Shellie Leete, owner and innkeeper at The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia, shares her expert advice on blogging for B&B owners. Visit her excellent B&B blogs Claiborne House Coffee Talk and Innteractive Inns for more.
Rule #1: To borrow from Nike, “Just Do It!”
It’s free marketing, what do you have to lose? Not only is it free but it will feed your knowledge base of your area, it will improve your writing and communication skills and it will be an amenity for your guests! Yes blogging is an amenity, consider the guests reserving an extra night due to reading about events and things to do on your blog.
Have you ever been asked “What is there to do around here?” Well, when you blog you have an abundance of things you write about to recommend. Blogging will help get you outside to see “what there is to do around here” – just bring a digital camera along.
Waiting around thinking about it won’t make it happen. Sign up with a free blogging platform like Blogspot/Blogger or WordPress and go for the gusto. To start a blog, just go to the upper right corner of any blogspot and click on Create Blog (on WordPress the link is found at the bottom – Blog at WordPress.com).
Rule #2 K.I.S.S. = Keep it Simple Sweetie
No one wants to read a lengthy diatribe about anything. Your goal in blogging is sharing something interesting and tying it back to your inn. Think of the blog as extra pages on your website. You don’t want to cloud the issue with facts so leave the website as crisp and clean as you can and use this other venue as your scribble pad! Expand, share anything that really does not belong on the website but your guests may be interested in.
- an event in town
- a book about your area
- a local musical group new cd release
- an interesting hike nearby or any other outdoor recreation
- renovations at the inn (before and after photos are fab!)
- a little about the innkeepers (your background or your history)
- local restaurant reviews
- decorating tips
- specials at the inn
- fabulous or touching guest stories
What things would you yourself be interested in? Do you want to read about the innkeeper’s grandkids making honor student of the month? Probably not. Do you want to read about the inn’s fantastic gardens? YOUBETCHYA but ONLY if it is accompanied by beautiful photos! Remember these people are staying in your home, so share a little bit about yourself and your area with them. You are a B&B, not a cookie-cutter hotel. This is all part of how you present your Inn, if you want to be quirky and show personality, go for it!
Rule #3 Use web style
The internet isn’t the same as a book or a newspaper – most readers simply glance through the info, so make sure you have a catchy title, short interesting paragraphs, bullets/key points, hyperlinks and clean photos to grab their attention. So let’s get started.
Rule #4 Photos
Do any of you buy a cookbook without any photos? Not very likely, as those are the worst – and so it is with blogging, show a little color and never forget a photo is worth a thousand words.
Here’s an example from March about how something so trivial as an apron can convey to readers that at The Claiborne House you’ll expect WARMTH, HOSPITALITY AND HOME COOKING.
MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2011: This Innkeeper Ties One On!
“You can never have too many aprons or too many memories.” EllynAnne Geisel
According to essayist, apron expert and apron archaeologist EllynAnne Geisel, aprons don’t hold us back, they take us back . . .
Aprons represent true Americana. They signify an important part of our heritage and life, F- A – M – I – L – Y. Is there anything more important than that?
Do you remember getting together and sharing in the blessing over a bounty of home-cooked food? What is missing from this picture today? For many of us it is:
b) Home-Cooked Food and
c) Giving Thanks
Visit Apron Memories for Everything Apron! Apronisms from EllynAnne Geisel.
The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast respects the vintage domestic armor called THE APRON. They do not dare suggest you live in the dark ages, or turn back the tide, but they wish to remind everyone that enjoying something cooked-with-love is never archaic, never out of style!
We hope you will don your apron soon and whip up something wonderful for your friends and family! Come visit us at The Claiborne House in Rocky Mount Virginia, where the fresh brewed coffee is always perc’d, and the apron strings are tied in a tight embrace.
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