Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Acorn-IS: Marketing, Web Design, and What Google Wants

In this age of car and office-space sharing, think of Acorn Internet Services as your “internet marketing and education department for hire". Innkeepers are juggling a multitude of tasks every day; finding time to keep up with what Google wants next is often not high on their daily task list. That’s where Lisa Kolb and her team of experts can help. They will be attending the 2016 MidAtlantic Innkeepers Trade Show & Conference, and here’s what Lisa hopes innkeepers will take away from this year’s conference.

Pete/MAI: Why you will attend the MidAtlantic conference in 2016?
Lisa/Acorn: Innkeepers today MUST have some basic knowledge about marketing. Without it they simply cannot make wise business decisions. We believe in providing that type of education, and MidAtlantic is a great place to share what we know works.

Pete/MAI: What you hope to share with aspiring and veteran innkeepers at this year’s conference?
Lisa/Acorn: Several things are on my agenda for sharing this year:
1.  How to do your level best to avoid having your website hacked.
2.  Understanding what Google wants (it is ever changing!).
3.  Why you need to care what Google wants.
4.  Quick and easy tools that will tell you if your online presence is doing well or not.

Pete/MAI: Will you be offering any conference specials?
Lisa/Acorn: Not literally, but we hope innkeepers will come away from this conference wanting to learn more.  We believe our Acorn University webinar classes provide an excellent value to aspiring and active innkeepers to keep up with internet marketing trends throughout the year. They can stop by our booth on the trade show floor and learn more, or visit our website for the details.

Pete/MAI: Are there any new products/services/techniques you will be introducing in 2016? Lisa/Acorn: Anyone who uses an online reservation booking system needs to think about moving to Universal Analtyics. It's been available for years, but so many reservation booking systems didn't support it right away.  However, they do now, so this is something an innkeeper can activate to enhance their statistics reporting.
Tip: make sure your involve webmaster in this process in order to carefully connect your website and booking system.

Pete/MAI: Share with our innkeepers a little-known fact about you or your company.
Lisa/Acorn: Many of our team members are current or retired Innkeepers, association presidents & marketing chairs. We have THREE second generation innkeepers: kids who grew up at their parents inns, went off to school and are now working for us (2 of our programmers and one designer). Many  many others on the Acorn team have worked in our industry for other companies before joining us. There is no other provider out there that knows your business like our team does. They've actually lived it too!

We have been most fortunate not only to have Acorn Internet Services attend MidAtlantic conferences over the years, but support our aspiring and veteran innkeepers with educational presentations in our workshops.  Be sure to checkout the program schedule for this years conference and hear what Lisa has to say first hand. 

See you in Williamsburg Virginia on March 6-7-8, 2016!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

RezOvation: Desktop & Mobile Innkeeper Booking Solutions

Handling guest reservations is one of the most critical elements of inn keeping; RezOvation has long been a leader in helping innkeepers meet that objective. We had a conversation with Benjamin Joseph of RezOvation in the run-up to the 2016 MidAtlantic Innkeepers Trade Show & Conference about the evolution of technology and how they continue to help innkeepers keep pace with those changes.

Pete/MAI: Why will you attend the MidAtlantic conference in 2016?
Benjamin/RezO: RezOvation is excited to attend the MidAtlantic Innkeeper Conference because we truly enjoy visiting with our customers and other Innkeepers. We know we have a great solution for Innkeepers that is affordable, that saves them time, that provides distribution capabilities like no other software provider, and that has features to improve and streamline operations.

Pete/MAI: What you hope to share with aspiring and veteran innkeepers in 2016?
Benjamin/RezO: Mobile usage in the travel industry is continuing to increase at record pace and we’re happy to share that we have a mobile solutions for Innkeepers and for travelers. Our mobile responsive booking engine gives travelers what they expect – an easy and convenient way to make their reservation via a mobile device. For Innkeepers, we have a mobile web app for them to use while on-the-go. There is nothing to download and Innkeepers can create reservations, take payments, view arrivals, view occupancy information, view & modify customized guest notes and more, all from their mobile device.

Pete/MAI: Are there any new products/services you will be introducing in 2016?
Benjamin/RezO: We will be showcasing our mobile solutions and will continue to enhance the usability and features in RezOvation Web, especially the dynamic occupancy map, which is the feature most Innkeepers rave about!

Pete/MAI: Tell me about the conference special you be offering to anyone doing business with you during the conference/on the trade show floor.
Benjamin/RezO: Sign up for RezOvation Web during the conference and get 6 months free. We will also have a drawing for an Amazon gift card – stop by our booth to say hello, drop off your business card, and you will be entered for a chance to win.

Pete/MAI: Is there a little-known fact about you, your company, or your products & services you can share with us?
Benjamin/RezO: RezOvation and Webervations have been suppliers to the innkeeping industry for 20 years and over 7,500 properties actively use one of our software products. RezOvation Web is the leading web-based Bed and Breakfast software designed to provide Innkeepers with the tools to save them time, increase their occupancy, and provide them with the freedom and peace of mind to run their business online securely from anywhere. Our software is affordably priced, fully PCI certified on the latest PA-DSS standard, connects to GDS partners, and is the primary software that seamlessly synchronizes with BedandBreakfast.com merchant online reservations program. Our prices include setup, training, technical support, data backups, marketing tools, automated emails, special occasion emails, ability to sell gift certificates, promo codes, and much more! Contact us at sales@rezovation.com or give us a call at 877.239.1398.

Aspiring and veteran innkeepers will not want to miss stopping by the RezOvation booth on the MidAtlantic Innkeepers trade show floor and visiting with Benjamin about streamlining the mobile booking experience for their guests. There is always something new to learn, and we count on our quality vendors to keep us up to date!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Turkish Towel Company: Innkeepers Love New Robes & Towels

Count on The Turkish Towel Company to supply your inn with one of the many delights guests enjoy when staying with you: luscious towels and robes! Twyla Sickmiller will be joining us at the MidAtlantic Innkeepers Trade Show & Conference this Spring, and her travel cases will be brimming over with new products to share with you! I always enjoy my conversations with Twyla, here’s what she had to say.

Pete/MAI: Why will you be attending the MidAtlantic Conference in 2016?
Twyla/TTC: I love meeting with all the innkeepers and sharing new ideas and products and the MidAtlantic conference brings in lots of inns who can't easily travel to some of the other conference locations around the country.

Pete/MAI: What will you be sharing with our aspiring and veteran innkeepers this year?
Twyla/TTC: We are working on some new towels and also I have some new towel and napkins folding techniques that I would love to share with our Innkeepers. They work every morning to set a lovely table, and I think they will enjoy a fresh way to enhance the guest’s breakfast experience.

Pete/MAI: You mentioned new towels … what is special about this new product introduction that innkeepers can look forward to when we meet in Williamsburg?
Twyla/TTC: Our new towels are environmentally superb, the innkeepers will love them. They dry in a lot less time – and we know how important that can be with the volume of laundry they handle every day. Plus I have a few new surprises … you’ll just have to stop by my booth!

Pete/MAI: what conference special will you be offering to anyone doing business with you during the conference/on the trade show floor?
Twyla/TTC: We love offering a great gift of one of our Black Makeup Washcloths. With a $500 order, we will gift you a full dozen of those amazing black washcloths – you’ll never have to fuss over removing make-up stains again!

Pete/MAI: Share with us a little-known fact about you, your company, or your products and services.
Twyla/TTC: I love the fact that we are the manufacturer of our products, and as a former innkeeper I "get it" when it comes to saving the innkeepers money!

As always, we look forward to spending time at The Turkish Towel Company’s booth and doing business with Twyla. Stop in, caress her towels and robes, learn her latest napkin folding tips, and be ready to do some shopping.

Remember, the MidAtlantic Innkeepers Trade Show & Conference takes place March 6-7-8, 2016 in Williamsburg, Virginia.  Visit our website for details and register soon - see you there!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hand Crafted Pillows and Rugs by J&S International

From elegant to exotic, J&S International has been delivering the goods to innkeepers: high quality pillows and rugs custom designed and hand crafted during their travels to the far corners of the globe find their way into bed and breakfasts around the country. Here is what Jay Sethi shared with us during our recent conversation about attending this year’s MidAtlantic Innkeepers Tradeshow & Conference.

Pete/MAI: Why will you will be attending the MidAtlantic conference again in 2016?
I have been a loyal participant right from the inception of the Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Tradeshow & Conference. You and your staff manage it with great enthusiasm and professionalism. I like it!!

Pete/MAI: What you hope to share with aspiring and veteran innkeepers in 2016?
Jay/J&S: I love to share my story of "FROM DRUGS TO RUGS & PILLOWS".
In my past life, I was an Oncologist for 35 years. Now I design Rugs & Pillows!! The art of applying my designs to the fabric is performed only in Kashmir, India and nowhere else in the world. Innkeepers have the opportunity to purchase a truly unique and high-quality design element that will enhance their inn and more than delight their guests.

Pete/MAI: What new products will you be introducing in 2016?
Jay/J&S: I am introducing for the first time several new designs in our 24 inch x 24 inch sized pillows. Be sure to stop by my booth on the trade show floor and see for yourself … they are gorgeous!

Pete/MAI: What conference special will you be offering to anyone doing business with you during the conference and on the trade show floor?
Jay/J&S: I am offering 20% off of the wholesale price as a Conference special --- a significant savings to the innkeepers, and a great incentive to do business with trade show vendors!

Pete/MAI: Tell us a little-known fact about you, your company, or your products & services:
Jay/J&S: J &S International story is based on passion, and "GIVING BACK". This is what keeps me going. The hand-made products (our rugs and pillows) are a piece of art and I feel good about supporting these extraordinary artisans.

For our Aspiring Innkeepers working out their interior decorating design concepts to those perspiring innkeepers interested in redecorating a room, or just freshening up a cozy corner, chances are you will find something special when you stop by the J&S International vendor booth at the MidAtlantic Innkeepers Tradeshow & Conference taking place March 6-8, 2016 in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Bring your wish list and be prepared to do business with Jay Sethi!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Victorian House Scones Take Instant Scone Mix Up a Notch

Victorian House Scone Mixes
Solving a problem or meeting an industry challenge is one of the many ways our vendor partners contribute to the success of our annual MidAtlantic Innkeepers Tradeshow & Conference. If you are an innkeeper dreaming about a little more help in the kitchen, why not make Victorian House Scones a part of your morning routine! Here’s what Debbie Anderson of Victorian House Scones the quality and convenience of her food products.

Pete/MAI: Tell our innkeepers why you will attend the MidAtlantic conference again in 2016?
Debbie/VHS: There are so many reasons we attend Mid-Atlantic. Included among those is that it is a happy and successful regional show, and brings in innkeepers from up and down the east coast--and reaches into the mid-west regions as well. It provides great value for the dollar (both the dollars of the attendees as well as the vendors), for it has all the benefits of the large national shows at a fraction of the cost. Added to that the time of year, the interesting venues, the great attendees--and a thoughtful coordinator.

Pete/MAI: What you hope to share with aspiring and veteran innkeepers in 2016 (tricks & tips for the unexpected breakfast guest, maybe gluten intolerant?)
Debbie/VHS: We will demonstrate how we can help the busy innkeeper provide from scratch baked goods (scones, biscuits, muffins, short-breads, pancakes) easily with minimal time and effort (and yes, starting with our 'mix'). We only call it a mix because there is no other category other than to say that the scone fairy showed up in the middle of the night, measured out all the ingredients, and left them in your bowl, waiting for you to add all the perishables and creativity!

Pete/MAI: What new products/services/techniques you might be introducing in 2016?
Debbie/VHS: No new products per se ... but our flavors are always 'new', since you can create any flavor you can imagine (or what your pantry has to offer!) for your scones or pancakes.

Pete/MAI: What conference special will you be offering to anyone doing business with you during the conference/on the trade show floor?
Debbie/VHS: Freshly baked scones are available for sampling all day at our booth. We offer a 5% discount YEAR ROUND to innkeepers on all our products. We also offer our User's Guide free with your first order of $20, and a reduced ($35-50) Private Label design fee. These "Show Specials" apply year round and are exclusive to innkeepers.

Pete/MAI: Share a little-known fact about you, your company, or your products & services:
1. That our nick-names are "Sconelady" and "Sherpa" (Sherpa is also known as Chief Guinea Pig).
2. That all our mixes are created BY HAND, one ingredient at a time--just as if you were standing at your kitchen counter measuring out each ingredient into your mixing bowl. Consider it to be from scratch baking--with just a little bit of help from your prep chef!

If you are an aspiring or veteran innkeeper looking for ways to trim a little bit of time out of your morning breakfast prep tasks without sacrificing quality, it seems to me that stocking your pantry with Victorian House Scone Mixes is the perfect solution!

I have made them myself and shared them with friends and family – I have even shipped them across the country to some of our supporting vendors – and everyone loves them! Stop by Debbie’s booth at the MidAtlantic Innkeepers Tradeshow & Conference in March 2016 and place your order before you head back to your inn!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Virginia Inn Brokers: Buying or Selling the Perfect Inn

Virginia Inn Brokers / TMG Three Mule Group
How often do you have the chance to interview yourself? It’s a rather interesting experience since I wear both the Coordinator hat for the MidAtlantic Innkeepers Tradeshow and Conference as well as Inn Consultant at Virginia Inn Brokers! Here’s what I heard myself saying as I sat down for a quiet moment and pondered the same questions I have been asking other conference attendees.

Pete/MAI: What made you decide to include a presence for Virginia Inn Brokers at the MidAtlantic conference in 2016?
Pete/VIB: I love the B&B industry (don’t forget, I was once a proud innkeeper myself) and have been involved with it since 1988! MAI gives me the opportunity to network with so many innkeepers and to pick their brains on what is working for them in this ever-changing world of innkeeping.

Pete/MAI: Are there any tips you can share with innkeepers for marketing their inn for sale? Pete/VIB: There are few "tricks of the trade" in marketing B&B's and Country Inns for sale. My philosophy has always been that a Seller must state the financial position of the Inn with the utmost integrity. Buyers are often willing to pay a little more for the Inn that touches their hearts.

Pete/MAI: What little-known fact about you or your company would our readers appreciate? Pete/VIB: TMG, the Virginia Inn Brokers have been involved in the transfer of more than 50 Inns and B&B's in Virginia alone and we have assisted Buyers and Sellers in many other surrounding states.

Since 1992, Virginia Inn Brokers has been privileged to represent aspiring innkeepers looking for their dream inn and veteran innkeepers saying goodbye to the successful inns they have built.  We are expert at handling either the buying or selling side of the transaction.

Find me (Pete Holladay) at the MidAtlantic Innkeepers Tradeshow and Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia on March 6-7-8, 2016 and let’s have a conversation about how I can help you with the next chapter of your life.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

BedandBreakfast.com: Travel Trends and Innkeeper Deals

It is always great fun to talk with Janice Hurley of BedandBreakfast.com. We had a chance to chat with her and gain a little insight into what aspiring and long-time innkeepers can expect when they stop by their booth at the 2016 MidAtlantic Innkeepers Tradeshow & Conference. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation.

Pete/MAI: Janice, why you will attend the MidAtlantic conference again in 2016?
Janice/BB.com: We believe in supporting all state, regional and national bed and breakfast associations. MidAtlantic is a great opportunity to connect with Innkeepers from multiple states all gathered under one roof!

Pete/MAI: What you hope to share with aspiring and veteran innkeepers in 2016?
Janice/BB.com: There is a lot to share this year Pete – including detailed information dissecting BedandBreakfast.com's quarterly traveler trends surveys. We conduct quarterly surveys of thousands of B&B goers so as to better learn how we, as an industry, can always stay ahead of and surpass traveler expectations. In our surveys we monitor many things including online booking habits, triggers that get folks to book, etc., but in particular, trends among those folks who specifically love staying at B&Bs. In our Traveler Trends presentation we'll dig deeper into some of the trends we're seeing, and share various ways in which innkeepers can capitalize on the ever-emerging trends of today's traveler.

Pete/MAI: What new products/services/techniques you might be introducing in 2016 – any teasers to entice our readers?
Janice/BB.com: As a matter of fact, BedandBreakfast.com will be announcing connectivity to additional property management software companies! Providing more choice for our members is our goal – so innkeepers should be sure to stop by my booth to learn more!

Pete/MAI: What conference special will you be offering to innkeepers doing business with you during the conference?
Janice/BB.com: We’ve got some really great trade show floor deals this year Pete, here’s the tip-sheet for your innkeepers:

RezOvation Software:
Sign up for Online Reservations with BedandBreakfast.com and get 6 months of RezOvation Web for free*!
*valid for new RezOvation Web customers only BedandBreakfast.com

Online Reservations:
Wondering how to tap into the OTA sites (Online Travel Agency) like Expedia, Travelocity, Hotels.com, Priceline? Ask me about our Online Reservation program and how you can get a free second city listing or membership upgrade.

BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection:
We’re offering members a risk-free opportunity to experience this top billing, high exposure program on a trial basis. Talk to me or Tim Wilson about the details

Pete/MAI: Before we end our chat, share with our readers a little-known fact about you, your company, or your products & services.
Janice/BB.com: We are the most comprehensive global site for inspiring, planning and booking B&B travel. We represent more than 12,000 properties and nearly 75,000 rooms. Do you know about our Getaway Gift Card program? Ask me when you stop by my booth at the MidAtlantic conference!

As always, BedandBreakfast.com is at the forefront of promoting the innkeeping industry to travelers around the globe. Don’t miss the chance to benefit from this long-standing, high profile hospitality marketing powerhouse. Talk to Janice at the MidAtlantic Innkeepers Tradeshow and Conference when we gather in Williamsburg VA in March 2016.