Use Your Website to Market Your Giftshop!

The Ice Haus Bed and Breakfast in Minnesota, has a gift shop. To increase their marketing potential, they’ve tied the gift shop into their B&B website and advertise Nana’s pantry scented candles by the Starlight Candle Company. Buyers needn’t go to the inn to purchase these candles. The candles may be ordered through a 1-800 toll free number.

The Old Stonehouse Inn in Arkansas, also has a gift shop. As with the Ice Haus Inn, the items in their gift shop are advertised on their B&B website. Items for sale include coffee mugs, aprons, and t-shirts with the Old Stonehouse Inn name and logo. They also sell items of regional interest such as Arkansas cookbooks, jams, butter, and homemade pepper jelly. Unlike the Ice Haus Inn, these items may be ordered on-line:

And you’ll never guess what the Hugging Bear Inn and Shoppe in Vermont, sells.

Teddy bears! They have 10,000 in stock and claim to have the largest collection available for on-line sale. As with the other two B&B’s mentioned in this post, they’ve tied their shop into their B&B website.

The internet is the great advertising equalizer of the new millenium. With big city newspaper advertising and television ads being so expensive, the internet has brought cost effective advertising within the reach of small businesses.

If you have a small gift shop and a B&B website, market the contents of your gift shop on-line. By doing this, you will expand your potential customer base from whoever walks through your door to essentially anyone IN THE WORLD who has access to the internet.

2 thoughts on “Use Your Website to Market Your Giftshop!”

  1. This is growing more and more typical. It makes perfect sense. I’ve seen B&B websites selling books as affiliated of amazon or barnes and noble and beach B&B’s that sell swimsuits and beach apparel. The important thing is to stay focused and not look too tacky…unless tacky is the theme, then go for it.
    Actual sales engines that connect to a database to take orders are not too difficult to set up and there are lots ways to do them. If the giftshop pages are well optimized (search engine wise) for the items you sell (I suggest one type of item per page) the gift shop will actually draw visitors to the B&B pages rather than the other way around. So make sure as you plan your gift shop pages that you think of them not just as pages for people to browse once they see your B&B pages, but as landing pages that searchers will find first and then migrate to your B&B.
    This gift shop idea in combination with the thread about the B&B that signs out cats made me brainstorm a B&B teamed up with a SPCA/ animal shelter so that the B&B has dogs or cats you can sign out for the day and if you grow attached, you can adopt them Hmm…I have to think on that idea some. That would be a hoot.
    Steve Wirt
    Wine Country Cabins Bed and Breakfast in the Finger Lakes
    and Inngenious Bed and Breakfast Website Promotion

  2. Hi I was looking on-line checking links and I came across your blog.
    You state that we sell by calling our 800 number actual it is an 888 number 888-ICE-HAUS we also sell on-line from our Gift shop site which is our 2000 sq ft giftshop located on the lowewr level of our Inn which is also open to the public.
    We feature Nana’s Brand Candles, Candle Warmers Brand Warmers and lamps, and hand stamped items from Impressive Creations.
    check out our gift site. we will be adding another candle line soon and also a complete line of gift baskets.
    Thank you for getting the word out on our Inn and Shirley’s Junque Emporium located in Dexter, MN.
    Innkeepers since 1994
    Mike & Shirley Adams

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