Bed and Breakfast Blogs: Innkeepers Boost Marketing by Sharing Stories

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One industry that I think is fertile ground for marketing content is Bed and Breakfast inns. These inns provide a more picturesque, intimate experience than bigger hotels, and as far as I know, most of them seem to be run by the owners. So it seems to make perfect sense that innkeepers would blog about their inns. But do they?

Google Search for Bed and Breakfast BlogI searched for [bed and breakfast blog] on Google.

What surprised me is that most of these blogs haven’t been updated recently. If you look at this screenshot, one of these blogs was last updated in April! The blog with the most recent post (not in the screenshot) was on August 24.

I changed the search to pages updated in the last week, and got a wholly different set of results. Even so, one blog listed in the first page was updated 2 days ago; everything else was between 5-7 days.

The Blue Door on Baltimore, for example, has a charming blog with photos and behind-the-scenes info about the running of the inn, as well as tips on what to do in Baltimore. But the blog hasn’t been updated for over a year: there were three posts in the first week of June 2012, and nothing since. Is the inn still running?

Big Mill B&B’s innkeeper Chloe Tuttle shares recipes and local information on her blog. The blog is updated about 1-3 times a month, which is low for most businesses but seems outright prolific for a B&B blog.

Chloe's Blog

Inn Notes is a similar blog — similar content, similar post frequency. What’s interesting is there doesn’t seem to be a website: the blog just links to their Trip Advisor page and social media pages.

Blisswood Bed and Breakfast’s blog is more direct in its marketing: the post titles speak directly to the prospect and seem to be trying hard for some SEO-juice (“your unique Texax wedding venue,” “catch some fun (and fish),” “gather at BlissWood for your family reunion”) and tells you what you get, with photos of customers using those services. Every post has a call to action, with an number you can call.

Life in a Bed and Breakfast is more of a personal blog: the innkeeper writes about his work in the inn, especially in the garden, with lots of appealing photos. What I found surprising though, is there were no links to the inn’s website. Just one prominent link, please?

Claiborne House’s blog is frequently updated, with almost daily posts. But the posts are mostly informational: what you can do in the area, etc. Quick and efficient. I don’t like that you get the entire post as a pop-up when you click on the link.

Blog of Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast, Virginia

Hopton House in the U.K. has amazingly beautiful pictures. I wish they’d update it more often and add more text — lovely stories to go with the pictures would add so much more.

Hopton House

So what can we learn from these blogs, whether or not you’re a B&B innkeeper?

  • Post more frequently than the competition. Especially if you’re in a business where there aren’t a ton of popular blogs (unlike, say, marketing), writing more often will help you cut through the clutter and get you noticed more quickly.
  • Use photos. Photos add a lot of attraction to your blog or site, and you don’t have to be a professional photographer. We want to see what your business/team/product looks like.
  • Leverage others’ news. Don’t have enough to say about your business every week? Write about what’s happening in your industry: an event in your area, a customer who’s doing something interesting, even a competitor.
  • Help your reader. Provide recipes (how-to, informational guides) they can use.
  • Be personal. Especially for small businesses, your personality is important. Your customers need to trust you, to like you. Tell them about yourself and make it easier for them to know you.

How do other businesses blog? Check out this post on promotional products blogs!

13 thoughts on “Bed and Breakfast Blogs: Innkeepers Boost Marketing by Sharing Stories

  1. Great article Unmana. There is nothing worse than seeing a link to a blog on a B&B website and a blog article from two months ago. It does indeed put you off. Innkeeping blogs serve many purposes:

    The information blog articles – the more there is to do in the area the longer guests will stay. So for us, not being a “destination” B&B, and also not being in a touristy area, say like Freeport Maine, where people go to shop and eat lobster, we have to really work hard to bait to hook with additional things to see and do.

    If we can have guests stay one additional night, it makes a huge difference in economic impact in our area, not to mention to the owners of this B&B, being me. Shellie

    Our posts are about the innkeepers themselves every 10 or so (just to keep it real and some guests innjoy seeing the behind the scenes stuff), but cooking and recipes are a dime a dozen online. Most innkeepers do not have the capability of producing decent food images for their blog, and in fact they shouldn’t! If they share something that doesn’t look fantastic is has the opposite marketing effect.

    Here is a current screen shot:

    1. Tony (outside innkeeper) building the fence along the front of the property (with a ton of photos)
    2. “Salvage Dawgs” is a huge success on HGTV right now and our guests came here this past week to visit them in Roanoke
    3. A new recipe I was trying using a Panini iron – Monte Cristo sandwich
    4. Balloon Classic at our LARGE LAKE

    Thank you for sharing our blog.
    HAPPY BLOGGING!

    The Claiborne House B&B of Virginia

    1. Thanks for coming over and commenting! I kept it brief in the blog post, but I definitely think it’s a good idea to write about local events and attractions (in fact, I highlight that in my closing points).

      I like that you post so often, and I see you have several new posts since I took this screenshot last week!

      1. You motivated me to update the blog with a new header and remove the “magazine style” that had each page open separately. I use so many images (that I take personally) that I wanted it to be more concise, but I believe that I needed to remove that format due to the devices that we all use to view blogs, vs desktop pcs. Thanks for the great article, I have passed it on!

  2. If owning a B&B was a perfect world, you would see blog posts more frequently and with lots of links, pictures and content that is promoted widely on social media on the forums that exist. However, as the sole owner of a 3 room B&B with an occupancy rate of 92% for August, which is going to bring a better return? Spending my time writing blog posts and social media, or making sure my guests have the absolute best stay I can provide? Since my guests find me via my TripAdvisor reviews, it is the latter. While blogging and social media are great, it is more important to know where your potential guests are looking for you, and being prominent in that forum.

    Innkeeper VA is a different breed than most of us, and I have no idea how she finds the time to be so creative. However, before you start to criticize and tell us “What we should be doing”, I would strongly suggest you spend a day in a B&B owner’s shoes so that you have some idea of the reality that we operate in!

    1. I wasn’t trying to criticize, but to take inspiration. I did want to see if more frequently updated blogs are easier to find through search. And since a B&B owner who does find time to blog regularly probably uses it as a marketing channel than as just a mode of self-expression, I wanted to concentrate on such blogs.

      But thank you for reading and commenting. I’m not arguing with your contention that it’s better to focus on one or two channels that are more effective for you.

  3. Hi Unmana,

    Thanks so much for noticing Life in a Bed & Breakfast. We may not get points for posting frequently but we have hung in with the blog since 2008. Five years seems a very long time online. Just have to be in the mood to write or share photography.

    I am now the “ancient innkeeper”‘ of Vancouver’s West End with 23 years in the bed and breakfast business. Still – when it comes to marketing – I am grateful for your commentary. I have now added a prominent link to the B & B website from a new house photo on top of the blog. Also updated my own photo for that personal touch;)

    All the best, David

    1. Thank you very much for taking the time to respond! I agree, five years is a long time to be blogging, and I do like your blog very much: both the photos and the commentary makes me feel like I’m there!

      I’m glad you put up that link and photo :)

  4. One B&B blog I used to like is that of Acres Wild (http://www.acres-wild.com/Blog.shtml), a farmstay in the Nilgiris. However, one side effect of perhaps their becoming more famous is that it has become less personal and homey. In the early days, it really used to be a glimpse into life at Acres Wild, ups and downs and was one of the things that got me to there.

  5. Thank you for the inspiration. I am one that blog on occasion instead of consistent and your article has let the match. I do follow InnkeepVA’s blog, she does a phenomenal job staying in the media eye.
    Now to the blog…….

      1. Hey interesting to read, but fortunately I am not a blogger, but what I have found helps my bed & breakfast business a lot is my facebook page. This I try to keep updating regularly. Like my page Elephant Corridor Coorg on fb n see what I mean

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