We really enjoy some of the work we do with small business around our local area in beautiful Mid-Wales. We particularly love working with small tourism businesses because they’re such a vital part of our local economy. Added to that, they give us lots of ideas for gorgeous places to visit.
The rise of sites like AirBnB has given lots of people added confidence to open up part or all of their home to guests. In fact, according to National B&B Week, B&Bs contribute £2 billion annually to the UK economy. But that doesn’t mean that a typical small B&B has a big marketing budget to play with. And the larger booking sites reach a wide audience but they also take a substantial cut of income.
So, what are our top tips for B&Bs in need of a budget-friendly website?
1. Keep it simple
We’re big fans of the straightforward, simple websites that Squarespace allows you to build. It’s something of a specialism of our sister company Spark Sites, as it allows us to build beautiful websites quickly and affordably, while adding value by helping our clients craft the written content that will help them stand out.
Websites should also be easy to update, and Squarespace has a super-easy interface that means even our most tech-phobic clients can be self-sufficient in no time, with a little training and minimal support from us.
2. Pictures speak a thousand words
It may be a cliché, but in this case it couldn’t be more true. You don’t necessarily need to commission a professional photographer, although, if budget can stretch to it, this can make a big difference. If you’re taking pictures yourself, though:
- Make sure every detail of the room shows it off at its best. Don’t forget to de-clutter beforehand, hide any wires or cables, and tidy and straighten curtains, blinds, bedding and sofa cushions. There’s nothing worse than creases and crumples in your photographs.
- Light, light and light! Plenty of natural light is key. Make sure you pick a nice bright day to take your pictures and avoid relying on a flash. You might also wish to have all the lights switched on in your shots as this can give the image added shine and sparkle.
- Don’t be afraid to get a bit ‘arty’. It’s nice to have a mix of straightforward pictures that give a good feel for the space, and slightly more creative images. So play around with close-ups, detail, weird angles and catching reflections of things. You can always press ‘delete’ later.
3. Find your unique selling point
Whether it’s a fantastic view, breakfasts to die for, or a flock of sheep to welcome guests, think about what makes your place unique and make a feature of it.
With a small B&B, you have the opportunity to give your guests a real experience, something that they’ll share and talk about with their friends. If there’s something slightly unusual or quirky about your place, then make sure you shout about it, loud and proud, from your website.
4. Sell your surrounding area
Don’t forget to tell people what else they can actually do near to your B&B. Most people are so time poor that they’ll appreciate not having to research multiple sites to plan their trip. Don’t assume that they’ll realise there’s a lovely country pub right on your doorstep, or even that one of the most beautiful lakes in the country is a stone’s throw away. And if you help spread the word about other businesses and places of interest in your area, they might just appreciate it and reciprocate.
5. Make booking easy
In an ideal world, you’d have an online booking system that allows guests to check availability and book in real time, with online card payments and automatic booking acknowledgements… We can set this up for you, but in reality most small B&Bs don’t have the budget to implement those systems on their website. A simple, and best of all, free next-best-thing is to keep a Google calendar up to date with availability.
Many web design tools, including SquareSpace, make it quite straightforward to then embed your calendar in your website, so people interested in booking can see straight away whether there’s availability on their chosen dates. Together with including a variety of contact methods, this makes the booking process as quick and pain free as possible for your guests.
Get in touch
If you have a small B&B, or other holiday accommodation, and need an affordable website, please do get in touch so we can help you out, or visit our Spark Sites website for more examples of the sites we build in this area.