Inn Consultants and Brokers Since 1993

The B&B Team

Rick Wolf and Peter Scherman (that’s Rick on the left and Peter on the right) are both experienced speakers who have presented on a range of innkeeping related topics at the state, regional, and national level. They gather and analyze research for the Innkeeping industry and welcome the opportunity to share it with others. Contact Us

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Archive for the ‘Archives’ Category

Get More Direct Bookings

April 28th, 2018 by Janet Wolf

Is your goal in 2018-19 to get more direct bookings? Your response should be a resounding YES.

From a PhocusWire (powered by PhocusWright) article entitled; Online travel agency fightback: Tactics to lure direct bookings’. By Max Starkov. Geared towards the hotel industry but there is some good advise that is universal for all lodging properties.

Fact: ‘The conversion rate for hotels is a low 2% for booking direct.’

“For example, imagine 100 people visit your hotel website. Out of those people, less than two will complete a booking, and more than 98 will look around before leaving to make a booking elsewhere – either with your competitors or with the OTAs.”

With this fact you can understand why hotels are concerned and are spending bunches of dollars and valuable staff time to convert their site visitors to stay and book.

You may be asking… what would be the conversion rate for our smaller independently owned and operated B&Bs?

Fact:An outdated website and booking engine leads to lower conversions.’

Your PMS (property management system) should be a quality, robust, and connected system. For example, Think Reservations has something called ‘Channel Management’, direct connectivity with Trip Advisor, Booking.com, Expedia, BedandBreakfast.com and AirBnB. You would be able to see on a monthly chart where your reservations came from. As a result, track your online conversion rate.

But you may be saying… I am totally on board with a great new website with SEO near perfect, new and robust PMS, great responsive mobile-first site, great download speeds but I still want more direct bookings. (greedy aren’t we!).

Something that is new on the pike worth considering.

Online chats, social messaging. A way to engage with your potential guests with pre-stay conversations. Answer their queries (Do we have to sit with a bunch of people at breakfast? or Can you do Vegan?) A chance to wow them with your answers. As a result, keep them on your site and encourage them to book direct.

Hoperator is a ‘sales and messaging platform for travel and hospitality businesses’. Their mantra:

Engage. Convert. Retain

But you may be saying…I do this all the time on the phone, why do I need an online chat?

Just like all the media tools that are available to you, this is another to add to the bucket. And it just may be useful to you.

From Hoperator’s article: What is the Cost of Real Time?

‘Messaging isn’t just a new trend, it’s here to stay. There have been a number of reports produced in the last two years that show that the adoption rate of social messaging is over taking that of social network activity.  Plus, the world is becoming inherently more mobile, making messaging more and more prominent. Live chat alone has a 73% satisfaction rate (compared to just a 44% satisfaction rate with the phone) and it takes an average of less than 48 seconds to answer a simple question. Also, customers are 63% more likely to return to websites with live chat. In other words, live chat is quicker than a phone call and is more likely to lead to a satisfied customer.

And it makes sense. 83% of consumers want to deal with human beings when it comes to customer service.’ To learn more contact hello@hoperator.com

Right now the company has more hotel customers than B&Bs but they welcome all lodging types. Since innkeepers are glued at the hip to their phones, getting a ping that someone wants to chat may be less time consuming than a call, something to consider.

What are you doing to get more direct bookings? Would love to hear from you.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Breakfast Going Global

April 11th, 2018 by Janet Wolf

breakfast

Breakfast Going Global

Thank you, Linda Hayes, for sending me a most enticing and inspiring article, ‘The World of BreakfastThe shifting definition of what counts as breakfast food now embraces flavors from around the globe’. Explore breakfast going global.

Trends in food are constantly evolving, new flavors and creative presentations are certain to elicit the WOW factor. Are you ready to push the global envelope?

In our most recent ‘Better Way to Learn Innkeeping’ seminar we had two women with a Caribbean background who expressed a desire to introduce Caribbean recipes in their future B&B. Love it.

Rick and I were visiting The Inn at English Meadows recently and innkeeper Kate was serving Chilaquiles. Even though I am a huge fan of Mexican food, I had never heard of this dish. Fabulous, clean plate club for both Rick and me.

Here are a few of the dishes that got my attention. Let’s start with sweet.

Hong Kong Waffles

Breakfast going global

Area Four in Cambridge, Mass., combines the waffles with pistachio ice cream and blackberry sauce

“Also known as bubble or egg waffles. Soft, chewy in the middle with crisp lacy edges, made from sweet, eggy batter.”

I found a good ‘how to’ and recipe from food blogger “ginger & scotch”.

breakfast goin global

This is how they come out from an egg-waffle pan

Now let’s take a savory journey.

Chilaquiles

It is famous in Mexico. A dish of fried corn tortilla strips simmered (but not to long to make them soggy) in salsa or roasted tomatillo sauce and topped with egg, cheese (I like Queso Fresco) and possibly beans, squash, tomatos. Make your own combination, that is the fun of it. But a must on my plate would be avocado!

breakfast going global

Image credit: Alanna Taylor Tobin | The Bojon Gourmet

Off to the Caribbean.

Another food blogger; ‘Immaculate Bites-Afro-Caribbean Recipes Made Easy’. Some beautiful and very enticing recipes. Dishes like, Sweet Plantain Hash & Eggs or this one…

breakfast going global

Jamaican Corn Meal Porridge

What you want to do, as suggested by The World of Breakfast authors is… “find that perfect balance between home and away.” That is what innkeepers do everyday at their inns. Now it may be fun to take that trip to Hong Kong, Mexico or the Caribbean or anywhere you like.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

What do Millennials Want?

March 26th, 2018 by Janet Wolf

what do millennials want

What Do Millennials Want?

Remember this catchphrase from TV’s The Brady Bunch? “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha”. Her sister Jan thought she got all the attention. Today it’s millennials, millennials, millennials, its’ all about millennials!

What do millennials want? How much attention should we give them? One thing for sure, we must pay attention to them as active consumers with disposable income. About 10 million millennials make over $100,000. And double that for 2 income couples.

Wednesday at the AIHP Knowledge Sharing Summit & Marketplace. I listened to Jeff Fromm’s session, ‘The Financial Impact of Millennial Influence on Travel‘. Among many attributes, Jeff is known as the Millennial Marketing Guy. He’s done all the research, written the books and has some great insights.

Some millennial facts:

what do millennials want? All you Baby Boomers out there know this TV catchphrase. For everyone else, Google it. I digress…

Millennials were born between 1977-1995

Comprising of about 25% of the U.S. population

As a group they are larger than the Baby Boomers

Three times the size of Generation X (born 1965-1976)

These facts alone give us reasons to pay attention, work on your business to be relevant and attract this generation of active consumers. “Brands old and new, cannot afford to ignore this generation.”

An interesting insight from Jeff; “Consumers date brands before they fall in love”. Online dating of course.

Let’s start the conversation with this mindset.

Timeline: shop..date…fall in love…get married for life?

Maybe, unless that brand messes up, becomes irrelevant, inconsistent and loses their trust. Or if you are a millennial, you may just get bored and want to try something new. Think about it. Would you, millennial or not, go back to the same brand if it disappointed you, or would you shop another brand? You know the answer.

“Understand that millennials are the ultimate day traders, and that’s what’s driving changes in food, restaurants, travel, insurance,” says Jeff Fromm. “If your brand isn’t unique, you run the risk of being traded out for private-label or a low-cost alternative.” Jeff Fromm

Our industry’s B&B’s could be described as ‘private label’. We sure aren’t the Hilton or Motel 6.  So how can you get that millennial to trade out to you?

I am picking 3 areas of focus from Jeff’s session. Focusing on what may help you create and sustain a brand that millennials will shop, date and fall in love with.

Unique and Innovative

put an egg on it

New England Johnny Cod Cake with Poached Egg, Oven Roasted tomatoes and Lemon-Tarragon Aioli– Inn at Pleasant Lake, NH

Are you serving the same breakfast you served 5 years ago? Breakfast is half your name. Millennials as well as older generations with millennial mindsets are adventurous eaters. Food trends are constantly changing. Discovering and trying out new recipes is fun. Make them as visually appealing as they are appealing to the pallet. Millennials want to share their experiences on social media but only if they are worth sharing.

Adventurous

Millennials are searching for new experiences in everything. Travel for sure. Does your website show potential guests unique adventurous experiences inside and outside your property? Or do you show the same outdated guest room photos, typical romance packages (that everyone else has) and lists of ‘things to do’ (without any links or photos) that hasn’t been updated in years. Unfortunately, The B&B Team sees this all to often.

what do millennials want?

Dogsledding-Mush your own dogsled memorable adventure. Lodge at Moosehead Lake, Maine

It is easy to connect with local businesses that offer unique and adventurous experiences. Create packages with them. Wherever your inn is located, there are adventures nearby.

Frictionless Journey

How easily are you found on a web search? First, you want to come up at the top of pages in a search of Inns in your area. If not, your SEO needs help. Pretend you are a potential guest (millennial or not) and do a search. You may be surprised. Second, how easy is your booking process. Seamless? Is your PMS (property management system) outdated? May be time to research a new, innovative user friendlier system. Third, how frictionless is your check-in procedure? Can guests access your inn after hours with a keyless lock system? Or do you wait up for them, greet them with tired eyes and impatient words?

These questions and examples just touch on the insights that Jeff spoke about.

A final insight from Jeff Fromm. Successful brands: “Treat others the way they want to be treated”. Plus…“Always be helping”. These things are huge when sustaining your brand.

Innkeepers have got that down, right? But there is always room for improvement, for more love.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Wellness Tourism-Growing Trends

March 19th, 2018 by Janet Wolf

wellness tourism growing trend

Wellness Tourism-Growing Trends

Wellness tourism is a 500-billion-dollar segment of the travel industry. Looks like something innkeepers should consider integrating into their business plan. Don’t leave a piece of that 500-billion-dollar pie on the plate!

AIHP Knowledge Sharing Summit and Marketplace, day two.

I attended Julie Pankey’s session, Top Trends in Wellness Tourism, The Guest Experience. After many years of experience managing and growing successful hospitality spas, Julie formed her own spa consulting services company, J M Pankey Partners. She is very passionate about what she does, a huge key to her success.

Here is a brief summation of Julie’s top ten wellness tourism trends, with some added observations from me.

Welltality

A nice take on the word hospitality. Is welltality the new hospitality? In the hotel industry many are marketing themselves as ‘healthy hotels”. Take a look at what hotels are doing and incorporate some of the features into your ‘healthy B&B’. One example from Julie’s session was introducing dawn simulator alarm clocks or sunrise clocks into your guest rooms. For more information: The 10 Best Wake-up Light Therapy Alarm clocks to Buy in 2018. Listing the types of clocks available and their individual attributes. Possibly a nice wellness touch to your Inn? Also, take a look at Nature’s Tribute-doTerra Essential Oils.

Wellness trends

Dawn Simulator

Incorporate the Outdoors

 

Wellness tourism trends

Jumping Rock Photography-Cheshire Cat Inn, CA

Create outdoor spaces that become an extension of your Inn’s brand, style and ambience. The B&B Team is seeing Inns create outdoor spaces that are transformed into outdoor rooms. Not just a few chairs on a deck.

  • Private decks with an outdoor shower, hot tub, fire table with a nice view. That’s the ticket!
  • And beyond the porch, fire-pits, waterfalls into pools, fountains, great landscaping with outdoor lighting.
  • Winding paths to secluded spots with seating.

And don’t forget to showcase these areas with great photos. It’s not only the Wow affect but the Ahh affect. To add that Ahh affect to your property, check out Outdoor Lighting Perspectives. They were an exhibitor, speaker and sponsor at the conference.

Wellness tourism

Fire Table-Hermann Hill Inn, Hermann Missouri

Sustainability

Being mindful of using local products. Food especially. Many inns incorporate this into their brand and marketing successfully. Important to capture the guest looking for a ‘foodie’ wellness experience.

From The Inn at Weathersfield in Vermont

We know our farmers by name. 

For most of the year, over 75% of our ingredients come from within a 25 mile radius of the inn or from our IW Heirloom Garden. Just before winter appears, we stock our root cellar to carry us through until spring.

So…when tomato or corn are not in season, you’re probably not going to find it on our menu unless it’s been preserved.

To be an authentic farm-to-table restaurant, we know we have to keep things REAL.

 

Extreme Wellness

One step beyond the expected. One example mentioned was ‘salt rooms’ and ‘salt lamps’. I had never heard of this. What I found:

Salt therapy is a natural therapy that has been practiced since the 18th century. it involves inhaling dry salt, which can help cleanse both the airways and the skin to relieve congestion, inflammation and skin irritations. In a salt rooms or salt cave a halogenerator grind up pharmaceutical grade salt into minute particles that become airborne when dispersed into the room.”

May be worth finding out if you have one in your area and partner with them. Business partnerships can be a real asset to your Inn business. Making your partner businesses easily accessible to your guests.

Well NOT Wealth

This is offering your guest a retreat from technology. Regaining personal connections. Turn off the Wi-Fi, no phones, tablets, etc. allowed. Lock them up in a safe! This is a tough one, but just maybe this could be attractive to guests seeking a real getaway from it all. You must admit, todays small portable electronics glued to our eyes and ears for hours on end can create a lot of stress. There is always the old fashioned land line open for emergency communication.

Inn at English Meadows-Sunrise Room-Soft colors, clean, fresh. AHH

Another trend The B&B Team has been seeing is incorporating a spa like feel into guest rooms.

  • Hardwood floors.
  • Soft color palettes.
  • Bathrooms with spa features, luxury showers with body sprays, rainwater shower heads.

Another example of the non-extreme and more reasonable wellness approach from Julie.

“I am working with an Inn in Sandwich, MA to help them transform their suites into wellness suites.  Each of these rooms already have smart TV’s, king size beds, jacuzzi tubs, in room air purifiers and sleep sound machines so it will be really easy to incorporate yoga mats and a smart TV on demand fitness and relaxation programs as well as relaxing bath accessories and products, we will also add a mini bar of wellness products which may include sleep mask, relaxing pillow mist, anti-aging pillow case, foot cream and cozy spa socks, hydrating facial sheet mask and other goodies that just transformed these rooms into wellness rooms with very little money being spent.”  

wellness tourism

Upon arrival…Warm or chilled towels depending on the weather plus refreshment. Not just in the tropics but anywhere! Ahh

Think beyond the massage. Whether you have a spa, plan on opening one or just want to integrate some of these trends into your own business, being aware of these ‘welltality’ trends is enlightening and good food for thought. Always know that improvements, additional services and amenities are investments that will pay for themselves with increased rates and well marketed packages.

Thank you Julie Pankey for your enlightening session. JM Pankey Partners offers a Spa Hive Community, a place to “share ideas, solve challenges and connect with leaders and colleagues in the spa industry in a secure and private group.”

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

 

Time Management Tips for Busy Innkeepers

March 7th, 2018 by Janet Wolf

Time Management

Eat The Frog! Time Management Tips for Busy Innkeepers

One of the first sessions I attended at last week’s AIHP Knowledge Sharing Summit and Marketplace was presented by David Mayfield from ResNexus. Effective time Management. Some do it well, others not so much. But everyone can learn new techniques. In business and daily private life, time is precious, and worth the time to explore better ways to manage it.

Have you ever heard the term, ‘eat the frog’? It all started with Mark Twain, a guy who said a lot of smart things. His point…if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”

So what does this have to do with time management? Fast forward a few decades to a publication by Brian Tracy, ‘Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.’

David Mayfield based his session on many of the points in this book.

Let’s go back to that frog. “If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest and biggest one first. This is another way to saying that if you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first.” Brian Tracy.

I think we have all felt the satisfaction of tackling and completing a dreaded task first, without procrastinating. And we have all sat and stared into the bulging eyes at that ugly frog and let it hop away and hide, only to return another day!

“The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the first place. Once you actually begin work on a valuable task, you seem to be naturally motivated to continue.” Brian Tracy

I would like to emphasize ‘valuable task’. Innkeeper (name withheld) knows that they must enter expenses in QuickBooks, they have been putting if off for weeks. But the lawn needs cutting. Which task is the biggest and ugliest? Time to be honest and time to eat that frog.

I think you get the frog analogy by now, lets continue. Here are a few of David Mayfield’s 7 keys to better time management that I picked up from his session.

Assume Responsibility

This was the first ‘key’ David listed. It is your business, and you are the one responsible to manage and complete the most important and valuable tasks.

Time Management-Write it Down

Write it Down

Write your goals down, the non-techy way, with pen and paper, each day. Then find the frog (the most important task/goal) on your list, you know what to do next.  It may be possible that other less timely important goals/tasks on your list you can delegate to staff? Delegating effectively is a real time saver.

Review Your Day

Checking off everything on your list at the end of your day can be very satisfying. But sometimes ‘life happens’ and tasks are left undone. Don’t fret, as long as one frog gets eaten you can sleep well. Burp!

This is just a snapshot of all that David had to offer in his session. ResNexus as well as other property management systems (PMS) offer many time saving automated services. Once you find the right PMS for you, using all the tools will help you streamline your operations and help you control the running of your business.

Another great tip…two monitors. Have your reservation system on all the time on one monitor during business hours. The other monitor could be your laptop. So when that call for a room, or online reservation comes in, you and your monitor are up and ready. Thought, install a photo of a frog as your screen saver.

time management

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Online Marketing Made Simple

February 22nd, 2018 by Janet Wolf

Online Marketing made simple

The Lodge at Moosehead Lake’s New Head of Guest Relations and Marketing!

Online marketing made simple? I think this is an oxymoron (a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction). Any moron knows online marketing/social media is NOT simple, but I got your attention, right?

In a recent article by Steve Olenski in Marketing Insider Group, ‘4 Online Marketing Tips That May Sound Obvious But Should Not Be Overlooked’, the author attempts simplicity. I will further attempt to simplify his 4 tips.

Understand that Social Media Constantly Changes

  • Instagram is taking the lead with “more than 500 million active daily users”.
  • Facebook has fallen behind for the first time recently.
  • “Facebook created quite the buzz when they began limiting organic exposure in an effort to drive more businesses to run paid ads. Instagram is currently making headlines for doing the same thing now.”
  • But Facebook is still an important social media tool for you. It is still a good place to share basic information and direct visitors to your website. Don’t give up on it, even though those ads may drive you crazy.
  • Instagram-Show what you offer

whitefenceswatermill#breakfast on the go! #international #travels can’t stay for breakfast but we have them covered! #coffee and #croissant #bedandbreakfast

Don’t Get Hung Up on Outdated SEO Techniques

The one and most important tip here is, SEO is not a good DIY project!

  • Old outdated techniques and strategies are just that, old and outdated. “What worked several years ago just simply isn’t effective these days, and in many instances can get your website penalized.”
  • “Want to master 2018 SEO? Learn from people who are practitioners, not just talkers.”
  • We have many excellent ‘practitioners’ in our industry. Work with them and you will get the best results.
  • Refer to The B&B Team’s Industry Referrals page for a list of internet marketing companies that are leaders in our industry.

Share Your Story and Leverage It to Connect with Your Target Audience

This is my favorite tip. Something innkeepers should make sure they do, not only on social media but face to face with guests, community and staff.

  • “Your personal brand can be one of your most valuable marketing channels, but it requires putting yourself out there and sharing your story. Most consumers will connect with a person over a brand much easier.”
  • “The average consumer is going to welcome inspirational and educational lessons coming from a business owner, while blocking out messages that come from a company and reek of an advertisement.”

Create Content That Delivers Value

Content Marketing, the buzz phrase that has been out there for a long time. On all Social Media platforms.

  • “Focus on creating content your audience loves so much that they are encouraged to share it on social media. The referral traffic and social shares will positively impact your SEO naturally.”
  • This includes the image driven platforms, Instagram and Pinterest.
  • Check out this blog; ‘The Nine Ingredients That Make Great Content’.

I am going to end with sharing what I believe to be a very clever and compelling email newsletter from The Lodge at Moosehead Lake, it illustrates great personalized content that connects, tells a story and promotes. Opening with an image of a cute dog, always a great way to engage! Go Phoebe.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

What is an Algorithm?

January 19th, 2018 by Janet Wolf

what is an Algorithm?

What is an Algorithm? Nothing to do with Al Gore and whether he has rhythm or not. But all to do with the internet (didn’t Al invent that?)

Definition from Whatis.com:

“An algorithm (pronounced AL-go-rith-um) is a procedure or formula for solving a problem, based on conducting a sequence of specified actions. A computer program can be viewed as an elaborate algorithm.”

Mathematicians and computer geeks know what it means but to your average non-geek, it is a mystery. I am in that category. That is why it is great that our industry has people out there that know and can help us understand.

More definitions:

“Algorithms are widely used throughout all areas of IT (information technology). A search engine algorithm, for example, takes search strings of keywords and operators as input, searches its associated database for relevant web pages, and returns results.”

Now this is making more sense. I use keywords in my blogs to help make my postings relevant and searchable. Your web designer has embedded keywords on your web pages for the same reason.

What is an algorithm

Time to look closer

But it gets more complicated.

Q4Launch just published a blog: Changes are coming: How to Survive the Latest Facebook Update. A great read. Very relevant because it will affect our business Facebook page.

“The idea behind the update is to increase meaningful interactions between people, not pages. As a user, this Facebook update means there will be less public content from publishers and businesses.”

The article gives you some good step by step advise on how to work with the change. Facebook is making these changes with brand new, you guessed it, algorithms. After reading this article I did get a better sense of the changes that are coming. Thanks to companies like Q4Lauch and many more that are here to help us non-geeks.

There are always changes on the horizon with Google. Lisa Kolb, Acorn Internet Services, Inc. will be offering a session at the upcoming AIHP Knowledge Sharing Summit and Marketplace. Entitled; Ten Steps to Making Google Happy and Improving Your Business.

Another session; A Beginners Guide to the New Inn Owners Online Presence. InsideOut Solutions, Inc, White Stone Marketing and Acorn will put their heads together and give you more information on how to make Google happy.

If you want to get closer to the meaning of algorithm? Get your rhythm on, attend the Summit in Norfolk VA. Just around the corner, February 26 to March 1.

To end on a funny note. A comment left on the Whatis.com article

“I don’t get it and its due on Friday and its Thursday and its my homework for grade 6!”

I’m with you kid, but I keep on trying.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Recap of Top 10 Lodging Trends 2017

December 6th, 2017 by Janet Wolf

Recap of Top 10 Lodging Trends 2017

As the year winds to a close I thought I would compile a recap of top 10 lodging trends 2017. Some of these come from blogs I have written this year and others from a quick Google search of hotel/lodging trend articles.

1. In-room technology. The two items that stood out were: High-definition flat screen TV and high-speed Wi-Fi. It is all about providing the best picture and the fastest band width. Instant gratification plus a shorter attention span are the drivers.

2. Varied dining options. In most of your Inns, it is breakfast. The trends are:

Grab & Go Yogurt Parfait

Yogurt Parfaits – For your early risers

  • Grab & Go for early risers and early departures.
  • Letting your guests know (on your website breakfast page and/or booking process) that their food allergies and/or preferences are gladly accommodated.  Stressing they MUST let them know in advance.
  • Lighter fare options at breakfast. See The B&B Team Pinterest board for some great lighter fare breakfast ideas.

3. Self-check-in options for after hours. Convenience and peace of mind for the many guests that are delayed for a variety of reasons. Or just want to mosey their way to you without a time schedule.

4. Communal areas that bring people together. Hotels have been remodeling their lobbies to become more people friendly. Your common rooms and dining rooms may need a revamping too. Sometimes it can be as simple as rearranging your furniture to create comfortable communal seating areas or creating comfortable reading or laptop working nooks with great lighting.

Example of dining/common room divided into communal areas. Used beyond breakfast! Jumping Rocks Photography

5. Don’t forget the millennials. The ‘millennial appetite’ is not just about food or a more contemporary design. In addition, they are more into a healthy lifestyle, self-growth, and digital technology. They may want to experience the same places (your Inn and location) their parents have but experience them in a different way. They are a bit more adventurous and willing to explore ‘outside the box.’

6. Paying attention to your guests’ experiences outside your Inn as well as inside your Inn. Get to know them before they arrive. In your confirmation email you can ask them targeted questions. Why are you travelling to… (name your town and state)? Are you celebrating a special date? Take your pick of questions but don’t make it an inquisition, you’ll lose them.

7. Bring in the locals. Hospitality has always been focused on the traveler, as it should. But what about the locals? There are business influencers in your community that can benefit you and your Inn. Events like Pop-up dinners, Inn tours, holiday open house, Chamber After Hours, and hosting local charity events.  These events welcome locals into your Inn which brings awareness to your Inn and you!

8. The new definition of luxury. Read my past blog on that subject.

9. Mobile friendly websites. Getting back to technology. Today 51.8% use mobile devices to book. In 2019, the estimate is 86.4%. ‘Nuff said.

10. Video. 4 times as many customers would rather watch a short video relating to a product or service than read about it. Create your own or find out if your town chamber or state tourism organization has a video you can use on your website.

Woods Hole Inn, Woods Hole Massachusetts has a great video.

I know that many of you out there have been paying attention to these recap of top 10 lodging trends 2017, but there are still the innkeepers out there who are lagging. For those laggards, in the long run (your future) it will affect your business negatively. It is December and the future is just around the corner. Time to make your list and check it twice in 2018.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Bed & Breakfast Bathroom Appeal

November 30th, 2017 by Janet Wolf

bathroom appeal

Bed & Breakfast Bathroom Appeal-Photo by Christian Giannelli

We have all heard about how important curb appeal is to properties. There is also the ongoing trend and need to create bathroom appeal. I would like to share some highlights from a recent article titled, Hotels upgrade bathrooms for more demanding guests’.

From the article, here is what the vice president of Marriott global design strategies had to say. “We’re spending more time focusing on bathrooms because so many of our customers have upgraded bathroom experiences in their own homes with fancy amenities, elaborate finishes and integrated technology.”

So true. Over the last number of years The B&B Team have seen innkeepers, (who are their own ‘design strategists’), replace jetted whirlpools with soaking tubs or used the space to install double showers with body sprays and other ‘bells and whistles’!

Lighting is another design feature that is important. Correct lighting for grooming surrounding the vanity/sink area adds to your bathroom appeal. Another informative article, ‘How to Pick the Best Bathroom Vanity Lighting for You’. 

From the article, “Grooming requires just the right amount of well-placed lighting. Too little and you won’t be able to see what you’re doing. Too much lighting, or poor placement can cause glare issues.”

Plus the technology of light fixtures and bulb choices is very sophisticated (confusing!) today.  One suggested rule is side lighting. Avoid lighting above the mirror which can produce shadows if not placed properly. The article from Lightology gives great advise on the height and suggested amount of light.  Worth a read. 

Another suggestion is dimmers. Not just for the vanity but all lighting in the bathroom. Your electrician can suggest the type of dimmers for the fixtures you are installing or already have. As we tell folks in our seminar for aspiring innkeepers, “Nothing takes the edge off of romance like multiple 100 watts of light.” It IS all about the experience, soft lighting and soft music, you got it.  

Here are a few examples:

bathroom appeal

Bathroom Appeal-Eden Vale Inn, Placerville CA. Jumping Rocks Photography

Note the rain shower head, soft side lighting (dimmable) for the vanity and shower light. The colors are also warm and inviting.

Example of a relaxing ‘slipper tub’ that replaced a ‘retired’ and noisy jetted tub.

Bahtroom appeal

Maine Stay Inn, Kennebunkport ME-Cottage Bathroom Makeover

Example of a luxury cottage that had a kitchenette and small bathroom. Voila…same space with double sink vanity with large luxury shower. Notice the pocket door, a real space saver.

I think you get the picture, literally. Notice there are no toilets in these photos? We know there is a toilet somewhere. Now if you have an automated bidet with heated seat, now that may require a photo!

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Thanksgiving F&B Traditions

November 16th, 2017 by Janet Wolf

Thanksgiving F&B Traditions-Norman Rockwell Illustration from 1919

Memories of our childhood Thanksgivings feasts, fond or quirky, we all have them. I asked our team if they would share with me their most memorable Thanksgiving F&B (that’s food & beverage) traditions.

Humorous Highlights

1. Paris Peas by Eliot Dalton

Thanksgiving F&B traditions

Paris Peas

“Somehow when my Mom came back from going to a fancy cooking school in Paris, she came up with World/Whirled Peas: Fresh or frozen peas. (it would be healthy if you stopped here).”

  • Blend peas with unsalted butter and half & half until desired consistency.
  • Add crumbled smoked bacon

Footnote: “We always wondered what she really did in Paris!”

Thanksgiving F&B traditions

Just add peanut butter!

2. PB on a Roll by Scott Bushnell

“My mom and her sister married my dad and his brother and, along with my maternal grandparents, the three families got together for all holidays…and Thanksgiving was a favorite. I still get ribbed to this day, many decades later, that despite the lavish spread of our traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I asked for peanut butter to put on the roll. I was only 8…when will they ever get past it?”

Now for a quick libation to wash down the PB.

3. Festive Signature Cocktail by Dana Moos

Thanksgiving F&B traditions

  • Bourbon
  • Muddled fresh cranberries
  • Splash of rosemary & cranberry simple syrup
  • Splash of soda
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • Over ice

4. Hot Apple Cranberry Crumble by Marilyn Bushnell (Originally from The Mainstay Inn, Cape May NJ). “We always make this apple cranberry compote that is still a favorite with the family. This will always remain on the menu!”

Thanksgiving F&B traditions

 5. Pumpkin Pie topped with Whipped Cream and Toasted Coconut by Rick & Janet Wolf

thanksgving F&B traditions

Needs more coconut!

I make the pumpkin pie from a recipe passed down from my Grandmother (Ga Ga). The recipe was all in her head, nothing written down. In the latter part of her life, I had her show me the recipe. It has changed over the years but one thing I never change is the amount of clove, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper. It makes it oh so spicy and a rich dark amber color. The toasted coconut came later, a tradition from Rick’s mother. A wonderful blend of flavors.

6. Corn Pudding by Peggy Scherman (Peter’s favorite)

Thanksgiving F&B traditions

Preheat oven to 350

  •  4 (11 oz each) cans of corn drained
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2+ Tbsp. sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. salted butter
  • 1 1/3 Tbsp. yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4+ tsp salt

 Process 1 can of corn and remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Add this mixture to remaining 3 cans of corn. Pour into lightly greased 2 qt. baking dish and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until set.

More Thanksgiving F&B traditions, memories and sentiments.

From Peggy Scherman-“Thanksgiving is always at our house with our state-side kids and now our granddaughter, Charlie. When it is all over we kiss the kids good-bye, send them off with leftovers, and then dig into those dishes. (I help some, but Peter does the lion’s share, sending me off to bed.) And that’s the way we do Thanksgiving at the Scherman’s.”

From Dana Moos-“I used to do a turkey inspired by my grandmother, except she cooked hers in a bag. One year she started an oven fire at my house when she cooked for us when we were little and my parents were on vacation!!”

From Tish Dalton-“There will be 20 of us this year. The job of roasting a turkey always comes to me. I roast it in a bag, with a few onions, celery stalks, carrots and a dose of white wine. The bird is always juicy and the ‘drippings’ are awesome.”

From Linda Hayes“Following the traditional meal, we relaxed around the tradition of working a jigsaw puzzle and then enjoyed dessert two hours later. Homemade pumpkin pie, pecan pie (with all the pecans placed pretty side up) and our favorite, mincemeat pie. And the puzzle tradition continues with my children too. This year I’m going to try Dana’s cocktail and Rick’s toasted coconut!”

From Rick Wolf-“Most of all, it’s the time together with family and friends and the traditions and memories we create that make this my absolute FAVORITE holiday of the year”!

From Janet Wolf-Ditto

Thanks for Listening and from The B&B Team we wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Janet Wolf

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