Latest Posts

The 5 Best Patio area Umbrella Designs For BNBs

A good patio area umbrella is will not only make your BNBs look better, but it will color you from the scorching warmth on those hot summertime days and add a dash of shade and design to any kind of outside location. Only by being well educated concerning these popular outdoor patio umbrella styles can a property owner find the excellent color carrier for any exterior place. A simple Umbrella in the patio will make your BNBs so much better. I saw this one Cantilever umbrellas in Brisbane BNB and it perfectly adds up to the overall beauty of the place. To know more about the Patio Umbrellas, read on below.

1. Off-Set Patio Umbrellas

Basically, these patio umbrellas are supported by a pole and base on one side of the canopy rather of in the center. This unique style enables one to get the benefits of color without obstructing the center of the table, as well as the sight.

The base of the stand will certainly be off sideways, and also the umbrella will cover anything from an outdooring table that lacks a center hole for the pole to huge sitting locations for loved ones. One disadvantage of off-set patio area umbrellas are their absence of mobility. As a result of the nature of their layout, they require substantial bases to sustain the arcing arm as well as umbrella, making them much heavier compared to various other umbrellas.

2. Patio Table Umbrellas

The most typical strategy to outside shading are patio table umbrellas. These umbrellas are essentially like large rain umbrellas that remain upright and also fit in the facility opening of a patio area table, giving much invited color for those sitting around the table appreciating their beverage as well as food on it.

So as not to put any type of excessive stress and anxiety on the table, these umbrellas typically feature their very own base to sustain themselves. This type of umbrella is sometimes thought to be a Retractable Awnings but they are different.

Choosing the Suitable Size Outdoor patio Umbrella

It is important that property owners choose an outdoor patio table umbrella that is sufficient to cover a specific table, but not be so huge regarding take the chance of dropping. These umbrellas come in various dimensions, and also each one has a specific scenario that it is best suited for.
If you are uncertain which size you need to acquire because of an unusual table size, an excellent general rule is to pick one with a size that is 4 feet much longer compared to the table. This general policy could aid house owners on selecting an umbrella that will offer sufficient color for their table without having to adjust the location due to the sun’s place.

3. Business Patio Umbrellas

Homeowners that have large locations they wish to cover as well as want a sturdier, durable option should look no further than a commercial patio area umbrella. These umbrellas are commonly used by restaurants and also resorts, and also includes commercial-grade that is much more resilient that household versions.

One disadvantage is that the selections of style offered could be restricted, however homeowners that want to have a long-last umbrella ought to still consider this over reduced top quality alternatives. One of the best Business Patio Umbrella I saw was offered by Boss Shade, it looks great and neat and very durable.

4. Tilt Umbrellas

As the name recommends, tilt umbrellas are created to have an extra joint approximately 3 quarters of the way up the pole that allows it to pivot to ensure that the canopy is at an angle.

Patios that experience an abundance of sunshine throughout the day can make wonderful use of this style. As the sunlight moves over the training course of the day, one requirement only to readjust the tilt of the umbrella to redeem the color they had earlier.

5. Patio Sail Umbrellas

In plain comparison to traditional umbrella design, an

outdoor patio sail umbrella is generally a tri-cornered piece of umbrella fabric that house owners could tie above their patio area furniture set or table. The advantage of this style is that it removes the should make use of clumsy, heavy bases that could obstruct furniture as well as foot traffic.

Like other quality commercial as well as household umbrellas, the sail is built from UV-resistant materials that are effective also in the brightest sunlight.

Thinking about Structure Product in a Patio Umbrella

Furthermore, homeowners ought likewise to explore the material used in the frame of a patio area umbrella before settling their purchase. Many modern-day umbrellas are made either with wood, light weight aluminum, or fiberglass. Wood structure umbrellas are suitable for rustic settings or for people who do not mind a much heavier, stronger umbrella.

Light weight aluminum is on the other end of the range, providing property owners with an exceptionally light choice however might not be excellent for extended, hefty use. An alternative that has the most effective of both worlds is fiberglass, since it has the stamina of wood while also sporting a lighter design.

Few things are a lot more enjoyable compared to grabbing a little bit of color from the scorching warmth when summer is in complete swing. With the correct patio area umbrella, you will be able to make the most out of your patio area as well as take pleasure in the outdoor weather despite exactly how warm or warm it obtains.

If you would like to see more Patio Umbrellas, you can check out Boss Shade Facebook. Boss Shade Umbrellas and Awnings is the benchmark of international Umbrellas and remote control Retractable Awning excellence.

Top 5 B&B in US

Today’s post will showcase the top 5 bed and breakfast in USA. They have been selected and awarded by none other than BedAndBreakfast.com. These inns are selected by 3 judges coming from 3 reputable websites. They are Caroline Morse, senior editor at SmarterTravelStirling Kelso, freelance travel writer and editor, and Robert Firpo-Cappiello, editor in chief at Budget Travel.

Manor House Inn

BAR HARBOR, MAINE

This Diamond Collection B&B set within walking distance of Acadia National Park earns guests’ praise for its very convenient location and impressive amenities. According to one traveler, “The inn was immaculate! We enjoyed the refreshing afternoon snacks while sitting in the sun on the wrap-around porch adorned with those nice decorative outdoor screens.”

Gosby House Inn, a Four Sisters Inn

PACIFIC GROVE, CALIFORNIA

“The hotel is walking distance from most points of interest, including the aquarium and Fisherman’s Wharf. This is a fantastic B&B and a great place for exploring Monterey,” writes a guest. Gosby House Inn is a Victorian property set on the Monterey Peninsula, just a few blocks from the ocean. Rooms have private balconies, working fireplaces and water views.

Inn at Ullikana

BAR HABOR, MAINE

You’ll find Inn at Ullikana on a private garden-covered terrace overlooking the Atlantic, not far from Acadia National Park. “The inn itself is stunning, with extreme attention to detail,” writes a reviewer. “Guests are encouraged to make use of the property and mingle with each other over decadent breakfasts, and wine and cheese in the back patio or on the garden overlooking the harbor.”

Inn at Old Virginia

STAUNTON, VIRGINIA

Travelers to the Shenandoah Valley will fall in love with the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain views, vaulted ceilings and multi-course breakfasts served in a glass conservatory. According to a past guest, “This is probably the best B&B that we have ever stayed at. [We loved the] Sleep Number Bed, sound machine and lots of extras in the bath. [It was] lovely dining in the conservatory.”

Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins

CARSON, WASHINGTON

Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins are nestled in the Columbia River Gorge, where outdoor activities abound no matter the season. “It was a winter wonderland!” writes a reviewer. “There was already about 2 ft. of snow on the ground and 6-8 more inches fell overnight.

This article is sponsored by DecorativeScreening.com.au. For more info check out their site or their Facebook page.

The Foolproof Guide To Staying In Shape While Traveling

Many moons ago I came across an article about a guy who travel hacked a round the world airline ticket for $418. The article appeared in Gizmodo (I was a bit jealous I didn’t write the article) and featured a blogger named Steve Kamb from Nerd Fitness. I started reading his website, and we exchanged some messages, eventually met at a conference, and quickly became close friends. (Now he lives in NYC and I can’t get rid of him!) Steve is one of the biggest health and fitness bloggers out there, with Nerd Fitness reaching close to 2 million people per month!!! I always ping him for diet and fitness advice.

Now, Steve has a book out called Level Up Your Life. It’s a detailed guide to getting in shape, staying motivated, and doing all those epic quests you’ve always wanted to do. Like the website, it uses “nerdy” references to get the point across. I read it, loved it, and took copious notes! It’s worth every penny! Today he’s giving us in-depth advice on how to stay in shape on the road. Steve, take it away!

A few years back, after stumbling across some guy named Matt’s travel website, I was inspired to journey the world for 18 months, starting in Australia. When I landed in Sydney to start my life as a nomad, there was one thing above all others that terrified me:

Getting out of shape.

(OK, I was really afraid of spiders too.)

Any time I had traveled in the past, I abandoned my workouts and healthy eating went right out the window because: “Hey, I’m traveling!” Returning home from any trip was like taking five giant steps backward on my health and having to start over. It bummed me out, but I was always worried about missing that amazing meal or big night out.

I bet we all can relate.

But on this trip big multi-month trip, I thought, “Hey, I run a company called Nerd Fitness — if I can’t find a way to travel AND stay healthy, who would ever take advice from me?” I needed to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

I also wanted to prove that it was possible to have it all. That you can stay healthy and strong and fit, and also have amazing adventures, say yes to parties, eat local food, and live in the moment while traveling.

I traveled to more than 20 countries, hiked the Great Wall of China, swam with sharks, tracked wild animals in South America, and even lived like James Bond in Monaco. Also I sang in German at Oktoberfest in Germany, partied ’til sunrise at Carnival in Rio, island-hopped in Croatia during Yacht Week, and danced on the beaches of Thailand at a Full Moon Party.

I learned on that trip that being healthy and “living in the moment” DON’T have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, being healthy can be GREAT for helping you to live in the moment and say yes to adventures too.

I just published a book called Level Up Your Life about helping people live more adventurous lives and how to put a plan in place to make that happen, and it covers some of the stuff below along with more travel help. Today, Matt wanted me to share some of my advice with you. (Matt says: And with me too, because I always feel like I gain ten pounds when I travel!)

So here’s a blueprint for living healthy, taking care of yourself, and still doing all the fun stuff that made you want to travel in the first place.

A Workout You Can Do Anytime, Anywhere!

Getting an unconventional workout in at the sand dunes while traveling
When most people think of exercise, they usually think of people torturing themselves in a gym with weight machines and running on treadmills like a hamster for hours at a time. Gross.

Besides, when you’re traveling, the LAST thing you want to be thinking about is being cooped up in a gym when you should be out exploring your new surroundings. I used to be a gym rat trying to get fit, and it wasn’t until I started traveling that I really had to dig into the motivation behind WHY we should take care of ourselves:

So we can do cool activities that remind us why being alive is amazing!

We only get one chance on this planet, and we only have one body to do it in, so we should probably take care of ourselves. Luckily, if we can do some basic things and put a few key systems in place while traveling (and when we’re not traveling), we’ll be ready to do whatever, wherever, whenever. Jackpot!

Basic Workout You Can Do Anywhere
Steve Kamb from Nerd Fitness at Machu Picchu in Peru
To start, and hopefully this goes without saying, doing things like riding your bike, hiking, and going for walking tours is a FANTASTIC start to building a healthy body. It’s exercise that doesn’t really feel like exercise, because you’re also exploring new locations like Indiana Jones or Carmen Sandiego.

But I also want to teach you a basic workout that you can do ANYWHERE on the planet. I know this is true, because I’ve done it in a parking lot in Singapore, a bus stop in New Zealand, in the middle of the Australian Outback, and other absurd places.

This basic strength-training workout is really helpful to having a great experience while traveling: when you strength-train, you build your muscles, joints, and tendons stronger each time — preparing them for any activity you throw at them. Best of all, it’s quick, targets every muscle in your body with just a few functional movements, and can completed anywhere. This workout can help you get strong and healthy and still have plenty of time to do whatever else you need to do.

Here’s a full walk-through video from a few years back of me completing a basic workout with different variations for each exercise, on a playground in Manta, Ecuador:

Now, you might be wondering where to find a playground? Simple! Anytime you get to a new city, look on Google Maps or speak with the person who runs your hostel and ask for the nearest park. All you need is enough space on the ground to do your squats and push-ups, and something to hang from for your pull-ups.

I’ve done pull-ups on tree branches, bus stop overhangs, and parking lot structures; squats and lunges in the middle of a desert outside a tent; and push-ups practically everywhere.

(Can’t do pull-ups… yet or can’t find a tree branch? Do body weight rows using a desk or table, or pick up your suitcase and do dumbbell rows. Everything else you can do with just your body.)

Try the Nomadic Matt Travel Workout Plan:

  • 3 sets of 10 bodyweight squats
  • 3 sets of 10 push-ups
  • 3 sets of 10 lunges
  • 3 sets of 10 reverse crunches
  • 3 sets of 10 backpack lifts

You can follow the above workout every other day, or even just once a week, and it’ll help you stay on target and keep you prepared for everything.

The best part? It all counts!

If you only have five minutes here and there, that’s fine. Do squats when you can. Crank out a few pull-ups when you find something to hang from while on your hike, or bust out a plank in an epic location because why the hell not.

Diet is 80% of the Battle!

Steve relaxing in New Zealand on his year overseas
Ugh, nobody wants to hear this while traveling, but how you eat will account for 80–90 percent of how you look and feel. Seriously! You can’t outrun a bad diet, and you can’t out-train one either. What we’re trying to avoid is the depression and crash dieting that follows a trip full of overeating abroad: “Ugh, where did all of this fat come from? Time to starve myself!” Nope, not anymore!

This is a well supported fact, that exercise alone can’t do the trick of staying fit, according to Dr. Cesar Lara, MD, one of the leading weight loss doctor in Tampa, Florida.

Instead, let’s put a decent plan in place so that we CANNOT go overboard while traveling and therefore skip drastic measures when we get back home — something that’s consistent and sustainable.

How do we do that? By building a simple, kickass nutrition plan that is easy to follow and applicable anywhere everywhere on the planet:

  • Eat real food most of the time. Liquid calories are brutal.
  • Don’t rely on meal timing or calorie counting.
  • Do the best you can. Don’t freak out!

What we’re aiming for is food that keeps us satiated and on target, i.e., mostly vegetables, some form of protein (be it from animal sources or legumes), and then some fruits and/or nuts — occasionally a bit of rice or potatoes, and minimal bread or pasta or liquid calories.

You’ve probably heard of this type of diet referred to as “the Paleo diet” or “eating like a caveman.” It’s the ultimate time-tested nutrition strategy, as you’re eating natural foods that have existed for millennia. Better yet, these foods can generally be found anywhere on the planet, and it keeps things simple, so you don’t need to worry about counting calories or weighing your food. It’s one I’ve employed to great success throughout the world, but it does require you to be deliberate in your decision making with each meal.
Jumping out of a plane on a skydiving adventure with a partner
You might be wondering specifically what you should and shouldn’t eat and how much. Let’s start with the “what,” and then we can cover the “how much.” Cap’n Crunch, pizza, pasta, bread, candy, soda — these are all processed foods full of nonsense, so we should avoid them whenever we can.

The focus should be on quality food from natural sources (this can often be easier in foreign countries than it is in the United States, as it seems this country is built around grains, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, and carbs!).

Here’s what you should be building your diet around:

  • Meat: Real animals with four legs
  • Fowl: Chicken, turkey, duck, hen — things with wings
  • Fish: This also includes shrimp, lobster, crab, mussels, clams, and other water-dwelling creatures.
  • Eggs: Chicken eggs, ostrich eggs, but not Cadbury Eggs!
  • Vegetables: Dark, leafy green veggies are a favorite. No, corn is not a vegetable!
  • Oils: Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil — think natural.
  • Fruits: A good source of carbs, but they can contain lots of natural sugar and can be higher in calories, so limit them if you’re trying to lose weight.
  • Nuts: Loaded with healthy fats but high in calories, they’re good for a snack, but don’t eat bags and bags of them.
  • Tubers: Sweet potatoes and yams. Higher in calories and carbs, but good right after a workout.
  • Bacon: Nature’s candy!

Every meal should have a protein source and at least one vegetable; add some fruits and nuts. Avoid dairy and grains, or only eat them in minimal quantities.

Now, I can already see your brow furrowing, and you probably have the following question: “What about rice and pasta? That’s all I eat when I travel!” I get it — the cheap backpacker diet consists of rice, beans, and pasta — the most calories for the least amount of money (usually freeing up more money for more drinking, haha). These foods are pretty much just calories and carbs. If you’re trying to be healthy, make sure you are eating protein and vegetables too.

Consuming some rice or pasta or beans is fine; just don’t make it the only thing you eat, just so you can drink more. Your body will thank you, I promise.

Steve Kamb doing cartwheels on a beach paradise
This is something I struggled with when I began traveling, until I made a commitment to myself to start eating better, which required me to start spending more money on food (to get protein, vegetables, etc.). I either saved up more money before I went on my trip(a few bucks can mean a great meal in many countries!) or saved it elsewhere (by spending fewer nights out drinking). It requires a bit of discipline, but if you’re committed to staying healthy and not wrecking your body (and waistline!) while traveling, it requires you to make some changes.

You don’t need to just eat broccoli and chicken when traveling and ignore anything that tastes good. Instead, try to make 80% of your meals healthy, and then eat whatever you want the other few meals. Your body won’t balloon up after one bad meal, but if you let one bad meal become a month of eating poorly, it will cause problems.

So find balance: if you are going to eat a big unhealthy dinner, eat a small breakfast and lunch. If you just had a massive breakfast, skip lunch — it evens out at the end of the day. Skipping a meal can be called intermittent fasting and can be really beneficial actually!

I also implement the “never two in a row” rule. I never eat two bad meals in a row. If I’m in a location known for something unhealthy and delicious, I make sure the meals before and after are really healthy so one bad meal doesn’t become a habit.

The Nomadic Matt Nutrition Travel Strategy:

  • Eat real food! Mostly vegetables, some protein, and then fruit and nuts.
  • Beans, rice, sweet potatoes, and potatoes are OK in moderation.
  • Avoid processed junk, sugar, and liquid calories like soda, juice, and so on.
  • Implement the “never two in a row rule.”

Party with Purpose

Level Up Your Life author drinking German beer at Oktoberfest
I love parties. I’ll gladly stay up, stay out, and party with the best of them whenever there’s a chance something epic could go down. Just ask Matt! (Actually, don’t ask Matt — he knows too much.)

Here’s something you already know: drinking alcohol isn’t exactly healthy for you. But then again, neither is staying up too late, not spending enough time in the sunlight, spending too much time in the sunlight, playing video games for too long, eating unhealthy foods, etc.

And yet we all do lots of these things; we have to make trade-offs while we live our lives and have some fun.

I believe drinking can be done occasionally, in moderation, and a healthy lifestyle can still be achieved. If you decide that you want to drink, good for you. If you decide that you don’t want to drink, that’s fine too. You know yourself best: Be smart.

So, rather than tell you to give up drinking, let’s find a way to fit in into your schedule so that it allows you to be happy WITHOUT making your waistline bulge and giving you a raging headache.

Here’s the Nomadic Matt Healthy Drinking Strategy:

  • Wine and liquor (sipped slowly) without mixers are the “healthiest” options.
  • Light beers and good beers are next best, in moderation (duh).
  • Sugary mixed drinks or energy drink-and-alcohol combos (I see you, Thailand!) are terrible for you. Sugar is literally the devil.
  • Drink water between each drink. It works like a charm, I promise.

Now, calories from drinks can really add up, as can the crappy food you consume when you’re drunk… so try to party with purpose. Wine, beer, liquor. Know yourself, and be smart about it.

You can also have some fun with it if you’re crazy like me. In Croatia during Yacht Week last year, I came up with a rule that I had to do 10 squats and 10 push-ups every morning for each drink consumed the night before. What started out as a joke among my boatmates suddenly became an accountability tactic. They GLADLY helped me count my beverages and then count my push-ups the next morning on the deck of the yacht.

Be Active, and Have Fun

Steve Kamb bungee jumping during travels
Theodore Roosevelt, an adventurer in his own right, said it best: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Instead of trying to be perfect, we can be “good enough” while we’re traveling. There are often once-in-a-lifetime experiences that require you to go off your food or exercise routine.

Exercise doesn’t need to consume your life either. It can be as simple as making an effort to sign up for , opting to ride a bike through a city and getting lost on purpose, hiking on small trips to prepare yourself for bigger trips.

You can also mix in some activities that don’t FEEL like exercise — but are:

  • Tango lessons in Argentina
  • Capoeira training in Brazil
  • Muay Thai training in Thailand
  • Hiking anywhere and everywhere

Regardless of your level of fitness, there are fun activities native to the countries you’re visiting that can make for a great way to meet new people, train in an activity that is new to you, and get your heart racing! I like to think of them as missions or quests to complete in addition to just seeing the sights, but that’s just the nerd in me.

The Nomadic Matt Strategy of Healthy Awesome Traveling:

  • Make exercise part of who you are. Walk more. Say yes to hikes.
  • Strength-train at least once per week. Follow the playground workout!
  • Eat real food. Don’t just go for cheap calories all the time.
  • Never eat two bad meals in a row.
  • Party with purpose! Drink water, too. Sugar is bad.
  • Do the best you can. Every bit counts!

Remember, you don’t need to be “all or nothing” — you just need to be good enough. And every decision helps! Thanks again for reading, and I hope you take one piece of advice from today and use it to help you on your next trip!

Original Post can be found here.

Not Just Breakfast: Using Food to Get More Business for Your Inn

Hotel Breakfast

Every B&B focuses on serving a great breakfast, of course, but could you leverage gastronomy to better market your inn? Whether or not they operate a full-service restaurant, many innkeepers have enjoyed success by using food to keep their guests coming back.

Promote Your Inn’s Cuisine

The obvious place to start is with your own in-house restaurant, if you have one. At Private Hotel + Pure Food in Ithaca, New York, Michael Casper draws on decades of experience as a chef to set an exacting standard for the food, décor and ambiance of his inn. Visitors to Ithaca — whether they come for the scenery, or to visit Ithaca College or Cornell University — enjoy beautiful accommodations in a bucolic setting, as well as extraordinary cuisine that consistently exceeds guest expectations.

Celeste Borel of L’Auberge Provençale in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley set out to attract younger foodies to her property by creating a separate website and marketing campaign for the inn’s restaurant, La Table Provençale. Both sites for the inn and restaurant feature lush photography meant to appeal to the target demographic.

Highlight Existing Local Food Attractions

What if you don’t have an in-house restaurant? Many innkeepers develop referral relationships, formal or informal, with superior local restaurants. If you can point visitors to a lovely place for dinner that’s just down the street, you’ll improve the overall quality of their stay. Even better, you might arrange a discount for your guests with the restaurateur, who will be happy to have a steady stream of diners referred from you.

Cast your net wider, to the food-themed attractions in your area. Angela Skiadas of the Greystone Manor B&B in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, has partnered with a local craft brewery to create a special package that includes a brewery tour. The inn and brewery have offered the package as a Living Social promotion and drew hundreds of younger adults to the area.

Borel went a step further and built a wine-tour business to complement L’Auberge Provençale; this attracted even more foodies from the D.C. area and beyond. “People love the fact that they are driven by a sommelier or wine director and not just a chauffeur,” she says. Additionally, the wineries involved are making more of an effort to promote the inn and the local wine dinners it hosts.

Create Your Own Food Attractions

Even if you’re not a chef and don’t have wineries or breweries in your area, you can still use food to draw people in. Some innkeepers offer cooking classes as a special activity to increase the appeal of their B&Bs. Nancy Douglas of Auberge de Seattle in Washington has spent years building up the French Specialty Cooking School she runs on the property of her inn; now it attracts more than 200 people per month. She says that her goal in creating the school was not only to bring in more revenue for the inn — which it has — but also to give visitors to the area an experience they will not forget.

Running a cooking school, like running a full restaurant, is a major endeavor. Maybe the easiest place to start is with great photos of food — of your own breakfasts or of food from local festivals — that you share via social media. That’s been one of the many ways that Elisse Goldstein-Clark (whom we profiled here) has attracted the attention of foodies who might like to stay at the Elkhorn Inn in West Virginia.

Clearly, putting a focus on food can help you earn more money from each guest. But it also gives people an excellent reason to become guests in the first place, and to refer their friends to you.

Lastly, make sure you have your inn equipped with all the necessary materials that will make your guests and clients’ stay a smooth experience such as having an iPad PoS or even a simple restaurant point of sale will do.

What can YOU do to increase the food appeal of your inn?

The Benefits of Moving to a Point-of-Sale (POS) System

service-pack-upgrade

Buying a point-of-sale (POS) system may seem like a hassle and an unnecessary expense, but if you look closer, you’ll find clear gains.

There are two main types of systems: for retail stores; and for restaurants and hotels, also known as the hospitality category. To understand the different requirements for the hospitality industry, read Tips on Buying POS for Restaurants.

The benefits of point-of-sale systems are:

  • Accuracy: Scanning is more accurate than punching in numbers from a sticker, or expecting the cashier to remember what each item costs.
  • Analysis: POS systems let you manage inventory, flag items for reorder, and analyze sales patterns.

A point-of-sale system is, at heart, a cash register — but because it’s based on a PC, it opens up a new world of data about your business.

A point-of-sale (POS) terminal can be networked to other terminals, and to a server in the back room or at another location. It can be expanded with handheld devices wirelessly linked to the main system. You can use it to can track a number of operations in useful ways and customize it as your needs change over time.

The main advantage of a computerized POS system over a cash box or a cash register is the sophisticated and detailed sales reports it provides. The software lets you analyze sales in different ways, such as by SKU (item sold), time periods, promotions, by store if you have more than one, or even by sales clerk. It will help your inventory manager buy in the right number of cartons of tissue paper with improved timing, and help your chef calculate how much cheese to order for the coming week, taking into account an upcoming holiday. It can also help reduce employee shrinkage.

But that’s only the start. Once your sales are computerized, you can plug that computer into a network, and the network into a back-office computer system that downloads results from all your registers, consolidating and monitoring the information in a variety of ways. If you bite the bullet and pay the costs, you can integrate all this into your accounting and inventory software systems.

Expect to pay anywhere from $3000 to $6000 per station, including software, scanners, printers, installation, training, and support, plus costs for integrating into your back-end system. (For an explanation of the hardware and software components of a POS system, read Understanding POS Components. But once you grow in size — as you approach a million dollars in annual sales, and especially as you add retail outlets or restaurant locations — computerized POS will not only pay for itself in improved efficiencies, it will become critical just to know what is going on.

The added and more immediate flow of detailed information about your sales will help you come up with better competitive ideas and then evaluate their effectiveness.

How to use social media for marketing your B&B

Many successful innkeepers, especially in out-of-the-way places, have used social media with great success for promoting their B&Bs. In this post, we lay out key principles for using social media effectively; in a separate post, we take you through some of the specifics of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks.

List your property

B&B Marketer of the Year AwardBe Relevant

For social media to work well, it needs to be relevant — to your business and to your audience. When innkeepers ask “Which social networks should I use?” the real answer is “Where are the people you want to reach?” If your guests are foodies who love Pinterest, by all means get on Pinterest to share pictures of the great food you serve, and post recipes and photos on your blog and Facebook page as well.
By contrast, if you want to reach travel writers and other journalists who might cover your B&B or the tourist attractions in your area, you’re more likely to interact with them on Twitter. Fish where the fish are.

Be Timely

If you’re going to be on social media, be timely about it. That doesn’t mean you need to post on every single network every single day, but you should figure out the rhythm of the social networks that are relevant for your B&B and then invest the time to keep up with them. Elisse Goldstein-Clark of the Elkhorn Inn in West Virginia, who has used social media extensively to promote her rural B&B, emphasizes the importance of timely posts: “Using social media effectively means constantly — ‘You’re only as good as your last post’ is no lie!”
If you’re not going to keep a live presence on a given network, you’d be better served not to use it at all. You don’t want someone to visit, say, your Instagram account and see that you’ve posted only three pictures, with the most recent one coming two years ago.

Be Engaging

The biggest reason to be timely is so that you can be genuinely engaging with people who might take an interest in your B&B. If someone posts a comment or asks a question on your Facebook page, it makes for a bad conversation if you take a week to reply to them.
As for how to engage: you want to spend your time talking with people about their interests, not broadcasting at them about your inn and your area. Remember that, while it is “media,” it must be truly social to be effective and welcoming for your potential guests.

Be Helpful

Like other innkeepers who have used social media effectively, Goldstein-Clark emphasizes the importance of being genuinely helpful. Even when she’s promoting her inn, she says, she’s “always giving something of value, such as photos or event information or recipes.” It’s no different than any other social setting: if you’re always talking only about yourself or asking for business, people will think of you as selfish. If, instead, you aim to provide them with useful information that will help them have a great trip, they’ll like you better.

Be Methodical

If you want to have success with social media, you have to keep at it. You can build a meaningful presence online using the social networks that are right for your inn, but not if your participation in those networks is haphazard. Social media need not take over your life, but you should make it a regular part of your work. Consistently dedicating 10 or 15 minutes at a time, a few times per day, can make a huge difference in how effective social media is for you.

Measure, Learn, and Adapt

Social media is constantly evolving, and platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have made it easy for small businesses to analyze their traffic and the impact of any advertising they run there. As with anything else in your business, it makes sense to experiment with different approaches on social media, measure the impact of your efforts, and then continue to pursue the parts that work best for your inn.

Original Article from BedAndBreakfast.com.

First Timer’s Guide to Bed and Breakfast Etiquette

Warm, personalized service and mingling among guests are part of the appeal of bed and breakfasts. But hospitality goes both ways. Depending on the property, you might be staying in someone’s private home, sharing common rooms, or dining with fellow travelers. At B&Bs, as in life, communication and common courtesy are key.

We asked some innkeepers for advice on basic B&B etiquette. If it’s your first time at a B&B, the following simple tips will help you have a smooth, relaxing stay. Here’s everything you need to know about being the best guest ever.

What are some things that guests should tell hosts in advance?

Many B&Bs offer services and amenities specially tailored to the needs of individual guests. But because policies can vary from inn to inn, it’s crucial to communicate your needs and expectations before your stay.

Tell your hosts about any dietary restrictions, food allergies, room preferences, and special requests you might have. If you have physical limitations, ask if your room is handicap-accessible. When traveling with kids, make sure your B&B is child-friendly. You may want to disclose your arrival and departure times too, especially at smaller properties where innkeepers personally welcome arriving guests.

Do I have to eat breakfast with other guests?

A home-cooked breakfast shared with fellow travelers is a much-loved perk of the B&B experience. It may seem like breakfast is a must—after all, it’s usually included in the price of your stay—but the reality is a lot more flexible. If you want to try a local restaurant, or if you’d like to skip breakfast and sleep until noon (a wonderful idea), go for it. It’s your vacation, and innkeepers understand that.

Is it rude to take breakfast to go or to eat breakfast in my room?

It depends on the property, but many B&B owners are happy to accommodate guests who’d like to grab breakfast and go. For example, at Snow Goose Bed and Breakfast in Keene Valley, New York, the innkeepers are happy to pack a healthy to-go breakfast for guests hoping to hike the Adirondacks trail routes the morning. Not all inns and B&Bs offer takeaway breakfast, of course, so get in touch with your innkeepers first.

What if I’m late for check-in?

Flights get delayed. Traffic jams happen. Busses break down. Innkeepers are well aware of the uncertainties of travel. It’s okay if you’re late for check-in, but the important thing is to touch base with your hosts when there’s a change in plans.

May I bring my pet?

Each B&B has its own rules about pets. Some are perfect for them, while others are strictly humans-only. If you’re traveling with a four-footed companion or two, ask your inn about its pet policy before you book.

Any advice for conversation topics around the breakfast table?

According to Eric Huenneke, owner of Prospect Place in Cambridge, Massachusetts, “Part of the adventure with breakfast conversation is to see what happens with the combination of guests.” Have fun getting to know your fellow travelers—you never know what you might learn. A few of the innkeepers we talked to advised staying away from religion and politics as early-morning conversation topics with strangers.

May I ask my hosts for trip-planning advice or ideas on what to see in the area?

One of the best B&B benefits is the personalized travel advice on offer from extremely knowledgeable innkeepers. Few people know their home base better than B&B owners, and they can provide an insider’s know-how combined with years of experience helping travelers explore their surroundings.

—written by Caroline Costello

Original and Complete Post from BedAndBreakfast.com