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Morticia

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Do Innkeeper Blogs Work?
by Peter Scherman of The B&B Team

Every year The B&B Team travels to various innkeeping conferences, sometimes to exhibit in the trade show, but always as speakers. In the past month we attended the Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Conference and Trade Show in Hot Springs, Virginia and just this week were at the 17th annual Innspire conference of CABBI, the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns, in Monterey. As always, we had a great time meeting innkeepers and speaking about topics that we're passionate about, like "Attracting the i.guest in a Slowing Economy" (a version of which we presented on a PAII webinar recently) and "Inn Branding and Market Positioning."

In both of these presentations we focus on the contemporary traveler, the i.guest, who is intelligent, independent, informed, imaginative, Internet-savvy and empowered, and Identified. This i.guest is using the Internet and social media to make travel decisions, and one of the topics that always comes up when we mention blogs is, "Does a blog bring innkeepers business?"
While we have anecdotal evidence that it does, based on some innkeepers who swear by their blogs, there is some new evidence of a blog's effectiveness in generating new business.
Stephanie at the Albert Shafsky House Bed & Breakfast in Placerville, CA has been writing a blog for a year and a half. Before speaking to an eager audience at CABBI about blogging and social media, she showed us her Google Analytics page that proved that one of the top referrers to her B&B's website is her blog. And her bounce rate on those referrals is a mere 25% or so. That's quite something. She thinks that the blog is integral to their marketing, along with the B&B's Facebook page and other efforts. Steph and Rita are really working social media, and it's paying off.
This morning I received a Google Alert linking to My Bella Vita, a blog by an American innkeeper in Italy, Cherrye Moore, at Il Cedro in Calabria. We exchanged an email or two, and I asked her if she got any business from her blog. Her reply was that her "blog site has been a great source of leads for our B&B." She also made an incredibly valuable point, that many people go out of their way to book with them, "because they feel like they know us through the blog." That, folks, is what social media, Web 2.0, Travel 2.0, and all the other stuff is about. Successful innkeeping is about building relationships and providing enduring experiences.
If a blog at your inn could help you build relationships before you've ever met a potential guest, that's really getting a head start on a long term relationship that can pay great dividends, both financial and "psychic," as Holly Stiel likes to say.
For all the inspiration from all the innkeepers mentioned above and those that keep us going every day, all I can say, again to echo Holly Stiel (and some guy with sideburns), is "Thank you, thank you very much!"
 

sandynn

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When you blog do you use the template. I hope that is how you spell it.
Or do you just do it like we do here.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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I use the google blogger template. Cheap and cheerful and they are adding new features and widgets all the time. Go to BLOGSPOT and in the top right corner it says CREATE BLOG. It is super easy. There are a few easy free templates out there tha get picked up well in the feeds to the internet.
 

Morticia

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Question
When you blog do you use the template. I hope that is how you spell it.
Or do you just do it like we do here..
I use blogpsot (a Google app) and I selected the 'lighthouse' template because of where I am. But, for each individual blog entry I just get a blank page exactly like this box I'm writing in now. I fill it up with ramblings and hit 'post' and Google pops it into the template.
Is that what you meant?
 

seashanty

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i loved my inn blog -
just keep in mind what i am finding out - that new owners might expect the blog is an extension of the website and want use of it. i am not sure how you stipulate what happens to the 'innblog' when your time with the inn is over
am curious ... i've seen blogs you can create in conjunction with bedandbreakfast.com and iloveinns ... would b&b blogs hosted in those places as opposed to a blog site drive more traffic to your blog?
 

Morticia

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i loved my inn blog -
just keep in mind what i am finding out - that new owners might expect the blog is an extension of the website and want use of it. i am not sure how you stipulate what happens to the 'innblog' when your time with the inn is over
am curious ... i've seen blogs you can create in conjunction with bedandbreakfast.com and iloveinns ... would b&b blogs hosted in those places as opposed to a blog site drive more traffic to your blog?.
seashanty said:
i loved my inn blog -
just keep in mind what i am finding out - that new owners might expect the blog is an extension of the website and want use of it. i am not sure how you stipulate what happens to the 'innblog' when your time with the inn is over
am curious ... i've seen blogs you can create in conjunction with bedandbreakfast.com and iloveinns ... would b&b blogs hosted in those places as opposed to a blog site drive more traffic to your blog?
Good point. I think when I am ready to head out, I will pull all the personal blog posts and leave the rest. Stuff like restaurant lists and things to do. My personal experiences here or my ramblings are unnecessary to the new owners as they will have their own musings on life!
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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i loved my inn blog -
just keep in mind what i am finding out - that new owners might expect the blog is an extension of the website and want use of it. i am not sure how you stipulate what happens to the 'innblog' when your time with the inn is over
am curious ... i've seen blogs you can create in conjunction with bedandbreakfast.com and iloveinns ... would b&b blogs hosted in those places as opposed to a blog site drive more traffic to your blog?.
seashanty said:
i loved my inn blog -
just keep in mind what i am finding out - that new owners might expect the blog is an extension of the website and want use of it. i am not sure how you stipulate what happens to the 'innblog' when your time with the inn is over
am curious ... i've seen blogs you can create in conjunction with bedandbreakfast.com and iloveinns ... would b&b blogs hosted in those places as opposed to a blog site drive more traffic to your blog?
I want this place to succeed, to grow and improve with each new owner - so I would gladly give them my blog and hope they can spice it up.
After spending a week away with 'locals' who are involved in the community here and do not have a clue about anything I KNOW and write about, I would hope the community catches on and goes for it as well! Promoting this area is what my blog is all about. I have only written one personal blog entry and it was promoting the fantastic horse back riding at another inn north of here. (We rode the horses so we were in the blog entry)
Innkeepers - you know more than those born and raised in many instances. You are a wealth of knowledge - Strutt yer stuff on your blogs! There are interesting things to see and do wherever you go. That was why I was asking about UNIQUE restaurants a while back.

 

swirt

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i loved my inn blog -
just keep in mind what i am finding out - that new owners might expect the blog is an extension of the website and want use of it. i am not sure how you stipulate what happens to the 'innblog' when your time with the inn is over
am curious ... i've seen blogs you can create in conjunction with bedandbreakfast.com and iloveinns ... would b&b blogs hosted in those places as opposed to a blog site drive more traffic to your blog?.
seashanty said:
am curious ... i've seen blogs you can create in conjunction with bedandbreakfast.com and iloveinns ... would b&b blogs hosted in those places as opposed to a blog site drive more traffic to your blog?
I would suggest having your own blog. If a directory offers a blog, do a few unique teasers for some posts and then lead them to your actual blog. The value is in your ownership of the content and the control over the blog. After all if you spent your time blogging on a directory and then at some point decided the directory was not offering you what you needed (enough traffic) then it would make it more difficult to let that listing go, because it also had all your blog content.
 

seashanty

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do you recommend having a blog on those sites - if i'm reading that correctly - as well as your own blog hosted elsewhere? a mini teaser blog hosted by the big gun websites as long as you're paying for a listing?
 

swirt

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I recommend taking a few of your best blog posts and using the introductory paragraph for each and then finish up each with a "read more" type of link to the actual full posting on your own blog.
 

sandynn

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Question
When you blog do you use the template. I hope that is how you spell it.
Or do you just do it like we do here..
I use blogpsot (a Google app) and I selected the 'lighthouse' template because of where I am. But, for each individual blog entry I just get a blank page exactly like this box I'm writing in now. I fill it up with ramblings and hit 'post' and Google pops it into the template.
Is that what you meant?
.
I guess it is what I meant. You just type and it goes into the template. I am so slow at these kind of things. If I could get my sister to walk me through it once I think I could get it. I have tried it twice but not sure if I am doing it right. I went to blog spot. I just typed it like here.
 

seashanty

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i like this advice. am filing it away for next time.
 

Morticia

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Question
When you blog do you use the template. I hope that is how you spell it.
Or do you just do it like we do here..
I use blogpsot (a Google app) and I selected the 'lighthouse' template because of where I am. But, for each individual blog entry I just get a blank page exactly like this box I'm writing in now. I fill it up with ramblings and hit 'post' and Google pops it into the template.
Is that what you meant?
.
I guess it is what I meant. You just type and it goes into the template. I am so slow at these kind of things. If I could get my sister to walk me through it once I think I could get it. I have tried it twice but not sure if I am doing it right. I went to blog spot. I just typed it like here.
.
Do you have a link to share? We can look and see if it's working!
The most confusing part in signing up for me was that I didn't want to give my blog the 'wrong' name! So is the sign up name what the blog will be called or is that just your 'user name'? It took me forever to get thru that one question. After that, it's not too hard to pick a template (I've changed mine a few times and may do so again.)
Then you just need something to write about, some decent photos to show what you're writing about and that's it. Oh, right, time to write but as SS pointed out last year, you can blog yourself silly one day, save them all as drafts and then 'release' them into the wild whenever you want.
 

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