When it comes to success online, owning a bed and breakfast website that generates bookings is a must have! With the digital space, such a critical area for new business, the days of relying on the likes of Yellow Pages to generate sales are almost all over.
With this in mind, we want to share with you some ideas to maximize your sales and bookings
1. The importance of Credibility
“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.”
– Mark Zuckerberg
Credibility is key so make sure your site conveys messages of confidence; ensure that you have testimonials from customers on your site so that you can give the people visiting your website confidence in your B&B's ability to perform to their expectations.
If you don’t have any testimonials, please don’t make them up! That would be just kidding yourself and lying to your customers. Go ahead and ask your current customers for testimonials, if your products and services are really that great, your customers will be more than happy to send you some nice testimonials.
One approach we have seen used in the past is to send customers an email asking them for a testimonial and giving them some lead questions like:
- How did you find our B&B in regards to home comforts?
- Would you recommend our B&B to others and why?
- What aspects of your B&B stay did you enjoy the most?
- How would you describe us as hosts? Friendly, social, too social?
These lead questions make the testimonial easier for the customer to just fill in the gaps and send it back to you. Everyone is busy out there, working harder than ever before in business, so making this as painless as possible will give you the biggest chance of getting a response.
Once you have gathered this information, assemble your testimonials into categories (if relevant) and then place them on your website. Get them on the home page so that new visitors see this information straight away.
The perfect testimonials have photos of the customer, the customer’s name if relevant, as well as the customer's town or city. If you do place this information about the customer on your website, please ensure you seek their permission first.
2. What’s in it for your website visitor?
When a visitor first arrives at your website they are looking for indicators that you have what they are looking for. To ensure they can see these indicators it is really important that you make it very clear what you are selling or offering. A lot of websites have “Welcome to” and while this is very polite, it does nothing to ensure that the client sees what you have to offer instantly. What I recommend B&B owners to do is to remove the “Welcome to” and replace it with the main heading.
Say for example you are a “B&B near some amazing walking tours in Auckland” we would advise you to ensure that was the main heading and it was clear and visible to all that entered your site.
At the end of the day, you have to “Scratch the itch” of visitors that come to your site, by having your main offering in big bold headings to ensure they see “What’s in it for them” as soon as they visit your website.
3. Personalise the experience
Having your photo on the website works well to really personalise the website experience. It helps reinforce your connection with visitors and we also believe it helps the sale process because at the end of the day people buy from other people, not from websites alone! If you can bring your photo and personal approach to the site it will bring in more bookings. People like to see who see who they will be staying with after all!
These tips, while they sound simple, are missing from so many B&B websites today and with just a little bit of work can contribute to so many new bookings and revenue for your business.