Networking is a key way bed and breakfast owners can promote their B&B locally. Here are some suggestions for ways to engage with your peers and potential referral sources.
The final touches have put on your bed and breakfast; your web site, brochures and business cards are hot off the press! So now what? It’s time to get the word out locally that your bed and breakfast business is open and ready to go.
Networking is great for raising awareness. Owning a b and b is a people business, and you need to market yourself, as well as your bed and breakfast. You never know who may send guests your way; so now is your opportunity to get out and make a memorable impression!
Here are some of my suggestions for networking at the local level:
- Take full advantage of memberships in local organizations such as Chamber of Commerce and tourist associations.
- Invite key people for breakfast and a tour of your B&B.
- Attend local networking events. (It is more important to get someone’s business card than to give them yours. It provides you with an excuse to follow up at a later date and have a more detailed discussion about how you might be able to help one another. (Follow this link for a great how-to network article.)
- Get involved in local events and activities – especially those that occur on an annual basis and bring in out-of-town people. You can volunteer, discount room rates for attendees, donate a one-night stay as a fundraiser, consider advertising in pre-event literature, or ask event organizers how they would recommend reaching potential guests.
- Reach out to front line staff at local attractions and businesses with cookies/muffins or other goodies so they remember you.
- When handing out your promotional materials, don’t provide large quantities to any one place. Rather, stay top of mind by stopping by on a regular basis to check whether they need more.
- At the end of high season, recognize those businesses who make referrals to you by sending them handwritten thank you notes.
Even though your bed and breakfast business may rely on people who are coming from out-of-town to stay, local networking is essential to let people know you are open for guests!
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