Top Ten Marketing Goals for 2005
From ADR to SE0, PPC to RevPar, today’s Internet-driven market
requires more than piles of pillows and mounds of muffins to get
heads in your beds. In other words, the success or failure of
your inn depends on how effectively you use the Internet as a
marketing tool. Focus on these top ten Internet marketing
goals to ensure you get your fair share:
marketing presence in major online B&B directories and DMO websites:
Signing up for
top-producing Internet inn directories like BedandBreakfast.com is a
beginning -- not an end -- to your marketing efforts.
Log in to your home base at least weekly to update your listing,
check the message boards and publicity leads, post specials and hot deals,
monitor featured property and inn of the month advertising, and last but not
least, to get ideas and inspiration from innkeepers in other regions. As
detailed in #6 below, great photos are the key to good results. Make sure
that your content is equally appealing, accurate, and up-to-date on websites
maintained by your area’s destination marketing organizations (DMOs),
including your local, county, and state tourism offices, and that you are
taking advantage of all special events and promotions.
2. Tune-up or
overhaul your website for effective design and search engine optimization.
are like dog years — one year in real time is like seven years in Internet
time. If your website was designed three years ago, that makes it 21 years
old in Internet time. Old enough to enjoy a glass of wine, but then again,
wine ages better than websites.
the KISS method. Does the top half of your home page clearly state your
location and phone number? Are there obvious links to an availability
calendar or online reservation option or do folks have to navigate several
screens to find this out? Are your rates and room descriptions on the same
page, or do prospective guests have to toggle back and forth to learn that
the weekend rate for the Honeymoon Suite is $229? If the home page is
unclear, uninformative, and/or slow to load, very few folks will click
through to the inside pages, and you won’t get the “look-to-book” ratio you
b. Work with
your webmaster to ensure that your site is search engine optimized (SEO), so
that you have a chance of coming up well on the organic (free) search
results that can bring you significant traffic.
c. Invest in
effective software to track your website statistics so you’ll know what
search terms folks are using to find you, and which sites produce
d. Does your
website reflect your inn? If you have a mid-priced, four-guestroom B&B,
your website should meet the criteria mentioned above. If you have a larger
and/or more luxurious property, you’ve probably invested enormous amounts of
money in building/renovating/decorating your inn. Don’t cheap out
when it comes to creating a first-class website. Properties that upgrade to
a state-of-the-art professionally designed and marketed website typically
see an immediate and significant boost in occupancy rates.
qualified leads via pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
Google and its competitors
are not charitable organizations. They are in business to make a profit, and
their profit comes from pay-per-click advertising, not free searches. Search
engines change their algorithms frequently, and even the savviest of web
marketers can’t guarantee that you’ll come out on top on the free search
results. Pay-per-click advertising is the only guaranteed way to drive
traffic to your website. For best results, select your keyword phrases
carefully, to minimize costs and maximize effectiveness. Although
www.Inns.com is not even a year old, it is set up to produce the
most highly qualified leads at a modest cost and a minimum of effort on your
part. Through this easy-to-use PPC website, prospective guests get a lot of
information on your inn, and will only click through when they’re definitely
interested in your B&B. Since all bidding is geographic, there’s no need to
stress about keywords and phrases.
Study after study makes it clear -- consumers want to book online:
- In 2005, 25% of all
hospitality revenues will be generated by the Internet. (Hospitality
- In2006, online sales will grow to
nearly one-third of all hotel sales. (PhocusWright)
- A record 32.1 million Americans
will use the Web to book travel in 2005. (Forrester Research)
2004, over $11.6 billion in lodging revenues were booked online by
Although many potential guests will telephone
you, an increasing number want to reserve rooms online at their convenience,
not yours. At a minimum, post an availability calendar; even better, offer
real-time online reservations with instant confirmations (just like an airline
reservation), so that potential guests can reserve rooms while you are fast
asleep, off at the supermarket, or best of all, having a massage. Ignore the
issue and you can be sure of losing business to another inn that does offer
Increase your RevPar by
fine-tuning your ADR. Your
RevPAR ( Revenue Per Available Room) is
calculated by multiplying the average daily room rate (ADR) by the occupancy
rate and so reflects a combination of price and volume; your
ADR (Average Daily Rate) is calculated by
dividing the gross room revenue by the number of occupied room nights sold
during a specified period. Analyze your slow periods to see how different
marketing strategies for your ADR can boost your overall RevPar. For example,
if you are sold out nearly every weekend, give serious consideration to raising
your rates; if midweek and/or off-season occupancy barely breaks 20%, reduce
rates and/or increase your marketing reach by using online reservations and
Replace or refine all your photography.
If guests tell you that your inn is “much nicer
than it looks on your website,” you are losing business every day. If
your photos are scanned prints, reshoot them as digital photos for maximum
clarity. Photographs need to balance the “sizzle” with the ”steak.” A picture
of a guest room, for example, doesn’t need to show every inch of the bed, but
should rather convey that this is a relaxing, comfortable, romantic place to
spend the night. Spend some time looking at photos of other inns, especially
those of your competition, and see how your shots stack up. If you don’t have
individual guest room photos, travelers will assume the worst.
Maintain regular email contact with potential and past guests.
Missed email marketing opportunities are
extremely common, but fortunately among the easiest to fix:
Each and every email from
your B&B should include a complete signature file with your name, inn name,
postal address, email address, telephone numbers, and URL.
Typos and bad grammar are
just as unprofessional in an email as they are in a printed letter. Create
templates for you and your staff to use to save time yet ensure a
professional and welcoming tone.
Answer email promptly. You
would never wait a day to return a phone call from a guest; email is equally
The content of your emails
should express the same warm hospitality guests feel when they arrive at
your property. Offer to help with restaurant and theater reservations,
provide directions, advice on activities, etc.
Create email mailing lists
via your website and registration books, and stay in touch with guests, so
you can tell them about special events, last-minute cancellations, and keep
your property on guests’ radar screens for their next getaway.
8. Micro-brand from check-in to
check-out and beyond. How many times
have you heard guests say, “Oh, we stayed at this great B&B in such-and-such a
town, but I can’t remember its name.” Avoid this fate by adding the name of
your inn and its logo wherever appropriate, from the coffee mugs to the soap to
the plastic bags you give guests for leftovers or damp bathing suits.
Reach niche markets via the Internet.
From birding to quilting, fly-fishing to
scrapbooking, lighthouses to covered bridges, gay travelers to seniors, business
travelers to honeymooners, don’t forget the many ways you can reach special
interest groups via Internet newsletters, message boards, and websites. Convert
inquiries into reservations by catering to their distinct needs. For example,
quilters and scrapbookers need lots of well-lit table space, business travelers
need usable desks and high-speed Internet connections, and honeymooners want
privacy and breakfast in their rooms. Arrange for these special services, then
promote them wherever appropriate.
Let WIIFM be your guide.
What’s in it for me (WIIFM) is the
question you need to ask again and again. Of course, the “me” here is the
potential guest. Is a traveler looking for a romantic getaway more interested
in knowing that the “Lily Suite” is named after your great-aunt Lily, or that
this suite has a king-size bed, double whirlpool tub, and a hand-painted mural
to highlight the décor? WIIFM means photos that allow prospective guests to
imagine themselves in those comfy porch rocking chairs, overlooking the water or
mountains beyond. WIIFM means clear and easy to follow directions to your
B&B—ones that can be read while bouncing over country roads in the dark. WIIFM
means making it easy for guests to make a reservation, either via a toll-free
phone number or via online reservations. If you’re having a hard time
understanding the guests’ point of view, there’s an easy cure—go stay at a few
B&Bs yourself. You’ll have a great time, you’ll learn a lot, and hey, you can
even deduct it as a business expense!
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BedandBreakfast.com Gift Certificates have changed to an
electronic format. Funds for redeemed certificates will be transferred directly
into your bank account within four business days! No more certificates to
mail! Don't miss out! To join the 3500 participating inns, just log in to
your home base with your property ID and password, or click
with your property ID and password for details on the number of page
impressions and click-throughs your B&B has received as a result of all
BedandBreakfast.com online marketing, including property listings, Featured
Property, and Inn of the Month advertising.
To update your entry, post specials, and renew your membership, please log in
with your property ID and password. Can't remember your password?
Click here, then enter your property ID and we'll email it to you.
Don't like your password? Once you're logged in to Home Base, just click "Membership," select "change password" (#7 in dropdown menu), and choose another
that's easier to remember. More information
Inns for Sale
our B&B in your Inns for Sale section in January, and
started getting inquires a week later. In February,
a couple came from Florida to visit us in Cat Spring, Texas. We made a deal, and
they begin officially on April the 5th as the new owners. What you are doing
really works." Sunny and John Snyder.
today and we'll put you on our special offer mailing list.
Taking real-time, online reservations is the most effective way to transform
your Internet presence from an informational resource into a 24/7 sales engine.
Innkeepers Information Center
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