Attract new B&B guests and encourage former guests to return. Dan S. Kennedy’s book Magnetic Marketing: How to Attract a Flood of New Customers That Pay, Stay, and Refer shares some actionable advice that can be applied to hospitality.
Know Who You Want to Attract
According to Dan, priority number one is that you must know WHO you want to attract (to be your guest). What specifically will you do that’s different than your competition (other accommodations)? Kennedy recommends that you craft a compelling, emotional message that reaches their hopes and dreams.
Use Their Language
Write it in THEIR language. Use words and phrases that resonate with them. How does your ideal guest think and talk? What do they hope and dream? You must establish credibility, authority, and trust to attract them to stay as your guests.
Go Where They Go Online
Do you know where your WHO goes online? Kennedy advises for you to be where they are and not where they are not. Makes sense, right? Well, I think to many people commit to marketing without having a strategy for why they market where they market.
Know Their Needs
When you sell exactly what they want to buy, it draws in those who fit those wants. Dan urges us to know their needs inside and out and to meet them where they live with what they have been looking for. For example, perhaps they are nature lovers and appreciate your flower garden. Innkeepers, pay attention to the compliments you receive from guests. If they say similar positive comments, then you know that is working well for you.
Your Message, Media, & Market Must Match
You must get the right MESSAGE (a truly compelling reason why they should stay with you) via the right MEDIA (the best places to reach your audience) to the right MARKET (to those most likely to respond) and it all starts with knowing your WHO. Your offer must match precisely with the right people.
Make Them an Irresistible Offer
Kennedy encourages you to ask yourself WHO you want to host as guests over and again. The deeper needs you may be meeting are their need for: peace, connection with others, relaxation, making memories, feeling important, and so on. Be able to answer the question of WHY guests should want to stay with you despite numerous other options?
Kennedy briefly mentions the hospitality industry (along with advice for other major industries) when he suggests that hoteliers (innkeepers) can bundle a package of goods, services, and experiences together and call it a clever (and memorable) name to promote it as a one-of-a-kind buying opportunity that is both compelling and irresistible.
“Your Ultimate Weekend of Food & Fun for Only $XXX!”
- 10% savings on a regular 2-night room rate (not applicable to other discounts)
- Free gourmet dinner for 2 on both nights (courtesy of your food & dining hospitality services)
- Complimentary bottle of champagne when you arrive (or sparkling cider)
- Complimentary limo service from and to the airport (or a limo ride for an event)
- Limited availability, reserve your spot before… (time frame depends on offer)
Lead Generation from Email Marketing
Kennedy also talks about the importance of having a lead generation offer (information you offer for free in exchange for their name and email address). This allows you to regularly email them unless they unsubscribe from your list. The offer lets people identify themselves as having an interest. Examples of lead generation offers those potential guests would enjoy:
- A free guide to your local attractions
- Complimentary guide to your local restaurants
- Free travel tips
Once they “opt into” your email list, Kennedy directs us to send a monthly e-newsletter out. The content can include:
- Briefly reaffirm the uniqueness of your hospitality and accommodations
- Include puzzles, brainteasers, local trivia, recipes, cartoons, etc.
- Talk about what has been happening at your inn and in your local area
- Always include a call to action! Tell them what you would like them to do and urge them to book now before it’s too late… (for whatever the reason or event).
Attract New & Returning Guests
According to Kennedy, front-end marketing is to reach out to attract new guests and back-end marketing is encouraging guests to return and refer you to other people. “We really depend upon guests like you for referrals…”
In your email campaign, Kennedy states that you must have repetition if you want to impact and get their response. A series of emails (appropriately spaced out) each with legitimately valuable content (about you, your area, your packages, testimonials from your guests, etc.), and a call to action every time.
Use Special Dates
If you note guest birthdays or anniversaries, you can even send an email or a postcard in advance of the dates reminding them to return. Perhaps throw in an incentive like a free bottle of wine (or a free upgrade to a more expensive room). You can also use dates that are special to your inn, such as the anniversary date of your B&B first serving guests.
Stay On Guests’ Radar
The bottom line is to stay on guests’ radar as the place where they want to stay and return again and again. We’d like to stay on your radar. Contact Rob Sales, of B&B Consulting, if you may be interested in buying or selling a bed and breakfast inn. Additionally, if you would like to consult with Rob on how to improve your existing B&B business, Rob is both a former B&B owner and innkeeper as well as an experienced and licensed realtor in several states.