Women Home Biz › Operating a B&B

Running a Bed and Breakfast
9 Marketing Priorities

One of the dilemmas of running a bed and breakfast is determining a marketing strategy that gets results without costing big bucks.

Yes, your goal is to attract and then provide your guests with an outstanding stay experience. The hardest part is the "attracting" part of your goal.

Here, we hope to provide an insight of one successful entrepreneur's experiences in running a bed and breakfast with emphasis on the marketing of the Inn.

Judith: A Single Mom's Experiences
Starting a Bed and Breakfast

Hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina, this Mother of one, after her husband passed away was left with a six bedroom, 4-bath home, cash from a life insurance policy and a strong will to bring her own talents to life.

She is bright and a hard worker. She thought it made perfect sense to run a bed and breakfast using her home.

There was just one (well, many) problem. She had no knowledge on how to start her business.

She searched the Internet but couldn't find  a well-reviewed book written by someone who actually had been successful in B&B inn keeping.

Starting a Bed and Breakfast Start-Up Guide Kit

A neighbor, down the street, whose mother use to have a B&B, recommended a $29.95 ebook called simply, Starting a Bed and Breakfast Guidebook.

In my recent interview with Judith, she relayed that it is readable, realistic and contains a ton of smart information.

This ebook set the stage for her confidence and making the leap from being a Mother to being a businesswoman too.

She then made her home ready for a B&B.

She was going to use 4-bedrooms and 3 of the bathrooms for this effort.

She researched her competition for services and room prices.

Now it was time to advertise or market her B&B.


Judith’s Priorities in Marketing a Bed and Breakfast

Judith told me that in running a bed and breakfast, the marketing of it was the hardest thing she had ever done.

Determining the tasks and their priority cause her great anxiety She set her marketing budget at $10,000. She really felt afraid of spending it all for nothing. She took several deep breaths and jumped.

Here are the 9-elements of her marketing effort in order of priority.

  1. Judith decided she would focus on the luxury end of the business and named her B&B , “Peace and Tranquility B&B.”
  2. She started building her website with Site Build It using plenty of photos. SBIs Brainstorm It tool, she felt, had the capability to best position her business in the perfect niche.
  3. She took a listing in every B&B directory she could fine, The Web and directories provide 94% of the booking leads for B&Bs according to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.
  4. In the beginning, Judith handled all the reservations by herself. After 5-months there were too many inquiries for her to process so she contracted with a Reservation Service. This is a concern that supplemented her reservation-making efforts, charging her a small fee for their service.
  5.  Next, she joined the Chamber of Commerce and every local, regional and state tourism organization, a total of eight in all. These organizations help market their member’s businesses,
  6. She places a small classified ad in three travel magazines and tracked the results from each.
  7. She then turned to having business cards, a brochure, letterhead and envelopes printed. Judith told me that she waited to do this because other efforts had a higher priority and, besides, she didn’t want to spend the money for this stuff if her B&B wasn’t going to work.
  8. In running a bed and breakfast, Judith sought to make her B&B stand out from her competitors. She decided to have six special weekends a year appealing to segment of the market. These included a mystery weekend, renew your wedding vows weekend, magic trick weekend, bridge game weekend, etc.
  9. She marketed in her and surrounding neighborhoods as the place to be for birthday parties, weddings, business retreats, etc.

Judith’s Running A Bed and Breakfast Results

Peace and Tranquility B&B is now 27-months old. The last 12-months she has averaged 2.8 rooms per night and is doing quite well.

She chalks up her success to acquiring the Starting a B&B ebook, her low budget marketing strategy and her work ethic.


I thank you for visiting Running a Bed and Breakfast.


Helpful Professional Resources

Professional Association of Innkeepers International

Developing a B&B Business Plan

 U.S. Small Business Administration: Starting a Business


Additional Business Ideas for Women

 

 

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