Archive for the ‘Better Way to Stay’ Category
The time has come – we’re stepping out on the limb and going public with Better Way to Stay with our “B&Bs Kick Gas” promotion. While this is not the point of my column, I will now insert my short pitch to participate…come up with your most creative promotion/special/package that plays off the rising gas price phenomenon, and upload it at www.betterwaytostay.com. The campaign team will subsequently broadcast the campaign to tons of travel media, with the hopes of attracting much-deserved attention to B&Bs from coast-to-coast. Now, onto the real purpose of my column this month…
When Brand Pandemic showed us their first mock-up of the BWTS web site, which spotlights the “Kick Gas” promo, my immediate response was, “I love it!” They used text message shorthand to make fun of how high the gas prices are getting. Seeing “WTF” in a B&B-related promotion got me excited! But I have to admit, my immediate follow-up thought was, “Uh oh…innkeepers aren’t going to like that.” I showed the image to a few friends and colleagues, and they all thought it was funny and really creative. Those to whom I showed it were all under the age of 50, so my comfort level about the average PAII member’s potential response wasn’t necessarily changing.
Then I fly out to Des Moines, Iowa, to speak at the Iowa Bed and Breakfast Guild conference in Panora. I had about 60 minutes to talk about Better Way to Stay, why we’re doing it, what’s happening, etc. I thought I’d give a sneak peek of the web site and the gas price image – just to see what kind of reaction it would elicit among a group of innkeepers that I figured would probably be the most likely to not appreciate the humor. To my surprise, when I showed the mock-up, there was ample laughter and head-nodding in the audience (as well as a fair share of puzzled expressions on the faces of those not familiar with text lingo). I breathed a sigh of relief.
Tags: Better Way to Stay, Marketing
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Have you ever tried to get someone to try something you just knew they would like, but found it hard to convince them? That’s what I feel our industry has been up against for decades – trying to get travelers to try B&Bs. There is no question with the sharp growth of the industry in the 80s and 90s and the marketing power of the internet since the mid-90s, millions of travelers have experienced our great product. We have loyal customers who understand the value of a fantastic B&B stay. But there are many more travelers out there who have never stayed at a B&B – either because of one of the many “myths” or negative perceptions they might already have, or (according to our own research) staying at a B&B doesn’t even cross their minds as an option when booking travel. Whatever the reason, we all know in our industry what a fantastic product we have. With the rise of alternative lodging options and the sincere efforts of hotels to deliver an experience more like ours, we need to press forward and start getting more people to book stays at B&Bs. Our industry has to start doing something different and fresh to enter the consciousness of the traveler. We want people spreading the word about B&Bs in ways now possible that were impossible before. Enter – Better Way to Stay.
PAII wants to get more people talking, Tweeting, Re-Tweeting, status updating, sharing, linking, forwarding and emailing about B&Bs. We don’t want to build another directory. We want to get more travelers checking out what the industry already has – some great assets that have been around for years. I’m talking about the B&B directories, travel sites, state and local association web sites, your web sites, and ultimately clicking the “Book Now” button more and more. As your industry’s trade association, it’s part of our DNA to want to do this. We want to create buzz and attention for the great businesses in our marketplace.
For years innkeepers have wanted PAII to build an effective directory of our members. They figured it would be the silver bullet for membership growth and ultimate stability and success for PAII. The fact is that the horse is out of the barn on that one – several directories have been around since the mid-90s and are leagues ahead of what we could do from a search engine optimization standpoint. We don’t want to compete with them – or you, the innkeeper! Building our own directory – if we were to be effective in the search engines – would mean having us compete with you for premium placement on search result pages. There are some great B&B directories and association web sites that have been delivering value for years to innkeepers. We don’t want to compete with them – we want to bring more traffic to them!
Tags: Better Way to Stay
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