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No Vacancy: An essential read for your accomodation business, big or small.

25 Aug 2022

The rise of the Boutique Hotel, BnB and Motel is here! Thanks to brands like Airbnb and other booking sites, many new and diverse accommodation businesses are springing into the market. We recently sat down with Nick Bonney to discuss his new book ‘No Vacancy’ which aims to give the boutique accomodation market the tools they need to make their accommodation a must see travellers destination and arm them in making their business have, no vacancy.

Tell us a bit about your background

Travel and creativity have always been my greatest passions in life. Both offer freedom and excitement and both have driven nearly every life decision I’ve ever made. When I was 14 years old, I somehow convinced my parents to allow me and my best mate to travel to Papua New Guinea, alone. For a young kid, at times it was terrifying but it ignited my desire to explore the world, take risks and open my mind to new ways of doing things.

Seven years after my adventure I began my creative career.

For the past 20 years I’ve been lucky enough to work around the world with some amazing and ridiculously talented people. I worked as a designer for a record company in London, a startup tech company in America and MTV in India. Back home in Australia I’ve had the opportunity to work for large advertising agencies on accounts such as Tourism Australia, Qantas, Virgin Airlines, Sony Music and many others.

What inspired you to write this book?

I travel a lot for business and pleasure and stayed in many hotels/b&b's/motels along the way. One day whilst unpacking my suitcase (in yet another hotel) I got thinking how difficult success must be for small accommodation businesses without access to large design and marketing budgets. Guests have more choice than they’ve ever had. With an explosion of marketing channels and digital technology available, it’s never been more difficult for a small hotel to stand out.

The idea for No Vacancy came to me when I decided I needed to start chasing my own dreams and to do this I needed an idea that combined what I love doing (travel) and what I am good at (creativity).

Who should read this book?

This is simple. Anyone who is part of running an accommodation business and wants to increase their booking potential. From a small guest house up to motels, hotels and resorts. Even if you are serious about running AirBnB as a side business you will find invaluable ideas and insights in the book.

What do you hope people get out of the book?

Open their eyes to approaching their business a little differently. The book is a simple guide packed full of ideas and inspiration to increase guest bookings with a bunch of ‘out of the box’ thinking.

I don’t believe I have all the answers and that’s why No Vacancy is a collaborative initiative. I work with accommodation businesses and a long list of creative, marketing, strategists, photographers, film directors and tech experts around the world to discover and share the best advice possible. I truly believe that with the right design and marketing approach any accommodation business can achieve ‘no vacancy’.

What are your three tips for hotel/BnB owners to increase bookings?

A creative approach to your business isn’t an airy-fairy excuse to be ‘arty’ with no substance. The right approach will make you more money, be more efficient, help you stand out and be consistent with your audience.

I break it down into three easy phases.

  1. You need to define your target market first and foremost. Who is your ideal guest? How can you build a brand and a business if you don’t know everything about that person you are talking to? Understand their likes and their dislikes. There are a great number of businesses I speak to who haven’t been through this process properly.
  1. What are you trying to say? This is where you create and build your brand. A brand is far more than just a pretty logo. You need to establish a brand purpose and then create a brand story that will engage your audience.
  1. How are you going to do it? This is the part where we bring the brand to life. How are you going to market it? This is where we go deeper with marketing, social media and the entire guest experience.

Where should hotel BnB owners look for inspiration?

Look at what other successful businesses are doing but don’t follow the pack. To stand out and establish a unique brand you need to do what is right for YOUR business and more importantly what is right for YOUR guests. Sometimes it might feel overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be if you follow the right simple process and engage the right professionals to help when needed.

The future of 'No Vacancy' is well beyond this first book. We plan to continue listening to accommodation businesses big and small and using that feedback to inspire a hub of practical information everyone can use to make their lives easier.

What is one of the biggest mistakes people make when starting up a hotel or BnB?

Not considering the key 3 phases above could certainly make their lives more complicated than they need to be. If you don’t know who you are talking to and what you are trying to say then it’s difficult to have an effective conversation with your guests?

Some small hoteliers I speak to don’t initially understand the impact the right brand, marketing and experience can have on their business. The most effective guest experience happens well before your guests stay with you and continues until well after. Running an accommodation business is one of the most difficult and time consuming jobs on the planet and I’d rather focus on the good things they are doing and help improve the areas they need help with.

Hopefully reading the book will help with that too (shameless plug alert)!

To celebrate the launch of "No Vacancy", The Designory readers can now purchase the digital version at 50% off for a limited time!
Simply use this code at checkout DESIGNORY2017
*Limited time only. eBook only and it doesn’t apply to paperback versions on Amazon
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