Attracting College Business to Your Bed & Breakfast

Go to the Head of the Class with College Business

College business can bring in mid-week traffic for three different reasons…so go after all of them!

  1. Visiting speakers, professors and athletic recruitment, and those guests booked by the college.These are handled like other corporate guests.
  2. Visiting families coming to town with their high school senior for a college tour, often traveling with siblings…requiring multiple beds in a room.
  3. Parents and alumni coming to campus to visit their students or for a reunion.These guests are like other leisure travelers.

Again, like with corporations in your town, building relationships with the different offices on campus will pay off with bookings.Here are some tips on where to look and how to promote your inn:

  • Departmental offices typically book their own visitors, so visit each of them just as you visited the corporation travel departments in town. Take some rack cards and your favorite muffins.
  • The Admissions Office can steer visiting families to your inn when they ask the inevitable question…”Where’s a good place to stay?” Know them personally so that YOU are on the top of their mind when they get asked.
  • Athletic teams bring in recruits by the dozens…get to know the coaches and give them a free breakfast when they come over to interview candidates.
  • College websites will often allow a link to your inn on their “Where to Stay” page.Be there!
  • Post a news blurb in the Newsletters all colleges send to students’ homes.They often look for content for their columns and will often offer a free paragraph as long as it is newsy and not an ad.Perhaps list your graduation booking process or mention a fraternity or sorority event you are sponsoring as a fundraiser.
  • Have a location on your website for college visitors to peruse, perhaps including sports schedules, specials for mid-week visitors, your walking distance to the campus, and, of course, a call-to-action button to book.
  • Hold campus departmental meetings or an open house at the inn.
  • Have a Parents Club…stay nine nights and get the tenth one free.Most will graduate before they make it to nine anyway!And the ones that get the free night are loyal repeat guests who will tell the other parents.

There are dozens of other ideas, but NONE are as important as building the relationships with the departmental offices, the admissions offices, the athletic coaches, the President’s office, and alumni office.

  • Consultant’s Advice: Top of Mind…Top of Market is the saying of Ted Foti, a good friend of mine with Communica Marketing. Same principle applies here. When a department head, alumni office, admissions office or sports team needs a room, YOU should be the FIRST thought that comes to mind. And only those personal relationships and frequent nurturing of the relationship will keep you there.

What do YOU DO to attract College Business to your Inn?

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