Your target market (the people who can afford to stay at your inn and who are most likely to enjoy being your guests) should be based, in part, on an assessment of your inn’s own amenities. Do you attract the right guests?
- What makes your bed and breakfast so unique?
- What do guests consistently compliment you about (in person and in your reviews)?
- Who have been your favorite guests to host at your bed and breakfast?
- Did these guests come for similar reasons?
- Do you know how to attract more guests like them?
Above all, emphasize in your marketing (examples: your blog, website, social media, and brochures) what makes your B&B so special. Show people (with words and pictures) why they should want to be guests at your bed and breakfast inn. Thus, this means you can attract guests each season of the year.
Your Target Market May Include:
- Beach: If you are on the water, beach or lake house, it makes sense that people will visit your inn because of its beautiful view and easy access to the water.
- Cooking: Since you always serve breakfast (that may be in addition to snacks, picnics, dinners, desserts, etc.), make it a goal for your inn’s reputation for cooking to be outstanding. Some inns hire professional chefs. Whether you are or have a culinary-trained chef around, your food will “speak” (or “taste”) for itself. Word will get around if your food is absolutely delicious!
- Elopements & Mini Weddings: Many brides and grooms choose to have their wedding ceremony and/or wedding reception held at a bed and breakfast. Lately, the trend has been towards elopements and mini weddings.
- Farms: Some bed and breakfasts are on farms. Sometimes those farms allow guests to work on them to gain the experience and fun of farm living. Some have a small petting zoo. Other bed and breakfasts have stables and horses the guests can ride.
- Games: Bed and breakfasts with game rooms can have things including a pool table, Ping-Pong table, darts, huge flat screen television for movie viewing and gaming, and so on.
- Gardens: Gardeners and others who appreciate the beauty of plants and landscape design will appreciate your gardens. For example, this includes flower gardens, vegetable gardens, rock gardens, or ponds with fountains.
- Gazebos: Bed and breakfasts with gazebos can appeal to those who are seeking a quiet place in the shade to soak in the beauty of your land, those seeking a place to picnic, and even those exchanging their wedding vows!
- History: If you have a historic inn, people may visit out of interest to learn more about the original family and sometimes famous former residents or famous guests of your bed and breakfast.
- Kid-Friendly: Bed and breakfasts may specify that children under a certain age are not allowed. However, there are some bed and breakfasts that cater to being kid friendly. If your inn has age restrictions, you can emphasize that your inn is quiet and romantic. If your inn is family-friendly, you can focus on the family being able to vacation together. No matter which option you choose, you can make it a positive for potential guests.
- Pet Friendly: Can’t leave Fido or Buddy behind? Bed and breakfasts can have pet-friendly rooms to offer guests. Some require that pets be crated when left in the room. Some rooms have separate exits so that other guests with allergies do not have to come in contact with the visiting pets.
- Porches: Bed and breakfast often have porches with rocking chairs to enjoy relaxing while taking in the view or reading a book.
- Romance: Some bed and breakfasts are known for being a romantic place to stay. They may limit their guests to adults only. Romantic bed and breakfasts offer amenities like hot tubs and spas.
- Shopping: Your bed and breakfast may have its own shop that sells anything from antiques to postcards and tee-shirts to coffee mugs. If your inn has its own cookbook of recipes that you serve your own guests, this is a great way to motivate guests to want to get your cookbook. Then they can “bring home” a way to remember your bed and breakfast by cooking themselves.
- Spas: Bed and breakfasts with spas on-site can emphasize the convenience of being located right at a spa. This is great for couples' massages to facials to guests getting a manicure and pedicure. Moreover, B&B’s that offer in-room massages can also indicate the convenience of having a masseuse that comes to the guest!
- Tea: Bed and breakfasts may have teatime or even a tearoom. Tea is served with finger sandwiches, scones, or even cookies.
Thus, your target market is based, in part, on your amenities. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on WHY guests want to stay at your bed and breakfast. With guests’ permission, take pictures of them enjoying your amenities and put the pictures on your website, and share them on social media.
Thinking of buying or selling your bed and breakfast inn? Rob Sales of B&B Consulting is here to help. As a former innkeeper and licensed real estate agent, Rob has the expertise you need. In fact, you’re welcome to fill out our contact form or give him a call at (912) 655-7674 today.