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April 2007

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 Innkeepers

Recent Media Coverage

Current and Upcoming Publicity: April and May
BedandBreakfast.com sent the following press releases in March:

We’re presently working on the following press releases for distribution in April and May:

Eco Escapes: The focus for consumers and media alike is eco-travel. We will distribute a “round-up” of the Eco Escapes found on BedandBreakfast.com. If you haven’t already listed your Green Getaway or Eco Escape, please post it on BedandBreakfast.com’s Specials section, under the appropriate category. The press release will be a compilation of the best specials posted.

Silver-level members and above may post specials; simply
log in with your Property ID and password. Select Specials from the table in your Home Base. Enter appropriate offers for Free Gas Promotion and spring packages. Bronze member? Please click here to upgrade.

The Greening of Cleaning: We asked you to share ideas for non-toxic and natural cleaning and household products. We learned that vinegar, witch hazel and baking soda can be used for everything from cleaning counters to bee sting cures. If you haven’t already, send your ideas for all-natural home, family and pet care products that can be made from every day ingredients to Marti@BedandBreakfast.com.

Experiential Culinary Travel: Recent studies from Travel Industries of America reveal that 27 million Americans took food- or wine-related trips in the last three years. This press release will offer a compilation of food-related getaways that go beyond the traditional cooking school experience, and allow travelers to get “down and dirty” and participate in the creation of culinary masterpieces. If you have not already, please send details of your workshop or themed culinary event in which guests have full participation to Marti@BedandBreakfast.com.

Important Reminder: While we include as many members as possible in BedandBreakfast.com press releases, limited space makes it impossible to include everyone, although site specials are always included. Offers that include a small discount or are too restrictive will not pique the media’s attention. Please remember to be as creative as possible when designing your specials and packages. Take some time to review other specials on the site, and see which ones appeal to you. Like the media, the editors at BedandBreakfast.com are drawn to creative offers.

Ask the Pros: How can I get the media to use my press releases?

A: These basic principles will help get you media attention:

  1. Answer this question: What makes my story news? Your story must be newsworthy and timely. The fact that you won an award or have added a new chef may interest local media but will not qualify as breaking news to the national media. When you have a unique news hook, send it to leading newspapers, magazines, and TV outlets. Include the who, what, where, when and how, plus the juicy details. From Valentine’s Day packages where the recently single receive voodoo dolls and pins to your inn’s link to the Underground Railroad, focus in on what makes your B&B special, then make the news!

  2. Remember WIIFM (What’s In It For Me): From your website copy to your press releases, be sure to answer the question “What’s in it for the guest?” What makes your story newsworthy is also what’s in it for the consumer. Your press releases should focus on how your news will make the guest feel special, or will enjoy a unique experience.

  3. Create catchy subject lines: Gone are the days of sending press releases by snail mail. The media wants its news in bytes, and email is preferred by 85%-90% of the media. However, typical travel editors at major daily papers get over 1,000 emails a day. Why would they open yours? Create short, catchy subject lines. Here’s how:

    • Start the email with their first name; people always notice their name.

    • Ask a leading question: Gas prices rising, want free gas?

    • Keep it short. People reading email on a cellphone or Blackberry may see only 9 or 10 characters. Your subject line should never exceed eight words.

      When creating subject lines, think of the morning TV news shows. Before each segment, a teaser for the upcoming stories will entice you to continue to listen. “When is it okay to spank your child?” leaves the listener on edge to hear more. Your subject line needs to hook the media with a newsworthy idea they just can’t miss.

  1. Be persistent (but not obnoxious): Don’t give up after sending one release that doesn’t produce results. Sometimes a story that you think can’t miss goes nowhere, and another that you think it’s nearly as good becomes a home run. When you do get coverage, use it as leverage for future media attention.

Let’s Hear It from the Media
This month we’re taking a new approach to this column. Last month, Sandy Soule and Marti Mayne met with some high-profile media in New York and received some specific requests. Please respond to Marti@BedandBreakfast.com if you can help us fulfill these specific media requests:

B&Bs made of sustainable, recycled or eco-friendly materials: An magazine travel editor asked us to send five or six examples of exceptional B&Bs made of recycled materials. For example, has your green house been built of bamboo? Have you constructed a guest cottage from straw bales? A dog house of hub caps? The wilder, the better! This editor needs to clearly answer the question “what makes this news?” We’re looking for stories about fabulously unusual construction, or buildings that have been converted from a totally different use.

Kitchens with a view: An editor at Country Living magazine shared that she’s always looking for locations for photo shoots. Requirements for these locations include a fabulous kitchen, ideally with a view and/or surrounding scenic and lush landscapes. If you feel you qualify, please send a written description and some photos depicting the scene to Marti@BedandBreakfast.com.

Recent BedandBreakfast.com Media Coverage
A recent compilation of BedandBreakfast.com coverage revealed that from November to February, more than 111,364,750 impressions were garnered for the site and its members from BedandBreakfast.com’s publicity campaign. If this coverage were purchased as advertising, it would have a value of more than $186,100.

Some of the highlighted articles appeared in Newsweek, Real Simple magazine, Esquire, Brides magazine, USA TODAY, The Washington Post, Kiplinger.com, Google News, Yahoo News, and many, many more print, TV and radio mediums. Coverage for the Underground Railroad story continues to come in, with stories in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and African American Observer.

Real Simple Travel

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