Liberty Hill Farm and Inn in Vermont has been in the agritourism business for over 30 years according to Beth Kennett who owns the farm along with husband Bob. They are the fifth family to own the farm since 1780. Talk about history!
Recently, I listened to Mary Peabody of the University of Vermont Extension interview Beth about her three decades of agritourism experiences.
They opened their doors in 1984 for a bed and breakfast experience which later transitioned into agritourism with overnight stays and opportunities to be on the farm and learn about agriculture. They have entertained guests from around the globe since day one.
According to Beth, people are interested in making a connection with where food comes from. Guests to the farm don't understand basic agriculture and as farmers we have an opportunity to provide them with an education.
She believes that 90-95% of her guests come to Liberty Hill because it is a working farm. Her marketing efforts include a great website and use of social media. Although Beth has attended many great extension educational programs on website design and social media, Beth believes that you should hire professionals to create a website and depend on yourself, family members or guests for social media. Beth, suggested people attend the extension workshops so that they can intelligently communicate with the professionals they hire for those services.
One other thought Beth shared, was that within a state or community that businesses need to work cooperatively. Simply explained, if you are out of rooms for lodging send the guest to someone nearby, send them to eat at a local restaurant, suggest they do activities in the area. Don't let them get out of town, keep the money here, work cooperatively with those surrounding you. She further added that her business began by locals suggesting people stop by her farm; since we did not have internet in the 1980's.
Beth estimates that 80% of her new guests find her online. She was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal and that article too is now online. So even printed articles, soon can be found online.
For the complete interview click on interview above.