Digital Marketing for B&B Owners, Part 3 – How to Create Content to Attract More Direct Bookings
Wherever and whenever you’re tuning in, welcome and thank you for your attention as we dive into How to create content to attract more direct bookings
This is Part 3 of my Digital Marketing for B&B owners, all around attracting more direct bookings, and paying less commissions to online travel agents.
In Part 1 we went deep into the purpose of your website, and the part it plays in converting your website visitors into bookings by using emotional language on your home page with good navigation, taking your website visitors on a journey through your online “property” the same as you would with your actual property.
Then in Part 2, we looked at the back end of being seen online, by Google. We dived into what is known as “search engine optimization” or SEO where you match up the search queries in Google with the content and the words on your website, so that Google will offer up your website as a solution to the question or query being asked
Today in Part 3, we’re going deeper into creating more content to attract more social media followers, more website visitors and consequently more bookings
There are 3 principles that we need to be aware of
Let’s start with the first principle
If you’re relatively new to this industry or being in business for yourself, your first task is to dedicate yourself to learning the skills to market yourself online. If you’ve been working in corporate or the public sector and never had to “sell” anything before in order to receive your paycheck, you might find this a bit challenging.
If you’re not visible to your potential guests, online, then you’ll have difficulty attracting direct bookings.
If you’re established, and not posting regularly on social media, then it’s highly likely that you’ll slowly but surely become invisible to your potential guests. Out of sight is out of mind.
If you’re someone who’s fed up paying commissions to online travel agents, or you need and want more bookings this season, or you already feel that you’re not up to speed with modern marketing using the internet, then your first task is to commit to learning these new skills.
The hosts who are consistently online, while building their business, are the ones who get the direct bookings.. It won’t always be that way and if you’re established, you’ll already know that over time, you get more repeat bookings and less of your time is needed for marketing.
But in the beginning of your journey, say the first 2 – 3 years, you’ll want to learn the skills to market yourself effectively online, reaching the guests you want to welcome and then giving them a great experience.
The easiest way to market yourself online and attract direct bookings is to see yourself as the “link” between what’s going on in your area, and your potential guests.
If you look around in your area, at what other businesses and attractions are doing on their websites and on their social media profiles, you’ll probably find that it’s not much.
And that’s where you come in. If you’re someone who doesn’t post much on social media because you can’t think of anything to say, then when you see yourself as the missing link between everything that’s going on, and the outside world, you’ll find plenty to talk about.
When I asked one of my clients recently, give me 3 things that are happening in your area within the next few weeks, and when he thought about it, he came back to me with 9!
You just have to look for them, because local businesses are not that great at marketing themselves either. But when you do it for them, just because you live there and you too want to attract visitors, you’ll find that it will have a knock on effect for you in the form of more direct bookings.
And you’ll build more trust and goodwill with your community, who will then start recommending you as the place to stay in your area and the whole thing will snowball into a beautiful, mutually reciprocal thing that benefits everyone involved.
It's like giving, to get, and the giving comes first.
Focus on your content on where it’s most likely to be seen
Decide what social media platforms you most enjoy being on, and the ones where the guests you want to welcome hang out and forget about all the others. There are new social platforms springing up all the time, but that doesn’t mean you have to hop on them all. Far better to hone in on the 1 or 2 platforms you most enjoy being on, and where your potential guests are likely to be, so you can gain more visibility quickly.
My preferences for my own B&B were YouTube and Facebook, and here’s why…
Facebook has a thing called Groups, and this is the magic that Facebook has over other platforms. You’ve heard the saying “birds of a feather flock together”, so that’s what people are doing in Groups. They’re interested in the same things and talk about the same things, and if you get yourself into the most relevant groups for your B&B and your area, you’ll be talking about those things too, and people will notice your helpful posts, directing people to resources and information they’re looking for, WITHOUT a single word of self-promotion.
Educate and inform, rather than selling
And as far as YouTube is concerned, well, video speaks for itself, so if you’re not yet doing video, then ask yourself why not? Seriously! A B&B business is perfect for video, with so much to do and see and so many ways to be able to educate people about your area, it’s not difficult to find at least 6 topics. Just whip out your iphone and start telling us about it. Like a reporter would
Recently, we’ve been helping one of our clients get more visibility on YouTube, and in the last 28 days, she’s increased her channel views by over 10,000 and doubled the number of subscribers, which has consequently lead to more bookings.
Use the media, and the platforms which you enjoy the most, and that correspond to where your potential guests are lurking.
And then focus on that
We still have a few places on our September Workshop – How to Attract More Direct Bookings From the Internet. This is a 10 Day Workshop, where we’re taking you through…
- How to make your website “pop” to draw in potential guests and turn them into bookings
- How to find out what search terms your potential guests are using to find accommodation in your area and “optimize” your website to be the answer Google gives them
- How to write and film yourself to create social media content to get more visibility online for your area, and more direct bookings for you
Plus our usual personal help and support every day in a private group.
Your investment is $197 – usually the rate for an extra one-night booking that you’re likely to attract
If you want to be part of this small group, working with me and my business partner, Matthew Newnham, wordsmith extraordinaire, for just one hour per day for 10 days, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the details.
Yvonne Halling is an award-winning consultant, coach and mentor to the independent hospitality industry, where she helps her clients to add at last 25% to their income in one season, while working less