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Proud Texan

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Are there any advantages to belonging to a regional B&B association? From everything I read, it seems like just so much more hype and that they like the numerous B&B listings and directories on the Web, a lot of promises but no delivery.
The reason I ask is that we are celebrating our 1-year anniversary and now qualify to join the one for our area of Texas. I really can't see the benefit. The pat answer I get is "Well, you can display our logo on your advertising material and website and people will know that you are a certified, quality B&B. Excuse me? Joe Average Guest does not know or care about your association. For me, it would have very little bearing on my decision to stay at one B&B over the other. Thoughts?
 

wendydk

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I dropped ours after five years with them. Rates were high, return was very low. As a matter of fact, we've had our two busiest years by far after leaving the association. Ours is very nasty to anyone that leaves, and membership has dropped over the years from about 300 Inns to less than half of that.
And you're right, guests don't give a squat about whether you've been inspected or belong to an association. To give you an idea of how stuck up ours is.....the President of the board is an innkeeper in my town...a gorgeous new build Inn just opened one town over, and the Prez never called them, went and introduced himself...nothing (probably because they seem to compete for similar demographics). So I did, and spent an entire day helping him with webervations and some directory listings and such.
 

gillumhouse

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It would depend on what your regional association does. Do they market the region? How do they market the region? and I do not mean by displaying a logo. As you said - whoopty-doo logo.
I have never been affiliated with a regional association so I cannot say what they do. InPA Regionals is all they have.
I am a BIG proponent of State Associations. MABB is a Marketing and Legislative organization. We also inspect our member inns to keep our Standards (and I have been told by guests that they only stay in inns that have been inspected as it puts them on a better level) amd mentor newbies. MABB is directly responsible for small inns being excempt from the commercial kitchen rule and in 2005 getting Fire Codes changed for our benefit.
We look for marketing deals for our members and print a Directory and maintain a very nice user friendly web site. We have a good web master. Our Board and all Chair positions are volunteer which keeps the costs down. One thing associations do for you is strengthen your Voice. As one B & B? Go away, you bother me. As many? I hear ya! (at a minimum they will listen)
Ask what advertising they do? Look around to see if you find any marketing from them. Ask the CVB about the association. Do they have a relationship with State Tourism?
One way to make it a good association is to be part of it - not just a dues paying member. If you become part of it, it is a better association (or can be) because you are making it that way.
Edited to add: Many of our members think MABB is going to put heads in their beds. That is up to the individual inn to market and advertise themselves. MABB is another marketing tool to drive potential guests to another place where your info can be found - a very budget for your wallet bandb.com shall we say, plus the printed Directory and ads we do. The VOICE it gives is also important. And the networking with other innkeepers.
 

Breakfast Diva

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It would depend on what your regional association does. Do they market the region? How do they market the region? and I do not mean by displaying a logo. As you said - whoopty-doo logo.
I have never been affiliated with a regional association so I cannot say what they do. InPA Regionals is all they have.
I am a BIG proponent of State Associations. MABB is a Marketing and Legislative organization. We also inspect our member inns to keep our Standards (and I have been told by guests that they only stay in inns that have been inspected as it puts them on a better level) amd mentor newbies. MABB is directly responsible for small inns being excempt from the commercial kitchen rule and in 2005 getting Fire Codes changed for our benefit.
We look for marketing deals for our members and print a Directory and maintain a very nice user friendly web site. We have a good web master. Our Board and all Chair positions are volunteer which keeps the costs down. One thing associations do for you is strengthen your Voice. As one B & B? Go away, you bother me. As many? I hear ya! (at a minimum they will listen)
Ask what advertising they do? Look around to see if you find any marketing from them. Ask the CVB about the association. Do they have a relationship with State Tourism?
One way to make it a good association is to be part of it - not just a dues paying member. If you become part of it, it is a better association (or can be) because you are making it that way.
Edited to add: Many of our members think MABB is going to put heads in their beds. That is up to the individual inn to market and advertise themselves. MABB is another marketing tool to drive potential guests to another place where your info can be found - a very budget for your wallet bandb.com shall we say, plus the printed Directory and ads we do. The VOICE it gives is also important. And the networking with other innkeepers..
I agree with everything Gillum House said. Does this regional assoc. show up high on your keyword searches? Have you asked other members what the pros and cons are?
One thing I find that happens with the regional assoc. is that they often refer overflow to other members of their assoc. Often they have a reservation or information telephone number which refers them to assoc members only. If the assoc. is active, the overflow referrals can often make it worth joining. It just depends on this particular regional.
Do you below to your state association?
 

Proud Texan

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It would depend on what your regional association does. Do they market the region? How do they market the region? and I do not mean by displaying a logo. As you said - whoopty-doo logo.
I have never been affiliated with a regional association so I cannot say what they do. InPA Regionals is all they have.
I am a BIG proponent of State Associations. MABB is a Marketing and Legislative organization. We also inspect our member inns to keep our Standards (and I have been told by guests that they only stay in inns that have been inspected as it puts them on a better level) amd mentor newbies. MABB is directly responsible for small inns being excempt from the commercial kitchen rule and in 2005 getting Fire Codes changed for our benefit.
We look for marketing deals for our members and print a Directory and maintain a very nice user friendly web site. We have a good web master. Our Board and all Chair positions are volunteer which keeps the costs down. One thing associations do for you is strengthen your Voice. As one B & B? Go away, you bother me. As many? I hear ya! (at a minimum they will listen)
Ask what advertising they do? Look around to see if you find any marketing from them. Ask the CVB about the association. Do they have a relationship with State Tourism?
One way to make it a good association is to be part of it - not just a dues paying member. If you become part of it, it is a better association (or can be) because you are making it that way.
Edited to add: Many of our members think MABB is going to put heads in their beds. That is up to the individual inn to market and advertise themselves. MABB is another marketing tool to drive potential guests to another place where your info can be found - a very budget for your wallet bandb.com shall we say, plus the printed Directory and ads we do. The VOICE it gives is also important. And the networking with other innkeepers..
I agree with everything Gillum House said. Does this regional assoc. show up high on your keyword searches? Have you asked other members what the pros and cons are?
One thing I find that happens with the regional assoc. is that they often refer overflow to other members of their assoc. Often they have a reservation or information telephone number which refers them to assoc members only. If the assoc. is active, the overflow referrals can often make it worth joining. It just depends on this particular regional.
Do you below to your state association?
.
Breakfast Diva said:
Do you belong to your state association?
No. Not yet.
 

SweetiePie

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I belonged to our regional B&B association for quite a few years when I first started. I did well with referrals from their online directory website but found the members to be very competitive and snarky. They tended to all be congregated in town while I was out in the country. Those in town would benefit from the overflow referrals while those further away would not. You have to evaluate the situation where you live.
 

gillumhouse

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It would depend on what your regional association does. Do they market the region? How do they market the region? and I do not mean by displaying a logo. As you said - whoopty-doo logo.
I have never been affiliated with a regional association so I cannot say what they do. InPA Regionals is all they have.
I am a BIG proponent of State Associations. MABB is a Marketing and Legislative organization. We also inspect our member inns to keep our Standards (and I have been told by guests that they only stay in inns that have been inspected as it puts them on a better level) amd mentor newbies. MABB is directly responsible for small inns being excempt from the commercial kitchen rule and in 2005 getting Fire Codes changed for our benefit.
We look for marketing deals for our members and print a Directory and maintain a very nice user friendly web site. We have a good web master. Our Board and all Chair positions are volunteer which keeps the costs down. One thing associations do for you is strengthen your Voice. As one B & B? Go away, you bother me. As many? I hear ya! (at a minimum they will listen)
Ask what advertising they do? Look around to see if you find any marketing from them. Ask the CVB about the association. Do they have a relationship with State Tourism?
One way to make it a good association is to be part of it - not just a dues paying member. If you become part of it, it is a better association (or can be) because you are making it that way.
Edited to add: Many of our members think MABB is going to put heads in their beds. That is up to the individual inn to market and advertise themselves. MABB is another marketing tool to drive potential guests to another place where your info can be found - a very budget for your wallet bandb.com shall we say, plus the printed Directory and ads we do. The VOICE it gives is also important. And the networking with other innkeepers..
I agree with everything Gillum House said. Does this regional assoc. show up high on your keyword searches? Have you asked other members what the pros and cons are?
One thing I find that happens with the regional assoc. is that they often refer overflow to other members of their assoc. Often they have a reservation or information telephone number which refers them to assoc members only. If the assoc. is active, the overflow referrals can often make it worth joining. It just depends on this particular regional.
Do you below to your state association?
.
Breakfast Diva said:
Do you belong to your state association?
No. Not yet.
.
Every group has its "clicks" although I have found my State members to be, on the whole, very friendly. I think many of us keep the State Directory by the phone and refer to other members. I do not know about any that are not members - I am unaware of their existence.
In addition to urging you to join your State Assoc., I also urge you to get to know your County and State Legislators AND for them to get to know you. It is amazing what you can accomplish when they know who you are and "where you are coming from". This suggestion will not put heads in beds but it may help keep laws from getting passed that could hurt you or on the other side of the coin, get some passed that will help. I know you are rural and that is why I have omitted your village, town, city, whatever becaue the laws and rules passed on every level can really hurt or help.
Here the Health Departments in the Counties are making rules for no smoking indoors and one county went so far as to say no smoking outside while standing in line etc. I do not smoke but last I heard tobacco was legal and Health Departments are appoinred - they are not even ELECTED!
I apologize for sort of highjacking the thread, but it ties in with the importance of banding together for one voice that associations will do for you.
 

EmptyNest

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Regional may not be that big a benefit to you aside from the fact that you are developing some "comrades in arms" and can get together and do kind of what we do here. But I would recommend that you belong to your State Association. I have stated this many times previously on this forum so I won't bother restating it again here.
If you can afford the membership..JOIN ...but even more...BE INVOLVED...just paying your dues doesn't get you anything other than the listings in their directory and association web site. But if you attend their regional and state meetings, learn about what they are doing and ways you too can help...then you make your state association stronger.
The same people cannot do it all forever, they need new blood and new ideas..that is why YOU should join:) Get to know others in your state. By being involved in my association, I have had the opportunity to get to know innkeepers more personally both in my state and across the country. Another reason why PAII, is a good thing as well..but that's been dealt with in another thread:)
 

Samster

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You have a great State association there in Texas. I belonged as an aspiring and they threw great conferences, good camaraderie and support...they were very helpful to me when we were looking to buy an inn there. It's always great to be connected to people that are in the same boat as you. We have no association here in our State that is very active at all or does anything.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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On this same subject...sorta, hey gang there is the Midatlantic innkeepers conference coming up this January at The Homestead - if anyone is going I would like to get together with y'all.
(Jan 10th is my daughter's 13th bday so I can't be there for all of it but could meet up for dinner in Lexington or nearby)
www.MidatlanticInnkeepers.com Our good friend and mentor Jay Karen PAII PRez and CEO will be kicking it off.
FYI It is 2 hours 20 minutes from The Homestead to The Claiborne House B&B should anyone want to wander on down to the moonshine capital of the USA - Franklin County VA.
 

swirt

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I think regional associations are more likely to have region specific marketing in place. Which is more likely to serve as good marketing for you. They are more likely to have referral systems in place (check their website for an organized referal method... some of the methods range from high tech to something more resembling tin cans and smoke signals.... high tech good...tin cans bad).
The state associations tend to not market as well for the various regions. In many cases I would consider them less valuable in terms of traffic. However, the state association is likely to have more clout with the legislatures regarding laws and codes. They are also more likely to have more robust conferences.
Just as with any directory...if they show up well in searches for your area, good...if not.... :(
Some associations see their primary role as marketing...some do not.
 
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On this same subject...sorta, hey gang there is the Midatlantic innkeepers conference coming up this January at The Homestead - if anyone is going I would like to get together with y'all.
(Jan 10th is my daughter's 13th bday so I can't be there for all of it but could meet up for dinner in Lexington or nearby)
www.MidatlanticInnkeepers.com Our good friend and mentor Jay Karen PAII PRez and CEO will be kicking it off.
FYI It is 2 hours 20 minutes from The Homestead to The Claiborne House B&B should anyone want to wander on down to the moonshine capital of the USA - Franklin County VA.
.
1..Will be going to the Conference this year2010Jan.Missed last year.....2..I do not belong to the local Assoc. and have been in business sence 2002.There is a reason for this.No I am not mad/angry at any one.Always check www.linkpopularity.com for a site hits/popularity......3..Rose of Sharon grows like weeds in my yard,have to throw them away...got to work on B'fast for guest..now...Mary in Bridgewater
 

wendydk

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We actually started an association for our county. I built and maintain the website and everyone pitches in for the annual cost. Webervations set us up with a consolidated availability, which comes in very handy during high season. With one action, I can check availability for everyone.
Referrals from our little county group are higher than from the official "Pure Michigan" site!
 

EmptyNest

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On this same subject...sorta, hey gang there is the Midatlantic innkeepers conference coming up this January at The Homestead - if anyone is going I would like to get together with y'all.
(Jan 10th is my daughter's 13th bday so I can't be there for all of it but could meet up for dinner in Lexington or nearby)
www.MidatlanticInnkeepers.com Our good friend and mentor Jay Karen PAII PRez and CEO will be kicking it off.
FYI It is 2 hours 20 minutes from The Homestead to The Claiborne House B&B should anyone want to wander on down to the moonshine capital of the USA - Franklin County VA.
.
1..Will be going to the Conference this year2010Jan.Missed last year.....2..I do not belong to the local Assoc. and have been in business sence 2002.There is a reason for this.No I am not mad/angry at any one.Always check www.linkpopularity.com for a site hits/popularity......3..Rose of Sharon grows like weeds in my yard,have to throw them away...got to work on B'fast for guest..now...Mary in Bridgewater
.
You really ought to talk with someone about BBAV. The inns in your part of the Central Shenandoah do lots of marketing together. I am sure they would welcome you at one of their regional meetings. They will not pressure you into joinging..but I think you will find a nice group of people to work with.
 

jkarennj

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We actually started an association for our county. I built and maintain the website and everyone pitches in for the annual cost. Webervations set us up with a consolidated availability, which comes in very handy during high season. With one action, I can check availability for everyone.
Referrals from our little county group are higher than from the official "Pure Michigan" site!.
That's probably because people will more likely search for something like "Traverse City Bed and Breafkast" before they'll search for "Michigan Bed and Breakfast." Research certainly shows that people have a particular destination in mind before choosing the lodging, and I would guess that destination is usually more local than the state level.
You should expect more results from a more local association marketing efforts, unless your state web site has done a better job optimizing your local market for search engines within their site. It's not unheard of for local marketing efforts to be more fruitful.
 

EmptyNest

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We actually started an association for our county. I built and maintain the website and everyone pitches in for the annual cost. Webervations set us up with a consolidated availability, which comes in very handy during high season. With one action, I can check availability for everyone.
Referrals from our little county group are higher than from the official "Pure Michigan" site!.
That's probably because people will more likely search for something like "Traverse City Bed and Breafkast" before they'll search for "Michigan Bed and Breakfast." Research certainly shows that people have a particular destination in mind before choosing the lodging, and I would guess that destination is usually more local than the state level.
You should expect more results from a more local association marketing efforts, unless your state web site has done a better job optimizing your local market for search engines within their site. It's not unheard of for local marketing efforts to be more fruitful.
.
Yes, BBAV's new site has optimized for local markets as well as state:)
 

swirt

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On this same subject...sorta, hey gang there is the Midatlantic innkeepers conference coming up this January at The Homestead - if anyone is going I would like to get together with y'all.
(Jan 10th is my daughter's 13th bday so I can't be there for all of it but could meet up for dinner in Lexington or nearby)
www.MidatlanticInnkeepers.com Our good friend and mentor Jay Karen PAII PRez and CEO will be kicking it off.
FYI It is 2 hours 20 minutes from The Homestead to The Claiborne House B&B should anyone want to wander on down to the moonshine capital of the USA - Franklin County VA.
.
1..Will be going to the Conference this year2010Jan.Missed last year.....2..I do not belong to the local Assoc. and have been in business sence 2002.There is a reason for this.No I am not mad/angry at any one.Always check www.linkpopularity.com for a site hits/popularity......3..Rose of Sharon grows like weeds in my yard,have to throw them away...got to work on B'fast for guest..now...Mary in Bridgewater
.
Mary at Bridgewater Inn and Cottage said:
Always check www.linkpopularity.com for a site hits/popularity.....
I'm afraid that site is not really a good way to evaluate sites. Something can have lots of popularity by their measures and still deliver no trafffic or the complete opposite it can have low popularity and deliver lots of traffic.
It mainly comes down to where the show up in the major searches for your area.
 

EmptyNest

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On this same subject...sorta, hey gang there is the Midatlantic innkeepers conference coming up this January at The Homestead - if anyone is going I would like to get together with y'all.
(Jan 10th is my daughter's 13th bday so I can't be there for all of it but could meet up for dinner in Lexington or nearby)
www.MidatlanticInnkeepers.com Our good friend and mentor Jay Karen PAII PRez and CEO will be kicking it off.
FYI It is 2 hours 20 minutes from The Homestead to The Claiborne House B&B should anyone want to wander on down to the moonshine capital of the USA - Franklin County VA.
.
1..Will be going to the Conference this year2010Jan.Missed last year.....2..I do not belong to the local Assoc. and have been in business sence 2002.There is a reason for this.No I am not mad/angry at any one.Always check www.linkpopularity.com for a site hits/popularity......3..Rose of Sharon grows like weeds in my yard,have to throw them away...got to work on B'fast for guest..now...Mary in Bridgewater
.
I agree, linkpopularity doens't really show you much.What do your web stats show you as referrers? Do a search for Bridgewater Bed & Breakfast and see where you come up. That tells /shows you more than linkpopularity.
 

Proud Texan

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I think regional associations are more likely to have region specific marketing in place. Which is more likely to serve as good marketing for you. They are more likely to have referral systems in place (check their website for an organized referal method... some of the methods range from high tech to something more resembling tin cans and smoke signals.... high tech good...tin cans bad).
The state associations tend to not market as well for the various regions. In many cases I would consider them less valuable in terms of traffic. However, the state association is likely to have more clout with the legislatures regarding laws and codes. They are also more likely to have more robust conferences.
Just as with any directory...if they show up well in searches for your area, good...if not.... :(
Some associations see their primary role as marketing...some do not..
swirt said:
I think regional associations are more likely to have region specific marketing in place. Which is more likely to serve as good marketing for you. They are more likely to have referral systems in place (check their website for an organized referal method... some of the methods range from high tech to something more resembling tin cans and smoke signals.... high tech good...tin cans bad).
The state associations tend to not market as well for the various regions. In many cases I would consider them less valuable in terms of traffic. However, the state association is likely to have more clout with the legislatures regarding laws and codes. They are also more likely to have more robust conferences.
Just as with any directory...if they show up well in searches for your area, good...if not.... :(
Some associations see their primary role as marketing...some do not.
But, to restate my original point, who in their right mind searches for a B&B association? The most popular keywords are going to be "Bed and Breakfast" and the name of the area where you want to find one. Why would anyone go to the extra step trouble of Googling a Bed and Breakfast association, which in most instances doesn't even list everything that's available?
 

EmptyNest

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I think regional associations are more likely to have region specific marketing in place. Which is more likely to serve as good marketing for you. They are more likely to have referral systems in place (check their website for an organized referal method... some of the methods range from high tech to something more resembling tin cans and smoke signals.... high tech good...tin cans bad).
The state associations tend to not market as well for the various regions. In many cases I would consider them less valuable in terms of traffic. However, the state association is likely to have more clout with the legislatures regarding laws and codes. They are also more likely to have more robust conferences.
Just as with any directory...if they show up well in searches for your area, good...if not.... :(
Some associations see their primary role as marketing...some do not..
swirt said:
I think regional associations are more likely to have region specific marketing in place. Which is more likely to serve as good marketing for you. They are more likely to have referral systems in place (check their website for an organized referal method... some of the methods range from high tech to something more resembling tin cans and smoke signals.... high tech good...tin cans bad).
The state associations tend to not market as well for the various regions. In many cases I would consider them less valuable in terms of traffic. However, the state association is likely to have more clout with the legislatures regarding laws and codes. They are also more likely to have more robust conferences.
Just as with any directory...if they show up well in searches for your area, good...if not.... :(
Some associations see their primary role as marketing...some do not.
But, to restate my original point, who in their right mind searches for a B&B association? The most popular keywords are going to be "Bed and Breakfast" and the name of the area where you want to find one. Why would anyone go to the extra step trouble of Googling a Bed and Breakfast association, which in most instances doesn't even list everything that's available?
.
Sorry but if you put in VA Bed and Breakfast..our association website came up #1 in Google for the 5 years I was their webmaster. And I see...other than bbonline they are still # 3. IF an association has a good website and has SEO'd correctly they will show up well as well as the cities where inns are located. after our new site came on line, that quickly happened as well.
And, the same company did the Texas site and they come up 4th on a Google Search I just did. Have you ever tried that search?
Texas Bed and Breakfast Association[/h3]
 

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