Broken Bow and regularly volunteers her time there to share the byway’s history with visitors.

The Friend of Tourism Award went to the Nebraska Humanities Council. The council showcased Omaha’s artistic and cultural sides by hosting the Federation of State Humanities Council’s 2009 National Humanities Conference. More than 300 attendees representing every state spent two fun-filled days in Nebraska’s largest city. Conference attendees represented the cultural leadership of the U.S., and the time they spent in Nebraska changed their views about our state; so much so that many pledged to return later and vacation here.

The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations up to 10,000, went to Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell. Since 1921, this town of 1,100 people has hosted one of the biggest events in central Nebraska. This year, every motel, hotel, bed & breakfast, RV park and campground from Burwell to Ord and surrounding counties was booked solid to accommodate the more than 20,000 rodeo visitors.

The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations greater than 10,000 was given to Kool-Aid Days in Hastings. When Edwin Perkins invented Kool-Aid in 1927, he couldn’t have imagined it would one day lead to an annual festival. What began in 1998 as a way for the Hastings Museum to celebrate its new Kool-Aid exhibit has since grown into a three-day, community-wide celebration that attracted 40,000 people in 2010.

The Outstanding Tourism Association Award was won by Beatrice 20/20 Vision. This grassroots organization uses creative and forward thinking ideas to promote and develop the Big Blue River watershed as a recreational destination. What began as a project to clean up the river quickly turned into a campaign to increase the river’s economic, social and tourism potential.

The Outstanding Tourism Campaign Award went to Scotts Bluff County Tourism. “Nebraska’s Landmark Country,” the new marketing brand for Scott Bluff County, takes advantage of two scenic wonders unique to the region, Scotts Bluff National Monument and Chimney Rock National Historic Site. “Nebraska like you’ve never seen it” is the brand’s tag line and it promotes the area as a place that will inspire and surprise visitors with its stunning natural land formations and wild beauty.

The Outstanding Tourism Publication Award was won by the Lexington Visitors Guide. Published by the Lexington Clipper-Herald Newspaper, the guides’s 35 pages are packed with everything there is to know about the city. Colorful photographs show visitors how much fun they can expect to have in Lexington, whether exploring the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles, fishing or bird watching, hunting, or visiting the Antique Extravaganza or the Dawson County Fair.

The Outstanding Website Award went to the Nebraska Association of Bed and Breakfasts. Members of the association are continually working to increase membership, promote the state’s many B&B’s and stay current with the latest marketing trends and ideas. In 2009, the site was completely redesigned, including a new address (www.nebraskabb.com), an interactive map and the latest technology. Members can update and edit content, upload photographs and information, and promote their B&B to particular target markets.

The Outstanding Tourism Attraction Award was given to the Cedar Run ATV Trail. The trail – on exposed sections of the lake bed – began as a way to bring outside tourism revenue to Harlan County Lake when water levels dropped due to a multi-year drought. When water levels rebounded, an innovative partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Harlan County Tourism, Harlan County Community Foundation and the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission garnered the support and funds to create the Cedar Run ATV Trail. Local lodging tax revenue more than doubled during the past two years, due in part to its promotion as a haven for ATV riders.

The Outstanding Nature-Tourism Entity Award celebrates the state’s many outdoor recreational pastimes and activities. This year’s winner was Calamus Outfitters/Switzer Ranch. The ranch is a 12,000-acre operation located in Loup County near Calamus Reservoir. Since 2000, the ranch has become an outdoor recreational paradise offering lodging, hunting, trail rides, bird and wildlife viewing, and canoeing, tanking, and tubing trips, and unique Sandhills Safari Tours. The ranch also has become a haven for bird watchers, with participation in its bird watching tours increasing from 50 in 2005 to more than 500 in 2009.

Making the Case for Tourism Funding

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Making the Case for Tourism Funding
Travel Conference to examine need for tourism funding

LINCOLN, NEB. (Sept. 9, 2010) — What happens if you take a successful marketing program and cut it to zero? It happened to the tourism marketing budget in Colorado with devastating results. In these difficult economic times, all budgets are under scrutiny, and marketing budgets are an easy target.

At this year’s Nebraska Travel Conference, Dr. Bill Siegel, chairman and CEO of advertising research firm Longwood International in Toronto, will explain why tourism funding is a wise investment rather than a cost.

Siegel wrote a legendary Colorado case study that demonstrated the shocking results of cutting that state’s tourism budget to zero in the 1990s. His firm’s research was instrumental in the restoration of Colorado’s tourism marketing funding and the subsequent recovery to record visitation levels.

The 34th annual Nebraska Travel and Tourism Conference will be Oct. 12-14 at The Cornhusker, a Marriott Hotel, 333 S. 13th St.

The conference will include educational workshops, general sessions and networking opportunities, as well as travel industry exhibitor booths displaying essential new products.

Check out the conference agenda or register online at http://VisitNebraska.gov/tcregistration. A special conference hotel rate is available only until Sept. 24, so book your lodging reservation early.

Two of North America’s 100 Best Events for 2011

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

AMERICAN BUS ASSOCIATION NAMES KOOL-AID DAYS AND NORTH PLATTE RAIL FEST
TWO OF NORTH AMERICA’S 100 BEST EVENTS FOR 2011
Two Nebraska Events Are Tickets to Fun and to Critical Group Tourism Dollars

LINCOLN, NEB. (Sept. 7, 2010)—The American Bus Association (ABA) announced today that Kool-Aid Days in Hastings and the North Platte Rail Fest have been designated as two of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2011 by an expert tourism industry selection committee. Inclusion in the Top 100 list indicates that an event offers excellent entertainment value to tour groups and individual travelers from around the world, according to the ABA. The list is featured in the September/October Destinations magazine supplement.

The release of the ABA’s 2011 Top 100 Events in North America marks its 29th program year. What began as a way for motorcoach operators to incorporate new product into their itineraries has grown to one of the most sought-after lists by travel professionals, motorcoach operators and the general public.

“The attractiveness of Kool-Aid Days and North Platte Rail Fest as don’t-miss entertainment values are only part of why the selections this year are such a distinction for Nebraska,” said Peter J. Pantuso, CTIS, ABA’s president and CEO. “The real news here is that these events have been recognized as a potential magnets for tourism dollars, at a time when reenergizing domestic tourism is so important to our spirit and our economy. The honor gives Hastings and North Platte an important boost in visibility among professional tour planners.”

According to studies completed by researchers at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Dunham and Associates in Brooklyn, N.Y., one motorcoach group’s overnight visit can result in anywhere from $5,000 to more than $13,000 gains in a local destination’s economy. Those dollars are spent on lodging, meals, admissions and other fees, as well as shopping, souvenirs, services and local taxes.

“Motorcoach groups spend more and stay longer,” Pantuso said. “That’s why Kool-Aid Days and North Platte Rail Fest are truly local economic assets. There is no better way to jump-start tourism than to attract motorcoach groups to a great event and convince them to extend their stay.”

ABA’s 2011 Top 100 Events Selection Committee chose Kool-Aid Days and North Platte Rail Fest from among a record 650-plus event nominations submitted by ABA members. Judges considered each event’s broad appeal, accessibility to motorcoaches, ability to handle large groups and other related criteria.

The Top 100 Events list is available online at www.buses.org/top100.



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