Branding, Marketing and the Internet for Aspiring Innkeepers. Part Three

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This is part three of a series based on a recent session I did for Aspiring innkeepers at the recent Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Conference in Virginia. Part One can be found here and Part Two here.

Slide14

Slide 14 gave screen shots of a nicely laid out well designed wordpress site (above) that is responsive (or adaptive) and mobile friendly.  A discussion was had about the importance of having a mobile friendly website. While new or innkeepers taking over an existing business may not have the funds to go out and redo a new website right away, we talked about some of the alternatives that inns could use in the interim of having the site redesigned. (suggested links at the bottom of this post). While it’s not the best substitute for having a responsive or adaptive website done (but with the realization it may not be in the budget just yet), it’s a stop gap interim that needs to be done as Google is making it more and more important that businesses have mobile friendly sites, it’s not something to ignore. (Google Just Upped the Penalty for Not Having a Mobile-Friendly Hotel Website)

Slide 15 is an older standard HTML website with a mobile friendly separate website screenshot from a mobile phone.

Slide 16 is an example of a DIY website through Wix.com which is mobile friendly.

Slide 17 is an example of an older standard HTML website with no mobile friendly alternative, I can forsee an extremely high mobile bounce rate for this site, as you have to really expand the view to move around in the site.

Slide18

Slide 18 is an example of a wordpress site that’s lovely, well designed (above) but NOT mobile friendly. Again similar to the older HTML site, I would guess it has a rather high mobile bounce rate.

Slide 19 is a screen shot of a newer website with some rather bad photography of their rooms. Here I put in my own two cents about the importance of good photography, and in terms of marketing budgets and money, my feeling is spend the money on good photography FIRST, before you have your website done or redone. Photos are what is going to sell your inn and book your rooms. A lovely well designed, well coded and well SEOed website is still not going to get you the reservations if you have crappy pictures. People don’t read and they won’t, they look at the pictures and that besides the pricing, influences their booking decisions primarily.

Slides 20 & 21 is a comparison between a not attractive photo selection from an inn, and an attractive one pleasing to the eye, i.e. an “I want to book your rooms photo selection.”

Slide 22 are some food photos I came across on inn’s websites. If you have to ask “what the hell is that?” then it’s probably not something you should be posting on your website (or your social media for that fact either.).

Slide 23 is an example of two professionally taken photos, which still doesn’t take away the fact that inns need to eyeball photos heavily before posting. The top has a photo with pumpernickel toast (and a blurb underneath, which people won’t read) but at first glance (and second) the toast looks burnt. The second is an example of a well done “action” photo i.e. maple syrup being poured.

Slide 24 is an example of another professionally taken photo that is used in large format on an inn’s website but also goes into the category of the innkeeper should really eyeball the photo carefully, especially if being used like this as a photo front and center. It IS a gorgeous photo, well lit, well laid out, But…………. The apple in the photo has been cut prior to taking the photos for enough in advance that it’s start to brown around the seeds, the grapes are lackluster looking and could have used a bit of glycerin or a brief spritz of water. And my personal pet peeve, lots of cheese but very few crackers, so from a visual aspect, i.e. a guest looking at it, the photo looks appealing, but something in it is just a little “off”. I would suggest reading these three articles I wrote, one from last year and the other two from several years prior: Suggestions for Professional and DIY Inn Photography, and Some food styling tips for Bed and Breakfasts, and Innkeepers, think before you post…a photo.

Slide 25 is a shot from Social Media Examiner’s yearly social media report. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/. I would really recommend that inns and aspiring innkeepers sign up for their free newsletter, very informational. The slide has a breakdown of social media being used currently for business.

Slide26

Slide 26 is a snapshot of a B&B using Youtube (above) with a well filled out profile and lots of videos and went over some brief pros and cons.

Slide 27 is a snapshot of an Inn’s Facebook profiles and we went over some brief pros and cons.

Slide 28 is a snapshot of an Inn’s Pinterest profiles and we went over some brief pros and cons.

Slide 29 is a snapshot of an Inn’s blog and we went over some brief pros and cons.

Slide 30 is a snapshot of an Innkeepers Linkedin personal profile page we and went over some brief pros and cons.

Slide 31 is a snapshot of an Inn’s Linkedin business page and we went over some brief pros, there are no cons to having a Linkedin business page.

Slide 32 is a snapshot of an Inn’s Twitter profile and we went over some brief pros and cons.

Slide 33 is a snapshot of an Inn’s Google+ profile and we went over some brief pros and cons.

Slide 34 is what Google+ pages are transitioning to look like.

Slide 34 is snapshot of the web interface for an Inn’s Instagram account and a mobile screenshot of the actual Instagram account.

There are also handouts of all of my sessions at http://forfengmedia.com/MAI2016/. The Pros and Cons of Social Media, and Reputation Management handouts would also be ones I would encourage aspiring innkeepers to download.

Another article that may also be of interest (and it came up in another discussion at the conference) was “checking yourself in” to your own B&B. A related article from 2012, Why it pays to sleep around for Bed and Breakfast owners.

Helpful Links for Aspiring Innkeepers on a Budget

Mobile alternatives if you don’t have the money to redo your website: (some are also website builders as well as offering mobile site alternatives)

Website builders that are fairly low cost and mobile friendly (definitely save up for a good quality designer, but some alternatives for the interim, a website is better than NO website at all realistically)

Free photo editors – lets you edit all your photos online, from one easy place. If you don’t have a desktop photo editor these are great.

If you are an innkeeper or aspiring innkeeper and would like a copy of the actual slidedeck (for the visuals) please send me an email at heather@forfengdesigns.com and I’d be happy to send you a copy. (no sales pitches included, I promise 🙂 **By way of explanation for not posting the slidedeck online, I did get several email requests from people asking me to post it online. In most cases I would, but I’m being bugged by someone that teaches aspiring innkeeper courses (for a rather large fee) that attended my session at the conference. Quite frankly I am happy to share for educational purposes but not if someone is going to profit off it. I realize I should take this as a compliment but it irks me, i.e. take the 6 hours it took me to put the slidedeck together, and do it yourself if you are going to charge for it. (sorry if that comes across as snarky.)

About Chef Forfeng

Innkeeping Tip and Tricks: Please check out some marketing ideas for Inns and B&Bs, Blogging ideas, Facebook Tips and Social Media Tutorials https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/marketing-for-lodging-resources/
This entry was posted in B&B, Hospitality News, How tos, Observations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Branding, Marketing and the Internet for Aspiring Innkeepers. Part Three

  1. Hi Chef, I attended your session at the Midatlantic and it was very informational! I would like a copy of the slidedeck please to refresh my memory and align them with the many pages of notes I took. I don’t blame you for not posting your slides. I know who you are talking about, they had a booth at the conference, and I sat catty corner to her in your session, she spent the entire time taking copious notes. Considering they have been teaching aspiring innkeeper courses for years, the fact she took a lot of notes and wants your information scares me more than a little bit. 🙂 But take it as the compliment it is.

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