- Feb 23, 2009
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Now there's a plan. I like the idea of using Culinary Arts students. I'll have to check to see if we have any at our local university.We don't do teas here, but I know another inn that does. She does the teas every other weekend and all during the week. How she does it is that you must make a reservation, no walk-ins and she only prepares enough food for the reservations (so no leftovers). If you cancel the day of, you have to pay because she has already made the food. She does book groups, ladies teas, bridal and baby showers and 'ladies who lunch'.I'm curious how you schedule your teas around the B&B. I have a tea room and have had problems in that area. Seems everyone wants to come on Saturday, which is also a big day for the B&B. When I started I hoped to fill up some of the weekdays which were slower, but it hasn't worked out that way.I write about anything and everything related in someway to my bed and breakfast on my InnNotes blog: www.innnotes.blogspot.com It could be the cookbook I just finshed working on for the Bed and breakfast Assoc. of Ky, it could be non-gluten food, for my Celiac repeat guests, it could be the horrible ice storm we had a few weeks ago that knocked out power for a week in the neighborhood, or the KY Derby, or the Victorian Teas we do, or the many interesting guests I have...... anything that happens in or around my Inn.I'm new to the concept of blogging for B&Bs. Who is your audience, past guests or new customers? What do you write about and when do you find the time?I will definitely be using blogging, from now on. I started two blogs two months ago and already they have begun to generate some interest from readers. I was told by several seasoned bloggers that it takes a year or so to get your blog "out There" on the internet and start receiving a decent amount of interest and comments. I have also joined several social media sites (e. g. Facebook and Twitter) to see how a social media approach to marketing will work for me..
I am a writer, so the time spent on writing tight, interesting posts is valuable time for me. I probably write at least 3-4 hours a day, unless we are very busy. But I do write every day. I also do what Bree said she did; that is, write several posts ahead of time and save then as drafts, so I can publish on a regular basis. I like to post every 2-3 days, if possible. I have two blogs, so have a double dose to take care of. Plus I write for "I Love Inns" & take on other writing projects. My second blog is www.innbusiness.blogspot.com This one takes more time and thought, because it's business oriented. I do quite a lot of reading & research, and incorporating info from others into the post. Also I like to add pictures, videos, and links.
If you think you'ld like to try it, reading other successful blogger's posts will give you an idea what good content is and isn't. As far as it helping to market your Inn, social media is here to stay and a ton of people are using it successfully to market their businesses. I've only been blogging two months, and already I am generating interest in my blog, my website and my Inn from it. You can read about social media on the internet. Google it! Read the experts. There are lots of them on Twitter.
I was getting small groups who wanted to come on a particular day to celebrate something. That wasn't working out for me so I went to one tea once a month celebrating a holiday. However, that has been problematic because now the local tea rooms have begun doing the same thing on the same day, diluting the business.
I've found it's just easier making a large amount of food for one big group than doing small ones and having leftovers all the time. I can also bring in help for those occasions.
I did one for a bus tour which worked out well but haven't had any more since. I'm not sure how to market to them.
Almost all of her biz is local, not many tourists come for the tea, except people staying with her. She has gotten a lot of publicity which is how she keeps them coming in. If you have a local food editor or local magazine, invite them over for tea and show the place off.
The other innkeeper has only scheduled hours. She does 12-3 PM and she only books as many as she has seating for so she does not turn the tables during the tea. (So, she has 10 tables and she doesn't book more in than those 10 tables will hold, so basically you get your table and you can stay the whole 3 hours and chat if you want.)
The tea is more lucrative that the inn!
She has a housekeeper who handles the rooms while she does the tea. And she does a big once a week baking for the bread items which she freezes.
.This is exactly what we doBree said:We don't do teas here, but I know another inn that does. She does the teas every other weekend and all during the week. How she does it is that you must make a reservation, no walk-ins and she only prepares enough food for the reservations (so no leftovers). If you cancel the day of, you have to pay because she has already made the food. She does book groups, ladies teas, bridal and baby showers and 'ladies who lunch'.
Also, I hire Culinary Arts students from a local university and a lot of them like to do this sort of thing. They are very at home in the kitchen and love to try new things, like creating the kind of food required in Victorian Tea service. They also help with the housekeeping.