I have been putting together a list of primarily B&Bs and Inns that use social media and thought I would share some examples of what I see working well. Please keep in mind that my views are purely subjective. There are many terrific B&B blogs out there and the list would go on for pages and pages to include them all.
Kudos to all the innkeepers out there blogging, keep up the good work!
This will be a 6 post series on examples of inns and B&Bs using social media: topics to follow in this order. Blogs, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Flickr and then a assorted topic blog on inns/B&Bs using location based applications and other social media applications for business.
If you happen to come across some really great examples of smaller lodging using social media, please post a comment or send me a note at email@example.com and I would be glad to add them to the list with finders credit.
As you can see, there are a variety of blogging platforms being used for blogs. Please also note that while many of these blogs are wordy posts, they are not necessarily posting every day or even every week. So don’t be daunted if your just starting out blogging. You’ll also notice that some of these blogs are linked to each other. A great way to promote partner inns traffic and your own blog traffic as well.
Inns and B&Bs Blogging examples:
Adobe Nido B&B, Sarah Dolk, http://www.adobenido.com/blog/
Sarah blogs about local events, things going on at her inn and an assortment of other things including her dogs. I like Sarah’s blogs because she makes the posts, especially about the local attractions, very personal, and she writes from a very personal perspective. While a photo of her knee surgery is at first a bit off putting, she writes in the same post about guests who have asked her for a list of possible places to work helping the homeless in Albuquerque on Christmas day. http://www.adobenido.com/blog/2010/albuquerque/all-i-want-for-christmas-is/ I unfortunately missed meeting Sarah on our relocation trek back from the West Coast a year ago (and very much wish I had gotten to meet her) but I very much suspect she talks much like she writes, which I think is fascinating, and truly gives a potential guest real insight into the owners of a B&B that they might stay at.
The Aleksander House B&B, Nancy Hinchliff, http://innnotes.blogspot.com/
Nancy’s posts range from recipes to local things to do, some recipes and some great use of video throughout her blog. She also blogs at http://www.innbusiness.blogspot.com/ and http://businesswomensforum.blogspot.com/ and http://amemorabletimeofmylife.blogspot.com/ She amazes me because her posts are well thought out and she is a prolific writer. I honestly don’t know how she does it.
Andon-Reid Inn Bed and Breakfast, Rachel & Ron Reid, http://blog.andonreidinn.com/
Rachel & Ron offer a good mix of inn happenings, packages, recipes and things to do in the area. A good example of custom google map use here: http://blog.andonreidinn.com/2010/12/winter-activities-near-our-waynesville.html and their posts are a good example of the fairly short and sweet variety that is not getting into much personal detail about the inn but still can give a good overview.
Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast, Shellie Leete, http://claibornehouse.blogspot.com/
Shellie does a bang up job of reviews, detailed lists of things to do, recipes, some great posts with really interesting photos http://claibornehouse.blogspot.com/2011/01/time-to-get-mselenaeous.html some history http://claibornehouse.blogspot.com/2011/01/virginias-debate-between-secession-and.html and check out the custom Google map at the bottom of the blog.
Hopton House, Karen Thorne, http://shropshirebreakfast.com/stories.aspx?catID=19
Karen does not blog much on this one, but she also maintains http://hoptonhouse.posterous.com/ on which she posts pictures and one liners, sometimes multiple times daily and uses this to feed into twitter. She’s a shutterbug with her Blackberry but the photos range from beautiful to amusing to sometimes off the wall http://hoptonhouse.posterous.com/alien-embryo-or-frozen-rosehip but almost always interesting. Many of the photos she posts from here into her twitter stream turn into twitter discussions, from frivolous to practical to educational. Karen also has a blog for her B&B courses at http://bedandbreakfastacademy.wordpress.com/ (nudge nudge Karen, time to update, I told her I was going to be a pest :)
Updated: Hopton House, apparently being a pest is a good thing, she has a new post up at her B&B course blog.)
Munro House B&B, Mike Venturini, http://blog.munrohouse.com/
Mike has a selection of local events, things going on at the inn, a good example being posts that guests might have a personal hobby interest in: http://blog.munrohouse.com/2011/01/quilting-projects-at-trevathans-in.html and http://blog.munrohouse.com/2010/12/quilting-in-jonesville.html. Sometimes imagery can make you laugh as well, and sometimes for no particular reason, the image of abandoned shopping carts at Walmart in a snow storm hit my funny bone along with the final sentence of his post. “When there’s nobody at Wal-Mart, you know there’s something wrong.” http://blog.munrohouse.com/2010/12/southern-michigan-snow-storm.html
Murski Homestead B&B, Pamela Murski, http://murskihomesteadbb.com/blog/
Pamela has a great example of a food blog (I refuse to call it a foodie blog because I consider most innkeepers real cooks as opposed to foodies. While many don’t have professional cooking backgrounds before they became innkeepers, I have never ever had a breakfast at a B&B that was not cooked perfectly and many times better then I have had at a restaurant) She also has some great pictures of happy bride and grooms with just short captions or personal quotes from the guests. http://murskihomesteadbb.com/blog/2010/12/22/five-star-elopement-b-b-review-by-the-wedding-couple/
Thomas Shepherd Inn, Jeanne Muir & Jim Ford, http://blog.thomasshepherdinn.com/
Jeanne Muir & Jim Ford do a nice job of things to do in the area, the usual recipes, inn events, and like White Cedar Inn, they have right hand links fairly clearly organized for easy viewing and a great point out post that they got from Google alerts about an area restaurant http://blog.thomasshepherdinn.com/2010/11/pub-review-mecklenburg-inn-in.html
The Thurston House, Carole and Joe Ballard http://thurstonhouse.com/blog/
Carole and Joe give a nice variety of inn happenings, area events and things to do in the area. This an another great example of the short and sweet blog post.
White Cedar Inn, Monica Kissane, http://whitecedarinn.blogspot.com
Monica has a mix of things to do, personal observations, recipes, personal projects http://whitecedarinn.blogspot.com/2011/01/painting-window-sills.html. I like how she has things organized on the right side of her blog: Upcoming events, Things You’ll Want To See And D, Stories You May Have Misse, White Cedar Inn Recipes, it makes finding key things easy for guests that she wants to focus on.
Inns may not have the time to blog (they should make time where ever they can filch it from) but there are alternatives to having individual blogs, if an innkeeper does not think they can have the time (or motivation) to update one entirely on their own, B&B associations can have their own blogs, and have innkeepers contribute packages, recipes and unique events going on in the area to the blog, or they can group together like several inns have recently done at http://innteractiveinns.blogspot.com/
Some Sample Inns Associations:
My suggestion is, if you as an innkeeper are afraid to start blogging, find some blogs in your industry and figure out what you feel comfortable doing after observing them for a while. Stalk and learn. Don’t forget to stalk your competition as well, if they are blogging and your not, you better start pronto.