Understanding Your Customers: Why People DON’T Stay at B&Bs
A few posts ago I talked about B&B customers’ psychology. I chose to focus on some of the factors that attract people to B&B’s. This week I want to look at why some people might choose conventional hotels instead.
If you’re not online, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business. Big hotel chains like Travelodge or Fairmont would go under without the business they get online. You need to take the same approach.
It’s not as difficult as you might think. Find a web solution that’s designed with small inns and B&B’s specifically in mind. It takes just a few hours to set up a basic website, and very little maintenance after that.
The sooner you create your online presence the better. Sites with a longer history of updates and hits have a better chance of showing up at the top of search results.
Poor web design
It’s not just enough to be online. You need to be online in the right way. It takes most website visitors a few seconds to decide if a B&B is good or bad. (tweet this) Often it just takes a glance at the B&B’s homepage.
Use attractive photos, descriptive language, and social media. Make your page easy to navigate. Like any business, a professional image makes a successful brand. The more put-together your web presence looks, the more you’ll come across as a great place to stay.
Make sure you feature your strong points first. Think about what past guests have commented on as your best qualities. It could be food, comfort, unique views, or all of the above. These should be the first things your potential guests see when they look you up online.
Note: With Hotel Propeller you get a great website.
Some people choose major hotel chains over B&B’s because they always know what to expect. Because every B&B is unique and independently owned, they might also come with unwelcome surprises. Some first-time guests don’t feel it’s worth the risk.
Prove to B&B skeptics that you provide even more reliable quality than brand-name hotels. Let them know you can be trusted.
Word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews are your best friend. Feature guest testimonials on your website. Encourage your most satisfied guests to add a review to TripAdvisor. Facebook and Twitter are a great place to send out these friendly reminders.
For effective use of reviews, take a look at the Westside Guesthouse website. This B&B features over 20 guest ratings right on the front page. Their past customers have vouched for them repeatedly, letting others know it’s a great place to make a booking.
Lack of context
Chain hotels are usually situated in a generic, more mainstream destination. Big hotel owners choose deliberately where to set up to attract the most guests.
Smaller inns and B&B’s, on the other hand, are more happenstance. This means they’re in more unique areas with a rich background.
Take the beautiful Albergo alla Campana, for example, located in the centre of a small, historical town just outside of Venice. This family-owned hotel uses their website to feature stunning images of nearby art, architecture and culture.
The Milestone Inn’s ‘Things to Do’ page is another perfect example of setting the local context. Just by reading this list, you’ll be tempted to book a room and explore the Woodbury, Connecticut area!
People want to know what’s different about your B&B. Show them! (tweet this)
Show them all there is to do any see nearby and why they should choose you.
The privacy question
Some people still associate B&B’s with lack of privacy. The small, intimate setting may seem intimidating. Some may picture awkward scenarios where guests are forced to socialize with each other at breakfast.
While meeting new people is ideal for some guests. Others are looking for a more secluded getaway. After all, B&B’s should provide an escape from everyday life. In both cases, privacy always matters.
Make sure you communicate your versatility as a warm and social, yet private, place to stay. Be available to answer questions, but give guests their space. Set up quiet spots for your guests to read, dine, or just relax without interruption.
You can also get the privacy message across online. Add photos of small, intimate tables along with your central dining area. Feature more private spaces like a separate deck or quiet garden area. Potential guests like to know they have both options.
Get to know the negative side of your potential guests’ psychology. This way you can work on avoiding common turn-offs to expand your appeal!
What objections have you heard from prospects? Share your insight with others in the comments.
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