Irish hotels need to get blogging!

17th November

I made a shocking discovery while researching my talk for a conference recently! Only a tiny proportion of Irish hotels or venues write a business blog. So why is it that so few of these businesses extend their personal welcome online; the very first point of contact for most guests? I challenged myself to find some good examples to inspire my audience!

I was invited to talk about blogging to an audience of wedding suppliers. The conference was about marketing and booking more wedding clients. A big proportion of my audience were hotel owners. While researching this market, I was amazed at how hard it was to find Irish venues or B+B homes that write a blog.

website versus blog ballyvolane house 3
Images from Ballyvolane House website and Instagram account

I started my research by looking at all of the websites for the attendees. All were professionally designed with quality photography but this is what I noticed immediately:

  • The website templates all looked very similar
  • There was a huge number of options, often in lengthy drop-down menus.
  • The language used was corporate and not aimed at the customer

So how can you share what it feels like to visit one of these hotels or country homes or B+Bs? What makes your venue different to a competitor?

Here’s what I believe; People want to experience what a stay at your venue will be like before they actually get there! And they are more interested in behind-the-scenes shots and stories than your carefully crafted marketing blurb.

After asking a few industry colleagues for recommendations, I came across the wonderful Ballyvolane House. Everything about their branding is customer focussed and very friendly!

First up is an image of their website homepage, below. They have a clear message, explaining who they are, what they offer and where they are based. To the right, they have highlighted their latest blog posts under the title ‘Recent News’. You can choose to call your blog whatever you think will appeal to your audience. ‘Recent News’ lets their customers know that they are constantly updating the site with content that might be relevant to them.

ballyvolane house ireland

I then discovered that Ballyvolane House are on Instagram. Instagram is the perfect place to share behind the scenes shots of daily interest. Quality, professional photos have a place on your website but spontaneous phone pics can capture the everyday delights of your business. Below, the staff share images of a proud fisherman with his catch, cakes and meat fresh out of the oven and glamping guests feeding the pigs. That hammock is calling to me too!

ballyvolane house instagram

Here’s an added bonus; blog posts are also instant material for your newsletter. Below is a screen-shot of a portion of one, including a selection of their recent blog posts. There is great variety in the content too, from recipes to suggestions for possible events to host at the house.

ballyvolane house newletter 2 1

Next up, I’d like to talk to the staff at Ballyvolane House to ask them how they feel blogging has helped their business. I’m sure you’d be interested in hearing their story? I’m always looking for great examples of business bloggers from around the world. One of the best pieces of advice I have heard is to look outside your own industry for inspiration. So if you’re a jeweller, you might be inspired by looking at a bicycle shop blog! If you only look at your competitors, it’s tempting to follow their style and content.

We’re getting close to the month of madness! I running one last group workshop on 8th December. I’m also continuing my popular ‘Introduction to blogging‘ one-to-one classes. Keep in touch if you’d like to be on my mailing list for future events.

For more information about Ballyvolane House:
Blog: Ballyvolane House News
Instagram: ballyvolanehouse

2 Responses

  1. Dee says:

    Aisling, this is great! Loved reading this post, I totally agree with you that the”Irish welcome” we are renowned for around the world does not translate across the web, many hotel websites use a prescribed template without much character or personality that certainly is not “welcoming”. The way we live has changed so substantially over the last 5 years, we are moving more and more to an online era, where most people, as a first port of call, start their information search online. A hotel/guest house/BnB without an online presence simply won’t be seen, a hotel/guest house/ BnB without an engaging website which truly reflects the character of the business is also missing out on directly engaging with a whole host of potential new customers. Ballyvolane certainly are trail blazing in this regard, and by adding a few simple (personal) touches to their website, we feel an instant connection to the family that live in and run the business at Ballyvolane! Well done Aisling, great post.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for your comments Dee. I know that you’re already fully aware of the benefits (and fun) that comes from blogging! I believe that most people don’t understand that it is possible and essential to be ‘human’ online. Many business owners are caught up with trying to appear ‘professional and don’t realise that it’s possible to be both human and professional at the same time. I’m on a mission to change the online world to a friendlier place šŸ˜‰ And you’re right when you say that a few simple touches can make all the difference.

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