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The breakfast is ready and the beds are made, but how do you market your bed and breakfast?
Bed and breakfasts have changed from the doily filled guestrooms and excruciating small talk over breakfast to an economical innovative way to spend some time in a new city and experience your destination with the help of locals.
Bed and Breakfasts have also taken a leap into the digital age with the advent of peer-to-peer rockstar Airbnb. Founded in 2008, Airbnb has taken the sharing economy to a new level allowing hosts to put everything from a spare room to an igloo to a private island up for short term rent to would be travelers. In fact, it’s pretty hard to believe that there are over 2 million listings on the site and about 500,000 nightly stays.
With that many listings, your B&B will need to stand out from the crowd. Here’s some Do’s and Don’ts to consider when marketing your bed and breakfast:
It might seem like pretty obvious advice to “post great pics” of your bed and breakfast, but photographs are the single most important factor when marketing your bed and breakfast. They allow would-be guests to get a sense of what they can expect when choosing your B&B and sell the experience of your B&B rather than just a room.
Great photos are a pretty big part of your marketing efforts, but they don’t need to break the bank. There are some tips and tricks for taking great photos for your website with your smartphone that don’t cost anything but time. If you feel like your pictures need a bit of an update here’s a few things to consider:
- Consider the details: if your photos are looking a little dull and redundant try adding a little flare. Maybe a glass of wine and cheese plate would make the picture of your suite’s balcony pop a bit more. Remember, sell the experience of staying at your B&B and not just the room. Make sure the beds are made beautifully, and everything is in the right place.
- Don’t post too many photos: You want to leave a little bit to the imagination don’t you. Consider capping some of the great photos you post to your website to about 10. Use those images to highlight your great amenities, the character of the area, the appeal of your bed and breakfast and leave them wanting more.
Most people book a bed and breakfast for two reasons: a) the ability to stay somewhere unique and, b) the opportunity to save a buck. Bed and breakfast, frankly, are alternative accommodations to hotels and appeal to travelers looking for such an experience.
- If you price like a hotel: you may eliminate some of the potential customer bases due to price. Remember bed and breakfast guests are often out to save a buck and have turned to you as an alternative. Is it better to rent your place less often for a higher price or more often for a lower price?
Improvements don’t have to be expensive, and they honestly can go along the way. It could be as simple as adding another phone charging station beside the bed or relocating your router to another location for better wifi. Make small incremental improvements to your bed and breakfast can go along the way.
- Have you stayed, as a guest, in your Bed and Breakfast? Give it a try; it might reveal a few things that a regular walk through of your accommodation might not. Experience your bed and breakfast as your guest does and see when some small improvements might be made. Use your knowledge to help improve the experience of your guest.
Reviews are important. Whether you’re trying to put heads in bed or sell a product, what other people say about your business online to other people is of the utmost importance. It might be your best social media strategy to mind your reviews, but they’re also a source of great customer feedback:
- Listen to what people are saying about your business: and learn from what your customers are saying about your business. This goes hand in hand with experience, your B&B like your guest, would, but listen to your client reviews and adapt and change and grow your bed and breakfast experience as suggests are made.
- Make sure you know where you’re being reviewed: It’s important to manage your online reputation. For a bed and breakfast, your online reputation usually comes in the form of online reviews. Consider using a service like Reputology to keep seamlessly on top of reviews of your bed and breakfast.
One of the many the reasons people book bed and breakfasts for their accommodations are for the unique experience. You don’t always find that personal touch you get at a bed and breakfast at a hotel or get the best idea of what to experience when on vacation. One of the advantages you have as a B&B is their ability to be a part of the local culture and share that with their guests.
- Make recommendations: to your guests on some of the more local establishment and attractions in your area – they are appreciative. Is there a tourist attraction that might not be worth their time or is there a restaurant that truly can’t be missed? That’s the type of stuff guest want to know and will be pleased they got.
How do you get people talking about your bed and breakfast on social media? Give them something to say. Millennials are much more likely to talk about your product or service of social media and are much more likely to a write an online review. With that in mind, be sure to give your guests something compelling to talk about and share with their social networks.
- Special requests for special guests: You may have seen them on social media, but special request forms go a long way when it comes to increasing chatter on social media. Ask your guests if they require anything special when booking their stay and see what they ask for. Sometimes a small accommodation can go along the way to build brand ambassadors.