5 Strategic Partnerships Your B&B Can Use to Get More Customers
A bed and breakfast is considered a small business. It is therefore important for you to think of your bed and breakfast as more than just a place where people come to rest and have a hot meal. You have to have a business mindset in order to make your B&B successful.
Like any other small business, partnerships and alliances are vital for the success of a B&B. Even international corporate giants like Coca-Cola and Microsoft still strive to form partnerships and alliances to maximize their growth. Why should you think differently for your B&B?
In fact, since your B&B is a small business, you will need partnerships more than ever. It is through partners that you can build up your business and get the steady stream of guests that you have dreamed of. Your business does not exist in isolation and for that reason you should strive to build strategic relationships.
You may be wondering what a marketing partner is and how they will contribute to the growth of your B&B. In the business world, partnerships are formed because they provide value to the parties involved even where high risk is involved. These partnerships are formed to add value to the parties and provide something that your competitors will find difficult to replicate. With a good marketing partner you will win over new customers and grow your business further.
Important partnerships for bed and breakfasts
The following is a list of categories of partners that any bed and breakfast that hopes to be successful should have. These partnerships will give your bed and breakfast the advantage it needs to compete with other B&Bs as well as large hotels in your area.
1. Partners for revenue
These are partners that send a great deal of business your way. They represent a key source of revenue for you. For a bed and breakfast, this may include travel agents and websites who send referrals to your bed and breakfast for travelers coming their way.
It is important for you to cultivate this relationship. Reward your partners often for passing business to you.(tweet this) For example you can include more paid advertisements on a website through which you get a lot of referrals from. You can also offer them complimentary accommodation once or twice a year.
Think about how you manage your most valued revenue streams. Do you consider them as partners? What plans do you have to better manage them?
Your suppliers can be a vital source of revenue and are quite difficult to replace especially if you have good suppliers. Many of the products that you use in your inn already have a national and some an international audience. It would make sense to partner with a supplier whose products you use exclusively or as a vital selling point such as soaps, spa treatment bath products or even tea bags.
Consider your suppliers when seeking ways to add value to your customers. Can you build a joint plan with your supplier so as to encourage communication? This ensures that you maximize opportunities that may arise before your competition gets wind of them.
One great tactic for a bed and breakfast is to add a service or package that fits in perfectly with a product from your supplier. This package or service helps you strengthen your relationship with the supplier while also adding value to the service you give your guests.
Alliances are one of the best ways to enhance your B&B marketing efforts. (tweet this) Alliances are usually formed amongst people with a common interest. They are a great way to build up your clientele and share benefits of marketing.
Find out if there are any associations or alliances for bed and breakfast inns in your area, country or region. You can also join an alliance of businesses that provide services similar or related to your own such as travel service alliances. Always look for an alliance that will add value to your bed and breakfast and provide you with a steady stream of customers.
4. Partnerships for promotion
These are the most common form of partnerships being formed by small businesses in different industries. They give you an opportunity to tailor your services to suit those of another business.
One important thing to remember when searching for promotional partnerships is that money is not the only form of currency that is important to a bed and breakfast. You can add value to your B&B by providing free products to guests who visit over a specific holiday or stay for two or more nights or any other promotion you can think of.
Promotions don’t have to be complex. You can come up with simple giveaways or swaps with your partner. The important thing to remember is that by offering a product or service at a discount or for free, you are giving your B&B an easy way of getting free publicity by word of mouth or through the media.
5. Social partnerships
A lot has already been said about the growing power of social media for you to know that you can’t ignore it. If you can’t beat it, then you should join it. However, you will need as many partners on the social media front as possible.
For a small business such as your bed and breakfast, it would be a great idea to partner with a business that already has the large audience that you seek to market to e.g. travel agencies, tour companies, bath products companies and many more.
There are many ways to get involved with partners on social media. Some of the most common ways are through:
- Prizes – If you are planning a contest or giveaway, then get partners to donate prizes. The competition can be advertised on your social media profile. Your partners will be able to provide you with prizes that you would otherwise not be able to offer. In exchange, they get to market their brands to your fans or followers.
- Partner social channels – You don’t have to have a comprehensive marketing plan in place to be effective at social media marketing. You can simply tap into your partners’ social media channel and take advantage of their wide following. For example, you can ask your partners to retweet or share any messages that you put on your social channels and do the same for their messages. It’s a win-win partnership as both of you will get the exposure you are looking for.
In case you are wondering how to make a distinction between friends and business partners on social media, you don’t have to. Social channels are making these distinctions of no use today. All your relationships on social media count. While some will be more important than others, it is important to nurture your connections and use them to your advantage.
Social media is a great method for marketing because it is affordable and it makes developing relationships with partners that much easier. It is no wonder that it is one of the most effective marketing tools available today.
To succeed in forming strategic relationships make sure you offer value to your partners. That way you will also get value for your B&B. For the best results do thorough research before settling on a partner. Look for partners with similar or near similar ideologies.
For instance, if you are keen on conserving the environment then finding a partner who is environmentally conscious will make your partnership much easier because you stand for similar values.
Did we leave something out? Let us know by commenting below!
Image: Lawton Chiles
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