Unbundling, Innkeepers is it time to start thinking out of the box?

dreamstime_xs_21950339

I was recently talking to a friend of mine and was extolling the virtues of staying at B&Bs vs hotels, motels and Airbnb options, and he had an interesting question for me.

His question was do B&Bs ever offer the option of offering a guest to stay and pay for just the room, but not the breakfast. He is a frequent business traveler, and he said while he loves the environment of staying at a B&B, he generally is not a breakfast eater, and frequently just isn’t hungry in the morning, on top of which he says he doesn’t want to spend the time out that breakfast at a B&B would require, when a yogurt and piece of fruit would do, and he would rather (or needs to be) working on a report.

I was reminded of an interesting Skift article that came out last week: Will Unbundled Amenities be the Future for Budget Hotels? http://skift.com/2015/08/19/will-unbundled-amenities-be-the-future-for-budget-hotels/  And the leader into this article was The mid-range to low-end hotel sector hasn’t had an easy ride of things recently. With the popularity of vacation rental sites like Airbnb growing, hotels have decided they need fresh new ways to compete.” The article (and I recommend actually reading it in-depth as it’s got some interesting points of note) goes into several hotels that are “unbundling” their rates, offerings and amenities.

While I don’t put B&Bs into the budget hotel category, I do put many of them into the mid-range (and they are usually less expensive than said mid-range hotels) and with the ever looming and ongoing Airbnb threat (which sadly think is here to stay) B&Bs have to think up some alternatives to the traditional Bed and Breakfast model.

One of the major highlights of a stay in a B&B is of course always the Breakfast part, but in order to compete with the ever-changing world out there, Flash sales, Last Minute Booking Options, OTAs and Airbnb, B&Bs need to be realistic, offering options, like not having breakfast, it doesn’t mean everyone gets it, or doesn’t get it, but it could fall into the category of unbundling. Most Airbnbs do not offer food unless a “guest” wants to raid someone’s fridge, technically it’s a luxury.

There are other things that can be considered amenities that a B&Bs could consider unbundling as well, the biggest obviously being the breakfast, but things like housekeeping/room cleaning, bottled water, towels or just changing out the towels, amenity baskets, early/late check-ins. You could even go the route that hotels go if you really want to unbundle, AC (if available), TV (if available), WIFI even, parking, etc.

If you take your average room rate, most B&Bs average between $140 – $160 per night. By unbundling some of the regular options a B&B might offer they could potentially compete with the hotel/motel market, and Airbnb rentals without compromising their standards, or more importantly by losing money on the options because that’s what they are, options.

How much does your breakfast actually cost you? And then ask what would you charge a guest individually if they wanted to “add on” breakfast as a stand alone. $15-$20? Realistically your actual cost numbers should be between $7-8 a head, but you should have budgeted $10-12 which would include your labor, gas and shopping time and overhead like utilities. Build a realistic “retail” price that you would charge a guest for breakfast, like $15, but you don’t want to price too high because it would become an option that more would perhaps take out to lower the final price point.

A couple of key points from the end of the Skift article that bear consideration if a B&B would like to try this. I personally like the model Nomad Hotel’s uses, where guests are deducting amenities (i.e. especially ones they would normally get at a B&B) like breakfast and daily room cleaning. These two paragraphs (in segments) instead of having a base and adding on.

“The nature of Tune’s booking system feels somewhat miserly in the way guests have to pay for every amenity they want. And of course, their base rates can only go up, whereas Nomad’s can only go down. Budget-conscious travelers will undoubtedly find something rewarding in seeing their room rates drop every time an amenity is removed.”

And I think from a Bed and Breakfast’s perspective, people go to B&Bs “for” the breakfast as one of the best reasons, they have the option to take it away, but why do that as it would part of the normal booking amenity one would get anyway.

“Nomad Hotel’s booking system also exploits a human tendency that finds the fear of loss greater than the desire for gain—a consumer psychology phenomenon known as loss aversion. Applied to the idea of “subtracting” rather than “adding” amenities, customers would be less inclined to get rid of amenities that in theory, they already have.”

A B&B would have to put a price tag on each amenity prior to offering the deduction, your cost vs “retail cost. I am just going to put some numbers in for rough examples, they obviously will vary per B&B.

A suggested mock-up if a B&B was going to try this

Your regular room rate is $139

Minus Breakfast (and then a luscious description of breakfast – as a tease to not delete because who would? BUT they have the option.)  -$15.00

Minus Daily Housekeeping -$10.00

Minus the Amenities Basket -$7.00 (I know some B&Bs that this would be higher)

Minus WIFI -$5 (I think people would choose to keep, still cheaper than a hotel)

Minus Water bottles in room (2) -$3.00

All deductions would bring the room rate down to $99.00.

Minus the Housekeeping, amenities and water, down to $119, still very competitive and they get breakfast to boot!

Think about if you take away some of the things that are normally costing you money, daily housekeeping (labor, laundry costs, general overhead), amenities basket and the bottled waters (both found for free in almost every B&B I’ve ever stayed in, but hopefully built into your rooms cost), You are saving the money, they see a cost savings.

Most people will still take the Breakfast option and probably the WIFI, the key being you are giving them a choice, plus also than competing (or seeming to compete by giving them options) with both the traditional hotel/motel, plus at this point, and more importantly, the Airbnb competition (if there is some in the area).

I tend to think regular B&B goers will also keep the housekeeping as well, but the point here is the “illusion” of having saved a few dollars, water + amenities basket still brings the rate down by $10 and it’s your cost savings still as well at that point.

I would make a point of mentioning on this page, (with the options) about the fact that a B&B is fire inspected, has insurance, etc. etc., all of those are part of your “regular” lodging price, and it protects the guests, vs an Airbnb rental that offers none of that will still charge a similar rate.

While I love the traditional B&B model, I think it’s time that innkeepers need to start investigating ways that may be a little alternative to the regular business model in order to compete and long-term, stay competitive.

Just a snark of note, similar to PAII’s Better Way to Stay video, I’d love to see a B&B (more as a gag to a well-adjusted guest who can take a joke) have their room filled with things with tags on it (like the hotels do) Bottled Water “Cost free, in a hotel this would have been $5.00” etc.

Posted in B&B, Hospitality News, How tos, Observations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Some Social Media Changes Innkeepers Should Be Aware Of For 2015

dreamstime_xs_31330398

Facebook Is Testing “Saved Replies” To Help Pages Manage Customer Service Messages http://marketingland.com/facebook-is-testing-saved-replies-to-help-pages-manage-customer-service-messages-131055 As the post mentions, it “could” be a boon for small businesses, but for innkeepers it may not be, but it’s good to be aware of this as it may have potential future applications. Of the 40+ B&B Facebook pages I am the admin of, 99% of the incoming messages would not have been a good fit for a canned response. I do think it may have some value if you are outsourcing your social media, and you do have a very well crafted response done up in advance for your outsourcer to use for something like a complaint, or a basic booking inquiry.

Google Says It May Unverify Inactive Local Business Listings http://searchengineland.com/google-says-it-may-unverify-inactive-local-business-listings-222414 Why is this important for innkeepers? Because many innkeepers have gone ahead and claimed their pages thinking that is all they need to do to them, and have never returned to them again. Google+ pages of all of the social media platforms out there seem to be the least used and utilized amongst innkeepers.

Why should innkeepers bother to keep an eye on this? If your page is unverified and someone leaves a review, you will have to re-verify it before you can respond. Google says they will try to contact businesses via email before un-verifying, but innkeepers may ignore this as a spam solicitation. “In some cases, we may contact Google My Business users via email to confirm that they are still actively managing a business page. If a user is unresponsive to our attempts to contact him or her and has not logged into Google My Business for a significant length of time, then we may unverify pages in the account.

I would recommend innkeepers (even if they are not going to actively use their Google+ accounts) put it into a calendar that every few months go over to their Google+ account and login to avoid the possible future inconvenience of having to reclaim their pages again.

Mike Blumenthal has a thread going about this topic with further information as well. http://blumenthals.com/blog/2015/06/04/google-now-requiring-null-edits-to-keep-accounts-active-in-us/. A question to Mike about what constituted logging in to the Google+ account came back with. “In conversation with Google they noted that Logging in would be logging in as the page in any respect — so that would be any of the following– seeing the GMB dashboard, – making an edit, – posting, etc. So, yes, posting to G+ would “count.” And “Google has confirmed that any activity including that of a manager is enough to keep the page from going into “default”.

Coming soon: Buyable Pins! https://business.pinterest.com/en/blog/coming-soon-buyable-pins Why is this of interest? Because if innkeepers have an inn gift shop including inn cook books, uploading good photos of products can push sales. Inns Associations can also take advantage of this if they have produced an Association cook book. Keep in mind, the images in Pinterest can be recipe photos from the cookbook, not just an image of the cookbook itself. Businesses can get on the waitlist for buyable pins at https://business.pinterest.com/en/get-list-buyable-pins. You can currently create Pins directing people to your availability link url directly from a photo and promote them as well but the Buyable Pin option (from what I understand) are Pins you can mark as purchasable (there is no layout of funds like Promoted Pins) and they will show up within your Pin boards.

Instagram Adds Call-to-Action Buttons, More Relevant Ad Targeting http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/instagram-adds-call-to-action-buttons-more-relevant-ad-targeting Because Facebook owns Instagram, and it’s ad platform is integrated with it, this could be a huge plus for inns wanting to cater to the Millennial market. They have not yet rolled it out, and while it says buttons will offer “buy now”, “app install” and “sign up” options, I lean towards thinking it will also offer a book now option as well. Even if it does not, the “buy now” button could be redirected to a booking link, and a “sign up” could potentially boost an email distribution list. Caveat, similar to Facebook’s current Book Now option, if your reservation system is not mobile friendly, even though your website is, and Facebook is, expect a high bounce rate and an even higher abandonment rate from a potential booker.

Posted in B&B, marketing, Observations, Social Media | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook Beacons, Places Tips and Mobile Checkins Page, should Innkeepers care?

beacon1

Facebook has just started asking businesses if they would like a Facebook Beacon mailed to them, I just got a notification of 3 of my businesses that I have admin rights to asking if they would like one. (How do Facebook Bluetooth® Beacons work? Using Bluetooth® technology, these beacons send a one-way signal to the Facebook app on your customers’ phones to help us show them the right information about your business during their visit. They don’t collect any information from people or their phones or change the kind of location information Facebook receives.) You can request your beacon here https://www.facebook.com/business/a/facebook-bluetooth-beacons

Should innkeepers get excited about this? Yes and No.

Yes, because it has the potential to be very interesting, and have some interesting capabilities, No, because like everything Facebook does when it implements changes, they don’t let people know all the details, and the changes that a business page owner will have to navigate when the changes and new options roll out.

One of the changes a page owner might see is a new option in their about section, called “Welcome Note”. I found a preview of this option months and months ago on one sole page, but it looks like it’s rolled out across the board for any business that has the “Local Business” category selected for their page. I suspect that the rollout and availability of the beacons, and the same day appearance of the mobile welcome tab are going to tie together further at some point in the future, if and when beacons take off.

beacon7

By default, the Welcome tab will pick up the header image from your business page unless you select another. With only 155 Characters to use for your descriptive welcome (or it possibly is meant to be a tip? Or a special offer?) You need to think of something short, sweet and pointed to say in this area.

The interesting thing is that while Facebook lets you edit this option (as of today), the preview and tab does not seem to be actually rolled out as of yet to mobile check-in users.

There hasn’t been much of an announcement yet about the beacons rollout other then an Entrepreneur article about an hour ago http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247081  , and this announcement in January, http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/01/29/facebook-tests-bluetooth-beacons-to-feed-users-local-content/  .

Places tips in itself (http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2015/01/introducing-place-tips-in-news-feed/ integrated with Facebook beacons) could be a huge boon to innkeepers in tourist driven or more populated areas where the chance to reach passersby perhaps looking for a place to stay would be large, especially for the last minute bookers, but there are also concerns the application could be intrusive and people will turn off the notifications, rendering any benefit useless.

I would suggest Innkeepers keep this on their radar as I predict it will make page owners make some changes to both content and the type of information that is posted on their business page.

Posted in B&B, Facebook, Hospitality News, Observations | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Buffer and the new Pinterest Integration for Innkeepers, Is it worth a look?

Pin1In my opinion Pinterest is still one of the fastest growing social media networks that Innkeepers should have a presence on, and Buffer (Bufferapp.com) one of my favorite pre-scheduling tools out there. I am a big fan of the free version, up to 3 social media accounts and up to 10 pre scheduled posts. I have been on the fence for awhile about upgrading to the awesome plan (12 social media profiles and pre-scheduling up to 200 posts at a time). The Pinterest/Buffer integration may just put me over the edge where I decide to upgrade ($10.00 a month).

Buffer is letting people sign up for the Pinterest access for a free 7 day trial (no credit card required) to test it out. I’ve found some pros and cons, but mostly pros so far in playing with the trial.

Why do I think this would be of interest to Innkeepers? Pinterest is fantastic for search engine optimization, boards can be brought in to a Facebook page using free apps, plus Pinterest boards can have widgets added to both websites and blogs enhancing visual appeal, plus visual is what “sells”.

Plus Pinterest is super easy to use, one of the easiest to learn (and also the most addictive). Using Buffer to preschedule images to Pinterest will A. save valuable time for innkeepers as it will give the ability to space out posts and B. they then won’t have to login to Pinterest and get distracted tracking down that delish bacon recipe or getting sidetracked seeing cool new renovation ideas for storage in guest rooms (and I am not being sarcastic, Pinterest can be a time sucker and it’s super easy to get distracted). This will allow innkeepers to better spend that time on actual marketing.

Cons, I have not found a way to easily post a photo from an exterior page using the Buffer toolbar button. So using Bufferapp to pin photos from your website may not be an option at this time.

Pros, You can upload your photos, put in your descriptions and set what exterior links the photo will link to in less time then it takes to upload and do within Pinterest itself (The photo uploader in Buffer seems to be at least 50% faster than the Pinterest uploader especially with higher resolution photos) AND it gives you the ability to repin photos from within Pinterest itself, and send them into your pre scheduling queue, much better for marketing for both things, as it spaces your posts out more so you have more of a potential of more eyeballs seeing your posts at different times.

I would recommend if you have a business Pinterest account, taking a look at your analytics and then pre-scheduling not more than 3 posts per peak time period.

Tip: when pre-scheduling Pinterest posts, go into your Buffer dashboard to schedule, using the Bufferapp toolbar button to open a new scheduled post tends to glitch.

Posted in How tos, marketing, Social Media | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Bed and Breakfast Associations and Social Media Part Two

oregon B&B for post

In this second post about B&B associations using social media, I’ll cover associations use of blogs, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, Google+ and Linkedin. I’ll follow up with another post next week with some suggestions on how associations could increase the use of social media to help promote tourism and their member inns.  The first post (which includes the B&B associations that were assessed for social media use (Facebook) can be found here: Bed and Breakfast Associations and Social Media

Blogs

Out of 91 Inns Associations, 26 of them have blogs, 18 of them are active, with multiple posts since the beginning of the year, 8 of them have not posted anything since last year. All 26 blogs are linked off the main websites. I don’t know if there are free floating blogs out there for Associations but there may be. I’ll be doing another blog post about Association blogs in the near future and an indepth search will be made for any I missed at that time. I did not take into account blog optimization or content, that is a subject for another post.

Best at Blogging Frequency including posting photos:

Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild

http://www.obbg.org/index.php

http://blog.obbg.org/

Best Use of Photos:

Michigan Lake to Lake Bed and Breakfast Association

http://www.laketolake.com

http://www.laketolake.com/blog/

Second Best at Blogging Frequency including posting photos

Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia

http://www.innvirginia.com

http://www.innvirginia.com/blog/

Third Best at Blogging Frequency, No Photos

Maryland Bed & Breakfast Association

http://marylandbb.com

http://marylandbb.com/blog/

Tied for Third Best at Blogging Frequency, No Photos

Pennsylvania Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns

http://www.painns.com/

http://www.painns.com/pabbi-blog

Other Notable Blogs:

Texas Bed & Breakfast Association

http://www.texasbb.org

http://www.texasbb.org/blog/

Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns

http://florida-inns.com

http://florida-inns.com/blog/

Romantic Inns of Savannah

http://www.romanticinnsofsavannah.com/ 

http://blog.romanticinnsofsavannah.com/

Bed and Breakfasts of Savannah

http://www.bedandbreakfastsofsavannah.com/

http://blog.bedandbreakfastsofsavannah.com/

Twitter

Out of 91 Inns Associations, 37 have twitter accounts, 18 of them were active. 19 of them started and abandoned. 30 accounts were linked off the Associations websites, 13 of the abandoned accounts still have a link from the home page of the websites. 6 of them were just feeds from Facebook to Twitter (http://www.facebook.com/twitter) 4 of them were not linked off the websites and were abandoned, and 3 active ones had no link from the Association website to Twitter.

What I found the most interesting is very few use of lists, https://support.twitter.com/articles/76460-using-twitter-lists. Similar to Facebook, associations can use lists  to keep track of members and other area tweeters of note and pass those posts along on their own accounts. Many of the associations are also not taking full use of their bio area, many using less then the 160 character account allowed and many have not uploaded a primary header image.

Best Association Twitter Accounts:

California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns

https://www.cabbi.com

https://twitter.com/CABBI

*Is not taking full advantage of character space for bio

Is using lists and has members on a list https://twitter.com/CABBI/lists/cabbi-members

Bed and Breakfasts of Savannah

http://www.bedandbreakfastsofsavannah.com/

https://twitter.com/BBSavannah

Romantic Inns of Savannah

http://www.romanticinnsofsavannah.com/

https://twitter.com/RomanticInns

Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia

http://www.innvirginia.com/

https://twitter.com/innvirginia

Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild

http://www.obbg.org/index.php

https://twitter.com/oregonbbguild

Up and coming Tweeters

Maine Innkeepers Association

http://www.maineinns.com

https://twitter.com/MaineInnkeepers

*no link from website to Twitter page

North Carolina Bed & Breakfast and Inns

http://www.ncbbi.org/

https://twitter.com/ncbbi/

*No main header image

Youtube

Of the 91 Associations, I could only find two that had Youtube channels. Associations could be boosting their Youtube use by creating a playlist of member inn’s videos https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/57792?hl=en. Youtube is fantastic for search engine optimization. Once it’s set up, SEO value is ongoing and you can use the content to send to Google+, have a custom tab on Facebook, pin the videos to Pinterest and embed them in the associations websites and blogs.

Bed & Breakfast Association of Pittsburgh

http://www.pittsburghbnb.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/pittsburghbnb

Saint Augustine Historic Inns

http://www.staugustineinns.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJrsjp-NjMEOA2Dh4JQzTAQ

Pinterest

Of the 91 Associations, surprisingly I could only find 5 that had Pinterest accounts.  One of those five (not included here) was set up and abandoned with only board, and two associations had Pinterest icons on their websites but no accounts. Pinterest accounts can also pin videos (think member videos from Vimeo and Youtube) and can have a custom tab on an association’s Facebook page. Plus they can be pinning content from member’s websites, as well as many members have Pinterest boards already set up and being used.

Bed and Breakfasts of Savannah

http://www.bedandbreakfastsofsavannah.com/

https://www.pinterest.com/BBSavannah/

*Link on main page doesn’t work to main website

There is a board for each property

California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns

https://www.cabbi.com/

https://www.pinterest.com/cabbi/

*Is not taking full advantage of character space for bio

North Carolina Bed & Breakfast and Inns

http://www.ncbbi.org/

https://www.pinterest.com/ncbbi/

Bed and Breakfast Inns of Utah

http://www.bbiu.org/index.php

https://www.pinterest.com/bbiu/

Google+

Google+ has 26 B&B associations with Google+ accounts, but only one active one and four others that are somewhat sporadic. Of the rest, 21 of them have been abandoned, many claimed and optimized but last posts were long ago or no posts at all. The one active one has a link/icon from their website to Google+, the four others do as well. 11 associations have links/icons from their websites to inactive accounts. 10 have no links from their websites to their inactive accounts.

Best Association Google+ Accounts

Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild  (by far the most consistent poster)

http://www.obbg.org/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ObbgOrg/

Sporadic Google+ Posters/Semi-active but still of note

Empire State Bed & Breakfast Association

http://www.esbba.com/

https://plus.google.com/+Esbba/

Bed and Breakfast Inns of Missouri

http://www.bbim.org/

https://plus.google.com/114503428380384470983/

*has not claimed custom URL

Authentic Bed and Breakfasts of Lancaster County Association

http://www.padutchinns.com/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Padutchinns-Lancaster-PA

Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia

http://www.innvirginia.com/

https://plus.google.com/+Innvirginia/

Linkedin

Linkedin Business pages I didn’t expect to find any, but I did find a few. One abandoned and linked off website and 5 completely abandoned and not at all optimized. Associations really should take advantage of least optimizing and setting up their Linkedin business pages, it is one more place to post updates and it does contribute to search engine optimization.

Kudos to Iowa for at least optimizing their Linkedin business page and posting a few updates.

Iowa Bed and Breakfast Guild

http://www.ia-bednbreakfast-inns.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/iowa-bed-&-breakfast-innkeepers-association

A final note, 14 of the Bed and Breakfast Associations had no social media of any type (that I could find.) Facebook is by far the most utilized by B&B associations with blogging and Twitter running a long second and third place. Pinterest, Youtube, Google+ and Linkedin running at dead last and I couldn’t find a single use of Instagram at all by any associations (if your association does use Instagram PLEASE let me know in the comments!)

Updated on 7-7-2015: I did find one B&B Association with an Instagram account. https://instagram.com/bbsavannah/  It looks like it was started quite a while ago and hasn’t been posted to in a few months.

Posted in B&B, Hospitality News, Lodging, marketing, Observations, Social Media | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Bed and Breakfast Associations and Social Media

Facebook snip for blogIn doing some information gathering about Bed and Breakfast state and regional associations, I finally got around to doing a study that I’ve had on my to do list for a while. How do B&B associations use social media? Are they using it? And are they using it to promote their members or promote tourism or both.

Facebook business pages were the most used social media platform across the board for B&B associations. Blogs were second, followed in very small amounts by Twitter, Google+. Pinterest, Youtube and Linkedin business pages.

This article will be focusing on just Facebook business pages, with a follow-up shortly with findings on the rest of the social media platform usage by B&B associations.

Out of 91 inns associations, 72 had Facebook pages. Of the 72, 55 were active and had posted at least once in the past month, 20 of them were completely abandoned and hadn’t been posted to for months. 35 had claimed their custom Facebook URLS (https://www.facebook.com/notes/equine-calculator/how-to-claim-your-vanity-url-for-your-facebook-page/474147772600069), 43 were linked off the homepage of the associations website, and more interestingly 31 of them had Facebook pages with no link from their website to Facebook. Broken down a bit more (41 active pages and had a link from their website, 13 inactive pages and had link from website, 10 active pages but had no link from their website, and 9 inactive pages and had no link from their website)

A few observations about the association’s pages: across the board not many of them are sharing members content. For those who may not be aware of it, putting members on an interest list https://www.facebook.com/help/135312293276793/ (you need to be logged in as your personal account) can help aggregate all of the association’s members content easily. You can also put state tourism, and any other pages of interest on there on multiple lists. It makes content sourcing and ways to promote members much much easier.

None of the associations were tagging photos with their association pages tags. Similar to tagging a person, associations can tag their photos with their association’s page links. More about tagging here, https://www.facebook.com/help/366702950069221. Why tag? If a photo gets shared, it helps track back and brand the association. You can go back and tag any already published photos.

Very few associations had feeds from Facebook to Twitter set up. http://www.facebook.com/twitter. Even if an association isn’t going to “use” twitter, I suggest setting up an account and setting up a feed. Posts on Facebook are not necessarily going to help your SEO (search engine optimization) but Twitter posts do. It also helps build brand awareness and if you look at https://twitter.com/nhinns  for example, it does help get people to A. follow you and B. Click through to your Facebook posts and C. because your website link is in the profile, people do click through to the association site. Since a feed for this account was set up, there have been 224 click throughs to the association site (for basically just setting the feed up). How’s that for free advertising?

Facebook also has a rather high abandonment rate, almost 1/3 of associations have stopped posting on their pages. I find it very curious that 10 associations have active Facebook pages, but no track back from their website on how people can find them, i.e. no icons or links to their pages. You have to advertise the fact you have Facebook, people don’t search within Facebook for pages.

From the perspective of not looking like an association cares much for their marketing, there are also 10 associations that have Facebook (and other social media platforms) linked off of their home pages that they have completely abandoned. My recommendation to them would be if you are not going to use them, have them removed from your pages. From a guests perspective it doesn’t look good.

I would recommend that if associations have social media platforms already set up, put in a calendar (and track it) that at least two posts per month be made (less then 5 minutes of time) to keep the accounts active, especially if your linking them off your website, otherwise take the links/icons off and put a last post in tracking back to your website or if you have migrated to another social media platform, tell people where to find you including the site link.

What can associations do to boost their Facebook content?

Share members content like: https://www.facebook.com/354252340241/photos/a.10151937920145242.1073741828.354252340241/10153181713130242/?type=1&permPage=1

Share area and state pages content like: https://www.facebook.com/OgunquitMaine/photos/a.70403608412.97059.68071783412/10153279869768413/?type=1

Share recipes from pages like: https://www.facebook.com/gourmet.magazine

Share other association’s content: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1031345400226385&id=342965155731083

Think about it, 4 post examples, 4 times a week or once a week, 4 times a month.

I think part of the issue with associations posting is many don’t have paid staff. In any B&B association I’ve always found at “least” one inn that posts to Facebook frequently. Ask that person or persons if they would take charge and post once a week or a few times a month to the associations page. (a side note, I would recommend having at least three active innkeepers be administrators on the Facebook page, so you never lose access. You can also assign people as content providers as well).

Social media is a terrific way to help promote your members and promote your state or region and it doesn’t cost anything except a few minutes of time. Using lists to aggregate members and tourism content takes the stress off an association to have to come up with  their own unique content all the time. You are then using social media to promote your members and promote the area in which your members are located.

A list of suggested Bed and Breakfast Association Facebook pages to check out. You can also check out an aggregated list of Associations here https://www.facebook.com/lists/10203050492561821 (You need to be logged into Facebook to see this, you can follow the list if you would like, and it also includes some bigger lodging associations on it as well). When I went through associations pages the number of likes was not a consideration, as a Association that’s been online longer will statistically have more likes then one that was started six months ago. Posting frequency, what was posted and shared were what brought these pages to the forefront for attention.

Example of a Facebook Bed and Breakfast Association Member list aggregate

Example of a Facebook Bed and Breakfast Association Member list aggregate

Best at Sharing Members Content:

Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers of Colorado

Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers of Colorado

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Inns-of-Colorado/73699358511

*has not claimed custom Facebook URL

Best at Promoting Members and Tourism:

Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild

http://www.obbg.org/index.php

https://www.facebook.com/oregonbedandbreakfast

Best at Promoting Members and Sharing Members Content:

Michigan Lake to Lake Bed and Breakfast Association

http://www.laketolake.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michigan-Lake-to-Lake-Bed-and-Breakfast-Association/140936427379

*has not claimed custom Facebook URL

Best at Sharing and Sense of Humor:

Maine Innkeepers Association

http://www.maineinns.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maine-Innkeepers-Association/165168072281

*has not claimed custom Facebook URL

Other Notable Well Done Facebook Pages:

Bar Harbor Bed and Breakfast Association

http://www.sleepbarharbor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bar-Harbor-Bed-and-Breakfast-Association/168008369901467?sk=timeline

*has not claimed custom Facebook URL

*no link from website to Facebook page

Illinois Bed & Breakfast Association

http://www.illinoisbnb.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Illinois-Bed-and-Breakfast-Association/125851197474932

*has not claimed custom Facebook URL

Bed and Breakfasts of Savannah

http://www.bedandbreakfastsofsavannah.com/

https://www.facebook.com/bandbofsavannah/

Louisiana Bed and Breakfast Association

http://www.louisianabandb.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Louisiana-Bed-and-Breakfast-Association/187872881231800

*has not claimed custom Facebook URL

Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia

http://www.innvirginia.com

https://www.facebook.com/BBAVirginia

https://www.facebook.com/StayInnVA/

California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns

https://www.cabbi.com

https://www.facebook.com/CalifAssnBoutiqueandBreakfastInns

Below is a list of all inns associations that were gone through for evaluation. If you have a B&B association that I missed please bring it to my attention in the comments, and I will review it and add any applicable numbers into my content. Thank you!

  1. Bed and Breakfast Association of Alabama
  2. Homer Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association
  3. Mat-Su Valley Bed and Breakfast Association
  4. Anchorage Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association
  5. Bed and Breakfast Association of Alaska
  6. Alliance of Better Bed and Breakfasts
  7. Arizona Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns
  8. Prescott B&B Association
  9. California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns
  10. Authentic Bed and Breakfast Inns and Cottages of Pikes Peak
  11. Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers of Colorado
  12. The Bed and Breakfasts of the Mystic Coast
  13. Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns
  14. Amelia Island Bed and Breakfast Association
  15. Palm Beach County Bed and Breakfast Association
  16. St. Petersburg Area Bed and Breakfast Association
  17. Key West Innkeepers Association
  18. Saint Augustine Historic Inns
  19. Romantic Inns of Savannah
  20. Bed and Breakfasts of Savannah
  21. Hawaii Island Bed & Breakfast Association
  22. Idaho Bed & Breakfast Association
  23. Illinois Bed & Breakfast Association
  24. Chicago Bed and Breakfast Association
  25. Lodging Along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail
  26. Indiana Bed and Breakfast Association
  27. Iowa Bed and Breakfast Guild
  28. The Iowa Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers Association
  29. Kansas Bed and Breakfast Association
  30. Louisville Bed and Breakfast
  31. The Bed and Breakfast Association of Kentucky
  32. Louisiana Bed and Breakfast Association
  33. Maine Innkeepers Association
  34. Bar Harbor Bed and Breakfast Association
  35. Maryland Bed & Breakfast Association
  36. Five College Area Bed & Breakfast Association
  37. Western Mass Hills B&B Association
  38. Michigan Lake to Lake Bed and Breakfast Association
  39. Minnesota Bed & Breakfast Association
  40. Bed and Breakfast Association of Mississippi
  41. Bed and Breakfast Inns of Missouri
  42. Montana Bed and Breakfast Association
  43. Nebraska Association of Bed and Breakfasts
  44. Country Inns of the Dartmouth Lake Sunapee Region
  45. Monadnock New Hampshire Lodging Association
  46. New Hampshire Bed & Breakfast Association
  47. Lake Regions Bed & Breakfast Association
  48. Country Inns in the White Mountains
  49. Bed & Breakfasts Inn MWV
  50. Preferred Inns of New Jersey
  51. Albuquerque Bed & Breakfast Association
  52. New Mexico Bed & Breakfast Association
  53. Historic Hudson Valley Lodging Association
  54. North Fork Bed and Breakfast Association
  55. Empire State Bed & Breakfast Association
  56. Adirondack Bed and Breakfast Association
  57. Finger Lakes Bed & Breakfast Association
  58. Wayne County Bed and Breakfast Association
  59. Maggie Valley Bed & Breakfast Association
  60. North Carolina Bed & Breakfast and Inns
  61. Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association
  62. Ohio Bed & Breakfast Association
  63. Port Clinton Bed & Breakfast Association
  64. Oklahoma Bed and Breakfast Association
  65. Central Oregon Bed and Breakfast Association
  66. Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild
  67. Authentic Bed and Breakfasts of Lancaster County Association
  68. North Central Pennsylvania Bed & Breakfast Association
  69. Pennsylvania Mid-State Bed and Breakfast Association
  70. Pennsylvania Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns
  71. Bed & Breakfast Association of Pittsburgh
  72. Newport Inns and B&B Association
  73. South Carolina Bed and Breakfast Association
  74. Bed and Breakfast Association of Tennessee
  75. Smoky Mountain Bed & Breakfast Association
  76. Texas Bed & Breakfast Association
  77. Heart of Texas Bed and Breakfast Association
  78. North Texas Bed and Breakfast Association
  79. Granbury Area Bed and Breakfast Association
  80. Bed & Breakfast Inns of Utah
  81. Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia
  82. Loudoun Bed & Breakfast Guild
  83. Washington Bed and Breakfast Guild
  84. Inns of Excellence
  85. Seattle Bed & Breakfast Association
  86. West Virginia Bed & Breakfast Association
  87. Inns of the Scenic St. Croix Valley
  88. Madison Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Inns Area Association
  89. Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association
  90. Wyoming Hospitality & Outdoor Adventures
  91. Vermont Inn and B&B Association
Posted in B&B, Facebook, Hospitality News, How tos, Inns, Lodging, marketing, Observations, Social Media | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Reputation Management Links and Tips for Innkeepers

Reviews? I Have Reviews?

Additional Recommended Reading: The Art of Responding to review sites for restaurants and lodging.

Check to see if your business name is taken on social networks:

-Don’t sign up for the service, just use it check (and be cognizant of the fact that they don’t seem to be right 100% of the time)

Social Media Monitoring:

*****Suggested

Other

Real Time Search

Review Sites (ones marked by ** are the most likely places that a B&B will be reviewed)

blog1

blog2

blog3

Posted in B&B, Reputation Management, Reviews, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments