B&B marketing is a tricky business.
You don’t want to appear sterile and impersonal, like the dime-a-dozen chains that are the same no matter where you go. But at the same time, you need to be professional to convince potential guests that they’re in good hands.
And on top of all that, you want to make sure your hard efforts work. Between rapid turnovers, surprise repairs, and demanding guests, there’s no time to play around when it comes to marketing your bed and breakfast.
So how do you strike that personal/professional balance and create marketing that books more guests? It’s not an easy task—and it’s one that takes a lot of time and commitment. But the first step is the most important. Here are five you can take today.
Personality is a huge part of why guests choose alternative accommodations; it’s crucial that yours shines through. The best bed and breakfast marketing creates a personal connection between the business and potential guests. Don’t just show them why they should choose your B&B, but why they should stay with you.
If guests visited your website, would they know who you are? What your connection is to the area? How you spend your time there? What you look like? A well-crafted About Us page can help guests forge a personal connection, make them feel comfortable and cared for, and remember who you are when it’s time to book.
All-Star Example: This Cape May bed and breakfast with a rich history
Unless you’re the only B&B in your destination, you can’t rely on your location alone to set you apart from the competition. If you haven’t already done some soul-searching on what truly makes you different, now’s the time.
Make a list of at least five KSPs (key selling points) that are truly unique. What features does your B&B have that are rare for the area? What’s your property’s personality? Which kinds of guests are you best suited for, and why (more on that in our next point)?
Once you have this list to work from, you can use it to re-focus your website or collateral and guide marketing initiatives.
All-Star Example: These accommodations in Boston Harbor, billed as a “boat and breakfast”
With so much to say about your accommodations, it’s easy to lose sight of who you’re actually speaking to when it comes to your B&B marketing.
The obvious answer: you’re targeting potential guests. But who makes up that mystery crowd? Is it families within a two-hour radius? International travelers who are looking for a place that feels homey? Adventurous friends or couples seeking their next adrenaline rush?
Just like we advised you to put a face to your own name, we recommend putting a face to your potential guests. Create three guest personas that encompass your most common customers (or the customers you’d like to reach for future bookings) and consider them whenever you market. Advertise in the places they frequent, and speak in a voice that resonates with them.
All-Star Example: This inn in Saugatuck, which offers resources on things to do organized by personality type
Let’s start by stating the obvious: Google is your friend. If you’ve scoped out opportunities to target keywords like “accommodations in [destination]” or “b&bs in [destination]”, then you’re on the right track.
But don’t stop there. Using tools like Moz or Google’s Keyword Planner, you can research dozens or more keywords that travelers are searching for in your destination. There will be the obvious—like “restaurants in [destination]” or “visiting [destination]”—but you may just be surprised by what turns up.
During this research, don’t forget to consider your guest personas. What terms would your ideal guests be searching?
Once you’ve built a list of these keywords, you can use them to drive organic traffic to your website by creating blog posts, targeted pages, and other content. Not only will this increase your traffic from Google, it will help cement your reputation as a local expert.
All-Star Example: Beside the Sea Holidays, whose keyword-targeted blog helps potential guests and brings in organic traffic
Content marketing is a long haul—but you can take the first step to start today, especially if you’ve already knocked out some other items on this list.
Begin by setting a goal. Maybe you’d like to convert past guests into repeat bookings. Or drive organic traffic from people who are unaware of your business. Or nurture your social media followers into new guests.
Once you’ve set your goal, develop a plan. For search engine traffic, you might want to create a keyword-targeted editorial calendar for blog posts. For repeat business, you might commit to sending out a certain number of newsletters per month.
All-Star Example: La Belle Esplanade, who uses their blog to target experience-based travelers to New Orleans
Not sure where to start when it comes to bed and breakfast marketing? Guest Hook is here to help. Our agency specializes in alternate accommodations, so we know the unique challenges you face and are excited to help you take them on. Get in touch with us today.