Lodging association launches new program

Island lodgers and businesses are teaming up to boost the number of visitors to Bainbridge Island.

The Bainbridge Island Lodging Association has announced its “Community Partners Program,” an effort to increase overnight stays on Bainbridge Island. The program will use social media, website link exchanges and brochure swaps with local businesses to aggressively promote Bainbridge Island as a fantastic overnight destination.

The program also includes a printable and downloadable community events calendar with discounts for overnight guests.

The association said that data shows that lodgers provide an important source of revenue for Bainbridge Island — as much as $3 million in 2013 lodging sales alone.

Furthermore, market research company Dean Runyan Associates estimates that for every $1 spent by guests on accommodations, another $5 to $8 is spent at local shops, restaurants and attractions.

BILA president Eric Fredricks said the program will give its members better information about local events and attractions that they can provide to guests.

“This is a straightforward, ‘win-win-win’ opportunity — for our members, their guests and Island businesses,” said Fredricks, who owns the Yeomalt Beach House with wife, Kinam Sohn.

The program also expands partnerships with Island attractions. For example, last year, the Rolling Bay Winery and association began a link exchange that’s yielded valuable referrals.

Founder Alphonse de Klerk says lodging association guests are frequent visitors to the winery and he, in turn, sends booking inquiries back to the association.

The Bainbridge Island Lodging Association is a nonprofit alliance of 25 vacation rentals, beach houses, cottages, inns, hotels and bed-and-breakfasts on Bainbridge. Through the program, all 25 BILA members will receive details about the winery’s award-winning varietals and special events for guests.

The “Community Partners Program” was launched last week to coincide with Memorial Day, the traditional start of the summer tourism season. Businesses interested in more information or that wish to participate are encouraged to contact BILA directly.