You probably already know that I’m in the process of selling my B&B here in France, and we're starting to have people visit to take a look. None of them have run a bed and breakfast business before, and so it’s all new and exciting for them.
We’ve been going over the “How We Do It Here” schedule and most of them are surprised at the amount of technology we use. One even said, “well we won’t need all that, especially at the beginning”, to which I replied, you WILL need all that, ESPECIALLY at the beginning.
If they want to continue with the successful business we have built here, and not waste their time and money trying to re-invent the wheel, they would do well to just take the reins, after all, that’s what they’re buying isn’t it? The know-how, the database, the goodwill we’ve built up here. After they understand how it works, they can do anything they wish.
So let me share with you today, what I believe is the essential bed and breakfast business owners tech tool kit, that I use every day in my business:
- SEO optimised and responsive WordPress website which allows Google and other search engines to find me and rank me according to the search terms typed in by my potential guests. WordPress also allows me to update my blog, add pages, images, videos and make all manner of changes, whenever the mood takes me, and without having to wait on a webmaster.
- Online booking system that is accessible from my website, and does not take guests off-site – this breaks trust between you and your potential guest, when often your booking page looks different to your site, and sometimes they can’t find their way back. I use Beds24
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to keep accurate records of all guests, their preferences, their dietary requirements, when they visited, if they’ve been referred, what we served them for dinner etc. and to allow me to communicate regularly and legally with different segments of my customer list according to different criteria. I use Infusionsoft for this task. CLICK HERE to see what it does.
- Guest prepping software to build an emotional connection with my guests before they arrive, making it easier for them to buy more of my products and services before they arrive which meet their needs. I use Infusionsoft for this too.
- Lead generation software to attract prospects, build an emotional connection with them and take all the work out of trying to figure out what to do, where to go and who to meet in my area. Prospects are potential guests that haven’t yet made the decision to purchase, and I want to be there for them to answer their questions. Again Infusionsoft does this perfectly.
- Autoresponder software to allow me to communicate automatically with booked-in and potential guests so I don’t forget to send them vital information to help them make the decision to book, or to help them after they've booked. Can you tell I'm a big fan of Infusionsoft? CLICK HERE to see how it works.
- Video editing software which allows me to make short videos, edit them and upload to the web for distribution, giving Google and the search more reasons to rank me for relevant search terms. I use Camtasia
- Web hosting so that my website is secure and can’t easily be hacked, and if it is hacked, which happened to me recently, it is backed up sufficiently to enable it to be re-installed very quickly. I use Hostgator
- Stripe allows me to take booking deposits directly from my online booking software, and transferred directly into my bank account.
- Trip Advisor business page, to allow potential guests to go directly to my website or email me from my page. It's simply more professional to have a business page.
- I used to have a credit card machine at my B&B to allow guests to pay for their rooms and to easily add more products and services during their stay and on departure, if they so wish, either by card or with cash. I now use Stripe for this and have eliminated the cost of machine rental. We don't take checks because then I have to take them to the bank, wait for them to clear, and that takes up valuable time.
- Web analytics to know where my visitors are coming from, what websites are referring me and what pages visitors are visiting the most, so I can better evaluate marketing channels and future investment. I use Google Analytics
Have I missed anything? What technology are you using in your bed and breakfast business to perform tasks for you? Please do leave me a comment, I'd love to know 🙂
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