Thinking About Europeans

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Having just returned from Europe, I wanted to mention a few things that I noticed that we can think of doing that will help Europeans to better understand what we are offering.... (These are based on what happened to us in France, it may differ in other European countries.)

Bed Sizes: I have started to list my bed sizes besides the names. The size of European beds are different and they may misunderstand our names. 

European Sizes: Single (.90m x 2m), Double (1.4mx2m), Queen (1.6mx2m) and King (1.9mx2m)

North American Sizes: Twin (.97mx1.91m), Double (1.37mx1.91m), Queen (1.52mx2.03m) and King (1.93mx2.03m)

I put them down as approximate as .95mx1.9m, 1.4mx1.9m, 1.5mx2m and 1.9mx2m, so they have an idea of what the bed size really means, since our twin is wider, our double shorter and our queen is narrower. I was also considering explaining more about the fact that our beds are sping mattresses. We were in a few places in France where the bed was foam over plywood and not very comfortable.

The French breakfast was generally continental, especially in the countryside. Croissant, pain au chocolat, pain au raisin (cinnamon danish) and bread were the staples. Once place kept about a dozen different jams on the table. They also stocked two different honey. The hotel in Paris had cereal, but not the continental breakfasts in the countryside. Oh and breakfast other than in a chambre d'hote (hosted room, equivalen to B&B) was extra and often about $10 a person. 

Internet access was a pain at some of the places we stayed. One place capped your daily access to 200M. I ran over my limit and had to beg for an extra access card. The speed was also capped. I eventually bought a 10 hour pass, which gave me unlimited data and good speed. They often blocked VOIP as well. Some of the hotel chains handed out individual accounts that you needed to log into.

Hotels in France had only hand towels and bath towels, no facecloths. Europeans tend to use a mitt or a mesh ball to soap up with. It's considered a personal item and they travel with it. Maybe we should consider having something to explain the use of the facecloth, if it's not common?

Hotels had TVs with clocks and alarm clocks on them. 

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Okay now for something completely different... here it is Eric, here it is where we are, where our guests from...

Our o/s guests book the cheapest room, stay the shortest amount of time and we are basically a sleep-over for them. The glitzy places like the old southern plantations of Charleston, the Disneyworlds, the cruise ships of Miami, these are the draw for our o/s guests. Totally diff to you in your locale and many others here on the forum. I do not get Italians here to shop, or foodies, etc. I get the slam bam thank you ma'am guests, who only want the cheapest smallest room, with no frills, no extras, just a hot cuppa upon arrival.

So for me, I won't cater to Europeans, in the least. I will cater to the bulk, being 95% American.   The other 5% are mixed, mostly UK then on to other countries one by one...

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OTOH, we are listed in a couple of travel guide books as a great place to stop (the town, I mean) on a particular 'New England' tour that involves a stretch of Canada as well. We get guests who follow that tour to the letter. Mostly one-nighters because it takes close to 10 days to see the whole loop. What we find is that Euros will take the cheapest room (bath across the hall) because they don't care about the bathroom and they're here in the US for 6 weeks so every penny counts.

They don't plan ahead. The guidebook does not indicate that it is necessary to do so even though almost all of them come in August.

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I understand that, so in your case, just ignore the subject. In my case, not only do they take up much of the bulk of August, they also come off-season and enjoy paying extra for my larger rooms, which they see as a luxury. (Aussies seem to like to book the smallest room, even with all their luggage, then complain about the size of the room.)

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This came into play today (ironically) as we have 2 US citizens staying with us for about 2 weeks and have enquired about wash cloths which completely baffled our chamber maid as she thought they meant cleaning cloths ie to clean shoes or something. in the UK what you call wash cloths are called in the main Flannels as that is what they were made of. I may pop out and buy some for them as they are cheap enough but they are not something provided as standard in the UK.

I don't put bed sizes on but I do have pictures of every room which I think helps but if I know its a US booking I make sure they know that  in the UK twin means 2 small beds not one big bed for 2 people as we have hit snaggs with this before. However european men (ie non gay ones) don't seem to have any bother about sharing a double bed where as UK men would rather be tarred and feathered.

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Flannel, washcloth or facecloth, all the same thing. Around here they are terry cloth.

Dishcloths in Canada and very different, in Canada they are waffleweave material. In the US they are usually terry. The difference stems from quotas, Canada has a strict quota on terry importation and it increases the cost of terry because you have to pay for the permit. The US doesn't.

Of course the only reason I know this is that my family... are linen importers. Grew up with this stuff.

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Of course the only reason I know this is that my family... are linen importers. Grew up with this stuff.

I am in what was the textile capital of the country here, there are still linens and dye factories around here. Not the cotton growing south.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Of course the only reason I know this is that my family... are linen importers. Grew up with this stuff.

I am in what was the textile capital of the country here, there are still linens and dye factories around here. Not the cotton growing south.

My grandmother is the inventor of the sheet set. They were so poor that they were afraid of having left over sheets, so they tied everything together in bundles and refused to sell it any other way. Dan River even paid them for the idea.

To be honest, I wish I could still get sheets made in NC, with the fabric at the top and bottom instead of elastic all the way around. They snapped to the bed nicely and you had a lot less shifting and tucking to do.

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Of course the only reason I know this is that my family... are linen importers. Grew up with this stuff.

I am in what was the textile capital of the country here, there are still linens and dye factories around here. Not the cotton growing south.

My grandmother is the inventor of the sheet set. They were so poor that they were afraid of having left over sheets, so they tied everything together in bundles and refused to sell it any other way. Dan River even paid them for the idea.

To be honest, I wish I could still get sheets made in NC, with the fabric at the top and bottom instead of elastic all the way around. They snapped to the bed nicely and you had a lot less shifting and tucking to do.

Interesting!

We drove past the big ol' closed up mill (In Danville VA) and it breaks your heart, esp the massive unemployment there. There was a tech company that had planned on buying it - it is very different now (even NASA is there) but I don't see where it happened, it is still vacant and derelict. Here is your trivia for the day - IKEA is there. Yes, IKEA, no not a store but the factory.  

Here is google news of late (disclaimer - not sharing pro or non union commentary here just that this is in the news:

 

July 27 2011 Workers in southern Virginia at Ikea’s only factory in the United States voted Wednesday to belong to a union. click here for article

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Coincidentally we started putting flannels in our guest bathrooms after a couple of people asked for them, both American.

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Highlands John wrote:

Coincidentally we started putting flannels in our guest bathrooms after a couple of people asked for them, both American.

Oh HJ you made me smile, that is what my m-i-l always called them (she's a Kiwi - baaaaaaaaaaa)

She also still calls thread "cotton", even though it is polyester most or all. I need to get some cotton.

Cotton Wool Buds - QTips

Biro - pen

Rubber - eraser

and so on...many of the same terms I am sure you use there.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Highlands John wrote:

Coincidentally we started putting flannels in our guest bathrooms after a couple of people asked for them, both American.

Oh HJ you made me smile, that is what my m-i-l always called them (she's a Kiwi - baaaaaaaaaaa)

She also still calls thread "cotton", even though it is polyester most or all. I need to get some cotton.

Cotton Wool Buds - QTips

Biro - pen

Rubber - eraser

and so on...many of the same terms I am sure you use there.

Did she also use the term durex to refer to cello tape?

We get looks when we tell Americans that we are going to sit on the chesterfield.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Highlands John wrote:

Coincidentally we started putting flannels in our guest bathrooms after a couple of people asked for them, both American.

Oh HJ you made me smile, that is what my m-i-l always called them (she's a Kiwi - baaaaaaaaaaa)

She also still calls thread "cotton", even though it is polyester most or all. I need to get some cotton.

Cotton Wool Buds - QTips

Biro - pen

Rubber - eraser

and so on...many of the same terms I am sure you use there.

Calling thread "cotton" is very common here. I always think "biro" is triumph of marketing, although I do think the use of that term is declining. "Hoover" is another one, people here frequently call the vacuum cleaner the hoover. as is cellotape.

 

Right, I'm off to hoover the bedrooms.

 

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....when I first came to Canada from England as a young teenager and was introduced to a guy called Randy I couldn't stop giggling. 

..... (as previously mentioned) when I first came to the US and asked for a rubber in the work place the reaction was NOT what I expected.

..... and let's not forget that men in the US wear pants and suspenders.  That gave me a very warped (but possibly accurate) picture of the guys working on Wall Street.

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UKMaineiac wrote:

....when I first came to Canada from England as a young teenager and was introduced to a guy called Randy I couldn't stop giggling. 

..... (as previously mentioned) when I first came to the US and asked for a rubber in the work place the reaction was NOT what I expected.

..... and let's not forget that men in the US wear pants and suspenders.  That gave me a very warped (but possibly accurate) picture of the guys working on Wall Street.

I'm sure there was lots of giggling when the Movie Funny Girl came out, given that the main character's name is Fanny Brice.

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[quote=Eric Arthur Blair]

[quote=UKMaineiac]

I'm sure there was lots of giggling when the Movie Funny Girl came out, given that the main character's name is Fanny Brice.

This made me laugh.  I once had to host some earnest British engineers in the toy industry, and they could not contain themselves when we happened upon a Candy Shop retailer named Fanny Farmer.  Seriously, they reverted to four year olds!  Charming.

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Oh absolutely .... But "Hi, I'm Randy" still makes me giggle - pathetic but true.

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Probably not a good idea in the US to say "I'm just popping outside for fag" too!!!

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HJ - I have a story which I WILL NOT put on-line.  I'm hoping you know my "real" name so you can drop me a line.  I (should but) don't remember your official contact details.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Rubber - eraser

and so on...many of the same terms I am sure you use there.

I talked once with a Spanish guy who spent a year in America as an exchange student. He learned British English in school in Spain, of course, and he told of his first week in the American high school, when he leaned over to the guy at the desk beside him and asked, "Excuse me. May I borrow your rubber?" He said the American boy looked shocked at the question, so the Spaniard reassured him, "Don't worry. I will give it  back to you when I'm done with it."

(Somebody will probably have to explain to Camberly and Highlands John why this is funny.)

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we use the terms rubber and eraser both for a device to rub out pencil markings as well as it being generally known as slang for a condom. don't worry we see the funny side.

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I think it's a great idea to post the sizes of the beds in metric. Thanks for the info!

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 sorry to say, if I just saw metric sizes I wouldn't have a clue what it meant Sad

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If you ever get to europe, beware, a double bed can be anything from a USA twin to a USA king, you only know the real size if you convert the metric to inch which is quite easy IMHO.

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what I found hilarious is my chamber maid is Lituanian and her neice came to live in the UK and go to college about a year ago and had to do various tests to slot her into the system and she was super worried she was going to have to understand feet and inches! I myself work  in what ever is easiest ie its about an inch is easier than saying 2 and a half cm and if you are working out roughly a yard and a meter are about the same.

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camberleyhotel wrote:

I myself work in what ever is easiest ie its about an inch is easier than saying 2 and a half cm...
 

Then there's that thing with the rocks. Not pounds or kilograms, but weight in stones! It gets to be a lot to keep up with.

I know the metric system is much easier and more logical than Imperial measurements, but can someone explain the advantage of using Celsius rather than Fahrenheit for temperatures, other than it's easier to remember the freezing point and boiling point of water?

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catlady wrote:

sorry to say, if I just saw metric sizes I wouldn't have a clue what it meant Sad

Yes, but outside of the US, everyone is officially metric except Myanmar. While many people in the English speaking world might understand Imperial measure, it's a limited audience. Even certain measures are different between Imperial and US measurements, like the gallon (160 oz in Imperial and 128 oz in US, as one example.) But ask someone in France or Germany what 80 inches are, and they look at you blankly. And if you ask them what a pound is, they will tell you English currency.

It's all about making it more accessible to visitors.

Even the term coffee means different things to different people. In Italy, that's what they call Espresso. And a macchiato in Italy is called a Noisette in France. I was served a café Espagniol (Spanish Coffee) in France.... coffee with milk. The normal term is café au lait (coffee with milk) because au lait sounds like olé, some people call it Spanish coffee. And our French guests are often shocked when we give them cold milk... they prefer hot milk for their coffee, so it doesn't cool it.

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what was also funny was my grandmother gave a recipy to some hungarian friends of ours and never thought about it and included a knob of butter (ie big dollop) and they were trying to work it out ie about the same size as a door knob? was the question we were asked in extreeme confusion!

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A lot of guests like the milk heated. Most of them are not used to keeping milk in the fridge, either.

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catlady wrote:

 sorry to say, if I just saw metric sizes I wouldn't have a clue what it meant Sad

I'd have both. The standard 'queen' for all of us and then (metric size) for all of them.

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As a european, you are right, bed sizes like double and queen are unclear to us,  I had to look them up to understand some of the forum items....  Thanks for the nice summary. We have two seperate boxsprings in the rooms, each 0,90*2,00 meter, with single duvets. I think this is this is standard size for most hotels B&B etc in the Netherlands. So together 1,80*2,00m which we call a double, but also 1,60*2,00  or 1,60* 1,90 beds are called double. 1,40 beds (and1,20)  are often called twijfelaars (=doubter). To avoid confusion we give the bed size on the web site.

We have facecloths (washandjes), they are used 40% of the time, usually by the 50y+. In 10% they are used them to remove makeup and clean their shoes, by the young ones gen X.........

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Bommelhoeve wrote:

As a european, you are right, bed sizes like double and queen are unclear to us,  I had to look them up to understand some of the forum items....  Thanks for the nice summary. We have two seperate boxsprings in the rooms, each 0,90*2,00 meter, with single duvets. I think this is this is standard size for most hotels B&B etc in the Netherlands. So together 1,80*2,00m which we call a double, but also 1,60*2,00  or 1,60* 1,90 beds are called double. 1,40 beds (and1,20)  are often called twijfelaars (=doubter). To avoid confusion we give the bed size on the web site.

We have facecloths (washandjes), they are used 40% of the time, usually by the 50y+. In 10% they are used them to remove makeup and clean their shoes, by the young ones gen X.........

I realize overseas you book a single or double or even a triple, but here we get people who are moronic over bed size, "I won't sleep in a double" and they won't. Full size is a double here and you can't even buy them now, everyone has queen or king or california king - for those taller folks.

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Drives me crazy, too, to know children of the advanced ages of 5 & 6 have a queen bed all to themselves! Whatever happened to getting your first 'big bed' when you got your first apt? In our rooms with 2 beds, the smallest child always calls dibs on the 'big bed'. They tell the parents to sleep in the little bed. There's something about a big bed!

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 Why bother to go to such detail?  I think it is a waste of time. We all know people don't read Sad Just continue to do your own thing as you have. I think most don't need that kind of information. European stays are different than US stays. Thats just cultural differences. Expect it.

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catlady wrote:

 Why bother to go to such detail?  I think it is a waste of time. We all know people don't read Sad Just continue to do your own thing as you have. I think most don't need that kind of information. European stays are different than US stays. Thats just cultural differences. Expect it.

To be honest, we looked for it when we booked in Europe. And I sometimes get questions from Europeans about the size of the bed, because they don't understand the terms we use. 

Of course, maybe I deal with more Europeans. They are about 30% of my business.

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 Yes I think you have many more Europeans. Not something we ever had any concern about with our guests.

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

It's considered a personal item and they travel with it. Maybe we should consider having something to explain the use of the facecloth...

They'll probably bring their mitt/mesh ball if they're used to that, so I don't see any reason to explain the washcloth (facecloth). When I was a teenager our family hosted a Belgian exchange student for a year and he arrived with his own towels! He said everybody traveled with their own (back then, at least).

In several visits all over Italy, I've never seen a washcloth.

A few years ago when we hosted a Swedish exchange student, he was with us for several weeks before we realized he was sleeping on top of the top sheet. He had never seen two sheets on a bed before and didn't know about sleeping between them. He was used to sleeping on top of the one sheet, and under a comforter (duvet).

Traveling the world is good, to see how others do things.

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