New B&B and website in Boise, Idaho

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03/21/2012

 Please comment and tell me what you think:

http://www.boisehillsidesuites.com

 

Kay Nein's picture
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02/13/2012

 This is my first time looking at your site.  I don't know what it looked like before all your revisions, but it seems like it could still use some tweaking...

  • Why would "The Most Complicated House In The World" be a good quote to put right there in front of someone when they first came to your page.  I don't know what that means, but it sounds negative.  YOU might know that the rest of the article is positive, but I didn't feel like reading it so I was left with a negative feeling about a very complicated house.  If I wanted somewhere to go & relax, "complicated" doesn't sound relaxing at all.
  • Someone mentioned making the homepage photos stay on the screen longer before they switch.  For some of the rooms, I really wanted to look around the photo and get a nice feel for the room, but *swoosh* it was gone... =(
  • The header is way too big.  The green banner takes up 1/3 of my screen and the top of the pictures barely show up at the bottom of my screen.  If it were my site, I'd want those pictures to be full on the monitor when someone first comes to the site.  And that huge banner seems a waste of space.  You have very small links and a larger logo, but still the green banner is much bigger than the logo, so just there you could shrink it a bit without shrinking the logo.  You could also get away with a smaller logo to make the banner even smaller.
  • In your picture montage, the pic of the front of the house is very blurry as is the one of the basket of brown items.  I could not tell if it was food or bathroom items - it's too blurry to even read the labels, which is a shame since the pic is taken close enough that you should be able to read it. 
  • The second paragraph - too wordy.  You make comments like, "Our main vision..." and "We really try...".  These make you sound unsure of yourself.  Even though you haven't opened up yet (correct?), you need to have a mindset that you're the best damn B&B in the country.  You need to convince your visitors of that by oozing that with every word.  

Ok, I've taken it upon myself to rewrite the first two paragraphs on your home page.  I should have been an editor, as I was kinda cringing as I was reading it.  Your sentences were too short & basic, and your first paragraph had a run-on sentence.  Also, you started by calling it "North End", but changed it to "Northend" for the rest of the paragraph.  I rewrote them to make it flow better, changed a few words and left out the part about the cinnamon buns.  That whole topic seemed out of place - maybe put it at the end in ( ) in italics as a small little sidenote.

here's my rewrite:

Boise Hillside Suites is a unique Inn on a tranquil hillside at the heart of North Boise, Idaho.  The North End is considered simply the best place to spend an afternoon sightseeing, shopping or just relaxing in a coffee shop or park.  Renowned for its trees, flowers, gardens and dozens of parks, The North End offers pedestrians and bicyclers an eyeful of historic, natural beauty.  The North End is known nationally as the gateway to the Boise foothills as well as the home of Bogus Basin Recreation Area and Hyde Park - at the heart of North End.  Most of the neighborhood has been designated a Boise Historic Preserve District and boasts many sites that are listed on the National Historic Register.  

 

 

 

We welcome you to experience a more relaxing, historic and unique way of lodging.  We source our products only from local farmers and manufacturers to help the environment and support our local economy.  All rooms are meticulously designed, modern and well maintained emphasizing privacy, serenity and the stunning views.  You’ll find the history and architecture of Boise Hillside Suites to be unlike anything else in Boise.  The home is made from rammed earth construction, designed and built by a prominent judge in Boise.  He worked with Art Troutner and used historic elements in the home, such as 135 stones from the original city hall that adorn the landscaping.

 

One more comment before I stop (sorry to be so long winded)... The only other page I read was the Breakfast page since it seemed to be such a hot topic here.  My first impression was that you spent the entire first paragraph making excuses and setting the guest up for a disappointment.  I recommend that you take the first paragraph out completely.  I know it's been a struggle for you to develop your breakfast routine, but now that you've figured it out (or even if you haven't, you need your reader to think you have), you need to be more matter-of-fact about it.  Tell them that this is how breakfast is served & how cute, awesome and intimate it is.  Tell them that they are welcome to take their breakfast basket anywhere they want to get the best breakfast experience and the perks of each location they can take it to.  In the fourth paragraph, you say "We guarantee you’ll love it.  If not, we’ll prepare you something special."    Here you're already telling your guests that they might not like it.  Don't give them that option, don't set them up for disappointment.  Tell them they will love it and if a guest just happens to voice disappointment you can win them over by saying, "I'd love to cook you something special."   

I know you're still working on the breakfast issue, but your description does sound like a continental breakfast.  If you figure out a way to serve a warm entree to the rooms (with insulated dishes as suggested by someone else), make sure you add that to your breakfast description.  Maybe by putting a "Sample Breakfast Menu" up a list everything you'll include.  

 

Good luck & thanks for reading my 2+ cents worth of opinion =)

- Dena

 

Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

Im with this on the sound unsure part - to be blunt guests want it to be perfect they don't care if you are new that's your problem. A friend of mine was trying to write a trip adviser management response and was going to put "we can't get it right all the time" I said for heavens sake don't say that!!!! the guest doesn't care they expect you to get it right every time!!! we are all realists here and know that is not possible but it is what guests expect they just don't care about the odds its their special getaway, maybe even their whole holiday budget for the year they are not going to risk you maybe not getting it right. Says the woman who's boiler has just broken down yet again (for those of you not keeping track this is the 6th time in 2 years with a two year old boiler) it needs a new circuit board or no heat and who knows how long it will take to get the part and its a bank holiday 4 day weekend so even if we get the part who knows when it will be fitted!!!!!

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gillumhouse's picture
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Sympathy and ((((HUGS)))

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The pictures are a plus, navigation is a bit iffy -- i had trouble finding the rates, and the bottom where it has all the pages listed makes the page huge.

The netflix idea is very nice, did you happen to get the HDTVs that are built in with netflix? Really would like more information if you would be willing to help. Thanks

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05/30/2008

Keith, I'm going to be another positive voice for you.  We've become kinda jaded here as folks have traveled through initial versions of websites that needed improvement to highly sophisticated sites.  You have made a great first stab at it! 

Your rooms show great attention to detail. 

Re: your TVs - if each room could have an antenna (you know these newer flat versions that seem to work better) for local weather and news at least, I think that would be a nice amenity.  The Netflix option is a good idea.

Since you mention the unique construction of the home and access to outside areas, I'd like to see more photos of the exterior of the B&B as a prospective guest.  And some detail photos. 

Once you nail down your breakfast service, I think you'll be on your way.  Good luck!!

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03/21/2012

 Thank you!  Stay tuned for some new outdoor photos.  We just haven't been able to get some good weather and we were waiting for some of the flowers to bloom.  Monday we are taking new ones.  The hot tub room, the front of the house, and some of the landscaping is all on tap.

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02/18/2012

Yay!  I get to provide advice.  Just what I'm working on too-getting a website up.

First, hats off to you for the website.  Seems to have a lot of thought put into its layout - and I love the fonts.  I also enjoy the simple links you've put in, like the link to the Map right up front, the links to some of the attractions.

Front page: Small change: Can you make the header smaller (not going down as much), and let the logo overset the header?  That way, when someone comes in, like me with a wide screen, you can see more of the lovely slider upfront.

I like how you have the reservations embeded on the right hand side. Nice.

Finally,  I think you're missing an opportunity to highlight some standout points of the inn.  How wonderful that most of the inn is made from recycled material -rammed earth construction.  Geez, are you kidding me, that is great, that's not something you come across every day.  Should consider highlighting instead of the historic nature. Opening on Earth day.   Second, the suites might appeal to business travelers too. 

Good luck, good work

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05/22/2008

 Why do you have a check availablity link on your "download" brochure. If this is for print, why bother? Also, who is going to waste the ink to print that off. I would not. Please lose all the uppercase text. It is hard to read and in web world..it is like you are SHOUTING!!!

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Looks better. I like the smaller homepage.

Hillbilly's picture
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If you are streaming Netflix in your rooms you hav to buy a license to do that! It's a $250,000.00 dollar fine if you get caught. I went through the process and payed for one. The good thing about it is you can charge an up fee for this after you have your license.
Motion Picture Licensing Corporation
5455 Centinela Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90066
Tel: (800) 462-8855 ext. 3006
Fax: (310) 822-4440
ekorte@mplc.org

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10/07/2008

The term B&B means breakfast, don't short change your guests by acting as a traditional B&B and then not being one. Make it clear, if it is a stingy continental then spell it out clearly, do not call yourself a B&B if you aren't. Your names implies something else, but the title of this thread says B&B. So this is why I am already confused. Your website is slow to load (probably due to the slide show "blinds" action) and it is all over the place with way too much info on the homepage, streamline it, make it clean and simple with nice images. Then guests can wander into the rooms of your website (pages) and take a peek around.

The first image on the header slider is blurry, and overcompressed maybe? It is my first impression as a guest, and not a good one.  Get nice clean clear images on there, you don't need a dozen, just a few. Let them explore the website...

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03/21/2012

 Ouch.  I get it, though.  I'm redesigning the front page.  It will be much more streamlined.  The first image will be replaced once I get a new shot of the front of house.  

As for the B&B, I have three options:

#1 - Offer only continental and bring it to their rooms or they can eat communially on the patio set

#2 - Offer full breakfast, but only weather permitting since it would have to be outdoors

#3 - Risk it and offer full breakfast, delivered to their room or to the main table on the patio (again weather permitting)

I do not, at this time, have the option of creating an in-house commual area to eat.  It's a historic house built in 1954 and made of concrete!  

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ktuskey wrote:

 I do not, at this time, have the option of creating an in-house commual area to eat.  It's a historic house built in 1954 and made of concrete!  

Built in 1954?

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 You rereview the site.  I've made a few changes.   

seashanty's picture
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Hi

Could you leave the pictures in view before changing for a few more seconds ... like 20?  I don't know what that is called ... catlady and swirt would know for sure.  I want to look at each picture for a little longer.   

Best of luck to you. 

 

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03/21/2012

 Thank you all for the comments.  I've made some (not all) updates.  Have another look - especially on the reservations page and the breakfast page.  

Thanks again!!

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06/24/2008

ktuskey wrote:

 Thank you all for the comments.  I've made some (not all) updates.  Have another look - especially on the reservations page and the breakfast page.  

Thanks again!!

Rooms page is developing much better as you are going into more detail - provide detail to sell your rooms just remember to select your words carefully to adequately describe without getting too wordy.   (something I have trouble with)

Breakfast page is improving as well.  I still do not understand your use of the words 'full seasonal breakfast'.  Do you mean that the breakfast items change due to the season? If so, I do not think you need to describe it this way.  You may want to add this in the description (i.e. fresh fruit in season etc.)  Also, previously you stated on the site that the hot breakfast was served on the common patio and that delivered breakfast did not contain the hot dish, only continental.  If this is still the case, you need to state it on the new version as the way it reads now, I would think I could get full breakfast delivered. 

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 Points taken.  I'd update the breakfast section.  Since we are just opening, the breakfast section is an area of weakness.  Here's why... we do not have a *indoor* common area for people to eat.  They can eat in-room, on the patio (theirs), or at a communal patio table.  However, the back suite (the biggest and nicest) is a *long* walk to get to from the inside - you sorta have to go up a hill a little.  It would be difficult to make a full breakfast and get it up to the room while still hot and/or without spilling everything.  That's why I say hot dish in the commual section only.  The big drawback, obviously, is if there is inclement weather then they'll be forced back to their rooms.  We were going to get a sunroom, but this is a historical hand built house and it would have ruined the facod. (sp?)

 

Thanks!

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05/22/2008

 If you are a true B & B you need to offer Breakfast. What you are thinking will drive you nuts.  You don't have some sort of dining room??? SOme place anywhere inside that guest could have a meal?  That doesn't make sense to me. Sorry you need to find a way to get that taken care of or you will be in for a ton of bad reviews.   

I just relooked and see  you have kitchens in each room. Is there a way to just put things into the kitchen each night so the guests can have them there each morning?  This seems like a really weird situation. Also...you room rates seem to be really low. Have you compared with others in your area? 

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Since this is a historic house, there is no formal dining room.  It was 'handmade' in 1954 out of rammed earth construction.  The biggest suite does have a full kitchen and the smallest suite has a kitchenette.  The other does not.

I'm providing in-room Keurig coffee makers with free coffee and a decent sized refrigerator.  

Regarding the rates, struggled with that.  Since we're new we didn't want to price ourselves out of the market and two, Boise is a value oriented town.  Low wages so rates for others are comparable. 

The one room has a private hot tub, full kitchen, and a full fireplace.  That may seem like a $200+ suite and it probably is.  That said, the Boise market doesn't really support those kind of numbers.

Struggling with the breakfast thing, though.  Ugh.

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05/30/2008

Decide on your breakfast delivery to the rooms and then go with it!  One of our favorite B&B stays was at a place that delivered a "continental plus" breakfast to the room.  It was definitely more than continental plus, with a hot entree and French press pot fresh ground coffee.  Nice linens, flatware, and dishes and beautiful presentation with a flower on the top of the tray. 

It's all in the details.... 

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 Since when is a 60 year old house considered for the National Historic Register?  I thought you had to be 100 years at least???  As for breakfast, I think others have said it. Continental plus dellvered to each room or if you want to get carried away, do a full one and deliver in a picnic basket. My friends do this with their cottage and folks love it. This way you don't even have to be around to chat with people. Though that's what lots of folks want out of a  B& B. 

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ktuskey wrote:

 Points taken.  I'd update the breakfast section.  Since we are just opening, the breakfast section is an area of weakness.  Here's why... we do not have a *indoor* common area for people to eat.  They can eat in-room, on the patio (theirs), or at a communal patio table.  However, the back suite (the biggest and nicest) is a *long* walk to get to from the inside - you sorta have to go up a hill a little.  It would be difficult to make a full breakfast and get it up to the room while still hot and/or without spilling everything.  That's why I say hot dish in the commual section only.  The big drawback, obviously, is if there is inclement weather then they'll be forced back to their rooms.  We were going to get a sunroom, but this is a historical hand built house and it would have ruined the facod. (sp?)

Thanks!

So why not just go with a continental delivered to each room and be done with it.  Or offer the full breakfast only during good weather months & charge more for that time.  Out door dining can be very nice, but as you know the weather is not something you can count on.  If you are unable to have a real dining area, play it safe and deliver what you can.  Make it VERY clear on your site and you will have happy guests. 

Hillbilly's picture
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I have a feeling your going to have some not so nice reviews about the breakfast dinning experience if guests do not have a place to really eat. This I a large part of the experience at a B&B. People like to sit around an talk. Just be prepared. I still think your site looks like a blog. You also have a lot of different styles of fonts going on.

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ktuskey wrote:

 Points taken.  I'd update the breakfast section.  Since we are just opening, the breakfast section is an area of weakness.  Here's why... we do not have a *indoor* common area for people to eat.  They can eat in-room, on the patio (theirs), or at a communal patio table.  However, the back suite (the biggest and nicest) is a *long* walk to get to from the inside - you sorta have to go up a hill a little.  It would be difficult to make a full breakfast and get it up to the room while still hot and/or without spilling everything.  That's why I say hot dish in the commual section only.  The big drawback, obviously, is if there is inclement weather then they'll be forced back to their rooms.  We were going to get a sunroom, but this is a historical hand built house and it would have ruined the facod. (sp?)

 

Thanks!

I would then find a contractor and figure out a way to design a sunroom type addition for serving breakfast. Better to bite the bullet and build an add on solution than constantly try to work around it. Serving lukewarm breakfast will not get raves from guests. Better to solve the problem and make your life easier to make their vacation super. You can make it a period design. You may be all about the historical look, but guests will not care about that if they don't have somewhere to eat

RIki

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

 

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05/22/2008

 You still need to get rid of 3/4 of the stuff on your home page. People will not scroll through all of this. Have you looked at other B & B sites?  You want it to be as user friendly as possible.  Look through some of these and  you will get some good ideas of how to set yours up. It is possible to do with your theme.

Madeleine's picture
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You can get those hot packs the pizza delivery uses for getting the meals to the room hot. Or, insulated pie totes that would very nicely fit a covered dish. (If you want to do this.)

It sounds like you are not going to be open in the winter. I can't see guests taking their breakfast outside in a Boise winter!

Spelling- facade. (You asked.)

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Using a Wordpress theme?  Nice design.

Rooms/Rates page:

  • room names appear to be links, change color and remove the underline (in fact anywhere something is underlined, it should be a link or remove the underline)
  • the Book Now is used well, just make sure it is well visible on EVERY page!
  • I agree with the others, have at least the starting price for each room under descriptions.  Some get very leary having to go to the booking site when they are 'looking'
  • State bed size, and also info about the bathroom (totally missed in John's Study) you must be clear.  You may also want to tell about temp control.

Breakfast page:

I see you did change it after Riki's comment but it is still as clear as mudd!  You jump around too much.  Take the approach that people do not read in volume anymore.  Instead of full paragraphs state it simply:

  • Full hot breakfast is served (month-month) on the main patio only.  Your decription of types of foods it may include.
  • In room continental delivery is available year round, which includes .....
  • state breakfast hours & other info...

 

egoodell's picture
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06/01/2008

 Not sure what "Hot breakfasts in season and when available" means.

To me, a B&B means I get a hot breakfast every morning. Uness local laws restrict the inn to continental.

Since I don't know when your "in season" is, I don't know when breakfast is included.

And "when available" sounds very strange.

Are you saying that some days it's a hot breakfast and some days it's continental? 

Riki

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05/22/2008

 Under COME stay with us. Everything is in upper case. BAD FORMAT!  And don't like the font style either.  It may be my dsl is slow today, but it took quite a while for your site to load. Too much information and scrolling on the home page. This is your INTRO page..not your entire website.

Concentrate on attractiveness and basic information on the home page with GREAT photos. Then use your navigation tabs to lead people to the rest of your site. 

Why did you underline the names of the rooms in blue?  They aren't links. No need to underline and the color clashes with the color scheme of your page.  I agree..you need the rates right up front with each room. I don't want to have to search for them. I would use bullet text to describe rooms. People don't read paragraphs more likely to scan and short bullet phrases set it out.  I do not like that pop up appearing on every page for social networking...very annoying to me.

You font choices bother me. I like to see consistency through out the site. Stick with the font that you have on policies page. Looks like ARIAL

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05/22/2008

I could not find rates until I clicked on the Room Comparison page. I want to kow how much the room is when I look at it. I think most people do - I do not like having to look for a price. Nice photos and descriptions.

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The only thing was to get to reservations I had to click on rooms, reservations and rates then I had to select from within the text to go straight to reservations. I just think people might get a bit lost. I woudl keep that link but put in another option on the main menu to go straight to the reservation page its a belt and braces approach.  The most important thing is to make it easy for the customer to make a reservation as that is the name of the game. The way I think about it is imagine you are on your lunch break at work in an office planning your trip. You only have 30 mins to do it? is is quick? is it easy? is it clear to see what you have to do? pretend you are in a panic that your boss is comming then look over your site again.

Other than that looks good, live avaliabity is very important as I am sooo not waiting for someone to get back to me ive booked somewhere else. Pictures also look very good so fingers crossed X.

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03/21/2012

 Thank you for the advice.  I have revised the site.  Please take a look and tell me what you think about the changes to the reservations area.  http://www.boisehillsidesuites.com

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03/19/2012

 I have to say I'm fairly impressed by both the website layout and the pictures of your Inn. It looks like you could open tomorrow. 

I love how you include Netflix with the rooms, too. I'm sure that's going to become more common in the next few years, but it should give you a leg up on the competition. I looked at a few other properties in your area and couldn't find a mention of Netflix being available. 

Now I just have to take a visit down there sometime in the future!

 

Quick edit: don't forget to setup a profile page on TripAdvisor, Google Places, maybe even FourSquare if people use that often in Boise. 

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03/21/2012

 Thank you!!  Instead of pay $100 month for cable we figured a $7.99 subscription and a huge DVD library would do the trick.  I tried the HDTV antenna but couldn't get the signal to be strong enough.

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10/22/2011

Are you doing Netfilx wireless?

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