Ch  1 Hospitality
Ch  2 Basics
Ch  3 Theme
Ch  4 Better Old
Ch  5 Legal
Ch  6 Front Desk
Ch  7 Remodeling
Ch  8 Finance
Ch  9 Schedule
Ch 10 Labor
Ch 11 Marketing
Ch 12 Accounting
Ch 13 Now What
Ch 14 Forms


    Of course some of you will want to do everything so here are some marketing tips and advice.

    There is a term for an imaginary character in a computer game. That name is avatar. In marketing it is important to know who your customers are and what they want. An avatar is a good tool for understanding your customers. If most are romantic and young, like wine and cheese in the afternoon, love fresh flowers and romance books, then you start picturing this imaginary couple and asking yourself what would they most like about your Inn.

    Keep adding to their description until you have a clear picture of who they are and what they are like. Then when you have them well defined, start imagining what they like to do, where they like to go and what makes them happy. It is also a powerful technique to look at their dislikes, fears, and disappointments. Often by relieving their fears first they are more apt to examine your amenities.

    Now based on this imaginary couple think about the image you want to project and how can you distinguish yourself from the competition. Use this method to create a sales letter and brochure that you can use for direct mail, magazine ads, newspapers, website, and agency ads. Join an association of Inns, they always have helpful methods of advertising.

    There are agencies that will sell you US mail box addresses and names in your area. These are selected because the person at the address has used a similar service in the past year. You rent these addresses because they almost always specify that you can only use the address for one mailing. You cannot cheat because some of the addresses are monitored for cheaters and your contract says you will pay a stiff fine if you cheat.

    After you have been in business for a while, your own personal data base of customers can be a good source of leads for direct mailing. Some Inns ban together and share these lists, find out if your association has this service.

    It is better to make the sales letter longer than shorter because if the customer is not interested he will not even look at it, while a B&B fan will want to know as much detail as possible. These are the most likely folks to reserve a room so give them what they want. Do not use too many words like best in state, or have to see to believe, just the facts. You can say words like romantic or historic if you have facts to back that up.

    If you have a beautiful romantic place, just describe it in detail and let your readers add the adjectives. A picture is worth a thousand words, so be sure and have two or there good pictures in your brochure.

    A web site is fast becoming the number one best way to advertise. More Americans are using this method and it really works. Try to get a web address that has your Inn name in it like notice that you can capitalize the first letter of each word because your address before the .com or .net does not care about upper or lower case.

    On you web page you can have a way for customers to request a reservation by email or even make the reservation live. There are thousands of other Inns doing this so surf around and see what they are doing. You can either make the page yourself or hire a company to do it for you. (See the Links at End of this Book)

    One of the strongest marketing tools are testimonials. Especially if they come from a large organization or famous person. Try to get your local news paper editor to stay free for the weekend and see if he will write a review for you. If a famous person does stay at your Inn offer a deep discount for a signed picture and kind words. Most of the time these customers will not take you up on the discount but even if they do it would be well worth the money. It does not even have to be a big star, it might just be a local hero or well known business leader.

    If you do write ads for a newspaper or magazine try not to have the ad in the back with all the other ads. Pay for a page where yours is the only ad on that page and try to make it look more like a critical review, or an editorial with a story line about you got started, or what the historical significants of your Inn is. Don't make it look like an advertisement or no one will even notice it.

   Always, always do follow up on any leads. Just because they decided not to stay this month does not mean they will not want to come next month. And if they liked their first visit a reminder every few months may make them want to return.