5 Big Mistakes B&B Owners Make


Yvonne Halling: B&B Marketing Guru

Yvonne begins by describing the difficulties she found herself in just 3 years ago and how she overcame them: “My room occupancy rates were completely in line with ‘Europe wide industry statistics’ at 21.58% (the Europe average is 21.5% according to Bed & Breakfast.com) and I started to build up an overdraft. Then I started borrowing elsewhere to keep the ship afloat and bit by bit I edged into more and more debt.” However, by changing her strategy, she managed to stop the decline: “I started to increase massively my room occupancy rates, in fact so much so that in a year they soared from 21.58% to 37.68% a MASSIVE 74% increase.” Last year her occupancy rate hit 49.01%, which, she points out, is “almost unheard of in the B & B industry.”

Drawing on this experience, she has identified five areas bed and breakfast owners need to focus on if they’re going to reproduce her success. I won’t go into them in huge detail, because Yvonne’s report describes them so well, but here they are in summary form…

(1) The first mistake she identifies is “Thinking You Are In The ‘Bed & Breakfast Business’!” What she means by this is imagining that you can survive and prosper purely by focusing on your core offering. As she observes: “The turning point for me was to take off my burdening B&B hat and put on a new one with ‘Marketing Expert’ written right across it. This changed my world as I learned the power of being in the ‘Marketing Business’.”

(2) The second mistake is “Not Knowing Your Customers Nor What They Really Want.” Yvonne points out, “I decided to really get to know them and find out what they really wanted from coming to my B & B. […] Sure they wanted a room for a night or two, but what they really wanted was to be treated in a way where they felt loved and cared for.”

The conclusion Yvonne came to was that issues like location and star ratings matter relatively little. What matters is building a relationship: “When someone books, they go into my automated system that mails them lots of interesting and useful information prior to their visit and keeps mailing them after they leave.” By doing this, she has been able to not only boost her occupancy, but successfully raise her room rates to €92.5 (25% above the market average for Europe.)

(3) The third mistake is “Having NO CLUE About ‘The Lifetime Value of a Customer.’”  In order to rectify this, she suggests a strategy that she calls “Know-Like-Trust”. Put at its simplest, the “know” part means connecting with customers through social media, the “like” part means interacting with them and establishing a relationship and the “trust” part means ‘over delivering’ on their expectations. As Yvonne says, “Now once you have people’s trust, as long as you over deliver and never abuse them by sending them stuff they don’t want, all you have to do is stay in contact with them… They won’t mind hearing from you if you bring back happy past memories of staying with you and that in marketing terms is what is called ‘keeping them WARM’.”

(4) The fourth mistake might be summarised as “Not Offering Extra Services.” Yvonne solved this by “Upselling” – in other words, figuring out the other things, aside from just bed and breakfast, that her customers might be interested in spending money on. In Yvonne’s case, that meant talking about local attractions: “All I did was tell stories about the area around me and guess what, they wanted to know more and more, so I started offering them things they could buy from me that were in the story. Now I hear you say, that’s easy for you, you are where you are! But trust me, it’s true of every B & B, you have local expert knowledge that they will love, all you have to do is join the dots and offer them what your research tells you they want – It really is a no brainer.”

(5) The fifth and final mistake is the one we’ve all made many times in our lives, “Procrastination” – or, as Yvonne puts it, “If you cut yourself badly and you don’t take action fast, the consequences can be, well to be honest depending on the size of the wound – catastrophic. Inaction, procrastination and fear stop the average business becoming brilliantly successful; I know that was true for me.”

So, don’t procrastinate! Head over to Yvonne’s site right now, download her report HERE, and learn more of her tips on how to massively improve your B&B business.

One thought on “5 Big Mistakes B&B Owners Make

  1. I think one of the biggest mistakes (and hardest to stop doing) is to be proud of your product and sell it for a good price – seems obvious but people can be funny about blowing their own trumpet! – but what you have to remember is if you are too cheap – people will think there is something wrong with you and book elsewhere – its all about balance

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