Does Your Image Represent Your Inn?
You have poured
enormous amounts of work, money, and emotion into creating and
maintaining your inn.
You see it as a place unlike any
other, special and distinct.
overheard the breakfast conversation of your guests, you know
that they rarely remember the names of inns they’ve visited, and
often mix up the memory of one B&B with another.
To overcome this, be sure
to create, clarify, strengthen and extend the image of your inn as a way to
attract new guests, and to increase repeat and referral business.
image of your inn
Does your inn have a
single primary image, as a luxury getaway, a family resort, an urban
refuge, a seaside escape or a mountain adventure lodge?
Perhaps your B&B has
multiple images, experienced by different markets -- a romantic escape
for weekenders, a business travelers’ haven and executive conference setting
Are the perceptions of your
potential guests in line with your own?
You think of your inn as a
distinctive experience—but do your guests share that perception? Your luxury
guestrooms may be no different from your guests’ master bedrooms and baths
at home. Marble bathrooms with whirlpool tubs are becoming standard in
upscale new construction; queen and king-size beds are the norm, not the
exception. Your cherished collectibles may be perceived as annoying clutter.
How does your image balance
intangibles and tangibles?
Is genuine hospitality and
guest-focused service central to your image, or do specific objects like
silk flower arrangements and mounds of decorative pillows take center stage?
Do guests feel like they come first, or do they feel like they’re a
secondary part of your inn’s image?
Answering the questions
above will help you with the following steps.
image—a multi-layered process
Block One Great
picture is worth a thousand words.” In the age of the Internet, potential
guests demand good photography. Without it, you risk hearing
those dreaded words: “Oh, your inn is so much nicer than it looks in the
photos.” Why dreaded? Because for every guest who booked despite poor
quality photos, there are probably several who reserved elsewhere. Great
photos are the key to sharing your inn’s image with the world, through your
website, print materials, and to attract media coverage. Good shots evoke
your inn’s image without cataloguing every item in your rooms, and showing
every inch of bedding.
photos need to be integrated with your overall design for maximum effect. A
website with tacky scrawls, waving flags, and cutesy icons will detract, not
enhance your photography. Think, for example, how a beautiful painting is
made more so by a lovely frame and ideal lighting. If your primary image is
one of luxury, these qualities need to include all elements of your inn,
both external (the elements that get you reservations) and internal (the
elements that keep guests happy and encourage them to return and refer).
Never over-promise and under-deliver.
Block Three—the Inn
Your inn’s external image should synchronize with its internal one, so that
the perception matches the reality. True beauty
is not skin deep. Multiple touchpoints for branding your inn’s image
may begin with an initial referral from a past guest to a visit to your
website; from making a reservation through arrival; from the actual stay at
your inn through checkout; and last but not least, to a return home with
souvenir mugs and follow-up mailings to assure guest satisfaction and repeat
and referral business.
should start with the basic information, but go on to offer assistance with
dinner reservations and sightseeing attractions. A pre-arrival phone call to
arriving guests is an ideal way to emphasize the hospitality element of your
image, while also helping you confirm arrival times and possible special
needs, while giving you a chance to upsell your add-ons. Do all facets of
your image convey the high quality concierge services that are the hall-mark
of the B&B and inn experience? Well-kept lawns, fresh flowers inside and
outside the inn, crisply ironed pillowcases and immaculate duvet covers will
ensure that your perceived image matches the reality.
Your image should project
the fact that your inn is a special place. To ensure that the image matches
the reality, make sure that the intangibles and the tangible elements of
your inn combine to make every person who comes to your inn feel equally
So why bother?
Successful innkeepers have to go beyond putting heads in beds. In a
price-driven market where everyone has been conditioned to look for the best
deal, your image is central to your value proposition: that
your inn is a special place, worth every penny because of the overall
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Inns for Sale
our B&B in your Inns for Sale section in January, and
started getting inquires a week later. In February,
a couple came from Florida to visit us in Cat Spring, Texas. We made a deal, and
they begin officially on April the 5th as the new owners. What you are doing
really works." Sunny and John Snyder.
Taking real-time, online reservations is the most effective way to transform
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