How to Build Strategic Alliances for Your Bed and Breakfast
According to Investopedia, a strategic alliance is a short or long-term agreement between two businesses. It can be a formal or informal agreement.
At its core is an arrangement to take on a mutually beneficial project while maintaining each businesses’ independence.
Why would you want to do this for your bed and breakfast? It can help you reach new markets and target audiences, or it can help you get the jump on your competition.
You’ll find that working together, both businesses can benefit. What might this look like for you? It might be a partnership with a local restaurant, adventure company, outfitter, local attraction. The possibilities are endless.
In this article, we look at how to build strategic alliances for your bed and breakfast.
Define Your Ideal Audience
If you don’t know your target market, it’s time to sit down and define it.
It’s imperative not only when building strategic alliances, but it’s integral to all of your marketing, both online and offline. (tweet this)
Your target audience profile is set by defining the group of customers who are most likely to respond to your bed and breakfast, book a reservation, and even return for future visits.
To define it, you’d look at geographic location, income, age, family dynamics, and more. For example, if you don’t allow kids at your bed and breakfast, you’d eliminate this group from your target.
If you don’t define your market, you can’t know who you should market to, making it very difficult to set up a strategic alliance.
Decide What Kind of Alliance You’d Like
Let’s say your bed and breakfast caters to the adventure traveler. You decide to set up a strategic alliance with a local river raft company.
Your strategic alliance might include cross advertising or even setting up packages that include your bed and breakfast and daily rafting trips.
It’s important to note that your strategic alliances must make sense. You don’t want an alliance with a direct competitor. You also don’t want to ally with another business that doesn’t attract the same target audience.
Your audiences should be similar. You’ll find that strategic alliances work better when there are groups of people you want to target that make sense to your business, but they aren’t on your bed and breakfast’s radar yet.
It’s also a good idea to partner with another business that has the same pricing strategy as your bed and breakfast. For example, if you’re a luxury offering, you want to partner with a business that is also on that spectrum.
Why? Because you need to share the same target market, and spending power falls into this category.
Lastly, make sure you both are on the same page when it comes to customer service. Once you set up your strategic alliance, you’ll find that customers are more likely to lump you together.
So, if your customer-service oriented, make sure they are, too.
Know What You Can Offer
Before you approach another business with a strategic alliance proposal, know what you can offer, especially if a discount or promotion might be involved.
For example, if you’re suggesting a referral-type of alliance, know what you’ll offer in return for the referral.
Form the Right Kind of Alliance
There are many different types of strategic alliances, so get creative and come up with one that works for your bed and breakfast.
For example, partner with businesses that complement yours.
Put Someone in Charge
Once you’ve got your alliance and your strategy in place, you want to pick an employee to manage it, or you can manage it yourself.
It is key, though, to put someone in charge. Without this point-person, your alliance may stagnate.
A strategic alliance is an innovative marketing strategy, so whomever you put in charge should be a strong advocate for your bed and breakfast and someone skilled in negotiation.
Your strategic alliance leader should also have strong communication skills, be creative, and have a marketing background if possible. This person should be a go-getter who is detail oriented, a leader, and can get things done.
Create a Plan
You’ve defined your market, put someone in charge, decide on an alliance partner. Now, it’s time to decide on the terms and sign contracts if you’re creating a formal alliance.
When you and your strategic alliance partner sit down to create the plan, set goals and decide when and how you’ll measure them. Now is also a good time to outline who is in charge of what so the duties and responsibilities are clear.
This is similar to creating a marketing plan, so you are set up to monitor and assess your data.
During this time, you also want to outline your strategy, decide what avenues you’ll use to market your alliance, and how you’ll fine tune it.
Decide How You’ll Measure It
As with any marketing tool, you want to measure the success of your strategic alliance.
Set clear performance goals and metric with your partner. You then want to set specific, measurable goals. It’s a good plan to set both short and long term goals.
Decide what you’ll measure. Will it be new customers, returning customers, increase revenue, or something else?
Once you’ve begun your strategic alliance, and it’s running well, you need to continue to massage it to keep it going.
It’s often easy to “set it and forget it.” The trouble with this is no one is actively working to make it work.
You want to continue to hone your collaboration. Tweak your strategic alliance as necessary. Make changes, test your plans, then test them again.
Be on the lookout for other groups to target with your strategic alliance as well.
By constantly refining your alliance, you are better able to reach new customers for your bed and breakfast and better position your property in the marketplace.
The success of your alliance is dependent upon both businesses, so make sure you are aligning yourself with someone with the same goals and dedication to making it work.
Looking to showcase your hotel? At Hotel Propeller, we build functional, beautiful websites that highlight your hotel to help you stand out in the crowd. You’ll find everything you need to attract guests to your website and compel visitors to make a reservation. Take a look at our showcase and contact us today.
Free Hotel Website Checklist
5 Essential tips for using your website to book more guests! Plus, a Free email course, Winning Web Strategies For Innkeepers.