What would YOU have DH do?

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Well-known member
May 22, 2008
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Dh and I are adjusting to having him here. We've developed a schedule to try to keep us on track that involves me homeschooling in the mornings while he goes out and does marketing for two hours.
We are happy to report that it's working!
So far he's had our rack card inserted into every mail slot at the University (2000 students, 70 faculty/staff)... cost, $50, pretty sure we've already had a call or two from that. Plus, while picking some of them out of recycling he saw a student with one in her hand on the phone with her mom.
He's taken the rack cards to many of the hair salons in town. Tonight my friend (who owns a salon) reported that people were interested, and one of them said she'd take it to some department at the university to show them the pics of the inside. (Our rack card has very pretty pics!)
Now I've challenged him to find every single administrative assistant on campus and give her a bag of homemade chocolate covered peanuts and some rack cards. He's already found one who told him she'll do anything for chocolate, and another (Public Relations) who already had a stack of our cards. We've already gotten at least one call from a department on campus (he says he hasn't been to that one yet, so maybe the mail slots?), and a whole house booking in August for a wedding from someone who was referred by someone on campus.
I'm thinking that once he's done with campus he needs to hit the manufacturing companies. We had some fabulous biz travelers today who were very happy, and who suggested developing a business traveler discount. So I'm sure I'm about to come up with a business rate. (Open to suggestions on that one...) I'm not sure if dh should take the chocolate covered peanuts or if maybe a larger gift.
Within a week of his being laid off we attended a regional innkeeper get together that my friends and I organized... from that we and the other B&B's in town will be having an article in our local paper about the four of us called "It's All About Hospitality."
I'm in the process of developing a list of every directory we're on, their costs and passwords, and getting them updated. But my sister, meanwhile, is convinced that we need to be in the paper. She was astonished when I told her that most of our traffic comes from online. Apparently when she travels to a place she has her assistant call a contact in that town and ask where they recommend. I agree, everyone in town needs to know we're here!
Sorry, gone on a bit long... obviously I have lots of ideas, but I'm open to more. What else shall I have dh do for marketing?
I would see if you could get an article written about your place in a local publication. We had a mention in a couple of magazines when we did a holiday tour of homes. We didn't get anything from it except some exposure, but you seem to be in a better position than us with local biz... our local business is a very small portion of our total business. Maybe you can write a press release about your change in your B&B "partnership". :)
I think you're really on the right track with your university. I highly recommend visiting the Finance department too. If you can set up some kind of direct billing with them, they will LOVE you. It's been a super good thing for me here. Although there's a lag time from my submission of the statement to receipt of the check, there are no credit card fees to me. I make it easy for them and they continue to send me business. I wish I had the time to visit all those folks!
Good job!!
Send him to the Joey Bloggs school of blogging.
Take a roast of coffee (grind it first) to the businesses (most important item in the morning at most business) and the chocolate covered peanuts to the secretary (the most important person at a business).
YellowSocks, if he keeps up at the rate he's going, you guys are going to be busy! What a great use of his time so far. I have no doubt at all that you're going to get some great results.
I think the idea of going directly to the businesses who are most likely to send you guests is brilliant. Perfect for his next project.
I think that they'll just love chocolate covered peanuts. And they'll remember you for it.
Larger gifts? No, don't go there. Just a token gift will do and anything with chocolate generally wins fans. You want them to remember you, not be beholden to you.
For the business discount, try to find out what their corporate rate is expected to be. There's generally a range if not a per diem, in which case matching the per diem is always a good idea if you can.
If you negotiate a special rate directly with the company, they'll be even more inclined to send folks your way. If there a just a few major companies who have the most business travelers, I'd first negotiate individual corporate rates before just posting one general rate. You'll get a lot more bang for your buck.
If he's the new marketing director, he can be in charge of writing press releases for the newspaper. Perfect because HE has a story to tell...laid off and now working to help you both get more business in the door of your B&B.
I don't think you need to spend yourself into the ground here. If you're making the choco covered peanuts at home, keep up with the 'home-made' goodies. Something shareable always works in an office setting. Oftentimes, being presented with too large a gift can mean the person feels pressure, which no one likes. And, besides which, why are the mfg people more 'important' than the college people?
Have him go to any and all Chamber meetings, Rotary meetings (you can go a few times as a guest), Grand order of the buffalo meetings, you get the idea. That's where he will meet the owners of the smaller businesses.
Have him do online research looking for free directories to be on. Free or low cost targeted directories. Are there groups that come strictly to your area to go to something? They all have fan websites or FB pages to let everyone know when the next trip is. Find out how to get on those pages (don't antagonize them, tho).
Do you have a travel agent or two in town? AAA offices?
Does the University have any sister colleges that trade staff back and forth?
What about parent companies to the manufacturing companies in town? I know for a fact that when my dad travels (which he does A LOT!!!!!!!!!) he stayed at hotels...I'm slowly but surely transferring him into B&Bs where he goes. He is a distributor of products that the factories get their parts from for their assemly lines. He goes all over the eastern part of the US to different cities. He used to look for the unHoliday Inn-nonExpress, but I've introduced him to the B&Bs where he goes. He loves it. But he's not fully a part of the factoires you'd be targeting...he would be more of an online looker. There is a big auto parts manufacturer in my town whose execs come to visit from very far away...(think overseas). The closest lodging for them is a Super 8, 20 miles away from the plant.
Just food for thought
1. awesome!
2. shell the peanuts (literally) with all the peanut allergies out there, i'd give chocolate covered something else's. LOVE the idea and i'm not criticizing it ... i introduced myself and my place with a few home baked muffins. but it was a small town ... very small.
3. what other places in your area pull in tourist/visitor traffic? museum? aquarium? theatre? ferry? is there a train station? bus station? airport? visitor center? chamber of commerce? places that have rack cards on display. and were do the college kids hang out? coffee shops? where do they go to eat with family? local gift shops and post office ... cultivate relationships with restaurants and store owners and whoever runs the college store. (see 4 and 5)
4. the personal approach is the best one which is why it is absolutely the ideal way to get recommended. wherever you can do this, it is golden. and having that second person to handle marketing -- woo hoo! i am so glad for you that you are turning this into productive time.
lots of people place their rack cards at the boatline that ran the ferry in my old town. the rack cards are in an enclosed entryway that can be accessed even when the boatline office and gift shop were closed. most folks put their cards in an available slot and left. i put mine in their slot and then i walked in with muffins and gave some to the person behind the counter, told her who i was and gave her one rack card and one business card ... asked who else was working that day. repeat. repeat. so when someone went into the ferry office or store, after missing the last ferry and the office was just about to close, they saw all the cards but would often say 'who do you recommend i stay with?' or they'd call and book a trip or a cruise and ask 'who can i stay with nearby?' BINGO
it took effort (baking the muffins) and creativity and some expense ... especially because i would GO BACK at various times throughout the season. not just once. it took time. i wasn't just making sure we had rack cards on display, sometimes i'd have to run over or have someone else run over and make sure the cards were there. but from time to time, someone has to put a face on your business so you get remembered.
5. i repeat ... awesome!
Develop a special rate (sounds like it could be your new business rate) for visiting lecturers and potential employees of the University. When DH goes to drop off the goodies to the admin assists, have the special printed on a piece of your letter head. Explain that you'd really like the opportunity to host the University's guests and "show them the town" while they're there. We had a lot of success with this, especially in the winter when it seemed a lot of jobs were open. I love meeting the guest speakers, they are all very interesting and love feeling a little pampered while they are traveling...it will leave them with a great impression of your area.

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