Photo by RDNE Stock project
Lodging providers typically do an excellent job of delighting guests with their comfortable accommodations, quality food offerings and luxury amenities. However, what guests experience during their stay isn’t limited to their on-site time at your property.
What happens off-site is a very important component of the entire guest experience and enhancing it is essential to improve ratings and increase new and recurring bookings.
To help guests have truly memorable off-site experiences, lodging professionals must partner with local businesses who will provide their guests with special offerings and attention. Curating these experiences starts with choosing the right partners and working with them to determine the unique offerings they will provide to your guests.
Curating Exclusive, Unique Offerings
Lodging providers should identify and arrange for activities that allow guests to experience the destination in a way that goes beyond what’s typically found online. For the best results, thorough research is needed before settling on partners.
Find unique local places for your guests to eat, shop, and have fun. Approach the business owner or manager and ask if they are willing to treat your guests to a special experience if you recommend them. From there, you can discuss and refine an offering that is exclusive to guests of your property.
“Anybody can make a recommendation, but when we recommended an activity, we wanted it to be unique to the guest and something that nobody else offers. For example, we had a package to visit the aquarium next to one of our hotels, and to make it exclusive, we worked with the attraction to have our guests not wait in line. Or at selected restaurants, guests at our hotel were given a free glass of wine when they arrived.”
~Ken Conklin, Owner and General Manager of Short Stay Florida, former manager three Baltimore Harbor Magic hotels
It’s About the Experience, Not Making Money
In most cases, lodging providers don’t directly make money from establishing local partnerships, but the experiences leave a positive, lasting impression on the guest which helps with repeat business and referrals.
Monique Greenwood, owner of Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns, says there is so much outside of her urban properties for her guests to do, that they don’t usually need extra help in finding events and activities. For this reason, she invests time in discovering new places that are off the beaten path and often curates packages which are exclusive to her guests.
“Making money from the package doesn’t matter to me because I know the guest is going to get more out of their stay from the experience. This way they come back again and again,” said Monique. And they often post on social media about the fun they had, which spreads the word about Akwaaba and brings in new guests.
For former Vermont Inn owner Megan Smith, local business partnerships helped to build future occupancy for her property.
“I had a partnership with a local hospital which was always recruiting doctors, so we would host them and get them down to the hospital and provide anything else they needed. Then when they started working at the hospital, those doctors always came back to our inn to host holiday parties or to refer guests.”
It was a win-win situation for all involved.
Choosing the Right Partner
Choosing unique local places is an important starting point for determining potential partners but perhaps more pressing is for owners of those places to provide a level of service on par with your property. Monique refers to this as being “on brand” with your offering and this is her primary criteria selecting business partners.
“Are they hospitable? Are they as professional as you are? The goodwill gets passed down onto to you, but so does anything bad that happens. Be thoughtful of who you are picking because they are a reflection of you. Also, determine what’s the win for the partner too. They can’t just be doing you a favor,” says Monique.
In addition to choosing partners who are on brand with your property, it’s always helpful to look for partners that will mention you on their social media platforms and in their newsletters. Sometimes a partner will tag your property when talking about a guest experience there. This can add thousands of additional eyeballs to your reach and is good for both businesses!
Letting Guests Know About Your Unique Local Partner Offerings
Guests want to feel like VIPs. They want insider information and fantastic off-property experiences when they stay with you.
For guests to truly feel special, only they should have access to your insider recommendations and curated guest offerings. Enticing prospective guests with some local recommendations on your website may be necessary but only your true guests should have access to the valuable insider information and experiences you provide to them.
The Frictionless Guest App is a digital concierge that helps your guests live like locals and is a fantastic way to let only your guests know of your local recommendations and the curated VIP experiences you offer to them.
The App helps you connect with guests like never before, saving you time and allowing you to curate the guest experience both on and off the property.
Go to frictionlessguest.com to book a demo!
Professional lodging conference time will be here before you know it. Which ones will you be attending?
Starting in late October, the Frictionless team will be packing their bags and hitting the skyways and the roadways.
Oct 30th – 31st Michigan B & B Association Conference, Grand Rapids, MI.
Not only will we be exhibiting, Frictionless Founder & CEO Steve Short will tell the story of how to “Live Like a Local” by utilizing local partnerships that boost your bottom line.
Nov 1st – 3rd New England Inns & Resorts Association Conference, Rockport, ME
Steve will make his way to Rockport where he’ll introduce the Frictionless App to a host of independent lodging professionals.
Nov 7th – 9th Midwest Association of Independent Inns Conference, Galena,IL
Diann Turner will travel to Galena and participate in a panel discussion spotlighting Midwest innkeepers, showcasing how local business partnerships magnify guest experiences and increase income.
Nov 12th – 15th Mid Atlantic Innkeepers Conference, Lancaster, PA
Diann will attend the Lancaster conference and delve deeper into how the Frictionless app transforms guest stays and skyrockets your profits.
Are you attending any of these conferences? If so, be sure to stop by our booth! We’re excited to assist lodging providers in redefining their businesses, increasing profits, and saving time.
After this whirlwind, we’ll be craving some turkey-time to refuel. See you there!
Steve Short, Frictionless Founder & CEO, and Randy Bangs of the Stewart Inn and Get Heads in Beds at the 2023 ALP Conference in Phoenix, AZ, discussing how the Frictionless App saves Randy lots of time.
Dr. Chris Gordon and husband Isaac Gordon, Owners/Innkeepers, of Go Getaway Bed And Breakfast in Munford, TN, explaining to Steve how excited they are to be using the Frictionless App.
Monique Greenwood, President & CEO of Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns, stopped by the Frictionless booth at the 2023 ALP Conference to provide a testimonial about the power of partnerships and how the app helps her guests Live Like Locals.
Do you ever find yourself wondering how to use certain features in the Frictionless App but can’t remember or aren’t sure where to start? Or do you simply want to reach out and say hi to fellow lodging professionals? Well, we’ve got some great news for you!
Join us for the 2nd Cup series of pre-scheduled Zoom calls, where you can get your Frictionless App questions answered.
The series kicks off on Tuesday, September 12th at 11:30 AM until noon ET.
Diann Turner will be there to assist and give instructions on how to utilize your app to enhance the guest experience and save you time! No sign-up required, the calls will be held monthly, so mark your calendars and set a reminder for the 2nd Cup Series!
It’s not only a fantastic opportunity to get your questions answered but also a way to learn from other lodging professionals who are creatively using the app.
Grab your favorite mug for that 2nd cup of coffee (or maybe even 3rd!) and hop on Zoom to connect with the community.
Whether you’re a seasoned user or a new one, you’ll find the 2nd Cup series a welcoming and informative space to enhance your Frictionless App experience. Diann is here to support you every step of the way.
So don’t miss out! Join us on Zoom for the 2nd Cup series and make the most out of the Frictionless App for your innkeeping needs.
See you there!
Marty and Carmel Etzel bought the Flag House Inn in Annapolis, Maryland, in 2017, with no prior experience or even informal knowledge of running a lodging business. In less than five years, they were able to more than double their bookings and sell the property for twice the amount they paid for it.
Marty discusses their journey, how they were able to accomplish this feat, and how he now parlays his experiences to help other lodging professionals as a consultant for Acorn Marketing.
We are very thankful to Marty for sharing his insights. You can learn more about Acorn Marketing at acorn-is.com.
Nothing quite entices guests to book better than high-end, professional photos of your property. Rather than relying on your mobile device for taking amateur photos, there can be a significant return to your investment if you hire a professional.
Tom Krueger is a professional commercial photographer who is focused on the independent lodging niche, and has deep expertise in making any property shine online.
We are very thankful to Tom for sharing his insights with us. You can learn more about Tom’s professional photographer services at tomkrueger.net.
The independent lodging industry event of the year, the 2023 ALP Conference and Marketplace, will take place from February 25th to March 1st in Phoenix, Arizona!!
This event will bring together hundreds of Innkeepers, Licensed Short Term & Vacation Rental Owners, and Boutique Hotel Operators for days of learning, shopping, and networking with some of the brightest stars in the industry. And we will be there!
The Frictionless Guest App is proud to be a Silver Sponsor for the event, so we encourage you to attend and look forward to seeing our clients and future clients there. Please stop by our booth and say hello!
CLICK HERE to register today and we’ll see you in Phoenix!
The Association of Lodging Professionals (ALP) has undergone some significant changes recently, including bringing on Sarah Gazi as its new CEO, taking over for the former Interim CEO, E. Scot Fuller-Beatty.
Sarah has been in association management for more than 20 years and she envisions shaping a new direction for ALP through listening to its members and partners. The organization has already been expanding its membership, with a stronger focus around community and collaboration.
We spoke with Sarah, Scot, and Conference & Events Planner Erik Spence about the future of ALP, as well as the upcoming, can’t-miss 2023 ALP Conference & Marketplace in Phoenix, Arizona, February 25th to March 1st.
We are very thankful to Sarah, Scot and Erik for sharing their insights with us. You can learn more about ALP at alplodging.org.
Unbeknownst to many independent lodging professionals, Google Travel is playing a significant role in impacting booking by diverting potential guests from the Google Search into its online travel marketplace.
Lisa Kolb, Owner and Co-Founder of Acorn Marketing, discusses everything property owners need to be aware of about Google Travel for maximizing their bookings.
Acorn Marketing offers a comprehensive strategy for helping property owners to re-think traditional SEO and create new revenue opportunities with Google Travel.
We are very thankful to Lisa for sharing her insights with us. You can learn more about Acorn Marketing at acorn-is.com.
Often the most significant business challenges can lead to true transformation. This was the case for Rita Sleys, owner and operator of the Rosemont Inn Bed & Breakfast, who found her business at a crossroads.
In 2019, she sought out help from Randy Bangs, owner of Get Heads in Beds, which led to a renovation of her property, an update to the property’s website — and a complete re-focus on her approach to business. As a result, the property is thriving and has more than doubled its revenue.
We are very thankful to Rita for sharing her insights with us. You can learn more about the Rosemont Inn Bed & Breakfast at rosemontinnbb.com.
The Michigan Bed and Breakfast Association (MBBA) 34th Annual Innkeeping Conference is happening from Tuesday, November 1 through Wednesday, November 2, in Grand Rapids, Michigan and the Frictionless Guest App is looking forward to being there!
Speakers include innkeeping expert Carol Edmondson, who will be talking with new and aspiring innkeepers, and travel blogger Valerie Stimac (our latest podcast interview!), who will share tips to attract and connect with guests of all generations and provide them with the local experiences they crave.
To view the schedule and register to attend the conference go to the MBBA conference page. We hope to see you there!