Is Your B&B Internet Marketing Maximized?
What are the key factors?
The Internet is where the action is. Everyone uses it for research about where to go where to stay and what to do. Internet marketing has to be the focus of a B&B’s marketing.
It is important to define what make your B&B different. What makes you special? What makes you unique?
Are you a boutique hotel? Are you a charming and quaint historic B&B? Are you the lowest cost lodging in the area? Do you offer a breakfast buffet that’s the best in town? Do you have that signature breakfast that guests will talk about when they talk about your B&B? Do you offer ergonomic pillows? What do you do that is special and different and even unique?
Do people write about and comment on your special aspects and unique characteristics in Trip Advisor and B&B Online? If you look at your reviews and no one is talking about what you feel makes your B&B special then the message is not really getting out about your special aspects and offerings. Or perhaps it is worse than that and people do not view your B&B as special.
When people visit a B&B website they are mainly interested in two things – what do they see and what’s the price. When a traveler visits your website what do they see? How compelling is it? A visitor’s first impression will go a long way towards convincing them to book. Also, it can be the little things that count.
- Do you update images by the season?
- Are your images of high quality?
- How do your images and the display of them stack up against your competition? People will compare.
- Do you have images of what make your inn or B&B special (that signature breakfast)?
When you go to a B&B website, you expect to see excellent and compelling images; Images of the out side of the B&B; images of common areas; images of the rooms, images of the area; images of any special features. It is important to note that very few cameras and the techniques used to photograph a room do proper justice to the room. You need to show the whole room and perhaps even the associated bathroom. You may need to do some work in Photoshop to brighten up the shadows or to tone down the very bright areas.
Make the images of the room create a feeling as if the room is inviting the guest to stay there. Turn the beds back. Put a book on the bed. Consider staging the room with a carafe and two cups of coffee an attractive snack and a book, magazine or a laptop. Consider how you can stage it as if someone is in actually staying in the room and make it welcoming and attractive.
One of the biggest frustration people have is with the booking process. It is vital to be set up online in a manner that is not frustrating to people. Keep the booking process simple! Examine your site in detail and make the booking process as easy and available as you can make it. Consider having a link to your booking page on every page of your site. You can even place a link to book on your social media marketing sites. You never know when a guest is going to want to go ahead and book – they may even want to book in the middle of the night!
If you don’t make it easy then travelers will abandon their booking purchase and not book at all. A good and easy booking process is money in the bank!
Search Engine Optimization
Keyword phrases are important. A B&B website needs to have keyword phrases built into the content from the start. Decide on your keyword phrases by selecting them not just on your B&B but also on the area. If you have a blog then start creating posts about things in the area of interest to travelers.
- Things to do
- A major local attraction
- A special event
When people are looking for places to eat or the major attraction in your area they may see your post on the restaurant or attraction and visit your website. They may like your website so much they will book a room.
Even if these people do not book a room Google and the other major search engines will see the additional content and the associated traffic and this can result in a higher place in search. Blog about the things that are happening in your area that everyone is going to check on and make sure you feature them on your website or blog and if you do that, you’re going to get much more traffic (and more bookings!).
Become a Local Hub
Google and the other major search engines will favor strong local content when making a decision on which site to put higher in the search results and which ones to put lower down.
Strive to be the expert authority on the area. This means you need to create in-depth local content with excellent imagery and perhaps even videos and to have multiple in-coming and out-going links to other sites that specialize in local content.
Examine your list of local collaborators. How well are you connected with them? How well are they connected with you? You need to be a resource to them and visa versa. Develop a strong list of collaborators – these are other local businesses (with websites) that have content that your visitors would enjoy. Contact them and nurture a relationship. Ask them to link to you and set up a means to link to them.
Be careful to balance these links well. If all you do is create out-bound links to other local resources then you will have a link profile that is out of balance. Get as many in-bound links as you can as you create and develop these relationships and your local content.
Have A Site That is Smart-Phone Friendly
Note that April 21st was the day when Google started using its new search criteria based on whether your site is mobile-device friendly. If you do not have a responsive design and/or a dedicated phone-friendly site then you could see your position in search drop and all the good work you have done based on the above will suffer.
A mobile-friendly site is a necessity for a B&B today. People use mobile devices more than desktops and for a B&B website a mobile-friendly site is not a “nice-to-have” but rather a must have. For more information on this specific topic check out this blog post – A Mobile-Ready Website. It is not too late but a big delay may not bode well for your search position.