In our ‘Better Way to Learn Innkeeping’ seminars for aspiring innkeepers we talk about branding your inn. This can be confusing to innkeepers and aspiring innkeepers as to what that means and how to do it. Branding your B&B does not need to be difficult or confusing. It may just need one simple idea, but it must be authentic, and you must be passionate about it. Let us take a look at a branding concept that I believe can clarify the ‘how to do it’.
Hundreds of books on branding have been published for decades. A recent publication, Passion Branding: Harnessing the Power of Emotion to Build Strong Brands by Neill Duffy and Jo Hooper, takes an interesting approach to an old component to branding, the “emotional connection.”
“Centered on a passionate relationship between brand and consumer and the leverage of that passion in order to create value for all involved in the relationship.”
Relationships between you and your guests, (“brand and consumer”), is an important part of hospitality. Maybe the most important. Creating that value to “all involved in the relationship” between you and your guests is key.
Here a two examples Scott and Marilyn Bushnell, affiliates of The B&B Team, shared with me.
- Jacob-Rohrbach Inn, Sharpsburg, MD: We worked with Amy and Chris Vincent when they purchased the inn near the Antietam Battlefield in 2015. Chris is an avid Civil War buff and their search for an inn near a battlefield brought them to Sharpsburg. He is now a licensed battlefield guide and sponsors the Civil War Summer Lecture Series bringing guests to the Inn and Sharpsburg. They have turned passion and personal interest into a growing business.
- Jay and Gaylen Matlock own Carriage Corner B&B in Intercourse, PA. We worked with them in 2016 as they moved from Washington state to the hub of Amish activities…Lancaster County. Gaylen brought her love of sewing to the Inn and now conducts Sew Camps retreats at the Inn, bringing like-minded enthusiasts to the Inn for sewing interaction and laughing as well as visits to local fabric and supply stores.
“These are innkeepers who have taken their passions and are using them to build their brand…and enjoy exercising those passions and building business at the same time. Word of Mouth marketing grows with these experiences and since they are the passions of the innkeepers, there is “staying power” for the long-term. They are not just “oh, we tried that once and it didn’t work” ideas. If it is of personal interest, it will have longevity and build a branding ‘personality’ to the inn.”
Thank you Marilyn and Scott.
Another key point on Passion Branding was to “align with an activity that one’s target customers are passionate about.” These innkeepers are doing just that, and it is not complicated or confusing! Passion is catching, in the most positive way. It creates an emotional connection with your guests that is both powerful and long-term. Can you spell repeat guests?
Thanks for Listening,