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June 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: Getting on National TV Shows

Let’s Hear It From Innkeepers

Recent Media Coverage


Ask the Pros: Getting on National TV Shows

Question: “I am hosting Pastor Jimmy Blackwell, the man who started the relief effort that came to be known as Camp Katrina in Waveland, MS. I am hoping to get Pastor Jimmy some exposure while he is so very close to NYC. Thanks for anything at all you can advise on how to get him on the national shows!” – Laurie, The Evergreen Inn B&B, Spring Lake, NJ

Response: Here are a few tips for pitching stories to TV producers:

  1. Create a headline: Create a very catchy headline for your email, voice mail or written pitch. Watch a few morning news shows, and listen to the headlines, like “Meet the Man who saved thousands of lives after Katrina; Pastor Jimmy Blackwell on next.”

  2. Summarize the story in one paragraph: Follow the headline with a one-paragraph description of the story and why it is relevant to the whole country and to the show. You’ll need to be familiar with the show you’re pitching. For example, we know that the Today show’s Travel Producer, Peter Greenberg, produces segments each year on haunted hotels and inns at Halloween, romantic inns at Valentine’s Day and great off-the-slopes ideas for fun in the winter. Send your pitch for these segments about four to six months in advance.

  3. Include key points: Describe the key points of your story with short bulleted paragraphs. Remember, your initial pitch can’t be over one page, so words are very valuable. Make each one count.

  4. Follow up! Chances are that none of the initial pitches you send will be answered. If you don’t hear back after the follow-up, try again – and keep trying about two times per week. If you don’t hear back after five or six tries, chances are they’re not interested in the story but don't have time to tell you. Stop following up so you don’t get blacklisted for badgering them. It’s a fine line, but know when to stop.

  5. Send B-roll: Most importantly, if you have any tapes from other TV shows on which you’ve been featured, send a copy of the tape (have a duplicate made – don’t send the original; you’ll never see it again). National TV shows want to see how you perform on camera before taking the next step to talk to you. If you have broadcast-quality footage (B-roll) available, mention that in your pitch. Be sure to include the format for the footage (i.e. Beta, Beta SP, Digital, etc). Enclose an extra copy of your B-roll footage with your pitch to save time.

  6. Contact national shows: Some of the national shows have posted casting applications online. Here are links to some of the popular shows’ applications:
    The Oprah Winfrey Show
    Dr. Phil
    If Walls Could Talk (HGTV)
    ReZoned (HGTV)
    TODAY: scroll down to see the list of upcoming stories where producers seek input from listeners
    Good Morning America: scroll down to the “Talk to Us” section

For more information on attracting television coverage, read these articles in the Innkeeper Resource library:
B-roll: The secret to TV coverage
B-roll – once you’ve got it, flaunt it

Let’s Hear It From Innkeepers
We always appreciate hearing from innkeepers and are grateful for your support. We wanted to share some of our favorite comments from innkeepers over the past few years:

“We used the tips and guidelines you provided to create a press release and fact sheet. We sent 20 copies to local television outlets, chambers of commerce, newspapers, tourism centers, etc. We are pleased to say that in less than 48 hours, we were contacted by the local ABC affiliate, which ran a two-minute spot based on our press release on the 11 p.m. news last night. We were also contacted by the local performing arts center, whose public relations director visited us to discuss becoming a lodging option for guest performers. When she visited us, she had a copy of our press release in hand. Not only did this illustrate to us that effective press releases get attention, but more importantly, they also can translate directly (and sometimes immediately) into incremental revenue. Thanks for helping us learn how to master this important messaging…” – Dorian and Laurie Desmarais, The Painted Lady Bed and Breakfast, Elmira, NY

“Trust me; I now know how hard your job is. I have learned that we innkeepers are not good at letting people know what we do. We are our own worst enemies at times.” – Nancy Moncrief, Candlelight Inn, North Wildwood, NJ

“ is always one of my top two referring directories... I bought the most expensive listing they had… it has paid for itself many, many times over…. I know that I had 468 click-throughs to my site last month from, and since they are already partially sold by the time they get to my site, I figure I get about one in 40 bookings. Last month I had 4,900 unique visitors with multiple click-throughs to different pages (I did not count quick hit visits). That means that accounted for better than 10% of all of my useful visitors.” – John & Sallie Cwik, The Old Brick Inn, St. Michael’s, MD

Recent Media Coverage
The explosion of media coverage surrounding’s “Tanks a Lot” promotion has been astounding and is the perfect example of how media begets media. To date, the story has garnered well over 30 million impressions, with an advertising value of more than $50,000. First, USA TODAY included’s Tanks a Lot Promotion in a story about rising gas prices, saying “More than 40 members of moved up their summer ‘Tanks a Lot’ program targeting would-be customers skittish about higher pump prices. Many offer a $25 gas rebate for stays of two or more nights…”

Next, the New York Times picked up the story, with members among the few lodging properties mentioned. From there, the CBS Early Show (click here to see the video) and then Charlie Leocha on MSNBC picked up the story. Since then, the “Tanks a Lot” promotion has been seen from coast to coast, in the San Jose Mercury News to the Washington Post.

Tune in next month for more news of “Tanks a Lot” coverage, as the story continues to attract media attention. If you haven’t already added your offer to the Free Gas Promotion, we suggest you do immediately.

Here is some recent coverage: and Expedia announced their new partnership, and the media responded with coverage of the story including stories in the Honolulu Star Bulletin, Yahoo! News, Pacific Business News,, and

The Chicago Tribune did a story about Amsterdam, advising readers to check for B&B listings there.

Budget Travel Online covered a story about Mother’s Day specials from, including offers from Inn Britannia, Cliff Lodge Inn, Martin House Inn, Gillum House and Munro House.

This Month's Sponsor

Gift Certificates

Click here to read recent comments from gift certificate purchasers. One purchaser says:

"Love it! It was very helpful to see exactly where participating B&Bs are located. I read reviews from other sites that recommended your service highly. This makes the perfect gift to thank my in-laws for paying for our wedding!

Wedding season is upon us! Are you missing out? To join the participating inns, just log in to your Home Base, or click here for more information.

Online Trade Show

Our newest vendor members:
The Border Store
Jumping Rocks
TMG Real Estate Consultants
The Turkish Towel Company, Inc.

Click here to view our Online Trade Show. Are you a vendor? Click here to get featured!

Online Reservations

Traffic Statistics

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

Member Information

To update your entry, post specials, and renew your membership, please log in with your property ID and password. Can't remember your password? Click here, then enter your property ID and we'll email it to you. Don't like your password? Once you're logged in to Home Base, just click "Membership," select "Change Password" ( No. 7 in dropdown menu), and choose another that's easier to remember. More information

Inns for Sale

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Innkeepers' Info Center

Need more info? You’ll find lots of educational articles on our site for your convenience.

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