Should an Innkeeper Market their own Bed & Breakfast?

Marketing a bed and breakfast can be a rewarding and fun experience for some owners, while it may be more challenging and stressful for others. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Personal Interest: Owners who are passionate about their bed and breakfast and enjoy marketing and promoting their business will likely find it fun and rewarding. They may enjoy creating marketing materials, engaging with guests on social media, and attending networking events to promote their business.
  • Time Commitment: Marketing a bed and breakfast can be time-consuming, particularly for owners who already have a busy schedule running their business. It may be challenging to balance marketing efforts with day-to-day operations, especially during peak seasons.
  • Skillset: Owners with marketing experience may find it easier to market their bed and breakfast than those who are less experienced. Marketing requires skills such as writing, graphic design, social media management, and networking. Owners who lack these skills may find marketing more challenging.
  • Budget: Marketing efforts can be costly, and owners may need to allocate a portion of their budget towards advertising, creating marketing materials, or attending events. Owners who have limited budgets may find it more challenging to market their bed and breakfast effectively.

The level of fun and enjoyment an owner experiences while marketing their bed and breakfast can vary depending on their personal interest, time commitment, skill set, and budget. However, with the right approach, marketing can be a rewarding and effective way to promote a bed and breakfast and attract new guests.

So How to Market a Bed & Breakfast?

There are many marketing tactics that can be effective for a bed and breakfast, but some of the most important ones are:

  • Online presence: Having a strong online presence is critical for any business in today’s digital age. Ensure that your bed and breakfast has a website that showcases your property and amenities, and is easy to navigate. Also, make sure that you are listed on popular online travel booking websites like TripAdvisor and Airbnb.
  • Social media: Social media is a powerful tool for marketing a bed and breakfast. Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share pictures of your property, guest reviews, and any special promotions or packages you offer. Interact with your followers to build a relationship with them and keep your business top-of-mind.
  • Email marketing: Build an email list of past guests and interested potential customers, and send out regular newsletters that highlight special offers and events. Personalize your emails and make them visually appealing to encourage engagement.
  • Local partnerships: Build relationships with local businesses and attractions, and offer packages or promotions that include your bed and breakfast as part of the experience. For example, partner with a nearby winery to offer a wine and stay package.
  • Guest reviews: Encourage guests to leave positive reviews on online travel booking websites and social media. Positive reviews can go a long way in attracting new customers and building trust with potential guests.
  • Special promotions and packages: Offer special promotions or packages to attract new guests and encourage repeat business. For example, offer a discount for guests who stay for multiple nights, or create a package that includes a massage or other spa treatment.

Experiences are the Key to Differentiating a Bed & Breakfast

As a bed and breakfast, you have the opportunity to provide your guests with a unique and memorable tourism experience. Here are some ideas to promote:

Trekking in nature
  • Local tours: Offer guided tours of the local area, highlighting the best attractions and hidden gems. You could even partner with a local tour company to offer guests a discounted rate.
  • Cooking classes: If you offer breakfast at your bed and breakfast, consider offering cooking classes where guests can learn how to make some of your signature dishes. This can be a fun and interactive way to engage with your guests and leave a lasting impression.

Outdoor activities
  • Outdoor activities: If your bed and breakfast is located in an area with natural beauty, promote outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, kayaking, or horseback riding. Provide guests with a map or guide to the best trails and fishing spots in the area.
Wine Tasting
  • Wine tastings: If your bed and breakfast is located near a wine region, offer guests a wine-tasting experience. You could partner with a local winery to offer a private tasting for your guests.

Cultural experiences
  • Cultural experiences: If your bed and breakfast is located in an area with a rich cultural history, offer guests the opportunity to experience it firsthand. This could include attending a local festival or event, visiting a historical site or museum, or even taking a cooking class that focuses on traditional cuisine.
  • Wellness experiences: Consider offering wellness experiences like yoga classes, massages, or meditation sessions. This can be a great way to help your guests unwind and relax during their stay.

But Go Deeper – Connect Experiences to Local Culture

The standard experiences provided by B&Bs are a useful starting point, but what will make these types of experiences truly memorable is aligning experiences with local culture and the anticipation of the target audience. Using Asheville, NC as an example, guests might have deeper and more memorable experiences from the following:

  • Brewery Tours: Asheville is home to over 40 craft breweries, and a brewery tour can be a great way to experience the city’s beer scene. Offer your guests a guided brewery tour, complete with tastings and a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process.

  • Live Music: Asheville is also known for its live music scene, with numerous venues hosting performances throughout the week. Offer your guests a package that includes tickets to a local concert or show, or even host a live music event at your bed & breakfast.
  • Beer Pairings: Take your breakfast offerings to the next level by offering beer pairings with each course. Work with a local brewery to select the perfect beer to accompany each dish and offer guests a unique and memorable culinary experience.
  • Beer Festivals: Asheville hosts several beer festivals throughout the year, including the popular Asheville Beer Week and the Winter Warmer Beer Festival. Offer your guests a package that includes tickets to one of these festivals, along with accommodations at your bed & breakfast.

Music Festival
  • Music Festivals: Asheville is also home to several music festivals throughout the year, including the Asheville Jazz Festival and the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. Offer your guests a package that includes tickets to one of these festivals, as well as accommodations at your bed & breakfast.

Remember, the key to creating a memorable tourism experience is to offer something unique and authentic that reflects the local culture and community. Be creative and think outside the box to create a truly unforgettable experience for your guests.

When Should an Innkeeper use a Consultant?

There are several reasons why an owner of a bed and breakfast might consider hiring a consultant:

  • Business expertise: A consultant can provide valuable expertise and experience in running a successful bed and breakfast. They can help the owner to identify areas of marketing that need improvement and provide guidance on how to make the necessary changes.
  • Market research: A consultant can conduct market research to help the owner better understand the target market and competition. This can include analyzing trends, surveying customers, and researching best practices in the industry.
  • Operational efficiency: A consultant can help the owner to streamline marketing operations and improve efficiency. This can include evaluating staffing levels, optimizing the marketing and booking processes, and identifying opportunities to reduce costs.
  • Marketing strategy: A consultant can assist with developing a marketing strategy to attract more guests and increase revenue. This can include creating a website, and social media presence, and implementing targeted advertising campaigns.

Overall, hiring a consultant can provide valuable insights and expertise that can help an owner of a bed and breakfast to improve operations, attract more guests, and increase revenue.

What Hospitality Consulting Services Does Galileo Tech Media Provide?

As a Hospitality Marketing Consultant, we have extensive experience in developing and implementing effective marketing strategies that drive measurable results. We specialize in helping businesses create and build anticipation for Memorable Experiences that drive better brand loyalty and increased repeat purchase intent. Joseph Franklyn McElroy, CEO of Galileo grew up in a small motel that he now owns, and in the intervening years helped hospitality and lodging businesses from small to Fortune 500 businesses like Marriott achieve great results from their efforts.

Our Hospitality Marketing Consulting services include:

  • Memorable Experiences Strategy Development: We will work with you to develop a comprehensive Memorable Experiences Strategy that aligns with your brand, location, and target audience. B&Bs traditionally might offer tours, cooking classes, outdoor activities, wine tastings, and cultural experiences. But what will make these types of experiences truly memorable is aligning experiences with local culture and the anticipation of the target audience. In Asheville, as an example, these might include brewery tours, live music, foraging classes, beer pairings, and festivals. We will also look at your breakfast foods, which probably look lovely, but are not particularly aligned with local culture – for example, a Quiche Lorraine might be replaced with a Rustic Ramp and Mushroom Quiche that is accompanied by a story on local ramp foraging.
  • Direct Booking Optimization: We will conduct a thorough analysis of your website and direct booking process. We will provide recommendations to improve the user experience, search engine optimization, anticipation building, social proofing, and conversion rate optimization.
  • Content Marketing: We will help you develop a content marketing strategy that engages your target audience with the emotional factors that make memorable experiences and increases brand awareness. We will provide you with a Memorable Experience Article Framework to guide you through making content. We will show you how to use Artificial Intelligent tools to create content plans and quickly create content that doesn’t require hours of labor.
  • Customer Communications and Service: We will evaluate your social media, email, and SMS marketing campaigns to advise and develop a communication and growth strategy to encourage customers to book directly and repeatedly. We will devise strategies to increase engagement, followers, subscribers, and local adherents. We will advise on memorable experiences, customer service, personalized offers, promotions, sweepstakes, impactful content, templates, loyalty rewards, and other factors that result in more direct bookings. We will show you how to use limited social media advertising and boosted post buys to attract an audience and fill rental gaps.

We will, if needed, provide ongoing management and improvement of your Memorable Experiences marketing that leads to increased direct bookings and reduced OTA commissions. We can also source you affordable and skilled freelance talent to supplement your own internal resources.

Please contact us to discuss any of these services.