Inn Consultants and Brokers Since 1993

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

The B&B Team
 

Posts Tagged ‘inn’

Please Just Touch and Go … and an Innkeeper Request

July 16th, 2010 by Scott Bushnell

In my consulting and real estate travels around the Mid-Atlantic region, I often pass by Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.  Four times this week.  I am often amazed by the size of the C-5A transports coming in and out of the base and look forward to driving right under the approach as the monster planes either take off or land. The roar is awe-striking as the big shadow crosses the highway I’m on.

And then my thoughts ALWAYS turn to a short prayer.  I pray that each landing I see is followed by the roar of the engines and the behemoth plane taking right back off again.  It’s called a touch and go…training for take-offs and landings. The reason for my prayer, you see, is that Dover AFB is where many of the cargo and personnel aircraft originate on their way to Baghdad or Kabul.  And, as the graves registration center on the East Coast, it is the destination of many young men and women returning to the States for the last time…on their way home to their families for the last time.

My prayer is for each plane to be a training mission and not a part of the heart-wrenching experience it must be for a family to come to grips with the loss of a son, or daughter, or dad, or mom.  “Please, Lord, let it just be a touch and go.”

What does this have to do with innkeeping? Probably nothing directly…it’s more of a therapeutic outlet for me, my thoughts of my fellow West Pointers, my newer role as a Poppie, and, probably less seldom seen, the softer side of an old codger.

But I would like to make this offering to any innkeeper who feels similarly.  And I know the people in this hospitality and care-giving industry are GREAT at such feelings.  I am asking that innkeepers support our troops and their families.  If you offer:

  • Military discounts
  • Comp rooms for military families…as a surprise gift, not necessarily a published rack rate
  • Other benefits, recognition, or gifts of value to military families

please let me know and I will list your name and inn, with link, and the benefit you provide, along with my heartfelt thanks, in my upcoming newsletters and blog postings.  We are a great industry of professionals who understand the impact an innkeeper can have on a guest…and with the ability to send an appreciative gift to those who deserve our thanksgiving.      Scott

Do You Know What the B&B Industry’s Competition is Doing?

June 11th, 2010 by Scott Bushnell

On a flight to visit an inn this past week, I was reading an article in the USA Today (June 1) containing some interesting information about the big guys…the hotels…with information that also applies to the B and B industry.  In his article “Hotels try to woo leisure travelers” Roger Yu relates some concepts of the changing travel marketplace and the evolution of the hotels (and WE should listen too!) to meet the change challenge.

First a few facts: According to D.K. Shifflet & Associates, a travel and research consulting firm:

  • Leisure travel surpassed business travel for the hotel industry in 2004
  • That gap has widened and by 2009, 54% of hotel travel volume is now leisure travel.
  • Corporate travel has been slowly declining, and “it’s not going back” according to Shifflet.
  • The Gen X (late 20’s to early 40’s) travelers are replacing the Baby Boomers and are traveling with their young families.

The hotels are watching the changing demographics and evolving to meet the new market.  To entice the leisure traveler to their properties, focus is strengthening on FAMILY travel. Marriott is:

  • Offering a Nickelodeon package to the kids with activity books and Nick bracelets
  • Toddler care packages are awaiting the arriving family with squirting bath toys, fitted crib sheets, baby shampoos and nightlights.
  • Spongebob backpacks with matching sheets and pillowcases are for sale in the gift shop.

The younger demographic is also demanding VALUE, a concept more wide-spread than just the Gen X-ers.  Homewood Suites by Hilton (typically a corporate traveler mecca has seen a 50% increase in its leisure travel this past year) is revising its free meals program, and Kimpton Hotels will give away free sangria drinks and Wii video games in the lobby this summer…something for the parents AND the kids.

So what does that have to do with US in the Bed and Breakfast Industry?

Everything, if you are ready to keep your business growing!

B and B owners often cater to only a certain slice of the traveling market.  They rely on the romance getaway, or traveling couple, typically Baby Boomers, to fill rooms.  But this AGE-SEGMENT of the traveling market is declining and we must target the NEXT generation as well…and they’re traveling with their kids. Some target the corporate traveler if the inn is fortunate enough to have several large businesses or a college within a mile or two.  But this segment is also in decline, and mid-week rooms are going to go empty.

Some ACTION Items for your Next Planning Meeting

  • Is your Inn ready for a Tune-Up? Do your rooms and bathrooms appeal to the NEW demographic of the traveling public?  Do you have Ipod docking stations, and have you replaced gramma’s old furniture with clean lines and Pottery Barn-type styling?  People want to visit museums, not stay in one.
  • Is your website ready for updating?  Anything 2 years or older is a dinosaur that won’t be found by the new search engine algorithms.  Do you have video of area attractions, or still relying on static photography of a bed?  The next generation is ultra techno-savvy and will find you in ways OTHER than your organic website, IF you embrace social media (May 7 posting) marketing and email marketing.
  • Are you still illegally restricting kids to age 12 or older?  Talk to those inns who willingly accept children and find out what they do to make the family experience memorable.
  • If all the inns in your area still restrict children, think of the ADVANTAGE you will have when they send all their family-travel referrals to you!
  • Targeting and marketing for mid-week bookings in addition to your current corporate travelers will prepare to replace those declining mid-week business guests with others…such as quilting groups, elder travel with grandkids, or scrapbookers.  I’ll bet there’s an inn in your area already capitalizing on this new trend.

The B&B Team is ready to help you with your Evolution Planning when you are finally disgusted with negative growth of your inn’s performance.  The traveling market is evolving, and we BEG each of the inns in this industry to evolve with it.  And it’s fun!  And more satisfying than watching Spongebob!

Scott

We are a Visual Society…and Your B&B Can Exploit it!

May 10th, 2010 by Scott Bushnell

Check out the statistics:
–  32% of all Internet activity is made up of Video
–  Consumers prefer video 6 to 1 over text
–  Facebook video viewers are up 2000% in the last year
–  It was discovered by Forrester Research that videos increase Search Engine Optimization on Google’s (and other search engine’s) algorithms by up to 53 times.
–  40% of Internet activity last year was on CONTENT…whereas only 20% was on search and commerce activities.

The numbers are convincing, but not surprising when you see the explosion of Social Media and technology in our industry.  These figures, presented by Stephen Schweickart, CEO of VScreen, were detailed by Stephanie Andre in an interview published in RISMedia’s April 28 Ezine.

SO WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH A B&B?  Everything!

Gone are the days when having a few photos on your website was all you needed.  The leaders in the inn industry recognize the power that video offers when grabbing the attention of the consumer.  Everybody has heard that you have 3 secondsto grab the attention of a web surfer once your SEO efforts brings him to your site.  If he subconsciously discovers he likes the look of the site, he gives you another 4 seconds to discover if your site can meet his needs by looking at the functionality and navigation. If you fail at either of these steps, he hits the BACK button and he’s lost.

Video, per Mr. Schweickart, extends that window of attention-span to 14 seconds.  People enjoy movies, they like the action.  We are a visual society and the days of stagnant photos of the bed in the guest room will not grab the attention of the potential booking anymore.

It’s time to update websites to meet these evolving interestsof the traveling market.  Check out the YouTube video made by Dallas and Nancy Renner of the Chocolate Turtle B&Bin Corrales, NM.  Not only do you get to see a bit of the inn and its colors, but the video takes you into the community to see the shops, the animals and the mountains, and you get to meet the innkeepers as well…always a part of the guest memories you want to create.  That’s a marketing advantage over the competition that throws water on the fiery argument that it’s the current recession that is causing business to be down.

Your breakfast presentations are fabulous.  Make your inn’s presentation on the internet fabulous too.

Here are a few ideas to consider as you work to improve your website:

  • Replace the stills of the guest bed with video of the guest rooms…panning around the room and out the windows to the scenic river below.
  • Pan across the deck or private patio with the colorful breakfast settings to the bird feeder with the orioles and bluebirds or to the water feature in the garden.
  • Film the scarecrow festival in October, the strawberry festival in June, the sleigh rides in January and the flower fairs in April in your region.  These are the places your guests are going to want to see to have the full experience.
  • Loan your digital camera to your guests heading out hiking or to the battlefield re-enactment, show them how to use the video feature, and put their live testimonial on your site and blog.
  • Link your blog with a feed to your Facebook account to have your videos shown to your fans around the world.

Grab them with your inn’s beauty, your creativity and your innovation.  You only have 3 seconds.    Scott

»