Recipe for Effective
Take one lovely
B&B, and blend in an area event or attraction. Add two nights
lodging, plenty of romance and tasty meals. Stir in all degrees
of enthusiasm, and you’ve got a winning recipe for a package.
Forget the key ingredients, and you’ll get half-baked
innkeeper, you know how to make the enticing breakfasts that are a key part
of the B&B experience. You select your ingredients with care, follow
favorite recipes, then present the delectable results, beautifully plated on
a carefully laid table, so that the meal looks as good as it tastes. The
result? Guests not only enjoy the moment, but savor the experience as a
memorable part of their stay at your B&B.
Imagine, for a moment, that instead of following your usual approach, you
piled the flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and fruit on the table, then said to
your guests, “Enjoy your breakfast!” What do you think the response
Unfortunately, many innkeepers follow the second
approach when it comes to packaging. Instead of creating a tempting
experience to attract both the media and future guests, they merely list the
ingredients of the package, leaving others to complete the recipe.
What are the Goals?
Just as a breakfast of eggs and bacon has a different
purpose than a five-course gourmet dinner, you’ll have different priorities
when setting up your packages. Four goals of packaging are to:
Invite media attention
Attract and extend overnight stays
Enhance revenue and guest experiences
Set you apart from the competition and add value
BedandBreakfast.com’s publicity program facilitates this process. We email
Publicity Leads to alert you to upcoming media opportunities, and use your
responses to write the press releases we send to the story-hungry media.
Successful responses offer the ideal recipe for a great package, while
others fall short, missing key ingredients. Let’s examine some of the
important principles of packaging, to help you create enticing packages to
lure both the media and guests to your inn.
Include the Basic Ingredients
activity-filled packages to increase your average length of stay from one
night to several. Packages add value to a stay at your B&B, setting you
apart from hotels, motels, and even other area B&Bs. Key ingredients to
great packages are:
A two or three-night
stay: Midweek is okay, but weekend packages bring the best
returns. Extending a weekend stay to include a Thursday and/or Sunday
night works well.
Breakfast each morning:
You offer it anyway, so be sure to include it in your package
descriptions as added value.
Dinner at your own or a
A wonderful evening meal is a key part of a successful getaway.
Take advantage of local workshops, special events, and nearby natural or
manmade attractions. Build a package around your hobbies – quilting,
photography, cooking, gardening, golf, fishing, hiking, food, etc. Or
create a wonderful itinerary with a self-guided tour of local covered
bridges, waterfalls, wineries, historic sites, etc. Inn-to-inn holiday,
garden, and progressive teas also make great packages.
Include a gift:
If your package includes a lighthouse tour, include a book about area
lighthouses. If it’s a cooking class, give guests an apron with your
logo and your cookbook.
Price that works for
You don’t have to discount your package. Depending on the season, some
innkeepers actually add a small charge to cover the time they’ve taken
to create the package. Be sure that your expenses are covered
adequately, and then price the package for the marketplace.
Make it easy to
Create “packages to go”, putting the maps, gifts, tickets and/or
vouchers and other components of the package into a small basket. When
get a reservation, your package components are ready and waiting.
Pass the “So What?” Test
invitation to stay at your B&B and view its lovely gardens does not a garden
package make. The media will not see that as a story, and B&B travelers
won’t see it as a unique opportunity. Sample packages that pique the
interest of both the media and potential guests include:
Llama excursions to view rushing waterfalls.
The “Get Over Him” package with a voodoo doll and a pint of premium ice
“Get out of the doghouse” package with chocolates, flowers, Champagne,
Cinderella Tea, with entertainment by the actors of a local music
Grilling classes, followed by a dinner of just-grilled meats, plus a
take-home gift of a side of beef from a farm-based inn.
Make It Easy for the Media
complete responses will produce the best results for reporters on tight
deadlines: Let’s say you are asked about fall packages. Compare these
Maple Mansion is a
great place to come in the fall. There’s plenty of great shopping, fall
foliage, and even a covered bridge. Visit our website for details.
Maple Mansion, in Smithville, NH, has the ideal package for seniors
seeking a September Sojourn, including a two-night stay in a king-bedded
room, breakfast for two each morning, a detailed map to enjoy a
self-guided tour of local covered bridges, and plenty of coupons for the
nearby outlets, all for $300 double occupancy, plus tax. Info:
responding to each and every inquiry, include your name and
complete signature file. For the media, indicate the availability of
high-resolution print-quality photos, and an invitation to visit your inn,
and stay as your guest, Last but not least, don’t forget to add complete
package details to your website..
Promote! Promote! Promote!
Feature your packages and specials on your website: Add your packages to
your specials page, and place a prominent link on your home page. We suggest
an eye-catching box with a nice photo to draw the eye, plus enticing copy to
encourage the potential guest to click through for more information.
Feature your packages and specials on BedandBreakfast.com: Add your
packages to the Specials Page on BedandBreakfast.com and all the other
directories to which you subscribe. To add your Special
log in to your Home Base with
your password & property ID, then click on Specials under Free Member
Benefits, then click Add A New Special.
Respond to BedandBreakfast.com Publicity Leads:
your emails for our periodic publicity leads, then respond with the specific
information requested by the deadline stated.
Use every tool available to communicate your packages to your guests:
Feature your packages in your newsletters and/or email communications to
Create flyers for guest rooms – don’t forget to cross-promote seasons.
An enticing fall package presented during a spring visit may encourage
guests to book a return visit before departure.
Create eye-catching postcards with your packages and send to guests
within a two- three hour drive of your inn.
your current special package to your email signature.
specials to upsell. Be sure to mention your romance package
(wine/chocolates/roses) when you take a reservation on the phone or your
website, and include it on every confirmation letter.
press releases to local and regional newspapers, television stations,
radios and more. Offer to serve as an expert for special-interest
packages. Allow ample time for long-lead publications.
Remember that packaging is as much about branding as bookings.
Sometimes a package will capture the media’s attention, putting your inn’s
name in front of thousands of readers/viewers/listeners, yet not result in a
significant number of reservations. That’s OK. The publicity value
alone makes it worth the effort.
Association of America (TIA),
state tourism offices, and regional CVB’s all agree: packaging is a travel
trend that’s here to stay. Many innkeepers find their package pages are
visited more often than any other inside page of their website.
our recipe for successful packaging and cook up a year-long schedule for
your inn, then promote them year-round. Good luck!
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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
BedandBreakfast.com listing into a 24/7 sales engine. For
log in to your home base with your property
ID and password, and click “Online Reservations.”
Innkeepers Information Center
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