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If anyone knows about B&B, Karen does. Hopton House - a converted granary with three bedrooms - has a five-star grading (putting it in the top seven per cent of rated properties in the country) and a gold award (given by Visit Britain for added excellence)

The Guardian, January 2009

 

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Marketing Your Bed And Breakfast - How To Get More Articles With Your Marketing Plan

Before the advent of the internet and cheap airline flights, B&Bs could attract all the guests they needed by placing an ad in their local brochure, getting a listing at the tourist office and making sure the sign outside reflected the quality of their property. These days a successful B&B owner is one that understands the importance of marketing and dedicates enough time to it. A good marketing plan forms the basis of all your marketing activity and helps keep your marketing on track.

So what are the key elements of a successful marketing plan?

1. Identify Your Target Markets

Who are your customers? How old are they? What's their marital status? How much money have they got to spend? Why do they want to go to a B&B? What do they do when they go away? What do they want from a B&B?

You may have several target markets e.g. business people, dog owners, foodies, ramblers, National Trust property visitors.

2. How Does What You Are Offering Meet What Your Target Market Needs From A B&B?

By understanding exactly what your market wants from a B&B, you can then identify how what you are offering meets their needs. That then makes it much easier to define your marketing actions and write copy that appeals directly to your target market.

For example, business people will generally want wireless internet access, a good power shower, a desk in their room to work and an early breakfast.

3. Identify What Marketing Actions You Need To Take For each Of Your Target Markets And When?

For each of your target markets you need to identify the specific actions that you need to take to attract them. And like all good goals your actions should be SMART ( Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound )

For example, your local company may be running a series of conferences throughout the winter. Your marketing action might be to ring the director's PA to let her know about your B&B and how it is suitable for guests attending the conference, follow up with a letter explaining how your B&B meets the guest's needs, offer a 10% discount and send some brochures.

Or a new local food festival is being held in your area but it's only for one day. Compose an email newsletter and send it to previous guests telling them about the food festival and offering them a discount for a stay of 3 nights or more

4. Review The Results Of Your Marketing Action And Adjust If Necessary

You should regularly review how your marketing activity is going. Don't be afraid to stop doing something if it's not working or do more of it if it's bringing you lots of business.

ALWAYS ask your guests how they found you and why they chose to stay at your B&B.

If the £500 advert you placed in the walking magazine has brought you no business then drop it - no matter how successful it has been for the B&B down the road. If the winter special offer postcards you got printed gave you 50% repeat occupancy during the low season, send them out again this year.

A marketing plan doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler the better. It could be a A4 binder with one sheet for your plan, another sheet to jot down any marketing ideas and one hour set aside in your diary every month to review it all. What is important is that you regularly review and update your plan.