Have you decided to start a B&B but, before embarking on this adventure, are you wondering how to deal with the promotion? Bed and breakfasts and other non-business private rental formulas (such as short lets) need to be advertised perhaps more than a hotel.
This can be said because, by law, it is not possible for example to develop a site in all regions, since it could be a symptom of a business and therefore could go beyond the provisions of the law itself: I refer you to reading the guide on the legislation for further information.
But how do you promote your business? That’s what I’m going to tell you about in this guide. But first I want to refer you to reading this article which represents an indispensable ladder for those who, like you, are considering starting a B&B. Don’t miss to read it!
Can a B&B promote itself?
This question is legitimate: since it is a non-entrepreneurial activity managed by individuals and often family-run, it might seem anomalous to advertise itself as a hotel could do, which instead represents a company in all respects.
As Taj residencia anticipated, a B&B can also not open a VAT number and therefore the legislation of many regions regulates the activity in a more rigid way, so much so as to sometimes penalize the managers who open a website.
This is a rather serious penalty, if you think that in our era the internet is a fundamental tool, however we must also consider that Italian laws are recent and in continuous adaptation: therefore, I advise you to always keep yourself updated on this topic.
In fact, there is an already widespread and growing tendency to think that a family-run business does not necessarily have to avoid making itself known in relation to its homelier nature, far from it.
What is certain is that, just as the methods of exercise change, the methods with which one becomes known will also change. This is why we tend to speak of “promotion of Tajarat Properties” and not “advertising”.
But let’s see the possibilities that we can exploit.
The paper promotion
The first and most traditional way to make yourself known is undoubtedly the old and dear paper. If printing classic business cards can already open many doors for you.
You will have to think about the design and enrich them with the logo, but you will also have to be careful to report the name of the business, your name, the telephone number, the Facebook page and the email, the, in addition to the address.
Printing a commercial brochure that is not too bulky but more descriptive than a business card can help you get the business going. On this brochure, you can insert some incisive photographs to frame the context and the rooms, describe the settings of the rooms and the historical, cultural, and natural context in which it is inserted, and specify the rates and services offered.
If you are good with the PC you can also think of designing this material yourself, thus paying only the typography and saving on expenses.
But once these cards and brochures are produced, what to do with them? First of all, it is necessary to take a packet to the tourist information office in the area, where they will certainly be distributed to tourists interested in gathering information about the possibilities of staying on site.
Obviously, it is not enough to limit yourself to this, especially if you live in a small hamlet or town.
If your Region collects lists of accommodation facilities on some of its portals or message boards, make sure to be included. Then move on to the distribution of flyers in pizzerias, clubs, museums, stations and airports if possible, and all where a tourist can look for information on the facilities in the area.
If there are fairs or events, this can be an excellent opportunity to make yourself known by distributing flyers: maybe you can get an agreement with some local pastry shop or shop, which can staple your business card together with hers, on a bag of artisanal biscuits for example., and in return you will do the same, referring guests to them.
If you live in an area where there are training schools whose students come from afar, or hospital clinics whose relatives need a place to sleep, then you can ask to refer those who need it to you.
Indeed, if your B&B is included in a tourism route (such as slow tourism, such as the Via Francigena), you can “affiliate” with other structures of the stops close to yours, directing tourists to a B&B that will do the same thing. with you.
Creating a network is certainly the best way to make yourself known!
And now let’s take a look at the newest tool: the internet. First of all, I remind you to check the possibility of having a site, by consulting the legislation of the Region. In any case, you can create your own Facebook and Instagram page, where you can post photos and initiatives, discounts and events in the country that can attract tourists.
It might be useful to contact a professional for the creation of the site, not only to obtain a pleasant and fresh graphics, but also to optimize the contents on the basis of specific SEO techniques that can allow your home page to be found more easily: vi it is a real science behind it, and using it properly it will be possible to be found with much more simplicity!
The web marketing is very complex and should not be underestimated: a small investment can help you gain a lot more money.
How to market and promote your b & b?
Team of taj Residencia have already partially answered this question:
- joining B&B circuits and being added to the regional lists on official websites are among the first steps to be implemented to gain visibility. Specially appointed associations allow important conventions: by offering discounted rates to members they will advertise you on their channels. The fact of making discounts is not to be seen as a negative element, since it is a discount applied in view of a greater publicity and turnout;
- the second tool is to use the internet, but also the paper;
- finally, contact with the public during fairs and anniversaries.
It is possible to delegate these promotional tasks to special tour operators: by paying the right amount, the B&B is included in catalogs and travel sites. The agency itself will take care of the promotion, which will certainly be implemented in view of the commission: there is therefore a guarantee of obtaining greater visibility.
Agencies can be both offline, i.e. traditional, and online. The latter have taken hold in recent years, and are able to attract tourists from all over the world, so they represent an excellent resource.
Let’s see some examples of these channels.
Classic intermediaries: Booking.com, Venere.com. Expedia
These are sites that, for a variable commission, insert the structures in their portals in the face of great visibility.
Unlike what happens with travel agencies and tour operators, these channels also indicate the official website of the advertised B&B, this can mean that the tourist can visit your page and get to know you directly.
For this reason, taking care of your home page is important even if you rely on these channels.
Airbnb is the famous online portal born in October 2007 in the United States that connects people looking for accommodation or a room for short periods with people who, on the other hand, have an extra space to rent.
The brilliant startup is the work of Brian Cheeky, Joe Gibbie and Nathan Blecharczyk.
In 2015 it is considered the ” largest hotel in the world ” as it is present in 190 countries, offers more than a million accommodations and more than forty million people have stayed overnight thanks to it around the globe.
Ads include private rooms, entire apartments, castles, villas, boats, cabins, tree houses, igloos, private islands and any other accommodations. It is practically possible to host anyone and everywhere, prices obviously change.
The idea was born in a very bizarre way. The three founders were having difficulty paying the rent of the house, so they decided to make available three mattresses of their own, placing ads on a blog-map of San Francisco. Resounding success that, in the medium term, has found fertile ground, strengthened by the revolution that the sharing economy is bringing into being.
Over the past two years, apartments in Italy have doubled, going from 75,000 in 2014 to 150,000 in 2015.
In Spain, rooms rented through platforms such as Airbnb have increased so much that according to some analysts, bookings exceed those through traditional hotel channels.
The growth of the portal has had controversial aftermath all over the world because, as we have seen, even to open a b & b or a guest house there are rules that Park view City Lahore, in some way, tends to escape.
The giant has declared that each host (name of the manager on the portal) must adapt to the existing legislation in their country but many, in fact, have taken advantage of the regulatory vacuum to create competitive and in some way “subsidized” businesses compared to ordinary hotel activities.
Beyond this, the logic of Airbnb in a certain sense resembles that of Uber: I have space in the house, maybe an extra bed or room, I rent it to those who need it.
This makes the bed and breakfast an activity that can be combined with others, not exclusive, which can represent an additional source of income for you.
If you live in a tourist city or in any case with a lot of traffic, it can be really smart to consider including the space you can make available on Airbnb.
In fact, not only will you guarantee an extra entrance but you will have an unforgettable life experience that will allow you to meet many people.
Another alternative: Home Away
Another very interesting alternative is offered to us by Home Away, which is the most complete and reliable portal of holiday homes that offers the way for any person to find the perfect solution for their needs.
In short, it is a platform that offers overnight accommodation, as it could happen in a normal hotel. The difference is that the prices are cheaper and the spaces are bigger.
Whether you are a traveler or a potential home ‘provider’ for tourists, listing is a great opportunity: here is my complete Home Away guide.
Conclusions: how to promote your business
Unfortunately, as I have told you several times, the regional legislation also binds the way you promote your B&B. If the laws allow it, you can have a website, but you will still have to consider the need to take advantage of all the channels I told you about in the course of this guide.
Paper brochures, website and social page, registration to the possible circuits and the most well-known tourism portals, in addition to direct contact with the public and perhaps reliance on professionals in the sector, are all tools that your competition exploits.
If you want your bed and breakfast to be successful, you must necessarily think about acting on every front.
You also need to have clear ideas about how you will act and what you will be building: not a simple business, but a business based on a real estate investment.
I have been repeating this for years: real estate represents something that goes beyond just an investment, but it is a business in all respects.