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April 2006

Promoting The Industry

Marti Mayne

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


Ask the Pros: Why Bother with B-Roll?

Let’s Hear It From Peter Greenberg

Recent Media Coverage


Ask the Pros: Why Bother with B-Roll?

One of the most often asked questions we hear when we present workshops on PR is: “How can I get my inn covered on TV?” Let a fellow innkeeper respond to that question with this testimonial.

“Using your tips and guidelines, we created a press release and fact sheet. In addition to the copy that we mailed you, we sent out another 20 copies to local television outlets, newspapers, etc. Within 48 hours, we were contacted by the local ABC affiliate; they ran a two-minute spot based on our press release on the 11:00 nightly news. We were also contacted by the public relations director of the local performing arts center. She visited to see if our B&B could be a lodging option for guest performers and had a copy of our press release in hand. We learned that effective press releases get attention and can also translate directly into revenue.” – Dorian & Laurie Desmarais, The Painted Lady B&B, Elmira, NY

There are three important key tools in attracting television coverage. The first tool you need is a good news hook, or “angle.” You’re all experts in cooking and decorating; position yourselves as the authority on baking or decorating for the holidays, and there’s a timely hook.

The second tool you’ll need is a good press release or summary of your story. Create a press release, printed on your letterhead, which starts with your contact information: name, phone number and email address. Describe the who, what, where, when and how of the story, and try to keep it to one page. Add a headline at the top that summarizes the news hook in an enticing way.

Your third tool for TV coverage is called B-roll. B-roll is broadcast-quality television footage which stations can use to compile a television story. Ideally, it’s shot in Beta SP format, but new digital formats are also becoming increasingly accepted. VHS footage or copies of shows that have been taped in VHS are not considered broadcast quality footage (a.k.a. B-roll).

Recently, met with Peter Greenberg, Travel Producer for NBC’s Today show and travel newsletter, and content provider for AOL. He is arguably one of the most important figures in television travel coverage. His best advice for getting B&B coverage: “Give me a great, unique story, and get me first-quality B-roll.”

In August 2004, was contacted by the producers of Fox 5 Good Day New York, a morning TV news show. They were planning a segment about great B&B getaways to escape from the Republican Convention in New York, but they needed B-roll for the show. contacted many B&Bs within driving distance of NYC and couldn’t find any with taped footage, so the segment was cancelled.

Here’s how to be ready when B-roll is requested:

  • How can I get B-roll? Most communities have videographers who can be hired to shoot Beta SP footage. They are usually freelance cameramen for local TV stations. Be sure they’ve had some experience shooting for news shots, not just promotional work. The typical cost for a videographer to shoot B-roll is about $1,000 a day. If your television station does a story on your B&B, be sure to ask for a copy of the B-roll. You may have to pay for them to duplicate the footage (about $50 per tape) but it will be well worth it.

  • What should a B-roll tape include? Be sure to include both interior and exterior shots of the inn. Think of all the stories in which your footage might be included, and plan ahead so that you can have the videographer shoot scenes for those stories. For example, at Valentine’s Day, TV stations do stories on romantic getaways. Be sure to include shots of your most romantic rooms, staged with wine, chocolates and roses, and include guests (or actors) walking hand in hand or chatting. (Be sure to have signed consent forms from guests). If you want to position yourself as a cooking or decorating expert, get some B-roll footage of you as the guru in action.

  • Why bother with B-roll? We get a number of requests for B-roll from producers each year. Although very few B&Bs have made the investment, those who have done so have an excellent chance of getting TV coverage when they submit their Beta SP footage. regularly works with producers at the Today show, Fox TV, NY-1, and the Travel Channel to supply B-roll for segments, netting national coverage for the participating B&Bs. We are compiling a list of all B&Bs that have B-roll available, so when the call comes for TV coverage for B&Bs, we can act swiftly. Please contact Marti Mayne at if you have B-roll of your inn or B&B.

Let’s Hear It From Peter Greenberg, Today's Travel Producer
Peter Greenberg appeared as a keynote speaker at PAII’s 2006 conference, and had the chance to meet with him. Here is some of his key advice to innkeepers, gleaned from our meeting and his speech:

  • Every traveler wants an experience they can brag about. It’s all about: “Where did you stay last night? What did you do?” It’s the experience that counts, and innkeepers are in the unique position to have one-on-one interaction with their guests. Innkeepers are “enablers” for those memorable experiences. Create them for your guests. Find experiences both inside the inn and outside that will allow guests to go home and brag at the water cooler about their fabulous vacations.

  • No one wants to be nickel and dimed. The $10 water, $20 Internet fees and $10 taxi wait fee may create short-term profits for hotels, but they’re creating long-term losses of customers. B&Bs buck that trend by including everything – breakfast, refreshments, concierge services and more. That will insure long-range gain.

  • In order to include B&B stories on Today and AOL Travel Spotlights, you need to provide quality B-roll footage. Hire an experienced crew that can cover the unique experiences you offer your guests. Send ideas for the most unusual programs, education packages, pets, kids’ amenities, and more.

  • To reach Peter Greenberg with your stories, create a concise pitch and send it to Be sure to indicate that you have B-roll footage available. Click here to familiarize yourself with Peter's segments.

Recent Media Coverage stories resulted in over 5.5 million media impressions in March alone. If this coverage had been purchased as advertising, the value would exceed $17,500. Here is some recent coverage:

Outside magazine included in a story about online travel planning. The Associated Press picked up the story and included mention of in its weekly Travel Briefs, sent to thousands of newspapers around the country. To date, the story has been picked up by newspapers from Napa, CA, to Hamilton, Ontario, and Long Island’s Newsday, along with a number of regional newspapers.

In conjunction with Expedia Inc., announced the exclusive partnership, and the media responded with everything from short announcements to feature stories. Some of the media reporting the story included, the Honolulu Star Bulletin, and the Pacific Business News (Honolulu), which stated that “hundreds of Hawaii bed and breakfast operations could get new online exposure in an alliance with the largest online travel booker and a B&B specialist.” Additionally, and Yahoo! News carried the story.

The Chicago Tribune ran a feature story about traveling in Amsterdam and directed readers to as a resource for B&B stays there.

A story about great deals at B&Bs appeared in close to 40 regional editions of the Daily Herald throughout Illinois. The story directed readers to for B&B offers and featured special packages from The Holden House in Colorado, Deacon Timothy Pratt B&B in Connecticut, Casa Coquina in Florida, Steamboat Springs B&B in Illinois, Gelinas Manor Victorian B&B in Pennsylvania and Colonial Taylor Inn in Ohio.

This Month's Sponsor

Gift Certificates

Click here to read recent comments from gift certificate purchasers.

"The site is great--very easy to navigate city to city and find B&Bs. I really like the 'nearby cities' listings. One area you could improve would be to encourage more places listed to accept your gift certificates.

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Log in with your property ID and password for details on the number of page impressions and click-throughs your B&B has received as a result of all online marketing, including property listings, Featured Property, and Inn of the Month advertising. More information

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