June 2, 2017

What Should Be the Same at All Inns?

There are thousands of inns, so it seems impossible that something should be exactly the same at all of them, but I think there is one thing. If you’re guessing exceptional service, a fantastic guest experience, scrumptious food, you’re not off base; however, none of these mean the same thing at every inn. How can there be just one message that is the same for all inns given the uniqueness of each property?
“For the Best Rate - Book Direct!”. Every inn that shares this simple but same message benefits from a stronger guest relationship starting at the time of the reservation and better guest communication with no exorbitant commissions! As an industry I believe we should be training guests to book direct and the best way is by sharing the same message.
The sea of sameness stops with this message. Everything else you convey should illuminate what makes your inn special and unique and of course that guests will get the best rate when they book directly with you!

May 2, 2017

Want More Business? Look Over the Fence

Over the years gas prices, the economy, and Airbnb have all played a role in getting guests interested in getaway experiences that are closer to home. Whether they are called staycations, holistays, minimoons or something else, they add up to opportunities to attract new guests. Simply put, there is often an untapped market of guests closer than you think.

Most innkeepers know to market their inn to local CVB's Chamber's, etc. so that their property is recommended when out of town travelers inquire about places to stay. What about spreading the word locally that "You Don't Have to Travel Far: You're Already Here"? You're not just hospitality experts, you're also local experts. Whether you've hosted just a handful hundreds of guests, you know firsthand what they like, what they want to avoid, and what will make their experience special.

How do you get the word out? Creating a Locals' Package is a start. Networking and spreading the word is next, but how? What publications do your neighbors read and where do they get local information? Once you find out who to target, invite the staff of local papers, school newspapers, and church bulletins over to share your locals' package and to brainstorm about a possible partnership for their followers and readers.

Staying closer to home cuts down costs and takes the stress out of traveling. It's also a chance for locals to learn more about their own area - making them much more interesting hosts the next time their friends and family come to visit. Sure, you're filling rooms when you offer a Staycation package, but you're also doing your neighbors a favor by providing a much needed and perhaps undiscovered getaway!