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should I have a "Grand Opening"?

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Sunshine

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If you ahve read any of my posts you know I have been open for 10 Weeks. We didn't hold a "grand opening" But we have so many people still saying they never knew we were here.
I spoke to the Chamber of Commerce and they said Yes, do it. They provide and do everything. all we do is provide a date, time, punch and cookies!
I am wondering if we should write a press release for the local paper as well???
any thoughts, comments, ideas????
 

swirt

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If you depend on locals for business, it might be a good idea (YellowSocks just had one so she can speak from recent experience.) If you are in a touristy area where you don't want/expect much business from locals then it may not help much. If it is your high season most of the related tourism people won't be able to attend so not much gain there. Much depends on your adience and intended niche.
We avoided an openhouse because we really didn't want locals. Locals in our area would want a CHEAP place to stash aunt whoever, or they want a place where they can come stay on the lake and invite their local friends too. Neither of these were our target market.
 

Morticia

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Yes, yes and yes. Have a grand opening or at least an open house. Yes, absolutely write a press release. Is there anything historically significant about the B&B? Did you find anything weird when renovating? Anything with a hook will get the story picked up by more than locals. (Have you noticed all the 'INN the News' threads on here? Those are all picked up on Google.)
You do those lunches, that will be a big draw.
 

mooseberry

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If you depend on locals for business, it might be a good idea (YellowSocks just had one so she can speak from recent experience.) If you are in a touristy area where you don't want/expect much business from locals then it may not help much. If it is your high season most of the related tourism people won't be able to attend so not much gain there. Much depends on your adience and intended niche.
We avoided an openhouse because we really didn't want locals. Locals in our area would want a CHEAP place to stash aunt whoever, or they want a place where they can come stay on the lake and invite their local friends too. Neither of these were our target market..
swirt said:
If you depend on locals for business, it might be a good idea (YellowSocks just had one so she can speak from recent experience.) If you are in a touristy area where you don't want/expect much business from locals then it may not help much. If it is your high season most of the related tourism people won't be able to attend so not much gain there. Much depends on your adience and intended niche.
We rely mostly on trogh travelers since we are not a destination. So an "Open House" would not have been of much help. But we did have an luncheon for everyone who is working at the Information Center, and members of the chamber. That way , if they refer your B&B, they can tell more about it.
I did not have everyone stop in , so I will do another luncheon or BBQ in the fall or next spring.
Like swirt said with the locals, I did do a write up in our local paper and invited everyone to come over and take a look. No success with that.
But whatever you do, have fun doing it :)
 

seashanty

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Yes to the open house
Yes to the press release
Yes Yes Yes
We had one - after renovating (best we could with limited $$) a place that had been vacant for a while, 'ALL' the locals were curious and were coming to the door asking to see the place anyway. so this gave them an opportunity to come in ... invited.
I don't know your area ... but locals SENT visitors to me once they knew i was here. They were able to say, 'oh, there's a nice lady runs a place yada yada' ... that was a big help, so much better than people saying 'we never knew you were here'. Someone who has friends or relatives come your way for weddings, holidays, funerals (sorry) ... will hopefully remember seeing your place or at least the mention of it in the paper. you just don't know where referrals may come from.
Also, it gave me the opportunity to meet some neighbors (truly not far away i just never met them) .... that is a good thing.
~m*
 

Morticia

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Yes to the open house
Yes to the press release
Yes Yes Yes
We had one - after renovating (best we could with limited $$) a place that had been vacant for a while, 'ALL' the locals were curious and were coming to the door asking to see the place anyway. so this gave them an opportunity to come in ... invited.
I don't know your area ... but locals SENT visitors to me once they knew i was here. They were able to say, 'oh, there's a nice lady runs a place yada yada' ... that was a big help, so much better than people saying 'we never knew you were here'. Someone who has friends or relatives come your way for weddings, holidays, funerals (sorry) ... will hopefully remember seeing your place or at least the mention of it in the paper. you just don't know where referrals may come from.
Also, it gave me the opportunity to meet some neighbors (truly not far away i just never met them) .... that is a good thing.
~m*.
We just had one the other day...'My son told me about you, he drives by there everyday.' Well, hey, he drives by 5 B&B's if he drives by me, but he remembered me. For whatever reason.
 

EmptyNest

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ABSOULTELY... have news releases and press ready photos. That is sometimes the only way you make it into the paper or maybe a magazine.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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I would do it! A good way for the lookie lou's to see the inside and meet you.
Also, a great oppty for you to possibly get some prof photos free of charge is if a local paper photog is there! Make sure you invite them! Don't be shy about asking him/her for use of them later for your website and marketing.
You will probably find like most of us here that our business does not come from the locals but from out of the area. Locals scoff at paying more than $100 for lodging, yet their own flea bag hotels are nearly that and they just don't know it. We must market OUTSIDE our towns for our business.
But like ourselves, we do get locals for WEDDING NIGHTS. So if word gets out about your place, that will be excellent! They need a special place for their special night after all the stress and build up of the wedding before they leave the next day for their honeymoon in Bermuda or wherever.
Keep us posted on how it goes. Suggestion - do it as soon as possible so things are still green and semi-blooming for the photos.
 

Sunshine

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OK, I called the Chamber of Commerce and it is set for August 12th! Now I have to figure out how to & what a press release is! I'll try to do some research.
JBJ: funny you should mention a professional photog... My husband is a professional photographer! so thats an added bonus for us. We do plan to also eventually do weddings and offer special wedding packages! Thats always been the first queston people ask when they see out back... "do you do weddings out here?" I don't have the back the way I want it yet, but eventually we will.
Hey, that gives me an idea... would anyone like free professional photos for their website and or advertising... all you have to do is fly us out there and have us stay the night (mid week of course) in exchange for all the professional pics and a complete CD with you owning the copy right! You profit with the pics, and we profit by getting to know you and just sharing mutual interest!
just a thought :)
 

seashanty

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ps pretty amazing chamber of commerce that will do something for you. ours doesn't 'do' ... they will stock your brochures and will list your place on their website (for an additional fee) but they don't help with open houses, etc.
 

Sunshine

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ps pretty amazing chamber of commerce that will do something for you. ours doesn't 'do' ... they will stock your brochures and will list your place on their website (for an additional fee) but they don't help with open houses, etc..
OH, thats sad. are you in a large town? Maybe thats why? Ours is wonderful. They really push my B&B and have been amazingly helpful. We actucally had a 'walk in' that said the Chamber insisted they come here and wouldn't let them go anywhere else! They were a great couple. we really loved getting to know them. When they left they left a $50. TIP!
 

Samster

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ps pretty amazing chamber of commerce that will do something for you. ours doesn't 'do' ... they will stock your brochures and will list your place on their website (for an additional fee) but they don't help with open houses, etc..
OH, thats sad. are you in a large town? Maybe thats why? Ours is wonderful. They really push my B&B and have been amazingly helpful. We actucally had a 'walk in' that said the Chamber insisted they come here and wouldn't let them go anywhere else! They were a great couple. we really loved getting to know them. When they left they left a $50. TIP!
.
Our Chamber is so-so where we are and the cost to join is high. Our C&VB doesn't have any fee to join but they're a little slow in getting us on their directory
They've been very supportive though.
We're going to have an Open House in the Fall when the weather is nice enough here for folks to be outside.
 

YellowSocks

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Sorry about the delay in posting about this!
YES!!! Have an open house, and do whatever you can with whatever you've got!
Our Chamber does a ribbon cutting... they come out with a big ribbon, huge scissors, the Chamber Committee and CVB lady, plus any local officials they can talk into coming. They come out, take a picture, and that's pretty much it. Well, and "local officials" for me meant mayor (singular, not plural). The newspaper doesn't do articles on every business that opens, either, there has to be an angle.
So, I called a writer from the paper who'd written an article about another business that opened recently... young girl who put us on the wrong street and messed up other details, but we got an article about us moving back to Ohio, and it had our names, and a picture, so I was happy. The Chamber came the day after Memorial Day and cut their ribbon in front of our brand new sign. (See home page of our website if you're interested. The mayor is the guy on the right. Six people came for the picture plus an office assistant to take the picture.) I gave them coffee and goodies (which nobody ate) and a little tour.
The following Sunday, June 1st, we had an open house from 1-4. We had balloons, cake, nuts and punch. We did it has a fundraiser for Relay for Life/American Cancer Society and my sister and my diet group (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) helped me host it. I thought a lot of my friends and neighbors would come... only a few did. It was a major graduation party weekend, so a lot of people couldn't come (and they all know I'll give them a tour some other time.) What was great was that we had people from the university and seminary, which are absolutely our target markets, and we know we've already had a booking because of the open house. In our case, it is very important that the locals (or at least, the university and seminary people) know that we're here. Two days after the open house a couple more people from the seminary came by, got a tour and left their card. They told me they will put my information in their new student orientation packages if I get it to them soon.
We opened a year ago with our first room, October with our second, and the last two were supposed to be ready for June 1st. Well, they were ready enough to show off at the Open House (we were up til 4 a.m. cleaning) but then were torn apart again to finish them up. They are both open now... June 10th and June 21st. So, I've been open a year, but I feel like we've really been open a month or so. All the hoopla (and the new sign) made it seem official.
It was absolutely worth it.
I would have liked to have had another one on July 5th, when the historic homes on the street one block away have a hifalutin tour. I was going to put an "Open House" sign at the corner and run the same hours, 1-4. But we had guests in the house so I didn't do it.
I think the other B&B in town does a holiday open house each year with their Christmas decorations. Last year they did it the first weekend in November, which seems a bit early to me. I think I might try to coordinate with them and maybe we can get a press release or something out of it, especially if the third B&B (just south of town, but not far) was interested in participating.
=)
Kk.
 
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