Naming your Guesthouse

Bed & Breakfast signOne of the hardest tasks for me when I started my business was choosing a name. The only thing harder for me was creating a logo, which I eventually outsourced.

You aren’t required to have a name when you host with airbnb, VRBO or FlipKey. As a matter of fact, you might even be tempted to have your listing title contain a description of your property. VRBO allows 30 characters for your listing title, airbnb allows 50 characters and Flipkey allows 80, so it can be tempting to fill the space with as much descriptive prose as will fit. But a catchy title for your place, rather than a description, should be seriously considered, and I’m going to tell you why.

If you decide to advertise anywhere outside of VRBO, airbnb, or Flipkey, you will need a name. If you want to create a website, you will need a name. If you want to have a sign on your property to help guests find you, you will need a name. If you want to have a business checking account or business credit card, you will need a name. And last but defintely not least, if you want to be easy to remember for repeat bookings and referrals, you will need a name.

So now comes the hard part…deciding on a name. The following are some guidelines that I would’ve found useful when I was looking for one:

  • It should be 3 words or less.
  • It should start with a letter in the beginning half of the alphabet, since you will find yourself alphabetized on many lists.
  • It should  be easy to spell. Even the word guesthouse can be a complicated one. Guesthouse vs guest house won’t make a difference when someone searches for you on the internet, but guest haus would.
  • You should search for your desired name on the internet before deciding on a name. Not only do you want to have a name for which the domain name is available, but you also don’t want to share the name with many others. Sharing your business name with someone in a different country most likely won’t cause a problem, but sharing it with someone in your same region will.
  • You should love it.

When I opened for business, I originally chose the name Little Guesthouse on Adams, a name I liked but didn’t love. I had domain issues as well. I felt that the domain littleguesthouseonadams.com was too long, so I  bought thelittleguesthouse.com since littleguesthouse.com was taken. This caused people to put the word “The” at the start of my name, which placed me on the bottom of lists alphabetized by the letter T instead of the letter L.

If you’re struggling coming up with a name, I recommend asking friends and family for ideas. I ended up with Little Green Guesthouse upon a co-worker’s suggestion. My house has many environmentally-friendly features, is painted green, and is only 420 square feet. It’s rather unbelievable that I hadn’t thought of it myself. Sometimes we overthink and miss the obvious.

Good luck in your name search!

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