Your bed and breakfast provides a charming respite complete with beautiful decor, friendly service, and a quiet, comfortable place to rest. Even so, you’re struggling to fill vacancies. If this sounds familiar, then it’s time to step up your bed and breakfast marketing game and fill those empty rooms! Read on to find out how.
Create or improve your website’s online registration process
Today’s consumers demand easily accessible reservation systems that put them in charge. This should be an essential part of your bed and breakfast marketing strategy. Without it, you will lose potential guests.
Visitors to your travel blog, “about us” section or other pages should have no trouble locating your website’s “reserve” or “book now” button. Once they arrive at the reservation page, they should encounter a streamlined process requiring only the most basic contact and payment information. The shorter the reservation process is, the less likely people are to back out before committing.
Optimize your website for smartphones
Today’s vacationers use their smartphones to plan and book trips. Accommodate them by making your website design and registration process as mobile-responsive as possible. Otherwise, potential guests will jump ship the moment they encounter an obstacle.There are some things you can do to make your bed and breakfast website more mobile-responsive:
- Use responsive design. Whatever devices website visitors are using, they should not have to scroll from side to side on your webpages. Pages should instead resize and realign automatically to fit various screen sizes and shapes.
- Develop a mobile app. This promotes quick booking, check-in, checkout, and more. You can enhance communication with in-app messaging.
- Limit forms. A simple reservation process is important. It’s especially important for mobile users, who can be discouraged from booking if there are even a few extra steps. Gather only the most essential information to encourage a quick conversion and stop users from abandoning their bookings.
Match discounts with seasonal demand
Seasonal variations are a major challenge for bed and breakfasts. Many are fully booked months prior to peak season, but they struggle to fill major vacancies at other times of the year. Targeted discounts can encourage people to visit your bed and breakfast during off-peak seasons. For example, a B&B situated in a popular ski resort town could offer significant discounts in fall and spring as well as modest price breaks for the summer.
If demand is fairly consistent from one season to another but fluctuates between weekends and weekdays, use special pricing for stays booked between Monday and Thursday nights.
Encourage longer stays with discounts that allow guests to pay less per night. A targeted discount strategy could convince guests to stay longer and reduce vacancies. It’s important that your seasonal pricing strategy features on your website and, if relevant, on social media or in marketing emails.
Develop a local SEO strategy
Local search engine optimization can benefit businesses in almost any industry, but it’s particularly valuable in hospitality, where nearly every search includes locally relevant terms. To that end, geographically targeted keywords should be featured on your “about us” page, in your blog, and in other areas of your website to improve regional search rankings. Don’t forget to also optimize your Google My Business page with locally relevant keywords.
Examples of effective keywords for travel SEO include the following:
- bed and breakfast in Duluth
- best New York bed and breakfasts
- San Francisco B&B
- B&B hotel near London
Communicate with potential guests via social media
Social media is indispensable for modern hospitality. Sites such as Facebook and Instagram allow you to build strong relationships with both former and prospective guests. Focus on content that conveys a warm, hospitable tone.
These days, no hospitality social media strategy is complete without a solid presence on Facebook. The site is ideal for conveying essential information such as availability and amenities. It also allows you to highlight upcoming promotions and events.
Avoid overpromoting your business, and use an organic Facebook marketing strategy. Instead, focus on content that guests find compelling, such as the following:
- tips for traveling in your region
- ideas for day trips accessible from your bed and breakfast
- recipes for favorite breakfast treats
- fun photos taken by B&B guests
The visual nature of Instagram makes it an appealing option for promoting your aesthetic merits. Quality photography is key. All images shared on your travel Instagram page should exemplify the unique style of your bed and breakfast. Instagram posts may also highlight special services or amenities that set your accommodation apart. Pictures like the following might be suitable:
- favorite breakfast dishes
- hot tubs
- gardens or pristine landscaping
- libraries and reading nooks
Snapchat or Instagram Stories
Add updates with Instagram Stories to deliver a behind-the-scenes look at your B&B. Stories tend to be more casual than standard Instagram posts. They provide an excellent opportunity for highlighting user-generated content. For example, if a follower tags your business in a picture from their recent vacation, you can share this with others by adding it to your Stories. Similarly, Snapchat is a great option for quick, informal updates.
Develop a time-sensitive email marketing strategy
While some B&B guests prefer to keep up to date via social media, email marketing remains an effective means for building engagement. This strategy can pay dividends with both former and prospective guests. Boost your bed and breakfast email marketing strategy with help from Constant Contact, which offers tools for developing your email list and choosing the best templates. Try these solutions to further improve your email approach:
- Use abandoned shopping cart emails to improve conversion rates, encouraging potential visitors to take that final step towards booking a stay.
- Send email newsletters with news and updates. These can highlight local opportunities, upcoming events, or special rates.
- Follow up with emails after guests depart. These should thank visitors for their reservations and encourage them to leave reviews. These emails can also offer discounted rates for booking return trips.
Encourage customer reviews
Reviews can be bed and breakfast marketing gold. After all, today’s travelers want to be their own agents — using reviews to research and book vacations. Most people prefer to stay at places with strong feedback from top review websites. Pay attention to the following essential guidelines:
- Claim your bed and breakfast listing on Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and other listing and review sites.
- Confirm that all listed information is correct and consistent everywhere it can be found online.
- Add images to give online users a better idea about the style and amenities of your bed and breakfast.
- Respond to negative reviews in a kind and courteous manner. This will demonstrate your commitment to elite hospitality.
Try paid advertising on TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor is a favored option in the hospitality industry, with many businesses making a point of optimizing their pages to build a positive impression among potential visitors. Beyond this, however, paid advertising can be an effective method for attracting attention. These solutions are especially valuable:
- Sponsored placements. This targeted solution makes the most of high-intent users by acting as a personal billboard for your bed and breakfast. When users search locations near you, they will find your business displayed near the top of the page.
- TripConnect cost per click. This allows you to share key details, such as availability and rates, within a price comparison table. Users who click on this information will be directed to your online reservation system. TripConnect is most effective when used alongside TripAdvisor’s Sponsored Placements.
Yelp may not be as prominent a solution for hotels as it is among restaurants, but paid advertising can still be valuable if you emphasize the “breakfast” aspect of your bed and breakfast. Your investment will place your ad above Yelp’s search results. You can also define a target audience and adapt your campaign accordingly.
Begin your bed and breakfast marketing journey
Now that you know some of the tricks and tools you can use to improve your bed and breakfast marketing approach, you can start looking out for ways to improve how you attract and interact with customers. If you’d like to improve your bed and breakfast marketing via social media, email newsletters, or other strategies, refer to Constant Contact’s The Download for actionable insights.