HOW TO REACH YOUR PUBLICS....SOME QUICK IDEAS TO GET YOUR NAME 8 TIMES BEFORE THE PUBLIC
by Sue White, Carol Matos and Sparks Rejent Moeller
Finding ways to spend large sums of money for advertising and PR campaigns and individuals to manage such for you is quite simple.
But we feel that BEFORE you do that you must take these first SEVEN STEPS...BEFORE YOUR PUBLIC!
But most of all have fun, listen carefully and keep great notes on the specifics they share.
1. INVEST IN RACK CARDS
A. These are the least expensive way to have a brochure.
B. Make sure they fit into a business size envelope and have a place to hand write addresses for direct mailing.
2. GET A BUSINESS TELEPHONE NUMBER
A. This will put you in the yellow pages as well as the white pages.
B. Shop for rates for an 800 number that will ring on the same line.
C. Get a separate home line for guests and yourself.
3. JOIN THE CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAUS AND THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
A. Also, write away to many other chambers and Convention Bureaus to see how they organize their print literature.
B. Get to know those who answer the phone on a first name basis. Invite them to lunch or breakfast. Praise them to their bosses. NEVER be crotchety with them. They will be your angels.
C. Stop by with a quick “hello” when you're in the neighborhood.
4. ORDER FREE LITERATURE FROM YOUR STATE
A. Your taxes often pay for a free listing in state literature. See where and how other types of lodging are placed.
B. Call the head of your State Tourism Department. Ask to meet with them in person. See if they need anyone to volunteer on boards or whatever.
C. Make sure that you are mentioned somewhere in the mailings.
D. Hand out their number or call on behalf of guests who book with you.
E. Read these cover to cover to familiarize yourself with what your state has to offer.
5. HOLD A SPECIAL PARTY FOR YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
A. Neighbors must "own" their local B&B. They are the source of guests and good will in the town. The worst zoning issues and legal issues stem from NIMBY: Not In My Back Yard.
B. They are also a great source of non business friendship, which is very necessary when one works at home.
6. JOIN A RESERVATION SERVICE
A. RSA's work for you, getting you reservations for a percent of the total stay. You don't pay unless you get a booking.
B. RSA's have broad based advertising, can help you book rooms if you hold another job outside the home.
C. They take credit cards and also screen guests. Etc., etc.,etc.
7. VISIT EVERY SMALL BUSINESS IN TOWN PERSONALLY.
A. Give them rack cards.
B. Issue a personal invitation to stop by.
C. Ask how your relationship can become mutually beneficial.
D. Find out how they view B&B's in their town: pros and con.
E. Ask who their customers are, how they get them.
8. Write to every trade magazine you can find and ask for a free copy and advertising rates.
Authors: Susan White founded Anna’s Victorian Connection, a reservation service for RI, in 1979. Carol Matos owns and operates the American Country Collection of Bed and Breakfast in eastern New York as well as her own B&B. “Sparks” Rejent Moeller owns the design firm “Second Opinion Interiors” and has done residential and commercial design for six years.