Starting a Bed and Breakfast Business? Plan for the future – now!

Marketing is the number one activity that will help you make money for your bed and breakfast business.  And to be successful at marketing, you need to know who your target audience is and what mediums they use even before you craft your message.

One of the potential sources of guests to reach out to are the Gen Y’s (or Millennials, born 1977 – 1994).  In a recent study, the majority of B&B guests are 35-54 and are travelling as a couple. (AIHP – B&Bs Unbound:  The State of B&Bs in the US, August 2017)

The focus is shifting away from baby boomers for the following reasons:

  • Baby boomers were hit hard by the recession and have had to curtail their plans for retirement/travel
  • The older boomers are suffering from health problems that prevent travel
  • Gen Y’s make up 25% of the US population, which makes then the largest consumer group
  • Gen Y’s have annual spending power of $200 billion and their spending surpassed boomers in 2017

Reaching out to Gen Y’s

So, how do you reach this group?  Research has shown that it takes more than just a web presence:

  • Gen Y’s make buying decisions based on “user generated content” – i.e. reviews
  • They value this type of content over all other types of feedback – including that of family – as they are more interested in “what people like them have to say”
  • 39% will use reviews to book hotel stays and 32% for other travel accommodations (to put those numbers in perspective, consider that 44% use it to buy large electronics and 40% use it to purchase cars)

This helps to explain the proliferation of review sites such as Google,, in addition to TripAdvisor.  But review sites are not all you should be considering to reach this group.

Social media plays a huge role in their life, so consider:

  • Twitter (I’ve seen tweets asking for recommendations of places to stay in a city)
  • Face book (with check-ins and tabs, it can be quicker and easier to use than review sites)
  • Location based tools like Four Square and
  • phone apps – find out what your local tourism group or Chamber of Commerce is doing in this area

So, begin your research, and when you are starting your bed and breakfast, don’t forget to include these tools in your marketing plan!  If you need some help, I can definitely help you to create a detailed marketing plan that works for your bed and breakfast business.


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