A followup post to Restore, Engage, Aggregate, De-stress and You for Innkeepers.
I’ve had many innkeepers ask if I could give some additional ideas for what to post online on social media beyond the above idea, so here goes…
Well, let’s see, posting to get people to make a reservation for most inns and B&Bs is pretty much a given that it’s not going to help right now unfortunately 🙁
So….what is an innkeeper to do? Here we have a captive audience of people at home, many using social media quite a bit more than normal, what do we post…..
You can certainly post soft-sell posts, which reference your inn, people staying or coming to stay at your inn and upcoming events. But there is quite a bit more you could consider doing. The key is getting your name, your brand and your B&B in front of the eyes now.
- What you are doing or going to do in the community to help. I know several B&Bs that have volunteered to help batch cook for soup kitchens. What can you or will you do to help. People love seeing people help the community and helping will come back in spades.
- Testimonials and reviews from past guests.
- Recipes you make normally (with lots of pictures) tie some quotes from past reviews in there too.
- If you are learning a new skill or more “about “something (highly recommended) write about it!
- Tips on recipes substitutions and also cooking recipes or tips that people can do with limited ingredients.
Local news (and other news) of people reaching out and doing something nice for others. Everyone needs the positive right now.
Photos of things in the inn, not necessarily rooms, but closeups and write a story about them.
This great fern print was given to us several years ago by an artist that stayed with us for several days, she had come to speak at our local Audubon about edible wild plants. We love the local Audubon which has some great ongoing programs for the public, so when you come to visit us next make sure you check it out! Sharon Audubon Center https://sharon.audubon.org/
- Photos of outside the inn, wide shots and closeups too, as Spring comes, flowers and other plants are going to be coming up and blooming, sharing beauty is always a positive. People need it and will continue to need it.
- Test recipes (if you are going to or can play with new ones) ask for feedback on posts, what do people think? Or just post the link and add some text.
- Do online cooking tutorials or demonstrations. Live stream it if you are up for it.
- Do you have other skills or other hobbies you can share online?
- If you have dogs or cats (or other animals) at your inn and you are not already using them for marketing, now is the time.
- Talk about some of the things you have in the inn and WHY you like them and use them. You use Molton Brown, do some posts about the products, give some history about it, tell people WHY you picked that line. You have a local painting company that you support, write some posts about them, help others and the return will come back when it’s time. (Don’t forget to take some pics from around the Inn)
While I normally steer innkeepers away from being too personal in their posts, yes you want some personality to come through and be engaging, but not share TMI (Too much personal information, I had someone ask me yesterday what that meant), speaking from the heart is not going to hurt here. This is community time, not sales time.
I think one of the bright spots in all of this hardship and I am already starting to see it locally and across professions and groups, is more people coming together (while practicing social distancing which is ironic) and working together for common goals and the common good. I hope that when all of this is passed, that this continues.
What can you do to get ahead NOW?
- Look through past posts on Facebook that were non-sales related or soft sale related and recycle them. Go ahead and mention it as a blast from the past post too if you would like.
- Get ahead and write up posts for when this is over, print out some marketing calendars and pre-select when and what days and times you are going to post.
This will give you a basis for how many and what kind of posts to come up with.
This is something innkeepers should be doing anyway but practicing this now if you are not already doing it, gets you into the gear of when things are back to normal and then you will hopefully start doing it automatically.
If nothing else at least do the holidays, any big events that you are pretty sure are going to still be on, i.e. after August? September? And any posts for specials or offers you do every year.
- So, if you do teas start getting ahead of pre-writing your posts and when we are back and busy again, you have them all set and maybe a little extra time to get ahead on future ones too at that point
- Get photos together, date them and label them, date the posts and put them in order, in a folder or folders where you can find them again and if you use the Facebook Scheduling tool, go ahead and schedule them in.
- Write up your posts in MS word, Notepad, Google docs or however you want to organize them, there is no bad or wrong way to do this.
Every year in the Lake Sunapee Area of New Hampshire, we have the Annual Craftsmen’s Fair. Usually, B&Bs and hotels and motels in the area are completely booked up. This year (if it happens, fingers crossed) it will be August 1st to the 9th, 2020. Hundreds of master craftsmen will showcase their one-of-a-kind arts and crafts at the Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, NH.
This is the kind of event that most properties will post online about at least once if not more leading up to the event. So, to use this “as an example”.
The start date is August 1st. In a normal season an inn would start posting about this mid-summer and in this particular case (depending on how things are going) we will stick with this for this example. I as an innkeeper want to get ahead of the game, I either have photos from past Craftmans fairs AND/OR I can buy them from a stock photo company AND/OR I can reach out to some of the 100s of craftsmen who will be there and request permission to use some of their photos and make sure it’s noted that you will be giving them credit and a link back to their websites.
You don’t have to follow this order or format, this is just to give you an example of pre-writing up posts to get ahead.
First post: We are so looking forward to the annual Craftman’s Fair this year. Last year we had guests from all over Etc. Etc.
Second post: write about one of the artists, or do multiple posts about the artists, make sure you link to their websites and social media if they have them, Etc. Etc.
Third post, talk about something you bought for the inn last year from the fair (with photo or photos of same) Etc. Etc.
Fourth post, By the way we fill up fast, make your reservation soon Etc. Etc.
Fifth post, Every year we volunteer at the chamber booth, we love doing it because we meet so many people. Etc.
I find it easiest when you are ahead of this to split your posts into topics/themes and put them in different documents. I like to use Google Docs for this https://www.google.com/docs/about/ so you can create both folders for the documents and associated folders, but you can also have one central document (ie your marketing schedule) linking to multiple sub-documents.
I also like to keep an online document in Google Sheets that link directly to websites or online tools that I use very frequently. Yes you can bookmark things, but I gave up when I had hundreds of things bookmarked and even putting bookmarks into folders was a pain because you had to remember which folder they were in. Using the Google docs suite (hey it’s free) to help get organized can be very useful for doing your online marketing. It is pretty much just like MS Office but even a bit more simplified.
I do not know which direction things will take us in, but learning more about social media, how to use the platforms, have a strategy can be useful for any type of business, so if you end up going from innkeeper to realtor or another profession at some point, these are all useful transferable skills. In Restore, Engage, Aggregate, De-stress and You for Innkeepers. I added quite a few links to other posts with resources, so if you are looking for something specific you may find it there and if you can’t find it please let me know and I will track something down for you.
Go forth and get ahead so you can get some heads in beds when the time comes. New Hampshire my home state just issued a stay at home order, so at least maybe I’ll get to catch up on some more blogs myself 🙂
And on a very personal note: I would pretty please ask, if people catch grammatical errors on anything I put out, please be kind enough to let me know by email or direct message instead of posting something in a forum. I do run these through grammarly and if time I ask someone else to proof them. I am dyslexic which quite frankly is non of most people’s damn business but getting snarky comments about a phrase “not being grammatically correct” tends to get me down especially when I am trying to help and working a bazillion hours overtime. ☹