How to Create Value so You Can Charge more
If you have a pen and paper handy, you might want to take some notes
We’ve identified at least 12 ways you could add more value and many of our clients have used all 12 of them, so today, I’m going to give you at least 5 or maybe more if we have time
So at the weekend I read a tweet on Twitter about an article in the UK newspapers about businesses closing because of high energy costs, staff shortages etc.
Businesses do close, all the time and new ones open all the time. It’s the very nature of things – they start and they end. It’s natural
What we all have a tendency to do is blame external circumstances, rather than explore our own thinking patterns
Maybe some of these businesses had reached the end of their lifespan anyway and the higher energy costs were just the final straw that made the owners want to close down
Maybe some of them can’t get staff because they’re not attractive enough to potential employees.
We just don’t know, but what we do know for sure is that newspapers, TV and other media outlets often manipulate truth and facts in favour of a story that will sell their articles, get them more clicks, viewers and outrageous comments. It’s just the way of the world. Fear and negativity sells, positivity and good news? Not so much
Sad, but true. So we can either argue with that, or we can live with it and get on with what’s under our own control
With the B&Bs I’ve worked with over the years, and in order to help them get a result, which is usually more direct bookings, more money and an easier life! One of the ways we do that is have them think about ways of adding value
So let me ask you… when I say add value, what springs to mind for you.
Is it discounting? Giving away free nights?
Where is the actual value in that?
You’re just working for less money
So what do you do instead?
I’m going to give you some of our proven and tested ways to help you to create VALUE for your guests that will not necessitate the need to discount or give anything away
I’m dividing them up into 4 categories and I’m going to ask you some questions
- Pre arrival
- During their stay
- Post departure
But before we start, I’d like you to take out a piece of paper and draw a large triangle.
When you’ve drawn your large triangle, draw 4 lines horizontally so you have 5 spaces
In the bottom space, put food, shelter, warmth
Moving up the triangle, in the next space put safety and security
Moving up again in the next space, put social and emotional
And then up again, put esteem and accomplishment
And in the top one, put life purpose
We’re not going to talk about the top one today
In order to add value, we need to think in terms of the human needs we all have, identified by Maslow, a 20th century American psychologist who created the well-known hierarchy of needs
When we think in this way, we can dispense with all the usual things that owners do, and begin creating value for guests
Let’s start with pre-booking….
When you go and look at your social media accounts, especially your Facebook profile, what kind of information are you sharing there? Is it about your family, your friends, your political preferences?
To add value to pre-booking process, you’ll want to start creating value for people who chance upon your world.
Start posting about your area, offering news and information about what’s going on this weekend, next weekend, next month or even next year. Don’t sell or link to any external websites, not even your own at this stage. We’re just starting to create some valuable information that potential guests would want to read about.
You might be using your Facebook profile to tell your friends about things you could easily call them about. I encourage you to use your Facebook profile as a platform for you to become the face and voice of your area, not a chit chat place with friends. You can do that off-line.
And while you’re there on your Facebook profile, what does the image at the top, the picture in the circle and your “about” section say?
Replace them all with images and text that reflect you as a professional host and business owner, who is open for business and new connections. You may need to adjust your settings to accept friend requests from total strangers! After all, all your guests were total strangers before they booked with you
All your social media accounts must reflect who you are as a professional host and business owner, so go take a look at them and review.
The information you share will get you known so choose what you share in favour of your business
I recommend the 80/20 rule – where 80% is about your area and 20% is about your dog, family, personal stuff
This is adding value to the online visitors’ experience, pre-booking
Now let’s go to post-booking
When you get a booking, what do you do with it? Do you manually send out an email with your rules and terms, check in times, etc.?
What happens when someone books is that they’ve just completed a transaction. They’ve clicked on the room they want and they’ve entered in their card details and paid some money to you. This is mostly transactional
What you can do to add value is to add an emotional element. At this stage, their level of uncertainty is high. They have lots of questions and they need help planning their stay. But what’s the thing they need the most at this stage?
Re-assurance that they’ve made a great decision.
Their need for safety and security at this point is very high
You can meet that need by adding in emotional communication in the form of what we call a Greet and Upsell Email sequence, which establishes you as their “trusted advisor” for their stay and offers them more opportunities to buy more from you before they arrive, so by the time they do arrive, they can’t wait to meet you and their level of certainty about their decision to choose you, was a great one
Their needs for certainty and social standing with their spouse, family or friends, maintained or increased will both be met in this process
Can you see how much value that adds to their experience?
Do you think you’d be likely to get a great review?
Do you think approaching your business as a way to create and add value will be helpful for your long term sustainability?
Are you starting to get some ideas yet?
Let’s move on to the guests’ stay
How do you welcome your guests? In person or anonymously?
It doesn’t really matter as long as you apply the principles of adding value at every step of the way.
If you greet them in person, I want you to examine how you do that, what you say and how to allay their fears of what they’ll find there. Here’s what’s worked for me and many of our clients
Make sure that YOU are welcoming your guests with a genuine smile, you’re well-dressed and 100% present for them. That means letting go of anything that happened in the last 20 minutes and regaining your composure and serenity, so they feel you as a confident, professional host.
If you’re welcoming them anonymously by key entry, then you may not see them, so make sure that they can find their rooms easily, find what they need in the room, that they know how things work. A neat guest information file, preferably sent to them ahead of their arrival will allay their uncertainty about what they’ll find there.
I recommend you make use of video in both cases. It adds so much value to the whole experience for your guests
What else you could add? Think about some kind of WOW factor, so that your guests have the feeling you really do care about their experience.
You want them squealing with delight at the experience you deliver
Let’s move to the post departure
Do you ask for a review at the point of departure or after they’ve left?
How are you phrasing your request?
Do they understand WHY you need reviews?
Do they understand how much they’ll be helping you and your community by writing a review for you?
Do they understand they’ll be helping future guests make great decisions?
Here’s why you need to convey this to them
Humans have a need to contribute, to make a difference in some way. If you let your guests know that by writing a review for you, they are doing just that, and you will have given them the opportunity to do good in the world, which satisfies this need
You’re adding so much value to them right there
Are you incentivising them to return? And I don’t mean a discount…
When you’ve done everything well in the whole pre-booking, post booking, pre-arrival and stay experience, do you think they’ll want to come back?
And do you think they’ll tell their friends about you?
So give them a good reason to come back and keep giving them good reasons to come back by keeping in touch regularly, with exciting offers (not discounts) with educational, entertaining and engaging content
And then do this forever!
Adding value keeps businesses alive. It keeps you as owners engaged and it keeps guests coming. If you’re not creating, then you’re stagnating, and that’s what makes businesses die
Use your business as a vehicle for your own creativity and you’ll be continually expanding and growing and that’s attractive to customers. They’ll want to be a part of that
And you’ll be able to charge more of course, because no-one can do what you do in the way you do it, so there’s no need for any “competition” just more imagination
So what are you going to implement from what we’ve talked about?
If you’d like to talk about your specific situation, and how I may be able to help you increase bookings, make more money and work less, using these principles and more, then book a free initial chat with me by clicking on the button below
Yvonne Halling is the founder of Bed and Breakfast Coach dot com and a multi-award winning consultant, coach and mentor to the independent hospitality industry worldwide. Through her own proven process, she and her team help owners to increase their revenue by at least 25% in one season, while reducing commissions to online travel agents, and working less