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Annual Event
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2015 Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia

Annual conference

February 22-24, 2015

Fredericksburg Hospitality House Hotel and Conference Center, 2801 Plank Road, Fredericksburg, VA

General Admission: $229 for the first person, $209 for the second person from the same property.

BBAV Members: $169 for the first person + $159 for the second person.

Click here to register (Fee includes: Sunday reception and dinner, breakfast both days, lunch on Monday.)

Saturday/Sunday – Aspiring Innkeeper Class (click here to learn more)


2015 BBAV Annual Conference Schedule and Descriptions

Please note: All time slots for breakout sessions contain 2-3 concurring sessions.

Saturday, February 21, 2015
Aspiring Innkeepers Workshop
Register here

Sunday, February 22, 2015
*Pre-Conference Session*
Lisa Kolb, Acorn Internet: Do You Know What You Don’t Know? Uncovering the Secrets of a Superior Online Presence!
(Registration Deadline for this session is February 6th. If you register after this date, you will not receive a personalized report at the beginning of the session.)
Are you meeting and exceeding your Revenue Goals for your Inn? If not, this Pre-Conference session is designed just for YOU! We will be providing tips and how-tos on how to build a better online presence and improve your bottom line. Not sure if this class is for you? Take a moment and complete the 7 Question Quiz. If you find yourself answering “I don’t know” to any of these questions, we highly encourage you to register for this Pre-Conference session! Bring your laptop or tablet, and come find out if you “Know What You Don’t Know,” because this is marketing knowledge that will either make or break your business!

Acorn University Students: No additional charge. Please click here to register by email.
BBAV Members: $50 for one attendee, $75 for two. Click here to register.
General Admission: $100 per person. Click here to register.

Registration, Vendor Fair and BBAV Annual Soap Drive
All attendees are encouraged to bring soap, bottles of products and any other items they would like to donate to the Thurman Brisben Center in Fredericksburg. 80 residents who are being housed, fed and assisted in their efforts to climb out of homelessness will certainly appreciate and make good use of your donations. For every 5 lbs you donate, you will receive a raffle ticket that will be drawn on Tuesday at the BBAV Annual Meeting.
Breakout Sessions
Olivia Wilson: "Certifying Your Kitchen With VDACS"

Looking for a way to expand your business and sell some of the delicious, home-cooked food you prepare to customers outside of your inn? The VA Department of Agriculture Food Safety Division assists producers with certifying kitchens so that entrepreneurs may be able to sell at farmers’ markets. We will explain the process step by step and give you all the information you need to get certified.

Robin Sommer: “Great Photography... Now What?”
Having great photography created by a professional photographer is crucial to your marketing plan, but it's only the first step. You have the photos on your desktop, but what to do with them? Professional photographer Robin Sommer, Mid Atlantic Inn Photography, will challenge you to use your photography to brand your inn, reach new customers, flesh out your website with artistry and participate in social media that works. You have the beautiful B&B, you have the artful photography, now find out how to use it to get marketing results that will truly amaze you! We will talk about Pinterest, blogs, websites, social media and print, as well as answer your questions about manipulating and storing files. There will be group discussions to share ideas, and brainstorming will be encouraged.

5:00pm Welcome Reception in Vendor Fair

6:00pm Dinner
Welcome from Mayor of Fredericksburg
Award the BBAV 2015 Member of the Year
Key Note Welcoming Session: The Digital Innkeeper: How to Use the Internet to Build Your Business and Brand in 2015 and Beyond with The Sales Lion
Marcus Sheridan is a nationally known presenter and renowned business marketing professional. Currently a HubSpot partner, he has become a desired speaker at conferences worldwide, showcasing his marketing knowledge, methods, and personal results. His energy-filled key note entitled "The Digital Innkeeper: How to Use the Internet to Build Your Business and Brand in 2015 and Beyond" will demonstrate how to take your inn to the next level by using immediately applicable and powerful internet marketing strategies that get results.
(If you can not attend the full conference but want to attend Sunday's events, register here)

Monday, February 23, 2015

8:00am Breakfast and Vendor Fair

Breakout Sessions
Tom Weiskotten: "What’s new and what you need to know in the ever changing world of payments

Are you ready to accept new “chip” credit cards in 2015? Have you completed your annual PCI Compliance? Taking credit card payments is becoming more secure, which is good for us all. But it can also add a level of difficulty. Learn what is required of you as a business owner as well as the best practices to save you time, money and effort when taking payments from your guests.

Jason Priest: "How to ensure you are properly insured"
Insurance is a constantly changing field that requires frequent review to make sure you are on top of the coverage your Bed & Breakfast needs. Learn about the different ways things can be insured, the pros and cons of each method, different options that B&Bs are inundated with via the internet and mailers, and what you should be careful about, including how all of the different options affect you. We will talk about the dangers of not being properly insured, including horror stories from other B&Bs, common mistakes, and areas of concern.  We will make sure you are informed of what tools are available through the Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia and through the Keystone Agents that can help you get properly insured. We will also go over everything an independent insurance agent can bring to the table, from helping you utilize modern day technology to giving you access to specific coverage forms.

9:00 am Vendor Fair Close till Lunch

Breakout Sessions
Scott Thomas: “Google Analytics”

Not only is Google Analytics large and sometimes complex, but who has time to spend digging through all the information? This session will focus on just the essentials, the parts that give the best information in the shortest, most straightforward way. Scott Thomas, an experienced virtual technology consultant for innkeepers, will teach you how to use Google Analytics and why it's important, simplifying the basics even further so you can get an update at a glance.

Tara Stoll and Heidi Lanford: “Turn 1 Idea into 5 Social Posts by Using Cornerstone Content”
Do you find that you’re having trouble meeting the frequent posting demands of your social media sites? Discover how one topic can translate into five different posts. This presentation from Tara Stoll of Social Inns and Heidi Lanford of the Iris Inn will explain five different ways you can use one topic to increase your Search Engine Optimization ranking (SEO), encourage consumer engagement, and ultimately grab the attention of potential guests. You will also learn the benefits of using cornerstone content to link all of your property’s social sites together with the goal of bringing potential guests to your B&B website, where they can make a reservation. Join us for a real-life example of a B&B website whose Facebook page became one of their top-five referral sites.

Tim Wilson: “Yield Management”
From ADR to RevPar to Yield Management, get a full explanation in easy-to-understand terms on how to maximize your income by varying your rates, minimum/maximum stays, cancellation policies, and expanding distribution.

Breakout Sessions
Jeanne Muir: “An Innkeeper's Vacation - The Whys and Hows of Innsitters”

When you want to hire an innsitter, how do you choose the right one and prepare for the experience? Speaker Jeanne Muir, who co-owned the Thomas Shepherd Inn in Shepherdstown, WV for 11 and a half years, will offer her expertise. During this presentation, a handy innsitting manual will be provided. This guide is also a useful tool to use when planning the sale of an inn.

Peter Scherman and Rick Wolf: “Millennials - How to Gain their Loyalty”
Are you looking to improve your outreach to millennials? Find out what drives them in the travel marketplace and what strategies you should use to attract them, gain their loyalty, and inspire them to spread the word about your inn. In this dynamic industry it’s important to build your business for tomorrow. We can offer you the keys to insuring that your B&B stays relevant, teaching you how to attract new guests while maintaining your current clientele.

Panel: Perfecting Packages
Hear first hand experiences from innkeepers on how they have created packages and successfully marketed them. Also learn what hasn't worked in the past. From collecting items locally to put into a package, to add-ons that are not time consuming, packages can work at any property if created with care and thorough thought.

Lunch in the Vendor Fair
Idea Swap Sessions:
This is a great opportunity to share ideas with your fellow innkeepers. If you have questions about a certain topic, come ask. If you have experience with a topic, share your solutions. Attend all five, or just one. The sessions will be in a room outside the vendor fair to help control the noise level so you can hear and have quality conversations.
11:40am-11:5apm Idea swap: How to recover from an emergency
12:00pm-12:20pm Idea Swap: How to do breakfast - Hot vs Continental
12:30pm-12:50pm Idea Swap: How to respond to bad review
1:00pm-1:20pm Idea Swap: Things I wish I would have known before day 1
1:30pm-1:50pm Idea Swap: To Flash Deal or Not? How to use Groupon and Living Social

2:00pm Vendor Fair Ends

Breakout Sessions
Linda Hayes: “Back to Basics in Bedding”

Participate in a practical and fun workshop on expert sheet-folding and bed-making techniques. We will show you how to assemble each layer of the bed with actual examples you can touch and feel. Learn the importance of triple-sheeting and how it’s done, as well as shortcuts for innkeepers to manage the layers of a bed. We will also provide you with resources for bedding products. You will be amazed at how a few helpful tips can improve the beauty and efficiency of your bed-making.

Aaron Sutch and Tom Griffin: “Taking Your Green Commitments to the Next Level”
Aaron Sutch and Tom Griffin of the Virginia Green Travel Alliance will teach you about the benefits of Virginia Green status and how to apply. We will discuss co-ops and group buying power as well as how to save money on bills using green products. Learn about Community Power Network solar bulk purchases and how they can help your B&B go solar. Virginia Green is providing easy options for enabling its commercial customers to support green power and reduce their carbon footprints. This will not only save you money but appeal to your more eco-minded guests.

Panel: B&B Blogging
You have heard from blogging experts on why to blog and how to blog; now hear from innkeepers about how THEY do it, using something as simple as an event in your town or as robust as a recipes you want to share with your readers.

Key Note Session: Jay Karen, Chief Executive Officer, Select Registry - Distinguished Inns of North America: Finding the Innkeeping Sweet Spot: Where Happiness, Success and Sanity Meet
Running a B&B sometimes feels like the epitome of playing tug of war: your sensibilities vs. the guest's, your need for privacy vs. the demands of the guests, your capacity to get things done vs. what all the voices in the industry say you should be doing. Rather than tug-of-war, innkeepers should approach it like "yin and yang." What you bring to the table as a unique innkeeper can complement and perfectly balance what the guests seek in an experience. After being in the trenches with innkeepers for more than 7 years, Jay will give his best advice on how to strike that balance, so that you don't just burn out, but that you find happiness, success and sanity.

Dine Around Fredericksburg
Small group reservations will be made at area restaurants. Sign up to attend at the registration desk.

*BBAV Member Only Pizza and Karaoke Party*
Join us at a Pizza and Karaoke Party on Monday, Feb 23 at 6:30pm. Jay Karen from SR will be there and will sing with us all. This event is only open to BBAV Professional Members who have paid their 2015 Dues. Includes dinner, dessert, tea/coffee and cash bar. Karaoke provided by Gravatt Entertainment. Click here to purchase tickets to the event.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2nd Annual BBAV Cooking Contest
Watch as chefs and innkeepers go head-to-head in a contest to make a breakfast main dish that must be vegan, gluten free or dairy free. One judge will be a lucky audience member. You will get to taste test the dishes, as well as ask the contestants questions about their dishes and maybe get some new recipes. This is a MUST ATTEND event! (we are looking for two more people to participate)

Breakout Sessions
Lankford and Joyce Blair: The Little "INNgine" That Could

Having a small inn presents many challenges when it comes to generating revenue. However, not having four or more rooms is not an insurmountable obstacle if you are willing to work hard, focus on customer service, be creative, and stay encouraged and excited.  This discussion will focus on how the owners of the three-room Magnolia House Inn in Hampton have successfully met the challenges faced by small inns by coming up with creative ways to generate additional revenue. They will share their experiences and offer advice on how to make the best usage of your property, including what has worked well (and not so well) for them. They will also give tips on how to plan activities around your guest flow, find your niche, market your inn, and make the best use of limited space. Audience participation, sharing and questions will be greatly encouraged.

M. Shannon Hernandez: "Your Bed & Breakfast Blog Matters!"
As a business owner, blogging is one sure-fire tool you can use to stand out from the internet crowd. It helps you to define your personal brand, create a strong and recognizable voice, craft a vibrant and engaged image, and increase the visibility of your business. We will discuss how you can engage your audience through social media using the content that you write, and how to build your profits and client base through blogging. Learn how to rise above the internet noise through blogging, and discover why quality content, when published consistently, gives you a huge advantage in the marketplace.

Panel: PR for Innkeepers
Getting press is hard to do. Find out how these BBAV Members have gotten coverage on their property from the local media to national.

Breakout Sessions
Christine and Jim Hasbrouck: "KISS (Keep it Simple Sweetie) the Garnishes"

Beautiful garnishments can elevate a dish to the next level, adding color and sophistication to the meals you serve your guests. Now is your chance to learn how to embellish a plate so skillfully that visitors to your inn will remember it for a long time to come. Christine and Jim Hasbrouck of the Grey Swan Inn will provide a hands-on demo on how to garnish, including a PowerPoint Presentation and several different examples of sweet and savory foods for you to sample.

Virginia Alcohol and Beverage Control – What B&Bs Can and Can’t Do When Serving Beer, Wine and Liquor
State representatives from VABC will break down the B&B Retail License for owners to better understand what is allowed by the license. There will also be time for Q&A to share examples from your inn and ask questions about what you can and can't do at your B&B under your VABC license.

Panel: The Magic of Channel Marketing
Are you working with local restaurants, wineries/breweries/cideries, art galleries and other B&Bs in your region? If not, you are missing out on key partners that can promote your business. Gain important tips on how to create these relationships and how to market across all channels.

BBAV Annual Meeting
No charge to attend this meeting, open to any BBAV Member. Learn what is new at BBAV, updates on state advocacy issues and industry information.

1pm-3pm (optional)
Lunch on your own and tour the local BBAV Members. Information will be emailed to attendees after they complete registration.

Register for the 2015 BBAV Conference

One-on-one Sessions

These sessions will all be 30 minutes long and you must pre-purchase your session.

These one-on-one sessions with Google Analytics expert Scott Thomas will give attendees the chance to better understand their analytic data. It is also an opportunity to create an account and get started if you are not using this free and handy tool. Please bring your laptop, Google Analytics username and password, and any questions. This insider view on your account will better prepare you for a stronger web presence in 2015. Available Monday 11:15am-11:45; 2:45pm-3:15; 3:30pm-4.

This one-on-one session with Tim Wilson of will help you explore various Yield Management techniques that can be implemented at your B&B. Bring your laptop with your current figures and stats for Tim to go over with you and help develop ideas to execute in 2015 to grow your income. Available Monday 10:30am-11; 11:15am-11:45; 1:15pm-1:45; 2pm-2:30; 2:45pm-3:15; 3:30pm-4

Do you have questions about how to begin or run your inn’s social media sites? Do you need help understanding the basics of Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest? For the past two years, Tara Stoll, COO of Social Inns, has been offering one-one-one social media education sessions for members of the BBAV, and she is offering her services once again at the 2015 conference. Your one-on-one session will be all about you and your questions, so bring your laptop, passwords, and inquiries with you, and let Tara help you out with optimizing your social media profiles. Available Monday 11:15am-11:45; 2:45pm-3:15; 3:30pm-4.

Your Blog and Content Strategy Session. Meet with Shannon for a private strategy session where you can discuss your blogging needs, struggles, and sticky-spots. Out of topics? Shannon will brainstorm with you! Not clear on your blogging strategy? Shannon will help you map out a plan! Get the help you need on-site, and take your Bed & Breakfast Blog to a new level. Available Tuesday 11am-11:30; 11:45am-12:15; 12:30pm-1

Register for a One-on-one session here. Please indicate in the comments section of your order form what session you want to attend. Please note the additional cost to attend a one-on-one session is $25 per session. If you would like to have an hour long session, please purchase two 30 minute sessions.


Room Rate at the Fredericksburg Hospitality House Hotel: $82 (plus tax) per night

Lavender Heights B&B is offering a 20% discount to any aspiring attendee who attends to the workshop. Please call them to make a reservation at 540-361-4593 and mention you are attending the BBAV conference.

Braehead Manor is offering a 20% discount to any aspiring attendee who attends the workshop. Please call them to make a reservation at 540-361-2629 and mention you are attending the BBAV conference.

Richard Johnston Inn is offering a 25% discount to any attendee who attends the workshop. Please call them to make a reservation at 540-899-7606 and mention you are attending the BBAV conference.

Vendor Fair
Click here for info and prices.

Cancelation Policy • Cancel by January 20, 2015 to receive a full refund of your conference registration fee. • If you cancel between January 21 and Feb 9, you will be refunded your registration fee minus a $50 cancellation charge. • After Feb 9 we are not able to issue a refund. • All cancellations must be emailed to