Bed and Breakfast owners wear many hats, so it’s easy for online marketing to get pushed to the bottom of your list. You’re far too busy cleaning your property, welcoming guests, and managing reservations to focus on managing your online reputation. However, your online presence is all important to attracting new guests, especially in this day and age.
To keep a steady stream of new guests pouring in, make sure you don’t make these common mistakes when managing your online presence.
Mistake #1 – You’re nowhere to be found
How do you expect future guests to find you without listing your small property online, in the places they conduct their research?
First of all, you must list on all the relevant local business directories, such as Google Local, and Yelp. Facebook is also a must.
Secondly, listing with the most popular OTAs (eg. Booking.com) and meta-search sites (eg. TripAdvisor) is an absolute must. Not only do they give your business credibility, but people will be able to lock in bookings through them.
Mistake #2 – You’re silent
Listing isn’t enough. These sites allow people to submit reviews, which you must monitor and respond to. We shouldn’t have to convince you of the impact of online reviews – they can make or break your business.
Encourage guests to leave reviews and respond to each and every one.
If you silently watch both positive and negative reviews that get posted on your page – without doing anything – it sends the message to future guests that you simply don’t care about what your guests have to say about their stay with you.
No matter how busy your schedule is, make sure you dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to:
- Responding to positive reviews. Be grateful and appreciative, thank them and tell them you hope they will consider you on their next visit to your area.
- Responding to negative reviews. Show empathy. Reply with tact, and don’t get defensive. Apologise and offer compensation if necessary, and say how you will make sure it doesn’t happen again. Even though you feel some reviews are unfair, you need to take the high road and be professional at all times.
It’s worth noting that a quick response is necessary. It shows that as a business owner you care what people are saying about your property to others, and you’re always trying to improve your guests’ experience.
Mistake #3 – You’re static
As with anything, you can’t just take the ‘set it and forget it’ approach. On an ongoing basis, you need to have a look around and focus on improving your efforts.
To do this:
- Improve your offering. When you notice a negative pattern in your reviews, what do you do about it? If you say you will change, do you deliver on your promises?
- Watch your competitors closely. How do they respond to reviews? Are they doing anything that you aren’t, but could?
- Subscribe to a diverse amount of industry blogs and news sites. Do you keep up with what’s new in the industry? Are there ones targeted to small businesses such as yourself? Start by subscribing to our blog.
Everyone can appreciate that you’re extremely busy running your small hotel, but investing in your online presence is something you simply can’t afford to forget to do.
A strong online presence will raise your awareness and bring you more bookings.