December 2015 - Lanier B&B Guide

A Guide to Bed and Breakfasts

Monthly Archives: December 2015

Going Organic – A Smart Trend for Your Bed & Breakfast

Once a mainstay of the local business landscape, the bed and breakfast inn went into decline with the rise in popularity of chain hotels but has since made a comeback as a niche industry catering to travelers who want a more personal touch to their food and lodgings. Some bed and breakfasts, in their effort to increasingly distinguish themselves from the big chains, have strengthened their niche advantage by serving organic items on their breakfast menus. There are a couple of reasons why you might want to join this trend and serve organic food to your bed and breakfast guests.

organic breakfast food

A delicious home style breakfast with crispy bacon, eggs, pancakes, toast, coffee, and orange juice can be even better when it’s organic.

B&B customers, by nature, are people who are looking for something out of the norm. Industry surveys typically show that guests opt for the B&B experience because they want to avoid the cookie-cutter hotel experience. In other words, they tend to see themselves as avoiding what “the masses” do.

This attitude isn’t exclusive to their choice in lodging, but also extends to many of their other purchasing habits. They are more likely to purchase custom items and are willing to pay higher prices for better quality products, for example. And when it comes to their food choices, they are more likely to choose foods that are organic.

Serving organic foods can quickly become a noticeable selling point for your bed and breakfast among the type of customers who are already inclined to patronize your business.

The main concern, of course, is cost. Organic foods are a good bit more expensive, due to the costlier farming methods used in their production, and they also spoil somewhat sooner than conventionally grown foods, making them a hefty investment for any business owner. Since switching to organic foods is not a surefire way to increase your business, it should be carefully considered.

Another consideration lies in exactly what dishes you’re serving. Organic ingredients may help sell food, but they won’t improve the taste or nutritional content, so making sure your cooks are up to the task of transforming organic food into a good healthy meal is as essential to your business as it ever was.

There are many websites devoted to organic recipes and food preparation, which can help you craft your menu. And adding some items is as easy as simply ordering them online. For your organic coffee, one great online store we’ve found is Java Planet. Not only is their organic coffee roasted and packaged in the US, but it is also Fair Trade certified, which is another positive selling feature for your typical demographic. For a helpful list of other food items that can be ordered online, check out this page at It includes recipes with prep time, cook time and all the items you need can be ordered on their site. These resources can help you get up and running with an organic menu immediately.

If you feel your business is on stable enough ground that you can afford to sell a more upscale product, switching to organic foods can be a huge boon for your B&B. It can be the unique selling point that distinguishes you from the competition. Of course, the key is to make sure you let it be known that you serve organic food on your inn’s menu. Be sure to mention it on your website and also on your online profiles, such as Trip Advisor. When advertising your menu where travelers might see it, the mere mention of organic food can be a deciding factor for most of a bed and breakfast’s customer base, and should be prominently mentioned in your list of amenities. When it comes to offering organic foods, helping your guests stay healthy can also keep your business healthy, and that’s the type of win-win that is likely to be worth the cost and effort.

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Tips for Improving Hotel and Motel Security

Securing a hotel is an incredibly difficult thing to do. If you think about it, the core of security is ensuring that only authorized persons are allowed to enter a building or an area, and monitoring what leaves the area too. This is easy with your home – only you and your immediate family are going to be entering or leaving on a regular basis. It’s easy for most workplaces too, since the list of authorized people, while long, is not likely to change often.

With a hotel, the entire business model relies on a large number of people spending a relatively short amount of time on the property. And each of those people will need to be able to enter and leave the main building, security guard (2)and their room, as they please. You need to make sure that each room is secure so that guests can leave their belongings in their rooms without fear. It also goes without saying that the entire property must also be secured properly for the guests’ own safety.

Simple Ways to Improve Security

The approach that you take to security will depend on whether you are running a small hotel or a large one, and how many guests you tend to have. Tim Wilson, Jr., owner of IGS Protection, one of the top security companies in Houston, offers the following simple ways that hotels and motels can improve security.

Electronic Locks

One of the biggest problems with hotels – especially large ones – is the issue of copying keys. If your hotel uses simple physical keys to lock and unlock guest rooms, then you run the risk of a guest copying the key during their stay, coming back at a later date, and using that key to gain access to their old room. This is a common problem in a lot of cities. Keycard locks are problematic because they are often prone to data loss, but are one of the most common systems in use today. Electronic combination locks are probably the best choice in terms of reliability, but you might find that there is a customer service burden because of people forgetting the combination to get into their rooms. For this reason, many choose to forego this option in favor of practicality.


Get CCTV installed in the hallways and parking lots, and combine that with some type of motion sensor so that your security staff will be notified which monitors they should be watching. Don’t put CCTV in guest rooms – this would be a privacy and PR nightmare. Simply monitoring the halls, stairwells and parking areas for suspicious activity should be enough – if security staff are concerned something is going on, then they can investigate in person.

Train Your Staff to Be Proactive

Having security staff standing around and being intimidating might create the illusion of security, but it’s the cleaners, reception staff and restaurant staff that have the best opportunity of making a difference. Get them to talk to customers they encounter wandering around. Ask people if everything is OK with their room, or if they are enjoying their stay. Customers will respond positively, and many non-customers may be caught off-guard and will often give away clues to what they are doing. A non-customer might be someone visiting a room for a meeting, in which case there’s no harm done, or they could be a criminal. If an employee meets someone that they think doesn’t fit the usual demographic of a standard hotel guest, then they need to make a decision about alerting security or not.

With a few smart decisions, it’s possible to make a hotel secure without ruining the stay for legitimate guests. You don’t have to have curfews and demand that guests turn their keys in before they leave. There is a compromise between a secure environment and one that is welcoming and positive for all kinds of guests while reassuring them security is a priority.

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