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 ‘White Stone Marketing’

Investing In Your Inn

June 30th, 2016 by Janet Wolf

Investing in your Inn

Federal House Inn in the Massachusetts Berkshires

Investing in your Inn is an ongoing process, one process that never should slow down or even worse, stop. The result of inactivity and lethargy will produce a whole bucket load of issues that will affect your property’s worth on the marketplace. Dire consequences? You bet!

This was the topic of the most recent webinar hosted by AIHP, Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals. The webinar titled, “Sprinting to the Finish” was conducted by White Stone Marketing with some input from innkeeping professionals, including The B&B Team’s Rick Wolf. A lot of good information was shared in the webinar that every innkeeper needs to hear. A recorded version will be available soon.

Here is a quote from a colleague’s formula in regard to investing in your Inn.

Deferred maintenance = hidden problems = buyers fear and doubt.

Which leads to another formula…

Tired + deferred maintenance = costly redo’s = lower offer!

Short and to the point! Copy and paste this. Read it daily. Let this become your mantra.

All of us at The B&B Team have seen both sides of the coin on this subject.

  • Innkeepers sprinting to the finish and receiving a fair market value for their property based on their ongoing marketing, steady business growth and their well cared for property.
  • Innkeepers putting their property on the market when they have moved way past burn out, never a good thing.

I want to showcase a recent success story. How new innkeepers Marcia and Ken, graduates of  The B&B Team ‘Better Way to Learn Innkeeping’ Seminar, encountered some hidden problems after the purchase of their Inn and how they overcame them and moved forward and are already starting to see success. And in only 2 ½ months!

Picture this…washing machine dies in the first week. Plumber informs them that hook up was installed improperly and mold has built up as a result. He suggests all new plumbing, otherwise the problem will persist. Solution: Innkeepers moved the laundry room out of the dank dark basement to a first floor sun room. Bright and clean with garden views! Innkeeper’s quote “It was life changing.”

More problems emerged but all were overcome (yes a lot of stress along the way) but ‘positivity’ prevailed. After things settled down a bit, onto redecorating. The fun stuff! I will let these photos do the talking and let your imagination picture the before!

Investing in your Inn

Elizabeth Campbell Photography-Invest in Good Photography!

Investing in your inn

Guest Room-Clean, fresh, a new beginning

Investing in your Inn

Federal House Inn Makeover Elizabeth Campbell Photography

Yes, all guest rooms and common areas received a makeover. All done in record time to receive Beth Campbell on the scene for a photo shoot. Not many new innkeepers tackle this kind of fast track transformation. I believe Marcia and Ken needed to achieve this goal to show themselves that yes, after many setbacks and disappointments there is a bright future when ‘positivity’ and hard work prevail. (I can’t imagine the piles of stripped wallpaper).

And, some icing on the cake, a jump for the Federal House Inn on Trip Advisor from #6 to #2. Congratulations! When Rick and I visited Marcia and Ken (a surprise visit) we saw nothing but smiles and enthusiasm. Yes, ‘life changing’!

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

The Path of Connectivity in Marketing Your Inn

September 22nd, 2015 by Janet Wolf

The Path of Connectivity and it is crowded!

                   The Path of Connectivity and it is crowded!

As innkeepers, your job, and the job of the marketing firm or marketing association you have hired or joined, is to connect people with your Inn, your brand message. The path of connectivity in marketing your inn has evolved since the emergence of the internet so many years ago. It is hard to even remember marketing without it!

According to Lisa Gevelber in an article entitled, “The Shift to Constant Connectivity,” “What distinguishes great marketers is their unwavering focus on those people – on their needs, behaviors, intentions, wants – and an ability to avoid the shiny temptations of marketing solely to things – like devices, channels, technologies.” What does marketing to things mean? I believe it means using technologies to push a product, “buy this because it is cool.” Basically the difference between marketing and branding.

“A brand will help encourage someone to buy a product, and it directly supports whatever sales or marketing activities are in play, but the brand does not explicitly say ‘buy me.’ Instead, it says ‘This is what I am. This is why I exist. If you agree, if you like me, you can buy me, support me, and recommend me to your friends.’ James Heaton,‘”The Difference Between Marketing and Branding.”

Let’s look at an example of how marketing “solely to things” can create disconnects.

People can be easily lured by the flashy veneer of a property on the web, but when a guest’s feet hit the floor of the reception area, this is where the guest experience starts or…

Here is an example. Recently some friends of ours checked into a new property basically to see if all the recent publicity stood up to the reality. Here is what they experienced.

  • They asked for restaurant recommendations and were told that there were not many “good” restaurants in the area. The staff at the reception desk went on to  recommend the restaurant at the Inn. They told her they had dined at their restaurant last night and wanted to try something else. Blank face and no recommendations were offered. Are you kidding me! Disconnect.
  • Their guest room looked great on the web (flashy) but the rate and the room size and features created a definite disconnect. Nothing wrong with a small entry level room but it must match the rate and this room did not deliver value. Disconnect.

Remember what was said earlier, good marketers focus on reaching the people, their needs, behaviors, intentions and wants. This Inn was good at the “look at me, buy me, I am cool,” but beyond that the lure was broken.

Here is an example of innkeepers and their marketing team that “get it.”

Linda and Dennis Bortis, innkeepers of The Lodge at Moosehead Lake wanted their brand message delivered. Here is what they had to say after their new website and photography was launched back in 2010.

Just one of many experiences at The Lodge at Moosehead Lake

One of many experiences at The Lodge at Moosehead Lake

“We are the only lodging in inland Maine that provides an authentic North Woods experience in the lap of luxury.  It’s this story that became the communication message we want the lodge to be known for. In the world of small hospitality properties, as for most small businesses, the Internet is the Great Equalizer.”

The Lodge at Moosehead Lake

The Lodge at Moosehead Lake

Now, this was in 2010 and their message is still strong on their website. But the constant connectivity and the multi-screen reality that has evolved since 2010 is also apparent in their marketing. The increased ability to reach their audience through new technologies is understood by the innkeepers and their ongoing relationship with their internet marketing group, White Stone Marketing and Jumping Rocks Photography.

Does The Lodge at Moosehead Lake have great rooms with custom log beds, views of Moosehead Lake, luxury bathrooms, a fire pit by the lake, great food (lobsters!) and signature cocktails? You bet and much more. But these are the things that support their brand, that complete the package. People come the Inn to experience the overwhelming beauty and adventure of the Moosehead Lake Region. Linda and Dennis provide this because they know what their guests want and need while visiting them. No disconnect here!

In conclusion, we know that advancements in technology are constantly growing and changing at a rapid pace, that 99% of your guests are constantly connected and are your guests today and tomorrow.  They have followed that path of connectivity, have you? The new technologies are available as a benefit to enhance your marketing. It will never replace you and the experiences you provide for your guests. That is the connection that is sustainable.

I’ll end with another great quote. “The brand is what remains after marketing has swept through the room.” Love that! Thank you James Heaton.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf