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Starting a Bed & Breakfast - Know Your Markets

Starting a Bed & Breakfast | Is Running a B&B Right for Me? | Where Do I Start? | Know Your Markets | Overview of the Tourism Industry in Australia | Join HAA as an Associate Member


The success of your business will depend on how well you understand your target markets. Your chosen target markets will also influence the development of your business. The main markets are:

·        Couples
·        Family Friendly
·        Romantic or Luxury
·        Disabled Access
·        Pets Welcome
·        Groups
·        Internationals (this can incur high commissions which can be absorbed if the product and tariff are set correctly)
and your location
·        City
·        Suburban
·        Inner regions
·        Outer regions
·        Outback
Depending on the location of your business or the services you intend to offer you could attract potential guests with special interests such as golf, art, birdwatching, gardening, etc.
Note: Whichever markets you choose as your targets, anti-discrimination laws prohibit you from discriminating against anyone on the grounds of age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, marital status and religious beliefs.
Marketing is vital to bringing people to your business and you will need to set aside sufficient funds to get your business up and running. Costs are likely to be heavy in the first year while you are getting established and known. You should ask your guests how they found you and keep careful records so that you know what works and what doesn’t. As a rule of thumb your marketing spend should be a minimum of 15% of your expenditure budget.
Your tariff should be calculated to cover commissions payable to marketing organisations that generate bookings for your business. Commissions are a legitimate cost of business.
Your own website and email
Register a domain name for your website URL and email address that is dedicated to your business. Personal email addresses do not reflect professionalism.
Your website will be your most important asset in generating business and its development should not be left in the hands of an amateur. Check out the professional website developers on the HAA Supplier listing. They all understand the limitations of a small business budget, and their charges should be seen as an investment because without a good website you will be at a disadvantage compared with other, successful, businesses. These developers will also build in to your website the data that will increase its rankings with search engines such as Google and Yahoo. HAA members receive a discount from the website developers on the Suppliers Listings.
Your external marketing website choices include:
Marketing websites – you would be wise to stay with proven major marketing websites in the first instance such as
·        Your state tourism organisation marketing website (see Industry Partners for a list of links);
·        HAA’s marketing website. See the member listings for the type of information members place on their seven page on the HAA website,,  which is covered by their annual membership fee. This is a referral website and commissions are not charged for bookings you receive directly from it. Members who display a Book Now button and subscribe to an online system pay the normal commission and charges of that system (see below).
Increasingly, accommodation businesses are adopting online booking systems whereby the consumer can view vacancies and book in real time using their credit card. HAA members who utilise this type of booking system have a  ‘Book Now’ button on their listing which is for this purpose. HAA recommends V3 Frontdesk as a system that is tailored to small business. However, members are able to display book now buttons for any system that is integrated with an internet booking hub (TXA) developed by V3 and Tourism Australia through its agency the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse 
Be aware that once you have a presence on the internet you will be inundated with invitations to list on a range of marketing websites. Some may be worthwhile but a lot are not. Also some websites have hidden charges which can prove to be expensive.
An internet presence also makes businesses the object of scams. HAA members are able to access a range of scam warnings in the members section of our website.


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