Where did you get your bookings from?

another season - another learning curve... it's been fine but...

the amount of money i've wasted advertising on sites, and the amount of time time i've spent 'marketing' my little b&b... i think we're allowed to name names here aren't we?... homelidays - hopeless, trip advisor - treacherous, bed & breakfast.com - bl.useless! there ARE some good sites though who send me lots of guest and enquiries.

i remember having a little ding-dong with someone on here who was only advertising to friends & contacts - i wonder how they got on? i wonder how you all got on this season?

agree Danny - the right marketing is the key - in the interests of fairness too i agree Homelidays DOES work for some people... in fact it was recommended by SF members - just not right for me... And just to knock Trip Advisor again - I have a B&B 'contact' who pays £5 for each perfect TA review - because you can write one even if you haven't stayed... Fair play to her though - it's her marketing budget for the year!

It's very difficutl to say which site is good and bad; last year we had loads of bookings from toprural, this year none at all (apart from two very obvious spam enquiries). Had the same experience with homelidays a couple of years ago. I really try to ask people where they found us (I said "I try"), and usually get the answer: on the internet. Hm, not very helpful.

Up to now I haven't really counted up which side was really good this year, will do this soon.

We only have 1 booking in for next year (repeaters) and one enquiry (also repeater), but I agree with Danny; we couldn't fill the house just by word of mouth and repeaters. And this is after 9 years of running this b&b.

good afternoon

having just join this forum, i found myself interested in your discussion. and thoght i might add a comment to it.

having run a small hotel in France for over seven years, i have to agree about the number of sites which we are encourage to pay good money for, but, which may or may not produce good results. i have one piece of advice, which has proved useful to me, and if i may i would like to share with you.

whichever site you choose to invest in, it is always worthwhile contacting some similar sounding businesses to yours and asking them directly if they feel the advertising fees where worth the money paid.

I think the fundamental thing is to understand your ideal guest, what they come to your area for and where they come from, etc. etc. and once you've figured that out, then you only market to that group. You position yourself and your B&B as the "go-to" people in that niche. You then develop products and services which add value to that niche. You don't waste your time and money with all-comers. When you've got that nailed, you can then figure out the marketing plan. You will then attract the people you want to serve, the ones to whom you can add the most value. The scatter-gun approach is a waste of energy. :-)

I talk to lots of owners, and the one rule that keeps cropping up is that what works for one may not work for another.

I have no doubt that homelidays have been useless for you Teresa, but in the interest of fair play I was chatting to someone in Provence this morning who generated 4 weeks' bookings through them and was happy with that. The one thing I think everyone can probably agree on however is that TripAdvisor do little for the humble gîte / b&b owner as the bias towards un-checked 'reviews' can leave people at the mercy of un-scrupulous travellers.

Not marketing, however, is simply not an option unless people are in the luxurious position to be simply running a hobby business, and I think being present where the holiday makers are is vital. That means forums, blogs, social media and listing sites. Finding the correct marketing mix is the tricky part.

It's good to hear of the bad ones, but which were the good ones? For us Owners Direct; Holiday-rentals; gites.nl. How are the bookings going for 2013? Good luck, all.




Hi Teresa, We've had a brilliant season, our best ever and next year will be even better. We don't advertise with any of the sites you mention. We learned who our ideal guest is and marketed to them, grew a database (or tribe) and they continually tell their friends, write great reviews and come back again. If you're fed up with struggling, and if you seriously want to know how to build a 6 figure B&B business from just 4 rooms, just like us, then let me know. I'm running an event here at my B&B in Champagne this November and inviting serious B&B owners to join us. You'll learn what I learned and how using online technology will make it all much, much easier. Looking forward to hearing from you :-) Yvonne