Forming Business Relationships - Selling More

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Generic

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We are a B&B in the city. We don't really do much other than sell rooms, rent bicycles and do the odd favour for customers. I've been thinking about that lately and I started to wonder about other things that we can offer. Some of which need relationships with other businessses and B&Bs. I've never done this kind of thing, so I'm asking three basic questions....
1) How and what do you sell as add-ons in the city?
2) How do you form relationships with businesses to supply services that you can add-on?
3) How do you form relationships with other B&Bs so that they too can offer that service as well, to make the relationship more profitable for all involved?
Here are some of my ideas:
1)
  • A basic of amenities that includes some bottled water, some granola bars, some soft drinks, a few "fun size" choclate bars
  • Champagne/Sparkling wine, chocolates and roses
2)
  • Restaurant reservation with a discount coupon (how do you get a restaurant to do this?)
  • Tours (Greyline or walking tour?)
3) Get a few other B&Bs to join, so that we can get someone who wants to be a supplier. I want this to be big enough to be profitable for all the B&Bs who join and as little work as possible, since we all have only minimum time. Like for example, with Grayline we collect a small sum, which is our commission, the rest is paid directly. I want to structure this right for everyone.
Any ideas? Suggestions? Maybe I should have broken this up into three different messages?
 

Copperhead

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Tours - they give lots of these to hotels & to local CVB's just give them a call and ask for a time to GO to meet them, always better to ask in person, bring brochures, maybe a treat? or something. Then just ask, there is no harm in asking this...what's the worst thing that could happen? They could say no!
Restaurants - ditto above! Pick some that are really near you first. Then if you have no luck, try some that are in the tourist areas (that is if you are not) Again hotel concierge's get these for guests all the time.
As for amenites, it would only work if there are many of you in a given area where they can drop it all off at one location when you purchase in bulk. - That was my problem when I was asking about a certain local delivery... they deliver to a grocery within 1 mile, passing my street but will not deliver here except in massive bulk.
Services - you may want to offer massage, or special flower arrangements or other such extras. We joined our chamber of commerce (surely they have this or something similar in Canada) where we met quite a few small businesses who brought up ideas to me. Some I jumped on - like our massage therapist and some that may work from time to time but not a sure thing.
 

Joey Camb

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We have 4 Indian restaurants near us so one offered our trade association a deal if they bring one of our cards (ie any B&B) they get 10% off the bill. Bistro Piere french restaurant does a deal where you ring and make the reservation for them and you get a point and 10 points and you get a free dinner don't mind doing it cos they have really good food and would send people there anyway. We do a deal with a local cookery school 10% off anyone of their people who books direct with us to arrange this I simply wrote to them after her mum stayed with us and gave me the idea. We get a deal on locally produced honey cos they only make it up the road! and if you bring your own jars and collect it which is fine with me you get a really good deal cos that is most of their costs. Arranged that by simply ringing up and asking sensible questions. My friend has a jewelery shop and does a 10% discount for anyone who brings my card with them. Was thinking of organising a coupon book ie booklet of places that I recomended (and only ones I did recommend) you got a coupon to get a discount or say it was a cafe a free tea or something. Some taxi companies will pay you commission as well but I am tied to one because my godbrother in law works for them and we are trying to help him earn money.
 

Joey Camb

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Also how is this done? short answer be cheeky! ring up and ask a lot of people jump at it don't ask for megga discounts ie something sensible like dine at XXX get a free soft drink, which costs them very little to provide but saves the customer money.
 

gillumhouse

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I have made coupons for our downtown shops with offers THEY decided to do when I asked them. The coupons are designed to get my guests into their shops. I got bogged down with Germany and have a couple more to do before I start doing a second version - the shops AND services new residents should know about that will be in a Welcome To Shinnston to be given at City Hall when they sign up for water/sewer services. Several give 10% off, one restaurant gives a free dessert with a meal, a couple give 10% off a $25 or more purchase or 15% off $50 or more.
 

Aussie Innkeeper

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Our local association (www.authenticbandb.com) has a Passport program. It's two-fold. We offer a loyalty stay program where guests who stay 4 times get $50 off their 5th stay. AND we have over 80 local 'partners' who offer exclusive values to our guests - restaurants, attractions, shops. We have one partner that also rewards the innkeepers that send them guests with a $25 gift certificate each quarter. Sweet!!
 

JBloggs

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Our local association (www.authenticbandb.com) has a Passport program. It's two-fold. We offer a loyalty stay program where guests who stay 4 times get $50 off their 5th stay. AND we have over 80 local 'partners' who offer exclusive values to our guests - restaurants, attractions, shops. We have one partner that also rewards the innkeepers that send them guests with a $25 gift certificate each quarter. Sweet!!.
Your association rocks Aussie Inn!
Funny I had a super helpful guest last week ask me why I don't have menus out for guests. I only have restaurants listed with directions and a brief "what kind of food they serve." One sports bar just put up a sign it is closed and look for them on facebook, nothing more and another picks its hours on their own whim. Oh and another really cool coffee sub shop is only open midweek when the courthouse is in session (just a couple guests have ever been here when it is open and ask why I don't recommend them?). So this "helpful" guest brought me back a menu as if to say "Gee was that so hard!" and I do not send guests to THAT restaurant after at least THREE ROOMS have been food poisoned there. I cannot put a "DON'T EAT THERE" notice anywhere, as this is a small town and it WILL GET BACK. Health dept backed the restaurant, even with my guests barfing their heads off upstairs...
 
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