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December 2007/January 2008

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: November through December


BedandBreakfast.com’s media efforts are now focused on the holidays, including the following press releases covering The Getaway Gift Card™ from BedandBreakfast.com.

CUSTOMIZED GIFT CARDS HOT THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
The perfect gift for all ages, The Getaway Gift Card™ from BedandBreakfast.com can now be customized with your own photo


THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, SEND THE BOSS AWAY… FAR AWAY! The Getaway Gift Card™ from BedandBreakfast.com will whisk him off to a choice of nearly 4,000 luxurious B&Bs -- and he'll thank you for the send-off!

Pancakes with Personality®: The pancake cook-off scheduled for December 3 was snowed out and has been re-scheduled for Friday, January 4, 2008. Cyndi Cobb of the Colby Hill Inn in Henniker, NY, and Joanne Nichols from the Arbor Inn B&B in Rye, NH will flip-off against each other at the at Three Chimney’s Inn in Durham, NH. Coincidentally timed just before the New Hampshire primary, a few Presidential candidates may be on hand to take some lessons in flip flopping from the best pancake flippers in the country. Stay tuned for the results!

Coming up next month: We’ll turn our focus to Valentine’s Day and plan to do a number of releases themed around romance, or lack of it. Additionally, to tie into National Pancake Day and Black History Month, we’ll time stories on great pancake recipes and historic inns. We’re looking for information on the following topics for upcoming releases:

Lavish Luxury packages: According to travel experts, luxury markets will continue to expand in 2008, while consumers of all high-end luxury products continue to want experiential vacations; environmental consciousness will take an even firmer hold. Our press release will describe the most luxurious and unusual packages offered by BedandBreakfast.com members, like one we just discovered featuring a helicopter ride to a private yacht for dinner. Think about hot air balloon picnics, chauffeured limo wine tours, and even more creative alternatives, then go outside the ‘bargain travel box’ to share your most luxurious and unusual package. Please send all details including rates, validity dates and inclusions to Marti@BedandBreakfast.com by January 4, 2008. You must also post your special on BedandBreakfast.com under the Lavish Luxury theme.

To Add Specials: Click here to go 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. (Posting Specials is a benefit offered to Silver-level members and above. If you are a bronze-level member and wish to upgrade to Silver, please contact Sales@BedandBreakast.com or call 1-800-GO-B-AND-B). 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 either Valentine's Day Specials or Valentine's for Singles. Bronze member? Please click here to upgrade. Not yet a member? Join today!

Underground Railroad Ties: Based on last year’s excellent media response, we will again send an Underground Railroad release to reporters working on stories about Black History Month. Click here to read last year’s release. Were you left out? We’d love to hear your story. Please email Marti@BedandBreakfast.com by January 4, 2008.

Recycled Buildings: We’re working on expanding the green theme to inns that have recycled buildings to create havens for hospitality. Was your B&B formerly a church, jail, slaves’ quarters, school, lighthouse, town hall, tugboat, or who-knows what? We’d love to hear the story of how your property was converted into a B&B. Please send information to Marti@BedandBreakfast.com by January 4, 2008.

Valentine's Day for Singles: Unfortunately, Valentine's Day isn't about chocolates and roses for the 89 million single or recently jilted single Americans. We're looking for packages for single people and/or the lovelorn on Valentine's Day. The media loves these kinds of packages, and so do BedandBreakfast.com readers. Please post both romantic and singles-oriented packages on BedandBreakfast.com's Specials pages under either Valentine’s Day Specials or Valentine’s for Singles. For examples, click here to see last year's release.
 

Ask the Pros: One of my big upcoming projects is to organize my press contact list – I have a file of scrap paper, notes, lists, labels, emails, etc. – and I wonder how I should organize it. Shall I just enter all those with email addresses into a “Press” group? Or is it still preferable to mail? Shall I group contacts according to media or region? – Craig Cox, Riverbend Inn, Chocorua, NH

A:
There’s no guaranteed way to get the media to use your press release. After polling countless media, most prefer to get information by email, but there is the group that would still prefer fax, and a few who still want a hard copy. It’s a good idea to tailor sending the release to the way each member of media prefers.

We keep our press lists by the editor’s or writer’s preferred subject: bargain, family, outdoors, romance, luxury, food, general travel, business, etc. Additionally, we have lists for every state. You want to be sure to target your releases to each reporter’s primary interest; by keeping your lists in order by interest, it’s easier to send the correct release to the relevant contacts.

If you don’t have an email address for a writer, you’ll need to mail your release. Including color photos in the first page of your release will really set you apart and is worth the extra cost. You can save money (and color print cartridges) by printing or copying the rest of the release in black and white.

Send both mail and email releases to the editors you really want to reach, just in case they didn’t get your email. Send the powerful color photos by mail, and the text-only version by email.

Remember, you won’t necessarily hear back from reporters if they get your email. They may contact you with questions, but if your release contains all the information it should (who, what, where, when, how and why it’s a relevant story) they’ll simply use the release for their story. If it’s not of interest, they won’t use it, but don’t expect them to call you to tell you that. Be sure sign up for Google Alerts which will help you track the coverage you get.

Put the name of the person you’re writing to into the subject line, to capture their attention. Then, write a two- or three-sentence personalized note above the press release focusing on why this information is newsworthy or useful for them.

Follow up with a phone call to the top 10 targeted media for each story; chances are you’ll find out they never saw it, and then you can send it again when they’re on the lookout for it.

Email Etiquette for Media Mailings

  1. When you email a release in bulk, send the release to yourself (or to me) and then blind copy (by putting all addresses in the BCC field in your email message) all other recipients. You don’t ever want the people in your emailed release to see everyone else’s address. The media has been known to blackball senders for this, and with today’s strict spam laws, it’s considered illegal sharing. Unless your press list is small, you might consider using an email service such as Constant Contact or iContact to send your releases. These services will automatically add unsubscribe messages to comply with spam laws.

  2. The subject line is the most important element. Start your subject line with PR:, then add five or six words to pique their interest. Reporters and editors get hundreds of emails a day, so your subject line needs to entice them to open it.

  3. More and more, busy reporters read email on cell phones or PDAs where the subject line has only 15 characters, so make sure the first words of your subject line tell the story.

  4. Never send attachments. Do not imbed graphics or photos in your emailed releases. Turn off your stationary, and send the release in the body of the email. Many spam filters will automatically grab your email if it has graphics or attachments. Mention photos at the end, with a line like “Fabulous high-resolution photography available for this story; click www.myinns.com for low-resolution photos” instead of attaching them to the email.

  5. Start the release with your location and the date.


Let’s Hear it from Innkeepers
”I just want to tell you that you do a great job being an ambassador for all of us and I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all that you do.” – Mary Lee, Ahern's Belle of the Bends B&B, Vicksburg, MS

Recent BedandBreakfast.com Media Coverage  

BedandBreakfast.com was included in a syndicated story by Tribune Media Services about taking the family away for the holidays. It appeared throughout the media including CNN.com.

BedandBreakfast.com’s gift card stories have appeared throughout the media, including Yahoo!, AOL, LA Times, Forbes.com, and Fodor's.

The second release outlining the BedandBreakfast.com’s new photo upload tool appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, Dallas News, and Yahoo! and was picked up by a number of Texas TV stations including Newswest 9 (Waco), Midland’s KCBD and KXXV.
Earth Times has run both gift certificate stories, and recently, Smarter Travel included BedandBreakfast.com in a story about gift cards. People Magazine’s Style Watch website will include BedandBreakfast.com’s gift cards in a story about favorite gifts this holiday season.

Additionally, a story about traveling to B&Bs appearing in the Fort Wayne, IN, Journal Gazette quoted Marti Mayne talking about the advantages of The Getaway Gift Card.

BedandBreakfast.com worked with Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel and Family Circle magazine to offer The Gift of Getaway from BedandBreakfast.com to a few lucky readers of December issues.

A number of smaller newspapers have run BedandBreakfast.com’s story about a Guy’s Guide to B&Bs. The story recently appeared in Morgantown, PA’s Tri-County Record, Scotia, NY’s Spotlight, and Maplewood, NJ’s News Record.

This Month's Sponsor

Gift Card Reseller Program

The BedandBreakfast.com Gift Card Reseller Program is here! Click here for details. If you'd like to receive a free reseller kit, contact us at 800-462-2632 or Support@BedandBreakfast.com.

Through the end of 2007, earn double commission! Make 10% of each sale in cash, and an additional 10% will deposited into your Featured Property Advertising account. PLUS, the 10 top-selling inns will each receive $1,000 CASH.
            

"We received a gift certificate from a relative and loved it so much that we decided to steal the idea and give one to friends." Christanne E.

Referral Program

What’s better than three month’s free membership? How about six months? Or a whole year? Refer fellow innkeepers to BedandBreakfast.com, and if they join at the Silver level or above, your membership will be extended by three months for each B&B that signs up. If four B&Bs sign up, your membership is free for a year!  For details, log in to your Home Base and click Referral Program under Free Member Benefits, or call 800-GO-B-AND-B (800-462-2632).
 

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Visit our newest vendor member!

The Bed & Breakfast Institute of Learning

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