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How to market a B&B during lockdown | laptop, notepad, glasses, coffee, iphone & plant

Marketing a B&B during Lockdown

marketing your b&b Jan 07, 2021

One of the questions I’m often asked is “Should I still be marketing my B&B during lockdown?”

And my answer is a "YES! But..."

With the vaccine being rolled out, I’m hopeful that tourism will get a big boost later in the year. Though please don’t quote me on that - if 2020 has taught us anything it’s that we need to be more flexible in our planning!

And it’s those tourism providers that have continued to stay front of mind that will benefit from the bookings, when they do start to come in.

I had a rush of bookings when the last lockdown ended from my repeat guests and from new guests  I’d been marketing to throughout the months we were shut. My Instagram followers grew by nearly 20%

However, you do need to be very careful about how you market right now. 

I would personally avoid any of the “BOOK NOW” type promotional posts or emails.

But there are ways to continue to connect and engage with your guests

Let your guests know you’re still here

If you normally post on social media, write regular blogs and newsletters during more normal times, then it all stops during lockdown, guests may wonder if you’re still in business.

Your more regular followers may even be worrying about you. And the last thing anyone needs right now is something to worry about.

Some of my most popular posts in lockdown were just short videos of flowers swaying in the breeze or our regular walks up our lane.

Make sure you connect with your guests and respond to their comments. Social media is all about connection and engagement and now you have the time to do some engaging!

Provide value and useful content

Share what you’re doing during lockdown. If ...

  • you’re redecorating the B&B, ask your followers to help you choose a colour. Or recommend a local business that you’re using to help with the transformation.
  • you’ve discovered a great walk, then write it up and create a PDF and offer to send it to guests.
  • you’re making marmalade - it’s that time of year - then share photos of your efforts and share the recipe.
  • you’re practising some new cake recipes and ask them which is their favourite.
  •  you’ve read a fiction book based in the local area, then recommend it and describe it.
  • you’ve knitted something new. Share a photo and tell your followers where they can buy the yarn from your favourite local yarn shop online.
  • you've got a favourite local cheese or beer and the local food shop does delivery, share a photo of your favourite item of theirs and tell people where they can buy it online

Stay positive

Many people are feeling down and anxious right now, so try and remain positive in your posts. I’m not saying don’t occasionally get real and pretend all of this isn’t happening, but be careful not to fill your posts with gloom and doom.

Ask yourself how you want your readers to feel when they see another social media post from you or your newsletter dropping into their inbox.

When the world is feeling anything but normal and safe, you can provide that comfort and sense of normality that they need.

During the spring lockdown, my favourite little hotel by the coast - the one we should have been going to for my birthday next week - posted regular videos of the sun setting into the sea. I loved seeing these.

Help your guests plan for the future

Hopefully, it won’t be too long till people can travel again. And there are probably a lot of people sitting on their computers right now planning their trips away.

How can you help them plan for their trip?

Here are some of my ideas. Share them but preface with something like, we know you can’t visit us right now but here are some ideas to help you plan for your next trip.

  • Write a blog post about your top 5 favourite guide books for your area. Or fiction books set in your locality 
  • Share videos that other people have added to YouTube. For example, a few years ago Time Team were at our local Hopton castle and that programme is on YouTube.
  • Share your Top 5 local Instagram accounts that best show off the benefits of your local area
  • Write a guide to enjoying the perfect day out in your local town - including some practical recommendations - where to park, the best days to go, where the loos are etc.
  • Put together a Pinterest boards with a host of information about your local area and share with your audience.

These are just a few ideas.  I’m sure if you sat down and did a bit of a brainstorm you’d come up with many more of your own.

In summary, marketing in lockdown needs some careful thought. But it can reap benefits when lockdown is finally over.

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