Scott and I went to a national B&B conference known as PAII out in Las Vegas this past January. We had never gone to one of these national conventions before, so we really didn’t know what to expect. There were B&B’s from all over the country ranging in size from 1 room to literally the size of a small hotel up to 30 rooms. We met a lot of really nice people and came back with so much information. Because they are catering to a wide range of different size inns, some information didn’t pertain to us like how to brew beer at your inn. Hmm, that got Scott thinking that maybe we should think about getting bigger. Ha! Back to reality.
The biggest thing I walked away from was some new marketing ideas though. Being in the bed and breakfast industry is not a get rich quick profession or EVER for that matter. It really is all about the lifestyle though, which is why Scott and I love what we do. It works for our family. We constantly get told from locals that they did not even know that their was a bed and breakfast in Oshkosh. You have no idea how many times we hear that. Our marketing budget is so small that we have to be sooo choosy on where we spend our marketing dollars. Because the majority of our business comes from our surrounding states, we tend to focus our efforts in trying to get our inn noticed by the greatest number of people. Our website is the window to that world. Now, don’t get me wrong, we want Oshkosh to know that we are here and hope that our Facebook and word of mouth referrals will keep coming our way but we figured a new website might not hurt either. One statement grabbed my attention while in Vegas.
It was said, that if you have a limited dollar amount for your marketing budget, put everything you got into your website if it is three years or older. Our website was just past that mark. We have always gotten great reviews from it and I hated to change it, because I did like it so much. Now, I have always been one that appreciates honesty, whether you want to hear it or not. I have never been one to hold back so I hoped they wouldn’t either and they didn’t. This presenter that we were listening to, put our website along with many others up on a big screen in a convention hall and started picking it apart. Man, I felt like I had a lot to learn. As small as I felt, I needed to hear the bad news which lead us to where we are today.
I decided to work with a company that we had been doing business with the last couple of years who focuses on the bed and breakfast industry in website design. We spent almost a half a day just trying to come up with a font that was easy to read. Scott still isn’t happy with it, but I would love to know your thoughts. This company went out of their way to find out who we were were as a family, as innkeepers, information about Oshkosh , our clientele and our style. All things important when creating a website or our storefront for that matter, that appeals to the masses. The last couple of months have been tweaking everything from information, to pictures, to the behind the scenes that only Google and many other search engines will appreciate. Our website just went live yesterday with a few minor things that need to be completed.
I hope you like our new site and find it easy to use and navigate through. If you should have any thoughts one way or another on it, please feel free to share.