Business owners are forever challenged to know how customers hear about their enterprise. They want to spend time and marketing dollars wisely in an effort to get the ‘best bang for their buck.’
Word-of-mouth marketing can be the best form of marketing, and is usually the least costly.
The Comox Valley B&B Association — consisting of nearly 20 properties from Buckley Bay to Black Creek — is in a position to take the trial-and-error out of guests’ experiences by recommending tried-and-tested businesses in the area. It is unrolling a concierge program that enables tourism businesses to better track the source of their business/referrals.
“It really puts the onus on that tourism business to decide how they want to work with the association,” said Carolyn Touhey, owner of the Two Eagles Lodge Bed and Breakfast in Union Bay. “We’re just saying, ‘We’re here and willing to be worked with, and we’re your front line with personal recommendations’.”
Following are suggestions of how to participate:
•Invite B&B owners to try your business. That way, they can say they have been to your business, as opposed to simply knowing about it. Some examples: a restaurant invited B&B owners to enjoy a complimentary meal through the redemption of a letter; another offered a 2-for-1 option; a whale-watching tour boat invited members to join a tour; and an artist put framed photos in a B&B.
•Host a reception or open house before the busy season so owners can see what you offer; or sample/experience it at a reduced or no cost.
•Create a coupon, business-card size gift certificate with an offer on it and a place to write the B&B name.
•Create a more formal version with an offer to B&B owners, such as: ‘For every X-number of guests you send us, you (the B&B owner) get a ____.”
FMI, contact Touhey at 250-335-2342 or HaveFun@TwoEaglesLodge.com.
The Comox Valley B&B Association has a new website at comoxvalleybb.com.