Here are some key steps that can easily, affordably, and effectively increase your reservations. Best of all, they are free or don’t cost you anything unless they put heads in your beds.
Online reservations: If you don’t have online reservations on your own website and don’t use BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations, you are losing out on approximately half of your potential reservations. If you’ve been thinking about adding the RezOvation Booking Engine to your website, and/or signing up for BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations, there’s no better time than right now. You don't pay anything unless we get you a reservation.
Reviews: When dollars are tight, travelers want to be sure that they are picking an inn they’ll love. Study after study demonstrates that the way they do this is through reviews, and traffic patterns on BedandBreakfast.com confirm it. Email past guests to thank them for staying with you, then encourage them to return and to post a review. Be sure to give them the link to your review page on BedandBreakfast.com, and to distribute the review reminder business cards and postcards; contact us if you need more at Support@BedandBreakfast.com or 800-GO-B-AND-B.
Gift cards: BedandBreakfast.com gift cards are an incredibly popular present for weddings, anniversaries, and so much more. You get great extra exposure, and you pay a commission only when you get a reservation, and only on the amount of the gift card. If you don’t already accept them, log in to your Home Base and hover over Cards/Certificates in the top menu.
Photos: If you can afford to hire a pro who’s an expert at shooting B&Bs, we strongly encourage you to do so. Our surveys show that photos are extremely important to travelers, and you will see the ROI almost as soon as the photos go live on your website and on your BedandBreakfast.com listing. Can’t afford that right now? Read our photography article for great advice on improving your own shots, then add them to your website and your BedandBreakfast.com listing ASAP. Don’t forget that your membership includes 10 photos at the Silver level, 15 at Gold, and 25 at Platinum, plus a free video!
Recession-proof your marketing: Incorporate these themes into “affordable luxury” messaging on your website, in your emails, and in your publicity:
* Isn’t it time you were spoiled rotten? No beds to make, no dishes to wash, no laundry to fold, just kick back on a porch rocker, and we’ll bring you homemade iced tea.
* Isn’t it time you had a personal concierge? Want dinner and/or theater reservations? Advice on the best boutiques, antique shops, flea markets? Need help planning a bike ride, picnic hike, float trip, or a tour of local wineries/cheese makers/micro-breweries? Just ask your innkeeper!
* Isn’t it time you spent your limited vacation days on vacation instead of in transit? A great B&B getaway may be just a one-tank trip away, so you can measure your travel time in hours, not days, and save money on airfare and car rental to boot! Use the money you save on transportation to splurge on a gorgeous guest room with a double whirlpool tub, fireplace, and more.
* Isn’t it time you spent a night, not a fortune? B&Bs offer affordable luxury, where you’re not nickel-and-dimed for every little thing, and extras like soft drinks, snacks, and Wi-Fi are included in the reasonable rates.
Updated by Emily Starbuck Crone