Category Archives: Promotion

Why You’ll Love Signs by Danthonia Designs

6 Danthonia Design signs

 

Does your Bed and Breakfast need a sign? Today Danthonia Design’s 40 plus designers, artists and artisans use office and work areas of over 60,000 sq/ft to create signage of all sizes for clients across Australia and internationally. Many of their beautiful hand-carved signs belong to bed and breakfast owners.

In addition to their Aussie market – they ship between 100-200 signs per month to the USA. The Aussie dollar is lower than the US dollar and Australia / United States have a free trade agreement – this means that US clients get a good value for their money.

Handcrafted hotel signs, B&B signs and restaurant signs are easily recognizable and impress each guest upon arrival. Any successful hospitality business needs to make that good first impression. Danthonia creates award winning signs for the hospitality industry. Effective inn and restaurant signage convert passers-by into regular patrons. Hand carved bed and breakfast signs can become local landmarks.

Their on-line sign-designer tools allow bed and breakfast owners to customize your own sign. Try out different colors, change the artwork or font, and order when it looks just right for you! Although each Danthonia sign is individually handcrafted, they have developed a team approach that allows a 21 day delivery for most US orders. For a rush fee they can deliver in 15 days.

Over the last years articles by or about Danthonia, their hand crafting techniques, their people and their award-winning sign designs have appeared in the following publications:

  • SignCraft Magazine – USA
  • Sign Business Magazine – USA
  • Signs of the Times – USA
  • Sign Gallery Series – USA
  • US Sign Council Calendar – USA
  • Visual Impact – Australia
  • Image Magazine – Australia
  • Outback Magazine – Australia

Bed and Breakfast Blogging thinks that Danthonia Designs is a great place to go for high-quality, durable, gorgeous hand-crafted signs for your bed and breakfast inns. They are sure to impress your guests who drive by and those who see your sign on your website.

 

Why Local Partnerships Can Make You Rich

a store with glass cases with food inside and other merchandise

Do you know why local partnerships can make you rich?  Do you know that your local area could be your best asset?  Travelers tend to pick the area of their destination BEFORE they choose their accommodations.  So innkeepers can profit from thinking about: “Why do guests visit my local area?”

Word-of-mouth marketing can also be very powerful.  What do you want to become known for?  A big part of becoming more well known is developing ties with other local businesses and organizations in your community.

Who, in your local area, offers complementary products and services?  There are many reasons why it is in both your interests to form a mutually beneficial relationship:

  • You can refer each other business (since you don’t have all the same customers)
  • You can promote each other in a variety of ways (such as via social media)
  • You can form exclusive partnerships (more on that later)

So, you may be thinking, what types of places and with whom could I form local partnerships?:

  • Caterers
  • Chocolatier
  • Entertainment providers
  • Florist
  • Gift shops
  • Museums
  • Nonprofit organizations and charities
  • Realtors
  • Restaurants
  • Spas (if you do not have your own spa)
  • Sports
  • Tourist attractions
  • Wedding planners

There is a whole movement going on to support local businesses and service professionals.  Spread the love for your local area by featuring these other businesses:

  • Brochures (display them at your inn)
  • Coupons (arrange for your guests to receive discounts for using their services)
  • Menus (let people see what they offer by providing their menus)
  • Preferred list of vendors (such as caterers and wedding planners)
  • Social Media (share a picture of them and write about why people should want to use their products and/or services)
  • Video (partner with other businesses to promote your town as a vacation destination)
  • Word-of-mouth (if guests ask for your recommendations)

Develop “exclusive partnerships” in which you agree to only buy from them and they offer you a reduced rate for doing so.  This works out well in the case of using one chocolatier and one florist.  Especially if you offer packages to your guests which include chocolate and flowers.

An “influencer” is a person who has the power to influence many people.  How do you meet and form relationships with the “influencers” in your community?

  • Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce which will have local business owners and service providers as members.
  • LinkedIn is a powerful social media network for finding other local business owners
  • There is nothing like meeting face-to-face to discuss how you can help each other’s businesses grow
  • Look online (like at TripAdvisor) to find lists for the best restaurants near you and the top things to do in (and near) your area for ideas of people and places to contact

That is why local partnerships can make you rich.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Catapult Your Business Growth with Gift Cards

Large home with tall trees around it

Did you know you can catapult your business growth with gift cards?  Bed and breakfast gift cards work well for both innkeepers and guests.  Individual inns as well as B&B associations offer gift cards or gift certificates for purchase. The North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns (NCBBI) makes their gift certificates available in $50 increments and guests can use them at any of their member inns.

Special Occasions for Gift Cards:

  • Anniversaries
  • Birthdays
  • Employment appreciations
  • Holiday gifts
  • Honeymoons
  • Retirements
  • Surprising a loved one
  • Thanking a friend

Make sure you clearly communicate the the terms and conditions of your gift certificates and gift cards to those who purchase them.  You may restrict guests from using their gift certificates in combination with other offers, additional discounts, or third-party promotions.  Your place of hospitality may also exclude their use for group services including accommodations and catering for weddings and other large functions.

Be sure to state in writing that all property specific policies, including deposit, minimum stay, and cancellation policies still apply.  You may want to add that no blackout dates apply. If there is an expiration date, please state that directly on the gift certificate.  Give guests the option of allowing money left over to be put toward future stays.

Consider offering a discount on your gift certificates or gift cards during the holidays.  Promote that they make great presents for those who are difficult to shop for!

Reasons Why We Should All Love Gift Cards:

  • Gift card recipients have the freedom to choose when they visit (as long as it is before it expires), the reason for their stay (they could save it for their birthday or anniversary), and even their choice of which inn (in the case of B&B association gift cards)
  • Gift givers do not have the usual stress involved in choosing a gift especially for the hard-to-shop-for people in your life
  • Saves time (no need for givers to drive all over the map to find the perfect gift and these are great for last-minute shoppers)
  • Saves money (givers decide the amount you want to give and stay within their budget)

If your inn or association offers gift cards or gift certificates, be sure to dedicate a web page to provide information and list all the necessary details.  Allow people to purchase your gift cards or certificates directly from your website.  Be sure to promote your gift certificates in blog posts (with their permission, share stories about guests who used gift cards).  Don’t forget that social media is a great place to announce that your inn offers gift cards.  Gift cards are a great way to catapult your B&B business growth!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

How To Promote Staycations at Your Bed and Breakfast

Outdoor flower garden with bench by tree and wood fence in background

 

Do you know how to promote staycations? As you may know, “staycations” are vacations spent at home or nearby.  Have you promoted your nearby bed and breakfast to locals in your community?  This is a great target market. Best of all, you are a “local” promoting your business to other locals.

 

The Victoria, a bed and breakfast in Bentonville, Arksansas,  lists four great reasons for locals in their community to stay at their bed and breakfast:

  • Less planning is necessary (since you know your local community and you can even go back home if you forgot something important)
  • Much more affordable (plane rides and car rentals are not necessary)
  • Get to know everything your area has to offer (such as its museums, gardens, and other tourist attractions)
  • Vacation at a more relaxed pace (a great alternative to stressful, activity-filled vacations far away from home)

According to The Project: Time Off Coalition, more than half of American workers (55%) left vacation time unused in 2015. This adds up to 658 million unused vacation days! Ironically, their data also showed that employees who take 10 or fewer days of vacation time are less likely to have received a raise or bonus in the last three years than those who took 11 days or more.

This is where owners and innkeepers of bed and breakfast inns can come in.  You could put together your own staycation package that could include tickets to local area attractions and gift certificates to local restaurants.

The Bridgeton House in the New Hope area of Pennsylvania offers a “Savory Staycation Package” that includes:

  • A welcoming wine and cheese upon arrival
  • Afternoon tea featuring a wonderful selection of homemade sweets and savories each day of your stay
  • A multi-course made to order breakfast each day of your stay
  • Their fireside basket dinner for 2 inclusive of a bottle of wine (choice of red, white or sparkling cider)

You can promote your package in a number of effective ways:

  • In a blog post that discusses the benefits of staycations and details your package
  • Share the information in social media (including Facebook and Twitter)
  • Since you are attracting local area guests, how about putting a sign outside your inn announcing your staycation package?  This can attract those who pass by.
  • Partner with local business owners to promote your staycation package (such as local attractions and restaurants)
  • Share this information with your local tourism board and local press
  • Volunteer at a local nonprofit or sponsor a local event in your community for word of mouth advertising.

Since you know what your specific local area offers, you know how to promote staycations by customizing your staycation package to fit your community.  It is becoming increasingly popular to “shop local” as well.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Bed and Breakfast Promotions

bed and breakfast promotions

Bed and breakfast promotions include marketing special deals and packages throughout the year. These opportunities include various holidays, seasons, and other special times.

This can be a chance for your bed and breakfast to stand out and show its own personality.  Innkeepers who are creative and thoughtful can really improve the experiences of their guests.

 

The benefits of staying at a bed and breakfast include your guests getting a break, reducing their stress, and focusing on strengthening their relationships.  Guests also experience the beauty of your local area as well as enjoy the luxury of your gourmet breakfasts and plush amenities.

We have talked about the advantages of offering guests special packages.  Now we will concentrate on developing specific promotions.  You can entice with discounts (lower price), complimentary services (free massage or tasting hour), and free upgrades (such as rooms with more amenities). 

Create a Sense of Urgency and Give a Call-To-Action:

  • Hurry!  Offer ends…
  • This weekend only!
  • Back for a limited time!
  • Last chance to…

Your bed and breakfast promotions can be put on your website and blog as well as social media and email marketing.  If you assign promo codes, you can track how they found about the promotion.  A bed and breakfast can have the same promotion, but give it different promo codes depending upon where the guest saw it.  For example, if it were a patriotic holiday promotion (Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Veteran’s Day), it could have the following

Festive PROMO CODES to Identify Where They Saw Your Promotion:

  • “Red, White, and Blue” (website/blog)
  • “Let Freedom Ring” (Facebook)
  • “Home of the Brave” (Google+)
  • “Star Spangled Banner” (Twitter)
  • “Lady Liberty” (Pinterest)

Guests Enjoy Holiday Promotions Throughout the Year:

  • New Year: New You (could be yoga retreat or vegetarian B&B)
  • Be My Valentine
  • At the End of the Rainbow (St. Patrick’s Day)
  • Celebrating Mom and Dad
  • Thanksgiving Getaway
  • December to Remember

Season Promotions Could Be Titled:

  • “Spring Forward” or “Have a Spring Fling”
  • “Summer Sun Adventure” or “Dog Days of Summer” (for pet friendly B&B’s)
  • “Fall Back in Love” or “Autumn Leaves”
  • “Winter Wonderland” or “Ski the Slopes” (for ski lodges)

Promote During Special Times:

  • Last Minute Promotions (keep rooms consistently booked)
  • Midweek Discounts (encourage guests to stay during the week)
  • Weekend Deals (popular time for guests to visit)

Bed and breakfasts that have blogs can write a blog post to explain more of the fun details associated with your specific promotion.  The fresh content from regular blog posts offers a great way to become more visible online.  Greater online visibility means not only more web visitors, but also a consistent source of regular bookings. Innkeepers who do not have the time for (or interest in) writing a blog can contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Military Special

military special

Do you want to show your appreciation for the men and women in the military who protect our freedoms?  As a bed and breakfast owner, you can offer a military special discount to all United States military men and women.  It is a good idea to require they show you their military identification when they check in so you can apply that discount. You may set limitations such as cannot be applied towards a package or a gift certificate purchase. Patriotic Americans will salute your generosity to those in service to our country.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Senior Citizen Discount

senior citizen discount

 

Have you ever thought about attracting seniors to stay at your bed and breakfast?  They are a group that generally has more free time and less responsibilities at home because they have grown children.  Seniors may also have a more limited budget.  By extending a senior citizen discount, you are welcoming them to visit your inn.

 

You can specify:

  • Age (ex: 60+)
  • Time of week (ex: Sun-Thurs.)
  • Discount (percentage off or flat rate off)

You should state that you require they show proof of age upon arrival.  You may want to exclude holidays or other peak times.  Sometimes bed and breakfasts accept AARP discount cards.  Your willingness to lower your prices can earn you more money because you have more guests visiting your bed and breakfast.  Be sure to promote this on your website, blog, and social media.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Promote with Packages

promote with packages

 

 

Promote with packages that your bed and breakfast guests can purchase.  These packages may be based on the season, occasion, local area, classes, or the need to feel pampered.

 

 

  • Classes--you may have guests who are attending conferences, workshops, and other learning opportunities at your B&B or near it
  • Local area–has its own attractions, things to do, and events throughout the year
  • Occasion–your guests may be celebrating their wedding, anniversary, birthday, reunion, graduation, or some other significant event
  • Pampering–your guests may like spa services, chocolates, flowers, or dessert for two delivered to their guest room to enhance their memories of their stay at your bed and breakfast
  • Season–you may offer specials during the slow times of your year or offer special holiday packages such as Valentine’s Day

As a bed and breakfast owner, you may make arrangements with local restaurants, attractions, florists, spa facilities, and more.  There is power in creating affiliations and associations with complimentary businesses to yours.  You both can profit from these mutually beneficial arrangements.

Never underestimate the power of packages.  People love to feel special and know that they will be making vacation memories they will fondly recall.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Contests Create Customers

contests create customers

Did you realize that your holding a contest could actually bring you more business? Contests create customers. People love winning things and it will bring more visitors to your website.  If they do win, they tell all their friends about your bed and breakfast.  Even if they do not win, they may decide to become your guests anyway after reading all about your B&B on your website and blog.

 

First, I will mention two actual contests. Then I will share my ideas for other types of contests to promote your bed and breakfast.

Go to the contests page at BBOnline.com.  In January of 2014, the Parish Patch Farm and Inn in Normandy, Tennessee is offering a contest where the winner will receive 2 free nights after answering seven questions about the inn and an additional tie-breaker question asking you to guess on how many light bulbs are in the Inn Library.

Lifetime movies has a contest to win a stay at the Borden Bed and Breakfast because Lifetime has a television movie about the life of Lizzie Borden that is premiering on January 25.  The contest runs from January 6 to January 15, 2014.

http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/lizzie-borden-took-an-ax/bed-and-breakfast-sweepstakes

15 entries per person/email address per day
Prize: (1 winner) 3-day/2-night trip for winner and one (1) guest to Fall River, Massachusetts to visit and stay at the Borden Bed and Breakfast, the childhood home of Lizzie Borden. The guest traveler should be at least eighteen (18) years of age and if the winner is under twenty-one (21), the guest must be his/her parent or legal guardian. Trip includes round trip coach airfare to and from a major gateway airport nearest winner’s home city (as determined in Sponsor’s sole discretion), double occupancy standard hotel accommodations for 2-nights at the Borden Bed and Breakfast and a cash gift card of $1,500 or the same amount in cash to cover meals and ground transportation.

You could decide to do any number of type of merit-based contests such as:

  • the best essay on why someone wants to visit your bed and breakfast
  • the best pet photo
  • the best drawing/painting of the outside of your bed and breakfast
  • the best video commercial of your inn or a video about why someone should prefer to stay at a bed and breakfast over a hotel.

If you decide to do a merit-based contest, it is a good idea to require that the winner must be willing to share their entry on your website.  That way you can post their essay, photo, drawing, painting, or commercial on your website.  Be sure to state if you will not be able to return their entries if that is the case. Good luck and have fun with it.  Contests create customers so they are a great way to promote your bed and breakfast.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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