Tips on Cost Control

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gillumhouse's picture
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I labeled this tips because I figure others might have a light bulb go on and think of something else to add. Here? Nah.

This morning I was making blueberry muffins (mini-size as usual) and decided NOT to add the cup of blueberries the recipe calls for. Often I get a clump of beries (and little bater) in a few and the juice goes all over...... SO! Today, I put a bit of batter in the bottom of each muffin (there are 12 to a pan of minis) and then put 3 or 4 blueberries, depending on the size of the berries, and topped with batter. Less juice oozing, each muffin is chock-full of beries, and I did not have batter left in the bowl with berries in it. The few extra berries I had left in the strainer went into the fruit compote.

And since I had only one couple, I had made a 1/2 recipe of the muffins.

Generic's picture
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Okay, providing drinks and other items is not the norm around here. What is your average cost for these amenities?

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Madeleine's picture
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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Okay, providing drinks and other items is not the norm around here. What is your average cost for these amenities?

We provide the makings for coffee and tea. We always have milk in the fridge as well. Soft drinks, bottled water, beer and the like we don't do. If I was going to do water (say 2 per room on check-in, not replenished) it would work out to 32 cents/room/check-in. Not a bank-breaker but a pain in re recycling all of the bottles. Sodas would be more and would require a selection that I just don't have room to store and keep cold.

The coffee & tea supplies (including the sugar, creamer and milk) runs about $0-$2/stay depending on the guests. Many guests never use these things, some sit around all evening drinking tea. So, average cost per year? $1000 give or take.

I'll do iced tea in the summer. 6 tea bags/day. A lemon. Still not a big expense and I only do it when it's blazingly hot.

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Generic's picture
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I'm more interested in the effects of having water, soda etc in the room. Costs and of course the effect on cleaning. And then compare that to the effect of having an honour bar with water, a few drinks and some other items available. I just not sure if it's an extra cost that I will end up eating or a value that guests will perceive a value and I can recoup in my pricing.

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We have been doing remodel for the last 2 years. The first thing we did was have a cabin stocked full of coffee, tea, candy, chips, nuts, soft drinks, bottled water and fruit. We also have some kind of baked good everyday. This is available 24 hours a day. Guests are going crazy over this. They love it. We were worried about the cost involved with doing this. Its not as much as you would think. We have only had a few days when people took everything. Most of the time guests are respectful of this and do not take more than they should. We restock it everyday after checkouts have left. It is almost impossible to calculate this expense. Every guest is different. We have decided that if we even get one extra booking a month by doing this, it pays for the supplies that allow everyone to enjoy the food and drinks. We have had many comments that say they will return or that they have booked because of that new addition to our property. Its working........

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Madeleine's picture
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As a guest, I think it's a really nice amenity. I would not want to pay for it piecemeal (honor bar style) but if you added on $5 to the room to cover all of it, I wouldn't know that and would just think it was a nice thing to offer.

I wouldn't do soda because of the mess I've had when guests haul in their own 6 pck and spray warm soda all over the room.

Every place we have stayed that has offered 'free' drinks, either water, soda or wine has always struck me as very nice. And yet I still do not do it myself.

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I'm always apprehensive about "free" things as people don't always value them. And if I put them as an amenity, will they expect me to refill them each day for free, etc.

We currently charge $1 for two bottles of water on the honour system, because not everyone use them. And they are about the cheapest people see, the same ones sell for $1 everywhere around town. It's more of a convenience item than anything else. 

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

I'm always apprehensive about "free" things as people don't always value them. And if I put them as an amenity, will they expect me to refill them each day for free, etc.

We have all of the coffees, etc out on the counter and show guests where to find them and how to use the machines. I know for a fact that a LOT of B&B's do not provide these things just given the look of awe on some faces. 'We can have this whenever we want? 2 in the morning? Whenever? It's included?'

Of course, these may also be B&B newbies, I don't always know. So the surprise may come from having to pay for everything at a hotel.

But many guests have been making their way around staying at B&B's and they are surprised. (Of course, we do get the ones who stayed somewhere where they got wine and cheese and all of that as well and those guests are disappointed.)

Another way to look at it is from your own POV as a guest. Would you appreciate it? If you would and it's not a horribly expensive item, then do it. Those who are unappreciative are few and far between, even here, where guests can be pretty demanding.

There are takers no matter what. You know that from those guests who don't pay up at the honor bar. If you include the cost of the water in the price of the room, you never have to deal with those thieves. Sure, they'll take more than their share but many, many other guests won't take anything.

If you want to do this. I'm still not going to go get another guest fridge to stock with drinks.

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Eric, we offered complimentary water and sodas (as well as 24 hour coffee/teas, and seasonal hot cider/chocolate in our dining room) and people did value them and often commented on how nice it was.  But, I live in a climate that is warm 9 months of the year, so cold beverages are much appreciated.  Most of our rooms had their own fridge and coffee set-up as well.   Each guest fridge had 2 cokes, 2 diet cokes, 2 caffeine-free cokes, and 2 diet caffeine-free cokes, and 2 bottled waters. (We live in the land of Coca-Cola!)  We also had some other soft beverages available if requested - like gingerale, lemon-lime (regular and diet), orange. 

Some people drank all the sodas and water (we replenished daily), some didn't touch them, and most of our guests only had a soda or two and drank the water.  We also put chilled bottled water at the bedside during our turndown service. 

As a guest, I'd honestly rather pay a little more for my rate than have to remember to pay for something on the honor system. 

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But even if you declined and then rethought the issue, would you think poorly of the innkeeper?

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toddburme wrote:

But even if you declined and then rethought the issue, would you think poorly of the innkeeper?

Todd not me, I would never think poorly of the innkeeper. I was just addressing the cost savings idea from Mtatoc. Just mentioning that yes it is cost savings, because so many decline the offer, but then later might wish they had the cold one. Smiling When I arrive I am in a whirlwind, the innkeeper is giving instructions, my bladder is about to burst, I am unable to really relax as I step in the door or on the property, in the least.  

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I wouldn't necessarily think poorly of the innkeeper, but I would wonder why they didn't offer beverages at other than check-in.  Also, it would depend on what I was paying per night for my stay.  Economy hotels are even offering complementary bottled water in the rooms now.  Just sayin'....

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Samster wrote:

I wouldn't necessarily think poorly of the innkeeper, but I would wonder why they didn't offer beverages at other than check-in.  Also, it would depend on what I was paying per night for my stay.  Economy hotels are even offering complementary bottled water in the rooms now.  Just sayin'....

I like the idea of bottled water in the rooms.  Cases of bottled water goes on sale quite often at the stores.

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 We use to put sodas in the mini frig in each room.  We stopped that. Now DH offers a soda or beer or bottled tea as he goes through the "meet and greet".  Even though we started buying beer and the teas as well as the sodas, it actually saves us money as most decline. But it makes a nice friendly welcoming. 

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Mtatoc wrote:

 We use to put sodas in the mini frig in each room.  We stopped that. Now DH offers a soda or beer or bottled tea as he goes through the "meet and greet".  Even though we started buying beer and the teas as well as the sodas, it actually saves us money as most decline. But it makes a nice friendly welcoming. 

Speaking for myself, I would say no thanks, I am fine, even if I wanted one. Then later would wish I had taken him up on the offer. This is human nature. I would appreciate being able to get one myself AFTER I had stopped spinning from the long drive and was settling in.

So I agree it is saving money as most would decline.

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Joey, I wanted to say the same thing!  Exactly...most of the time all you can think about is getting to your room, settling in, taking a bathroom break and maybe stretching your legs.  Then, you think, "Geez, I wish that I had a nice cold beverage!"  Especially, if you're visiting someplace that is very warm.  If I have a place that I can just help myself, even if it's just ice water, I'm very, very grateful!

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 We do have bottled water in the fridge....and ice cream.  Some have said "not right now" and it's been given to them so they can drink later.

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 We have bottled water in all the rooms but we offer something special at check-in.  The common area has a tea cart with beverage selections so that's where the check-in beverage is offered.   I love the hot/cold thermos. In the winter we make a batch of hot mulled cider to put on the teacart, along with the "always-handy" tea kettle, thermos of coffee and afternoon treats.  In the summer, it's a thermos of lemonade, or iced tea.  We always offer these extras on a day when someone is checking in and TRY to put them out every day if we have the sense that our guests will appreciate it.  Since we do not advertise afternoon treats I do not feel bad if I miss a day....and to tell you the truth, there are many days when our guests are out all day until after dinner so there is no need to put anything out.

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