[00:00:00] Hi, it's Karen here. I'm the founder and owner of Bed and Breakfast Academy, helping aspiring and existing B& B owners to create a B& B lifestyle you'll love living and to attract guests who become loyal fans and repeat customers. It's my third attempt at this. Um, podcasts recording it, we've just had a Chinook going over rather loudly, which set the dogs off.
Um, that then upset one of my dogs who came under my desk and started, sucking on her blanket to soothe herself, which she's currently doing. So apologies if there's any background noise. And then we had what sounded like a Spitfire going over. There is, I think, a Spitfire locally that does sort of tourist trips.
Uh, across the county, so that doesn't sound as ridiculous as it might. If you're new to this podcast, hello. I've been [00:01:00] running B& B Academy since 2006 and have trained many hundreds of B& B owners over the years. Pre COVID, I ran classroom training courses but now I deliver all of my training online apart from the occasional course locally.
The great advantage of training online is that you can do the training at your own pace and I'm able to deliver much more consistent content. I now have an online course on how to set up, run and market a B& B as well as a mini workshop on the first steps of running a B& B. The mini workshop is ideal if you're still thinking about whether running a B& B is right for you or if you want to learn about the first steps you need to take if you're setting up and that comes with some nice bonuses as well.
Head over to bnbacademy. co. uk where you'll find both courses. on the menu bar, as well as a blog with hundreds of blog posts about setting [00:02:00] up, running a marketing, marketing a bed and breakfast. This week is tip number three for taking charge of your BNB marketing in 2024. A little series that I'm running over the year.
I am aiming to deliver 52 ideas for you in how to market your BNB in just a short time each week. Just taking those tiny steps to take more control of your own marketing and hopefully generate more direct income. In the last two podcasts and blogs, I guided you through creating a smile file, which is really your treasure trove.
of positive content, words and phrases, which is important for helping you to create effective content for your marketing. And then last week I introduced you to content buckets. You can go back and read those blog posts [00:03:00] or You can check them out on the podcast, so that'd be podcast number 19 and 20.
Today I wanted to walk you through another useful source for your content, which is Frequently Asked Questions. Like the smile file, you'll want to create a document for this. So whenever you get asked a question, you can make a record of them. Frequently Asked Questions is probably obvious from the name, but I'll Go through how to use them anyway.
Safi really is getting into that blanket. I'm wondering how my microphone is going to pick that up. When I was recording earlier, when the, when the dog started barking, it was quite funny because the software I use automatically creates a transcript and it actually. Transcripted woof woof, which, um, I thought was quite amusing.
Anyway, so there are questions that guests are often asking about your bed and breakfast, or there might be types of questions that you [00:04:00] may be asking yourself when you are booking a holiday away. So next time you go to book a holiday, You know, make a note of the sorts of questions that are coming up in your mind, because those are potentially questions that your guests are asking when they're looking to stay with you or deciding whether to stay with you as opposed to the B& B next door.
Having a list of these questions and answers is more than useful just for your marketing. Being able to answer a prospective guest's Question quickly and accurately is important for your business, especially when they may be asking a difficult question due to your policies. I find it really difficult to think of good answers on the fly, and I've had quite a few cases where I've messed things up on the phone with guests because I didn't have enough off the head answer for their difficult questions.
An example of the policy that people don't like sometimes is, well, two policies. I don't take children at my B& [00:05:00] B or one night stays and these would sometimes generate quite aggressive responses from callers and I remember I was on the Jeremy Vine show. I always want to say the Jeremy Kyle show. I have never been on the Jeremy Kyle show, but I was invited on the Jeremy Vine Radio 2 show as a guest to talk about Ben Breakfasts.
It was an unusual experience. It wasn't what I was expecting. I made the mistake, I'd never, never listened to the show before I went on it. So I, the producer rang me up beforehand and asked me all these questions and told me what Jeremy was going to ask. And of course it, it just, it didn't happen like that.
But anyway, I was on, um, very active on Twitter at the time and I got lots of fantastic responses from people saying, Oh, we heard you, it was great, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I got my first troll on Twitter and, which isn't bad, with 14, 000 followers, not bad. He was quite aggressive and used to say, Well, [00:06:00] it's disgusting that you take.
dogs at your B& B but you don't take children. I had a look at his profile and he didn't have many followers and he was someone that went around making negative comments so I just ignored it and sometimes that is the best response when you do get a drool on Twitter. Anyway, If a prospective guest is challenging you, either on a phone call or potentially by email or social media these days, it can be really useful to have an answer that you always give rather than having to think on the fly, which, as I've said, is something I'm pretty rubbish at.
So in response to having a minimum two night stay policy, a typical response might be, Thank you for asking about a one night stay. I do have a minimum two night stay policy. I aim to offer a high quality experience here at the B& B with extras like a whole cake in the room, etc. [00:07:00] These extras coupled with the time and effort means that a one night stays just aren't cost effective for me.
I run the B& B on my own. We do have a couple of local B& Bs that welcome one night stays. I'd be happy to share their details with you if you'd like. Now reading that out, that sounds a bit too long winded for a telephone call, but it would work potentially on a website or as a social media response or an email response.
As for the no children policy, a typical answer might be thank you for your inquiry. I've decided not to host children under 18 to maintain a quiet and relaxing atmosphere with all guests. Many of our guests are parents away for a bit of grown up time or grandparents taking a break from childcare duties.
And they are specifically looking for a B& B with an adult only policy. I'd be happy to recommend a great local B& B that does welcome families. Again, that was a bit [00:08:00] too long winded for a phone call. But you might just say, we, we don't accept children at our B& B, but I'd be very happy to welcome, uh, recommend a local, or do you want me to recommend a local B& B that welcomes family?
We've got a great one locally. All right. Quite often found that if I explain to guests why I had the policies in place, they were far more understanding and less likely to try and break my rules. Running the business on my own and six miles away from the nearest supermarket. Um, and that wasn't the supermarket I used.
I actually, my favourite supermarket is 11 miles away. I think guest checking early really was an inconvenience. I, I really did need all of the time between guest checking in and out, to change over the room, drive to the shops for supplies, make cake, biscuits, go to appointments, walk the dogs, have a shower.
I certainly wasn't spending the, the afternoon swinging on a hammock with a Budweiser in my hand getting angry if people turned up at quarter to four. So on my website it actually [00:09:00] said check in is between four and seven. I'm sorry I can't accept an earlier check in as I need that time to get your room ready, shop supplies and walk the dogs.
If you're planning to arrive after seven please let me know as we occasionally have evening plans and want to ensure that someone is here to welcome you or make alternative arrangements for you to let yourself into your room. I used to find that worked really well and I got very few people who didn't.
Check in between that four and seven, or let me know if they were going to be arriving later. There's nothing like the thought that they're going to turn up at B& B and there might be no one to actually let them in, to, to focus your mind and do what you're being asked. With Frequently Asked Questions, it's really useful to have a dedicated page for them on your website, so guests have them all in one place, uh, so they can go to get all of their questions answered.
rather than having to trawl through your website to find them. Now we all know that [00:10:00] not everyone is going to read them but it will reduce the number of questions you have and hopefully the number of misunderstandings you have for people to turn up at your B& B at your B& B and expecting something different.
And remember your guest's journey starts right at the point of booking. That's your guest's customer journey as opposed to their journey from If your website has everything they need to easily make the booking decision, they're more likely to stay with you than another similar B& B who doesn't make it so easy.
You might be wondering how to use the answers to the FAQs in your marketing. So, for example, if a common, frequently asked question is do you have parking at your B& B or how much parking do you have? A picture of five cars in your car park or a parking permit for a nearby street aren't the prettiest posts for Instagram. But you could do a blog post or an [00:11:00] Instagram carousel. That's a carousel is where you can have up to 10 photos on one post on Instagram that people scroll through.
Or even a reel such as 10 facilities or amenities guests love at our B& B. The main picture could be some arty and arty. photo of your toiletries or your cake and then you could include something about the parking in there. There is marketing you can do about the experience the guests will have at the B& B itself, but there also are potential questions about the surrounding area.
If your guests typically always visit a local town, in our case it's, it was Ludlow, you might think about writing a post to discuss the beauty of the town, the historic castles or churches.
But many people can get quite anxious when they go to a new place. And it's the practical aspects that they worry about most. Where can they park? How much [00:12:00] is parking? Are there disabled parking spots? Where are the public loos? Can they get food all day? Where's the nearest petrol station? What's the best journey to take to get there?
Can they get public transport? And if you're running a self catering rather than a B& B, people will also want to know about where the nearest food shops are. In March we stayed at a holiday cottage in Cornwall which had a great log burner but they had only supplied logs for one fire. And there was no information about where to go to buy more logs locally.
It took us quite a bit of time on Google and then probably half a day of driving around to finally find somewhere that would sell a small bag of logs to us. And as I said, it's a great idea to include practical hints and tips in a blog post, or even in that Instagram carousel. I am one of those. people who likes to do a bit of planning when I'm going away.
We visited Oregon [00:13:00] a few years ago, and we were planning a visit to Cannon Beach, which is very famous and it's a very popular area. And I wanted to plan our day ahead. I did a Google search for where to park at Cannon Beach and a blog post came up with lots of practical hints and tips about planning a visit to the area.
Now there are hundreds of blog posts about the beauty of the area and things to do, but that was just one. In fact, it was the only one I could find which told me about all the practicalities. So I hope that has given you some ideas for how you might use your FAQs in your blog posts or in your social media posts.
Well, it's great. Thank you for listening for me today. We managed to get through that recording with no woof woofs, and I look forward to speaking with you next time. I haven't quite decided what I'm going to talk about yet, but I'm sure [00:14:00] something will come to me at three o'clock in the morning sometime this week.
Do head over to my website, bandbacademy. co. uk For many more blogs and also a growing library of podcast episodes. And as I said, you can find my main online BNB course there, how to set up, run and market a BNB and also that mini workshop I talked about, which is first steps to running a bed and breakfast.
Thanks for listening.