How To Get More Direct Bookings With Just A Simple List

Get More Direct Bookings

Get more direct bookings with just a simple list

get more direct bookings

Time and time again, I’m asked by B&B Owners what they can do to get more direct bookings.  Each time I say to them – you simply need to build an email list!

It is a marketing must …

If you want to get more direct bookings then you need to collect information from people.

Why?  So that you can:​

– Add them to your database and contact them again.
– Sell to them, in the right way.
– Upsell and cross-sell to them, at the right time.

And here is a really important one …

– So you can get more direct bookings!

You need to collect information from people so you can:

–  Ask them for a testimonial.
–  Ask them for a recommendation.
–  Ask them why they didn’t book.
–  Offer them a special offer.

If you do not capture their details you cannot do any of this.

Instead you are left …

–  Waving goodbye to the back of a prospective guest …
–  Watching them get smaller …
–  Watching them forgetting about you and  your B&B.

Without contact details, you are only left with hope

Your only strategy is to cross your fingers and hope that they remember you.

Hope that they will visit your website again.

Hope that they will pick up the phone.

Hope they do it next week, like they said they would.

Unfortunately ‘hope marketing’ is not a strategy for success – in fact, it’s not even a strategy!

Do not make the mistake of thinking that data capture is somehow ‘sophisticated’ marketing. That it is somehow too advanced for you and your business.

Capturing peoples’ details is vital

It’s a really important step if you want to get more direct bookings and increase your profits.  Like most marketing though, the less people do it, the more effective it is. And that is where I have got good news for you.

The majority of your competitors still have not cottoned on to this vital marketing tool.  They are seemingly too busy to implement this most imperative and essential marketing strategy.

Instead they are all crossing their fingers, hoping that the person will call back and make a booking.

Leaving a prospective guest in complete control of the relationship is a recipe for disaster

They are not as motivated as you to push, chivvy and drag the relationship over the booking line. If you want a booking you need to put yourself in the driving seat.

Like many things in business, the collection of contact details from your prospective guests will not happen by accident.

You need to put in place a foolproof system that ensures that the right data is captured at the right point.

It is important that it is systemised, just like all the other important stuff you do in your business; it is not going to happen by accident.

You do not have to try and get everything in one go and scare your prospect off, but 99% of people who have got a genuine interest in staying with you or in your area will be happy to handover some kind of contact detail – if you ask in the right way.

For most B&B owners that means name, address and email but if all you can get is name and email then that’s a perfect start.

Rather than just asking for some contact details out of the blue, build it into your normal processes.

If the first step for most prospective guests is to request some information, stop giving that information out freely and create a policy of only sending it out by post – that way they have to give you their address.

Or offer to confirm everything you’ve told them in an email and to include a free guide to the area – they’ll happily swap their email address for that.

Do whatever you need to do to systematically get your hands on their contact information to build up your valuable database.

I see so many B&B owners make little or no effort to get contact details from prospects and often even neglect to collect data about the guests that do stay with them, which is an altogether more serious crime.

Until next time, remember …

Make sure that you collect data and build your email list – it really is worth its weight in gold if you want to get more direct bookings.

And spare a thought for some of your competitors, with their fingers crossed, with hope in their eyes.

Stephanie x

An Easy Way To Get More Bookings Through Your Website


Today I want to share a simple way that you can get more bookings through your website.

We all like to think that we make rational, logical decisions when it comes to buying a product or service – but actually we don’t!  

One of the biggest marketing breakthroughs I had when I was a B&B owner was when I discovered that the vast majority of our buying decisions are actually based on emotional triggers – only THEN do we use our logic to justify those decisions.

No matter who you are or where you live in the world, these triggers have a huge impact on our buying decisions.  They work in our sub-conscious and we ALL respond to these triggers – every single one of us – you, me and your guests!

“What on earth has this got to do with increasing bookings through my website?” I can hear you ask.

Well, your website’s job is to influence website visitors to book with you and one of the easiest and best ways of doing this is by making sure you activate the relevant emotional triggers that will help them to quickly make the right decision – making a reservation with you. 

As I said there are lots of emotional triggers but today I want to talk to you about two of the core ones, Likeability and Trust.

Likeability.  This trigger is self-explanatory really – we enjoy doing business with people we like rather than those we don’t like.  Let’s be honest, if we like someone we’re more likely to say yes!

Trust.  Building trust is the ultimate short cut to influencing people to book with you.  It’s so much easier to get someone across the booking line if they trust you, if they believe you will do what you say you will – if they believe you will exceed their expectations.

We enjoy doing business with people we like and trust 

So, if you want to influence your website visitors and convince them to book with you, you simply need to make sure they like and trust you.

But how do you do that?

One way is by including an ‘About Us’ page on your website.

I can’t tell you how many B&B websites I come across that either don’t have an ‘About Us’ page at all or, if they do, it doesn’t even contain a picture of the owners on it, let alone the rest of the team. 

BIG mistake!

If you want to activate the emotional triggers of Like and Trust to help you convert more website visitors into actual guests then you need a separate page all about you on your website. And that page needs to be accessed from your main navigation.

Your ‘About Us’ page gives you the opportunity to:

– Start a relationship with your website visitors.
– Tell people why you do what you do. 
– Share your enthusiasm and passion about the local area that you live in. 
– It’s your opportunity to SHINE! 

What you put on your ‘About Us’ page is what makes you different from every other B&B out there because it’s all about the magic ingredient – YOU! 

What your ‘About Us’ page must include …

And there’s three things that your ‘About Us’ page must do in order to activate a website visitors emotional triggers of Likeability and Trust.

1. Make sure you introduce yourself properly

And I mean YOU and not YOUR B&B! A mistake many people make is that they think their ‘About Us’ page is all about their rooms and their breakfasts – it’s not.  It’s about you personally.

As a minimum it must include nice welcoming photos of you.  And if you have a team then you need to include photos of them as well and introduce them.

But why not go one step further and share a video on that page as well? There is nothing more powerful than a video so I really encourage you to include a welcome video on both your ‘About Us’ page and your ‘Home’ page.

It doesn’t have to be complicated – all you need to do is talk to the viewers as if you are there in front of them. Talk to them on a personal level as if you’re just having a chat with them.  Introduce yourself to them.

2:  Make sure you share your story

Stories are so powerful.  If you want to make your business and your marketing memorable, then you need to tell a story on your ‘About Us’ page too. 

Now that doesn’t mean you have to write a novel but you do need to tell a short engaging story about you, why you do what you do and what you love about serving your guests.  Let potential guests know your values and your promise too.

By letting potential guests get to know you more it builds the relationship between them and you.  It will help to make website visitors feel instantly at ease so that booking with you becomes a no brainer.

3.  Shout about your achievements

Sharing your awards and accomplishments is the perfect tool for establishing trust. 

Let potential guests know that you are an expert in your field, demonstrate how you will create a positive experience for them because this will put you leaps ahead of your competitors. 

Don’t be afraid or too modest to shout about your achievements and your successes.  They will help reassure your website visitors that they will be in safe and capable hands if they book with you. 

Until next time, remember …

If you want to get more bookings through your website then it’s vital that you activate the emotional triggers of Like and Trust throughout all of your marketing.

Stephanie x

Why It’s Time To Put Up Your B&B Room Rates

B&B room rates

Why it’s time to put up your B&B room rates

B&B room rates

So many times I hear B&B owners say that they are thinking of reducing their B&B room rates in order to attract more guests and I say the same thing to them every time:

Don’t Do It!

Before you lower your B&B room rates please think VERY carefully. No matter what you think, you will never be the winner in a price war. There will always be a bigger player who has bigger marketing power, bigger buying power and deeper pockets than you.

If you reduce your room rates you will end up working very hard for not a lot. You may be perceived as “cheap” and therefore not so attractive to potential guests.

It will stop you from growing your B&B further

What usually happens when someone charges really low prices is that they end up with lots of guests but, more often than not, they are the wrong type of guests. They usually create far more aggravation and hassle and make life pretty miserable for the B&B owner.

But there is also another problem with lowering prices that most B&B owners fail to realise – you lower your room rates, you get lots of guests, you’re busy working for very little profit which means you have no spare time to develop and grow your business further. This is not sustainable.​

So often I see B&B owners drop their room rates in the hope that it will bring more bookings but they fail to see that not only are they working extremely hard for very little profit but they also leave themselves with no time.

So often I see people who are completely exhausted and totally burnt out but without a penny to show for it.

My attitude is to actually put up your B&B room rates!

“I can’t do that!” I hear you cry. Why not?

What’s the worst that can happen?

Well, firstly you will lose some of your existing guests when you put up your room rates. However, the ones that you will lose will be those who always ‘book on price’ and from experience I know that these are the guests that are really hard work.

These are the people who make you give an inward sigh when you see them or talk to them and the ones where you breathe out that sigh of relief when you say goodbye.

Whilst they might be lovely people, they usually demand so much more and they are much, much harder work. Would you really be worried if you lost their business or would it be a bit of a relief? You really don’t want this type of guest.​

The guests that you want are those that actually don’t do business with you because of your prices, they choose you because of what you offer and the quality of that offering.

You will have greater profits

Raising your B&B room rates will mean that you can afford to lose the demanding guests who pay very little and you will become far more profitable. Let me give you an example.

Say your current room rate is £100 – you would need to sell five rooms to earn £500 of revenue.

If you priced your rooms at £125 you would only need to sell four rooms to generate the same £500 of revenue.

You can afford to lose some guests and still make the same money.

What this tells you straightaway is that you can actually afford to lose one in five guests and still be better off.

And yes, I do mean better off because although you are earning the same amount of money you are only doing 80% of the work and paying out 80% of the costs.

However, what actually happens is that your income won’t go down. Because you are only doing 80% of the work, you have more time to out more effort into selling another room (or two!) at £125 increasing both your income and profits.

On top of that, you’ll be surprised how many of your guests won’t even notice you’ve increased your prices and those that do will probably say that they’re surprised you haven’t done it before now.

Find the right balance.

But one last word here, over-charging can be just as dangerous as lowering your prices. I’ve seen B&B owners price themselves out of the market or put themselves under such pressure to deliver the high value service that equates to the price they are charging that it seriously affects the delivery and the guest experience.

The best way to build a thriving and successful B&B is to find the right balance for you and your guests. You need to feel comfortable about the price you charge your guests and your guests must feel that they are receiving value for money.

Until next time, remember…

If you haven’t put up your B&B room rates for a little while, then you should do it NOW. I promise you’ll be delighted with the results.

Stephanie x

Marketing Your B&B On Social Media

Marketing your B&B on social media

Marketing Your B&B On Social Media

Marketing your B&B on social media

Marketing your B&B on social media provides you with a massive opportunity to reach new guests, engage with long-standing fans of your B&B and grow your brand across a wide range of platforms.​

But marketing your B&B on social media isn’t just about posting away on every social platform available.   You first need to have a plan in place.

These 5 simple steps will help you to maximise social media in your B&B even further:

#1:  Identify your brand and your audience

There is a lot of noise out there on social channels so it’s really important to decide what it is about your B&B that sets it apart from the competition.

Ask yourself a few questions:

– What makes your B&B different?

– What does your B&B have to offer?

– What can you do to stop your guests (or potential guests) from scrolling past you in their feed and actually engage with your posts?

It’s also really important to decide on the tone of voice you’ll adopt on social media and how this fits into your overall marketing strategy.

Social media, as with all the other marketing pillars you have in place, is an extension of your brand so it’s vital to ensure you have consistency across your website, social media and any other touch points someone may have with you.

Once you’ve decided on what you’ll be talking about, you’ll need to figure out who you’ll be talking to.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a Guest Avatar.  Information such as age, gender, location, interests, devices and occupation are massively valuable when putting an Avatar together.

Audience data is readily available from a host of different platforms like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights.

You’ll likely make a few tweaks to your Guest Avatar over time as your audience grows and could end up with a couple of different Avatars to suit your different business goals.

#2:  Learn from the masters

When it comes to marketing your B&B on social media, it’s also important to explore other people’s social media profiles – and not just your competitors, look at the social media profiles of complementary businesses as well.

Check out the profiles of brands you admire and the brands your guests would be interested in.​  Gather as much information from them about what works.

Look at how often they are posting and what times they are posting.  What exactly are they posting about?  What is getting the most interaction – pictures, links, videos or questions?  Look at what is working for them and try to integrate that into your posts.  Also note what isn’t working and what you could do better!

#3:  Define a social content strategy

Copy and paste just won’t work. Different platforms call for different content and will depend on the audience you’re looking to target.

For example, if you know that your Guest Avatar tends to consume more visual content you’ll likely be looking to focus attention on platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest or YouTube rather than say, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Personally, I create a ‘Content Calendar’ to map out my activity over different weeks or months to ensure I have a full picture on the type of activity I’ll be running per platform.

As well as giving me a holistic view of my activity, it’s also a great way of ensuring that each different post or campaign is clearly linked back to my objectives.

Also, it’s really important to understand the specifications for content on each platform – image sizes, video length, text restrictions etc – to ensure that when you’re ready to launch a campaign, you have a full arsenal of assets at your disposal. And again, don’t just copy and paste, think about how that content is consumed on each channel.

#4:  Engage with your audience

Ensure you always engage with your audience – add to discussions, provide your own insights, pose topical questions, start interesting new threads.

Always respond to comments and posts to show you are listening and that you do take notice and genuinely care.

Social media is definitely an ‘always-on’ channel so be prepared to speak to your target audience on their schedule, or at least set their expectations on when you’ll be available to respond to them. If you leave a query unanswered for a few hours you could be at risk of losing a potential new guest or upsetting an existing guest.

​There are thousands of conversations happening on social media (some relevant, some… not so much) so my advice is to get involved where it’s relevant for your business. Platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are rife with hashtags which allow you to jump on hotly discussed topics and share some valuable insight.

#5:  Test, measure and refine everything you do

The key to measuring your results is to not be afraid of data – there’s a whole load of it at your disposal when running digital campaigns and social media is no different.

You’ll most likely be using the same analytics platforms you would have familiarised yourself with when creating your Guest Avatar such as Google Analytics and the insights you can get from each of the social networks you’re running activity on.​

It’s massively important to keep track of what activity has worked in line with your business goals and it’s equally as important to understand the activity that didn’t work. There will be some valuable insights into what approaches don’t quite resonate with your target audience, which will allow you to tweak and refine activity over time.

Until next time, remember …

Marketing your B&B on social media will help you to attract more guests and increase direct bookings.  If you want engagement, and ultimately bookings, YOU need to be engaging, be conversational and ask questions. And you always need to leave room for your audience to add their voice.

Stephanie x

Increasing Direct Bookings With Emails That Work

increasing direct bookings with emails

Increasing Direct Bookings with emails that work

Increasing Direct Bookings With Emails

Whilst sending emails is easy nowadays with software like Mailchimp, ConvertKit or AWeber (and so many of the other email marketing systems out there), it doesn’t mean they’ll actually work in increasing direct bookings.

Just because you’ve sent out a batch of emails, if people don’t open them then they won’t read what you have to say.  And if they don’t read what you have to say, they’re very unlikely to book with you!

To help prevent this happening, here’s some top tips to making sure your emails create results and work for you in increasing direct bookings:

#1: Send interesting and relevant content

Just because sending email costs very little, if anything at all, it doesn’t mean you can get away with poor content.

In my experience, poor content is the number one reason people won’t read your emails, and actually it’s the biggest reason people unsubscribe.

People are used to seeing plenty of emails in their inboxes, so they rarely unsubscribe because of the volume of email you send them, they only unsubscribe when the content doesn’t interest them.

If it’s not relevant or useful to them or if you get too salesy, that’s when they stop opening and that’s when they unsubscribe.  Spend some time learning how to write effective emails.

There is also a simple test that you can do each time you’re writing an email – ask yourself ‘Is what I’m sending relevant to the people I’m going to send it to?’. If the answer’s ‘yes’ then you’ll do just fine.

#2: Avoid the junk box

With so much spam flying around these days, most people have rigorous spam protection systems in place to junk email before it even gets into their inbox.

Spam filters generally score each email against some set criteria. To ensure your email doesn’t find its way into the spam box, test it first.

Most email marketing systems have built in ‘spam checkers’ which will tell you how your email scores. If yours hasn’t got one, then there are plenty of free spam checkers available. Just do a quick Google search.

#3: The power of personalisation

Using the recipient’s first name in the subject line of your email will increase open rates because it helps your email to stand out from the dozens of other emails in the same inbox.

Starting your email ‘Dear Julia’ or ‘Hi John’ instead of ‘Dear friend’ or ‘Dear Guest’ will increase your reading rates and your click-through rates too. Most email marketing system can do this for you – you don’t have to type each name in!

We all know the power of personalisation, but what I find is amazing is that so many B&B owners still send emails out without including any personalisation whatsoever, especially when it’s so easy to do.

#4: Consistency is key

It’s important that all of the communications that are sent out to your list retain the same look and feel and use similar language and tone. This helps your guest and prospective guests to feel comfortable and familiar with your brand and to build up trust.

Customise your templates, colours and font and include branding elements like logos and images that will help the recipient to recognise your B&B quickly.

#5: The subject line

When your email arrives in your guests or potential guest’s inbox, they’ll make a fairly instant decision about whether to ignore, delete or open your email.

After all, that’s what you do isn’t it?

Their course of action normally comes down to how interesting, enticing and compelling the subject line is.  You’ve got to grab interest and force the recipient to open the email.

If your list is big enough (or your email is important enough) testing different subject lines on a small segment, before mailing to the whole of your list, is the easiest and quickest way to drive up open rates.

Try out different subject lines and compare the open rates for each one. Pick 30 people from your list and try out three different subject lines sending each one to a batch of 10 people. And then compare the open rates for each one. You’ll be amazed at what a big difference a small change in the subject line can make.

#6: Provide a plain text version

HTML emails, the ones that are all designed and wow looking, are great but sometimes they can be blocked by a recipient’s email system.

Plain text, although not as pleasing to the eye, is rarely blocked and therefore reaches the recipient. Most email marketing systems allow you to easily create a plain text version of any HTML email before you hit send. So check that out.

#7: Statistics and tracking

Most email marketing systems provide really good statistics so you can monitor the number of opens, clicks, bounces and unsubscribes for each email or campaign that you send.

There’s no excuse here. If you really want to increase direct bookings with email, then you need to be looking at the reports for each email you send and testing to see how you can drive up your open rates and click throughs.

Look at whether sending emails at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week get a better open response. Look at which subject lines have had a greater open rate.

Also, a little tip here, don’t be too quick to unsubscribe bounced email
addresses. There are loads of reasons why emails can bounce but wait until it’s happened 3 or 4 times before taking it off your list.

And if it’s a regular guest whose email is bouncing, then pick up the phone, say hello and just say that you’ve tried to send them an email but it’s bounced – check their email address hasn’t changed. It’s simple really.

#8: Targeting and segmentation.

People are more likely to respond to and act on emails that are relevant and targeted to them. A sure fire way to boost direct bookings is to start segmenting it using the information that you know.

By mentioning the things in the text of the email that are personal to the reader you’ll get a much greater level of engagement and that’s good for increasing bookings. So segment your list and make sure you send information that is relevant to the reader.

#9: Include a ‘Call To Action’

One thing I see time and time again missing from emails is a Call to Action. If you want to boost direct bookings, you need to make sure your emails spell out exactly what you want the recipient to do: make a reservation! You need to make links blindingly obvious using big bold letters and arrows and then repeat them throughout your message.

Don’t just put one link at the bottom of your message and expect everyone to scroll down and find it. And only include ONE message. ONE Call To Action.

Don’t do an email including several different promotions – a confused mind will switch off and won’t take action. In each email you send choose the one thing that you want the reader to do and stick to that. Just one thing.

#10: Actually send the email

The easiest and best way increasing direct bookings with emails is to actually send one!

Time and time again, I see people trying to perfect an email or e-newsletter and never actually getting around to sending it because it’s not ‘quite right’ or they need to work on it or it wasn’t good enough.

Remember, the poorly written, badly presented email that IS sent will always outperform the one you’ve never quite finished and never makes it to the outbox.

What I’m trying to say is don’t spend hours and hours trying to perfect your email. Good enough is good enough. Just get a nice email put together and get it sent!

Until next time, remember…

Keep sending regular emails to all your guests and prospects – it really will help to boost direct bookings, I promise you.

Stephanie x

B&B Competitors – Why You Need To Watch Them

B&B Competitors

Why you must look at your B&B competitors

B&B Competitors

I see so many accommodation providers constantly worrying about what their competitors are doing and spending all their time watching them when that time could be better spent building their own business.

That said, however, it is still important that you evaluate the competition BUT it needs to be done properly.

It’s important that you study exactly how they are positioning and presenting themselves. It’s important to explore what they are doing and finding out what their strengths and their weaknesses are.

​You need to understand exactly what your competitors are offering to see if there is anything more that you could learn and if there is anything you could do better or different than them.

Your challenge is to find out as much information on your competitors as possible.

And I mean to take the time to seriously discover what they are offering.

Whilst it’s probably not possible for you to become a guest and experience everything for yourself as they know you, you can always ask a friend to go through the whole process of booking and staying or you could call in a mystery shopper to investigate everything for you.

I carry out “secret stays” for my private clients and stay at their competitors’ establishments.  During during a “secret stay” I focus on all the key areas of the guest experience.  At the end of a visit I produce a lengthy and detailed report for my client on every aspect of the stay even down to copies of the room books!​

Studying your competitors isn’t something that can be rushed. It needs to be done in a systematic way to get the best out of the exercise.

You first need to consider exactly who your competitors are and please don’t just say everyone in the local area who offers what you offer. Seriously think about who your competitors are. Just because someone else offers accommodation, it doesn’t mean they are actually a competitor!

It’s time to take action!

You need to compile a list of every establishment of your standard, in your area and then go through it in detail and work out which of them are really your competitors.

Once you have decided who your competitors are, then it’s time to start learning everything you can about each of them.​

I encourage you to take a sheet of A4 paper for each competitor, write their name on the top and then start making notes on each one.  Start with where they position themselves in the market and what their USP is.

Discover exactly what their competitive edge is.

Secretly request their advertising and promotional literature and spend time reading it. Visit their website and make sure you know every nook and cranny of it. Subscribe to their newsletters and request their free downloads, remembering, of course, to use an email address that isn’t linked to your business!

However you decide to do it, you need to find out what the inside of their place is like, what it offers and the standard of their service.

And then you need to find out what they charge.  Don’t just check their rates online – make a phone call, pretend you’re a prospective guest and discover exactly what their sales pitch is and what really is their best price. You might be quite surprised!

And how good is their marketing? Do they have a clearly defined target market and is their marketing message talking their language?

You need to discover what your competitors are offering that you’re not and write that down as well.

And when you’ve figured all that out then you need to start putting things in place to ensure you offer the same or better if at all possible.

The more you know about your competitors, the better placed you will be to make decisions about the best way to position and promote your business.  The more you know about your competitors, the more you can do to make sure that you really do stand out from the crowd.

Learning everything about your competitors isn’t something that you just do once.

You need to put a system in place to ensure you regularly overview their marketing materials, investigate their website and find out exactly what they’re up to. Then twice a year block out time when you can concentrate on reviewing everything you’ve learnt about your competitors and discover whether or not they’ve raised the bar.

Until next time, remember…

Whilst you don’t want to be counting how many cars they have in their car park, stalk them on social media or be constantly looking for their guest reviews, you do need to take the time to seriously evaluate your competitors.

It’s vitally important when you are trying to build a successful business because, at the end of the day, your competitors can and will take all of your guests if you let them!

Stephanie x

How To Create A Social Media Strategy For A Bed And Breakfast

Social Media Strategy for a bed and breakfast

Social Media Strategy For A Bed and Breakfast  

Social Media Strategy for a bed and breakfast

Just a few years ago, you didn’t need a social media strategy for a bed and breakfast.  As long as you were present on social media, you were doing more than your competitors – right?

But today it’s a very different story. You need to fully maximise social media and you need to focus on engagement. Otherwise, you’ll lose out on guests, which we all know are the life blood of your business.

In this article, I want to provide you with the right steps to take towards creating a Social Media Strategy for a bed and breakfast business so you’re not left behind:

Step #1: Identify your target

​The first step to a powerful social media strategy is knowing exactly who you’re targeting. You need to identify your ideal guest, what they are interested in, where they hang out online, what makes them tick, what they want and what they enjoy doing.

All of this information will help you to work out where you need to be to get in front of your ideal guest and start conversations. The biggest mistake many accommodation providers make is that they try and take on every social media channel possible. Instead, just focus on the channels where your ideal guest will be.

Step #2: Identify your goals

​The next step is to understand what you want out of your efforts.
That’s why creating goals is so critical to a social media strategy for a bed and breakfast.

It’s best to set goals that you know are attainable. Aiming for 1 million new Facebook likes is unrealistic. With achievable goals, you’re more likely to stick to the original plan and continue to take on new hurdles as you complete old ones.

Avoid over complicating a strategy with too many targets and objectives.  Simplicity can take you a long way!

And also, don’t forget to document your social media goals. Not only is it important to help you benchmark where you are, but it also improves your chances of achieving them. People who write their goals down are more successful!

Step #3: Establish your most important metrics

​Vanity metrics like follower count and likes are always good to measure, but they don’t tell you the whole story of your activity on social media.

Don’t get wrapped up in just measuring followers and likes. Be smart, take a step back and evaluate the social metrics associated with your overall goals.

Engagement metrics sometimes paint a better picture because building lasting relationships works on social. Large audiences and likeable content is absolutely great, but you also want to consider reach, clicks, engagement and paid likes.

Step #4: Research your social competition

Before you start creating content, it’s really smart to investigate your competitors. I put this before content creation in Step 5 because you often find new ways to look at content by analysing what’s making your competitors successful.

Remember – this is about swipe and model, not copy. Never steal your competitors’ ideas, instead learn and grow from their success and failures.

So how do you find that information? The first step is to find out who’s your competition in the first place. The simplest way to find competitors is through a simple Google search.  Look up your most valuable keywords, phrases and terms to see who shows up. Search for those who show up who are in your area.

Next you want to see who is active on social. Visit their websites and see if they are promoting social images. Then check out what they’re posting – look at text, images and video to see what your competitors are doing to drive the most engagement.

Step #5 – Create engaging social media content

Did someone say content? At last!​

As I regularly promote, social media content is extremely important to any social media strategy for a bed and breakfast.  However, it’s best to follow the previous steps before planning out content.

It’s also important to find the perfect balance between target content and being overly promotional. People will stop following you if you post too many promotional messages. Additionally, they’ll stop following you if you post too much irrelevant content.  I always recommend following the 80/20 rule – 80% useful information, 20% promotional.

Spend time thinking about the type of content you will produce – videos, photos, testimonials, stories, blog posts.

Highly-visual content is so important to the people you want to reach so keep your posts colourful and eye-popping. One of the toughest challenges to visual content, however, is creating it on a day-to-day basis. From experience, building content themes is a great approach to overcome this challenge.

Step #6 – Engage with your audience

Social media channels are built as networks. This means their main purpose is to be a space to converse, discuss topics and share content. You mustn’t forget these core elements!

Yes, it takes effort to ensure conversations or engagement opportunities aren’t left unattended but honestly when you put in the effort you will reap the rewards.

Through social media, you gain respect by just being present and talking to your audience. It’s all about engagement.

Step #7 – Track your efforts & always improve

​But once you’ve got the perfect social media strategy for a bed and breakfast in place, it doesn’t end there.  You also need to regularly check how well it is working. Without continuously analysing your efforts, you’ll never know how one campaign did over another.

Once you’ve identified your most important goals, channel preferences and metrics – you need to make sure you made the right decisions.  How do you do this? By using tools to track success.

Use individual channel reporting features to help you pinpoint exactly which posts perform the best.

Maximise Google Analytics to see which posts drive the most traffic, conversions and overall revenue.

Or go one step further and use a social media monitoring tool.

Until next time, remember …

Planning the perfect social media strategy for a bed and breakfast business is not enough!  Don’t forget that implementation is just as vital as the planning!

Stephanie x

7 Reasons To Create A B&B Marketing Plan

B&B Marketing Plan

B&B Marketing Plan

B&B Marketing Plan

A B&B marketing plan outlines all the important pieces needed to successfully and consistently market your business.

Now before you panic – it does not have to be lengthy or complicated!  Creating a simple plan is something every B&B owner should do because it will help guide your efforts and keep you focused on your goals.

In this article I share just 7 ways that a simple B&B Marketing Plan can help you to get more guests:

#1  Specifies a vision for your B&B

Your vision statement is a vivid description about what you want your business to be so that it inspires and motivates you.

A well-defined vision creates a mental picture of the B&B that you are striving to build and it will …

–  Serve as a compass to keep you heading in the right direction.

–  Enable you to assess opportunities that are presented to you and make decisions based on whether the opportunity helps you get closer to your vision.

–  Help you measure your progress, set goals, establish priorities and know when to say no.

–  Enable you to focus on what needs to be done to get there and eliminate anything that wastes time and takes energy away from what is valuable to achieving your dream.

#2  Defines and communicates your mission statement

Your mission is a concise statement of what your business does, developed from the guest’s perspective, and aligned with the vision for the business.  It should answer these three questions:

1) What do we do?  Specifies what you deliver to your guests, not in terms of process, but by the real needs that are fulfilled for your customers when they stay with you.

2) How do we do it?  Defines the offering you deliver to your guests.

3) For who?  Identifies the target market that is most likely to book with you.

Knowing the answers to these questions provides focus for your B&B and helps you move from the present into the future.

#3  Outlines what you want to accomplish

Research has shown a direct link between setting goals and the probability of success. By setting goals and writing them down, you are forced to be specific about what you want to achieve, how you will get there and by when. Your marketing goals should be:

–  Focused on achieving your vision.

–  Prioritised and tackled 1 or 2 at a time.

–  Monitored and measured.

It’s common to reassess goals quarterly and adjust the time frames and priorities based on what is happening around you. Life happens and you need to give yourself room to change.

#4  Describes your Ideal Guest

Never underestimate the importance of defining your ideal target audience. Intimately understanding your ideal guest means you know with certainty what problem they are trying to solve or what need they wish to satisfy. With this information, you can then:

–  Clearly communicate the value you offer and why they should book with you.

–  Discover opportunities to provide additional services overlooked by others.

–  Establish yourself as an expert in serving that particular market.

Being focused on one particular target market enables you to make better choices for all of your marketing efforts, saving you time and money on activities that don’t make sense for your business and the guests you serve.

#5  Identifies what makes you different

The Internet levels the playing field for accommodation businesses, but in turn, it creates a very crowded market place. Those who can describe how they are different have a competitive advantage over those who cannot.

The secret to defining what makes your B&B different is to understand what your ideal guest really wants and make sure you deliver it better than anyone else. What do you uniquely offer that your guests find amazing?

Usually what makes us different doesn’t have to be a complicated service. In many cases, you may offer something that is simple but has extreme value to your guests.

#6  Creates a roadmap for achieving your goals

You wouldn’t take a trip without planning your route. Marketing your business is no different – you need a plan to guide you towards your destination.

This plan defines the marketing strategies and the tactics within each strategy that you will use to achieve a particular goal.  Marketing strategies and their associated tactics to consider are:

–  Social media marketing – Determine which social networks are relevant to your business then develop a plan to build your visibility and expert reputation.

–  Content Marketing – Define your content marketing plan for topics then use email marketing or blogging to communicate your expertise and message to your target audience.

–  Search engine marketing – Define your top 10 keywords and optimise your website, directory listings, and social media profiles to increase visibility in the search engines.

–  Advertising – Create and manage pay-per-click advertising on Google and Facebook.

–  News / media /public relations – Become an expert resource for the media, gain visibility through newsworthy activities. Send out press releases and write articles.

For example if your goal is to grow your email list, then you need a lead generation campaign that would include search, social and content marketing strategies to attract enquiries.

#7  Creates an action plan for what you need to do, when

Your marketing action plan eliminates random activities that create haphazard results. It defines each marketing campaign project in detail and assigns resources, dates and topics to each activity so that it eliminates the guess work.

With a detailed marketing action plan, you always know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it.  

Until next time, remember …

You are in business to make a profit!  Therefore it’s important that you view marketing as an investment and take the proper steps to ensure you are maximising your resources. 

A simple B&B marketing plan ensures you are focusing on the success of your business.  And once you’ve created your B&B marketing plan, make sure you review it regularly.

Stephanie x