Are you a destination – or just a convenience?

Do your customers pop in for a bacon roll because they happen to be passing by? Or are they staying in one of your rooms because you happen to be in the right location? Maybe you’re the only restaurant in town or the simply the nearest place to sit and have coffee and cake?

Now think of a very different scenario.

I spent last weekend in a beautiful guest house. I travelled 125 miles to a part of the country I had no reason to go to. I wasn’t going to a wedding or a party. There was no hill I wanted to climb or visitor attraction I wanted to see. No train, plane or ferry to catch. I wasn’t visiting friends. I went there purely because I wanted to experience this award-winning guest house that I heard so much about for myself.

And I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve spoken about “moments of truth” in a previous blog, and there were plenty over the weekend to create a memorable experience: the warmth of the welcome by two wonderfully interesting and engaging hosts; the pot of fresh tea and scones just out of the oven on the patio; eggs procured from the chickens in the garden for breakfast, served with local sausages, bacon and jam, along with stories about the suppliers. The room was tastefully decorated with a nod rather than scream to Scottish history and heritage, and thoughtful touches here and there that made me stop and think. This is a place that has become a destination, a place that people will want to make the effort to experience for themselves.

Of course, everyone needs their “bread and butter” customers; the passers-by, the locals, the regulars. But what could you do to expand the geographical reach of your audience, widen the geographical area of your customers?

  • Apply for (and win!) awards. The process will help you focus on what you need to do better, and to do more of what you do best
  • Apply for accreditations – a fantastic way to get professional feedback and to benchmark your business
  • Enure you have unique selling points to stand apart from the crowd
  • Use social media; Make your pages interesting, quirky and engaging. Shout about your USPs and run “like and share” competitions to spread the word
  • Get into guide books, particularly those which have “Best of…” section
  • Get the press interested – it’s incredible what a magazine article can achieve

Get the above right and this is what you could achieve…