Where do most of your leads come from?

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11/21/2017

Hi All,

So I'm looking for advice on what to do to promote the B&B and get more customers.  I know about needing a facebook page, a web site, using sites like airbnb and vbro but what else should we be doing?  

I've read the older posts discussed here but this is one of those topics that I think we can all benefit from.  I would really love to hear any and all recommendations and advice you might have.

Thank you!!!!

OnTheShore's picture
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08/28/2011

A good portion of our business is from guests who have had some prior experience with us. We have many perennial repeat guests (some who have been coming for decades), as well as those who only come back on a sporadic basis. Our business has been around for a long time (coming up on 70 years!) so we get many families who have been visiting for multiple generations.

Our own website is probably our second source of guests, but I suspect many of these people probably first found some kind of listing somewhere but visited our website before making contact to make their reservation (we have online booking, but most contact us instead). Most of the searches for our website are for our name in our town or state, so that would suggest people are finding our name somewhere else and then looking us up (or it is returning guests checking our website for news or whatever). 

AirBnB is probably our third source. Most of our AirBnB guests are planning their trips on a relatively short time horizon (within a month or two of their stay), so most of these guests are coming during our "shoulder" season (our peak season limited to full weeks, and already pretty much booked solid earlier anyway).

A surprising source of guests is "walk-ins." These are not people who show up on our doorstop looking for a place right then, rather visitors to our area who are planning their return visit the next year, and looking for a better place to stay than where they were staying on the current trip. We advertise in our regional visitor guides and tourist maps, so that may be where some of these people are finding us.

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10/04/2015

can you build relationships with any local companies, language schools etc? my neighbour does very well out of a local language school on 1 month lets but you have to commit to doing dinner every night which I am not doing. We have various local companies we have made connections with so its key to find out why guests are here ie you are here for work with TURNIP farm - would you let them know for me we would like to offer a local corporate rate of £x or who do I speak to about arranging that? or for people that make their own bookings - we have people who stay regularly "yes on a discounted rate" but they get that rate every time so they know their budget but you know you have that steady business all year round even at quiet times.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

My website - I track and in the last year, the following were the top referrers:

Direct access

 google.com
  wvbedandbreakfasts.com
  bing.com
  wheretoelope.com
  bnbfinder.com
  pinterest.com
  android-app

I have a lot of links, have written articles, advertised in specific intrest publictions, and I list on one Directory. I do not use the OTAs. No, I am not a revolving door occupancy - I am off-the-path in a small city that does not make most maps - but I do OK most years. This year was a mess, mostly because of circumstances.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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06/24/2013

We don't use air, but a brand new start up B&B in my town does.  And she is #1 after 2 years.  

We do use book ing dot com and xpedia and we get 50% of our summer reservations through one or the other.

We are members of the local innkeepers' associates and do joint marketing with them, and also members of the Chamber of Commerce.  

We sent out press releases when we first opened and got a nice article in the local magazine.

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Joined:
11/21/2017

Morticia,

Thank you.  Those are some great suggestions.  Do you find that local advertising/marketing pays off?  We've had almost all local people stay here with only 1 couple from another State.  But we haven't been open that long either.

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

MNVineyardBB wrote:

Morticia,

Thank you.  Those are some great suggestions.  Do you find that local advertising/marketing pays off?  We've had almost all local people stay here with only 1 couple from another State.  But we haven't been open that long either.

We get zero local people. So, everything I belong to markets extensively out of state. Some things I join because I want to support them. But we never see any business from it. Think museums.

 

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Joined:
11/21/2017

Arks,

Sorry....by "leads" I guess I was thinking about tools like google hotel ads.  I'm going to look into TripAdvisor.  Thanks for the suggestion and the info!  Do you consider TA reasonably priced?

Anon Inn's picture
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09/26/2011

Arks: I couldn't find a way to get on Tripconnect, only the new Trip Advisor commission booking (at 12 or 15%)

Looks like you may be a legacy Tripconnect member.

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Anon Inn wrote:

Arks: I couldn't find a way to get on Tripconnect, only the new Trip Advisor commission booking (at 12 or 15%)

Looks like you may be a legacy Tripconnect member.

No, I think if you have "claimed" your TA listing, Tripconnect is still available to you. To find out, click the "Check Your Eligibility" button at the bottom of this website.

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Anon Inn's picture
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09/26/2011

Arks:

You rock!

thank you

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

If you have an active local marketing group, join that. Ditto state and county groups that actively promote lodging and not just hotels.

Depending on location, the chamber of commerce can sometimes be a good deal. At other times not so much. Check out the mission statement first.

Meet with local tourist destinations (places to go) and see how you can work together.

Got colleges or hospitals in your area? They always have visitors who need a place to stay.

Figure out why guests would come to your area and then where do those events or destinations market? 

Get hold of the local event calendar and write about the events.

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

As an innkeeper of a few years, your word "leads" sounds strange to me, as that brings to mind finding names of people planning to come to my town, and contacting them to persuade them to stay with me. That doesn't happen.

The words "get more customers" also sounds strange to my ears, as I call them guests. Customers is so much more impersonal.

But I get your point. Just this week, I ended my 3-year affiliation with Booking. I never liked them, and finally got enough of them and the brick wall they build between my guests and me. I did the same for Air several months ago, and VRBO a few months before that. Those probably work well for people in busy markets, with lots of potential guests, but also lots of competition. I'm more out alone in the uncharted hinterlands, so I put all my eggs in the TripAdvisor basket. They have always been, by far, the most-mentioned source of my bookings, though most who tell me why they booked just say, "Found you on the Internet."

So I use TA's "TripConnect", paying them via pay per click to put my own website booking engine as a booking option on my inn's TA page. You are probably in a larger market and need to make use of lots of sources for reservations, but I'd say TA needs to get the largest portion of your attention.

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