Establish a mailing list and send out a regular newsletter to them. Many properties are located in beautiful areas so include photos, let them know of special offers and most importantly make sure they remember you.
If you are not online then you are behind the times. The majority of travellers these days use the internet to search for accommodation and activities.
Even the very best guest house or B&B will have to close its doors if people can’t find it. Placement is about placing your property where so guests can see it. Whether this is online or in the local tourist information centre.
Quiet is Not an Option
It may sound repetitive but shout about your property. Use every form of media, online or printed, journalists, travel writers etc to get you message out there.
Why not offer a free night to a travel writer or journalist in exchange for a write-up on your property? Whatever your method, say it loud and say it proud!!
Repeat is Better than Brand New
There is a marketing cost involved in attracting a new client to your establishment. A good example is the client who books through a booking agent costing you 15 – 20% of the room rate. But if they return again next year through a direct booking you have effectively eliminated the marketing cost and increased your income by 15 – 20%.
Make the stay memorable and keep in touch, maybe offer an incentive for them to come back to you.
Speed of Answer
If you snooze you lose – answer enquiries quickly, there’s nothing more impressive than a quick response and it makes a great first impression.
Online visitors want to book online and want to pay online. Be available 24/7 with live availability and bookings through NightsBridge!
Understand Your Clients’ Needs
And exceed them. Know your market segment then think about what they need.
For example if you are after the family segment, think about children’s equipment around your property like a sand pit or climbing frame.
For the business client look at providing FREE internet access.
Visual Is Good
Make sure your brochures show off your property in its best light. If need be invest in a professional photographer. Put a gallery on your site. Let people see the attraction rather than read about it.
Use the quieter times for staff training. Make sure they deliver the level of service you want your guests to come back for again. Encourage workers to think outside of the box and not just have tunnel vision about their specific field of work. Your team should believe in team work, everyone focused on one goal.
Accommodation establishments are personal businesses. The x-factor is your personality and your unique touch.
Your Destiny is in Your Own Hands
Running any business is hard, especially a seasonal business. It’s always easy to get down especially in the off season. Remember why you started your business and the ambitions you had. Sitting back waiting for solutions/guests to appear is not the answer.
Keep yourself motivated with to do lists, spend time each and every day on marketing and remember to congratulate yourself on achievements.
Team members need to understand your set service levels. Whether it is response times, breakfast presentations or turning down the sheets, make sure your team understand your standards and strive to meet them, letting them drop is a rocky road downwards.
For the first installment of this article, click here.
This article on marketing your guest house was passed on to us by Kristi of GHASA (Guest House Accommodation of South Africa) who found it on the Incompass Financial Solutions website www.incompass.co.za. Incompass Financial Solutions is a GHASA preferred supplier and able to help you with insuring your property.
GHASA offers benefits, assistance and valued advice to their members, as well as booking opportunities for travellers. www.ghasa.co.za