how to run a bed and breakfast

How to Use Online Travel Agents for Your Benefit

Hi I’m Yvonne Halling of www.bedandbreakfastcoach.com and in today’s video, I’m going to talk about using online travel agents for your benefit, not theirs, so if you’re depending largely on them to bring you guests, then my 3 top tips in this video will help you to reduce the commissions you may be paying to online travel agents, and take back control in running your bed and breakfast, guest house or inn.

Over the past few years, online travel agents have become a large player in running a B&B, guest house or inn, and why that is, is a subject of another video, but today, I want to help you to understand how you can use them as well as them using you.

Tip #1: Use Online Travel Agents as Your Lead Generation Partner for Your Bed and Breakfast, Guest House or Inn

If you can think of them as your “lead generation” partner, then you can shift the way you perceive them, from something you resent and even hate, to something you can use.  Lead generation in the online world means the practice of attracting a customer for the first time.

Online travel agents can do this very well, because you pay them to do it in the form of the commissions.

However, once that guest has become a customer, it’s now up to you to keep them as a customer, so you’re not constantly paying for the next one and the next one and the next one forever.  

Tip #2: Don’t Reduce Your Prices

They’re in the business of making money, no matter how.  They have to do this because they have shareholders, who’ve invested money in their business, and want a return on their investments.  They’re constantly under pressure to make more and more money, so they’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.

So to make more money, they need more bookings, so they’ll want you to reduce your prices, because in their world, reduced prices means more bookings.  But that might not be right for you, so don’t do it.

The truth about reducing your prices is that you’ll start attracting a different type of guest, who may not match your product or the experience you’re offering.  This will damage your brand, both in the eyes of those who do appreciate what you offer and are prepared to pay for it, and in the way you see yourself.  

If you’ve ever done a promotion with Groupon for example, you’ll know that the people your offer attracts, aren’t generally the ones who would stay with you, because the only reason they’re coming is because of your reduced prices.  Those people can’t afford your normal prices, so they would never book with you, and are very unlikely to come back either, so why would you waste your time and energy with that anyway?

Tip #3: Make Sure You’re Calling the Shots in Attracting Guests for Your Bed and Breakfast, Guest House or Inn

The online travel agents want total control of your business, so they can make more money.  Resist that if you can.   You don’t need to list ALL your rooms, ALL of the time.  Can you just list one or two rooms just for online exposure?  In some countries, you can put your prices up on those platforms, making it more attractive for your ideal guests to book directly with you, while covering the commissions you’re paying.

Whatever you do with the online travel agents, make sure that you’re calling the shots, not them. Be proud of what you offer and resist the urge to discount your prices.  In the long run, you’ll be much better off both financially and emotionally.

If you liked this video and you want to know more about how to build a B&B, guest house or inn that works for you, instead of you working for the online travel agents, then click below to register for my next Masterclass, where I’ll show you the 4 key principles on how to add at least 25% extra to your income in one season, while working less.

running a bed and breakfast

And be sure to subscribe to my Youtube Channel so that when I post the next video, you’ll be the first to know.

 

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