7 Things B&B Owners Can Learn From Big Hotels
Travelers to any particular region will have a wide range of choices when it comes to accommodation. Some choose to stay in hotels while others prefer the ‘home away from home’ feeling that a bed and breakfast offers. Hotels and B&Bs are therefore always in competition. While some people naturally like hotels better and others prefer B&Bs, there is a large group of people that swing either way. These are the people you need to compete for.
Learning from the competition
Like with any other business, it is important to know what your competition is up to. This will enable you to have a fighting chance. This also applies to bed and breakfasts. If you want to compete with hotels in your area, it is important to know what they are up to.
Learning about your competition doesn’t only mean that you find a way to fight them. It also means learning from their mistakes as well as their successes. There is a lot that bed and breakfast inns can learn from hotels.
Below are 7 things that you can learn from successful hotels:
1. Invest in a Website
Many bed and breakfasts depend on word of mouth and their local community for marketing. This however is not sustainable. Many travelers today use the Internet to get the information they need about accommodation and places to visit. Hotels understand this and therefore set up websites where potential guests can gather information about the facilities and what the hotel has to offer.
A website is the easiest way to attract guests to your B&B. Many hotels make it possible for guests to view the rooms, facilities and get information about the surrounding area from their websites. They also make it possible for guests to book and pay for rooms online. This added convenience can help you attract more guests to your B&B.
2. Provide Incentives
Many hotels offer potential guests incentives to stay with them. You should do the same with your bed and breakfast. Guests will consider this added value for their money and will choose you over the competition every time.
Some great ideas from hotels for incentives include giving discounts to repeat guests or offering discounted rates, flowers, chocolates or other gifts for guests booking at a certain period of the year. Many guests are always willing to return if there is something extra you are offering.
3. Invest in Online Reputation Management
Your online reputation is vital for your success. tweet this Consumers today share a lot of information online. Many people make decisions only after acquiring information from online resources. Successful hotels understand this. They therefore invest in online reputation management.
Online reputation management will ensure that you keep tabs on what people are saying about your B&B. This goes for both negative and positive comments. These comments will show you where you can improve as a business and also give you an opportunity to respond to any guests who were unhappy with your services. Consumers today appreciate it a great deal when they know that their opinions have been considered and any concerns are being addressed.
Online reputation management also enables you to stop any false information about your B&B from spreading. You can identify websites where this false information is being posted and correct it or have it taken down.
Online reputation management also means having reviews and ratings from previous guests posted online. Many people look for information about businesses online so that they can learn what other people think of their services. The same case applies to hotels and B&Bs. Many people want to know what previous guests thought about your facilities and services. It is therefore a good idea to encourage previous guests to write reviews and provide ratings for your services on websites such as TripAdvisor. Potential guests are more likely to trust the unbiased view of previous guests.
4. Have a Multilingual Website
Having a website is no longer enough to attract guests. Most hotels, inns, hostels and B&Bs have websites. However, many hotels take it a step further and ensure that they have multilingual websites. This enables them to appeal to potential guests from all over the world.
B&Bs may be small establishments, however, your clientele is from different parts of the world. You therefore ought to market your B&B internationally. Choose languages that are spoken in parts of the world that many of your guests come from. For example, if your B&B is frequented by European guests, ensure that you have a website that translates to popular European languages such as German, French, Dutch, Spanish and Italian.
It is important not to use an electronic language translator when carrying out your translations. Ensure that you invest in a native speaker of the language you want included on your website. This ensures that the translations are accurate in meaning and grammar.
5. Get Rated
Many hotels are rated by stars. Guests are able to determine what kind of services to expect by simply taking note of the star rating of the hotel. Many hotels are therefore able to attract customers simply by having three, four or five star rating.
Not many B&Bs are rated. However, being rated or accredited by an international organization will result to increased visibility for your B&B. Many people will recognize your establishment as a legitimate one and of higher standards than other establishments that are not rated.
6. Invest in People
Major hotels understand the importance of the people that work for them. They know that their success depends a great deal on their staff. They therefore invest in their staff. They provide them with opportunities to grow and develop in their careers.
Although a bed and breakfast may have only two or three other employees apart from the owner, it is important to invest in these people. Ensure that they are trained in customer services and any other course that would not only benefit the individual but also improve the standard of service at your bed and breakfast.
It is also important to choose the right people for the job. There are certain things that can’t be learned or unlearned even with training. It is therefore vital to choose employees that engage customers with genuine hospitality and care.
Hotels go out of their way to better their customer’s experience. They provide a meet and greet service for travelers arriving by air for example. They provide special services for guests needing them. Hotels are constantly striving for new and innovative ways to improve on their efficiency.
Many B&Bs choose to remain the same once they find that they can attract enough guests to make a comfortable profit. However, guests are always on the lookout for establishments that can provide them with better value for their money. They may shift to the competition if they find that you don’t offer them anything new.
It is therefore important to strive to improve on efficiency. Don’t get comfortable. Ensure that you are always striving for something better. tweet this This is the best way to improve and grow as a business.
You don’t have to turn your bed and breakfast into a small hotel. However, applying some of the things that hotels do can help you position your establishment better and help you provide better services to you guests. That way you will attract more customers to your B&B and compete more effectively with larger establishments in your area.
We hope you have enjoyed reading the post. Let us know if we have missed something in the comments below!
Photo: Adam Fagen
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