BLOG September 17
Media Mania…Internet Insanity…Connectivity Convolutions…Facebook Frenzy…Twitter Turmoil… They taunt me, torment me, and trouble me.
One of the inn’s very first guests was shocked that we didn’t have a website. It became his mission to instruct me as to its necessity and how it worked. Until he received a very lucrative job designing a system for a major corporation, he educated me in the intrigue of the internet and started to build a website. Then I plunged in – I like to do a lot of things myself – because my husband and I had created the inn, I felt it imperative that I help create our inn’s website to reflect that creation. Just as the inn has undergone renovations, so have our websites – now, wisely, with the aid of professional developers.
Not only does a business require a website, it now must have total social media reach. You must have a facebook presence, accounts with twitter, Instagram, snap chat, linked in, and – most important –a BLOG………aaargh……enough…..too much…! It is important to keep in touch with your clients/guests/customers in a personal way….let them know what’s going on, why they should return, how much you want them to continue to be clients/guests/customers: the e-newsletter comes into play here. I recently read an article in which the author stated it mandatory that businesses have a “social ambassador”. (Great title for your resume!)
An inn (or business) can no longer operate on the internet on its own. It must have a presence on other webs (that connect to your web). Online travel agencies and online directories contact you to let you know that you are “just not getting seen out there by travelers”. Calls come in almost daily: “You are missing out on thousands of potential guests who come to our site first when they want to travel to or through an area.” List with them (for a generous commission) and be sure to keep your listing up-to-date, accurate and fresh, (and include an exclusive offer). It would be next to impossible for me to list all the directories that are coming on line for travelers, each claiming to appeal to a unique set of travelers, each offering you as “a very special lodging” the opportunity to list with them. Mind you, those listings for agencies and directories must fit their parameters, so you must spend time drafting copy especially for them. While doing all this you obey the commandment: GOOGLE does not want you to repeat any copy from one site to another or they will penalize your listing. (I think Google has an algorithm to test this!)
Meanwhile, I must keep our own website specials current, and its content fresh, up-to-date, and accurate so that people who explore our website find offers and information just for them as a reward for their efforts.
It is gratifying to receive comments on our e-newsletter from its recipients. My audience appreciates the communication and lets me know it. What more could any writer want?
So, I reluctantly accept the title of Social Ambassador for The Inn at Locke House and its community. It’s a job well worth doing.
There are options to save me time, but all these options cost money. Another hat, I do not always want to put on is budget. Our inn is our home and innkeeping is our way of life. We are the primary staff with limited hired help. Our budget is tight (must find a tighter word for tight). Some of the best decisions we made have been to contract with a top-notch reservation management system* with bells and whistles that keep me humming, and to have a top-notch website developer** do the latest renovation of our website. What’s best about both those companies is that they continue to educate their clients and that saves me precious time in many ways.
I could hire someone to write and upload copy to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. and write the inn’s newsletter and blog. But that is not for me – I love finding, shaping, remolding my thoughts by myself. I want to be the voice of our inn. Making this choice means more work at the computer and less time searching through my cookbooks for new recipes. But it also means I will post, tweet, insta, and twit a little less often, as well as ignore those dreaded Insights from Facebook letting me know how well my posts are performing – and that post “X” is performing so well that I should buy an ad to boost it!
But I just want to be an innkeeper. I want to provide a unique, lovely, comfortable, safe place for travelers. I want them to look at the beautiful gardens and vistas that I appreciate every day. I want them to take time to sit on the front porch, listen to birdsong, watch butterflies flit among the flowers, and glimpse feral cats slink around the grounds seeking gophers. I want them to breathe in fresh air, sleep in a comfortable bed that has fresh soft sheets and lovely covers. I want them to leisurely relish breakfasts and refreshments made from fresh local food that comes to our door and which I happily prepare every day. I want them to enjoy – for as long as they stay – the special feeling of being in an historic home in a small unassuming village, just as we do. Making all this happen takes time…precious, limited time. Innkeeping time nourishes my soul, encourages my curiosity, and impels me to write this blog. However, like it or not, being a professional innkeeper now includes the world of internet media and the job of “social ambassador”.
** Acorn Internet Services
#internet #social media #guest relations #innkeeping