Place branding helps attract people to visit your local area. It makes sense that places should be branded by what is in their location. Guests often choose the geography before they select their accommodations. Place Branding for Small Cities, Regions, and Downtowns: The Essentials for Successful Destinations is a book written by Bill Baker that recommends that places ask these three questions:
- What do we want to be known for?
- How can we stand out from the crowd and be more competitive?
- What thoughts and feelings do we want to come to mind when recall our name?
People want to be impressed. We need to offer guests memorable experiences to entice them to stay with us.
Recognize Influences on Place Branding
Local Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus are valuable resources that can benefit area accommodations and other local businesses. Their brochures, videos, websites, and more provide information to share with potential guests and shoppers. In other words, take advantage of the marketing work that has already been done for you! They are sure to have information about local:
- Business districts
- Cuisine and wine
- Culture and cultural attractions
- Downtowns and main streets
- Entertainment districts
- Famous people
- Forests and trails
- History and historic sites and districts
- Industries and local products
- Landmarks and icons
- Natural environment
- Parks and recreation areas
- Retail shopping niches
- Sports and sporting venues
- Theme and amusement parks
- Tourist areas
- Universities and educational precincts
- Visitor information facilities
Make Emotional Connections with Place Branding
What do you want your local bed and breakfast to offer in terms of emotional connections? Is your inn a place to escape? What about an opportunity for adventure? Where can guests be pampered (both on and off your property)?
First, determine what emotional connections you want to make with your guests. Then consistently add variations of those keywords in your content. As a result, you will be able to emphasize the same themes without seeming repetitive.
- Fitness and health
- Love and romance
Promote Community Values with Place Branding
First, do you know why guests come to your location? Share compelling reasons for others to stay and pay your business. Identify two or three values your community stands for that you also offer. For example, perhaps your town is known for being artistic (galleries, museums, and studios). Furthermore, you feature art in your place of business. As a result, that would be an ideal value to emphasize.
- Community spirit
- Environmental care
Share Credentials with Place Branding
Just as your local area or region may be recognized with accolades, this is an opportunity to share the achievements and attention that your accommodations. For example, do you have an award-winning recipe? Has your location been used in a movie? Do famous people often stay in your area? The goal is to draw guests to want to stay with you.
- Historic facts
- Intellectual property
- Media exposure
- Movie location
- Prestige and celebrity
- Quotes from famous people or experts
- Significant sites
- Site of a major event
Consider These Place Branding Factors
The author identifies four factors that should be considered when it comes to branding places. Whichever factors are the most compelling reasons for people to give you their business needs to be what you emphasize. Do you have a video about your bed and breakfast? Were you featured in the press? This content should be shared (or linked to) on your website, in blog posts, and on social media.
- Emotional benefits: how the experience makes visitors feel and connect with the place
- Primary features and attributes: architecture, events, natural features, streetscape, weather
- Rational benefits: access, cleanliness, cost, culture, friendliness, heritage, safety
- Values and social benefits: the deep emotional needs, social benefits, values the place satisfies
The primary features are the easiest to deliver, easiest to copy, but also the least meaningful. On the other hand, the values and social benefits are the most difficult to deliver, most difficult to copy, and the most meaningful.
Thus, bed and breakfast accommodations should identify how they fit into location’s place branding. This includes their location in the city, the emotional connections guests receive, earned credentials, and place branding factors. These are ways to stay top of mind with guests.
Looking for profitable yet affordable bed and breakfast consulting from experienced former innkeepers as well as licensed real estate agents? Contact B&B Consultants Rob Sales and Lori Blass today!