“I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. All these directory sites with “Gold”, “Platinum”, “Silver”, “Bronze” categories – as well as a free listing – are missing a trick. As I’m sure most people have realised, a “free” listing is worth about as much as you pay for it. So, they list you for free, then point out how few bookings you’ve got, because you have a free, low-priority listing, and press you to upgrade. Inevitably, you don’t, because you have only negative experience of their site and, as Clausewitz said: “Never reinforce failure.” I’ve got “Scoot” trying to do this with me right now.
It looks as if 2013 will be another challenging one for owners of B&Bs and other independent properties. With that in mind, we’re offering you the chance to download “Over 50 Tips to Boost Your Online Bookings”, a FREE EBOOK that… well, it does what the title suggests really, providing a whole range of advice for bed and breakfast owners on how to thrive in the modern, Internet-driven world.
You can download the eBook HERE (free registration).
It has been produced by our friends over at Freetobook and it is an invaluable, 43-page tutorial that takes you from the basics of creating a website for your bed and breakfast, to marketing yourself online in a cost-effective way and using channel management to bring in extra business from Booking.com, TripAdvisor and others.
A former hotelier and now a specialist in online reputation management, Daniel Edward Craig is always astute and articulate. In a recent guest article for Hospitality.net, he raised the interesting issue of whether or not coming first in your local area on TripAdvisor is necessarily always a good thing. It could, of course, mean that your B&B is – like Mary Poppins – practically perfect in every way. But it might also mean that it’s… well, a bit too much of a bargain.
Online reputation company Revinate has some interesting things to say about getting the most out of Facebook’s Timeline. Their focus is on hotels, but many of the points they make are equally (if not more) applicable to B&Bs.
However, having commissioned a study from research company Datalogix, Facebook is claiming that online advertisers who judge the success of their Internet campaigns on click-through rates alone are doing it wrong. What they seem to be implying is that Facebook ads should be regarded as more like television ads, where there are general viewing figures but no specific data on how many people rushed out to buy the product being sold.
In our latest guest blog, Adrian Brown, owner of the Old Rectory of St James B&B in Telford, tells us how getting the most out of TripAdvisor brought success to his property within a year.
“Love it or hate it, we decided to make the most of Trip Advisor (TA) to help our business without paying them a penny, cent or groat. To be clear, this is not an endorsement of TA and it may not be right for you; it is a short account of what it did for us.
September 2010: The Old Rectory was ours and we promptly shut the doors and started much needed repairs and improvements. The house speaks for itself and had been much loved by the previous owner; it just needed a cash injection, which of course has to be recouped!
As well as having a very cool name, former Canadian hotel manager (and novelist!) Daniel Edward Craig is an always-astute observer of the hospitality business. Though he focuses more on hotels than B&Bs, much of what he has to say about online marketing is relevant to both.
In a recent blog post, Craig asks how exactly to measure the ROI (Return On Investment) of social media activity on sites like Twitter & Facebook – without indulging in the wild, unsubstantiated claims of self-styled social media “gurus”.
1. Getting back something extra!
Use feedback to guide your marketing message. Is there something about your property that customers find extra special? If so, are you selling it? Add more information about it on to your website. Perhaps run a special offer based around it (this could be seasonal, like a garden terrace in summer or a log fire in winter.)
Most people would probably agree that the “social web” is the biggest thing to happen to the Internet since the advent of e-commerce. But, as with many world-changing innovations, it can take a while – and quite a bit of head-scratching – to figure out what the heck it actually represents.
Hospitality website HotelNewsNow has been reporting on the impressively titled “Hotel Data Conference” in Tennessee. At a session about social media, a panel of experts had some interesting things to say about how accommodation owners should ideally engage with their guests online. Many of their points will be obvious to BandBers, but some are worth reiterating.