The Ice Haus Bed and Breakfast in Minnesota, http://www.icehaus.com/ 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: http://www.hardy-stonehouse.com/giftshop.html
And you’ll never guess what the Hugging Bear Inn and Shoppe in Vermont, http://www.huggingbear.com/ 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.