From “Ask Kit!”:
Q: To keep our advertising budget reasonable, we need to look at non-tradtional marketing methods.
A: That’s always a good step to take, non-traditional methods, but you can’t trim your marketing budget. If the B&B you buy is under-performing or not well advertised, then you need to budget at least 10% of your income to marketing. Once the business is stabilized you can slowly trim the budget back toward 5%. Don’t be so frugal you trim yourself out of business.
2 thoughts on “Non-traditional Marketing”
Be active in your community. Five months ago, I joined the local volunteer fire department. I now have 60 brothers and sisters who help look out for my interests. If someone comes into town looking for a place to stay, they are invariably referred to the Inn at Elizabethville. In exchange, I do business with other firefighters.
You don’t have to be as physically active as I am with the fire department. Join a church. Join a historical society. Join the Rotary Club, the Lions, or some other civic organization. Be active in your community.
My premise is that if you give to your community, your community will give back to you.
Don’t wait to be discovered!
And if you join a civic group, church, or non-profit organization, host meetings at your inn! There is no better way to get people talking about your facility than by acting as a gracious host.
You’d be surprised at how many people have never set foot in a B&B. The comment I invariably get is, “This is really nice.” I subsequently hear muttered comments about, “The next time Aunt Ruth is in town, let’s send her to this inn instead of putting her on the sleeper sofa.”
Comments like these are music to my ears.
They also help to demonstrate the importance of word of mouth. Everyone who has a positive experience at your inn is a potential walking billboard who will sing praises of your facility to friends, family, and co-workers. Best of all – word of mouth advertising is absolutely free!
Your wisdom is outstanding. I think it’s important to give to the community, even if you don’t get anything tangible like better business, because “it’s the right thing to do”. But, when you do the right thing, business and goodwill do follow. Keep track of those who refer you business and send them thank you notes (or gifts if they send lots of business).
And don’t forget to hold periodic community appreciation activities. You can open this to the entire community, or just for the people who send you business. You could have an apple bob at Holloween, a tree decorating party in early December, a kiss-of-the-blarny-stone (tall tale) party for St Patricks day, etc. Have fun with your ideas and your thank you activities.
There are lots of ways to get involved. Pick one or two and go for it.
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