Robert Matthews was recently elected president of the Empire State Bed and Breakfast Association. Matthews had been attending the ESBBA meetings with his wife, Sunny Matthews of Sunny's Roost Bed and Breakfast, for the past year and a half when he found himself nominated for the position. Officer and chair positions are normally reserved for bed and breakfast owners, but an exception was made in his case as Matthews assists Sunny with the bed and breakfast business in many ways.
ESBBA is a 16-year-old statewide association with a strict code of standards for its member bed and breakfasts/inns. It is also the only New York association that monitors its members to be sure they continue to meet its standards of operation. The national and worldwide associations help get the names of the bed and breakfast members out in the public eye, but anyone with the subscription fee can list their property. However, travelers choosing a bed and breakfast from the Empire State Bed & Breakfast Association membership site will know that the establishment they choose is one of New York's premier bed and breakfasts.
Matthews is not taking the position lightly. Already he has taken the initiative in bringing some new ideas to the board. Along with monthly online board meetings, he hopes to be able to have smaller meetings in each region to keep individual bed and breakfasts in touch with each other, both those that are members and those that want to see what the association is all about. The first of these meetings will be this April in Cooperstown, with its local bed and breakfast association.
Matthews has suggested adding QR codes to the new 2014 rack card, which will be found at various travel plazas and welcome centers throughout New York. Using these codes, a visitor can readily access only the pages of the website pertaining to the region they plan to visit, rather than click through several pages to reach their goal. Adding QR codes will bring more traffic to the Empire State Bed & Breakfast Association website, www.esbba.com, and referrals to its members. All member bed and breakfasts will be listed by region and a map will indicate the boundaries of each region.
The ESBBA website already supplies a website presence for each member, as well as a mobile application for those who do not already have one. Plans have been made for several self-help videos to be added to the site to assist members in setting up their information and remind them of changes they need to implement on their sites to stay current in the ever-changing Internet market.
Additionally, the website contains a blog to which any member can add specials, information about their region, pictures and recipes. Visitors and non-members alike have access to these pages to learn about the members and the areas in which they reside.
The Empire State Bed & Breakfast Association has established in 1997. Its mission is to encourage the professional and financial success of its dedicated New York state innkeeper members through education, marketing and collaboration with professional partners, emphasizing high quality standards of hospitality and ethical business practices, all with the aim of superior lodging experiences for guests.