David Weston of the Bed & Breakfast Association 'fights the corner' for this £2 billion 'cottage industry'

Monday, 14 November 2011

2012: the Minister calls...

More on the "20.12% offers" story (see below): the Tourism Minister, John Penrose, called me on 3rd November to flesh out the idea, ahead of another reference to it by Jeremy Hunt (the Secretary of State) when opening World Travel Market the following week.

I think he understands and accepts our point that we cannot (of course) cut our prices across the board - nor would we - but his officials will be giving the Association details of how B&B owners can benefit next year from a £3 million national advertising campaign pushing some form of headline offer based on "20.12%" - which could be confined to shoulder or low season, or to midweek stays, or stays of 4 nights plus, or to a third night, or whatever.

We are working with the Department to thrash out more detail, and will of course put this out to our members as soon as we have it. I hope the idea will now develop into something useful, harnessing some advertising millions for B&Bs in return for (say) "20.12% off your fourth night in low season" or some such formulation - each B&B can (we gather so far) use the headline figure in the publicity campaign however it likes within reason. There is a lot of work to do, and the devil will (as always) be in the detail - but this is where we can help the Minister's officials to make it as workable and effective as we can.

Of course, no B&B would have to get involved in the eventual promotion - but we will do our best to influence the idea in a sensible direction, then give our members the option of joining in or not.

And at the very least, we have now got the Ministers including B&Bs in the publicity campaign plan, rather than just hotels as often used to happen in the past. Our voice is starting to be heard...

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