December 29, 2014

All Your Inn Has to Offer

What would the New Year be without New Year’s resolutions?  As small business owners, it’s an easy prediction that some of our resolutions will surround making our businesses better, but will we?
Together, I think we have an opportunity to make our industry stronger if we pledge to make 2015 the year we aggressively promote the value and experience offered at bed & breakfast inns; and AirBnB has opened the door for us to do this.

There is much to not like about AirBnB, however, the sharing economy and sites like AirBnB are here to stay in some form or another.  Rather than look only at the unfavorable impact this and similar sites have on your business, have you considered using the popularity and buzz surrounding AirBnB to educate guests about what a real B&B offers?

Many of my recent interviews would not have included the virtues of bed & breakfasts if I were not able to get them into the conversation because of AirBnB.  For example, the writer of an upcoming article in Entrepreneur Magazine about alternatives to hotels for business travelers never thought to include bed & breakfasts and was gearing the article towards sites like AirBnB as another option.  Once she got me on the phone she couldn’t believe the value and opportunity that B&Bs offer and she was excited to include them in her article.

What else can we do to promote ourselves favorably? Does your website clearly spell out all that is included in a stay with you? Too often I read reviews where the guest thought the B&B was expensive and almost didn’t stay there because they had no idea all that was included in the rate. If you have ever gotten a review like this, it’s not a compliment about all that you offer. Rather, it’s a message that your website doesn’t adequately convey your value.  In fact, any question you get either by email or phone is information that is not readily available on your website and should be. AirBnB brings B&Bs into the conversation but also causes confusion about what they are. Guests are comparing prices and we need to help them compare value and experience when making their decision. This is my resolution for the New Year.

For more information on how to promote your inn make sure to read chapter 8 in Running a Bed & Breakfast For Dummies.


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