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WHAT Brings Guests to your place instead of that place down the road?

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seashanty

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i think we all agree that if your b&b can be the destination, you've got a really good chance of staying in business ... even if the great restaurant nearby closes for the winter (or permanently?)
but WHAT is your draw? what do you promote?
i was brainstorming with a little place nearby that is struggling. they do okay, but are rarely fully booked unless by a group and they only have three guestrooms. four if decide to have two with shared bath. but the private bath seems to be more popular ... i suggested offering the fourth as a suite in combination with the other room. but that's not what this thread is about.
since it's off the beaten path, i suggest they embrace that it's 'off the beaten path' ...
fall is definitely here in new england and winter is not far behind. this is the slow time.skiing is far away from here. no hills. i am looking to see if there are places to snowshoe or cross country ski or take sleigh rides
i suggest comfort and warmth are images to convey.
privacy
romance
getting away
simple pleasures
where i used to be, i offered pie at night. wow! did my guests love that pie. they raved about it. pie, pie, pie. i had a nearby place ask me, 'do you still have bookings when it's almost time to close for the season? we're almost empty every night.' i don't know if it was the pie. it seemed such an extravagance because sometimes i'd have to buy one at the little ice cream shop up the hill! but a $15 pie for two room bookings is a good deal and i had guests coming to the door (walk-ins) and saying 'are you the lady that has the pie?' YES, COME IN!
i had my website plastered with comfort images. the fireplaces. the pie! the cookies. mugs of hot cocoa, tea and coffee.
pictures of guests playing with jigsaw puzzles and with stockinged feet up on foot rests. with that fire in the background. (by permission)
i invited guests to join me as i carved a big pumkin. (i kept the knife action to myself) what a riot
a group of sisters met up at my place and i asked permission to use their pictures one evening when they were all laughing it up in one of the rooms wearing the b&b bathrobes. then they came downstairs and made popcorn and watched a movie.
one elderly couple started dancing to the big band music playing in the breakfast room one evening so i pushed back the tables to create a little dance floor and lit the flameless candles. i had a couple strings of mini lights along the windowsill ... what a fun nite! one of the guests shared a couple bottles of wine with the others.
if you've got that little place in 'podunk' ... with nothing much happening around you ... WHAT do you do to bring guests to you?
 

wendydk

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While we are in a busy tourist area, (not pudunk) I would have to say that it's the "comfortable" factor (and the perfect "day-trip" location) that I exploit and guests respond to the most. Although it sounds trite, it's the personal touch a small place offers...our reviews say it all.
Both of our other Inns in town are larger, more elegant and (guests tell us) more threatening for the newbie inn-goer, and we get ALOT of first-timers here.....lots of college couples and young marrieds. so they are really not competition for us so much as for each other.
 

gillumhouse

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SS, your 2 suites sounds like the way to go for them. On to your other question.
Take a ride around the area just to see what is there. If it is NOT your area, you are a great person to do that - locals cannot see the points of interest. Look at what is there - take an inventory of the assets. Then create routings to see these assets - include shops & places to eat in this. This will require 2 people - one to drive and tell mileages and one to write it down. The everything planned what-to-do has worked for me. Gosh you were creative. What wonderful things you did! THAT is why you were successful!
I am a see-the-sites destination.
 

seashanty

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Kathleen, i think i am a lot like you. (although you have a lot more energy ... running around doing civic things)
i would sit there thinking thinking thinking ... what brings people here and how can i get them to stay with me? can i bring them here myself? what if people come to wthin 20 miles, 30 miles ... 50 miles .... can i get them to veer off the main path and come to my place? as soon as i started getting guest compliments and then that oh so delicious referral, i knew i had something. it is so ironic to me that my old venue is struggling with occupancy, yet discarding the homey, goofball things i did ... there was a reason i did them. much as i hated the 'heads in beds' saying i knew i needed to get them there. no one asked me why i did them.
i don't know how much help i can be to this place i'm talking about. their website does nothing to showcase what a lovely place it is. that was number one on my list ... glam up that website. 'too expensive, we've already done what we could, it won't work, we don't know how, and we can't afford to pay someone (even you) to give it a little bit of a shot in the arm.' (sigh)
 

seashanty

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knitters!
oh i love cozy sweaters but i can't knit. i had a group of ladies stay with me that were going over to an inn on an island for a knitters seminar/gathering. was trying to figure out how to get them to stay with me next time and it seems the big thing was a LOW group rate. it was off season, so it was do-able.
i guess the scrap bookers have faded out ... don't know if they will make a come back.
something i wanted to do but did not do because i did not know if i needed a commercial kitchen .... maybe i should have just done it and worried later:
gingerbread house making
i love gingerbread houses. have bought kits to make them. and then have gone nuts with extras. somewhere i have pictures of the attempts to make one that looks like a lighthouse and keepers cottage.
i wonder if a cookie swap would be fun? everyone brings some cookies. have some fun with the cookies at nite ... i don't know what could be done. a demonstration of some kind of technique by someone?
cooking class ... again ... wondering about the commercial kitchen aspect
tarot card reading or other halloweenish thing .... this is SUCH a draw for some people.
bree takes the credit for the gift wrapping stayover. providing paper and scissors and ribbons. after guests shop at the stores to wrap em all up and then take home
crafting workshop ... this one didn't happen when the artist fell ill .... he specializes in drift wood sculputres. the idea was to have the guests go with him to the nearby beach where drift wood abounds and then he would give a demonstration. could stretch to another nite and day of class if they find the wood and do step one, step two.
artist workshop .... so so popular. the hardest thing is getting an artist to do their thing
photography workshop .... again, same as above
 

Breakfast Diva

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Kathleen, i think i am a lot like you. (although you have a lot more energy ... running around doing civic things)
i would sit there thinking thinking thinking ... what brings people here and how can i get them to stay with me? can i bring them here myself? what if people come to wthin 20 miles, 30 miles ... 50 miles .... can i get them to veer off the main path and come to my place? as soon as i started getting guest compliments and then that oh so delicious referral, i knew i had something. it is so ironic to me that my old venue is struggling with occupancy, yet discarding the homey, goofball things i did ... there was a reason i did them. much as i hated the 'heads in beds' saying i knew i needed to get them there. no one asked me why i did them.
i don't know how much help i can be to this place i'm talking about. their website does nothing to showcase what a lovely place it is. that was number one on my list ... glam up that website. 'too expensive, we've already done what we could, it won't work, we don't know how, and we can't afford to pay someone (even you) to give it a little bit of a shot in the arm.' (sigh).
seashanty said:
i don't know how much help i can be to this place i'm talking about. their website does nothing to showcase what a lovely place it is. that was number one on my list ... glam up that website. 'too expensive, we've already done what we could, it won't work, we don't know how, and we can't afford to pay someone (even you) to give it a little bit of a shot in the arm.' (sigh)
The scenario you just described is so sad and unfortunately happens way too often. They sound like they are defeated. Unless they change their attitudes and come up with some money to make changes to their website and wake up to the fact that you are exactly what they need, then there's not much you can do.
In another post, Muirford suggested starting a blog. Can you get them to at least take some time to create a blog to help get some interest? If they can't change their website, at least they can blog like crazy and get pictures, area attractions and all those homey things they need to communicate about their place in blog posts. Maybe making the blog so obvious on their website, prospective guests will want to click on it and once there they will see what a nice place it is.
 

happykeeper

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Main Entry: 1niche
Pronunciation: \ˈnich also ˈnēsh or ˈnish\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Middle French, from nicher to nest, from Vulgar Latin *nidicare, from Latin nidus nest — more at nest
Date: 1611
1 a : a recess in a wall especially for a statue b : something that resembles a niche
2 a : a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted <finally found her niche> b : a habitat supplying the factors necessary for the existence of an organism or species c : the ecological role of an organism in a community especially in regard to food consumption d : a specialized market
 

JBloggs

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Why is the question INSTEAD OF how do we know where guests stay? Maybe they stay at both places.
 

gillumhouse

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Kathleen, i think i am a lot like you. (although you have a lot more energy ... running around doing civic things)
i would sit there thinking thinking thinking ... what brings people here and how can i get them to stay with me? can i bring them here myself? what if people come to wthin 20 miles, 30 miles ... 50 miles .... can i get them to veer off the main path and come to my place? as soon as i started getting guest compliments and then that oh so delicious referral, i knew i had something. it is so ironic to me that my old venue is struggling with occupancy, yet discarding the homey, goofball things i did ... there was a reason i did them. much as i hated the 'heads in beds' saying i knew i needed to get them there. no one asked me why i did them.
i don't know how much help i can be to this place i'm talking about. their website does nothing to showcase what a lovely place it is. that was number one on my list ... glam up that website. 'too expensive, we've already done what we could, it won't work, we don't know how, and we can't afford to pay someone (even you) to give it a little bit of a shot in the arm.' (sigh).
'too expensive, we've already done what we could, it won't work, we don't know how, and we can't afford to pay someone (even you) to give it a little bit of a shot in the arm.'
Ahhh. They need a shot of "Can't never did anything!" As you did, what I have done here cost little or nothing. Money is a commodity I rarely have seen. (And every time I do see it I get an attack of 'someone needs help' and then it is gone again - my upbringing I am afraid. The old hand-up not the hand-out.)
Doing the routing will take some gas and the time to transcribe it into a table on WORD. Set trip odometer to zero. 3 columns: miles; direction; landmarkd & rt #/street name. If they know the area, they can then tailor them by changing instructions in the table to just turn right onto Rt xx and delete miles from that point on.
They are the ones who can't, won't work, and will too expensive themselves into bankruptcy. What a shame.
 

seashanty

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i said instead of .... because i literally experienced and now see one place that has guests, and another one very close by that has none. from the outside, these places are quite similar. within 1/4 mile of each other, guests are not staying at both. especially for example ... in october when my neighbor closed up and i stayed open another month. i am sorry but when another place is this close by, unless the two places are partners, they are in competition with one another for the same guests.
during the busy summer months, if i did not have what the guest was looking for or if i was booked up, i was happy to refer guests to my neighbor. but if i had rooms, i wanted/needed guests to come to me ...
so if i am online and searching for a place to go, why do i choice your place instead of the other ... why does one place thrive while another closes?
is the wording of the question offensive?
 

gillumhouse

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i said instead of .... because i literally experienced and now see one place that has guests, and another one very close by that has none. from the outside, these places are quite similar. within 1/4 mile of each other, guests are not staying at both. especially for example ... in october when my neighbor closed up and i stayed open another month. i am sorry but when another place is this close by, unless the two places are partners, they are in competition with one another for the same guests.
during the busy summer months, if i did not have what the guest was looking for or if i was booked up, i was happy to refer guests to my neighbor. but if i had rooms, i wanted/needed guests to come to me ...
so if i am online and searching for a place to go, why do i choice your place instead of the other ... why does one place thrive while another closes?
is the wording of the question offensive?.
I think it may be because of web site, because of word of mouth, one innkeeper may be an SS and the other a prune. One could do a full breakfast and the other a continental. One could give good portions and the other not. I would start by comparing their web sites and the info and photos. That may answer your question immediately. Or it could be marketing the area with specials and packages when the other dose not.
Is the "curb appel" the same?
 

Samster

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Comfort....attention to details...service....our reviews....the food! That's why they stay here instead of the other B&Bs.
 

Breakfast Diva

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Website
Reviews
Niche Marketing
Marketing, marketing, marketing...especially if you have other b&bs around you have to convey to travelers what it is that makes you special. Don't be something you're not, but play up everything you are.
I just had a guy call today and make a lengthy reservation for later this month...he had been online for quite some time and knew ALL the different b&bs and hotels/motels around here. He doesn't know the area at all (from another state). He told me he chose us because he thought my website looked professional and he liked it more than the others and he had read all the reviews from all the different places.
So, why did he pick us? Because of the three reasons above.
 

YellowSocks

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Location (even a 1/4 mile matters if it means you're walking distance to something)
Innkeeper (esp. for repeats)
Comfort (like you mentioned, plus the sense that I'll "feel at home" there)
TA reviews (like it or not, they matter)
Responsiveness (because they answered the phone!)
Amenities (three equal B&B's... I'll take the one with the wifi)
=)
Kk.
 

BBBBoB

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New Guests:
1. Location, Location, Location
2. Website
Repeat/Referrals:
1. Innkeeper making them feel comfortable/ambiance.
2. Food
Bill
 

bbinnsitters

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i said instead of .... because i literally experienced and now see one place that has guests, and another one very close by that has none. from the outside, these places are quite similar. within 1/4 mile of each other, guests are not staying at both. especially for example ... in october when my neighbor closed up and i stayed open another month. i am sorry but when another place is this close by, unless the two places are partners, they are in competition with one another for the same guests.
during the busy summer months, if i did not have what the guest was looking for or if i was booked up, i was happy to refer guests to my neighbor. but if i had rooms, i wanted/needed guests to come to me ...
so if i am online and searching for a place to go, why do i choice your place instead of the other ... why does one place thrive while another closes?
is the wording of the question offensive?.
As a guest I look at places on-line and either send an e-mail or call. Some places never e-mail me back, I move down my list. If I call and someone actually answers and we have a good conversation - I get a good feeling and I will probably book. If I leave a msg and they never call me back, I move down my list. Responsiveness and good phone manners are essential.
 

bbinnsitters

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Location (even a 1/4 mile matters if it means you're walking distance to something)
Innkeeper (esp. for repeats)
Comfort (like you mentioned, plus the sense that I'll "feel at home" there)
TA reviews (like it or not, they matter)
Responsiveness (because they answered the phone!)
Amenities (three equal B&B's... I'll take the one with the wifi)
=)
Kk..
Bingo - you hit the nail on the head here!
 

egoodell

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Kathleen, i think i am a lot like you. (although you have a lot more energy ... running around doing civic things)
i would sit there thinking thinking thinking ... what brings people here and how can i get them to stay with me? can i bring them here myself? what if people come to wthin 20 miles, 30 miles ... 50 miles .... can i get them to veer off the main path and come to my place? as soon as i started getting guest compliments and then that oh so delicious referral, i knew i had something. it is so ironic to me that my old venue is struggling with occupancy, yet discarding the homey, goofball things i did ... there was a reason i did them. much as i hated the 'heads in beds' saying i knew i needed to get them there. no one asked me why i did them.
i don't know how much help i can be to this place i'm talking about. their website does nothing to showcase what a lovely place it is. that was number one on my list ... glam up that website. 'too expensive, we've already done what we could, it won't work, we don't know how, and we can't afford to pay someone (even you) to give it a little bit of a shot in the arm.' (sigh).
seashanty said:
i don't know how much help i can be to this place i'm talking about. their website does nothing to showcase what a lovely place it is. that was number one on my list ... glam up that website. 'too expensive, we've already done what we could, it won't work, we don't know how, and we can't afford to pay someone (even you) to give it a little bit of a shot in the arm.' (sigh)
The scenario you just described is so sad and unfortunately happens way too often. They sound like they are defeated. Unless they change their attitudes and come up with some money to make changes to their website and wake up to the fact that you are exactly what they need, then there's not much you can do.
In another post, Muirford suggested starting a blog. Can you get them to at least take some time to create a blog to help get some interest? If they can't change their website, at least they can blog like crazy and get pictures, area attractions and all those homey things they need to communicate about their place in blog posts. Maybe making the blog so obvious on their website, prospective guests will want to click on it and once there they will see what a nice place it is.
.
seashanty said:
i don't know how much help i can be to this place i'm talking about. their website does nothing to showcase what a lovely place it is. that was number one on my list ... glam up that website. 'too expensive, we've already done what we could, it won't work, we don't know how, and we can't afford to pay someone (even you) to give it a little bit of a shot in the arm.' (sigh)
If they won't spend the money on the website, I don't think their bookings will improve no matter what you do. So many shop online, that they will go to the websites that are up to date with great photos. We all know that no matter what you write up on the website or blog that the majority of guests don't read everything.
RIki
 

wendydk

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Simple pleasures...yes! Dessert in the evening, electric fireplaces and TV's in ALL rooms, even our SB. Seems odd, but our local "competitors" offer none of these things except in their ultra high end $200+ per night rooms (which offer TV's and gas fireplaces).
While I'm not a TV buff, I could not stay in a room without one...if only to watch the news before bed.
 

Joey Camb

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What has been very popular round here (I have not tried it myself but it seems to work well) are Bridge and Scrabble weekends off season. People go mad for it. There is also the possibility of fishing packages if your location lends to it. Golf is popular round here but they tend to be hard drinkers and while they spend a lot they are hard work. Anything connected to a hobby is good even better if you do it yourself. How about cooking? Or have people pay for a week's B&B training? I consider this now and again as there doesn't seem to be anyone running courses like this anywhere near me but I don't know if I could stand the company lol.
 
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