recommendation podcast oct 13
[00:00:00] Hi, it's Karen here. I'm the owner and founder of Bed and Breakfast Academy. I provide training and ongoing support to aspiring and existing bed and breakfast saunas, helping them create a, b and b lifestyle. Their love living with guests who become repeat fans. . In this week's podcast, I discuss the best fish finger sandwich I've ever had, possibly the best in the world.
And what that has to do with getting recommendations and reviews for your bmb. We managed to get away for a few days to call more last week. It was Rob's birthday trip, but with Mum being so poorly, we left it to the very last minute to book. We figured we could always get back quickly if we needed to.
It's only four hours away despite leaving it so late. We were very lucky to find an amazing place to stay in foie. I keep wanting to stay fy, but it's definitely Foy right on the edge of the water. [00:01:00] Because four isn't much fun to drive around. We, we arrived on Sunday afternoon and that the streets were packed with people and then very narrow and getting lots of filthy looks, driving, uh, driving a fairly large car through it.
Uh, we decided to leave the car in the garage for the five days. Instead explored on foot and by ferry, which was fabulous. Being in a town, we were able to eat out a lot. It's quite unusual for us to book a holiday in a town. We, we normally find very outta the way self catering places. In fact, the last holiday was a wonderful place in Scotland that we go to.
And that's about a 30 minute drive from any shops or, or restaurants. So it was quite something, it was quite different for us, uh, being in a town and, and despite the fact we were in a town that the place we were staying at was actually very quiet and secluded. Right. So right on the edge of the water, had a fantastic deck looking out.
And my husband, who's a keen, uh, well, he was a sailor in his [00:02:00] childhood, and he'll, he'll get into a boat whenever he can now. He, he was very happy sitting there watching, watching the boats going in. . So anyway, being in a town, we were able to eat out a lot, and on the last day we discovered a van in a car park on the edge of town, which happened to be selling the most amazing food.
And what I really wanted on the menu was a crab sandwich id. Do love crab sandwiches, but the last few times I've had crab, um, I've not felt too good, so I didn't really want to risk it. So instead I went for the fish finger sandwich, which is the best fish finger sandwich I've ever had. Succulent fish, crispy breadcrumbs, the freshest bread, and an amazing tarter sauce.
You know, everything just worked really well. After we'd finished eating just as we were leaving, there were four or five couples all sort of standing around the Blackboard menu, looking a bit, um, [00:03:00] unsure, you know, that this this was a, a van in a car park on the edge of town after all. And just as we left the, the owner called over to us and asked how the meal was, and I responded with it really was the best food we've had or holiday thank.
And Rob, who, who's a bit of a people watcher, was watching these people milling around and said, as I said, that they all reached into their pockets of their wallets and started to queue as, as only the British can queue. And he said to me, You've probably just made them an extra 200 pounds with that comment.
And it really got me thinking about how powerful recommendations are for hospitality businesses. So, as I said, Weeks podcast. I'm gonna talk to you a bit more about how you can go about getting more recommendations for your bmb. As a bmb, you are unlikely to have potential guests milling around outside hearing.
You call over to depart and guests asking how their stay was. So how do [00:04:00] you get guests to recommend you? You might think actually that having happy guests and a great b and b is. To, to get your, your guests to recommend you to their friends and colleagues. But these days, this often isn't enough. We have to encourage our customers to leave us reviews and recommend us to their friends.
I had quite a few repeat guests to actually refuse to recommend me to their friends because they, you know, they, they said we want to keep this to ourselves, But, you know, so you need to try and incentivize people sometimes to, to recommend you. So here are just a few ideas. Uh, you could put a stamped postcard in the room.
Now this sounds really simple, but it used to work really well for me At my bed and breakfast, I'd leaved a stamp postcard, um, on the bed next to the, the guest information and the menus. With a pen and a note saying, if you've enjoyed your stay or if you're enjoying your stay, please accept this postcard with our [00:05:00] compliments and send it to a friend who you think would also love it here.
PS the post box is two minutes away over the bridge into the left. So I made it as easy as possible for them to. Write the postcard and to send it. We often get postcards. I mean, when you go to a hotel, there's often a postcard sitting there, but you would very rarely send it because you've got to go and find a post box, which a post office which is open, and then find a post box.
So the clever thing here actually wasn't the postcard, it was the. And turn them where the post box was and nearly all those postcards went. So it's a great way of getting guests to do that recommendation. You know, quite often people will go away and they'll forget to talk to their friends about it, but you've, you've got them there and then they're enjoying the experience and it's a perfect time for them to, to write that postcard to recommend.
Another thing to do is give guests a postcard as they leave. So [00:06:00] I used to, This is another postcard, different type of postcard. This one I used to give guests a postcard with, with one of my, my, uh, photographs of our beautiful views on the front of it. But on the back it would have some writing, so it would, um, thank them for staying, give them a link to my breakfast recipes, all my cake recipes.
So all, all of my recipes, people always asking for my recipes, so I'm giving them something and then I would ask for a. So, as I said, you would say Thank you for your business. You could give them something. So a percentage of this next day, uh, a link to recipes. You don't actually have to give something in the postcard itself.
You could put the postcard in a goody bag, which they could take away for the journey with the postcard inside, or, or just the postcard and a pack of biscuits. You know, it's just, I love the idea. Being given something for [00:07:00] the host to be grateful that the guests out of all the BMBs have chosen that they've, they've chosen your b b.
So also on that postcard you're gonna ask them to leave a review and recommend, uh, you to friends if they enjoyed their stay. Another thing I also do is ask them to drop me an email. With any constructive feedback and this gives them the opportunity to feedback any negative stuff directly, which usually ends up in diverting it away for them, putting their negative feedback in a review, so, Right.
Okay. You've got an opportunity to give me some constructive feedback here. and then the review is for you to say something nice about me. I don't say that, you know, but that's, that's the, that's the implication. And you could make it easy for them to give the feedback or leave the review on, on the postcard by actually having something like a QR code for them to scan, which goes directly to your review page.
It's all about making it [00:08:00] as easy as possible for people. I would never actually ask guests in person, um, to give a review as they were leaving. I just felt this was a bit much, and, you know, put, may put guests in a difficult position. It could be potentially awkward, but I would always ask guests how their stay was.
And again, this gave them the opportunity to give me any constructive feedback. Again, diverting it away from the review. The next thing to do is send the guests an email after their stay. Which would contain the same sort of information as the postcard, so the, uh, special offer or a link to. Recipes, whatever you are planning to, to give your guests.
I thank them for choosing your B and again, asking them for review and the feedback and it's makes this, this makes it a bit easier because you can include links to your review page. It links to your blog. It's much easier putting it in a, on a email than it is in [00:09:00] in a postcard, but I think using a two-pronged approach works well if you use social media for your business.
You could ask guests to tag you in their posts whilst they're staying with you, so give them your. A social media account to handle your so at, um, Bed and Breakfast Academy. And you could also suggest that they use your own hashtag, so create, uh, a hashtag just for your business. Hashtag hop in house bed and breakfast.
And this is a really great way for your social media followers to see what your actual guests are experiencing whilst they're staying with. . And it also, you know, as A, B and B, we, we post lots of things about our b and b and what to do and pictures of the rooms and all those sorts of things, but sometimes it can feel a bit like the Mary Celeste.
I never really like to post pictures of guests, but by getting the guests to tag you and, and. Use your [00:10:00] hashtag uh, people can see that other people are actually staying at the b and b and, and, uh, they can see their experience of the bed and breakfast. So that's a great way of recommending. You can certainly, I would, this is best done before they arrive, so they know you've got a social media account.
So right from the start, there can be, they can. Uh, tagging you using the hashtag. You could also put it in the welcoming, uh, never said that. You could put it in the room information folder, or a little tented card on the trac saying, Using social media. Tag us use a hashtag. Also make sure that you are including links to your social media accounts in all of your emails that you send and on any, on any printed material such as your post.
When guests do tag you in their posts and their social media, it's very important that you respond to them, like their, uh, posts, [00:11:00] comment on them and share their posts. Make sure you are always sharing appropriately. Uh, don't just take the guests photos and put them onto your feed on, say, Instagram, because this could cause copyright issues if, if you did want to do that.
Did have a guest that taken a lovely photo. The thing to do is contact them and ask their permission to do so, but you could retweet it. If they're on Twitter, retweet their tweets. You can do a share on Facebook and you can also share to stories on Instagram. Yeah, so, you know, liking, commenting and sharing their post is gonna make your guests feel appreciated.
Plus, it's, it's really good for the algorithms. social media algorithms. The next thing to do is make sure you are responding to your. reviews. So many bmb owners will, uh, either not respond to reviews at all or will only respond to the negative reviews, but I believe it's just as important to respond to those people that [00:12:00] have taken the time to leave you a positive review.
I have a blog post all about how to and, and a podcast episode all about how to respond to reviews. I'm sure if you Google how to respond to a negative review about your b b and Bed and Breakfast Academy, you'll find. Or just head over to my blog b and b academy.co.uk/blog or take a look on the podcast episodes.
You could incentivize your guests to give you a referral or recommendation. You do need to be careful about incentivizing guests to leave positive reviews as this could breach terms in case conditions of review sites, and make sure. You're not, um, doing anything, you shouldn't be there, but you could offer an incentive to guests for referring you to a friend.
So give them a code for their friend to use when they book and offer something like a discount for your guests, uh, and their friend when they do book. incentives don't have to be discounts. I know we are [00:13:00] all very conscious of, of money at the moment, especially with the ever rising costs of, uh, the energy costs and food costs, fuel costs.
So you may not want to give discounts, but you could give them special terms and conditions such as, An early check-in, a late checkout, free newspapers, complimentary room, upgrade free cake in the room. You know, the list could go on and on. So have a have a bit of think about that, you know, what sort of things make your guest stay even more special that don't involve you giving money off.
So finally, um, I think it's really important that if a guest does recommend you and their friend stays, make sure to keep a note and to thank them the next time they stay with. , you could put a card in the room or you know, card, some chocolates or card and a little extra something. But people really like to be appreciated.
I hope you've enjoyed this Sweet's podcast. Thank you for listening. If you want to know [00:14:00] more about running your. Own bed and breakfast. Please head over to b b academy.co uk where you'll find over a hundred blog posts all about starting up running and marketing at B. And you'll also find details of my complete bed and breakfast course.
Thank you, and I'll speak with you soon.