In my day job (as in “Don’t give up the day job!”), I work in marketing and have done for so many years that nearly all marketing people that I come across weren’t even born when I started. But some things, even amongst the plethora of demographic targeting and digital media options, don’t change. One being the old adage: Your own customers are your best customers. Loosely, this means that it is easier and cheaper to sell more stuff to people who already buy your stuff because THEY LIKE YOU!

So right from the off, one of my aims for the Crow House Barn Project was to get as much repeat business as possible. In the world of bean-selling or sock-selling or the multitude of other items that folks buy in large and regular numbers, this is a no-brainer. In the new and exciting world of bnb in which we find ourselves, this is a bit more of a challenge. We are probably not in the ‘impulse purchase’ category and we have positioned ourselves at the mid-to-upper end of the bnb price range so probably quite a lot of thought and planning goes on before we get the email from either Airbnb or Booking.Com which heralds the “We got one!” shout (as in Ghostbusters, as previously explained).

I spoke to my guru in the Lake District about repeat business because she could actually write the definitive book on how to run a bnb and she confirmed my view that without harassing our lovely guests too much, we should try to persuade guests to make a repeat purchase i.e. come and stay at Crow House Barn again. Added to that, recommending us to their friends is also a very excellent idea so far as we are concerned.

We have now been up and running since June and we have welcomed some really delightful guests and, hopefully without being painful about it, kept in touch. But getting that gold-star returning guest has proved illusive until a couple of weeks ago when… like buses… we got two!

We have our brace of delightful Scottish gentlemen who are working locally from Monday to Friday and enjoy a cooked breakfast with us every morning (this is not good for my waistline, never mind their’s – too much left-over fried bread and bacon!) and they are on week two – hurray! And then we had a really lovely couple a few weeks ago whose son will be living near here for the foreseeable and they are coming back later this month. More hurray!

In the meantime, we’ve enjoyed the company of a family from our own village (we never expected guests from a mere mile away!) whilst their house was being extended and cycling enthusiasts from Wales who came to watch the UCI World Championships in Harrogate last weekend. On Friday evening they cycled down to our village pub where we happened to be (surprise, surprise!) and friends who are also keen on cycling gasped in awe at their bikes – posh ones, not that we knew. Our guests later commented to our son that ‘everyone seemed to know his parents’ which goes to prove that more know the old fool than the old fool knows. Or maybe we spend too much time in the pub!

So going back to the marketing, the other thing I’ve been doing between work and biblical laundry (strictly Old Testament) is working on the website and we are nearly… nearly there. I can’t really take too much credit because the amazing Oli did all the design, coding and images. I just wrote the words. But I am rather proud of it and I will be making an unseemly song and dance about it in due course … and creating some excellent winter offers. Now back to the day job!

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