Helping Tudor Farmhouse Hotel Get More Bookings During the Coronavirus Crisis

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Season 8 Episode 18. This is a recap of my Facebook live video where I discussed how I helped Tudor Farmhouse Hotel get more bookingsduring the Coronavirus crisis.

Here’s the audio for this episode:

Here’s the video for this episode:

Timestamp

00:50 What this episode is about
02:30 What is a Marketing Review
05:20 Let’s start helping
12:00 Let’s look at the website
16:20 Compare this to your website
18:00 Book Direct Incentives
18:50 About Crowdfunding
20:00 Google search
21:00 Let’s look at Social Media
24:00 Last advice to everyone

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Transcript from the Episode

To give you a quick overview of what a marketing review is, before we get started. Every week. What I do is I ask hospitality owners where their biggest pain points are. I asked them with a form of an email or on a blog or on the website or in the group. Then what I ask is if they’d like to have a marketing review done within the hospitality community Facebook group.

They fill in a form and what we do on the back of that is that I do what’s called a marketing review. So I take the answers, I look at where they are now, I look at where they want to be. And I look at what’s in the middle. So what’s stopping them from getting from from where they are now to where they want to be. And where they want to be varies massively. It can be, they want to get more direct bookings, they want to just get bookings in general, they want to learn more about different skills, maybe it’s email, maybe it’s x, y, or z.

Then what I do is I take a look at what they’re currently doing now. And we do it a mini audit. So an audit, if anybody watched the last episode, it goes through social media, it goes through Google search, it goes through your website. Now I don’t get access to Google Analytics. I don’t get access to Facebook page insights. I don’t get access to your booking engine, but I can see a lot from the forward facing point of view and a forward facing point of view is important because any errors or any hurdles that I can spot guarantee that your potential guests or potential direct bookings can spot as well by doing this and by recording my screen, and then by showing the owner or the host, and then they can go away, take away those actionable points, and then they can put it into practice.

And this helps them in the short, it helps with the medium and it helps in the long term, have a look at what they’ve put down, have a look at where their struggles, what their pain points are, where they are, where they want to be. And then have a look at what we’re able to pick out. And then always have half a mind on your business, your marketing, your website, your social media, how you appear on Google and then have a look at what you could be doing. Although we touched upon it last night and the loads of people jumped in the comments live and today on the replay and, you know was was people that had messaged me on instagram about things they’ve picked out upon, what I want for you to do is to figure out what your needs to be doing, and most importantly, what you’re going to do because then we can come back we can check in in a month’s time and we can see if you’ve actually done it.

So first and foremost, I just want to say a massive thank you to Hari and Colin of Tudor Farmhouse hotel, Clearwater, Gloucestershire. They actually won this marketing review. Like I said, I do opportunities in the hospitality community Facebook group once a week where you could potentially win a marketing review.

Let’s start helping

So what we’re going to do first and foremost is we are going to go back on what Hari filled in on the form, so if anybody’s ever filled in one of these forms before, and as you can see, we’ve had 1511 people fill them in, you will know the questions that I asked. So we’re just going to go through them again, for people that may be tuning into this for the first time moving on.

So what do we have here? So Hari has obviously got the Tudor farmhouse, Clearwater, Gloucestershire. They’ve got the business for 16 years, the type of business that they have is a B&B and a hotel.

So I’m giving everybody super loads of time to hit that share. But tell me about your business. What is your unique selling point? so friendly staff, boutique rooms and 20 mile menu? I don’t know what 20 mile menu means, but a big menu sounds good. What is the breakdown of your guests? So is it leisure? Or is it corporate? It’s 5050. Both. What is the average night stay your property. So the low end is one to two. Which of the following best describes how you interact with your guests they are hands on. But the staff also take the lead in communication. I am always at the property Facebook business page URL that we’re going to go check out. We’ve got the website address that we’re going to go and check out as well.

Who designed your website? I paid someone to do it for me. This is important. We talked about this in the previous episode. How many visitors Do you get a month to your website more than 500 When was your website created was last year? Do you have access to Google Analytics for your website? Yes. Which is really key. So not only does Harry have Google Analytics, which is a plus, we spoke about this yesterday. She also knows how many people come into the website every single month.

How are you happy with your website? key question. It could bring me more buckets. I think right now. Everybody’s website could bring them more bookings. But this is what we’re going to help achieve. Which of these companies do you use for your online booking engine, your PMS and we’ve got a full list of them there. They use guestline. Which online travel agents are you listed on? booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb, and again, if you’re listed on booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb, let us know in the comments below. Let us know where of where else you are listed on these otas.

So which otas have your information, but those are pretty much too big do you pay to be listed on any websites? If so, which ones so days Google Hotel. So good hotel guide, local Tourism Association and I spoke about this in the previous episode, but specifically on the ones that you’re paying to be listed on Saturdays good hotel guide, local local target Tourism Association, I escaped. Now, these are just listing sites. And what I would be looking to do is go in on your Google Analytics and seeing which of these are actually bringing traffic to your website, or go into your PMS. And if any of these have got a API or an iCal and they hock up to guestline. How many of them have actually brought in bookings? It’s a really good audit to be doing right now. If for example, saw days was bringing in, say 10 bookings a year easily covering its cost, but the good hotel guide hasn’t brought a book in for the last 18 months.

Do you email your guests after they stay? Yes. Which software do you use MailChimp. What is the overall occupation for the previous 12 months? Obviously, that’s not put in March. But what is the overall occupation? So a very healthy 66 to 75% what percentage of your total bookings a direct, a really super solid healthy 51 to 75%? So I just want to say a massive well done to Harry and Collin for achieving that. Let us know in the comments, what is your percentage are you in the zero to 25% of direct bookings? You in the 26 to 50%, you’re in the same bracket, are you actually 75 to 100% direct bookings, and then caveat that with your occupational rate for the past year, so not for the year coming up for the previous year, on average, how much money do you spend in commission costs per month to third parties, so we even know they are doing crazily Well, in here, they’re still paying a chunk of money in third party in commission costs to third parties. So round about 30, you know, 30 to 60 grand per year in commission custom, my goal from here is to get this knocked down into this bracket. So if we can help save, you know, 10 to 20 grand a year, this will be a massive win for Hari and Colin. And just for me personally looking to see what we can do to help with this.

How would you say the majority of your new bookings come in phone call or email which is which is great. Which of the following marketing channels have you attempted in the past Facebook ads, Google ads, email marketing, worked with a PR agency which which is interesting. Which of these Do you wish you could ever go up? I just don’t know how to do influence a market pretty new but again, one that’s really effective. Why is the one bit of advice advice do you wish you would receive before you start up your business to save more for the unexpected? Think carefully before increasing the workforce. I think this is now more than ever, the time when you will think about this. Everybody always says to have six to 12 months of water.

Chest for the unexpected but until it actually happens you never really do properly think about it I’m personally guilty of this and I know so many of us a thinking this wave a magic wand How would you like your business profits look like in 12 months due to COVID-19 I’d be happy to break even if it wasn’t for that in six months time we’d have a good sized nest egg aside to get through the winter when we often where do you feel that you struggled to most when you achieve in your goals consistency? biggest pain point is obviously Coronavirus right now I think everybody that is watching this live watching this on the replay please join in the discussion please join in in the comments. You know what is the one advice that you wish that you would receive? Put hashtag advice and let us know wave a magic one. So just put hashtag one and how would you like your business to look like in six months? I think I know what a lot of answers will be before we get to that.

And then as well like where do you feel that you struggle the most when trying to achieve your goals. So just put hashtag achieve unpop what you feel that you are failing or struggling at when it comes to and obviously Hari’s Failing on failing thinking has failed in it with the consistency now

Let’s look at the website

With the website this is the first thing that we say now if you all remember what this is called This is called above the fold. Now this is super important. This is the first thing that the user or the guest sees what I like is that the website designer that created this for Hari and Colin has gone through the full screen which is important. If we drop it down quickly have a little look at what it looks like on mobile. Yep, so it is responsive. I like how the book button very visible at the top and obviously the Tudor Farmhouse hotel is not just a hotel, but it’s also a restaurant, as well.

One thing that really impressed me when the page loaded up is that there was a pop up and the pop up was obviously very current. It says sorry, we’re temporary closed until the 22nd of June read more where it goes to a blog post but also as well. This will set up a saving for support crowdfunder please click here. Your support now means big savings later and we will go on to the next. I think this is something that everybody could maybe look to investigate specifically to help with their business in immediate short term, bring in some income.

What we’ve got here, very important, nice big image really beautiful picture. It looks idyllic. You know, from the Lord of the Rings, it looks really welcoming. And it looks like a beautiful picture. I would say this is definitely for me a unique selling point. If I was to be picky, what I would be looking to do here is I would be looking specifically on desktop to get this menu to appear because it it’s hidden, not everybody knows, to click on this little hamburger here to bring up the menu. It’s a service assumption, website designers fall into the trap of this. A lot is that just because we know what this means, does it mean that your random guests or first timers will know what this means so if I was to do anything ads, I’d get this stay Eat Drink offers gatherings experiences blog, get in here and get it in on the menu at the top or even just on the head, maybe what we could do, the website designer could move the logo over here, bring that menu and so they’ve got clear indicators because right now it’s super easy to miss all of this.

And also as well, I’d be having a click to action button here. So again, having that there which is great, but then having one here, you won’t have as many click to action buttons as possible. I’d have another one here. You’ve got it here which is great. You’ve got one now which is awesome.

Now the overall layout of the website. I really like the layout, it’s clean, it’s crisp, it’s clear, you’ve got beautiful pictures. That bath looks amazing. You really have hit upon your target audience. Now for me looking at this combining with your pitches, I can instantly tell that your ideal audience would be people wanting to get away. Get away from the cities get away to the countryside. The welly boots tells to me that this is a farm area. You know, we’ve got it with the name, we’ve got it with the welly boots, you know, they’re coming away for a country getaway. The food means that you’ve, you know, there’s some seriously good cooking going on here. And again, amazing photos. And as well, it’s got a family atmosphere. So families, big gatherings, you know, one of those sort of places where you come as guests but leavers, friends, that’s the sort of atmosphere that’s the sort of the sort of the cliche that I’m getting from this Wildlife Safari, big selling point, soul servers for origin trips, you know, you’re in you’re in Gloucestershire so it’s not massive miles away from you know, London and the big cities so I can totally get who would be coming to to stay with you and again it is really super straightforward super clear on everything which I really like and again the the use of the Instagram is is amazing so really well done with that.

Compare this to your website

Now compare this right now to your website compare this to your current sell compare this to what you have Have you got a lot of information would you say that your property is bookable from your website from your homepage now I haven’t even gone any further than that I haven’t I haven’t gone into eat and drink stay offers gathering etc or the blog we’re basing we probably base and guest base a large I’d say 90% plus of their decision factor on booking on this homepage I think if there’s one thing missing and

I’ll give everybody this advice get in the social proof serve as a super cool website called Repuso. So what it does is it takes your reviews on all of the big sites Facebook Airbnb book in Google. And what it does is it filters it down to your five star reviews only. And you can put it together in really useful looking widgets. So it keeps it really cool keeps it really clear, and it presents it in lots of different styles.

So what you could have on on here, Hari, which is what you’re missing, I would say would be about social proof. Now the problem that so many people do here is they’ll just copy and paste a review from one of the channels and they’ll put it in. Now the problem with copy and paste reviews is that more often than not, they can look fake, or they can look edited. The beauty of Repuso is that it’s done in real time. It only puts in your five star reviews and it’s crystal clear to see where it came from. So it just eliminates a potential barrier.

Book Direct Incentives

What incentives are you given to a guest when they book direct early check in late check out? Do you get a welcome hamper. Do you get better rates and discounts you need to be telling this and explaining this to your potential guests straight from the off. Because otherwise, what will happen is that booking.com, Expedia and Airbnb will make out that it’s better to book via them.

Remember, general public do not realize that when somebody books at your property via booking.com, that they charge a high commission rate, they naively think that you just pay a set annual fee of 100 quid, which we know is not the case, or they list you on there for free of the good of the goodness of their heart. And we know that’s not the case. So what we need to do is we need to re educate, and it starts with your website.

About Crowdfunding

Now. I was wanting to quickly go over to the crowdfunding page that they created. And again, it says something that I didn’t realize that they had done but I’m super impressed.

What they’re doing is they’ve started this campaign to even our cash flow over this difficult period and continue to pay our staff to global and I’ve got information here. So what they’re doing is you can donate and buy gift vouchers or rewards via this crowdfunder and then what the guests can do is they can redeem it when life goes back to normality. So as you can see at 20 pounds or more, you’ll get a dining club membership 60 pounds or more an experience to remember 100 pound or more stay in a hand or actually room and again, there’s some super big discounts.

If you’re going to do this you want to be doing some super big discounts on this. And then for 450 pounds or more, really big discounts 5000 or more yours for the night takeover all 20 bedrooms for the night and celebrate in style.

Really clever idea here, Hari and Colin. I applaud you for this and it is already bringing in bookings and money cash flow right now.

Google search

Going back to a Google search now what is the first thing that you spot when you see the Google first page? Now the first thing that I noticed is that they are doing bid on brand. You can tell that because you can see ad right here. So when somebody Googles the business name, you’ve got the ad running right here. Now that’s amazing work.

But what the first thing that I would say to you, Hari and Colin would be to go back into Google ads. And I would use this time this downtime to amend the copy of your ads because it’s, it’s great, but I would change it to Tudor farmhouse hotel and restaurant right there to get out fabulous and put in a official hotel website. So that’s super clear to the guests to the user when they run a search for your business name because you’ve been running for 15 years. You’ve got nearly 1000 online reviews. Word of mouth is strong. The recommendations are great. So I know that there’ll be a lot of people without seeing your Google business listing analytics that we talked about in the last episode. I know that there’ll be a lot of people who are searching for your name.

Let’s look at Social Media

You’ve got a real solid, nearly 5000 people like and follow your page, you’ve got a cool little logo and you’ve got a really cool cover picture. My first advice would be here is that you’ve got a farmhouse hotel. It’s a social experience, your website screams like social behavior, social gathering, you’ve got staff, you know, what I would be doing here is instead of having a boring logo that no one’s going to really resonate with on social media, is put a picture of your staff in here put a picture of you and your family on here. This would be the first thing that people see.

The reason being is that this profile picture is the first thing that people will see about you online when they’re doing the scroll if you if you say you comment or someone tagged you in, etc, that’s what they’re going to see. And those that have their brand and their businesses like this, they do a social thing here, they’re the ones that are going to get more click through and people are going to resonate a bit more, use your cover picture to sell.

So this overlay picture of food on these amazing bits and bobs here, but you can actually edit this you can have up to six pictures. In your cover photo, you can have one picture of the restaurant you can have one picture of the other amazing pictures that you have on your website. You can put them in here and you can just simply edit it for those of you who have got a video, you can put a video in and it really stands out. So one thing that I noticed that’s missing from your page here Hari is that you can add in a shop.

So when you go to the shop, what you can do is you can link people for the time being through to your crowdfunding page. With the shop, it’s online and clickable. So it sits at the top here. So you can talk about the crowdfunding, you can talk about the gift vouchers that they can buy, people can even pre book rooms. And you can put that in really simply at the top.

Also, as well. What I’ve noticed that is missing is a pinned post. So you may have one post that is really important. For example, the one where you’re announcing that you are closed until the end of June. You want that to be pinned right at the very top. I know it’s really hard at times like these to want to post on social media, you’ve got a really good Instagram, you’ve got a really good Facebook and you know you you are part of the book direct membership. So my advice to you would be to come in to social media sorted, just make full use you’ve got 35-40 images and copy here that you can use, you know, even if you’re not going to use the image come and use the copy, and you can pretty much schedule out 80 to 90% of this month. Social Media through the social media site that you have access to. But overall, I think you’re doing a really good job.

Last advice to everyone

What I would love for you all to do, let’s keep actionable. Let’s be proactive. And now let’s plan these exit strategies around Coronavirus. We’re still in lockdown. They’ll have time. We can dedicate even it’s just an hour or two hours a day. What are we going to be doing to fix what could be broken right now.

One more thing that I would say is that if you’re looking at your website, if you’re looking at your social media, if you’re looking at Google and thinking I just don’t know what’s wrong, and if you want to have an expert look at it. I was speaking to my buddy last week who is based in Liverpool. His whole company is got a big agency and his whole company has been closed down because of the Coronavirus. He’s got a lot of time of his hands. He has said that he is willing to do limited amount of people but he’s willing to do full audits 14 page audit will tell you exactly where your website is fixed or where it’s broken how your social media is looking for you want to speak to him about that it’s 90 pounds that you’re doing it for 99 pounds that you’re doing it for one off normally his agency charges 400 plus pounds. For something like this. He’s doing a cut price because he wants to help. And because he’s bored because he’s literally sat at home. So if you want to find out more, put in the comments below hashtag audit, and I will send you a link to his website where you can log in.

I’m not affiliated I don’t make any money from that. It’s just me trying to help him and trying to help you because I personally don’t have enough time to do one on one marketing reviews. Right now.

Before you leave

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