The first step every aspiring bed and breakfast owner needs to take

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stayparrysound's picture
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"Know thy self" is a powerful tool when setting up your bed and breakfast.  Check out this post on BedandBreakfast.com for some of the things you need to think about

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Susan Poole, The B&B Coach
40 Bay Street Bed & Breakfast

 

stayparrysound's picture
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If I may sum up the discussion, it sounds like a third segment needs to be added to that point - what types of support are available to help you promote your B&B?

P.S.  Would love a proof-reader for my posts!  Any volunteers?smiley

 

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

I participated. I was on the Board of the CVB for the County was destroyed by 2 cities. I know what happened. Maddie is correct, with CVBs & Tourist Bureaus, the $$$$ speak. I do not fault the Director of the CVB I participate with. She helps me as much as she can but I am not in her county limits. The 2 in my county only work for their cities, not the rest of the county.

Joey Camb's picture
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I am lucky in that even though we are only considered a small town our chamber of commerce is excellent - it is about $400 a year with a sliding scale depending on size and you get 50% off the first year as a new business. They employ 2 full time people and various others work part time as volunteers they do

Organise all the christmas lighting in Harrogate under the Harrogate at Christmas banner $20,000 comes from the Town council and we raise about $60,000 from local businesses (im on the committee and am always chasing people for money)

Organise huge business market every year in april - massive networking event

Organise - from this year - Huge christmas market as our christmas events offer here is rubbish so this will greatly help the shops, restaurants and accommodation providers in December - already 120 stands and 50 coach tours and this is the first year so we are hoping as we gain awareness we will grow visitor numbers. fingers crossed the weather stays dry.

Organise support for relevant events ie we have a new event on at the conference center Country Living Christmas Market so they are doing their best to support it - I am hoping it becomes an annual event as have got full house 6 nights out of it! they do it in London and Glasgow and it is very popular so hears hoping!

Fight for local issues related to business ie more land allocated for businesses ie start ups, business parks and so on, fight for transport issues ie more trains, more planes to our area (and have been very successful) as this supports our conference trade and tourism

Runs courses on various things like social media and how to use charity work to promote your business and so on

Working in partnership with the new Destination Marketing Organisation "Visit Harrogate" which will be announcing its marketing plan on the 11th of Nov for marketing the Harrogate District - this will be its entire purpose.

Plus on top of that we have Welcome to Yokshire - http://www.yorkshire.com/ who's sole purpose is to market our county - the sponsor races, tv programs, billboards in main train stations and a ton of other stuff - you pay to be a member but all the money goes directly into pushing Yorkshire and they do it exceptionally well.

Trouble is its all about getting people who are really keen to fight for where you are - Brian out Chief Exec of the Chamber doesn't seem to need to sleep - you'll get up in the morning and there will be about 3 emails from 2 in the morning about various things! What doesn't help though is people are so slack about so many things ie you ask for a reply about something and it take a 3 weeks (and its a simple question!) drives me mad!

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07/23/2008

We opened 4 years ago. For us, we both work so it wasn't so much 'we HAVE to make it' but lets see if we CAN make it. We are up to 48% occupancy! There used to be 4 B&B's here. Now we are the only one in town (except for the hotel down the street and a B&B on the other side of the river).

 Smiling We are happy.

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Joey Camb's picture
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where I am they close because they can't get financing to be bought as bb's without a huge deposit - they end up as rich people's houses. Or some of the smaller ones give up due to the volume of red tape - it just isn't worth it if you are operating more as a hobby or bit of extra income - luckily there is enough business for all - 3 new ones have opened this year.

Joey Camb's picture
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Yup - Do proper market research and have a realistic idea of what needs to be spent ie maintenance and fire stuff is always far more expensive than you think!

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10/07/2008

yes

Excerpt: "What is the marketplace like?Is there a need for another B&B in this area?"

This is one I can never get over! Established B&B's may be struggling and someone wants to "build it and they will come" to their inn. They are on this forum all the time, and they must think the current owners/operators of B&B's are incompetent, so if THEY opened one it would be all milk and honey.  There is an area called Floyd here in VA and they open and close within a year. Before I have even known they were there! 

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Madeleine's picture
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Spoke with the local marketing director last week. Told her that at least 5 B&B's have closed here in the past 8 years. She had no idea. Research really needs to be done even by people who are supposed to know the area they are marketing. She should know WHY they closed and she didn't even know they had ever existed.

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Iris's picture
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Can you expand on that a bit more?  Who is this "local marketing director" working for, the CVB or Chamber of Commerce?  Why does the expert not know these things.  If she'd worked anywhere here for me, I would make darn sure that she goes and someone new comes in. Wow.

 

Also, that article, I know it's only a blog, needed to be proof read.  Why doesn't any publisher proof read anymore. I am a foreigner and even I catch things like that on a daily basis. Very frustrating for someone who is as nuts as I am 

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IrisoftheWayfarer wrote:

Can you expand on that a bit more?  Who is this "local marketing director" working for, the CVB or Chamber of Commerce?  Why does the expert not know these things.  If she'd worked anywhere here for me, I would make darn sure that she goes and someone new comes in. Wow.

Our CVB is about the same as Maddie's at the expense of close to 1M a year to the tax payers in this area.  Years ago I cried FOUL and all it got me was being black balled.  I get nothing from them but what they are required to do, that is to have us on their site and keep our rack cards.  I got nothing before either so I am still even.  

Iris's picture
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copperhead wrote:

IrisoftheWayfarer wrote:

Can you expand on that a bit more?  Who is this "local marketing director" working for, the CVB or Chamber of Commerce?  Why does the expert not know these things.  If she'd worked anywhere here for me, I would make darn sure that she goes and someone new comes in. Wow.

Our CVB is about the same as Maddie's at the expense of close to 1M a year to the tax payers in this area.  Years ago I cried FOUL and all it got me was being black balled.  I get nothing from them but what they are required to do, that is to have us on their site and keep our rack cards.  I got nothing before either so I am still even.  

that is unacceptable. I think I have said this somewhere before, we are the smallest county in Michigan, we have 2 very active Chambers of Commerce and 1 CVB. These people WORK FOR US.  They are paid by THE MEMBERS. There are rules of how those 3 businesses are run and there are bosses who and employees that make sure they are run so that every member gets what they pay for.  It takes a village to make things run smoothly.  Our many members are involved in everything and they are informed of everything that goes.  Each of these 3 entities have boards of directors, they are run independently.  

Coming back to email lists, they are offered to us but most businesses don't take advantage of them. I do, when I am not as busy as I want to be.  The CVB sends out reminders to check the email lists.  

I truly don't understand that you all let your chambers and cvb's get away with this crap.  I am a little peeved right now at you (the global you) 

Of course being involved means doing work. You can't just sit back and expect your employees to run the ship Eye-wink

 

Madeleine's picture
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IrisoftheWayfarer wrote:

copperhead wrote:

IrisoftheWayfarer wrote:

Can you expand on that a bit more?  Who is this "local marketing director" working for, the CVB or Chamber of Commerce?  Why does the expert not know these things.  If she'd worked anywhere here for me, I would make darn sure that she goes and someone new comes in. Wow.

Our CVB is about the same as Maddie's at the expense of close to 1M a year to the tax payers in this area.  Years ago I cried FOUL and all it got me was being black balled.  I get nothing from them but what they are required to do, that is to have us on their site and keep our rack cards.  I got nothing before either so I am still even.  

that is unacceptable. I think I have said this somewhere before, we are the smallest county in Michigan, we have 2 very active Chambers of Commerce and 1 CVB. These people WORK FOR US.  They are paid by THE MEMBERS. There are rules of how those 3 businesses are run and there are bosses who and employees that make sure they are run so that every member gets what they pay for.  It takes a village to make things run smoothly.  Our many members are involved in everything and they are informed of everything that goes.  Each of these 3 entities have boards of directors, they are run independently.  

Coming back to email lists, they are offered to us but most businesses don't take advantage of them. I do, when I am not as busy as I want to be.  The CVB sends out reminders to check the email lists.  

I truly don't understand that you all let your chambers and cvb's get away with this crap.  I am a little peeved right now at you (the global you) 

Of course being involved means doing work. You can't just sit back and expect your employees to run the ship Eye-wink

 

We've had 4 different directors since I've been here. New doesn't make a difference. We participated a lot at first until we realized participation without millions of dollars in revenue to make our voices louder didn't make any difference. We (the B&B's) started 2 separate events in town that are very well attended. Who gets the overnighters? The hotels. Last year, to boost attendance, the CVB did a Groupon and sold twice as many tickets. But barely broke even because of the discount.

The meetings are all held with retail owners in mind. Smack dab in the middle of breakfast. Host a meeting here? We did. Nothing came of it.

The general consensus is if all the little guys disappeared the CVB would be a lot happier not having all these gnats buzzing around wanting something from the organization.

So, lots of us have dropped the membership. They still advertise the town so we still get guests but it doesn't generate the biz it should for the price it costs us.

We have gone to the membership meetings and argued that the cost is outrageous for the size of our business. So what. Either you want to be in the org or you don't. Next. As an example- a multi-million dollar business pays a little more than we do. A couple of years ago the hotels dropped out because the cost is too high for them, too, given the ROI.

If losing $4k-$8k in memberships didn't make a difference, me dropping out isn't going to either.

If you have ideas for how to get this group to work for ME, let me know.

Iris's picture
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I am flabberghasted at what you write, Madie. Also our CVB's board of directors and their "court" are put together with equal votes/members. So, there are Hotel owners, B&B owners, Motel owners, Resort owners, Campground owners and so on working together.  

It sounds like you are in a large market and, of course, I don't know how that works. I can only speak from here and we pay each chamber $ 185 per year and to the CVB the 2% we take from guests.  That is it.  Nothing else.  Millions of dollars are taken in and then doled out. The 2% mostly to Pure Michigan. The Chamber dues to pay the staff and We have more festivals and events here than I can shake a stick at. I am sick and tired of those but they bring in people.  We are an area where people spend their entire summers. I sometimes have guests staying 45 and even 60 nights. No kidding.

What I am saying is we are definitely different from your market or so it seems. We are your country cousins. 

I could babble and babble. But in the end, you are just going to be frustrated with me.  I am very sorry that you have such a difficult time making these organizations work for you. It stinks.  

Don Draper's picture
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08/10/2008

We supposedly have "equal" representation as well but the bottom line is our CVB Prez is a former bus tour operator and that is all they are interested in bringing here.  Our local sales tax just went up and while we take the hit on having to pay the cc fees on the new higher rate, they will use all that extra revenue to target day trippers.  We have a dysfunctional B&B group as well who are no help.  It's frustrating and I don't know what the answer is.

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Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

If we had a campaign like Pure Michigan it wouldn't be so bad paying these dues. Our Chamber dues are over $300/yr. We had to drop that.

Iris's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

If we had a campaign like Pure Michigan it wouldn't be so bad paying these dues. Our Chamber dues are over $300/yr. We had to drop that.

If we had organizations such as yours with the fees such as theirs, we would not be members either.  It's so much easier now to market your business online. It just takes a bit of time to do it.

heart

Iris's picture
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oh and another thing, maddie's marketing director should have had these 5 B&Bs .  what the heck is she doing not getting them to be members?  She needs to go.

Madeleine's picture
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IrisoftheWayfarer wrote:

oh and another thing, maddie's marketing director should have had these 5 B&Bs .  what the heck is she doing not getting them to be members?  She needs to go.

Most B&B's cannot afford the price given the return is not all that great. The marketing director is new. BUT, given she's been here 6+ months and the first peep I heard out of her was last week, not good.

The CVB in the city closest to us charges over $600 to belong. The CVB in my town is over $1200/year. We keep wondering why we bother signing up. I've dropped most other directories at this point.

$100/month is excessive when I don't see the return. Membership comes due in a few months. Will be checking stats again.

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