Delightful Ways To Attract More International Guests To Your B&B or Hotel
Now that we're heading out of the pandemic, lots and lots of people want to have a holiday and increasingly some of those are going to want to travel abroad. And, hopefully, that includes staying with you.
So as the travel bug begins to take hold, how can we ensure that you start to attract more of what will be a growing audience of international travellers who would love to stay at a lovely B&B or hotel such as yours?
Well, based on my experience of working with B&Bs and small hotels internationally for over a decade and owning my own bed and breakfast abroad in France for 17 years, what I've found is that over the years, and even today, most B&Bs/hotels do a reasonably good job at describing their facilities, but for reasons that are kind of mysterious, to be honest, they don't seem to connect with the emotions of travelling and staying at their lovely properties.
That's always puzzled me because we're in the business of delighting our guests. And most of us got into this business because we enjoy that.
Whether it's greeting them at the door, making them nice meals, or providing them with fantastic insights on things to see and do in our local area, we all have our preferences.
So given that people are tired, stressed, wanting a break, when they go on a holiday, then being able to delight them when they first start thinking about where to go and throughout their interaction with you is a smarter bet.
And it all starts online.
Let me explain what I mean...
Let's say that we have B&B/hotel A, which has a website that just mentions things like the location, the number of bedrooms, and perhaps their awards. They may talk about the fact that they serve meals, and maybe one or two other details like that
B&B/hotel B on the other hand talks about how their guests love the view, or the warm welcome they get when they arrive, and the helpful, thoughtful tips they receive on the best things to see and do in the area.
So between those two examples, which one would you prefer to stay at?
Or which one at least would you be more interested in learning more about, and more importantly, which one of those two, do you think your ideal guests would find much more appealing?
Hopefully, you see the point. It’s a pretty straightforward one, but if this stuff were easy, we'd all be doing it.
Now. The great news is this presents you with a terrific opportunity because most B&Bs and hotels, let me tell you the vast majority, don't really do this.
And if you look at the listings on OTA sites and other places, you don't get that experience there either.
So you have a golden opportunity to really connect with your ideal guests and of course, provide the information they're looking for, but do so in a way that's really relatable to them.
So when they arrive at your website, the first impressions are so important. Obviously, you know this, so you probably have a lovely photo at the top of your homepage and that's great.
But what about the words? What are you saying about the experience that they will enjoy with you?
And you will have unique aspects to what you provide.
You don't have to kind of go overboard and hype yourself. You don't have to pretend that you're the world's only B&B/hotel that does what you do, but there will be some aspects of what you provide that are particularly delightful that your best guests have told you about.
So you're looking for the things that particularly delight your ideal guests, and that should be front and centre at the top of your homepage, along with whatever kind of lovely photo you've got there. And then you want to expand on that.
So that's point number one - the very first impression.
There are two other things that really help.
Think more like a tour guide than an estate agent
As you browse through the rest of your website, think more like a tour guide as you describe what you have to offer, than an estate agent, because to be honest, most bed and breakfast websites sound like something coming from an estate agent instead of a warm, welcoming host.
It's not the kind of language that you would use if you were a little bit excited, welcoming a really good friend to your home.
Huge difference, right?
So when you look at your website, go through each page, including your booking page, by the way, and ask yourself if you were speaking to a good friend who you were really looking forward to visiting, how would they relate to the words and pictures you're using, or indeed the content and the concepts that you're sharing?
You don't just have four walls and a roof clearly, and yet you'd be amazed how often B&Bs/hotel owners forget to mention the really fun, interesting, and unique things that they offer.
So that's number two - the overall content of your website.
And to be seen by the search engines and therefore your potential international guests, you need LOTS of well-researched and well-written, emotionally driven content on your website.
When you include all your favourite local attractions, other businesses and your preferred people, the more topics you’ll find to write about, and share on social media, which brings us nicely to our third point
How much does your social media truly represent you?
And finally, last but not least your social media content.
Now, this can take many forms. Of course, it can be pictures, it can be text, but to attract international guests, who have no idea who you are and what magic you offer, it really should also include video.
You being that trusted and warm and friendly guide to your local area.
Pretend again that you're welcoming a friend of yours who hasn't been there before, and you can show them things they wouldn’t normally find on their own.
The insider scoop on what’s the best time to visit a local attraction without getting caught up in traffic or queues, for example.
An interesting bit of history about a particular building in your area, that surprised you when you found out.
Or a new bar or restaurant that’s just opened up that’s quirky and fun and that you love to visit.
And at your property… for example, “Hey, here we are preparing our speciality breakfast. Our guests really love our freshly ground coffee” -that sort of thing.
Make little videos. It could just be one or two minutes long, but probably no more than five minutes. It makes for wonderful, authentic, engaging, and highly relatable social media content which lets people into your world and build trust.
So those three things I've just mentioned, they're first impressions, your website and your social media content are my top tips for how you attract your international guests.
If you’d love to learn more about how to connect with your ideal guests in this more relatable, engaging and winning way, get in touch with me directly (via firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll send you more details. The internet is a big place, but the truth is that the majority of B&Bs and hotel owners don’t know how to use it effectively.
It’s time to change that for you.
This article was written by Yvonne Halling - Bed and Breakfast Coach
Yvonne Halling – Bed and Breakfast Coach is an award-winning consultant, coach and mentor to independent hospitality businesses worldwide. Her clients typically increase their revenues by at least 25% in one season while working less and having more fun.
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