Guest Amenities

37 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Have you done anything to change up the in-room guest amenities that you offer? 

As I notice more and more even "economy" hotels offering additional complimentary room amenities, I wonder how some B&Bs are adding value to their rooms to stay with the trend.  

Your thoughts? 

__________________

People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
~ Anton Chekhov

 

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

I just wanted to pass along a quote I just read on the Jumping Rocks blog that's worth...passing along:

A hammock is one of the most inexpensive amenities for a hotel or inn to add--can you think of another amenity that says "relax" for less than $100??

__________________

All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep hotel. ~ Mark Twain

 

Proud Texan's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Arkansawyer wrote:

I just wanted to pass along a quote I just read on the Jumping Rocks blog that's worth...passing along:

A hammock is one of the most inexpensive amenities for a hotel or inn to add--can you think of another amenity that says "relax" for less than $100??

 We have three and they get used.    I highly recommend that you get what is called a "Mayan String Hammock".    They are incredibly comfortable.  We've actually had guests fall asleep in them and unintentionally spend the entire night sleeping in them.

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

Proud Texan wrote:

I highly recommend that you get what is called a "Mayan String Hammock". They are incredibly comfortable.

Thanks for the tip! I notice that one of the websites that sellst them says, "The Mayan people considered the hammock to be a gift from the gods."

The Jumping Rocks guys said when they had a B&B, then even hung them indoors! Hmmm. Thinking now. Get really good hammocks and forget all that matress, sheets, and bedbugs stuff. Eye-wink

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Arkansawyer wrote:

Proud Texan wrote:

I highly recommend that you get what is called a "Mayan String Hammock". They are incredibly comfortable.

Thanks for the tip! I notice that one of the websites that sellst them says, "The Mayan people considered the hammock to be a gift from the gods."

The Jumping Rocks guys said when they had a B&B, then even hung them indoors! Hmmm. Thinking now. Get really good hammocks and forget all that matress, sheets, and bedbugs stuff. Eye-wink

... and the punch line is...the hard way, standing up in a hammock.

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

What about ROOM SIZES? Is this an amenity? I believe so!

I have added a pub table and stools to our largest room.  The gal who got the free upgrade and had the teen who refused to eat, was in that room, and the room they actually picked would not even be large enough for their luggage, they had A TON OF LUGGAGE.

Do you boast room sizes on your website? I just decided to add the size of that room to the website, it is tad under 350 sq ft.

__________________

Gluten free is never free. - Joey Bloggs

 

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

JB, I think that the pub table and chairs is definitely an additional amenity. 

More of what I was looking for when I asked the original question before this post when off the track.... 

Larger room sizes are definitely a plus and you should charge more for them!

Proud Texan's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Just thought I'd mention something that we're trying that actually seems to be working.    I know this won't work for larger B&Bs,  but for smaller ones that have a set time for breakfast,  this might work for you.  I mention this, because you might be able to modify it for your situation.

From the get go, we have had a set breakfast time of 8:30.  We only feed four people at a time because we only have two rooms.  

 We've made a wonderful connection with a local wedding venue not to mention that many of our guests are here for a romantic weekend.   Though there was never any grumbling to our face,  we sensed that 8:30 was too early for some, especially honeymooners.

Enter the "Lazy Morning Option".   Breakfast time is extended to 10 a.m. and checkout is extended from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.    We've had several takers and most end up coming to breakfast not too much later than 8:30 and leave about noon.   We charge an extra fee for this "service"  that doesn't cost us a cent.   The 1 p.m. checkout gives us enough time to turn the room by 3 p.m.  and breakfast is usually something that's easy to spread out over several hours like omellets or pancakes.

We include the "Lazy Morning Option" as part of our romance package (slightly discounted) so we can sell all the extras like flowers, champagne and chocolate with a greater profit margin.

 

egoodell's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/01/2008

Proud Texan wrote:

Just thought I'd mention something that we're trying that actually seems to be working.    I know this won't work for larger B&Bs,  but for smaller ones that have a set time for breakfast,  this might work for you.  I mention this, because you might be able to modify it for your situation.

From the get go, we have had a set breakfast time of 8:30.  We only feed four people at a time because we only have two rooms.  

 We've made a wonderful connection with a local wedding venue not to mention that many of our guests are here for a romantic weekend.   Though there was never any grumbling to our face,  we sensed that 8:30 was too early for some, especially honeymooners.

Enter the "Lazy Morning Option".   Breakfast time is extended to 10 a.m. and checkout is extended from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.    We've had several takers and most end up coming to breakfast not too much later than 8:30 and leave about noon.   We charge an extra fee for this "service"  that doesn't cost us a cent.   The 1 p.m. checkout gives us enough time to turn the room by 3 p.m.  and breakfast is usually something that's easy to spread out over several hours like omellets or pancakes.

We include the "Lazy Morning Option" as part of our romance package (slightly discounted) so we can sell all the extras like flowers, champagne and chocolate with a greater profit margin.

 

that is a great idea! When we have an employee I may just steal and copy it. We can't do it now because of our wine tours - we leave the inn at 12:30 to run them. But I love that idea as an add on. Do you mind telling me what you charge for it?

RIki

__________________

Riki Goodell
Arcady Vineyard Bed & Breakfast
Arcady Vineyard Wine Tours
www.arcadyvineyard.com
Come! Let us show you the beautiful Monticello Appellation!

 

Proud Texan's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

You can see how I've packaged it:  here   

egoodell wrote:

Proud Texan wrote:

Just thought I'd mention something that we're trying that actually seems to be working.    I know this won't work for larger B&Bs,  but for smaller ones that have a set time for breakfast,  this might work for you.  I mention this, because you might be able to modify it for your situation.

From the get go, we have had a set breakfast time of 8:30.  We only feed four people at a time because we only have two rooms.  

 We've made a wonderful connection with a local wedding venue not to mention that many of our guests are here for a romantic weekend.   Though there was never any grumbling to our face,  we sensed that 8:30 was too early for some, especially honeymooners.

Enter the "Lazy Morning Option".   Breakfast time is extended to 10 a.m. and checkout is extended from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.    We've had several takers and most end up coming to breakfast not too much later than 8:30 and leave about noon.   We charge an extra fee for this "service"  that doesn't cost us a cent.   The 1 p.m. checkout gives us enough time to turn the room by 3 p.m.  and breakfast is usually something that's easy to spread out over several hours like omellets or pancakes.

We include the "Lazy Morning Option" as part of our romance package (slightly discounted) so we can sell all the extras like flowers, champagne and chocolate with a greater profit margin.

 

that is a great idea! When we have an employee I may just steal and copy it. We can't do it now because of our wine tours - we leave the inn at 12:30 to run them. But I love that idea as an add on. Do you mind telling me what you charge for it?

RIki

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

Proud Texan wrote:

You can see how I've packaged it:  here   

I keep forgetting they have trees in east Texas.

On the bullet point below, when I click the link it just reloads the same Basic Romance Package page. Is it supposed to go some place else?

 

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

Arkansawyer wrote:

Proud Texan wrote:

You can see how I've packaged it:  here   

I keep forgetting they have trees in east Texas.

On the bullet point below, when I click the link it just reloads the same Basic Romance Package page. Is it supposed to go some place else?

 

You must have pop up blocked, it is a window that pop ups. here it is on a browser page

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

Joey Bloggs wrote:

You must have pop up blocked, it is a window that pop ups. here it is on a browser page

Yes, I block popups but when one tries to appear it always has the "a popup has been blocked...do you want to allow it" message at the top of the screen. This doesn't. It just links to http://www.oakcreekbnb.com/romance.htm# which gives me an "error on page" message.

I guess that's a problem with using popups. Not everybody will see them.

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

Arkansawyer wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

You must have pop up blocked, it is a window that pop ups. here it is on a browser page

Yes, I block popups but when one tries to appear it always has the "a popup has been blocked...do you want to allow it" message at the top of the screen. This doesn't. It just links to http://www.oakcreekbnb.com/romance.htm# which give me an "error on page" message.

I guess that's a problem with using popups. Not everybody will see them.

I have pop ups blocked on chrome as well, but this one came up. I get the same message as you "do you wish to allow it" message.

Proud Texan's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

I think I came up with a workaround using CSS and small javascript.   Instead of a pop-up,  I created an invisible <div> tag that becomes visible when you click the link.   Tell me if it works in Internet Explorer or in browsers with popup blockers.   If it doesn't I'll have to come up with a simpler solution.

http://www.oakcreekbnb.com/romance.htm

Joey Bloggs wrote:

Arkansawyer wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

You must have pop up blocked, it is a window that pop ups. here it is on a browser page

Yes, I block popups but when one tries to appear it always has the "a popup has been blocked...do you want to allow it" message at the top of the screen. This doesn't. It just links to http://www.oakcreekbnb.com/romance.htm# which give me an "error on page" message.

I guess that's a problem with using popups. Not everybody will see them.

I have pop ups blocked on chrome as well, but this one came up. I get the same message as you "do you wish to allow it" message.

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

Proud Texan wrote:

I think I came up with a workaround using CSS and small javascript.   Instead of a pop-up,  I created an invisible <div> tag that becomes visible when you click the link.   Tell me if it works in Internet Explorer or in browsers with popup blockers.  

That works perfectly for me! (IE and popup blocker here)

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

 Just had a special emailed to me for NY's eve - 5pm checkout!  Nice one.  Obv not expecting anyone in that room the next day.

Aussie Innkeeper's picture
Offline
Joined:
01/16/2010

That article that was out a couple of weeks ago said that the more you paid for your hotel room, the fewer amenities that came with it. But $4 for in-room Coffee!!??? OMG!! That's highway robbery! Did it come with a barista, too?

Bath sheets - that's all we have. I hate the little 'standard' sized towels. Those things don't fit anything 'standard' unless you're talking about a 6 y/o.

We also offer soda, bottled water, beer, wine and port. Rarely have we ever had anyone take advantage.

__________________

Lynne
Queen of Everything!

 

Proud Texan's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

We actually reduced or repackaged amenities.   If it wasn't adding to our bottom line,  it got the heave ho.      

We used to put complimentary beverages the rooms for everyone.    They took them wheather they drank them or not.  It was costing us a small fortune and we weren't seeing the benefit to the bottom line.   Now,  I offer our guest a complimentary beverage.   Most smile,  thank me, but usually decline.    This accomplishes two things for us.  

1)  It makes come across as more hospitable and attentive to our guest as opposed to just leaving it in the room for them to find.

2) I now very seldom have to provide our guest with beverages.   I even offer beer!   Very few takers.

So, we look good and save money.  The only thing that has remained constant is we have two little ice cream cups in the mini-fridge of each room.  It costs us about a buck,  but everyone comments on it.  Again, brownie points.

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

What kind of drinks? And how do you offer them? On check-in? 'Welcome, can I get you a cold soda or beer?' What kind of soda do you have on hand?

I like this idea.

__________________

Everyday, for good or ill, we intersect with some else's story and become a part of it.

 

Proud Texan's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Madeleine wrote:

What kind of drinks? And how do you offer them? On check-in? 'Welcome, can I get you a cold soda or beer?' What kind of soda do you have on hand?

I like this idea.

We have the smaller bottled Cokes, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper and Sprite.   I found that most in this area will drink a Miller Lite or Bud Light.    When the guest arrive,  I show them their room and how everything works and ask if they need dinner suggestions etc. then ask them if I could offer them something to drink.   If we like them, and the weather is nice,   we might even invite them to sit out and have glass of wine with us.   Like I said,  we get few takers but the gesture registers with the guest and they feel welcomed.    DW also has fresh-baked brownies waiting for them too. 

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

PT, What no Shiner beer?  That's the beer I'd be drinking in Texas. 

We finally got it in the stores here a couple of years ago....

muirford's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

 

We're going to put bath sheets in the rooms soon - I have them already but am waiting for the winter to get them into circulation.  One room is getting a king bed.  We've just stopped using bath gel but upgraded one of the bath soaps to a bigger unscented bar.  

The always-out hot beverage fixings includes the Starbucks Via packets now.  P.S. Maddie I picked up some of their hot chocolate mix today at Sam's to try out - salted caramel hot chocolate! 

__________________

Jeanne

There are no rules, just follow your heart. ~ Robin Williams

 

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

Bath sheets. Nice! Good for you. I'm coming to visit. I hate (HATE) the postage stamp size towels I've gotten in some places. I test all the new towels by wrapping them around me in the store. If there's a gap before washing, back on the shelf it goes!

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

We have always had bath sheets because I hate small towels. We told guests there were bath sheets to wrap themselves in. That we considered what the industry called "bath towels" to be hair towels.

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

We just got the big box of Land o' Lakes hot cocoa and Swiss Miss at Sam's today. (The swiss miss is what guests use to make cafe mocha.) 2 big bags of candy bars, too. I have to stay away from the kitchen right now!

Joey Camb's picture
Offline
Joined:
04/02/2010

we have a tray with kettle, tea, coffee etc in every room but we knocked off hot chocolate as it was a nightmare powder everywhere and the mugs were a nightmare to clean (people left them all night with a bit in the bottom till it was welded on)

I think partly its a uk thing if you want to be star rated you have to provide tea and coffee either in the rooms or you have to provide it between reasonable hours ie have to make it for them. I am so not doing that as it causes 2 problems 1- PITA for the ones that want it and 2-they don't want to bother me so wont ask but would like a cup of tea.

For the star rating we just gave up we were supposed to offer free refreshments on check in but I am not doing that as our guests are usually dashing off to something and just want to park the car and dash off which is fine. As a compromise we offer tea and coffee sounds daft when they are say waiting for a plane or train we let them sit in the lounge. mind you everyone we have offered to has insisted on paying anyway - "ie we would have to pay in a cafe" bless.

__________________

Don't mess with me today or I will kill you!!!!

 

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

Can't you have a kettle out so they can make the tea themselves and still cover that requirement?

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

I recently returned from a few days in Las Vegas, stayed at "THE hotel" at Mandalay Bay. The in-room coffee was $4/cup!! I couldn't believe it. The coffee packet was shrinkwrapped inside the coffee cup and the sticker on it said if you open the coffee package, $4 will be added to your bill.

The room came with a really nice, lighted minibar with fridge below the granite counter, a bar sink, and glass shelves above where they had on display the various alcoholic treats they had to offer. There as a note on the minibar that said, "This minibar is not for private use. If you use the minibar without buying any of its offerings, $25/day will be added to your bill".

So, if you set your own bottle of wine or whiskey on the minibar, instead of buying theirs, they threaten to charge you a $25 "corkage fee".

It was a beautiful place. Every room there is a suite with large flatscreen TVs in the living room and bedroom and a smaller flatscreen in the bathroom. Each suite has a bath and a half, with two sinks in the main bathroom, plus separate tub and shower. Just pure luxury. But the silly coffee charge and minibar threat will assure I'll never stay at that place again. Couldn't believe the extra charges for what anybody these days expect to be included amenities.

Happy Keeper's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/24/2011

That is shocking! So you just get the bed and the bathroom? Too funny. I would be afraid to touch anything.

__________________

Take a leap and a net will appear

 

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

Happy Keeper wrote:

That is shocking! So you just get the bed and the bathroom? Too funny. I would be afraid to touch anything.

You also get a fabulous view of the Las Vegas strip and use of the furniture and 3 TV's, but yes, I was a bit paranoid about the minibar. I used it, of course, with the ice and wine glasses they furnish and for the bottle of wine and bottle of Scotch I brought with me, but was careful to move them to the bedroom dresser when I left the room, for fear a housekeeper would see what a bad boy I am. Just silly.

Fabulouse suite, though. Here's a virtual tour. At the bottom you can select to tour the living room/half bath or the bedroom/full bath. In bedroom view, just keep "driving" right through the closed bathroom door to see the bathroom with double sinks, separate water closet, huge deep tub and separate shower stall. I could have lived there!

Happy Keeper's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/24/2011

Being we have a certain fancy for the whiskeys of Scotland, I think we would have used it as well.

Joey Camb's picture
Offline
Joined:
04/02/2010

Thing is by doing that they would make me determined not to touch or buy anything it just puts a nasty taste in your mouth.

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

Another issue that comes up with adding amenities at lower price points is that the high end hotels are still charging for everything. And they are not seeing reductions in occ, either. Sure, cheap people like me complain but then cheap people stay at cheap places so the upscale places don't care about what I think. But they are doing what they do best- managing the bottom line.

Even some of the cheap places have found they make more money by offering the lower room rate and then tacking on all of the extras.

My parents just got their hotel stay for what amounts to free. $31/night room (I come from a long line of cheap people) and with that they were given tokens for the slot machines. They won the money back that they paid for the rooms using the casino's money. Then they left. They asked at the desk if my mother wanted WiFi and she gave them the hairy eyeball and asked, 'And how much is THAT going to cost me?' Free. (Never underestimate the power of a 76 year old woman giving someone the hairy eyeball!)

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

I added one flat screen 26 in TV with DVD player and queen bed in that room (replaced a full) and replaced a 15 in regular TV with a flat screen (22 in) and a DVD with dolby sound. I also have a small Library of DVDs now in the hall on the bookcase so all can access them as now all rooms have DVD. I am looking into adding to that DVD Library.

I also finally raised my rates rom the 2008 level. My budget room went up $4, the new queen bed went up $19, and my pvt bath went up $6. The pvt is $20 more than the queen shared and the q/s is $16 more then the full shared. I have my online rez set up that if the pvt is booked, the queen shared can be private (blocking the budget room) for $5 less than the ensuite. I give lots of options.

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

It's a great idea. We're following the adage that the horizontal spaces belong to the guests so we haven't added things like coffee makers and the like.

Looking at our target market, our take is they'd be really happy with a bowl of chocolates in the room more than anything else! So, we've changed the snacks we have out to include bags of trail mix, M&M's and nuts. Along with the cakes, pies, cookies and brownies. And that has really been appreciated. The same bags (they are vending machine size) go for $2-$3 if you want them at a hotel.

Most of the problem with adding stuff in a smaller business is that we can't buy in the bulk that gives the best discount.

What we've moved toward outside the guest rooms to add value is packaging giving the guest an experience rather than just a room. So, we give them tickets to local attractions if they stay 2+ nights. This is discretionary, not on the website. More or less a gift when the guests arrive. We ask what attraction they would like to visit and have the tickets ready in the morning. 

I've also worked with a local chocolatier to get a discount rate on boxes of chocolates that we have in the rooms for the same 2+ night stays.

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

We have been told by guests that they appreciate the space for their "stuff". We have a basket of fruit on one dresser but it is on the mantles in the other roms. One room has the flat screen (no longer the old regular type space hog) & DVD and a small bowl of chocolate. We have antique kerosene lamps in every room but very little "clutter" - mainly because I have no intention of having to dust any extra crap.

Joey Camb's picture
Offline
Joined:
04/02/2010

you mean packs and kits and things? We keep them all in on an ask for basis but are never asked. Most of my neighbours are cutting them out. It makes me laugh cos one of them was talking down to me "oh you must have all the kits and use posh branded toiletries etc" we never have just reasonably priced ones and kits on request - now they are all doing what we did all along I find this hilarious!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.