As a bed and breakfast owner and/or innkeeper, you want your hospitality business to shine. However, there may be some things that you are doing, easy mistakes, that are causing you to lose potential guests who decide to book elsewhere. I'm talking about making mistakes that are relatively straightforward to fix yet are powerful in their results. This post will focus on photography, social media, and website tips.
Professional photography is essential to increasing your occupancy rates. To avoid easy mistakes, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the photography on my website done by a professional hospitality photographer?
- Are the photos attractive and do they inspire others to want to visit?
- Are my pictures large enough and well lit so people can easily see in the rooms?
- Do my pictures of indoor rooms also feature the view outside our rooms?
- Does the image contain anything unsightly (such as a toilet or a trash can)?
- Does the room look clean and well-organized (and free of clutter)?
- Were the images made to include extra special touches like a vase of colorful flowers, a delicious-looking tray of tasty food, premium assorted chocolates, and your own branded pottery mugs (or wine glasses)?
- Have your guests ever said that your pictures do not do your place justice? Or that your inn is so much better in person?
- Do you feature everything your guests will see?
- all the guest rooms (with detailed descriptions of their amenities)
- your bath rooms (if they are attractive and without view of any toilet)
- all the common rooms for your guests to hang out (including conference and entertainment rooms)
- the outside of your B&B (including the grounds, any flower or vegetable gardens, private lakes, swimming pools, etc.)
- anything else open to guests and/or the public on your property (restaurant, spa, tea room, game room, etc.)
Social media is a great way for guests to know you more. In addition to sharing images and recipes, you can share blog posts, let people know about upcoming events (at your inn and/or your local area), use #hashtags so your content can be found by others easier, and much more.
Are you regularly sharing social media content so you stay top of mind?
Here is 2019 social media statistics of some of the most popular networks:
- Facebook: 1.4 billion daily active users, 300 millions photos uploaded daily, 8 billion videos
- Instagram: 500 million daily active users, 95 million photos uploaded daily
- LinkedIn: 200 million dailiy active users, 20 million company pages
- Pinterest: 200 million daily active users, 1 billion boards created, 100 billion pins created
- Snapchat: 178 million daily active users, 3 billion daily snaps, 10 billion daily videos
- Twitter: 100 million daily active users, 140 million daily published tweets
- YouTube: 30 million daily active users, 5 billion views daily, average length of visit 40 minutes
Your website is a window that potential guests can get a sneak peek through before they decide to book. This is an ideal place to showcase everything your inn and local area offers to guests. However, be on guard for making easy mistakes. The following questions are about key website features that will set you apart from other inns.
- Does your website look professional, clean, and uncluttered (with easy-to-read font and plenty of white space)?
- Is your website mobile responsive (does it adjust to whatever device it is being viewed from)?
- Do you have an "About Us" page that details things like the history of your inn (if you own a historical property) and the reason you became an innkeeper?
- Do you have pictures of every room/suite/cabin that guests can stay in? Do you list the individual amenities of each place?
- Are the website pictures clickable for people to pin on Pinterest?
- Do you have visible social media icons that represent everywhere your inn has a presence online?
- Do you let people know what to expect for breakfast time? What about your complimentary refreshments and goodies?
- Do you share the logos of professional organizations (like Select Registry and B&B associations) you belong to and major hospitality achievements (like Trip Advisor ratings or awards) you have received?
- Do you have a Google map and directions for people to find you easily?
- Do you have a mobile friendly booking engine connected to your website so people can "Book Now"?
- Do you list your guest packages and specials? How easy can they be added by those booking online?
- Is there a short (ideally less than five minutes) video of your inn that people can view directly from your website?
- Do you have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page that answers questions people often ask you?
- Do you offer a downloadable vacation guide to your local area?
- Is it clear to people how they can contact you (phone number, email address and/or contact form)?
In this post we focused on three areas where easy mistakes can happen: your photography, your social media presence, and your website. When these areas are strong, your business will likely be strong, too.
Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography