Promoting the Industry

Our goal is to generate great publicity for BedandBreakfast.com members specifically, and for the B&B industry as a whole. In this issue we cover:

Upcoming Publicity for BedandBreakfast.com members
Ask the Pros
Let's Hear it from the Media
Recent Media Coverage

Hat's Off to The Empress!

The Empress of Little Rock has been named Arkansas' Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Owners Robert H. Blair and Sharon Welch-Blair were honored in the East Room of the White House on May 17 by President Barack Obama. Kudos to Robert and Sharon!

Current and Upcoming Publicity: April - June 2009

BedandBreakfast.com's spring publicity focused on consumer travel trends, affordable travel ideas, family fun, themed travel and BedandBreakfast.com promotions. Click the links below to read BedandBreakfast.com press releases from the last quarter.

06/29/09
BedandBreakfast.com offers a host of new products and features for innkeepers using RezOvation and Webervations services

06/22/09
FAMILY B&B VACATIONS THAT WON’T BREAK THE BANK
Advice for successful family B&B vacations and ideas for affordable summer getaways

06/11/09
BEDANDBREAKFAST.COM SURVEY SHOWS DESPITE CONCERNS ABOUT HIGH GAS PRICES AND RECESSION, TRAVELERS PLAN SUMMER TRAVEL
Survey of over 3,300 travelers targets $4/gallon as pain point

05/28/09
CELEBRATION VACATIONS FOR HONEYMOONS AND ANNIVERSARIES
BedandBreakfast.com’s Editors’ Picks to Celebrate the Special Times in your Life

05/26/09
BedandBreakfast.com to Distribute its Bookable Properties on Travelocity

05/13/09
BedandBreakfast.com and TurnHere Liven up Online Marketing for Inns and B&Bs with Innovative Video Services
New partnership enables properties of all sizes to promote themselves through compelling online video profiles

05/12/09
BEDANDBREAKFAST.COM SALUTES ACTIVE MILITARY THIS MEMORIAL DAY
Hundreds of special offers for active military and first responders; a portion of gift card sales will be donated to Fisher House Foundation, providing housing for families visiting wounded soldiers.

04/21/09
THIS MOTHER’S DAY, SEND YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW AWAY. FAR AWAY.
The Getaway Gift Card™ from BedandBreakfast.com will help whisk your mom-in-law away to her choice of over 4,000 luxurious B&Bs -- she’ll thank you for the send-off and you’ll get 10% off.


BedandBreakfast.com Blog:
Each time an editor visits a BedandBreakfast.com member, trip reports are posted on our blog. Additionally, we’ve added many great photos and stories from innkeepers. Keep the news and photos coming! BedandBreakfast.com editors also love to stay with members when they travel. If you’re interested in hosting us, let This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it know. You can see where some of us will be by checking the Innkeeper News Calendar; we’d love to post a trip report about your region on the blog.

Change photos often: We know we say it over and over, but we repeat our photo mantra each month because it is such an important part of promoting our members. Media are always on the lookout for timely photos. Photos from your listing pages are often linked to releases posted in the BedandBreakfast.com Press Room, also visited by media worldwide. Most importantly, timely photos on your BedandBreakfast.com page motivate consumers to book. Now that summer is here, replace the winter photos with visions of spring and summer; don’t be afraid to add photos with people enjoying your inn!

Not sure how to post photos? Click here to log in to your Home Base on BedandBreakfast.com, click Photos under Free Member Benefits , then upload photos following the easy instructions. Don’t forget! If you have high-resolution photos or videos, please post them on BedandBreakfast.com. When the media wants high-res photos and videos, we look for them on BedandBreakfast.com, so be sure to post yours soon.

Coming up: We’re approaching the judging phase of Best of BedandBreakfast.com Awards. Best of BedandBreakfast.com Awards are chosen each year based upon a thorough examination of the quality and quantity of reviews posted on BedandBreakfast.com. It is important to remember that Best of BedandBreakfast.com Awards are not a numbers race. A complex algorithm based upon the number and the thoroughness and attention to detail of the review determines the winners. All judging is done by BedandBreakfast.com staff. We expect to announce winners in September.

We continue to garner media attention for Tanks for Traveling as the media seeks “recession heroes” in this difficult time. If you haven’t posted your Tanks for Traveling offer or it’s expired, be sure to post offers beyond free gas. The more creative, the better – free nights, added dinners or massages are gathering media attention this summer.

To add specials:Click here to log in to your Home Base on BedandBreakfast.com, then click the Specials link to add your packages. Be sure to include all relevant information including rates, validity dates, whether children/pets are welcome, and the costs. (Silver-level members and above may post specials. Bronze member? Please click here to upgrade. Not yet a member? Join today!

Ask the Pros: Is your selling message selling you well enough?

Every B&B has a story to tell. Each one is different; that’s what your guests love about staying with you. Too often, however, B&B or inn descriptions are all about the B&B and not about what is in store for the customer. We call the words that describe the customer benefit WIFM – What's In It For Me. The best selling messages also do the best job of conveying the benefits to the customer. Where’s the Meat in the description of your inn or B&B? Let’s look at a sample message that converts from plop plop fizz fizz to good to the last drop!

Come to the country (1) and experience a unique (2) and cozy (3) B&B. Our recently redecorated guest rooms offer clean (4) and comfortable (5) surroundings for your visit. Perfect for family fun or a romantic getaway (6), our B&B is your perfect home away from home (7) to experience all there is to do and see in our region (8). Enjoy a full country breakfast (9) each morning, while we get you ready for a day of fun in the country (10).

This message is all about the B&B, not the customer. Let’s examine this message to reveal the weak spots.

(1) What exactly do they mean by country? On a country road or just five miles outside the city? While many are seeking rural vacations, this vague word does not do a good job of selling or describing the location.

(2) Unique is one of the most over-used and under descriptive adjectives possible in selling language. It does nothing to convey what is special about the inn. Banish unique from your selling vocabulary and replace it with words like distinctive, sophisticated or unusual.

(3) Cozy is the second most over-used word in B&B descriptions. Hansel and Gretel’s house was cozy, your B&B is comforting, welcoming and relaxing.

(4) I cringe when I see a B&B described as clean. That’s like saying the cup of coffee you’re buying at Dunkin Donuts is hot. Everyone expects your B&B to be clean; it’s a minimum requirement. It’s certainly not one of your selling points.

(5) Super 8’s are clean and comfortable; B&Bs are elegant and pampering.

(6) Family friendly and romantic are simply an oxymoron. You can be one or the other, but families and romance are like oil and water at B&Bs unless cottages or suites separated from the rest of the inn house one or the other. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Focus on your unique selling points in the first paragraph of your description.

(7) We see this term often. Your guests are trying to escape from their home and the stresses of jobs, kids, etc. Be their refuge and respite, not their home.

(8) Rather than referring to the region, name the region, city or location. You can’t assume those reading your description know where Fairfield or Jonesport is. There are 18 Rochesters in the U.S. Which one are you? Refer to the specific geographic region – i.e. Cape Cod or Sonoma Desert.

(9) Here’s one we see all the time. A full country breakfast connotes eggs and bacon with the preacher, not the enticing freshly baked offerings you’re probably serving.

10) You get kids ready for school, you don’t get guests ready for a day of sightseeing. Use more precise words to describe your concierge and itinerary planning services.

We spent some time rewriting this description with a heavy emphasis on the WIFM. Here’s a new version:

Escape to the Dew Drop Inn, a rural sanctuary just one hour north of New York City where elegance and simplicity combine to offer complete relaxation and romance. Your room beckons with a plush king beds, fine linens, a deep Jacuzzi tub and flickering fireplaces. Sit fireside in quiet conversation, enjoying your favorite beverage and the uninterrupted company of the one you love. Then start your next day with a candlelit breakfast filled with hearty, healthy and homemade options to insure the right start to the day.

Notice how we’ve flipped the description around to focus on what’s in it for the customer. The result is shorter, crisper and far more likely to interest a potential guest. Now, why don’t you try your hand at rewriting your descriptive paragraph. Start with your listing page on BedandBreakfast.com.

Let's Hear it from the Media

Mlive.com and Commercial Appeal Columnist Bill Truesdell was so excited by all the great Tanks for Traveling offers, he devoted not one but two “Trips with a Twist” stories to the subject, highlighting many of the offers from Great Lakes and Midwestern states. He told BedandBreakfast.com he really appreciates hearing about these wonderful offers.

Recent BedandBreakfast.com Media Coverage

In 2008, 630.1 million impressions were made through BedandBreakfast.com’s publicity campaign. If purchased as advertising, this coverage would have cost nearly $1 million. Yet the credibility of a story in a newspaper, on TV, on the Internet or in a magazine is the real payoff to BedandBreakfast.com’s publicity efforts. Study upon study shows that the stories travelers read are far more likely to result in a buying action than advertising.

Here are some of the highlights from media coverage in May and June.

Tanks for Traveling
Budget TravelWe distributed the Tanks for Traveling press release in late March and immediately had more than 170 online stories throughout North America and into Australia, Belgium, and India with more than 100 million visitors per day. Pickup on the story included articles on Yahoo Finance, Wall Street Journal Marketwatch and TV stations throughout the country. Coverage has continued throughout May and June with stories in Budget Travel’s Real Deals column, Mlive.com, WanderingEducators.com, and AM Live NY, a blog for hip New York urbanites. TravelingtheGreenWay.com, a blog for eco-travelers, also weighed in on Tanks for Traveling, highlighting the eco-offers.

Celebration Vacations
BedandBreakfast.com editors searched America and Europe to compile this list of perfect places to celebrate a romantic honeymoon or anniversary. While nearly all B&Bs are great for romantic getaways, these never-before-featured inns were chosen for their pampering amenities, recreation-rich locations, and quality décor, hospitality, and cuisine and highlighted in a story about Celebration Vacations. More than 125 TV stations, newspapers, magazines and websites featured this story, with a combined audience of more than 125 million visitors per day. Some of the notable stories appeared on AOL Money News, EarthTimes.org, Yahoo!, Forbes.com and more than 100 NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox affiliates from Maine NBC affiliateto California. Additionally, stories mentioning BedandBreakfast.com’s selections for Celebration Vacations appeared in the News Blaze, and again in Budget Travel’s Real Deals column.

Coverage from Q2 Survey of Traveler Sentiment
BedandBreakfast.com sent a survey to more than 40,000 subscribers, requesting information about summer travel planning patterns. In a press release describing the details, BedandBreakfast.com reported that nearly 80% of respondents plan to take as many or more trips this summer as they did last year and are evenly split between staying closer to home for “staycations” to traveling farther away for “go-cations” (defined as flying or driving to more distant destinations). While the desire to travel is strong, if gas prices hit $4 per gallon, more than 67% of the survey respondents expect to reduce their plans to travel between now and Labor Day.

This release received widespread pickup from business journals including the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Austin Business Journal, Baltimore Business Journal, Boston Business Journal, Dallas Business Journal, South Florida Business Journal and the Birmingham Business Journal plus many more. Mega News Network carried the story to many websites. Additionally, Yahoo! and Yahoo! Canada both delivered information about BedandBreakfast.com’s survey findings to websites throughout the world resulting in stories on FoxBusiness.com, Travel Industry Wire, and Hotel News Resource. Dallas Business JournalAn Associated Press story about Oregon’s tourism mentioned BedandBreakfast.com’s survey, and Atlanta’s Leisure Travel Examiner.com editor, Todd DeFeo wrote a story about the survey too.

Coverage resulting from working directly with reporters
BedandBreakfast.com was included in a story called “It’s Your Money” on Charlotte, NC’s WCNC. Additionally, BedandBreakfast.com’s Marti Mayne worked closely with the media on a story about celebration vacations that appeared in magazine going to credit union employees. About.com’s Budget Travel edition featured a story about BedandBreakfast.com’s July Sizzle Sale on getaways booked on BedandBreakfast.com. This story was also carried by About.com’s Scandinavia and Italy editions. Another travel website, SouthernByways.com also carried to Sizzle Sale story.

Don’t forget to set Google News Alerts to monitor coverage of your inn.

 

 

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