When we first launched Planet BnB back in 2004, we were trying to teach ourselves how to code HTML. Some friends in the B&B industry encouraged us to create another directory – guided by Inn owners versus other B&B directories operated by private equity groups or venture capital interests.
The directory type business seemed approachable, when viewed through the web development lens. We could create a state-based listing guide, and simply provide direct links to each B&B on each page. All hand-coded in HTML, with tables. No content management system. No database. Just a nice static website.
So that’s what we did.
It was a humble website; some Inn owners were kind enough to donate money from time-to-time for expanded listings – which included a few photos, a description, and in some cases an embedded YouTube video. We also added Google text ads to further help cover our monthly costs. Those helped keep our lights on and pay for hosting & domain renewal fees.
And the site remained that way for years. Diligently plugging along, driving guests to inns across the USA and beyond. I’d concentrate my time on updating dead links, adding new listings, and fielding questions from both guests and inn owners alike.
But as the web began to mature, our little baby began to show its imperfections.
So, roughly 6 months ago, we made the decision to revamp Planet BnB. To rebuild her from the ground up. Running on WordPress content management system. Hosted at (what we consider) the best hosting provider available, WPEngine. Running on a directory theme which emphasizes simplicity and ease of search via map based pin listings. And shying away from an overwhelming amount of info on each Inn – and rather providing concise bullet points to provide an overview, and allowing each Inn’s website to paint the full picture. We’re just the conduit.
And it took us a full 6 months. Choosing color themes. Font faces. Backgrounds. Designs. Content. Gathering Inn listings. The.whole.nine.yards.
But we did it. And this is our celebratory blog post.
Moving forward, Planet BnB will continue to operate like did in years past. As a free listing resource for Inn owners. Operating a bed & breakfast is a challenging undertaking, and we firmly believe a free option should be available for new, or established, inns so they can properly promote themselves. What’s the use of a directory marketplace if we only showcase paying Inns, as we’d limited to showcase a small percentage of all Inns in existence. We think the ‘pay-to-play’ model shortchanges the travelers of the world, so we won’t do it.
But of course, we’ll plan to have premium listings. We’re still working on pricing packages and features – our rough guess is they’ll be less than $99/year. Like before, those will help us pay for our new hosting fees, as will our limited Google ads.
This website holds a very dear place in our heart, and we’re quite happy with the refresh. We’ve learned a lot over the past 14 years, and it was quite cathartic to implement our newfound knowledge back into this site. And this blog will stick around too – we plan to take a deeper dive into the B&B industry, and this will serve as a convenient outlet for us to capture the unique aspects of this industry.
So please, take a peek around. See what you think. You can reach out to me directly through our Contact page. No customer service outsourcing here. We’re a one-person operation. And we prefer it that way.
Thanks a lot for reading – now get outside & explore : )