I'm not a tourist information centre!!

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Highlands John's picture
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 I'm getting fed up at the moment with people emailing me questions about their holiday, in the following vein......

Can I get a taxi to so-and-so?

how good is such and such restaurant for veggies?

does this company deliver to your area?

 

I'm not a tourist information centre!!!! And I'm sure if they're capable of emailing me they're perfectly able to ring said taxi company, restaurant, etc. and ask them!!!!!!

 

sheesh!!!!!

 

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So actually the name of this thread should read:

"Hello, thank you for calling the tourist information centre!!"

 

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Cbz
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And so... the current guests just asked about the humidity level, direction & speed of wind & "my guess about tomorrow's weather"....  I don't think my  place points to Weather information centre :/

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Viper wrote:

And so... the current guests just asked about the humidity level, direction & speed of wind & "my guess about tomorrow's weather"....  I don't think my  place points to Weather information centre :/

We could get between 1-7" of snow tomorrow. (Depending on which forecaster you listen to.) I'm not even going to guess for guests!

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gillumhouse's picture
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What timing for this to come up again! I JUST got off the phone - 1 hour 2 min - talking to someone looking to book a vacation for his sister on his nickle. I told him about my place and several other member B & Bs around the State. Tols him how I do a GC - he thought he had to book the when she came and perhaps that would not work for her - told him she just books it and uses the certificate he will have paid for. All sorts of extraneous chat from him but I ended it with getting his address to send a 2009 Assoc Directory that I Xed out the ones that are now closed - he has the current one but it only gives web site and contact info.

IF he buys MY GC I will be very surprised. Oh well...................

muirford's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:
IF he buys MY GC I will be very surprised. Oh well...................

Lots of extraneous information including the sister has PTSD? - he won't ever buy a GC anywhere.  It sounds suspiciously like a phone call I got several months ago.  I gave him info, too - although I surely didn't spend an hour with him.  

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gillumhouse's picture
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No, this sister is a Wicken. AND GLBT. I told DH when I hung up that he will not be heard from again.

muirford's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:
No, this sister is a Wicken. AND GLBT. I told DH when I hung up that he will not be heard from again.

I don't remember any Wiccan but the PTSD resulted from a hate crime due to being GLBT.  And buying a stay for his sister, wanting a B&B because it would be 'safer' for her.  I'd bet $100 it's the same guy. Maybe he's trolling for a special offer, or he could just want to talk.  Some of us have personal experiences with semi-stalkers that would make that easy to be believe. 

gillumhouse's picture
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Thanks for the info. I have retreived the Directory from the mailbox. Will sacrifice the stamps. He does not need any more info. Sounds as if he has already talked to a few from WVBBA. Perhaps we should send an alert to the members to find a reason to not talk to this one. If you think it is a good idea, will e-mail the name given.

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muirford wrote:

gillumhouse wrote:
IF he buys MY GC I will be very surprised. Oh well...................

Lots of extraneous information including the sister has PTSD? - he won't ever buy a GC anywhere.  It sounds suspiciously like a phone call I got several months ago.  I gave him info, too - although I surely didn't spend an hour with him.  

Lonely person who has found a group of people (innkeepers) who will talk to him?

Cbz
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This is something you may term as "value added service". Over the past one year i have realised potential customers value your knowledge base more than your place.  And they definitely like a place where the innkeeper knows about the surroundings.

Local area is one thing.. i have sent information about an altogether different State & a different country... only because the person asked!

Joey Camb's picture
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what drives me mad is the reverce - we live here!!! it is likley we know more about the town etc than you do! however with the internet people think they know everything or won't ask ie one of my problems is they won't fricking book restaurants why? you would rather wander about in british weather ie rain looking for somewhere with a table? or call ahead? hmmmm

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In my case i don't have much problems with guests asking touristic questions especially driving directions because for me, i am here to help. My main problem is having the patience to let them finish the question but in my mind, i already know what they are going to ask after their first 5 words. Sometimes i caught myself cutting them off a little bit. So i had to remind myself at least to let them finish the sentence.

Madeleine's picture
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I'm ok handling these 11 months out of the year. But, there are 4 weeks that I just don't have the time or the energy to be on the phone when call waiting is beeping, the doorbell is ringing and a guest needs help.

For those 4 weeks I have the TIC number taped over my desk. I will politely interrupt the caller and say, 'I am sorry, the buzzer is going off for the chocolate cake I'm baking for today, here's the TIC number, they will have lots more options for you than I do.'

  • Polite
  • Telling them what they're missing because they're still messing around looking for the best deal
  • Passing them off to someone who not only does not get paid to do this (our TIC is mostly volunteer) but who loves doing it anyway

Email I can do whenver I have time. If I know the answer, I'll send it along with a hint they should also be making their lodging reservations at the same time. (Most of them are already staying at the cheap places but someone told them to get answers you want to talk to locals.)

gillumhouse's picture
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I am the Tourist Info Center for my City. All e-mails that come to the City with any kind of tourist question get forwarded to me. The motel at the south oend of town apparently does not have a web site (and if they do it does not come up) so I get LOTS of calls when the power plant is doing maintenance and with the Marcellus gass people looking for lodging. I rattle off the phone number of the motel - they cater to these with rates and have been so booked solid for months that she sent her accountant here for 2 nights this month. He hopes she is full next year.

Arks's picture
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The keynote address at the recent innkeeping conference was a woman who travels worldwide training concierges, so her message was very much about keeping guests happy and impressed by catering to their every whim. She loves her job, and it would be fun, if you're the right type personality, to be paid to provide all that service using a big hotel's money.

I'm sure it's quite different when you're NOT being paid extra to do it, and it's your own money you're doing it with!

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Happy Keeper's picture
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We have a few standard comments that address most of the usual questions folks have. It is nearly rote after 6 years, but we try to keep it fresh as new information comes to us about changes.

BUT truly, we consider concierge services to be an important advantage over hotels, which are often pushing people to the place that pays the biggest commission. Although many do, I wonder why this is not a central marketing theme for more properties that feel they are competing against chain hotels. It costs you only your time, it sets you apart, and (if you deliver the goods) it has a lasting impact that will bring you new business. 

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My favorite are those who want to know how long it takes to get to this B&B from <insert any place 5 states away that I have never heard of nor been>? How the heck do I know? I mean, if YOU are planning the trip, isn't that your job to see how far things are from YOUR HOUSE?  I mean google map it awready!

I live on the Midatlantic, I have been all over the place, but I have not been everywhere. I have never been to Philly, I have never been to Annapolis, I have never been to Nashville, I have never been to Memphis. I do, of course know the drive times approx to these places (which is funny that I need to know drive times to completely different states).

Generic's picture
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Do they have a reservation with you, or not?

I don't have a toll-free number exactly for that reason. It keeps them from asking all those questions. How many of those questions could be answered on TA's forum instead?

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Highlands John's picture
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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Do they have a reservation with you, or not?

50 / 50

If they're looking to book I feel obliged to assist, once they've booked I send them phone numbers and (politely) suggest they ring said taxi firm / restaurant.

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Highlands John wrote:

Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Do they have a reservation with you, or not?

50 / 50

If they're looking to book I feel obliged to assist, once they've booked I send them phone numbers and (politely) suggest they ring said taxi firm / restaurant.

Have you considered keeping a list of the most frequent question, then you can create a WIKI or if you prefer a private web page that answers most of these questions and point them at that URL. If you do it on a private page, it makes one more reason to book with you as non-bookers can't get there. Oh... and only give out the URL only to guests who have booked and make it an excluded page for robots, so it's only for guests Smiling

Highlands John's picture
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 I do have a FAQs page on my website with most of this information on, but the questions I'm getting recently are obscure. 

The one I've just had is from someone running the lo ch ne ss mara thon and wants to know if he'll be able to get a taxi to the start at 7.30. 

Hillbilly's picture
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Its just one of the many hats you have to wear.  Its located in the new revised book of being a innkeeper! 

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Joey Camb's picture
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they better not ring our tic they arn't allowed to say! in case they are perceived as recommending that restaurant etc.

Highlands John's picture
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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

they better not ring our tic they arn't allowed to say! in case they are perceived as recommending that restaurant etc.

Most of the tic's around here are shut till Easter so they won't get any joy there (either).

 

Joey Camb's picture
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this is my tic which when a customer asked to book somewhere with parking (and to quote the guest) "they practically laughed in my face" which I feel is not the right attitude for people trying to sell our town! luckily they bumped into me on the street on my way back from the photocopy shop and I scooped them up!

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