Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Why aren't you on Wikitravel?

Wikipedia has grown enormously in recent years. The simplest and most tangible demonstration of this is the fact that in 2005 their fundraising campaign was aiming for $75,000 in donations. In 2009 they are aiming for $7.5 million and received $3.5 million in just over one month. Although the open source nature of Wikipedia makes it a poor choice for an academic source, it is becoming far more reliable and as a guest house owner, you can take advantage of its system.

Wikitravel is a branch of the group aimed at compiling a comprehensive global travel guide, is becoming extremely popular and anyone can add content to it...

Simply search for your guest house's location, click "Edit" and enter your information. Wikitravel aims to create a reliable, factual guide, so this is no time for long-winded sales talk which will be deleted rapidly. Once you submit, your property is on one of the most popular websites in the world and it didn't cost you a penny.

If your location has limited competition, you could be the only guest house on the Wikitravel page.

This should take you no more than 30 minutes, so make it your priority for today.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Trip Advisor

One of the best resources a guest house with limited advertising resources can take advantage of is Trip Advisor. This is an excellent website dedicated to providing open, honest information about accommodation throughout the world.

Extensive market research has shown that Trip Advisor is a key resource for guests when it comes to choosing a place to stay. By encouraging guests to leave reviews on Trip Advisor, you have instantly achieved a credible, far-reaching advertisement, for free.

If you provide free internet service at your guest house, create a Trip Advisor account for your business and set it as your homepage to help encourage guests to leave a review. A high rating on Trip Advisor can have a significant positive impact on your bookings.

If any guest house owners have any suggestions to add, leave them in the comments section below. The best ones will be featured in the next Guest House Guru post, along with a link to your website.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Partnering with Agents

In recent years, numerous booking agents have emerged online and have built solid reputations for delivering guests.If you're looking to promote your guest house, it is an excellent idea to sign up to some of them. The good is that business model that has proved to be the most successful for them has been charging commission on bookings made via their website. This means until you get a booking, you don't have to pay anything.

The commission for an agent is usually 10-15% of the total booking. If you are aiming to attract overseas visitors, the advantages of being able to use the power of the agent's brand to attract international customers and have them directed to your business greatly outweigh a 15% commission.

Guest House Guru's suggested starting agents are:


Bookings from these agents account for a large part of many guest house's business, particularly those whose location means walk-in guests are unlikely. In addition, Fastbooking and Hostelbookers offer a booking engine for your website, which makes bookings more secure and easier for you to handle.

Detailed reviews of numerous agents will be included in the Guest House Guru E-book, so register your interest in the comments section below.

Starting out - Your Website

Your website will often be the first port of call for a potential guest. Just as a potential investor in a business will check out a company's website to try to ascertain its credibility, so too will a holidaymaker investigate your website. If you have a website, ask yourself the following question:

What does my website say about my guest house?

Does it make your guest house look warm and inviting? Is it simple and stylish, or cluttered and basic? You need to ensure that your website helps to convey the vision you have for your business, whether it's homely and cozy or youthful and unique. You are probably thinking something along these lines now:

But I'm not a computer wizard, I don't know how to build a website and it must be expensive to hire a professional who does.

Luckily, you don't need to be a professional, or hire one. There are many people in the world who create and upload free website templates for anyone to download. You can look on websites such as http://www.freewebsitetemplates.com/ which offer a variety of attractive layouts. All you need to do is download it and replace the text and images with your own.

This method does require you to learn a little bit of HTML and I always recommend w3schools because they make finding the answer to a question very easy. All you need to know are a few bits of code such as how to make things bold and italic, and you're well on your way.

Below is an example of a website for a small guest house that was created for free. It emphasizes warmth and simplicity and has a professional finish.

 Quality Bangkok Guest House

Creating an attractive and professional website needn't be a daunting task and it can make a real difference to the perception customers will have of you.

If you don't yet have a website and would like to take advantage of the massive power of the internet, leave a comment below and I will inform you when the Guest House Guru E-book, which explains how to set up your website from scratch, is available for purchase.