I have never run a Bed & Breakfast (B&B) but can imagine how difficult it is to run one on top of keeping your customers happy, ensuring that the accommodation is clean and tidy, and spending time marketing the business to attract new customers. So, today we’re going to offer five marketing tips for B&B owners.
Be an authority on your destination
Being the authority person in your niche can have a positive impact on a business. When publishing guides for my home city of Leeds, local radio stations would often ask me to go in and talk about what’s on in the area. Being asked regularly for recommendations by the media can result in links back to your website, which is invaluable.
Prove your local knowledge on your website and social networks like Twitter and this can result in the local and national media contacting you for recommendations on things to do, and in return, you get an opportunity to promote your Bed & Breakfast.
Promote feedback from your guest book online
Ask customers to leave feedback in a guest book. This feedback is invaluable and a selection of comments should be copied on to a testimonial page on your website so potential customers can read them. If you are going to use full name’s (which does make the reviews more trustworthy) then mention in the guest book that you may re-publish their comments on your website.
If you have a blog then create a post, and ask that guests go there and leave feedback about their experience in the comments section. Alternatively, you could recommend that guests leave a review on a third-party review service like Trip Advisor. Do not be afraid of negative feedback because this should be used to improve the service that you provide guests.
Very few B&B owners use video, and it gives a much more personalised view of the hosts and accommodation. For less than £200 you can buy a good quality, full HD wide angle lens camera that not only takes great photos but produces brilliant quality video.
Karen who runs Hopton House B&B mentioned on Twitter that one of her guests was staying for the 25th time, which is great. If you have regulars ask them if they mind recording a video testimonial on why they enjoy about staying at the B&B so much.
Build an email list
Building an email list is important for any tourism business and if you do not have one, make it your priority. Use a service like MailChimp and it is fantastic. For up to 2,000 subscribers, and 12,000 emails a month the service is completely free. You do not need to have design skills to create the email because they’re lots of templates.
The benefits: capture the email address of potential customers that are interested in staying at your B&B. When a potential customer emails or calls you, direct them to your email sign up page. The focus of the emails should be that you add value – incentivise customers by offering them a discount if they sign up, or, tell them to sign up for future exclusive discounts.
You, as the owner are a huge marketing tool, I know, that sounds odd, but as a potential customer, not only is it important how clean and tidy the Bed and Breakfast is, but it is essential that the hosts are friendly, cheerful and accommodating.
You often find that when people write reviews of B&B’s the focus is on how friendly the owners were, which is completely different than other types of accommodation like hotels. Do not be afraid to include your face and personality when marketing your bed and breakfast.
Here’s bonus tip because it is so important for B&B owners:
B&B websites are often neglected and it should be your main focus because you want the majority of bookings to come from your website, rather than paying out a commission to booking companies. Spend an hour each week publishing new content, continue to add good quality photos (make those photos large) and video. It’s also important that you regularly back up your website and maintain it so that it is not left vulnerable to hacks.