Italian B&B Report 2007 - Relationship with the territory
Nowadays B&Bs are tourist micro-enterprises to all intents and purposes and they are pressing to be accounted as an important section of the accommodation capacity of the nation. They are trying to interconnect with local authorities, with leisure associations and with all those individuals they may build a synergy with. The goal is to enter with full rights in the economic and entrepreneurial fabric of the territory they belong to. They want to take part into planning of the operations to support tourism and to keep our old towns. We have to remember that renovations to make houses compatible with accommodation business require big investments. Their operation is also linked to organizational, marketing and communication factors. The B&B owner is a complicate figure; it needs education, entrepreneurial ability and a great deal of passion.
B&Bs experience the territory because they are the real expression of it. They are a well known badge for tourism on a human scale. B&Bs are a free-will entrepreneurial undertaking which invest on the territory and on its ecosustainable development. They find services, supplies and personnel on the territory. They build wealth, participate to the local development and are top performer of an economic growth based on respect toward the cultural, historical and landscape heritage of the country. If there is a B&B there's always culture for the territory.
This enterprise model - with its own economical, social and cultural motives – is the strong point of B&Bs making them different from all the other tourist operators. This surplus value is widely understood by the Italian and foreign public, in fact the total turnover has grown exponentially over few years. This is not a direct economic evaluation, but it is derived from the number of reservations recorded by the single B&Bs signed up on the www.bed-and-breakfast.it portal (this data is contained in another document that will be released to the press in the coming weeks).
The data of the survey shows that B&B are no more a separated and niche reality, but they are operating and recognised subjects, and they outline an important part of the economical/entrepreneurial fabric of our country.
B&Bs are a valuable resource that involves other external subjects operating on the territory; suffice it to say that 23% of them uses local laundry services; the request for tourist information guides and brochures is 20%; while the request for room cleaning personnel is 18%; and it is worth taking into account the item of B&B transfers and breakfast products supply reaching 7%.
THE BEST WAY TO PROMOTE B&BS
A part of the survey done on the sample chosen by the staff of www.bed-and-breakfast.it focused on the communication and promotion methods used to reach the public of users. Analysing the answers it shows up that the Web is the perfect virtual showcase to get communication goals done; in this manner the tourist/traveller can make a choice by means of a clear-cut, safe and rapidly accessible information pool.
Internet is more and more the main communication tool for the Italian B&Bs owners. The Web makes it possible to have a direct and effective communication, to shorten any time or space distance and establishes a real-time connection between demand and offers. These innovations came along with the B&Bs birth and their latter-day evolution. B&B owners think that developing a Web-site, joining a network and signing-up on a specialized portal are all primary activities, as well as structural operations to set-up the house for this type of accommodation. This terrific communication system delivers more than 80% of the reservations made by a B&B; this fact confirms that having their own web-site and being enrolled on a well organized network, with a good position on the main search engines, is really necessary for those facilities.
Around 79% of the interviewee thinks that Internet was the most effective way to promote their facility. The second place, with a fair 22%, belongs to the word-of mouth arising from the experience went trough by a friend, a parent, an acquaintance who stayed in the facility. Other items of the survey, like promotion investments, entries in specialized guides or dedicated association marketing, have all trivial percentages.
You cannot overlook that B&Bs birth and internet success all over the world happened at the same time, this import fact marks a deep synergy aimed at tools and resources optimization.
AGREEMENTS WITH OTHER FACILITIES
It is certainly important to create a network of exchanges and collaboration with the other facilities working on the territory. Restaurant, tourist guides, shops, public and private museums, health spas, car rentals and even more, they are all a range of relations which may develop synergies and collaborations.
Building a local system in the tourism department - mainly the quality one - enables the traveller/tourist to find the really best he has at hand. Agreements with this kind of services/routes suggested by the B&B owner, like taking advantage of discounts or special treatments, can make a difference in many cases.
The survey showed that we have almost a cleavage by answers from the sample: 60% of the interviewee did not request or agree to any type of agreement with these facilities on the territory; on the other hand 40% of the owners think it is necessary to set-up this type of cross-relations to make the client stay even more comfortable. At the same time the owner offers to the client an advantage, even financially, that is provided for with this type of agreements.
TOURIST INFORMATION MATERIALS
The percentage of answer on this important item of the survey, sponsored by www.bed-and-breakfast.it, is completely positive. This is an incredible result that shows a basic element of any growth and development of tourism in any Italian province: the interest and entrepreneurial ability of the owner to deal with the territory where his facility stands, apart from its position (city or countryside).
Every B&B is provided with brochures, tourist guides and magazines covering its own region, showing the historical and architectural beauties of the territory and detailed information about services.
The polled sample answered this way: The ones owning a lot of tourist information material are 58% and a little more than 40% has enough of it.
DEALING WITH LOCAL AUTHORITIES
An important section of the survey takes in account the confront and participation of B&Bs with the operations on the territory sponsored by local authorities, tourist associations and trade associations. It showed up that the active participation level is less than 50%. In detail, 47% of the B&Bs do not join to the operations sponsored by local authorities, 45% joins occasionally, and only 8% participates always to the projects sponsored by these territorial authorities.
The answers of the owners pertaining exchanges and relations with tourist and trade and other associations are directed as follows: 39% of them has joined a tourist or trade association, 25% organizes promotional activities together with other private facilities, and another 25% though it was necessary to set-up a mutual promotion with other B&Bs on the territory.
The research was conducted by
Gran Via srl - società&comunicazione