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Michigan Here We Come! MBBA Innkeeping Conference November 1-2 in Grand Rapids, MI

Michigan Here We Come! MBBA Innkeeping Conference November 1-2 in Grand Rapids, MI

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!

#051: How Travel Influencers can Increase Bookings for your Property with Travel Blogger Valerie Stimac

#051: How Travel Influencers can Increase Bookings for your Property with Travel Blogger Valerie Stimac

Working with a travel influencer may seem like something only larger hotel brands can afford. In reality, independent lodging properties can also leverage travel influencers to increase visibility for their area and bookings for their property.

Valerie Stimac, a travel blogger and founder of Valerie & Valise, works with a variety of clients and offers an incredibly insightful perspective on how lodging professionals might best engage with travel influencers to benefit their property.

We are very thankful to Valerie for sharing her insights with us. You can learn more about Valerie & Valise at velisemag.com.

Leveraging the Power of Local Partnerships

Leveraging the Power of Local Partnerships

Partnering with local businesses to enhance your guests’ stay is a must in today’s experience-based economy. Travelers want more than just a place to stay. They want to connect with a destination, and live like a local, through genuinely authentic experiences. 

Lodging providers, to gain repeat bookings, need to identify and develop mutually beneficial offerings with local businesses in order to provide guests with high-quality local experiences.

Why it is Important to Have Partnerships

Since it will take an investment of your time to commit to partnerships with your fellow local businesses, it’s important to understand why you need them in the first place. 

The ability to differentiate your property is vital in order to attract (and keep) guests. 

It’s not enough just to have beautiful amenities and food on site. Complimentary amenities like breakfast and Wi-Fi have become commonplace and expected.

Partnering Enhances your Guests’ Experience

Guests want more these days. They desire high quality, curated experiences both on and off property. 

Guests look to their lodging provider for ‘insider information’ about the local community. They want recommendations and tips for what to do, see, and where to eat. They want to know what’s special about your community and experience it in unique ways. They’re counting on you to help curate their experience during their stay.

Your business benefits greatly with increased ROI when you curate and customize off-site experiences for your guests that match the quality of what you provide on-site.

Forming partnerships with local businesses that can provide a unique experience will give your property the edge you need to compete with other lodging providers in your area. 

“It is so critical we have relationships with our local business community. It works on two fronts. One, it helps to create a memorable experience for the guest because they are not going to stay in your property the whole time. They want to get out and discover the neighborhood where they are staying and live like a local. Second, it’s good for the local economy as well.”

~Monique Greenwood, Owner of Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns

Partnering Increases your ROI

When you enhance your guest experience off-site you’re increasing the likelihood of repeat bookings.

Simply put, repeat guests are more profitable. 

  • Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by more than 25% (Bain & Co)
  • It is 6-7X more expensive to attract new customers than to keep existing customers. (Kolsky via Huffpost)
  • A 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75% (Bain & Co. via Forbes).

“The partnerships we made with local businesses made staying at our inn special. They were my guest enhancement and my sanity. The relationships I made were not only beneficial for the guests, but they also really became relationships that I grew and made my life more fulfilled.”

~Megan Smith, Lodging Consultant and Former Owner of a Vermont Country Inn

Helping you Partner Effectively

The Frictionless Guest App is a digital concierge that helps your guests live like locals. It allows lodging providers to give guests their recommendations for the best local places to eat, play, and shop during their stay.

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!

#024: Kent Schnepp, CEO of Odysys, on the Top 3 Marketing Topics that Innkeepers should Focus on NOW as COVID-19 Winds Down

#024: Kent Schnepp, CEO of Odysys, on the Top 3 Marketing Topics that Innkeepers should Focus on NOW as COVID-19 Winds Down

For episode #24 of the Frictionless Innkeeper podcast series, we speak with Kent Schnepp, CEO of Odysys, who provides marketing strategies and tips for innkeepers as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to wind down.

As the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown continues, innkeepers are presented with a rare opportunity to use this down time to enhance their marketing efforts to help expand awareness and drive future bookings.

In this podcast, Kent Schnepp, CEO of Odysys, provides deep-dive insights into how innkeepers can develop marketing strategies to ramp up their businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down. Odysys offers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) marketing and technology platform that helps innkeepers and independent hotels to significantly reduce their guest acquisition costs.

  • About Odysys and its offerings for innkeepers. (1:09)
  • The 3 things innkeepers can do now to improve their marketing and drive future bookings. (2:05)
  • How and why Foundational Marketing is critical for innkeepers. (6:19)
  • Why innkeepers should seek out co-marketing opportunities with businesses in their areas. (17:08)
  • The right email marketing strategies as COVID-19 winds down. (23:19)
  • Why now is the ideal time for innkeepers to learn new marketing skills or better use their existing marketing tools. (26:51)
  • How Odysys works with its innkeeper customers to help improve their overall marketing performance. (34:22)
  • Kent’s perspective on what the future holds for the travel sector when restrictions are lifted. (36:00)

We are very thankful to Kent for sharing his insights with us!  You can learn more about Odysys by visiting their website.   The company also offers a wide-range of marketing resources and guides to help innkeepers get a head start on getting back to normal.

#022: John Smallwood, Founder and CEO of ExpressRez, Discusses His New Specialized Reservation Service for Innkeepers

#022: John Smallwood, Founder and CEO of ExpressRez, Discusses His New Specialized Reservation Service for Innkeepers

For episode #22 of the Frictionless Innkeeper podcast series, we speak with John Smallwood, Founder and CEO of ExpressRez, a specialized and simplified voice reservations service for Inns, B&Bs and vacation rental management companies.

For many innkeepers, it can be challenging to balance day-to-day operations and be available to take all reservation calls from prospective guests. Missed calls can translate into lost revenue to competing lodging options.

John Smallwood founded ExpressRez to address this very issue – to serve as an outsourced call center for Inns and B&Bs by handling all reservations and guest inquiries. When a call is received, an ExpressRez reservation specialist answers with the B&B’s unique greeting, as if guests are speaking directly with the innkeeper, and they are immediately provided detailed information about the property on their computer screens, to be able to answer typical questions from guests.

The solution will officially launch this summer, is simple to use, and offers tremendous return-on-investment. Innkeepers only need to pay 89 cents per minute for the calls, and there’s no startup fees or long-term contracts. ExpressRez also has an easy-to-use software interface for innkeepers to provide details about their properties, and all invoices include the revenue generated each month.

In addition to booking revenue for properties, ExpressRez takes calls from current guests regarding their questions and needs during their stays. This ultimately helps to enhance the guest experience, and boost overall TripAdvisor reviews.

In this podcast, John provides more insights into the value of the ExpressRez service for innkeepers:

  • John’s background in the hospitality arena. (1:08)
  • How John’s Travel Outlook parent company laid the foundation for the ExpressRez call center solution for Inns. (2:17)
  • How ExpressRez is different than Travel Outlook, and why it’s ideal for innkeepers. (5:01)
  • Why it’s easier for innkeepers to use ExpressRez rather than taking reservation calls on their own. (7:05)
  • Details about the pricing structure of ExpressRez for innkeepers. (11:43)
  • Why ExpressRez can help replace the use of OTAs. (15:50)
  • How ExpressRez uses an inn’s booking system for tracking ROI. (17:32)

We are very thankful to John for sharing his insights with us!  You can learn more about ExpressRez by visiting their website.