That’s a wrap: looking back on B&B Week 2019

29th March 2019

In case you don’t know what we’re talking about, National B&B Week ran from 18th – 24th March 2019 and was the first week-long event of its kind to celebrate the country’s independent accommodation sector.

Back in 2018, we created the UK’s first National B&B Day, to highlight the hard work and dedication of independent hosts and hoteliers and their contribution to the UK economy. The day was so well supported by fantastic B&Bs and industry partners that we decided to go bigger and better for 2019, dedicating a whole week to the event. The goals of National B&B Week were to:

  1. Get as many holidaymakers as possible staying in B&Bs over National B&B Week
  2. To raise the profile of the independent accommodation sector

B&Bs jumped at the chance to showcase what makes their properties unique and characterful, coming up with creative offers and shouting loud and proud about B&B Week on social media and their websites. Some of our favourite freebies offered by B&Bs included a lambing experience, a safari tour with Welsh Overland Safari, unlimited free ice cream, tickets to Priscilla Queen of the Desert and many more which you can read about here.

The event was not only supported by hundreds of properties, with more than 60 industry partners joining the cause to promote B&Bs and independent hotels, with competitions, special offers, social media campaigns and website takeovers. Partners included VisitBritain, VisitEngland, Visit Scotland, Visit Wales, Expedia, Booking.com, ebookers. TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Google, LateRooms, SuperBreak, The AA and many more.

MPs came out in full force to support National B&B Week, which included representatives from all political parties from constituencies across the country, from the Scottish Highlands, to the far corners of England and Wales.

Alistair Carmichael MP tabled an Early Day Motion in support of B&B Week, which was signed by 17 members of parliament. Speaking about B&B Week, Michael Ellis, Minister for Arts, Heritage, and Tourism, said:

“Our B&B’s are world-class. Four of TripAdvisor’s top five B&Bs in the world are in Britain and this is something that we want to capitalise on. Britain is open for business and National B&B Week is a great opportunity for us to showcase this dynamic sector. I hope we can encourage even more people to support British tourism and experience the superb places on offer all across the nation.”

You can read our blog on MP visits here for more information.

Left to right: David Weston, Chair of the B&B Association, Michael Ellis, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Jo Holland, owner of Heath House B&B in Ossett, near Wakefield, and Peter Dodd, Commercial Director, Welcome to Yorkshire.

We also had support from the entertainment sphere; we produced a promotional video ahead of National B&B Week to showcase just how great B&BS can be, and asked Francis Boulle of Made in Chelsea to be our ambassador for the week. Francis was treated to a delightful stay at Abbots Grange B&B in the Cotswolds, which was filmed in a scripted reality television style, inspired by Made in Chelsea:

The video achieved a considerable reach, with nearly 50,000 people watching the video online! Francis’s stay at Abbots Grange was also covered in The Daily Star, and an interview with Francis conducted by Gogglebox stars and former B&B owners, Steph and Dom Parker, on talkRadio.

Francis Boulle arrives, raring to go, at Abbots Grange B&B in the Cotswolds, to film a promotional video for National B&B Week.

In terms of other media attention, B&B Week landed coverage in a number of publications, including in The Sunday Times, The Mirror, Yours Magazine, Luxury Bed & Breakfast, The Sun, Blackpool Gazette, Buzzfeed, The Northern Echo, The Scottish Sun, Gloucestershire Live, Fife Today, Burnley Express, Milford Mercury, The London Post and many more.

The reach of B&B Week made it even further, especially to a younger audience, with the help of bloggers, including New Girl in Toon and Kelly Prince Wright. In total, B&B Week was reported in ninety-five news stories online and in print – now that’s great news!

To further grab the attention of the press, and to try and prove that B&Bs are great value for money, we launched a promotion borrowed from Channel 4’s Four in a Bed, called ‘Pay What You Think It’s Worth’. This involved guests booking a room with a deposit of £1 then paying a price of their choice, based on the quality of their stay, on departure. The Mirror, TravelMole, East Anglian Daily Times, and others covered the promotion. You can read our blog on ‘Pay What You Think It’s Worth’ here.

eviivo also teamed up with The Family Holiday Association to encourage B&Bs to give something back by donating rooms to families coping with some of the most challenging circumstances life can bring.

We asked properties involved with National B&B Week whether they’d like to either donate rooms, or collect donations from their guests on the charity’s behalf and we were delighted with the results – 60 nights were pledged!

The first family to receive a donated stay at The Riviera, Whitby, was a couple and their granddaughter. They said:

“The break came at just the right time for our family, it gave us the chance to relax and enjoy some family time away from home. The guesthouse was run by the lovely couple who were very welcoming during our stay. Thank you so much for donating the break.”

All in all, National B&B Week 2019 was a roaring success and we’re so grateful to everyone who got involved during the week. Did you know that there are over 20,000 B&Bs in the UK, and that they generate over £2 billion annually to the UK economy? We think that’s something worth celebrating… and we look forward to celebrating with you all next year!

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