Top Management Issues for the B&B Industry
The hospitality industry has grown and changed over the last decade. What’s more, what consumers want and especially what they expect has drastically evolved.
Much of this is due to the internet and social media. In addition, changing customer expectations as well as the ability to see what others think of properties through online reviews has added to the change.
These changing expectations are big drivers, and customer satisfaction is at the top.
In this article, we look at top management issues for the B&B industry and how managers can adapt and change.
Issue #1: Maintaining a Solid Reputation
Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Instagram, Facebook – these reputation power players can have a huge impact on the B&B industry and cause management many issues.
How does a B&B handle online reputation management?
First, you want to start building a relationship with your customers through your website and social media platforms. This is the first step to handling your reputation.
Long gone are the days when managers dealt with disgruntled guests in person or over the phone. Today, that’s replaced with online reviews.
The trouble with this is managers have to be well-versed in the appropriate communication skills to respond with empathy and kindness. They have to not only pacify the unhappy guest, but they have to respond in such a way as to show future customers their property is still a good choice.
Building and maintaining relationships built on trust is vital to the success of your B&B. Don’t let a negative review destroy your property. Use social media to build relationships and trust. Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative with empathy, professionalism, and kindness. (tweet this)
Issue #2: Creating a Personalized Experience
This customer service issue goes hand in hand with your reputation management.
Why? If you can create and maintain a personalized experience for each guest, you’re well on your way to more positive reviews.
Today’s bed and breakfast guest wants impeccable customer service. They want you to think of their needs before they even know they have them.
Again, the digital world we live in dictates this need for personalization. Today’s customers want to feel like they’re home away from home.
This is a challenge for many B&B’s because it’s new and unfamiliar territory. But it’s also a relatively easy issue to address.
Sit down with your staff and brainstorm ways you can set your property apart. What you can provide that’s memorable? What is unique? Do you offer locally sourced food? How about activities?
Know what your value proposition is and tailor it for your guests.
Issue #3: Remaining Competitive
With the advent of AirBnB and VRBO, many bed and breakfast owners and top management are finding it difficult to compete.
This also harkens back to the personalized experience. Your guests want a lodging experience that feels like home. They can get this with a short term rental.
So, it’s up to you to create the same type of atmosphere at your B&B.
Finally, look online at the price of rental properties in your area. Are you competitive? If not, you’ll want to take a hard look at your pricing. In addition, you can capitalize on the experience at your B&B. After all, they don’t have to cook their own breakfast when they stay with you.
Issue #4: Hiring and Retention
The hospitality industry is a notoriously difficult one to find and retain top staff.
Labor shortages are common. High turnover and a lack of employee retention plague the industry.
Some might even say staffing is the biggest issue facing management in the B&B industry today.
One of your best assets is your staff. Whether it’s the kitchen crew or the cleaning crew, these members of your team can really set the stage for your guests.
Management will want to look at ways to attract and retain the top talent as this can help with the overall customer experience at your B&B.
Come up with ways to show you appreciate your team and reward them for a job well done.
Issue #5: Adding New Technology
While some prefer a quiet stay without technology, most of your guests want the latest and greatest.
This might mean high speed internet, or electronic check-in, or keyless entry using their mobile phone.
Often your guests want to bypass your front desk. They want to check in online, find out their room number, get their mobile key, and check into their rooms without having to waste valuable time.
Management will struggle with this technology especially in those instances where it’s cost prohibitive.
Issue #6: Dealing with Seasonality
This is a common issue for all B&Bs.
It’s especially a problem in areas where visitors only come for one or two seasons per year. For example, people often head to warm coastal areas in the winter and national parks in the summer.
Because the hospitality industry is seasonal in many areas of the country, you may face this issue.
Do what you can to overcome this by offering off season packages. Capitalize on the beauty of your area in the off season and show potential guests that there are still great things to do.
Issue #7: Hiring Skilled Leaders
It’s hard to lead from a position of strength if you don’t have a strong manager in place.
It’s not always easy to find good leaders, but it’s imperative to the success of your B&B.
Look for someone who has leadership experience, but who is also willing to participate in ongoing training.
Now that you’ve seen the top management issues for the B&B industry, it’s time to get to work on some of them.
The first step is acknowledging them. The next step is creating a strategy to overcome the issue.
In addition, make sure you have a strong leadership team in place. It will be hard to make changes without a solid leader.
You can overcome many of these management issues with strategy and a strong team. Ultimately, by addressing these issues, you’ll have a stronger property that can withstand the toughest of times.
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