Whether you rent your spare bedroom or own a boutique hotel, marketing is the key to keeping your bed and breakfast occupied. But you don’t need to be a marketing professional to advertise your business. With a little creativity and determination, you can promote your business successfully, even on a meager budget.
Find Your Target Demographic
Before you decide how to market your bed and breakfast, you need to find your audience. For example, a romantic getaway probably isn’t going to attract large families with young children. You want to form a profile that represents your typical guest, and then try to cater your offerings to that person. For instance, if you own a cabin in a rural forest, you’re probably going to attract people who enjoy nature. If you own a boutique hotel in the heart of a city, you may attract a younger crowd who enjoys nightlife. Find your niche, and embrace it.
Advertise to Your Niche Audience
Once you create a customer profile, it’s time to connect with your niche audience. Let’s say you run a bed and breakfast in an area surrounded by wineries. You could take out an ad in wine and food magazines and local newspapers. Online forums are excellent for marketing, but make sure you provide value to the reader. For instance, you could post a review on a local wine, and then mention and link your bed and breakfast in the body of the review.
The best way to market your bed and breakfast is to get people talking. Analyze your competition, and learn from similar businesses while improving upon their offerings. For example, instead of just providing breakfast, you could offer a breakfast buffet with complementary mimosas. Your goal is to give your guests more while still keeping your prices competitive. Competing with larger chains can be tough, but many travelers are more than willing to pay a little more for a unique, memorable experience.
Use Online Resources
Websites such as Airbnb, Trip Advisor, and Yelp have redefined the hospitality industry, and if you’re not actively using at least those three major websites, you’re missing out. The first thing potential guests do is check reviews, so your goal is to actively encourage your visitors to leave reviews. One easy strategy is to simply leave a small card on your bedside table politely requesting reviews. Collecting email addresses is also a prudent strategy, as you can send follow-up emails at the end of a stay. Of course, negative reviews are worse than no reviews, so you want to provide a positive experience at all times.
Hire a Professional Photographer
Your smartphone pictures aren’t going to cut it. High-quality photography is absolutely crucial to attract guests and prevent dissatisfaction. Your guests want to know exactly what they’re paying for, so try to load your website with crystal-clear images. In addition to providing pristine photos, make sure your images are clearly labeled. For example, the Queen Anne Inn has each room numbered with corresponding photos so guests know exactly what to expect. This keeps you and your guests on the same page so there are no surprises or misunderstandings upon arrival. As you navigate the multifaceted world of marketing, you’ll inevitably have failures and successes. To stay ahead of the curve, continually evolve your marketing strategy to meet changing trends and emerging technologies.