Using Upcoming Events in Marketing

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dumitru's picture
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Hi there,

Quick question: have you tried writing on your websites about upcoming events in your area?
For example exhibitions, fairs, conferences, etc.

Have you tried getting some traffic in such a way?

A quick example: you find out there is a concert/conference or even a sporting event in the area. You quickly write a small article / special offer targeted at people interested in the event.
Then, when someone searches for "Name of Event" + "Accommodation/B&B/Hotel", you might appear in the top results.

Has anyone tried this before?

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Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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I know that's how the conferences work. But I'm fortunate enough to have two factors working in my favor - One hotel is just the pits and has the T/A reviews to show for it. However, they tend to attract conferences where people will pay a little more for a better room (like medical continuing education conferences, for example).

Second, there is a conference center downtown that tends to attract larger gatherings that cater to women (arts and crafts, Mary Kay, stuff like that) and the hotel attached to the conference center only has 299 rooms that usually get filled up with the vendors first. Women like B&B's in safe areas, with free parking and a lot of other amenities included that they don't have to worry about.

I have several room nights already filled in April with nearby conference attendees. I also had 9 room nights last spring from a music conference where a downtown hotel had overbooked. 

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Madeleine's picture
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Ah. The hotels here where the events are have excellent ratings online. So that's one reason they all stay put at the event venue. Restaurants are in the hotels so they don't have to budge.

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Joey Camb's picture
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What we do well from on conferences - is exhibitors - find the list and do a mailing, we are very close to the centre and then they can have a proper rest on an evening ie people say to us "we just don't want to bump into any more delegates and have to be nice to them!"

When there is a big conference on prices can up to double so they won't get a cheaper deal in a big hotel

What draws them to the big hotels is they are easier to deal with for bulk bookings - ie for a medical conference a pharmaceutical company might pay for 20 rooms - much easier for them to deal with holi da y inn at 250 bedrooms than 5 different B&B's

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dumitru's picture
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The problem with the mailing is that technically it is called SPAM, so the wording in the emails has to be very well-thought.

gillumhouse's picture
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THAT is beautiful!! Congrats

Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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Skip the article. Notify the organizer of the conference/event directly and tell them why staying at your place would be so much of a better choice for their attendees than staying at any old stuffy conference hotel. 

I've personally done this and have snagged many room nights away from some of our local conference hotels. Yes, it takes a little time, Goo gle searching and clever wording, but I find that it's worth it. 

dumitru's picture
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In this time and age, it is rather difficult to land an arrangement with the organizers of a particular event.

I worked for an incoming tour-operator for a couple of years and even though we were #1 in the country, we would still be unable to land even small events.
The organizers were already aware of the bonus $$$ they could make just by recommending a hotel or two.

So we had to re-think our strategies a bit, and we started writing about upcoming events. The steady organic traffic did bring some bookings, so this can be considered somewhat passive revenue.

Madeleine's picture
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Aussie Innkeeper wrote:

Skip the article. Notify the organizer of the conference/event directly and tell them why staying at your place would be so much of a better choice for their attendees than staying at any old stuffy conference hotel. 

 

Glad this worked for you! My mileage was not the same. The B&B's here in town organized a highly-attended event knowing the hotels would get the conference rooms booked and some of the attendees. They got ALL of the attendees. The planners of the event, after meeting with the inns and being schmoozed around town, decided to go all in with the hotels and they now don't even mention there are B&B's in town when they publicize the event.

I get overflow from the event when all the rooms at the hotels sell out (in less than 6 hours).

I am located less than 100 yds from one of the main events and I still only book 2-3 rooms. We have gradually figured out that the attendees do not WANT the comfort of a B&B, even the whole B&B, they want to stack 'em 4 to a room and pay $50 for their entire weekend. They bring in their own food and drinks, rarely leave the hotel and really don't offer much to the town other than the room nights they book.

We organized town-wide events for them the first year, getting them discounts at local shops, wine & cheese tastings, etc. Then we saw the event listed on their website with zero info about the B&B's who 'lured' them to town.

However, back to the original topic...if you search for the event online my blog about it shows up before their own website. I used to offer a discount for the weekend but no longer do that. I have had several calls already for the weekend but no takers at the full price. It's ok, they will fill the hotels and I'll get regular folks instead. In a week I will get 20-30 hits on the blog from a search for that event.

gillumhouse's picture
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I will give you a reason why an organizer would NOT send you room nights. Many times the price of the Conference - meeting rooms, meals, etc are dependent on room nights booked/guaranteed.

I was the "On the ground" person for our State Conference in 2002. The site I recommended was rejected for another location that was a "resort". I had to guarantee a number of room nights to get our costs down - one i THOUGHT would be reasonable considering it was going to be a 2 or 3 nights per attendee AND it was the most accessible location to the largest number of members.. IF we did not have that many room nights, we would have to PAY for them.

Several things happened. 9/11 killed revenues and members did not come. Some of those who DID come - the better off financially and a couple attendees per  - booked into the trendy condos that did NOT count toward our requirement. It looked as if the association was going to be on the hook for a LOT of money. There were some who were ready to string me up. Two weeks before the event I got a call from the resort asking me if we would be willing to change our meeting space out of the ballroom and they offered a discount. I asked how long I had to make my decision? They said a few days. When the time was up, I said no. They THEN offered to scrap the room night requirement AND charge only for the meals if we would change. I said OK to that. They had intimated they had another group wanting the space we had originally. A pool tournament.

Ask PAII - they book their Conference site priced to the number of rooms expected (revenue) for the hotel. If you are talking to just a Conference Center location with no hotel facilities, you may get business from that.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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You're going to find that the innkeepers on this forum are very savvy and are on the cutting edge of industry trends. Blogging and having it auto fed into the b&b website is really standard operating procedure around here.

We also get this accomplished with newsletters.

dumitru's picture
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Savvy indeed, but there is always room for improvement Smiling 

Actually, this gave me an idea for a new topic in a different section of the forum.

gillumhouse's picture
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I blog about it but also have a Happenings page on my web site. Does it bring guests? NO! Does it raise awareness I exist? YES! Just before the Independence Concert and fireworks - all around the 4th of July holiday - the hits on my website hit the stratosphere - everyone goes to my site to find the date and time for fireworks and the concert by the Shinnston Community Band. I expect the same to happen the first week of December prior to the Christmas Parade and Concert. If there is an event here - it is known to look at my website for info.

dumitru's picture
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You are doing a great job then! A B&B should be happy about any kind of traffic, even if it doesn't convert immediately into customers.
As long as you are somewhere there, in the back of the mind, you will become an option on that special day Smiling

gillumhouse's picture
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It accomplishes what I want to do - make people in the area aware we exist for when friends/family come visit. It also gives the City another place for people to get info about events - one of the "hats" I wear is the official (unpaid) Tourist Information Center for the City.

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Never tried that before. cool Really, just drink sweet tea on the porch...

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Never tried that before. cool Really, just drink sweet tea on the porch...

I'm wiping the coffee off my computer screen surprise

Arks's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Never tried that before. cool Really, just drink sweet tea on the porch...

Smiling Hilarious! 

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Madeleine's picture
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Blogging. Then the event info is available on an ongoing (yearly) basis. And, yes, it works.

dumitru's picture
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It could be done in a blog form, true. 
Can you provide some details, have you tried it? Any traffic figures that you could share?

Madeleine's picture
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dumitru wrote:

It could be done in a blog form, true. 
Can you provide some details, have you tried it? Any traffic figures that you could share?

No, I'm not big on tracking in that kind of detail. What I know - guests call to book and say, 'I found your blog with the info for the event...' NOT, they found my website with the events calendar, they found the blog. And the blog stays up. You have an event that shows up on a yearly basis? YOUR blog beats out the site for the actual event if you do it right.

Having it JUST on your site for what, a couple of weeks? won't get you the traction you want.

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