The new decade is upon us, and 2010 is poised to be a stellar bounce back year for our economy. Most importantly for bed and breakfast owners, this includes the travel and tourism industry. Unemployment is declining, and with people going back to work, this means more money will be pumped into our economy as workers plan their upcoming vacations and trips. January 2010 is the perfect time for innkeepers to put together their individual business plans for attracting and retaining guests for the year, and well into the future. Adopting the correct plan is crucial to take your inn’s business and revenues to the highest possible levels in 2010. And always remember, proper planning prevents poor performance, and therefore the owners at TheBedandBreakfastDirectory.com have put together a finite top 10 list of what we feel are the most important resolutions for innkeeper owners to focus on during this new decade.
1. Take care of the customers that have taken care of you: Repeat, loyal customers are a constant revenue stream, and the more time and contacts you make with them over the years, the more they will come back and stay at your B&B, not to mention recommending your accommodations to their friends and relatives. Do whatever is necessary to maintain these relationships once you have put the resources and time into creating them.
2. Prioritize your time: Make a list of what is most important to spend your time on when it involves working on your business. Look at the bigger picture and stay away from short term, time intensive goals that in no way will enhance or help maintain your business. Bottom line, become more efficient and concentrate on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
3. Market your inn effectively: Research what advertising and marketing mediums are the most cost effective, and pool your resources into those avenues. Online directory marketing has been proven to have the highest return on investment, but be wary of sites that promise results without the user friendly site structure and traffic to back up their claims.
4. Incorporate social networking: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedln, and blogging are practically free ways to spread the virtual word about how wonderful your inn and surrounding areas are to visit, and why potential guests should stay with you versus one of your competitors. Create a meaningful network of ‘fans’ and ‘followers’ which can prove to be a invaluable way to collect feedback and consistently connect with your guests.
5. Use careful bookkeeping: 80% of new businesses fail in the first 2 years, and even established businesses can go under from poor accounting and bookkeeping skills. Manage your cash flow and keep careful records, not only for tax reasons, but also to compare different years expenses and revenues to see where you are improving on cutting costs and increasing profits, but more importantly, in what areas you can improve.
6. Minimize your losses: Poor management techniques, work ethic, marketing investments, and business strategies can all be a detriment to your B&B’s long term survival. Pay close attention to what is working, and be quick to cut out and drop what isn’t. The longer an ineffective and costly strategy continues, the higher the likelihood it will become a serious financial drain and could possibly put your inn out of business.
7. Continue to educate yourself: Stay on top of industry trends and abreast of market information. Attend bed and breakfast seminars, trade shows, and read the latest news and notes about what is happening in your local and national economy. By broadening your educational scope you greatly enhance the possibility that your B&B business will not become another statistic.
8. Trust those around you to get the job done: No business can succeed with only one or two people running every aspect, unless you are a very small operation. Surround yourself with a trusted network of employees and create a positive and thriving work environment where they can prosper and help you in all aspects of day to day operations. It has been proven in multiple studies that the higher the employee satisfaction with their job, the higher their output will be for your bed and breakfast business.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask for input: Sometimes the best view is an unbiased one, an outsiders opinion on what your doing right, and their opinion on ways you can improve your operation. Many innkeeper owners can be resistant to the thought there could be possibly anything they could do better, but looked at through others eyes, valuable feedback can be acquired. Do not become offended by their opinions, remember, its ideas to improve your business, not personal attacks.
10. Live a balanced lifestyle: Don’t become too obsessed with working and bettering your business that you forget about your personal well-being. Take time to spend with your family, an occasional trip when applicable, and exercise and eat right. This will create a holistic and healthy mindset necessary for the occasional stressful environment you and your co-proprietors might endure.
The new decade and new year is an ideal time for an innkeeper owner to reflect on things that were done properly in the past and ways to better yourself and your business for the future. But be aware to never become complacent with your business practices, because as soon as you stop changing and improving your methods, the competition is sure to catch up and perhaps surpass you. And remember, the owners and staff at TheBedandBreakfastDirectory.com are here to help in anyway we can to be sure your B&B business will continue to succeed well into the new year and beyond.