The Inn at Elk River, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, is a family-owned and operated bed and breakfast. The Inn is situated close to several ski resorts, offers many outdoor activities, and is located near a small town where guests can explore and visit local shops.
In 1996, John Lowery, his wife and two other couples, who are longtime friends, purchased and restored the Manning House, a colonial-style inn and replica of a colonial Williamsburg structure. The Inn has eight bedrooms, each with a private bath, fireplace, and its own personality.
John Lowery and his business partners have grown the business making customer service and the experience the top priority. “We sell good hospitality and beds, that always has been and always will be our main focus,” said John Lowery. Providing a high-level of customer service, where guests can feel like they’re at home, is a key mission of the bed and breakfast.
The Inn has always attracted a steady stream of visitors headed to the local area. However, the Inn is tucked away in the North Carolina Mountains and far from a main highway, so guests were limited to people who specifically wanted to travel to that region. John had heard of Expedia for several years, but assumed that as an eight bedroom bed and breakfast, they wouldn’t be able to afford working with an online travel agency. But when a local Expedia market manager reached out to John, he took the meeting to explore options, and realized that wasn’t the case at all. “We were pleasantly surprised, shocked to be honest, it wasn’t,” said John Lowery, “our market manager was very professional and within less than 20 minutes we were ready to sign on.”
During the initial conversations, John was surprised by how many brands and points of sale Expedia offered to partners. Since signing on in May of 2016, the Inn has seen a significant increase in customer awareness. “The exposure that Expedia has provided have brought guests we would have never seen,” explained John Lowery. “We had a couple from Ireland, who booked through Expedia, who said they would definitely be returning. Those are customers that we would not have booked without our Expedia partnership.”
Increase in Bookings
“To say that we’re pleased is an understatement,” said John; who stated that on average Expedia brings in 30-45 bookings per month, about a 20-25% increase. For John, the Expedia partnership works well. He would rather partner with Expedia than pay for an ad because for him working with Expedia provides far more exposure and is more cost effective. Another aspect he likes is that, he doesn’t have to pay Expedia unless the guest actually stays at their inn. “As a small business I would recommend taking advantage of this opportunity, because it has been nothing but a wonderful experience,” John said.
The customer service first approach with his market manager resonated with John, as that is the Inn’s number one priority and one of the reasons that they have been happy with Expedia.
“Joining Expedia is the best decision we’ve made, said John Lowery, “I can’t say enough good things about the results we’ve seen and the service the market management team provides.”