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Katie French-White

Katie has been working with boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, vacation rental properties, wedding venues and more for over 16 years. She is passionate about the numbers and helping properties succeed.

Properly marketing a bed and breakfast is part art and part science. There are proven strategies one should employ and certain tasks that when ignored or improperly integrated will significantly hurt your bottom line. Below are over 60 tips about how to properly position and market your bed and breakfast online.


1. Website Design

Website Design for Bed and Breakfasts

 

While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, your website design can make or break your online conversions. There are certain design elements that should be integrated on your website. There are also some warnings we have amassed having developed websites for well over 20 years.

Tips: 

  • Have a responsive website.
  • Purchase professional photographs.
  • Strategically display your rooms.
  • Increase revenue with a well thought out specials and packages page.
  • Include your own blog.
  • Incorporate niche marketing (weddings, restaurants, pet friendly options and more).
  • Incorporate proven SEO.
  • Integrate a highly converting booking engine.
  • Integrate revenue and conversion tracking.

View our full blog post about bed and breakfast website design tips as it goes in depth with each suggestion above.

Warnings: 

  • Hiring a relative or friend is not always the best solution.
  • Not all designers know SEO.
  • Renting your website instead of owning it is a grave mistake.
  • While some designers make stunningly beautiful websites, you must consider the speed in which your website loads.

View our portfolio of beautiful boutique hotel & bed and breakfast websites.


2. Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization B&B Marketing

 

The single most profitable channel bringing in revenue is Google organic. This is a combination of Google local and true organic results. Search engine optimization is the process of integrating code throughout the site and certain strategies that help your website rank well in the search engines. There are thousands of items Google examines when determining which websites will rank well.

Tips:

  • Hire a professional because the potential volume of bookings you can obtain make it a worthy investment.
  • Ranking well is the single most important digital marketing success you can obtain.
  • Google constantly changes their algorithms and as such you need to change too. SEO is not a “set it and forget it” strategy.

Warnings:

  • Flashy and beautiful designs are not always SEO friendly.
  • Not all designers and programmers know SEO.
  • SEO takes time so be weary of anyone guaranteeing results.

3. Paid Search Marketing

Paid Search marketing B&B

 

Paid Search Marketing can get a bad rap. An ill-run campaign can waste thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, a well-run strategic campaign can be incredibly profitable.

Tips:

  • There is hidden value to paid search marketing. Many browse the internet while on their phones and come back via a brand search to book via a desktop. People also call to book and the total value of these guests is unknown unless you set up expensive call tracking software.
  • Make sure you set up e-commerce tracking to track results of your paid search campaigns in Google Analytics. Tracking RFPs, conversions and assisted conversions while not all encompassing of all conversions, is a significant piece and important to examine.
  • Make sure to track goals in Google Analytics. You won’t see an online booking for wedding terms but should track when someone fills out an RFP.

Warnings:

  • Broad match can plow through a budget in no time and can lead to unsatisfactory results.
  • Be weary if a marketing firm does not believe in paid search marketing.
  • Google and Bing Ads are constantly changing. This service should not be a “set it and forget it” service. It requires finesse and continuous changes as competitors come and go, and new strategies should continue to be employed as search behaviors change throughout the year.

4. Email Marketing

email marketing for bed and breakfasts

 

Email marketing to your fans and past guests is a wonderful way to spread the news, announce a new special, promote a package or event, announce a contest, instill trust in your property, or to request a review. Make sure you have a strategy in place and test new things during different times of the year to fine-tune when your different marketing messages launch.

Tips:

  • Personalize the emails.
  • Properly size your images.
  • Properly integrate links within photos and content.
  • Test, test and test.
  • Don’t send emails too often.

Warnings:

  • Don’t use more than one emoji per subject line or preview text line.
  • Do not use red fonts.
  • Don’t add too much content in an email. Keep it simple – you have about 8 seconds to grab people’s attention.

View our full blog about email marketing for bed and breakfasts for more details.


5. Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing Strategies Inns

Social media marketing is the one area of digital marketing that most businesses feel they can tackle because they are the most familiar with it. What many don’t know is that the revenue that is made from social media for boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts is paltry compared to other areas of digital marketing like paid search and search engine optimization.

Tips:

  • Develop a strategy that coincides with an email blast and blog launch.
  • Boost posts so you can reach your fans.
  • Invite those that have liked a post to officially “like” your page. This is often a missed opportunity.
  • Test Facebook Ads with a custom audience. You can target locations, certain incomes, ages and interests. You can also target your Mailchimp list!
  • Track the results so you know which types of marketing messages and posts (video vs. graphics) leads to more conversions.
  • Test, test and test some more.

Warnings:

  • Facebook Ads can get expensive. Make sure you are tracking properly so you don’t waste your marketing dollars in a channel that doesn’t convert as highly as others.
  • Don’t spend too much time on social media if your time is limited as other channels are more important.

6. Content Marketing

Content Marketing Bed and Breakfasts Hiking

 

With your content you want to “be the best.” New content or blog posts are a way to target new keywords based on search demand and bring people in the “back door,” so to speak. When properly executed it can be the gift that keeps on giving.

Tips:

  • Lists are wonderful. For example, the “Top 10 Breweries in Hershey, PA.”
  • Pepper your blog post with content your readers can skim. Don’t forget to use bullets, H2 tags and insider tips.
  • Network with local companies and photographers to get incredible photos to use on your site.
  • Create videos to include in the blog post. You are trying to create the experience.

Warnings:

  • Make sure your content is visual and fun. If you are bored reading your blog post, others will be too and will bounce.
  • Do not use duplicate content. Your copy must be original.
  • Don’t miss the boat by not monetizing the page. They might find you online via a “Hershey brewery” keyword, but make sure when possible to promote a special or package that relates to the page like a beer tasting package.

7. Niche Marketing

Wedding Marketing for Bed and Breakfasts

 

There is great opportunity when it comes to niche marketing. Weddings, elopements, honeymoons, pet friendly options, business retreats, family reunions, spas, restaurants, bars and more, all offer to bring in more revenue when properly displayed and marketed.

Tips:

  • Have well optimized pages on your website for each niche marketing segment.
  • Create the experience and add packages with your niches.
  • If your niche is a significant part of bringing in revenue, like weddings or a restaurant that is open to the public, consider a new website dedicated to that niche.

Warnings:

  • If one of the niche segments is significantly important to your revenue don’t treat it as an afterthought when it comes to marketing.
  • You need real photos of your niches and professional photography is strongly recommended.

8. Yield Management

Supply and Demand Bed and breakfasts

 

The basic economic principle of supply and demand is a critical piece of the yield management puzzle which directly affects your profitability. Seasonality, yearly events, holidays, concerts, conferences and more all play a part in determining how you price your rooms, packages and even weddings.

Tips:

  • Hire a professional to strategically analyze your historical data, your competitors, the cost to run your property and develop a yearly yield management strategy.
  • You should continuously analyze your yield management strategy throughout the year to maximize your bottom line and adjust as the situation calls for it.
  • On a very basic level you should at a minimum integrate lower midweek and higher weekend rates for lodging & weddings/elopements.

Warnings:

  • New competitors in town can affect your yield management strategies and require changing with this ever fluid marketing task.
  • The cost of an unrented room should be calculated so you know what you are really leaving on the table when you discount a room vs. leave it empty.

9. Specials, Packages & Up-Selling

 

More and more we see that people are moving towards wanting experiences. They don’t just want a room to sleep in, they want to be wined, dined and entertained. Crafting unique packages and promoting them in blog posts with the experience laid out is going to help fatten your pocket.

Tips:

  • Have a well laid out specials page and a separate packages page.
  • Offer packages visually within your booking engine to make it easy for people to add these on during the check out process.
  • Fully market your packages in paid search, email marketing, within blog posts, via social media and in your booking engine.
  • Consider a texting platform to market packages and add-ons when a guest is on property.

Warnings:

  • Don’t make your specials or packages too complex. They should be simple, easy and not have a lot of fine print associated with them.

During these trying times it is important to put forth maximum effort to capture those that are traveling. Now is the time to examine your website, marketing message, yield management strategy, specials and packages, SEO, content marketing, social media strategy and more. If you could like help with your bed and breakfast marketing and design strategy, contact us today at sales@whitestonemarketing.com.

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