The inaugural National B&B Day is over, and it was certainly a day to remember! eviivo has always been about so much more than software, so teaming up with The B&B Association to host this event on 24th March 2018 seemed like a brilliant chance to give back to the community. What we didn’t expect was the outpouring of support from hundreds of properties, some of the world’s biggest travel companies, MPs and what seemed like everyone involved in the independent accommodation sector. Thank you all!
It’s easy to forget that preparations only truly kicked off in January. The National B&B Day site went live, and we asked you to create a special deal or activity to offer to guests staying over that weekend. You seized the opportunity with enthusiasm, ready to show off what made your property and area special. The offers came in thick and fast, with creative little touches that delighted us. There was a gin tasting evening, free surf lessons, a chance to get stuck in at a farm and even a special “a la bark” menu designed especially for those staying for pets! The great strength of independent accommodation has always been your character and individuality, so it was great to see this in action through the inventive deals you offered your guests.
Sponsors flocked to the cause just as fast. Google, VisitBritain, Booking.com, the list goes on and on. The AA summed up the general atmosphere best in their statement: “The AA are very pleased to support National B&B Day, to celebrate the outstanding quality, personal service and value that the great British B&B offers to guests.” Everywhere we turned, there were big hitters of the travel industry, proud to support the industry that we all know and love.
Prompted by an Early Day Motion in parliament, the Tourism Minister even issued a statement: “Millions of tourists from the UK and abroad get a great night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast every year, thanks to the hard work of these entrepreneurial small businesses up and down the country. These are businesses that create valuable jobs in their local communities and together contribute over £2bn to the UK economy each year. This day serves to highlight the vital role that B&Bs play in Britain’s cultural and economic life and I am delighted to support National B&B Day 2018.”
With the day fasting approaching, we started to shout about National B&B Day from every rooftop. A fleet of taxis was branded with bright and brilliant designs, then sent out across the country to spread the word. We had taxis in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Edinburgh. We even had one taxi mocked up to look like a B&B, roof and all. It caused quite the stir and, as we sat outside for a spot of breakfast, we even attracted attention for a furry friend!
Those same taxis were then loaded with hampers stuffed with produce celebrating the best of British. We had freshly baked pastries, mouth-watering marmalade from Dalemaine Mansions, as well as sardines in custard… (we’ll explain that eyebrow raising inclusion a bit later on) And of course, we had to get Mike from Bovey Cottage, the winner of eviivo’s 2017 Tastiest Breakfast award, involved. He brought us not one but two incredible dishes: his nutty Norwegian bread, and traditional Jamaican bread-pudding, doused in brandy.
With the hampers filled to the brim with incredible goodies, we sent Mike and a fleet of taxis to deliver them to sponsors. The reception was incredible, and you can see the deliveries in action in the video below.
Outside of London, we also dropped hampers at (deep breath): Edinburgh Evening News, Edinburgh; BBC Radio 4, Manchester; BBC Radio Manchester, Manchester; BBC Radio Merseyside, Liverpool; BBC WM, Birmingham; Birmingham Post, Birmingham; Capital Birmingham, Birmingham; Capital Manchester, Manchester; Forth 1, Edinburgh; Heart Radio, London; ITV News, London; Key 103, Manchester; LBC, London; Liverpool Echo, Liverpool; Manchester Evening News, Manchester; Radio City, Liverpool.
Now, back to the sardines, as we’re sure you’re just dying to know about those. We gathered delicious breakfast and brunch recipes from past winners, finalists and participants of the annual eviivo Tastiest Breakfast award, and put them all into one beautiful book. Great British B&B Breakfasts our celebration of the best of British hospitality, and of the thousands of brilliant breakfasts served up by independent accommodation every day. Sardines and savoury custard was one of the most interesting recipes from the book, and we couldn’t put together a hamper celebrating the best of British B&Bs with including such an original idea.
That was only the beginning though, as we ramped things up with two competitions. The first was for key workers, offering 20 free two night B&B stays for and their plus-ones. Not only did it help promote the day, but it also provided some much-needed respite from those working in schools, the emergency services, the NHS or the Armed Forces, whose tireless work is an invaluable asset to our country. The second competition was for anyone who tweeted a photo of one of the taxis out and about on the road with the hashtag #BandBDay, and the winner was given a free weekend’s stay at a B&B.
We were thrilled to see many of you getting involved too! We sent out a special participants pack shortly before the event occurred, with materials and tips on how to let the world know you were participating in National B&B Day. There was a flurry of activity on social media, as you proudly hung your banners and sent out promotional tweets, lead by the tireless B&B Association. Outside of that, you contacted local press and members of parliament, going the extra mile to help promote the fledgling event. With all the support we received, it was easy to forget that this was the first ever NBBD!
That was most true on the day itself, as Twitter exploded with activity. Sponsors, B&B, industry figures, guests and quite possibly the kitchen sink all turned up in force. #BandBDay trended throughout the day, meaning it was one of the most talked about topics in the UK that day! It peaked at number 8, an exceptional achievement give the number of other events happening on Saturday, sitting in such lofty company as the historic Cambridge-Oxford Boat Race! We’d like to say thank you to everyone involved in making that possible, especially you. Your support was both immense and invaluable.
Over the course of the weekend, there were no less than 5 radio interviews with either eviivo or the B&B association about NBBD. Late Rooms had an NBBD takeover of their homepage for the day, and ministers and MPs went out to visit B&Bs in their local constituencies.
Journalists from national and regional press took note. We organised trips at properties throughout the UK over the course of the weekend, aiming to showcase the very best of British independent accommodation. Elsewhere the cookbook was featured in both the Daily Mail and the Sun! The combined reach of all publications that have featured National B&B Day since its inception is a truly mind-blowing 487 million! We could say more, but we think we’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Along with the coverage and increased awareness the first ever National B&B Day acheived, on drilling into our forward booking numbers we’re pleased to share that the week following National B&B Day 2018 saw a year on year bookings increase of 8% for our 6,600 UK customers! We’re immensely proud to have played such an important part in bringing National B&B Day to life, but most of all, we’re proud to be part of such an incredible community. It was inspiring to see the entire industry band together to promote this event and celebrate independent accommodation throughout Britain. The whole process was the perfect example of why we’re so invested in bringing so much more to you than just brilliant software. Here’s to next year!