Matt Heffner

Matt Heffner

Montford Inn Connects With Their Guests Throughout the Pandemic [Case Study]

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Your next best guests are your past guests and those who they directly influence. By creating relationships built on trust and great communication with these individuals, small lodging properties are able to stay solvent when the unexpected happens, such as was the case in the spring of 2020.

Problem: National Pandemic Halted Travel

When the COVID-19 Pandemic struck the United States (and really, the world) in the spring of 2020, Montford Inn (a small bed-and-breakfast in Norman Oklahoma) was faced with the need to stay solvent during a nationwide ban on travel.

Having to close for several weeks, and operating on a very limited basis for the two months following, Montford Inn needed a way to stay top-of-mind for when people were ready to travel again.

With their sole source of revenue coming from direct reservations (no OTAs), they needed a way to show up so people saw their inn as the perfect escape from the stress of the pandemic situation as soon as travel was allowed again.

Solution: Relationship Booster Triangle Implemented

Having been actively cultivating relationships with his past guests and loyal followers before the pandemic shut everything down, the owner of Montford Inn was able to reach his best future guests through a strategic campaign using the Relationship Booster Triangle.

Strong Offer/Unique Message

Knowing that people weren’t in a “buying” mode, we wanted to craft a unique message that connected emotionally to past guests and loyal followers. We suggested the innkeeper create several short photos, videos, and stories as a way to connect with his past guests and help them dream about being able to travel again. He did so using the camera on his phone, keeping the message authentic and unique to his property.

In addition to the unique message, we encouraged the inn owner to promote a special gift certificate offer for those dreaming about a future stay at the inn.


We built email campaigns that drove traffic to the videos and photos we were sharing on the inn’s Facebook page, knowing that they might otherwise get lost in the noise on Facebook. Having a direct line of communication with these past guests and loyal fans (direct to their inbox) is a great way to control the message and the means.

Targeted Ads

We used boomerang ads on Facebook and Instagram to put the videos and photos in front of individuals scrolling their newsfeeds, targeting those who were somehow connected to the inn: past guests, recent website visitors, those interacting on their social networks, etc.

Results: Emotional Connection & Gift Certificate Sales

As we applied the Relationship Booster Triangle to this unique message, we reached 13,050 individuals with the campaign and generated dozens of comments and shares as people engaged with the content and shared how Montford Inn’s story merged with their own.

Boomerang targeted ads resulted in 373 likes, 52 comments, and 60 shares. A video we promoted generated 6,615 video views, and was shared by Select Registry, local media, and even other inns.

“…our first and only choice is “always” Montford Inn beginning in 2002, after first stay there. When you stay at Montford Inn you are already knowing you WILL return and looking forward to before you even leave. Best place to stay in Norman and never found a better place beyond Norman either.” – Alice S., Facebook

Not only were we able to create buzz around the inn’s unique message, but the gift certificate offer generated thousands of dollars of revenue to help with cash flow even during the height of the pandemic-related travel bans.

Through the application of the Relationship Booster Triangle (strong offer, email, boomerang ads), we were able to reach Whitestone Inn’s best value customers (past guests & those directly influenced by past guests). They were able to establish a strong emotional connection with past guests and create new relationships with potential future guests.

Note: This is just a snapshot of the results for one campaign. Montford Inn continues to invest in the relationship booster triangle month after month, year after year because it works in both the short and long-term.

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