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September 2006

Promoting the Industry

Marti Mayne

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

Tanks a Lot: BedandBreakfast.com’s gas special continues to create considerable media buzz, from USA TODAY to CNN. When we get a call from interested media, we send them to BedandBreakfast.com’s Free Gas Specials, where more than 200 members from 33 states have posted specials. Be sure to include or update your Free Gas Special to get your share of the attention.

Current and Upcoming Publicity: Ghosts, Girlfriends' Getaways, Gifts and Gas
Starting this month, we’ll share the plan for BedandBreakfast.com’s upcoming publicity efforts. There are many topics on which we’re seeking information from BedandBreakfast.com members.

September:


October:

  • A press release about Girlfriends’ Getaways will be distributed in November. Please be sure to post your Girlfriends’ Getaways in BedandBreakfast.com’s Specials section. All information for this release will be taken from the posted Specials on the site.

  • We’ll be working with media around the country to include BedandBreakfast.com Gift Certificates in their holiday gift guide issues. If you haven’t signed up to accept BedandBreakfast.com Gift Certificates, it’s not too late.


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 your offer for free gas via discounted stays, gas cards, or other creative offers under Free Gas Promotion and girlfriends’ packages under Girlfriends’ Getaways. Remember, the more creative the package, the better the media and travelers response.

Bronze member? Please click here to upgrade.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS:

  • With all the rain New England has had this summer, a brilliant fall foliage season is expected. If you’re located in a fall foliage destination, don’t forget to get photos of your B&B surrounded by autumn colors. Once you’ve gotten those perfect shots, be sure to post them on your website and on your BedandBreakfast.com listing.

  • 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 late fall or pre-holiday shoulder seasons? BedandBreakfast.com has a direct link from the Home Page to the Gas Specials, making your offer even more visible to potential guests and the media.

                              

Ask the Pros: Tips on getting from here to there
This month, we’re delighted to welcome guest columnist and respected travel industry pundit, Christopher Elliott, as our “Guest Pro.” His weekly blog, Elliott’s E-Mail, offers entertaining and informative insider travel tips, news and information. Click here to subscribe to Elliott’s E-Mail. Many thanks to Chris for sharing insightful ways to reach the media.

Tips on getting from here to there: five PR pitching secrets

How does a travel company effectively reach a mainstream media outlet with a story idea? Here are five of the best-kept pitching secrets:

  1. It doesn’t have to be about you. In fact, it helps if it isn’t a story idea that involves a single property, but is part of a trend in which several companies are participating. Take hotel beds, for example. Back in 1999, Westin began introducing its “Heavenly Bed” (great story) which really caught on when other hotels followed suit with similar bedding products. Then it became something even more compelling: The hotel bed wars.

  2. Hiring a professional helps -- but nothing is preventing you from contacting a media outlet directly. That isn’t to say that a publicist is useless. A good PR agency is worth the price you pay for it many times over. But if you have a really good story idea, and you don’t have someone on retainer, there’s no rule that says you can’t pick up the phone and call a reporter.

  3. Bloggers are a back door into an outlet. Travel bloggers -- whether they are on staff at a mainstream media outlet or not -- can sometimes represent an effective tool for accessing a big newspaper, magazine or TV network. How is that? Well, a blogger for a mainstream media organization may repurpose a blog entry into a story or incorporate it into a future article. And independent bloggers are often closely followed by reporters and editors. A posting could lead to a story.

  4. Build a relationship, not a database. In a lot of industries, your success is measured by the size of your contact database. And that certainly is true here too, to some extent -- knowing a lot of people in the media helps. But size isn’t the only thing that matters. It is getting to know the reporter. Understanding what that person’s interests are (and his or her editor’s interests) will lead to more effective pitches. And to more placements.

  5. The secret way to reach almost any outlet is freelancers. I know, because I am one. Many companies that are interested in generating publicity for themselves assume that the front door (sending press releases to a section editor or staff reporter) is the only way to access a particular outlet. Not true. In these days of tighter budgets, many publications are relying more on freelancers than ever. The e-mail addresses and phone numbers of these independent content producers are easy to find online. And sometimes, these writers are more responsive to pitches because they have more time.


Let’s Hear It From Innkeepers and the Media
Media Quote of the Month: “Bed and Breakfast devotees will be in heaven at BedandBreakfast.com. Browse through photos and profiles of more than 25,000 inns around the world to find the perfect bed and breakfast for a romantic getaway.” -- Amanda Knowles, Times-Republic, Review Republican, Kankakee Valley Post News (Illinois weeklies)

Innkeeper Quotes of the Month: “Sandy, thanks for all your help and insight over the past week. I started at 7:30 this morning with the Tourism Committee of the Kyle Chamber and impressed them by applying some of my new-found knowledge of PR and marketing. I will, of course, be using as many of the tools as I can implement for the greater success of the inn. Thanks for giving me your time, attention, and support. What you and everyone else at your organization provide really is appreciated, and you all do make a wonderful difference!” -- Amy Dolan, Innkeeper, The Inn Above Onion Creek, Kyle, TX

“We love working with BedandBreakfast.com!” -- Chris, Austin Folk House, Austin, TX

“I’ve only been here a year -- today, actually -- and have been working hard to get the inn going in the right direction again. We’re getting there now, thanks in large part to BedandBreakfast.com and your special efforts. You do an amazing job for all of us and it’s greatly appreciated. I’m sure you don’t hear that often enough, but it’s very true. So, please keep up the good work. Thanks!” -- Patty, Penny Farthing Inn, St. Augustine, FL

Recent BedandBreakfast.com Media Coverage
BedandBreakfast.com initially released its Editor’s Picks for Great Leaf Peeping B&Bs to USA TODAY as an exclusive story before releasing it to the rest of the media. USA TODAY shortened the picks to 10 to format it for their weekly “10 Great” column, and it appeared September 1 to kick off the fall stories.


Sandy Soule was quoted in a story in Satisfaction Magazine about becoming an innkeeper that was included in IndependentTraveler.com’s story about urban inns.

Marti Mayne offered advice to B&B travelers in a story appearing in the San Jose Mercury News about cancellations at B&Bs.

Smarter Travel quoted BedandBreakfast.com as a great resource for girlfriend getaways, saying “Some options currently available for girls’ getaways packages include escapes just for women from participating inns at BedandBreakfast.com. Destinations across the country are represented, with activities including shopping, spa treatments, beauty consultations, and pajama and pizza parties. “

Forbes Best of the Web again cited BedandBreakfast.com as a great resource for romantic travel. “If your idea of a romantic getaway is a charming country cottage or cozy rustic inn, visit BedandBreakfast.com for more than 27,000 listings worldwide. Though heavy on properties in North America, you can also find listings as far away as Costa Rica and Dubai. Click on Advanced Search for Special Deals in categories ranging from Romance Packages (like a trip for two to Newport, Rhode Island complete with champagne, handmade chocolate and roses), to Murder Mysteries Adventures and B&B Cooking Schools.”

The gas rebates story continued to capture media attention with such stories as this Dallas Times story: “More than 250 members of Bedandbreakfast.com offer bonuses, including vouchers up to $50, gas cards and other discounts.” South Carolina’s The State newspaper mentioned BedandBreakfast.com’s Tanks A lot offers too. The same story appeared in MyrtleBeachonline.com.

BedandBreakfast.com’s story about Boat and Breakfasts appeared in a number of publications, including RoadandTravel.com, The Miami Herald and was a topic on the Travel with Terry show on C-FAX radio in British Columbia. A story featuring BedandBreakfast.com’s floating B&Bs is also planned for an upcoming issue of Boating Magazine.
 

This Month's Sponsor


 

Special offer!

Sign up for BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations by October 27, and you'll get a free upgrade to the next membership level or a free secondary city listing, valid through the end of your membership. For details, email us or call 800-GO-B-AND-B, extension 4.

 

Internet Intensives

BedandBreakfast.com, RezOvation and Expedia, Inc. are hitting the road to bring you comprehensive information about Internet marketing, online reservations, yield management, and property management software. Please join us for these workshops and for an Innkeepers' Appreciation Luncheon. Read more...

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