Is Internet Marketing Right for B&B’s?

There are five basic but essential Internet Marketing steps we recommend for B&B's:

  1. Get your own Website with professional photography
  2. Join your local B&B association and get listed on their Website
  3. Register with the major B&B directories
  4. Printed material such as rack cards and magazines should include your web address.
  5. Consider search engine optimization (SEO) after reading the following section

B&B’s may or may not benefit from Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Here are some things to consider:

  • Would the additional guest stays cover the cost of optimization? If you have limited capacity the benefits may not out-weigh the costs.
  • Does your area have a high concentration of bed and breakfasts? B&B's that are located in markets where there is little competition will be likely to appear high in search results even without optimization. Those innkeepers in highly competitive travel markets may benefit from SEO to supplement other marketing efforts.
  • It is debatable if B&B's actually compete with hotels and lodges for guests but you may be competing with hotels, lodges and other B&B's in your area to list on the first page of Google.  Know which keyword terms you should target and what the cost might be to compete against large hotels to rank for those terms.
  • International travelers may not even understand the term "bed and breakfast" so they tend to use organic search(Google, Yahoo, MSN) or Trip Advisor rather than a B&B directory to find accommodations.
  • If your B&B caters to a special interest, you may also benefit from organic search engine optimization in conjunction with specialty directory and magazine listings. Travelers may be more likely to stay at a B&B that caters to their personal interests (say cooking, horses, yoga, art, skiing) so you will be likely to benefit from optimizing your site for appropriate special interest terms.

Here are some additional ways to drive traffic to your Web site that take effort but cost very little.

  • Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your past guests and people who have subscribed to your newsletter. I will be blogging more about Email Marketing soon.
  • Social networking is the process of meeting new people and staying in touch with friends and family via the net.  Facebook is the most popular of the personal social networking tools to communicate with prospects, friends, family and past guests about your Inn. It is also a great tool for referral.
  • Twitter is an internet tool that is used to quickly communicate what's up with you. It is a plaform for posting short messages and receiving feedback instantly.
  • Picture Galleries are great for searchers using Google Image search tools. Always enter valuable keyword descriptions in the image tag area of your pictures to get good search juice.
  • Link building is the process of getting travel relevant sites to link to you.  There are few things more powerful than link building to help you gain search ranking.