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Ice

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HELP!!! We opened our B&B last Sept. (this was the end of the season) We had and still have problems with our website, (new one due out in 3 weeks) but we are hurting for business. I haven't had a guest in weeks and nothing on the books........ I don't know where to turn.
 

paulavery

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are you signed up with the directories? (not neseccairly mine {but if you want, that would be great.... ;) } )
But the big ones, like bbonline.com, bedandbreakfast.com, etc...
Do you not have a website at all?
Paul
 

paulavery

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another thing, poke around on the net and look out for google adwords ads. Google is giving away $75 to new adWords advertisers.
 

EmptyNest

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And where are you located? Are there other B &B's in the same location? How is their business? Just because you open a B & B...doesn't mean you will have guests. What kind of marketing are you doing? As Paul said, are you listed on other B & B directories?? If not, you must be....anyone else linking to you? If you don't let people know you are out there, they can't find you.
This is a rough time for new businesses as many here can tell you. Some are having a wonderful year with bookings and others not so great. There is not one answer.
There is an EXCELLENT article on page 19 of the Innkeeper Quarterly magazine with lots of good thoughts. CHeck it out.
 

egoodell

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Are you set up with online reservations? That's where 95% of my bookings come from. If not, sign up with Webervations right away. And google "yourtown B&B" and "yourtown bed and breakfast", see what directiories come up, and list with them right away.
RIki
 

JBloggs

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  1. ICE the website is everything. Clean appealing website with many medium to large photos
  2. SEO - If people search for your area are you coming up in google in the top 5?
  3. Are you listed on the B&B directories such as BBONLINE?
  4. Are you a start up B&B or have you bought "turn-key?" If turnkey, what marketing did they have in place, did you continue it or start over?
  5. Do you have any specials? Can you add some specials to entice people?
  6. Who is your demographic (mainly), are you appealing to that group?
  7. Do you take credit cards?
  8. Do you have online reservation system in place?
  9. Are your policies inviting and not restrictive?
  10. Do you have room photos, large clear room photos on your website? (a photo is worth a million words on a B&B website, even one big one on your home page that demonstrates what your place is all about, but guests want to see the rooms!
  11. Do you blog? Blogger.com is free, if you must wait for the website start a blog and post photos there and basic info, an introduction of sorts.
  12. Are your rates reasonable for your amenities?
  13. Care to bite the bullet and receive valuable free advice from this forum? If so, post your website and any other pertinent info.
All the best and hope you see an improvement soon!
 

gillumhouse

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JB nailed it. You have said you do not have a good web site and are working on that. Meanwhile, have you listed yourself on Google Business?
I am in Podink and have experienced just what you stated. Weeks with nothing - but I do have a great web site thanks to a wonderful web master/designer and am listed all over the place - but I have a firm belief that there WILL be a phone call (yes, I do have online rez but mine seem to like using the phone) and there usually is. I am not ashamed to admit I am a believer and have Faith because something always comes through when I need it most.
In addition to what JB said, have you contacted your State Association? State Tourism? Your City? Your town newspaper - for articles or a recipe column? the funeral homes? Don't laugh, out-of-towners come home for funerals and I have a special rate for that although either I or DH ticked off someone and that has not done a lot for me but it does for others.
Figure out who are your guests and market to that segment. What I call target marketing. I advertise and market to horse owners, motorcyclists, covered bridge lovers, etc. but still keep the "scatter gun" working by being on directories like Pillows & Pancakes, BBonline, and small interest specific directories like horsemotel and horsetrip,,,,,,,,,
When starting out, I had a lot more time than money so I attended every seminar, workshop, meeting that was within driving distance to learn, make connections, and get the word out that I was here. I would always look for a table where I did not know anyone - if they knew me I could not give the commercial because they knew who I was. I also volunteered my time and help wherever I could - and came through with that commitment. THAT is how I got to be known all over the State. It is now hard to find a table where I do not know anyone.
 

Samster

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JB had a great list there... I would just add that if you can network with anyone that can book with you that could be helpful. You don't tell us what there is in your town or city to draw folks. I had a great relationship with our local university and set up direct billing with them. They're back to using hotels because the other B&Bs didn't do this. :-(
Hang in there....we had periods when there were no guests because things were dead in general in our city. We used that time to do projects or take time to ourselves. If you really get going, you'll long for those times. :)
 

Joey Camb

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Can you network with local businesses if their people need places to stay? Get on the phone!! I find IT companies need places to stay the most as their workforce seems to flow to where they are needed.
 

NW Natterbug

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Long before we ever had a true website, only did that last year, we had a free blogspot blog. We treated it as others treat their web sites. We listed it in as many free listing sites as we could find. Because we are in a rural area, it did well in the rankings. It had the phone number to call, and guests did. Templates are no cost. Blogspot blogs are no cost. With a zero advertising budget, it fits the bill until the $ starts coming in. Get thee on the web. Now.
 

Samster

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Long before we ever had a true website, only did that last year, we had a free blogspot blog. We treated it as others treat their web sites. We listed it in as many free listing sites as we could find. Because we are in a rural area, it did well in the rankings. It had the phone number to call, and guests did. Templates are no cost. Blogspot blogs are no cost. With a zero advertising budget, it fits the bill until the $ starts coming in. Get thee on the web. Now..
There are several B&Bs here that started out with a blog before they opened to get their name out there in Ether World. :)
 

Ice

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OK here is an update........ I do blog not to much but more then once a month, 2 -3 times. On Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp. The one thing I was waiting for was the website before I got on a B&B site. But I took the plunge and I have picked up 3 room nights in just the last 2 days, and they are all coming to the area for business. Do you find that most if not all of your business guest find you on a B&B listing website?
Just wanted to thank you'll. You guys are the best.
Happiness is having someplace to ask a question and having strangers friends answer it.
 

Samster

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OK here is an update........ I do blog not to much but more then once a month, 2 -3 times. On Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp. The one thing I was waiting for was the website before I got on a B&B site. But I took the plunge and I have picked up 3 room nights in just the last 2 days, and they are all coming to the area for business. Do you find that most if not all of your business guest find you on a B&B listing website?
Just wanted to thank you'll. You guys are the best.
Happiness is having someplace to ask a question and having strangers friends answer it..
Just wanted to let you know that we had a pretty good website and did a lot of those things. It took about 18 months after we opened as a start-up before we started showing up everywhere. We are now closed but I am getting calls from all kinds of places that are popping up.
Our business guests that were not through our direct network found us through Google business, a recent one through Kayak.
Blog as much as you can and get that website up ASAP!! Hang in there!
 

JBloggs

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ICE there are a few who do not have a standalone website and have used their bbonline listing as their website, you can add some good info there and photos. I see this quite often really. A couple even have their own URL and use their bbonline page on it.
 

Copperhead

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ICE there are a few who do not have a standalone website and have used their bbonline listing as their website, you can add some good info there and photos. I see this quite often really. A couple even have their own URL and use their bbonline page on it..
Joey Bloggs said:
A couple even have their own URL and use their bbonline page on it.
I have seen this on many sites. It sure would fill the gap if you did this.
Good ideas from everyone.
 

Joey Camb

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This may have been mentioned above but you can easily set up your own facebook page and it is free and it will make another link. You could so some filming on your property and put that on youtube and if you start a blog and twitter you can link them all together so that when you update one it updates them all. It also makes more links so it will improve your google rankings. Then when you get your website up and running you can link them to that was well.
 

nkeeprs

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Your website is your number 1 resource and of course you need to make sure that it is getting the hits so guest can find you. Are there alot of other Inns in the area ? if so are your room rates near or close to your rates ?
 
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