Part One of Two: Staging your property for maximum effect
The light rain didn’t deter guests from visiting the fifth annual Loudoun County, Virginia Bed & Breakfast Guild Open House and Self-Guided Tour. This year guests could visit twelve of the eighteen member inns and venues. Local wineries, restaurants, and caterers provided tastings at the various destinations, providing a unique opportunity to experience the ambiance of the B&Bs and the beautiful countryside which is only 45 minutes from the heart of DC. There was something for every taste. The inns ranged from a small three bedroom B&B to a large eighteen room inn situated on 265 acres.
The innkeepers were lovely to meet and I discovered a few places that I definitely want to visit again as a guest. As I toured the various properties, I noticed two major focus areas that could benefit any group of inns who are planning a similar event. In this post, I’ll cover the first major area: Putting your best foot forward by staging your inn properly.
Stage your property so that potential guests can see the potential and envision themselves staying with you. Just like a home owner who holds an open open house, you have to help guests see themselves having a wonderful experience at your inn.
- First and foremost get rid of any clutter. When we live with things around us all the time, we tend to overlook them. It’s almost like they become invisible. But someone visiting for the first time will notice everything. Your inn may be spotless but when there’s a lot of stuff around, it gives guests the impression of being dirty.
- Hiring in an objective 3rd party to look at your inn with fresh eyes. Think about temporarily removing some furniture. Your common area may be perfectly fine during normal guest visits but how will it function with twice or three times the number of people in the room at the same time? Will the room seem small? That’s not the impression you want to give guests. Be conscious of how your outside spaces will look to guests. This B&B tour was in late Spring, too early for using an outside back porch so some innkeepers didn’t stage that area. Stage your back porch or deck as it would look in the heart of summer so that guests can see themselves enjoying a cool drink in the shade of the porch.
- Finally, lock up small valuables. You’ll have a lot of people that you don’t know walking through your property. Also, remember to lock the doors to any off limit areas such as the innkeeper’s office or owner’s wing.
Part two covers the second focus area: Capturing and tracking leads from your B&B Open House Tour.