A Better Way to Stay?

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Happy Keeper's picture
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So I thought I should start a new thread rather than hijack...

We have been working on VALUE VALUE VALUE during these difficult economic times. It just doesn't make sense to me that the focus of this campaign is on changing the image of an industry that is so diverse.

To me, for what its worth, A Better Way to Stay is about what a great value we are.

How convienent we make it for our guests.

How easy we make it for them to get FREE parking, FREE internet, and FREE travel support.

How committed we are to a full, freshly prepared, diet sensitive home-cooked breakfast.

How much we can enrich their stay with secret tips, off the beaten track adventures, or a look at daily life in our area.

How we can give them a look back at a simpler more romantic era or provide them with a champagne suite of bubbly dreams. 

THESE are the images that we alone can provide.

A pscho inkeeper in a graveyard- not so much

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Arks's picture
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Oh my, I'm picturing armies of zombie doilies rising from the grave and marching on PAII headquarters. I read the following this morning on the PAII forum:

One of the [BWTS] suggestions mentioned that an inn that cares to participate could offer a present or special for guests who brought a doily for burial. We can participate or not as we wish.
 

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

 

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 Oh I think this is getting carried away just a bit much.  I have a few doiles around on some of my tables and they are staying!

Madeleine's picture
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Went out for dinner tonight (yippee!) on a GC given to us by a guest (double yippee!). We talked to the server about 'B&B' as she had never stayed at one and wondered how it worked. Gave her my card and told her to call me next time she was going on vacation. That if I knew anyone with a place where she was going, I would give her the info to stay at a B&B.

One 20-something at a time...as they get to meet B&B owners and see we're 'normal' and it's not like staying in someone's guest room while their kid is at college they will come and stay!

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gillumhouse's picture
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Yesterday I took the recycles to the recycle trailer at the grocery parking lot. As I was stuffing newspapers into the proper door a man came up to me, "Excuse me, Ma'am, can you tell me where the bed & breakfast is? I didn't know there was one here." He saw the signs on my car. I gave him all the biz cards I had on me! And of course told him where we are - the Fire Dept parking lot is in front of us, the funeral home parking lot is catty-corner across from us, and the Or ioles parking lot is across the alley beside us. He knows exactly where we are now!

Tomorrow morning my City manager leave for the Municipal League Conference in the Capital. She took the "managermobile" to gas it up this afternoon (it is a drug confiscation Caddy) and it broke down, thankfully in town instead of tomorrow. What is the point? We will now go in MY car with the Gillum House signs on the doors and it will be parked in the garage at the Mar riot for 3 days for all to see! Last time we took it, one of my Delegates came looking for me - "I knew you were here because I saw your car."

Arks's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:

He saw the signs on my car...We will now go in MY car with the Gillum House signs on the doors...

Hadn't even thought of this. Do most innkeepers think to make a moving billboard out of their cars? Great idea.

Madeleine's picture
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Arkansawyer wrote:

gillumhouse wrote:

He saw the signs on my car...We will now go in MY car with the Gillum House signs on the doors...

Hadn't even thought of this. Do most innkeepers think to make a moving billboard out of their cars? Great idea.

I've seen a few around town here. Always worried if I put one on my car someone will call (like those 1-800-HOWS MY DRIVING notices) and tell DH that I was speeding!

gillumhouse's picture
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Toll-free number is the largest print on the signs. Vis ta Pr int large size magnetic and they last 12 to 18 months before they start to flake.

Arks's picture
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Just got home from PAII Little Rock. The closing session included a 5-minute Jay Karen presentation on 3 groups:

  • Golfing... Showed photos of what golf courses, club houses, and golfers themselves used to look like, and how they look now (same photos for both before and after...in other words they haven't changed a thing), then he presented statistics on the number of people golfing each year for the last 10 years. The number of golfers has dropped almost every year.
  • Bowling... Old photos of plain bowling lanes, a greasy snack bar with standard burgers and fries, and old guys with beer bellies in their team uniforms. New photos of contemporary bowling lanes that look like Las Vegas casinos, great spreads of food, and their current clientele: a photo of beautiful twenty-something ladies having a great time. Numbers of people bowling going up, up, up.
  • B&B's... Ten years ago there were 20,000 B&B's in the US. That's down to 15,000 now, and continuing to fall. Only 18% of the US population has stayed at a B&B. The vast majority has never even considered staying at a B&B, and many say they would never consider it because of several mostly-false stereotypes.

You can certainly argue with the analogies above, but the overall point is clear. If the industry refuses to change it risks losing more and more market share. I don't think they're advocating that EVERYBODY leave the Victorian B&B feel that was popular in the 70's and 80's, just that some might want to focus on things that attract some of the 82% of people who don't/won't currently stay at B&B's.

I went to a panel discussion yesterday on how to bring in the younger travelers. The stress was on things we already know about: iPod docking/charging stations, power strips with USB port built in, FLAT SCREEN TV's (young people apparently find picture tubes terribly depressing), FAST wifi, separate tables for dining (young people would rather eat in their room than have to share a table with the grownups/strangers), no long list of "rules of the house". Young people get really upset, apparently, if you tell them there is no TV in their room because you are helping them relax. They don't want you telling them how to relax. They DO want/require a TV in their room.

Turnoffs to younger travelers: flowery wallpaper, fragile antiques, and yes, doilies.

For the foreseeable future the majority of US B&B's will remain like they are now. I think the PAII management is just doing what they should be doing: studying trends, polling the public, and trying to slowly steer the industry in a direction that will keep it healthy for the long term.

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Arkansawyer wrote:

Just got home from PAII Little Rock. The closing session included a 5-minute Jay Karen presentation on 3 groups:

  • Golfing...
  • Bowling...
  • B&B's... Ten years ago there were 20,000 B&B's in the US. That's down to 15,000 now, and continuing to fall. Only 18% of the US population has stayed at a B&B. The vast majority has never even considered staying at a B&B, and many say they would never consider it because of several mostly-false stereotypes.

You can certainly argue with the analogies above, but the overall point is clear. If the industry refuses to change it risks losing more and more market share........

I went to a panel discussion yesterday on how to bring in the younger travelers. The stress was on things we already know about: iPod docking/charging stations, power strips with USB port built in, FLAT SCREEN TV's (young people apparently find picture tubes terribly depressing), FAST wifi, separate tables for dining (young people would rather eat in their room than have to share a table with the grownups/strangers), no long list of "rules of the house". Young people get really upset, apparently, if you tell them there is no TV in their room because you are helping them relax. They don't want you telling them how to relax. They DO want/require a TV in their room.

Turnoffs to younger travelers: flowery wallpaper, fragile antiques, and yes, doilies.

For the foreseeable future the majority of US B&B's will remain like they are now. I think the PAII management is just doing what they should be doing: studying trends, polling the public, and trying to slowly steer the industry in a direction that will keep it healthy for the long term.

Correct, change is not necessarly a bad thing but a complete overhaul is not necessarly needed either!   Seems like PAii just keeps focusing on the Gen Y crowd.  WHY???  This age group will ONE day be older and appreciate the finer things in life like staying at a B&B over the 'same 4 walls' of a hotel. 

This age group is currently all what is said above and more, they are demanding, feel the rules/policies (i.e. cancellation, check out etc.) don't apply to them.  Now I am not saying all of this group are this way but the majority, you bet ya.  This is said after a promotion I ran that brought in a good % of this age group, I kept a spreadsheet on this!  I am here to say that I am happy with my 40, 50, 60+ somethings! 

Most importantly is that everyone is different, we do not all fit the same mold.  There are those that will always prefer to stay in a traditional style hotel and others that will always want the B&B treatment.  Then others that choose depending on the type of experience they want.  If we change ourselves in to mini hotels, what sets us apart?

egoodell's picture
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Arkansawyer wrote:

Just got home from PAII Little Rock. The closing session included a 5-minute Jay Karen presentation on 3 groups:

  • Golfing... Showed photos of what golf courses, club houses, and golfers themselves used to look like, and how they look now (same photos for both before and after...in other words they haven't changed a thing), then he presented statistics on the number of people golfing each year for the last 10 years. The number of golfers has dropped almost every year.
  • Bowling... Old photos of plain bowling lanes, a greasy snack bar with standard burgers and fries, and old guys with beer bellies in their team uniforms. New photos of contemporary bowling lanes that look like Las Vegas casinos, great spreads of food, and their current clientele: a photo of beautiful twenty-something ladies having a great time. Numbers of people bowling going up, up, up.
  • B&B's... Ten years ago there were 20,000 B&B's in the US. That's down to 15,000 now, and continuing to fall. Only 18% of the US population has stayed at a B&B. The vast majority has never even considered staying at a B&B, and many say they would never consider it because of several mostly-false stereotypes.

You can certainly argue with the analogies above, but the overall point is clear. If the industry refuses to change it risks losing more and more market share. I don't think they're advocating that EVERYBODY leave the Victorian B&B feel that was popular in the 70's and 80's, just that some might want to focus on things that attract some of the 82% of people who don't/won't currently stay at B&B's.

I went to a panel discussion yesterday on how to bring in the younger travelers. The stress was on things we already know about: iPod docking/charging stations, power strips with USB port built in, FLAT SCREEN TV's (young people apparently find picture tubes terribly depressing), FAST wifi, separate tables for dining (young people would rather eat in their room than have to share a table with the grownups/strangers), no long list of "rules of the house". Young people get really upset, apparently, if you tell them there is no TV in their room because you are helping them relax. They don't want you telling them how to relax. They DO want/require a TV in their room.

Turnoffs to younger travelers: flowery wallpaper, fragile antiques, and yes, doilies.

For the foreseeable future the majority of US B&B's will remain like they are now. I think the PAII management is just doing what they should be doing: studying trends, polling the public, and trying to slowly steer the industry in a direction that will keep it healthy for the long term.

That's interesting. Here in Charlottesville, we are full of folks from DC and other big cities. Golf is huge here. We had one bowling alley which has since closed. B&Bs and hotels are both popular, and we get lots of 20s, 30s 40s 50s and 60s guests all very interested in the wineries and interesting restaurants.

I just want to point out that you can't lump everywhere and everything into one pile and say "This is where everything is going".

Riki

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

 

Madeleine's picture
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Arkansawyer wrote:

 FAST wifi, separate tables for dining (young people would rather eat in their room than have to share a table with the grownups/strangers), no long list of "rules of the house". Young people get really upset, apparently, if you tell them there is no TV in their room because you are helping them relax. They don't want you telling them how to relax.

 

Personal observations...absolutely correct that 20-somethings will not speak to each other at breakast. We had a full house of almost all 20-28 year olds one morning. They easily chatted with us and the other 'old people'. When it was only them? They sat at their individual tables, looking at their phones and didn't talk to anyone else in the room OR each other. (Some of them would have been better off talking with others as they were all on their way to school here! Imagine making new friends before getting to campus!)

Fast WiFi- unfortunately, without having corporate internet speeds, we will never be able to provide up to 18 guests with 'fast' internet when they are all on at the same time. That is something everyone needs to consider. Those who bring laptops stream movies. They download work. They do NOT use their 3G or 4G network because it depletes the battery on the phone, etc. We can watch the download speeds drop as each new device accesses the network.

Rules- we have no rules but we do expect previous knowledge of appropriate etiquette. No phone calls in the dining room is my biggest peeve with the 'must have my phone with me at all times, including in bed and in the bathroom' crowd. Otherwise, it's all about respect. Please be quiet going thru the house at 1 AM, stuff like that.

Sure, you can yell and scream and carry on in a hotel hallway and no one will know it is you. But you wouldn't do that staying at a friend's house if the friend had little kids or something, so think about your actions. (This is why we don't and never will get the party crowd. And that's alright with me.)

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I just got the PAII email with the video link and the comments of how well it went over with 500 standing ovation for the video at the conference.

I am so not a group think person, I am totally aware of pack mentality and hype. You can have a hairy-chest contest and people will scream like maniacs for some old dude with a Chewbacca back! 

HANDS OFF MY DOILIES!

 

That is my message, I will stick to it! Let us be unique, don't put us all down if WE don't conform to the BWTS image. What percentage of inns do? 

Is it not possible to spread the good news of what B&B's offer vs putting them down. Why oh why does the BWTS campaign think that GenY and GenX will ONLY GO FOR EDGY, RUDE OR DARK? Listen, seriousely, put those same people in a B&B that has doilies and dolls and watch them FREAK OUT!  These guests who are into EDGY RUDE AND DARK might only LIKE THE AIRBNB in CITY CENTERS, OR HIKING THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL nearby accomodations.  Perhaps they do not wish to dine in our dining rooms.

I will cheer right along with the rest of them in the moment at the hairy-chest contest. Will I use that in my marketing as I try to sell ROMANTIC GETAWAYS? Not on your life.

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Gluten free is never free. - Joey Bloggs

 

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

I agree with you. The new e-mail is asking for MORE MONEY and I ask for what? I have not been impressed with most of their videos. I liked the ones showing what we offer (not enthused with the buffet one - that is hotel-like). They should have been here to film my fire-in-the-hole with me serving breakfast afterward! That was edgy!

Happy Keeper's picture
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So we do away with the dollie stereotype and resurrect the Bates Motel stereotype. HMMMM... 

The one I thought did a great job was the one that talked about the things you'll find at a real B&B.

I must be boring to think that if you just tell people why you are a great value, they'll get it.

Wasn't there one where you opened the door in a black and white set and there was a happening B&B inside?

Maybe I dreamed it, cause I couldn't find it.

Madeleine's picture
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Happy Keeper wrote:

So we do away with the dollie stereotype and resurrect the Bates Motel stereotype. HMMMM... 

Did NOT make that connection! Good one.

I still like the video.

What is interesting is we are starting to get a number of younger guests (20's-30's). You know what their big question is? 'Can we bring our baby (blush, blush) here next year?' They like the experience and they want to keep coming, but now they need to bring the baby. Probably not the 'kids' when they're older, but brand new babies they want to stay nearby all the time. (I could tell them a thing or two about THAT!)

Happy Keeper's picture
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YOU hit the nail on the head when you said, "THEY LIKED THE EXPERIENCE"

 

ALSO We had that same question. We have a grey line of 10 years old for kids. We have young return guests that had a baby after their second visit. Guess what? They and their young son will always be welcome at our home. It was neat to be apart of their growth. They're part of the family.

I might add- our flexibility is yet another reason to choose a bed and breakfast

Madeleine's picture
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Yes, that is what we all want. But the psycho innkeeper attracts attention that other programs do not.

BTW, I just bought another gnome today. I may give up the doilies, but not the gnomes!

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