Elements that can make your B&B website better than all the rest…
Beyond the basics, a bed and breakfast website can stand out from the crowd by highlighting why people would choose to stay. The main key to this is excellent website design, but there is a lot more to it than just what you see!
Firstly, your website needs to clear about the type of stay you offer and persuasively communicate what kind of experience your guests will have at your property. For example that they'll receive warm hospitality, a tasty breakfast and cosy beds. If you can get your website visitors to envision what a stay at your place feels like, you'll increase the chances of them booking!
However, whilst it needs to sell the “dream” it also needs to be informative and answer any questions or queries they may have. This can be achieved by planning and structuring your website text and including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s). FAQs are important, as they eliminate frustration by easily allowing your site visitors to find information.
Below are the main elements that can ensure the success of your website...
Ensure your home page displays your B&Bs three most notable features that will entice a new visitor to you, over a competitor’s.
Put your top 3 unique selling propositions prominently on your website's home page. A USP (Unique Selling Point) is defined as “the factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.”
To find your USPs put yourself in your potential guests’ shoes and think, “what would make me book this B&B?” Additionally ask yourself, "What makes my B&B unique? What makes my place one-of-a-kind?"
Try and condense each USP into a single sentence.
Normally, USPs fall into 3 categories:
Is your accommodation close to a main attraction or event? Perhaps you are opposite a train station with direct links to the city centre?
Consider your typical guest and what matters to them. If your ideal guests want a busy city break, push your proximity to the shops, cafés and bars. If they want a quiet countryside retreat, demonstrate that you are ideally located for country walks, wildlife and cosy local restaurants.
Use your location USP to your advantage across all your marketing, especially your website.
Does your B&B have luxury king-sized beds or provide luxury linen? Perhaps you have an on-site restaurant and bar with an inviting log fire? Or do you have a cosy homely appeal?
People search for accommodation with the best facilities, location and aesthetics within their price range. How does your B&B uniquely deliver comfort?
This doesn’t mean you need to be the cheapest B&B around, but everyone likes to feel they are getting good value for their money.
Can you offer an added value proposition over your competitors? Perhaps a bottle of bubbly on arrival or a cream tea?
You don’t have to be the best B&B in the world or the cheapest to compete — you simply need to consider if you’re giving value for money. Could you find a better B&B at a lower price in the area? If so, what can you offer to make your own accommodation more appealing?
A CTA, or call to action, is what is going to get your website visitors from passively browsing your page to taking real action, like making a reservation or signing up for your newsletter.
We recommend having a CTA (such as a Booking button) in the header area, a few throughout the page's content, and another larger, eye-catching CTA above the footer.
See the image of one of sites, with the 3 CTAs marked with the arrows (you can view a larger version by clicking on the image), or visit the site here
On another note, Falmouth Bay is a great example of where the owner has invested in great photography - stunning photos that really sell the accommodation, which brings us neatly on to our next tip - investing in great photos and videos...
Invest in high-quality photos and videos.
Potential guests are using their phones more than ever to scan through inspiring travel images to picture their next trip.
Your B&B can only be included in that process if you have great photos and videos. It’s definitely worth the investment to get professional photos of your rooms, common areas, and amenities which you can use on your website as well as your social media.
You can also get inexpensive video footage with the use of drones, which provide great aerial shots and show off your property’s location.
However, for maximum impact, think beyond the professional photos you provide and create ways for guests to share their own stunning images. According to research, 84% of millennials and 73% of non-millennials are likely or very likely to plan a trip based on someone else’s photos or social media updates. These images are inspirational to many, and show parts of your property that you may not think to photograph. Consider adding a feed on your website for images that tag your B&B. Make sure to comment and engage with users when they do share images online. This is a great way to increase loyalty and create a sense of community.
To help get your guests to share their images with you, create a hashtag and display it prominently around your accommodation, especially areas which are likely to be 'insta' perfect! Eg, #searentitysidmouth would be ideal for a B&B called Sea-Renity located in Sidmouth!
Great photos to include on your b&b website include:
- Rooms & bathrooms
- On-site amenities
- On and off-site activities
- Food & Drinks
- Pet-friendly experiences
- Spa services if available
- Seasonal photos
External ratings and reviews
A testimonial praising the greatness of your B&B is a great source for demonstrating trust.
Everyone love reading reviews – most people do it before purchasing anything online – and booking a stay is no different. Making a great impression as a host is vital to succeeding in the industry, so showing off these good reviews will encourage others to book their stay.
By offering clients proof of satisfaction with external ratings, you show that your B&B is booking-worthy and unbiased. For best results, using third-party reviews tells guests that your property is great and not just because you said so. You can display reviews from different listing sites and platforms onto your optimized website in a number of ways, but to show all your reviews from a number of channels such as Booking.com, Tripadvisor, Google, Facebook etc then we recommend Repuso which is a 3rd party service that embeds all your reviews beautifully into your website.
Building client trust by highlighting some glowing reviews is going to quickly indicate to guests that your stay is as exactly as advertised.
Promotion - packages and deals
Grab an indecisive guest's eye with special offers and seasonal deals they simply won't be able to refuse.
Guests always love a good bargain. Whatever you have, capitalise on it. Cater to different types of clients by offering packages for different niches. Think: newlyweds package, outdoor adventures deal, or weekend getaway offer, the options are endless!
Each package should have a separate page or space that visitors can click through to read more. Have photos appropriate to each offer that you’re advertising and add a catchy summary below the image that will make your visitors want to book.
Be consistent with your colours & fonts
If you want your bed and breakfast website to exude a feeling of relaxation and calm, if your site is too busy or has clashing color schemes, you might be sending the wrong message to potential guests.
Take a look at other websites who are trying to communicate the same feeling as yours. What fonts do they use? What colors emanate relaxation?
Consistency is key, so it’s important you continue checking your website regularly. When your colors, photos, and overall design all follow the same pattern, it’s easier on the eye for site visitors and be a much more attractive proposition!
Make your “Book Now” button noticeable
Hook your potential guests while you have their attention. Don’t let customers get too caught up on your page before making a booking.
Have your booking widget front and center on your site and also embedded on each room page, you continue to subtly emphasize that their next holiday is just one click away.
Add a blog section
Make your property feel like a fairy tale by telling the story! Blogging allows you to make your B&B appear more personable. You can demonstrate this by writing posts about a surprise engagement on your property, or any other little moments that capture the magic of your property.
Blogging lets guests know you’re human. Write with authenticity and tell the story of your bed and breakfast. What do you want to highlight that you can’t say in just a couple of words? Let your imagination run wild by adding a blog section to your website.
If you haven't got time to spend a long time writing articles (which is something we know a lot of owners struggle to find the time to do this), we created a new service called The Photo Blog... which allows our website owners to simply post a photo with a couple of sentences to describe what or where the photo was taken, which can be tagged under various categories; Eating Out, Places to visit, Walks, Beaches etc (whatever the owner wants), and this allows owners to easily build up a beautiful picture of what their area offers.
As this is a brand new service we have just started to provide for our owners, we haven't many examples but here is one B&B where they are adding great photos: Corsham Field B&B
Implement Useful Rooms Layouts
Those perusing your B&B website should be able to easily skim and decipher the differences between your rooms. They should be able to justify higher prices for certain rooms based on the descriptions and imagery indicated on the site.
Room descriptions should include:
- Highlight points of difference, such as a jacuzzi tub in one room, and a 4 poster bed in another.
- Make it clear why higher-priced rooms justify the cost. Is the room larger than most?
- Make it easy to skim on the main rooms page but ideally offer more details with an individual page for each room. When a guest is ready to book, they want to see more – more photos, more amenities, more descriptions.
- Include photos of the room and the bathroom. If you have an amazing bathroom emphasise this with multiple photos!
Simplify your website and booking process.
Along with captivating photos/videos, your website needs clean and clear copy, simple navigation, and a clear booking process. Remember that you may be competing with large hotels and Airbnb, both of which have seamless and intuitive user experiences. Pretend you're a potential guest as you travel through your website. Can you find the information you need? What about answers to all of your questions? When you go through the booking process, what obstacles or challenges do you run into? Can you do the whole exercise on your mobile phone? As you test the experience, write down your ideas for making the process easier and quicker.
Some ideas to simplify your website experience include:
- Get rid of large blocks of text. Summarize content in short bulleted lists, and include photos and videos to tell the story where possible.
- Simplify your navigation
- Make separate landing pages for each major idea or amenity. If you have a spa, restaurant, event space, or offer unique experiences, those should all get their own page. This helps with SEO and makes navigation easier for visitors.
- Make sure your website is responsive, which means it adapts based on the visitor’s browser and screen size.
Nurture potential guests with automated emails and exclusive discounts.
Your email lists, including potential guests as well as current and past guests, are an incredibly valuable marketing tool. Unlike followers on social media, you always have access to your email lists, and can communicate with those on it whenever you want. This means that you can create great experiences that provide value to potential guests even before they decide to stay with you.
For example, you can ask for visitor email addresses and the month/day that they plan to stay in a form or popup on your website on their first visit so that you have the biggest chance of earning their contact data. Just make sure that you’re providing value in return for that email address. Can you promise discounts in their inbox? Or information about local events for the month they’re planning on visiting? By tagging guests with their stay date in your email system, you can target your email marketing efforts based on this information and give potential guests a personalized experience as they research properties.
Once you have a potential guest’s email address, follow up with the information that they often ask before booking or staying. Send your breakfast menu and highlight the seasonal produce you’re using during their stay month. Send maps and information on local attractions. Highlight the discounts and packages they may be interested in. And in each email, try to think about how much value you’re providing for the guest and whether you're answering all of their questions. Even if the guest doesn’t end up staying with you, they’ll have all the information they need to consider your B&B for a future stay.
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.
In Conclusion/The End
We hope you've enjoyed this article - and hope you use it to checklist your own website to see if you have missed any of these pointers out!
One thing we are sure of, if your website looks amazing, and contains all of the above, you're on to a winner!
Thanks for reading!