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December/January 2006

Promoting the Industry

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

Upcoming Publicity for members
Ask the Pros

Let’s Hear It from Innkeepers

Recent Media Coverage

Current and Upcoming Publicity: Luxury Loos, Girlfriends' Getaways, Luxury for Less


  • Luxury for Less is a wrap-up of luxury inns offering a January thaw on prices and/or packages. This press release is an “editor’s choice” list. How can you be included? Email  to invite a editor to stay at your B&B at a mutually convenient date! Editor’s choice lists are compiled several times a year and include only properties we have personally experienced.

  • A press release suggesting Gift Certificates as the ideal gift for last minute shoppers was distributed in mid-December.

  • We’ll soon distribute a press release highlighting creative examples of girlfriends’ getaways. If you have not already, be sure to post your packages in the Specials section under Girlfriends' Getaways, so we can direct reporters to that section to find your package.

  • February publicity will include our annual wrap-up of romantic inns for Valentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day, plus “Un-Valentine’s Day” specials (for singles and the lovelorn). If you have not done so already, be sure to post your packages in the Specials section under Valentine’s Day and “Un-Valentine’s Day” Specials, so we can direct reporters to that section to find your package.

  • For Black History Month in February, we are planning a story about inns with a connection to the Underground Railroad. If you have not yet provided information, please send your story to

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 Girlfriends’ Getaways and Valentine’s/Unvalentine’s packages. Remember – the more creative the package, the better the media and travelers’ responses.

Bronze member? Please
click here to upgrade.


  • If you decorate the inn for the holidays, be sure to take some photos of your B&B dressed in its holiday best. If you’re located in a scenic winter destination, don’t forget to shoot some snow scenes. Once you’ve gotten those perfect shots, be sure to post them on your website and on your listing, so the photos on your site and listing page are seasonally correct.

  • Even with falling gas prices, the media continue to gobble up information about gas specials for ongoing stories. If your gas special has expired, why not post a new one for holiday or winter seasons? continues to have a direct link from the homepage to the Gas Specials, making your offer even more visible to potential guests and the media.


Ask the Pros: What’s the best way to distribute a press release?
Q: “What is the best way for me to send a press release to all the appropriate media for my packages and promotions? In the past, I could share expenses with another innkeeper, but that option is no longer available. From what I can tell, belonging to a subscription service or having one release distributed is not cost effective for the amount of revenue it might generate. Is paying $300-$500 for the distribution of one PR effort my only option?” -- Joe, Innkeeper/Proprietor, Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast, New Orleans, LA

A: One way to save money on renting lists is to build your own. I have spent the last 20 years building a press list of contacts. I collect those names one by one, as I find them. It's never too late to start, and if you don’t have a list, check with your local convention and visitors’ bureau (CVB). To reach specific contacts, start with Burrelles or Bacon's Media Directories, found in the research/reference section of many larger city libraries. Your CVB may have copies too. These directories are encyclopedias of media contacts, listing contact info for every TV station, newspaper, radio station, magazine, etc. They are invaluable resources, updated annually.

Once you have your list, you'll want to email your release. Almost all media prefer to receive info by email now. MAKE SURE, however, that you blind copy the contact names. The media hate seeing their name being given out to others. Also, don't send any graphics or attachments with the email; everything should be posted in the body of the email. And don't forget to sign your email with a full signature too.

Next, there are a number of PR distribution channels that you can work with. To reach freelance writers, I like Writer's Marketplace. A $45/year membership gives you access to their database of 1,500+ members, and up to three press releases for distribution to their membership. They also have a $100 membership level offering up to 10 posted press releases. This gives you access to contacts for quality travel writers where you can read the assignments they’re working on and invite them to visit your inn.

The North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) is a similar group, but costs $350/year to join. There are more people in this association, but I haven’t found them to be as relevant to our industry as those on

You can post press releases on a number of different websites. PRWeb is one of the most popular. They’ve just eliminated their free distribution service; posting now starts at $40 per release. At the $40 level, your release is submitted directly to Overture, Yahoo and Google. The perks go up from there and top out at $200, which includes next-day delivery, RSS-feeds, podcasts, advanced SEO functions, and more. PR Web competitors are at free or $25 per release, and 24-7Press Release at $9-$299 per release. distributes its most important press releases through E-Releases. This is a paid distribution service that uses PR Newswire to distribute its releases to media worldwide. PR Newswire is one of the most respected wire services (like AP, Washington Post, etc) and we get the best pick-up out of this service. Sending a release costs $399 for a 500-word release. Each additional 100 words costs $100 after the first 500 words. It's expensive, but all the other services like Businesswire or PR Newswire itself are at least $100 more for releases containing fewer words.

Best of luck distributing your press releases. Be sure to add me to your list at Thanks!

Let’s Hear It From Innkeepers and the Media
Media Quote of the Month: “Thanks for the Ireland suggestions/connection – we stayed at two places that were on and they worked out quite well.” – Annie Copps, Food Editor, Yankee Magazine

Recent Media Coverage gift certificates have gotten heavy media endorsements with inclusion in Real Simple magazine’s gift guide and the Boston Globe’s Real Deals section. included gift certificates as a “staff pick” for great holiday gifts for globetrotters. The same story appeared on AOL Travel with a link directly from AOL’s welcome page for the site’s 20+ million users.

The Chicago Tribune included in a story about great sites for online booking: “While travelers have been booking hotel rooms online at the major chains and large resorts for years now, boutique properties and bed-and-breakfasts often require a call or visit to the specific property's Web site to make a reservation. just made life a bit easier for those looking to cozy up to a fire and eat freshly baked cookies this winter, as the site now offers real-time booking for more than 1,000 inns across the United States…” worked with to promote the gift of pampering this holiday season via a syndicated article distributed by ARA Content to media throughout the country. To date, the story has been picked up in newspapers including Westport News, Westport, CT; Advocate, Fairhaven, MA; Chronicle, South Dartmouth, MA; Sandusky Register, Sandusky, OH; Perry Daily Journal, Perry, OK; Norwalk Citizen News, Norwalk, CT; Fairfield Citizen News, Fairfield, CT; Tri-County News, Kiel, WI;  News Chronicle, Shippensburg, PA; Wytheville Enterprise, Wytheville, VA;  Courier-Times, Roxboro, NC, and many more.

And just to show that a great story keeps on going, we continue to see articles about’s free gas deals, appearing in November in the Journal News distributed throughout White Plains, NY.

This Month's Sponsor

Gift Certificates

"I was VERY impressed with your website and even more impressed with how many B&Bs are participating. I think my parents will LOVE this for Christmas." -- Keri C.

To join the inns that participate in the gift certificate program, just log in to your Home Base, or click here for more information.

You can earn money by selling our gift certificates on your website! Earn 5% with our affiliate program.

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