While the Bed and Breakfast (B&B) industry as a whole is a very competitive market, there are some Bed and Breakfast ( B&Bs) businesses that stand out as being innovative, creative, adaptable and brand focused.
It may appear easy for some B&Bs that are small in size, are closer to main cities, have fewer competitors and/or have access to larger funds to support marketing opportunities and partnerships to succeed but we are here tell you none of that really matters!
Over the past 11 years, we have worked with a large number of B&B owners that have generated more sales in comparison to other similar sized operators in room sales and what we found was that all of them were embracing the Internet and looking for opportunities and niches for themselves in their market space.
What are these B&B owners investing in to succeed?
One thing that particularly stood out was that these owner-operators were tapped into the customer experience, read blogs and articles on marketing and managed their tourism website content intently. They also belonged to like-minded groups and went to travel shows so that they could learn as much as possible about the industry! Their growth in their business was down to passion and not directly related to anything investment related.
Yeah sure they invested alright, but their investment was in creating new knowledge, building relationships and learning as much as they could about what it takes to have a successful B&B business.
One of the common strategies used by these operators was their investment in their website presence and today we have decided to let the cat out of the bag and share these strategies with you.
Successful B&B's do this
- They invest time in improving their website so it can be found in all major search engines.
- They use the Internet as an advertising platform to bring in more business through building partnerships and relationships with suppliers as well as tourism and travel web channels.
- They have a website that is integrated with a booking engine which makes it easy for visitors to book in real time.
- They use an award-winning booking system that is designed to blend directly into their website.
- They invest in email marketing to send updates and special offers to all customers that have been to their B&B in the past.
- They engage with social media like Twitter and Facebook. Social media has a very tangible return on investment. After all, it’s all about branding and keeping in touch with others through a medium that people use on a day-to-day basis.
With the determination to deliver sales and succeed you can see why these B&B owners were generating more revenue and it made me think about creating a "Master list for growth checklist" that all BnB's should follow.
The master list for B&B success
- Invest money in your website so it can be found in all major search engines (Use a specialized resource to ensure you keep in step with the latest tips).
- Use the Internet as an advertising platform to bring in more business – advertise not only in Google, but think Yahoo and Bing as well.
- Get your website looking swanky and look to engage users at the highest level. (Introduce live chat for example)
- Make the site easy to navigate and keep the main focus and objectives of the website at all times (keep the booking engine in the design) so that people can book with ease.
- Use an award-winning booking system that is designed to blend directly into your website.
- Make sure you utilize a company that specialises in web-based booking systems as their major offering.
- Invest in email marketing to send updates and special offers to all customers
- Use social media to brand and create more awareness of your product offers, use Facebook as a medium to advertise offers to all followers.
- Use your website to get in front of direct traffic and advertise your domain name in all of your marketing materials, email signatures and printed business documents.
- Track all activity and report on your investments so that you can visually see if the return on investment is at a high level.
- Make sure your focus is on getting more visitors to your website(s) – the more bookings you get from your own site the more you will save – up to thousands in commissions that are charged by suppliers each and every year.
- Get in touch with a search marketing company that can help you reinvent yourself and your brand with a sound strategy for more growth.
Embrace the technologies available on the Internet if you want to succeed and source experts that can offer you skills you may not have in-house, and focus on gaining more sales from your own website (To save a ton of money in commissions!).