If you run a B&B, guest house or small hotel, or own a holiday cottage or self-catering accommodation then read our 5 top marketing tips for growing your profile.
That’s the difference between sales and marketing, as given to a fresh faced young sales rep (who shall remain nameless) many years ago by his new boss, and we think it remains a sound basis from which to plan how you market your business.
Whether you have a single AirBnB room for hire, a holiday cottage, a B&B or small hotel, the principle is always the same: if you want to be successful at attracting customers, you need to start with a good clear marketing plan which is geared towards generating bookings by attracting visitors to your website, or getting them to pick up the phone.
It’s a great way to filter the wheat from the chaff when considering potential marketing activities. If you’re thinking about any new marketing idea, always ask yourself the simple question: “How likely is this to actually get me bookings?”
With that principle in mind, here are some of Out of Eden’s TOP TIPS for building your profile:
In today’s world, almost all your potential customers start their search for a place to stay online. So you’ve got to have a great online presence, and social media is a crucial part of it.
Facebook is of course ‘the big one’, and it’s easy to create a really great page. Keep your posts original, interesting, and regular, and you’ll soon build a large following who you can then instantly hit with special offers and promotions designed to get that phone ringing.
Instagram is worth the effort too, and there are plenty of others of course. But do be realistic about how much time you can put in – it’s better to use one outlet really well than to make a half-baked job of half a dozen.
Portals like Tripadvisor are crucial. People look at the reviews, and if there’s big green bar of ‘excellents’ and an empty bar of ‘terribles’, the booking’s as good as yours. So how do you get all those reviews? It’s simple – ask for them.
Just give your guests a little card asking for a review when they depart (most portals have a readymade template which you can download), and a good proportion of them will do just that.
Read all the reviews you get, and you’ll easily learn how to adapt your offering so you get more positive reviews and less negative.
Wherever you’re advertising, from print media to a card in the tourist office, make it stand out by flaunting your unique assets. Highlight what makes you special, like the lakeside location or the proximity to the theatre district, rather than the more mundane things like in-room kettles and TV’s.
It’s not all about tourists. There’s often a big local market to tap into as well, which can be valuable bread and butter at quieter times of year. Perhaps there’s a big employer nearby with contract staff needing regular accommodation – a rich seam of gold waiting to be tapped.
Or there might be a large wedding venue with a regular need for overflow accommodation – so make sure they’re passing on your details.
Creating a brilliant website isn’t just a one-off job – you can’t just build it, launch it, and leave it. No matter how impressive and user-friendly it is, websites need continually refreshing to keep them working.
Seasonal offers and information, regular news stories or blog articles, fresh information about local events, these are the sorts of things which give people a reason to keep visiting your site, and this keeps you in their minds.
And finally, remember that marketing a hospitality business is all about keeping your eye on the ball. Develop a plan of activities which work for you, continually monitor how well they work, and always be on the lookout for new ideas and opportunities.