by Pamela Lanier
On the recent Seminar at Sea Cruise, my courses focused on some of the things that innkeepers can do to dramatically increase occupancy. For those not able to make the cruise, here’s a heads-up on a hot new travel trend that easily utilizes your own marketing skills to tap into your destination’s heritage travel appeal, and a cutting edge, new program that will help you achieve a Full House.
Tap Into Heritage Travel
Heritage Travel has become a huge industry and with good reason. Life seems to pass in the blink of an eye. Cell phones, computers, fax machines, two-hour commutes…people function at a furious pace. At some point, everyone needs to stop and take a deep breath. Finding a sense of purpose means finding a context in which to live life; a link to the past, if you will.
Tourism generates 540 billion dollars towards the national economy. According to a report by TIA, cultural and historic tourism accounts for about 44% of that. That a huge number and helps to put into perspective the whole concept of travel as an educational experience.
Tap into the heritage travel trend at your inn by offering packages featuring a stay and cultural and historical activities, such as museum tickets, pertinent to your area’s heritage legacy. For an example, if you are in Virginia, you know that Thomas Jefferson looms large in the American psyche. Aside from tours of Montecello and the Jefferson Memorial, there are other sites that highlight Jefferson’s varied interests. These include the Barboursville Vineyards and Historic Ruins, The College of William and Mary, Colonial Williamsburg, Natural Bridge, The Virginia State Capitol, Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, Tuckahoe Plantation, and The University of Virginia.
Tie all of this history up in a yummy package by offering a country gentleman’s breakfast that Thomas Jefferson himself might have enjoyed. Biscuits, Virginia ham, coddled eggs and fruit compotes especially those including dried fruit were all big in Thomas Jefferson’s day.
Programs to Achieve a Full House
As discussed in last fall’s article on Occupancy and Your Bottom Line, which detailed the study we conducted for the past two years (live at B&B conferences and with our membership) found that over 65% of innkeepers wanted to increase their occupancy for three main reasons:
1. they were an newly purchased Inn that needed to rapidly build their guest list;
2. they had over five rooms and substantial debt service;
3. they were planning to sell their Inn and needed a robust show of revenue.
In response to the findings in the study and our members’ requests, BBIGI has developed a Full House partnership with Hotels.com, extensively tested by innkeepers, to fill rooms that would otherwise go empty. This program targets the mainstream of travel. With this program you can:
• SELL rooms that are currently going EMPTY.
• Market your rooms to travelers who wouldn’t have otherwise heard of your B&B.
• Access hard to reach last minute travelers.
• Offer as many (or few) rooms as you want.
• Offer Monday – Thursday room nights ONLY if you do not need help to fill weekends.
• Enjoy many other benefits created specifically for B&Bs with no up-front costs.
Designed to be very easy, you do not need any software or hours of instruction. This will become a quick and natural part of your daily operations, and we believe, a major part of your booking revenue. For more information on how to participate in the Full House Partnership, call Marie Lanier at (800) 565-2820.
All indicators point to robust tourism this year. Be sure your inn gets its share of tourism by employing your own contacts and ingenuity, utilizing local and state tourism resources and with yield management programs such as the one with Hotels.com. We predict many inns will reach new levels of profitability in 2005.
Pamela Lanier is author of The Complete Guide to Bed & Breakfasts, Inns and Guesthouses, presently in its 18th annual edition, host of TravelGuideS.com available on over 7,000 Internet sites and portals and, with a membership of over 6,000 inns, hers is the largest organization worldwide of independent innkeepers.
Please address article comments to: Claude or Mariette Gagne ~ The B&B and Country Inn MarketPlace
926 Lenoir Rhyne Blvd., SE, Hickory, NC 28602 | Email us
Toll free 877-828-2323, Office: 828-324-7291