Hello and welcome to this short training for new or established B&Bs, Guest House owners and Innkeepers who dream of running a successful B&B, guest house or inn that supports their lifestyle and financial goals, without paying commissions to online travel agents or discounting their prices just to get guests.
There’s so much conflicting information out there
Listing with online booking sites, to have or not have a website, posting on social media, Airbnb, what to charge, how to reach potential guests and on and on, so in the next few minutes, I’m going to cut through the noise and tell you exactly what you need to be focusing on and in what order
But first, let me introduce myself to you, in case we haven’t met before.
I’m Yvonne Halling, the Bed and Breakfast Coach, and I help B&Bs, guest house owners and innkeepers to attract more direct bookings, reduce commissions to online travel agents, fill rooms in the low seasons and charge more for the value they bring.
I ran a B&B myself for 17 years, first as a hobby and then when circumstances changed and it became our only source of income, I grew it to making over six figures in less than 2 years with just 4 rooms, without any online travel agents
I am a student of internet marketing since 2006, and everything I’m sharing with you here is proven and tested not just in my own B&B business, but in those of my clients who have also transformed themselves and their businesses
So before we begin,
Decide now whether you’re running a hobby for a bit of extra cash every now and again, or you want a real business with an income you can rely on. Both are OK, just decide right up front now, because that will determine everything from now on
If you just want a hobby for a bit of extra, I suggest you list your property on the big online travel agents, who will take a commission for each booking, but you won’t have to learn anything new
If this is you, then stop right now – I can’t help you and you’ll be wasting your time
So assuming you want a real business with an income you can count on….I’m going to go through 7 steps to weaning yourself off the online travel agents, paying their increasing commissions, and take control of your income and your B&B, guest house or inn
You are now a real business owner. Take it seriously. You will need to admit that you don’t know what you don’t know and invest in your own learning. This is crucial to understand from the start.
Your attitude towards investing in your own learning will be instrumental in the success of your business going forwards. If you’re someone who believes they know everything, you will cut off the possibility of learning something new for your business, and you will not be open to hearing suggestions and feedback from your guests.
Decide now to be open to learning
Set aside a budget for your learning and see it as an investment in your future success. Don’t make the mistake that many people make, and spend a fortune on the property and the furnishings and nothing on learning how to market it.
You’re now in the sales and marketing business. You probably have never had to do any selling or marketing in your life, and you may even think that selling is sleazy or pushy.
Please put that belief to one side, because you are going to have to get at least reasonable at self promotion and selling if you’re going to make a success of your business.
Most B&Bs, guest house owners and innkeepers don’t know anything about selling or marketing and that’s the main reason they list with online travel agents, to avoid confronting their beliefs and learning about it.
But I’m guessing you’re here because you’re ready to learn.
And let me reassure you here that once you get this bit, the rest is easy.
Sales and marketing are the backbone and the lifeblood of ANY business and once you understand and embrace it as not only necessary, but honourable and as an act of service, you will never look back.
It will carry you forwards like a strong tail wind, not only in the business you’re now in, but into the rest of your life.
So let’s look first at what most people are doing and maybe you are doing this too
In the good old days before the internet, here’s how I and most B&Bs, guest house owners and innkeepers ran their businesses:
We listed with the local tourist office, printed a bunch of brochures and put them out to local businesses, hung a sign outside and waited for people to either phone or knock on the door.
They came, somewhat randomly and sometimes they came back
We had no control over anything, and most of us were running hobbies because that’s all that was possible back then.
Then the internet arrived and because hardly anyone took the time to learn about the opportunities, some guys in Holland saw an enormous opportunity to position themselves between a whole industry of un-savvy B&Bs guest house owners and innkeepers and a growing army of potential guests, all surfing the internet looking for accommodation.
And Booking dot com was born
Hats off to them for spotting such a great opportunity!
Without realising what had changed, B&Bs, guest houses and inns jumped onto this this new platform like lemmings off a cliff and then began handing over at least 15% of the value of every booking to online travel agents, telling themselves they’re now “online” and this is how the internet works
Except they’re now dependent on them
And they keep changing the rules, don’t they?
And now there’s Expedia, Airbnb, Trip Advisor, Home and Away etc. etc. and everywhere you turn, there’s a new platform popping up to take more money from you, and taking more and more control away from you
And it’s overwhelming, isn’t it?
Let’s move on to
I’m going to show you a totally different way to market yourself online, without them, so you can control your income, while welcoming guests you love and live the life you want to live with your B&B, guest house or inn
It looks like this:
Let me walk you through this new business model now
Decide what guests you’re going to welcome. You don’t have to take everybody. You can choose.
Take a good look at yourself and what you know about your area, or even better a specific topic that is related to your area – something that people are already coming to experience, and then position yourself as the “expert in the eyes of your guests”.
It won’t take much for you to take this position – as hardly anyone else does
Too many people I meet have fallen in love with a gorgeous property, having given no thought to how they are going to differentiate themselves from the hundreds of other properties in their area and if you can’t do this, then you will always be at the mercy of people looking for the best price.
Take time to do an inventory of your own knowledge and expertise, and then lead with that, not your prices.
The special qualities/expertise that you have are deep inside of you. They are not your beautiful sheets or delicious breakfasts. I’m talking “intrinsic value” which only you have – do the excavations to find it
Now set up your website for THOSE guests, describing what you know they’re looking for. You want to be reflecting back to your website visitors, the thoughts that are running through their minds, as opposed to talking about your beautiful beds or views or delicious breakfasts. They can get those things anywhere. You want to be talking specifically to the people you want to attract, in the language they use so that when they land on your website, they feel like you’re reading their mind!
Next develop some more products and services that would massively enhance their enjoyment with you, and for which you can get paid, on top of your room prices. You might be already giving these away for free, so think carefully about what you can package up for your ideal guests that would delight them even more if they paid for it. Yes, they are willing to pay, I promise you they are.
Then you’re going to give them an amazing experience when they arrive. You’re probably already doing this, but because you’ve done Steps 1 to 5 in advance, their experience with you is going to be better than ever. They’re going to feel like you’ve really thought about them before they arrive, and that you truly care about their time with you, and that is totally priceless.
Because of the work you did in the previous steps, they’re going to give you an outstanding review, but you still need to ask for one, and you need to let them know how important reviews are for your business. Again, because you’ve taken the trouble to do your homework, they will be more than happy to write a great review for you.
Now you can use those reviews online, around the web together with the final step
You’ll need to create a piece of content, that you’re going to give away in exchange for names and email addresses to start building relationships with people who haven’t booked with you yet, so you’re the obvious choice when they’re thinking about coming to your area.
And with your social media activity, sharing your reviews, answering questions on your area, participating in forums (no, this isn’t a waste of time, it’s called marketing) and building relationships with people, you will have a steady stream of people downloading your free content that you created with them in mind, checking you out all over the place online and then making an enquiry and booking with you.
This is how the internet really works, and it’s for everyone, including YOU
You don’t need to pay any commissions to anyone to attract guests.
You don’t need to give away any control of your business just to stay in business
You don’t need to prostitute yourself by discounting your prices just to “stay competitive”
When you learn how to do what I’ve just shown you, you will be in a market of one – YOU
Now I’ve taken you through the 7 steps of what you need you do, are you ready to take the next step in finding out how?
CLICK HERE to book a call with me now to discuss how I can help you make this happen, and to see if we’re a good fit.
I hope this has been useful to you and I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Book a call: https://meetme.so/YvonneHalling
Email: [email protected]