June 30, 2014

Making Your Best Season Better

Summer is high season for many of you. So lately, I have been thinking about how you can make your best season even better. As entrepreneurs, you have a lot of control over your business. Not only can you institute a new marketing idea without having to wait for a corporate directive, but you also have the unique benefit of working with your best marketing asset every day. What is this asset? It is the guest.

Do you ever wonder why a guest chose your inn? Knowing how the guest found you is also important, but it can be difficult to pinpoint. Guests often say they found you “on the Internet” or “on Google,” which is too vague to be actionable. Or they may say they found you “on TripAdvisor,” when in fact they found you somewhere else first, but checked the TripAdvisor reviews before booking, and only remember the next-to-last step. Knowing the why – what initially attracted the guest to your inn and what made them book with you – is very valuable information that can be emphasized prominently on your website and in future advertisements, newsletters, and other promotional materials.

A full house of happy guests on vacation is a great time to focus on collecting reviews. Yes, you need to have a lot of reviews on TripAdvisor and now Google, but you should also have at least a few recent reviews on marketing sites such as BnBFinder.com. When guests find you on BnBFinder, we want them to have all the information they need to book directly with you. If they “need” to visit TripAdvisor to see reviews, they will be presented with a number of other choices and offers, and there is a real chance they will book with a different inn. And I don’t need to tell you that the feedback provided by reviews will help you create a better guest experience. For anyone unsure about how to ask for reviews, please read my column “Reviews = Reservations” or refer to the section “Handling online guest reviews” in Chapter 8 of Running a Bed & Breakfast For Dummies. Here, I discuss the supreme importance that reviews have on your business as well as how to encourage happy guests to write positive reviews and how to handle the inevitable negative reviews.

So make the most out of your best season, and don’t forget to recognize your most important marketing asset – your guest.

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