How to Use SEO To Boost Your Bookings

To join our SEO Workshop and turn your website into a magnet for your ideal guests, email me: now

Welcome to the Digital Marketing for B&B Owners 3 part series – this is part 2 and today we’re going to cover “SEO” or search engine optimization to give it its full title

What is SEO and how to put it to good use in your B&B business, to bring you more direct bookings, thereby saving you money on commissions and attracting better quality guests who spend more with you

I’m Yvonne Halling if we haven’t met before, and I am the founder of Bed and Breakfast, an award winning hospitality consulting, coaching and mentoring company, based in the UK and working with owners worldwide to add at least 25% to their income in one season, without working any harder

So let’s get started, What is SEO and How do You Use it in Your business?

First, I’m going to explain what it is, and then we’ll get on to how to use it, and there is an opportunity to get more of my help with this particular topic and I’ll tell you about that in a little while.

The best way to explain SEO is with a metaphor

So let’s play a little game

Imagine that you’re a little brown mouse

But not just any old little brown mouse

You have longer than usual ears

So now you’re a long-eared little brown mouse

And you have a black face

So now you’re a long eared little brown mouse with a black face

But not only that, you have a lovely big pink bushy tail

So now you’re a long-eared little brown mouse with a black face with a big pink bushy tail

But you have no front teeth

You’re a long eared little brown mouse with a black face, and a big pink bushy tail with no front teeth

But you love cheese, as all mice do

But because you have no front teeth, you can’t eat the usual hard cheese and all other mice love

You can only eat soft cheese,

And your favourite soft cheese is Roquefort

So you’re a long-eared little brown mouse with a black face, a lovely pink big bushy tail with no front teeth who loves Roquefort cheese and your dream is to find this delicious cheese

Now let’s imagine that someone owns a cheese shop for mice, and even though they have a huge selection of cheeses, all the mice ever buy is cheddar. And the shop owner would love to share his passion about so many other cheeses, especially Roquefort, but none of the mice seems to want to buy it.

Then one day the shop owner learns that there’s another type of “mouse”

With long ears, black face, big pink bushy tail, with no front teeth who can’t eat the normal hard cheese, but can only eat Roquefort

In fact, the shop owner learns over time that there are several mice like this one, and he wants to find them

So one night, as he’s closing his cheese shop for mice, he puts out the normal hard cheese, and some nice soft Roquefort to tempt the new mice

What do you think will happen when the long eared, black-faced, pink bushy tailed mice with no front teeth who only eat Roquefort cheese hear about this?

Do you think they’ll be interested?

You bet they will!

And do you think they’ll tell their other long eared, black faced, pink bushy tailed mice with no front teeth who only eat Roquefort cheese about this wonderful place?

Of course they will!

So the mice are happy

The cheese shop owner is very happy to have found his ideal mice and to make matters even better, these new mice customers are happy to spend a lot more on Roquefort than his old customers did on boring old cheddar, because his cheese shop is the only place they can find it

This is basically what SEO does.

It allows you to match what you want to sell, with those who are looking to buy it, online and thereby standing out from everyone else

That’s it

So how do you make this work for you and your B&B?

Step #1

First you need to identify your version of the long eared, black faced, pink bushy tailed mouse with no front teeth who only eats Roquefort

WHO is it that you want as your guests

The more specific you can get with your “mouse” the better

However, most owners find this piece difficult, so let’s start with the “cheese” by just identifying at least 3 reasons or attractions for which guests visit your area

So you’re focusing on the “cheese” instead of the “mouse” and that’s perhaps an easier place to start, but could take longer to find the right “mice”

No matter, we need to start somewhere, so let’s start there

Step #2

Do some keyword research to find out what “cheese” people are interested in.  This means going to the Google Keyword tool (just Google it) and put some phrases in and Google in its very helpful way will give you quite a long list of suggested phrases that you can use

Now you have a list of what phrases people type into Google to find those 3 attractions and you might be surprised, because this is actual data, that you can use, instead of just guessing or just doing a cursory search

Step #3

Go to Google as a “user” and type in one of the keyword phrases that you’ve just found, and see what Google returns to you as answers to your queries.  This means that Google will be showing you the websites which it deems have the best answers, based on the words written on those websites to make sure they correspond as closely as possible to what you’ve searched for.

Your shock will be that probably NONE of the online travel agents will be featured in Google’s responses!!!

Why?  Because the name of the game for Google is that the words written on the websites must correspond as closely as possible to the search terms used.

The less connection between the search term and the website content, the less Google likes it and the less they will promote those websites.

So it follows that the websites that are promoted by Google, match exactly to the words in the search terms, so your job is once you’ve found your ideal mouse or cheese, is to create content that talks about those mice and that cheese.

So for example, if you wanted to know find a dog trainer in your area, and booking dot com was listed as a possible solution to your search, you’d be highly disappointed because there isn’t much or anything on booking dot com’s website about dog training.

This type of behaviour diminishes Google’s reputation and potentially damages its business, because its whole business is built on its ability to match what people are looking for to those who provide it, so they penalize websites that are using keywords that don’t correspond to what people are expecting to find

So booking dot com can’t use the keyword phrases that you can!

This is where you can really win against the online travel agents, and it’s so simple but hardly anyone does it

Step #4

Now you have your endless list of suitable keyword phrases, you know who’s using them, now your job is to write some content around those keyword phrases, and optimize” your entire website, so it becomes a magnet for your mice, offering your own kind of cheese

Step #5

You’ll need an SEO tool or plug in for your website, that allows you to add your keyword phrases, what’s known as meta-tags and heading tags and be one of the first websites to be returned to the mice searching for your particular brand of cheese

And that’s it!

If you spend a couple of weeks just doing that to every page of your website, and writing content around just a handful of keyword phrases, that could get you on page 1 of Google within just a few weeks, and start eliminating the need for online travel agents, saving you money on commissions you’re paying, and bring the very best mice who want your cheese

So I’m going to be running a 10 day SEO Workshop starting August 1st to help you implement these steps on your website, with 6 pieces of new content, completely SEO’d for your specific situation.

I’m running this Workshop with my biz partner Matthew Newnham who is a professional copywriter, and together with the SEO tools will get you more visibility, more eyeballs on your website which means more direct bookings, saving you money while working less

I will run this Workshop with a minimum of 10 people only, and your investment is around the cost of 1 room, at just $197

Just email me at with “SEO Workshop” in the subject line, if you’re interested.  There’s no fancy sales page, I just need minimum of 10 people to say yes and we’ll run it for you.

If you haven’t participated in any of our Rapid Implementation, Rapid Results Workshops before, then let me assure you that you get personal 1:1 help, with live coaching and mentoring throughout the Workshop, so you’re never left on your own to figure it out.  We’re right there beside you every step of the way, especially with any techie stuff, which we all struggle with, let’s be honest.

So just email me at with “SEO Workshop” in the subject line if you want to join in.  We start on Monday August 1st for 10 days.  There’ll be a short tutorial every day, and 5 live coaching sessions.  You’ll need about an hour each day to learn and implement.

If we don’t get 10 participants, we won’t be running it, so who do you know who’d love this as well as you?  Send me a private message at if you have questions


Yvonne Halling is a 3-times award-winning consultant, coach and mentor for the independent hospitality industry, where she helps new and established owners to make more money, while working less and having more fun.  Clients typically increase their business by at least 25% in one season, and often by a lot more