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Acorn Marketing at the ALP Conference in Orlando Florida - March 2-6, 2024

Acorn at the ALP Conference - Orlando - March 2-6, 2024

Conference time is upon us once again, and early March finds several members of the Acorn Marketing Team and some of our wonderful clients speaking at the Orlando ALP Conference! Take a look at the list, and if you will be there (in less than TWO WEEKS!), get some great teaching and advice from seasoned hospitality professionals! Saturday and Sunday are the New and Aspiring Innkeepers sessions, then Monday - Wednesday are the main, wedding and culinary sessions.

Our lovely clients are in bold text, and the Acorn Team are bolded and italicized.

Saturday, 03/02/2024

9:00 – 10:00am - A Day in the Life of an Innkeeper – Highlights transferable skills, who are successful Innkeepers, how the job differs with different Inn models, what are the key tasks that Innkeepers and staff members perform vs. contracted services.

  • Marco DiDomizio (Candleberry Inn), Rachel Boggan (Saratoga Arms Hotel), Lisa Kolb (Acorn Marketing), Tim Piper (Hearthside Group), Monica Edwards (Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast), Doug Bagnasco (Devonfield Inn)

10:15 – 11:15am - The Tech You Didn’t Know You Needed -This session will enlighten attendees with technology, software, and online presence they will need to propel their business forward in today's ever changing travel related environment.

  • Lisa Kolb (Acorn Marketing)

1:45 – 2:45pm -
Insights into Daily Hospitality Operations: Identifying Challenges, Learning Experiences, and Success Factors - Engage in an interactive session designed for the new lodging professional. This session delves into vital aspects of day-to-day hospitality operations. Topics include optimizing food and beverage service, establishing effective staffing models tailored to property size and business offerings, ongoing property maintenance strategies, and valuable insights into housekeeping and linen management. Share best practices, discuss challenges, and glean knowledge for a well-rounded understanding of essential operational elements to be successful in our niche of lodging.

  • Linda Hayes (ijk Partners)

3:00 – 4:00pm - Optimizing Essential Reports to Make Data Driven Decisions - The information needed, both internally and externally to assist their PMS and themselves to make strong decisions about room rates.  Understanding and interpreting the various reports used to make these essential decisions.

  • Rachel Boggan (Saratoga Arms Hotel), Sean Rolsen (ThinkReservations), Jeff Hebrink (rezStream)

Sunday, 03/03/2024

9:00 – 10:00am - Understanding Revenue Management, Booking Pace and Yield Management - Experienced innkeepers share their insights and successes relating to marketing and pricing. The "Must Do", "Don't" and "at Some Point You Should Try" best practices will be shared to help you ensure your pricing strategies are best suited to your property size, locations, offerings and seasons.

  • E Scot Fuller-Beatty (The Bold Collaboration), Al Heminger (Huron House and Hotel Saugatuck), Dan Clark (Inn of the Turquoise Bear)

10:15 – 11:15am -
It’s Not Just a Room – Amenities and services guests are expecting, which may require investments in a newly purchased property such as HVAC systems, modern luxury bathrooms, Smart TVs, enterprise grade Wi-Fi, furnishings, and other in-room and property amenities.

  • Moderator - Linda Hayes (ijk Partners); Panelists - Rachel Boggan (Saratoga Arms Hotel), Dan Clark (Inn of the Turquoise Bear), Monica Edwards (Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast)

12:30 – 1:30pm -
Marketing and Pricing Strategies - A Day in the Life in the Busy Season, Quiet Season and Shoulder Season - Experienced innkeepers share their insights and successes relating to marketing and pricing. The "Must Do", "Don't" and "at Some Point You Should Try" best practices will be shared to help you ensure your pricing strategies are best suited to your property size, locations, offerings and seasons.

  • Doug Bagnasco (Devonfield Inn), Monica Edwards (Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast), Marty Etzel (Acorn Marketing)

3:00 – 4:00pm -
Creating a Smooth Transition of Property Assets from Seller to Buyer – Are you wondering what a seller looks for in a viable buyer? How to make the buyer - seller relationship work so it is a win-win? Join this moderated session and learn how a recent seller with his buyer navigated through the process to make a successful sale happen. Understand why it doesn't have to be contentious, or controlled by attorneys, and how a buyer and seller can build trust to get to the finish line and close the sale!

  • Al Heminger (Huron House and Hotel Saugatuck), Jim Leitch (former owner Inn on Lake Granbury), Cooper Begis (Inn on Lake Granbury)

3:00 – 4:00pm - 10 Simple Ways to Delight Your Guests - A Beginners Guide to Creating Satisfied Guests - Customer satisfaction strategy from successful experienced innkeepers

  • Rachel Boggan (Saratoga Arms Hotel), Peter MacLaren (West Hill House Bed & Breakfast)

4:15 – 5:15pm - 
Intro to Photography and Décor - Professional photography is essential to your success. You have seconds to capture the attention of potential guests when they land on your website - compelling and staged images of your property, room, food and amenities will significantly increase the likelihood of a booking

  • James Küster (Küster Design), Elizabeth Campbell (Elizabeth Campbell Photography), Joanne Pearson (Fair Haven Photographs), Martin Horner (Wickwood Inn)

Monday, 03/04/2024

3:00 – 4:00pm - Staying Connected with Your Guests: Must Do's for Easy and Effective Email Communications - Your past guests are your most valuable source for future bookings. Do you know your average repeat guest % as compared to the average in your area? Whether you DIY or hire a marketing agency to handle communications, this panel of experts will share how and why consistent and strategic email communication is one of the easiest, lowest-cost, and most effective ways to drive repeat bookings while building stronger guest relationships, as well as your brand. Specifics like quality and type of content, as well as frequency, timing, tone, length, and what to avoid in professional emails will be discussed, too.

  • Moderator - Liz Hamilton (Maia Internet Consulting); Panelists - Christine Trippi (The Wise Pineapple), Patricia McCauley (InsideOut Solutions), Peter Beznoska (Andon Reid Inn)

4:15 – 5:15pm - Direct Booking Dynamics: 100+ Things to Consider! - Have you considered how your current reservation system / PMS is helping you secure direct bookings, and at the same time supports your back-office requirements? Join us for this fun and informative session including a 100+ point checklist of everything you need to consider when selecting or replacing your reservation software.

  • Lisa Kolb (Acorn Marketing)

Tuesday, 03/05/2024

9:00 – 10:00am - GA4: How to Measure the Return on Your Marketing Spend - Innkeepers, don't miss our insightful session on GA4 where we demystify the art of measuring the return on your marketing spend. Learn essential techniques to leverage Google Analytics 4, ensuring you optimize your marketing strategies and elevate the success of your inn.

  • Lisa Kolb (Acorn Marketing), Liz Hamilton (Maia Internet Consulting)

10:15 – 11:15am -
Guess Who's Coming to be Your Guest (or maybe not)? How Employing Best DEI (Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion) Practices Can Increase Your Market Share and Boost Your Bottom Line - What is DEI and why does it matter? Learn how and why larger lodging leaders are paying attention. This session will specifically share:
- The demographics of an ""inclusive"" travel market
- The important buying power of these segments
- Additional ways that DEI practices pay off for a small hospitality business
- Best practices and tips on how to attract guests who may be unlike you
- How do you make ""everyone"" feel welcome? "

  • Monique Greenwood (Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns), Marco DiDomizio (Candleberry Inn)

4:00 – 5:00pm - Meta Business Suite: Using FREE Marketing Tools to Give You More FREE Time - Marketing can become a full-time job, and innkeepers already have enough to do! Use the free tools offered by Meta Business Suite to streamline your social media efforts, stop missing exciting opportunities to tie into holidays and events, and plan your social calendar instead of constantly playing catch-up. We'll also take a dive into Business Suite Insights to see what works and what doesn't, so you can alter your plan to meet your marketing goals.

  • Annie Buck (Acorn Marketing)

4:00 – 5:00pm - Mastering Difficult Conversations with Guests: A Proven 8-Step Program for Handling Angry Guests - Discover the art of mastering difficult conversations with our exclusive workshop designed for innkeepers. Unveil a proven 8-step program that equips you with the skills to adeptly navigate and diffuse situations with disgruntled guests, ensuring a harmonious and memorable experience for all.

  • Doug Bagnasco (Devonfield Inn)

Wednesday, 03/06/2024

9:00 – 10:00am - Creating a Business Your Team Can Be Proud of: Hiring and Retaining Excellent Staff and Building an Incredible Company Culture - Employee expectations for their employer have never been higher. Today's employees expect competitive pay and benefits and a development-focused work culture. Employees also expect their employer to have strong social and community connections, a focus on environmental stewardship, upward mobility potential, and transparency on business performance. It's a lot to manage and plan for but it's crucial to your HR success. This session will focus on hiring and retaining exceptional staff and how to create an employee culture that you and your employees are proud to be a part of.

  • Rachel Boggan (Saratoga Arms), Dan Clark (Inn of the Turquoise Bear), Xavier Ramirez (Combate Beach Resort)

9:00 – 10:00am - Unlocking the Power of Wedding Venue Reviews: A Marketing Masterclass for Innkeepers - Join us for a dynamic one-hour session tailored specifically for innkeepers eager to harness the potential of their wedding venue reviews. Discover innovative strategies and practical tips on how to effectively incorporate glowing testimonials into your marketing plan. Learn how to turn positive feedback into a powerful marketing tool that attracts more couples and boosts your wedding business's success. Don't miss this opportunity to elevate your inn's marketing game and turn satisfied clients into enthusiastic brand advocates!

  • Annie Buck (Acorn Marketing)

10:15 – 11:15am -
The Whole House Buyout: Negotiating Price, Contract Terms and Property Use Restrictions to Maximize Your Property’s Revenues - Contract writing and financial negotiations for full property rental, events, location fees, common area use upcharges, and other guest requested add-ons

  • Moderator - Marty Etzel (Acorn Marketing); Panelists - Ellen Goldberg (Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast Inn), Martin Horner (Wickwood Inn), Cathy Casey (Former Innkeeper)

10:15 – 11:15am - Midweek Magic: Boosting Weddings and Events at Your B&B - Join our exclusive one-hour session tailored for B&B owners aiming to boost bookings by attracting midweek weddings and events. Gain insights, strategies, and creative ideas to transform your business into a preferred midweek destination. Discover pricing incentives, themed packages, and marketing tactics to create an irresistible value proposition, enticing clients to choose your B&B for their special occasions, even on weekdays. This inspiring session will help fill your calendar and increase revenue with midweek magic!

  • Jim Leitch (Former Innkeeper), Cathy Casey (Former Innkeeper), Cooper Begis (Inn on Lake Granbury)

2:45 – 3:45pm -
Luxury Lodging: Curating a Personal, High-End, Boutique Experience to Delight Guests - Many B&B's, inns and small hotels are moving towards a luxury focused, boutique experience for their guests. Upgrading amenities, stepping up menus, and offering a more curated, guest-centric experience to make guests feel like they're your "personal guest." How do you do this? This joint discussion will share how two multiple award-winning properties planned and consistently deliver luxury lodging experiences to delight their guests at different touch points, and at different levels of expense and investment.

  • Marco DiDomizio (Candleberry Inn), Amy Smith (Saratoga Arms Hotel)

2:45 – 3:45pm - Seizing the Opportunity: Converting Wedding Guests into Lodging Patrons - Join this insightful hour-long session for innkeepers focusing on converting wedding guests into loyal lodging patrons. Learn strategies, best practices, and case studies to nurture relationships with wedding clientele, transitioning them into repeat customers. Discover ways to offer exceptional experiences and tailored deals to turn one-time event visitors into cherished lodging guests. Don't miss out on the long-term business opportunities weddings can bring to your inn!

  • Dan Clark (Inn of the Turquoise Bear)

4:00 – 5:00pm -
Cancellation Revenue?: Yes! Modifying Your Cancellation Policies and Add to your Bottom Line while Pleasing your Guests - Rethink Your Cancellation Policies! Learn how two lodging properties successfully introduced revised guest cancellation policies that allow them to offer more flexibility to guests when cancellations are needed (pleasing them and increasing the likelihood of future re-bookings) and allow them to earn them extra revenue! The policies differ at each property, but both succeed. Specifics like different cancellation options, timing / cancellation periods, fees as well as how the new policies were rolled out in the middle of a season will be shared.

  • Dan Clark (Inn of the Turquoise Bear), Amy Smith (Saratoga Arms Hotel)

4:00 – 5:00pm -  Your Best Year Ever: Setting Goals for the New Year and Creating a Structure to Actually Achieve Them! - There are endless daily to-dos as an innkeeper. You can easily lose sight of your long-tern goals as you put out fires on the daily! This session will help participants set realistic, attainable goals for the new year and break those goals down into quarterly, monthly and weekly goalposts. This session is chock full of actionable tips for achieving your goals, maintaining work-life balance, and moving your business forward!

  • Rachel Boggan (Saratoga Arms Hotel), Brittany Hollingshead (Huron House and Hotel Saugatuck)

As you can see, many years of lodging industry expertise are represented in the speakers and panelists at the ALP Conference, and lots of Acorn people as well! We love it when innkeepers get new information about how to promote their businesses and be more successful. And don't forget to visit us at the Acorn Marketing booth in the Marketplace!

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