How B&B Owners can get past the 5 Fundamental mistakes
Every new Bed and Breakfast Owner faces a common set of challenges. These challenges are often unforeseen and born from not knowing what you don’t know.
In fact, these fundamental mistakes are being made by most business owners across a wide range of industries and there is a common reason for it.
The person who best explained this best to me, many years ago was Michael E Gerber in his acclaimed book ‘E-Myth – Why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it’
The most simplistic explanation is that in every business there are 3 core roles:
- Entrepreneur (This is what the ‘E’ stands for) – The person who has the vision for where the business is going and drives it towards that vision.
- Manager – The person who controls the business admin
- Technician – The person who is the expert in doing what the business does.
Most of us set up in business because we have a passion for something or an expertise in an area. We are in effect the ‘technician’ and have no knowledge of the other two areas. If you are a new Bed and Breakfast Owner you’ve probably set up because you want to serve people, have expertise in hospitality or want to create your own business.
It’s unlikely you set up because you are an expert in marketing, sales or business administration, and this is where the 5 Fundamental Mistakes of most Bed and Breakfast owners, start!
Too many of us believe that ‘if you build it, they will come’, unfortunately, this is rarely if ever the case. The accommodation world is more competitive than ever and people shop around frequently.
To achieve the success you desire you must be master sales and marketing.
Let’s run through a summary of the top 5 mistakes:
1: Not, hiring a marketing expert
I hear you already “you would say that you’re marketing company’. You would be right we are, but we exist as do a lot of our competitors because we care about helping you to be successful and freeing your time up to do the things you want to do. By hiring an expert you immediately get two options from most companies, you can ask them to coach you and teach you what you need to be doing or you can get them to do your marketing for you.
Either way, you’ve given yourself a massive leap ahead of your competitors and your profits will increase dramatically. If your profits don’t increase you can always fire that person and get someone else.
A hotel industry marketing expert will probably have access to tons of insights and new things that are working. They are constantly looking for new ways to improve results for Bed and Breakfast owners because they need to, that’s their job. Just consider the wealth of knowledge they will be able to bring to your business.
- Have you got the time to do this research?
- Have you got time to learn all the latest things happening in the marketing world?
2: Not, having the right B&B management systems and marketing channels
Depending on the size of your accommodation there are a couple of these systems you might not consider essential but they will make your life easier and reduce stress.
Having the right systems and technology in your B&B business will support the running of a smooth operation, increase sales and reduce lost opportunities.
- Website with booking button –
- A great looking website with an integrated booking button will help visitors to book directly with you. This can easily save you a ton of cash by not having to pay high commissions to the Online Travel Agents
- Get a booking button that is responsive, by that we mean it is easy to use on mobile devices. More and more travellers are booking on mobile devices and if your website or button does not respond to the smaller screen visitors will be put off booking.
- Some booking buttons allow you to create promo or discount codes, this feature is fantastic because it will help to increase initial sales and repeat bookings. It can help increase repeat bookings because you can send promotional codes on email to people who have stayed with you before.
- If you have less than 10 Rooms our price for a booking button starts at £25 per month.
- Channel Manager
- What is a channel manager, might be your first question! A channel manager manages your rates, availability and bookings across all the various channels like Expedia, LateRooms, etc.
- Most B&B owners below 10 rooms don’t often use a channel manager because they are only on one or two channels and few bookings to manage.
- Regardless of your size, it can make life so much easier, by giving you one central place to manage your bookings, rate and availability. Even if you are just on two channels, imagine the time you will save by not having to log into Expedia update your rates and availability and then doing the same on LateRooms. It could save you 10 to 20 minutes a day.
- You will also feel more comfortable putting your accommodation on more channels because you can manage it. This will lead to increased exposure and sales.
- If you have less than 10 rooms our price for booking button and channel manager starts at £65 per month. If that saves you a few hours a month that is money well invested!
- Customer Relationship Management System (CRM)
- To keep this article short and sweet, I won’t go into the details of what a CRM does, just to say it is a complete and essential database and central location for managing all your customer data.
- Find out all about CRM’s by watching this video:
- You can get a FREE FOREVER plan from Zoho.
- Email Autoresponder
- An email autoresponder is a fancy email sending system. What makes it fancy?
- You can arrange for emails to be sent out to just a segment of your email list.
- You can schedule emails to be sent based on dates
- You build a series of emails that go out one after the other without you doing anything.
- This can save you tons and tons of time.
- It will keep you connected with potential guests and previous guests which lead to increased sales.
- An email autoresponder is a fancy email sending system. What makes it fancy?
- Marketing Funnel
- This one is only for those who want to fill their rooms and increase profit margins massively.
- More and more business owners are discovering how a marketing funnel can beat website sales every day!
- The problem with your website is visitors can click anywhere and get distracted easily. A marketing funnel stops this from happening. It leads the visitor down a predefined route that you have designed for them.
- I highly recommend listening to Russell Brunson he’s the world leading expert in this field
3. Not Knowing Your Guest
Before you shout at me that you know your guests and you call them by their first name, stay with me here! What I mean by knowing your guest is understanding their persona or avatar. This is probably one of the most underrated steps, it’s the one I see people skipping all the time. This is the marketing practice of grouping who your customer is by demographics, behaviour, attitudes and much more.
Why would you want to create a Guest Avatar? It’s simple, it’s for the purpose of marketing to them and exceeding their expectations. Let me just cover the marketing side in this article.
In marketing, you have two simple choices: Blanket marketing or targeted marketing. Blanket marketing or shotgun marketing is just putting a message out there and hoping for the best.
By creating a guest avatar you know where your customer is going to congregate, where do they hang out, what do they want. You can then easily advertise to them in a way that they listen to and take notice of.
4. Not getting repeat business
Everyone is always chasing the new customer, attempting to fill the bucket at the top. They forget that by doing this and not paying attention to previous customers, they are letting water pour out the bottom.
This is such a shame! You’ve put all that effort into filling the bucket and then you’re just letting it pour out the bottom. The cost to find new customers is much much higher than that of getting repeat customers. Getting repeat customers can be as simple as sending out an email to remind people you exist or that an event on nearby to you.
Using an email autoresponder system is your quickest way to resolving this. If there is just one action you take because of reading this article, make it this!
Keep in contact with people who have stayed with you in the past!
5. Missing Opportunities
If you know your customer and you know what they want you can find ways to provide it to them! This can have a massive impact on your profits, not revenue, PROFIT.
Maybe you have lots of couples that stop at your property and you know they like to have a bottle of wine in their room on arrival. Offer it to them! You can buy the wine at trade cost and sell it at retail or even slightly more.
Maybe people come and stay with you because of a cycle route nearby and they hire bikes from a local store. Talk to the local store and see if they will deliver the bikes directly to your door. Most likely they’ll say yes and do you a special trade price deal. You take the money and then pass the difference on to the shop, you can do all this at the time of booking or by calling your guest before arrival and offering it to them.
Think – What do my guest want?
Think – Which businesses can I do joint ventures with?
Think – How could I add this into an automated marketing campaign?
Would you like help implement these systems or designing automated marketing processes?
Simple send us a message saying ‘tell me more’ and we’ll give you a free comprehensive strategy call