Here’s one of the better ways I have found to find users that are interested in Bed and Breakfasts, and to carry it one step further, targeted guests who are interested in niche activities that a B&B might offer, i.e. dog friendly, geocaching, quilting retreats, etc.
One of my favorite tools is Socialoomph: http://www.socialoomph.com/, it has quite a few additional options that B&Bs can get some good use out of, but for this you are just going to use the keyword feature.
Sign up for the free version.
Login and to the left (blue buttons) click on “Monitors” and then “Keyword Alert Emails”.
You will come to a screen that lets you enter up to 50 keywords, this also includes keyword strings, so “bed and breakfast” or “geocaching” or “pet friendly” for example.
It gives you the option of receiving emails to your inbox either once a day, or every 12 hours.
Experiment a bit with what you are using for keywords and keyword strings, strings like “looking for a wedding location” may not return any results or it may be sporadic, but “bed and breakfast” for example generally returns about 2 dozen mentions per day. At first you may get some results that seem totally irrelevant, but tweak the search terms a bit.
People check into bed and breakfasts using foursquare and they tweet about it, this shows up in results multiple times per week, “just checked in at Jane Doe Bed and Breakfast (Hartford, CT) http://foursquare.com/jad66. Ohh a B&B lover!
People also mention that they are looking for a Bed and Breakfast, “any ideas for Bed and Breakfasts in the Maine area?” Ohh another B&B lover!
Not only can you find this tool to find potential guests but you can use it to network with other B&Bs out there, as they will show up in search results as well, and it can give you some good ideas of what other lodging peeps are tweeting about as well.
You can also see what’s working and what’s not working. A good example being the Hotel that is tweeting nonstop, “when we reach the 1000 follower we are giving away XOXOXOXO“, they have lots of retweets but have been hovering around the 500 mark for about a month. Apparently it’s not working and you do have to wonder, A. what happens when they get to the 1000 mark, B. what will they tweet about after that, and C. (most importantly) how much of a fall off of those 1000 people will happen after the incentive to follow them is over.
On average, the inns I work with that are using this technique are finding an average of 20-30 potential guests per week to follow, generally about 1/2 follow them back.
A good technique to use with this is make a private list on twitter and list all of your potential targets for a week on this list. Follow them in the beginning of the week. Wait about a week and then go to Friend or Follow: http://friendorfollow.com/ and unfollow the ones that have not followed you back, repeat the process with a new batch the following week.
Remember if you are going to DM these new potential guests, go with the soft sell not the pitch. Suggested reading: Inns and the Art of the DM (direct message)
Bonus tip: It’s also a good idea to put your B&Bs name in there as a keyword string, it gives you the additional benefit of monitoring your business and people DO name B&Bs on twitter, good experiences and bad.