Amazing (and troubling) times we're in! My wife Janet and I've just returned from an extended road trip to visit clients and spent hour after hour in the car listening to the talking heads on Bloomberg Radio explaining the whats and whys of the past few weeks and the financial woes that now have circumnavigated the globe!
On our way home yesterday we stopped and visited with 2 old friends and colleagues from the industry. Over lunch we were discussing, despite all the volatility and uncertainty, that 2008 will most likely end as a positive year for the B&B/Country Inn segment of the larger hospitality business.
This is clearly a case of property specific good news as opposed to the old adage of "a rising tide floats all boats". Those inns who are focusing their efforts and aggressively marketing to today's contemporary traveler are reaping the positive results. Those B&B's and Inns that are waiting for the tide to come in and help their business are likely stranding themselves on the beach!
What does this mean for 2009? It means that our work is cut out for us! The need to truly make your inn special and offer an experience that is meaningful and one that connects and resonates with your guest will be the path to success. Wrap the experience into an aggressive marketing strategy and you will reap the results of your efforts…today and tomorrow.
From a market overview, I believe there are some parallels today to the post 9/11 period. Today, like then, we were in shock, the markets tumbled, and the world was trembling. This time, thankfully, there has been no act of physical violence and the unspeakable tragedy that followed. But then and even now, is a time when people still travel and are seeking an escape and some peace and quiet from the "news" of the day.
Trends for 2009 predict travelers will be staying closer to home and traveling more by car instead of air, exploring more of the US and reducing trips to Europe/Asia, participating in more outdoor and cultural activities, paying attention to the environment, to name but a few. What better place to find that escape than a B&B/Country Inn with attentive, hospitable and welcoming innkeepers? Can't think of a better place!
The message from The B&B Team? Don't hunker down…be aggressive, be creative, be thoughtful and continue to provide what is and will always be the hallmark of our industry…a smile and a warm and hospitable welcome to your wonderful B&B Inn and the unique and memorable experience you provide.
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