Marketing your Guest House online
Content provided by a guest contributor.
Many guest houses and B&Bs around the country enjoyed the boom in business that the Soccer World Cup has brought about, but it is going to be a challenge for these small businesses to keep the momentum going once the soccer is over.
Many of the most successful South African lodges used the Internet to catch the lion’s share of bookings. The Internet provides many opportunities for guest house and B&B owners to market their businesses, especially when budgets are tight and traditional advertising is sometimes not an option.
The first place consumers often look for holiday accommodation is online – studies have shown that consumers trust organic search results when it comes to making a decision about a brand. Thus a guest house or B&B with a solid online presence is more likely to attract consumers to their website than those small businesses which rely solely on traditional advertising.
As a guest house or B&B owner, there are a number of ways in which to engage with your consumers online, drive them to your site and ultimately turn visitors into bookings.
Engage on Social Media
Social networks provide fantastic opportunities to make contact with consumers. Even if others in your industry are not using Social Media, your consumers are and that’s what counts.
In February this year Facebook reached the 400 million user mark, and on Twitter there are 190 milllion users tweeting 65 million times a day (Source: TechCrunch, 2010). And as mobile Internet usage increases, these numbers are sure to increase.
Facebook and Twitter can be used to build online communities, build trusting brand-consumer relationships and can be integrated with various other eMarketing tactics (such as WebPR). Use Social Media to promote your content, pictures of your guest house and surrounding areas to entice potential customers.
Optimise for Search
Search engines are often the first port of call for a consumer who is looking for more information on anything in particular. Thus, it is important to ensure that your website is shown as relevant when someone conducts a search using keywords which are related to your brand.
Careful keyword research and planning is needed to ensure that your website targets the correct search terms related to what consumers are searching for online. A combination of organic and paid search advertising will significantly boost your guest house’s search ranking.
Content is King
PR can and should be at the heart of any online marketing strategy. It complements other eMarketing tactics and is a great way to provide value to consumers whilst promoting your brand.
Guest houses and B&Bs have the opportunity to produce content which is both informative and promotional. Write about tourist destinations, local events or travel tips – something which is of use to consumers and which will generate awareness of your brand. Use these opportunities to provide as much useful information as possible
Whilst there are many things which can be done to increase your guest house’s presence online, it is usually a combination of tactics which renders the greatest results.
The beauty of eMarketing lies in the fact that your marketing efforts can be tracked and measured. This will ensure that you are focusing your efforts in the right places and spending your budget wisely.