Transparency, Honesty and Value. These are the key words that describe what today’s business traveller wants from their lodging choice. This comes directly from a recent article titled; “Hotels try harder to woo business customers’ These three words best describe what top producing bed and breakfast innkeepers strive hard to provide for their guests, leisure travellers as well as business. B&B’s have never (to my knowledge) thrown in hidden charges, what you see is what you get!
Attracting more Sunday through Thursday business customers has been a continuing challenge for bed and breakfasts. B&B’s are often viewed primarily as the ‘romantic getaway’ venue. The urban inns are the ‘no brainer’ locations for the business customer. For the more remote country B&B’s, you may not have a lot of large corporations or business centers near you that bring travellers to your area. But there may be smaller businesses, colleges, and hospitals in these more isolated areas. Personal calls and face to face ‘greet and meets’ are essential. If they don’t seem receptive at first, don’t give up. Be persistent. Show and tell them the advantages you provide for the business guest. Go out of your way to be more accommodating than the chain properties in your area. Do your homework, find out what your competition offers and offer more value. We know as an industry we are transparent and honest so we must work on the value.
I love lists! Read on.
- Mobile Marketing – It is crucial to transform your website into a mobile friendly version. Companies like Show Me Inn will do the work for you and you will get results. Mary White of BnBfinder used this company for her mobile site and recommends them highly. Here is a quote from another satisfied customer: “As a travel-oriented business, it’s important to reach customers on the move. My Show Me Inn website provides directions and an easy phone link to my business – which brings guests to my door,” says Paul Breitenbach, Innkeeper at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn in Sharpsburg, Maryland.
- SEO – Make sure they can find you easily. Your website must be optimized to help promote your business friendly services and packages to your target market and geographic area. Provide all those helpful links to make their planning seamless.
- Social Media – Make Facebook and traveller review websites work you. Your content with your business friendly services and packages should be front and center on these sites.
Thoughtful Basic Inn Essentials
- Desk with comfortable chair.
- Power consoles, not only in the guest rooms but in public spaces.
- Free WIFi throughout the inn.
- Flexible check in and check-out times
- Flexible cancellation policy.
- Early breakfast. Could be an easier smaller version of your full breakfast, even something they can take with them.
- Coffee/Tea service 24 hours.
- Use of a microwave and refrigerator.
- Online booking.
- Special midweek business traveller rates.
- Offer an all-inclusive price for your meeting space package, if applicable, that could include lunch brought in or made on sight, don’t forget your signature dessert that will make them smile and remember you!
- Flat screen TV with DVD player
Suggested Added Value Extras:
- Newspaper delivered to their door.
- Snacks for the evening, with some healthy choices, like fresh fruit. Something welcoming after a long day!
- Frequent stay reward program
- Access to fitness center. Partner with the center so you can offer your guest a discount drop in fee.
- CD/MP3 player
- Call ahead and on- going concierge service. Call your guest ahead of their stay and arrange for any service (i.e. overnight delivery service, transportation) and/or reservations for dinner/lunch. Also provide links to these services so they can make their own travel plans.
- Fax and Copy machine available.
- Safe or safe deposit boxes available.
- Sleep-Mate ambient “white noise’ machines.
- Create a ‘meeting tool box’ filled with markers, scissors, stapler, and calculator. Even if you don’t have a meeting room this could be a great help for the single business person.
- Pillow menu.
- Use of a common room/dining room for small conferences and meetings. A comfortable atmosphere for these small meetings is a wonderful alternative to the sterile plastic coated hotel conference rooms.
Look at your common spaces. Are they inviting and comfortable? Are the seating areas well lit? There is a reason why hotels and some B&B’s are creating areas that resemble ‘lounges’. This doesn’t mean you have to go ‘uber hotel chic’ and serve cosmos, just inviting with seating areas arranged to encourage socialization. I also read in the recent article about attracting the millennial customer that this age group prefers solializing and working in the lobby of hotels rather than in their rooms. They call this ‘isolated togetherness’.
The other kind of ‘togetherness’ is still just as important, the fireplace lit whirlpool tub, champagne and choclate dipped strawberries combo. Those travelling salesmen/women like romance too! (When they come back for a week-end getaway.)