Part Two of Two: Capturing and tracking leads. Part One can be viewed at: Staging your Property
In part one of this two-part post, we discussed staging your inn for maximum effect. All of that hard work won’t do any good if you have no traffic coming in on the day of the event. The Loudoun County B&B Guild had a very good turnout even though it was a rainy day. This was due to the great job they did of marketing the event and collaborating with other businesses who also promoted the event. Here are a couple of strategies that they used as well as some additional ideas:
- Loudoun County is home to many vineyards so it was a natural fit and very synergistic to collaborate with them. The wineries were included on the tour brochure . Several of the wineries contributed wine to individual B&B’s to use as part of their refreshments and some provided wine tasting coupons that could be raffled off at the various venues. Local restaurants and caterers participated in a similar way, giving guests more than one reason to venture out for the tour.
- The tour brochure included a map of all the participating inns. Your local neighbors may be familiar with your particular inn but may not be aware of others in the area. By promoting each other, you expand the pool of potential guests. Each participating inn should have copies of the tour brochure just in case a visitor didn’t print one out. Consider getting enough copies printed so that they can be distributed door to door in specific neighborhoods that you want to attract. Don’t forget the local chamber of commerce, the restaurants and other local businesses that you partner with. Make sure they have copies available to distribute to their clientele.
- At least one week prior to the event, put out a sign that will be visible to those driving by that contains the B&B tour dates and hours and inviting them to come in for a visit.
- During the event take advantage of social media tie-ins. Encourage guests to check in at your property on Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare and post a photo. This will alert their friends and followers who might not be aware of the event. If you plan in advance, you could even set up a scavenger hunt or contest with the other inns on Foursquare, giving guests special badges for completing certain activities.
- Hopefully you have an email list of guests who have stayed at your property or expressed an interest. Segment this list for the zip codes that are most likely to attend and send out a special mailing inviting them to the event and attaching an electronic copy or link to the event brochure.
- Capture the names and emails of every visitor. You might do this by asking them to fill out a survey or participating in a contest. Be creative. It could be a contest for a one night stay, but it could also be a complimentary spa package, dinner for two, or wine tasting. Your collaboration partners may even donate these items at no cost to you as was mentioned earlier.
- After the event, follow-up with guests. Make them aware of your latest promotion, invite them to sign up for your monthly newsletter or to follow you on social media.
Getting bookings from your open house will require planning and effort, however it will give you the opportunity to impress locals who can refer business to you year round. Determine your budget in advance and plan out what you will do, who will do it and when it needs to get done in order to be ready for the tour. Don’t be like one innkeeper when I asked for a brochure of her inn who told me that she didn’t get them printed in time for the event.