Monday, September 19, 2011

The number of guests houses in Tzfat exploded this year with several DOZEN opening their doors to visitors. The tourist business has taken off in Tzfat due, mainly, to private initiative. More and more properties are being bought with the goal of building and operating guest houses, small boutique hotels and other tourist accommodations.

I should really leave my house for a year or two, rent a small apt somewhere and use the income to live on comfortably! Problem is, I really like where I live. It's convenient, has a great community and wonderful atmosphere and I feel very much at home there.

I also rent out a small guestroom, the lower room of my house. It's a nice way to meet people and provide options for people to stay over who don't want to pay the crazy rates of the local hotels. Whoever wants to can have a private and very secluded room but there is also the option to come up and chat, get to know the neighbors and feel a part of the neighborhood. Everyone finds what they want and I always receive very pleasant reviews and compliments. Plus, I have the opportunity to meet all sorts of interesting people whom I wouldn't otherwise meet.

A group of us guestroom owners have been exploring ways to advertise. Advertising costs a lot of money and many of us find ourselves in the same position -- we aren't making enough money to market, but if we don't market, we won't increase our occupancy rates.

I had an idea of getting together with a couple of guesthouse owners and doing some kind of joint marketing project. We'd need to put some money into advertising on one central site which would then refer people to all of our sites.

I wonder if it would work? When I set up my own website, I linked another webpage to it, listing other people's guesthouses so if my guestroom is occupied, I can pass the business on to someone else. The people on my list appreciate the referrals and have, in fact, referred people back to me.

The question is, is there a way to set up an association, of sorts, that would market us all and would encourage us to market each other? We are competitors but we would all gain more than we would lose by working together.

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