Alright, so we write a lot about blogging and social media and the importance of it in your marketing, etc., etc., and sometimes you just want to tell us to SHUT UP already. We get it. But we don't give up that easily!
A couple of weeks ago in my article, "Do Innkeeper Blogs Work?" I mentioned a blog, My Bella Vita, by an American innkeeper in Italy, Cherrye Moore. Something happened this past week that caused me to dig a bit deeper into her blog and to reflect on the power and strength of online community. Something happened to Cherrye's father, and the outpouring has been remarkable.
If you explore My Bella Vita, you'll read a lot about Italy, about food and art and history. But you'll also learn a lot about the author. And you'll learn a lot about blogging. It's by inference and the prominent link to Il Cedro Bed & Breakfast that you'd want to stay at her B&B as well. Cherrye gets an unusually large number of comments to her blog posts because, as she told me, "people feel like they know us through the blog." Remarkably, she replies to every comment, something we're told to do to be effective. But then she told her readers on Feb. 13 that she was going home to Texas for a couple of weeks because she'd received the middle of the night phone call that no one wants to receive. "It's your father." And something amazing happened.
In just a couple of days nearly forty people have left comments, offered prayers and best wishes. No doubt some are friends but many, like me, are strangers. Sometimes it's tragedy that makes us realize how many people "out there" really care. And then you realize that it really is possible to create a community in cyberspace.
The whole purpose of a blog for a bed & breakfast is to share something of yourself and your area with the larger world, to make people feel like they want to come stay with you. You begin to create an emotional connection with your past and future guests, and as you write and make the effort you may not know if anyone is really reading or if they care. But if you persist you might be surprised.
Is this for everyone? No. But if you visit My Bella Vita you'll understand why a blog can be a powerful tool for communication and for creating community. And you'll understand better what drives some people to "broadcast their lives to the blogosphere." And why people would want to stay at Il Cedro Bed & Breakfast. And why you might consider following a great example of what works.