tips and tricks for building relationships with local businesses

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Joey Camb's picture
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With the economy in the toilet it makes sense that business are looking for more cost effective alteratives so it is a good time to sell them B&B so just trying to think of ideas to reach them.

I am in a networking group but find it hard to make the time to go to meetings plus the ones that seem more worthwhile you usually have to pay for. I am currently sending out xmas cards to other members to remind them of my existance plus extend friends and family rates over the xmas period so we will see if that helps any. But any other hints and tips would be great.

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This is really so apples and oranges.

We have a restaurant on one side of us, never once came over to give us a menu, and the other side they own a restaurant behind us, never once came over to say thankyou for sending guests, in fact they are the ones who told our guests we are for sale. They never talk to us, we just have their dogs barking all the time to disturb us and our guests.  Our guests told us "We thought you may be concerned that they are telling your guests you are for sale..."  

I brought rack cards to the new Mexican place on the corner, very upscale and nice, and I have told them we send guests there. So.

There was an inn in a nearby city where she called and said she will be stopping by and wanted a tour. Just like that, no warning. Nope. and oddly enough the one place I do send guests if we are full has the gawdy horrible website and takes  paypal only and there is no avail calendar so I can't even see if she has a room open and not my cup of tea at all, but the innkeeper is stellar from a personality and hospitality standpoint.  

The other inns are not near us and very very remote. Even tho you might think they are near us on a map as the crow flies. Dark winding mountain roads in the middle of nowhere, and that's that.  Oh wait there is that inn near the lake where the owners swim with the guests and tell them about their physical ailments and afflictions.  But again, guests told me about them and warned me. They have not contacted us.  LOL

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Joey Camb's picture
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exactly! did you see 4 in a bed? the couple who were opening a B&B and had never had any real guests won!!! laughed my ass off!!!

Joey Camb's picture
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But my thread is for example we do a special rate for a local web design company most of their people work remotely but sometimes have to come to town and they stay with us. I want to build more relationships like this buy building awareness and help shake off this grannys house crap we so often get tarred with!

Madeleine's picture
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With your comment about the nice Italian place 20 yds away what I would say is they don't get that you are sending them business. They think the customers walked by, saw the place and came in.

Have you tried this: you make the call to make the reservation. (If they don't take reservations, say you are calling from Camberley to find out if there is a waiting time.) Or, hand your guests a biz card to give to the person who does the seating. If every time someone came from you to them they handed over a biz card, after a few weeks you pop in and ask how's business and have your guests been stopping in, do they know?

If they say, 'Yes, and what are we to do with the bloody biz cards???' then you know they don't want your referrals! If they thank you, then ask if there is a way you could send even more guests their way? Maybe something 'exclusive' just for your guests? A free app? You could even suggest the cheapest app they have on the menu. How about the bruscetta? Could they give that to YOUR guests who show up with your biz card or a special 'Exclusive for Camberley guests bruscetta plate' card?

I have had zero luck working with local businesses on my own. Even when I have met the mgr and have been told, 'Yes, we'll get some exclusive coupons to you for your guests,' I've never seen the mgr again.

I know my guests are telling servers they are staying with me because some of the guests have come back and told me they got a discount at certain places just by saying they were staying with me. It's not a total loss in that regard, but it would be nice if there was a way to track these things a little better.

There are a couple of places that let me buy tickets at a discount which I can pass thru to the guest or charge the guest less than full price but still make a few bucks.

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Proud Texan's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

With your comment about the nice Italian place 20 yds away what I would say is they don't get that you are sending them business. They think the customers walked by, saw the place and came in.

Have you tried this: you make the call to make the reservation. (If they don't take reservations, say you are calling from Camberley to find out if there is a waiting time.) Or, hand your guests a biz card to give to the person who does the seating. If every time someone came from you to them they handed over a biz card, after a few weeks you pop in and ask how's business and have your guests been stopping in, do they know?

If they say, 'Yes, and what are we to do with the bloody biz cards???' then you know they don't want your referrals! If they thank you, then ask if there is a way you could send even more guests their way? Maybe something 'exclusive' just for your guests? A free app? You could even suggest the cheapest app they have on the menu. How about the bruscetta? Could they give that to YOUR guests who show up with your biz card or a special 'Exclusive for Camberley guests bruscetta plate' card?

I have had zero luck working with local businesses on my own. Even when I have met the mgr and have been told, 'Yes, we'll get some exclusive coupons to you for your guests,' I've never seen the mgr again.

I know my guests are telling servers they are staying with me because some of the guests have come back and told me they got a discount at certain places just by saying they were staying with me. It's not a total loss in that regard, but it would be nice if there was a way to track these things a little better.

There are a couple of places that let me buy tickets at a discount which I can pass thru to the guest or charge the guest less than full price but still make a few bucks.

 We tried the gimmick with discount cards, free this and that with the restaurants.  Called and made reservations.  All the abovementioned ideas.   It not did not yield any new business for us.  People don't reciprocate.   We decided to quit wasting our time promoting their business and to work on promoting ours.

There's a local vineyard that had a dinner venue that we were sending people to regularly because it was a draw.  They saw how many people were coming from our B&B and so decided to open their own.   They don't know what their doing, but we've quit sending people there.

Madeleine's picture
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I don't expect the favor to be returned exactly. (It has been, but I don't expect it.) What I want is a better, or exclusive, deal for my guests who I send there. Something I can market.

Proud Texan's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

I don't expect the favor to be returned exactly. (It has been, but I don't expect it.) What I want is a better, or exclusive, deal for my guests who I send there. Something I can market.

I understand what you're saying.   By creating these "deals"  you create a "value added" perception to your guests.   We thought that too.  Bottom line,  they skipped the restaurants we recommended and ate at McDonalds.   It was a lot of work for nothing.  We no longer provide coupons.

The city's visitor's center finally got on board and printed discount coupons for local businesses.  We have those available,  but they're seldom used.   

A better relationship is with a business that compliments yours.   We have a good relationship with a outdoor Zipline activity,  something that appeals to our target demographic.   We send people to them and they send numerous guests to us.   Another is a local outdoor wedding venue.   Our little town has nothing but motels, which is kind of creepy for a wedding night.   We get a lot of newlywed referrals.  In turn,  we advertise for them.

If it's not building your bottom line, then it's a hobby.

Joey Camb's picture
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what makes me loony is we fricking know the OWNER!!!! my parents live on their street and I babysat their kids from before they were born (ie babysat the eldest while youngest was born)!!! what makes my crazy is their head chef was whinging in the paper only last week that this happened -

the chair woman of accommodation harrogate is a friend of mine and she was quoted the week before as saying it was nice a particular restaurant was opening. ie can we have a quote about the new restaurant "yes its lovely a new and internesting restaurant" and it is good as the property had a huge fire and looked awful.

He was going blah blah half the restaurants are half empty and we don't need more and she should get real etc.

Nope you should actually do some marketing duh!!! We have put our hand out repeatedly and simply get it slapped back every time can't be bothered with people like that. Ive been sent good business from Joe Rigatonis further away but also excellent and they co-operate with me so I'll send them there its that simple.

Madeleine's picture
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Odd how the chains understand this but the local people who you actually know are whinging there are too many restaurants while not doing anything to bring in more business. Hey, what they need is Gordon Ramsey!

Joey Camb's picture
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Nope what they need is a good solid kick up the arse and a reality check!

OnTheShore's picture
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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

Nope what they need is a good solid kick up the arse and a reality check!

Like she said, Gordon Ramsey!

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Joey Camb's picture
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to be fair I do like Gordon! what baffles me is they ask him to come!!! he is obvously doing something right as he has pots of cash, restaurants, tv and books so maybe listening to him would be a plan?

Highlands John's picture
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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

to be fair I do like Gordon! what baffles me is they ask him to come!!! he is obvously doing something right as he has pots of cash, restaurants, tv and books so maybe listening to him would be a plan?

Ha..... we often end up screaming at the TV when watching the Hotel Inspector for the same reason. Why call a world renowned hotelier in to help you with your business and then argue with or ignore every suggestion she makes. 

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