How to price a room with detached bath?

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Madeleine's picture
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$10 less than en suite room
35% (7 votes)
$20 less
30% (6 votes)
More than $20 lower
20% (4 votes)
Same price, they get all the other amenities
10% (2 votes)
Does anyone really take that room? ;-)
5% (1 vote)
Total votes: 20

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Madeleine's picture
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I only needed to wait a few weeks. Room with detached bath is now booking for the summer. No changes made at all. However have taken under advisement that a better photo would help.

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Just had a lovely couple check-in last night. I knew they stayed at a specific b&b in our major metro area the night before. I asked them how their stay was and they complained that they didn't know that their room's bathroom was down the hall. If they had known that then they would have reserved a different room. They stated the bathroom was huge and beautiful, but it didn't matter. They said it wasn't described as down the hall on the website.

I looked on the website, and it states clearly that the bathroom is 9' down hallway. Obviously our guests didn't read or didn't read it accurately. Nothing new with that! Nevertheless, it goes to show that these private detached baths are a problem (I'll add this for Eric: in the U.S. ). Short of doing major reno work, I still think the price difference needs to be significantly lower than the other rooms. It needs to make the prospective guest wonder what's up with this room, why is it so different than the others?

I think there were a couple great suggestions on here. Claim it as the worst room (tongue in cheek)! Change the name and call it the "Black Sheep Room"!

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I think we're going to see more and more rooms with private but detached baths in B&Bs become more and more of the "plague" rooms.  In most locales in the States, people just do not want to leave their bedroom when they're staying somewhere else to use the bathroom, especially if they're spending over $125+/night. 

We had a room like that in our main house and making it part of an optional 2 bedroom suite arrangement for couples traveling together who wanted a price break was really the only option.  We could also put up a folding screen in the landing so that the guests in that bedroom had more privacy when going to the detached bath (which was directly across from the room).  It was a bonus that it was a 2 bedroom, 2 bath suite, even if the bath was detached.  Both baths had shower/tub combos, but the tubs were jetted.

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

I think there were a couple great suggestions on here. Claim it as the worst room (tongue in cheek)! Change the name and call it the "Black Sheep Room"!

And do a total make over with a sheep theme. I've also considered doing a total make over and calling it the European Adventure Room.

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well it could be a unique market segment to aim at?

There used to be a B&B in Black pool that was Vegan, Gay, bondage theme - I would not have thought there was enough people in the world in this market segment to keep them in business - mind you I did say was in business.

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when i first started up the place i ran, we had MULTIPLE rooms with shared baths. ugh! 

 when i left, we had added bathrooms and had just one room on the second floor with bath next to it.  the rest were en suite.  even though it SHOULD have been a private bath for the room beside it (if i closed off the third floor), people kept going in there and using it like it was an extra or public restroom. drove me nuts!!!  ... but that's another story.

i did 2 things that worked

1) i marked that room rate $25 less per night than the lowest priced room.  they were all different prices, because the rooms were all so different.

2) it was mostly always the last room to book so i offered it as a last minute deal -- 1/2 price.  the window was 24 hours ahead of time. so, if someone called on thursday, they could get it for the following night for 1/2 what the other rooms cost.  and it sold out as a last minute MOST of the time.  i didn't offer extra amenities, i felt like our amenities were awesome as it was.  

on the website, i said something like 

'On a Tight Budget?  Book the xyz room.  Same great service, same delicious breakfast, same gorgeous water views as our other guest rooms at 1/2 the price as a last minute booking.  what's the difference?  your bathroom is next to your sleeping room ... pull on one of our cozy robes (provided) ... and go from your bedroom to bathroom in a few quick steps, just like you do at home'

if it didn't book by checkin that day,(or earlier if i was really busy)  i closed it off in the reservation calendar and only offered it to walk-ins.  

i'm sorry i don't remember the exact wording ... this is a system that worked for me.  

 

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seashanty wrote:

when i first started up the place i ran, we had MULTIPLE rooms with shared baths. ugh! 

 when i left, we had added bathrooms and had just one room on the second floor with bath next to it.  the rest were en suite.  even though it SHOULD have been a private bath for the room beside it (if i closed off the third floor), people kept going in there and using it like it was an extra or public restroom. drove me nuts!!!  ... but that's another story.

i did 2 things that worked

1) i marked that room rate $25 less per night than the lowest priced room.  they were all different prices, because the rooms were all so different.

2) it was mostly always the last room to book so i offered it as a last minute deal -- 1/2 price.  the window was 24 hours ahead of time. so, if someone called on thursday, they could get it for the following night for 1/2 what the other rooms cost.  and it sold out as a last minute MOST of the time.  i didn't offer extra amenities, i felt like our amenities were awesome as it was.  

on the website, i said something like 

'On a Tight Budget?  Book the xyz room.  Same great service, same delicious breakfast, same gorgeous water views as our other guest rooms at 1/2 the price as a last minute booking.  what's the difference?  your bathroom is next to your sleeping room ... pull on one of our cozy robes (provided) ... and go from your bedroom to bathroom in a few quick steps, just like you do at home'

if it didn't book by checkin that day,(or earlier if i was really busy)  i closed it off in the reservation calendar and only offered it to walk-ins.  

i'm sorry i don't remember the exact wording ... this is a system that worked for me.  

 

 

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I had mentioned a few months ago about adding a 3D television in one of our rooms! It was the least popular room that we had! It now books more than any other suite we have! People are going crazy with it! I will be upgrading all of our suites in the future to these!

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Bob wrote:
I had mentioned a few months ago about adding a 3D television in one of our rooms! It was the least popular room that we had! It now books more than any other suite we have! People are going crazy with it! I will be upgrading all of our suites in the future to these!

Bob, are they using it or just booking for the novelty?

Any technical problems?

 

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About 50% are using it! I haven't had any problems with it yet. Knock on wood! I only have 3 days for the whole month of June where that room is not booked! Crazy busy!!!

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The Inn I work at is 10 rooms and 1 of them has its bathroom right across the hall.  We have it priced $10 less than our other queen rooms.  It is definitely our least popular, but we do still have decent occupancy rates for it.

I saw something at a restaurant recently that might work for this too.  They had a big sign over one table that said something like "Worst Table in the House, 10% off your bill".  This was at Quaker Steak & Lube, not sure if they all do this.  I wonder if marketing it bodly as worst room in the house would help draw interest to the room if you made clear the only reason was the detached bathroom.  Giving 10% off might bring in some bargain hunters who don't mind the detached bathroom.  I thought it was a great idea for the restaurant and it definitely got our attention.

Madeleine's picture
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I actually like that. Not sure how it would play out, but I'll think about it.

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I have been thinking about this most of the day since you posted. When I remodeled my master bath, I had to put on a robe or clothes to go down the stairs, through the kitchen and the dining room, past 3 doors with glass and 4 windows. I did this for over 3 months. I live here and it was of my own doing, and it was temporary and I knew it. AND I HATED IT.

As a guest, on a get a way weekend, the last thing I want to do, is put on a robe and walk out of my room to go use the facilities. There would have to be a significant price point difference to book that room, no amenity short of free things such as dinner for two at the most popular restaurant in town would make me do it. Only other thing that would, would be my failure to plan ahead and make a reservation.

If there is anyway in the budget and time in the schedule come off season to shift things and rearrange the bath access for the rooms on that floor I would find a way. It would probably pay for itself in additional revenue in under 3 years.

With all that said, and the budget was tight I might consider it if there was a significant difference in price, $40 might make me put on a robe. $20 will not.

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Like I said before, the room does pay its way thru the year. There really isn't enough room without just building out from the studs all over again to get an ensuite in that room.

So, I'm trying to do this on the cheap, which means either lowering the price or figuring out another way to make this room sell. Dinner at the best restaurant would basically be a wash in re the room. It would cost me what you paid for the room. Because this room has sold well in the past I'm not doubting it will continue to do so with a certain market.

 

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OK...just to make you want to scream even more from all this unwanted advice... 

For a winter project, since you have larger traveling parties, I would knock out the wall between that room and the one adjacent to it and make it a suite, make the closet smaller with access from the bigger room.  Add a beautiful wall mounted fireplace and TV, and there's your most expensive room.  And your hall bath now becomes that extra bath that you need in a pinch. 

Yes, it drops your number of rooms but it might be working smarter, not harder for you.  Just food for thought....

Madeleine's picture
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We have discussed that possibility. Knock thru the closet and make it a suite. And have the hall bath be there for parties and the like.

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I had thought about knocing a door into the "shared bath" from the full-size bed room and a door in the shared wall from the now queen room into what would then be a sitting room with a pull-out sofa for family/friends/2 same sex wanting separate beds etc but decided it was not feasible $$-wise.  My rooms already fight fireplace (now decorative), windows, closets, and doors so there is no reason to add more. PLUS to create this 2-room suite would put me over what I percieve to be the price point I could get here in Podunk.

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How about throwing in a discount and a can of maple syrup? cupcakes? flowers? macaroons? Something that people will want that they might be willing to give up, because that room and only that room gets that amenity.

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Madeleine's picture
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All good ideas but too much work. I don't want to have to go off on a shopping/baking trip because the room books. I say it's too much work because come summer, when the room does book, I don't have the time to be doing anything extra. We are having zero luck in finding a new housekeeper so that's got me doing all the cleaning, laundry, checking in, taking reservations, gardening, blah blah blah for 7 rooms every day. Throwing one more thing on that pile is not a good thing. I've been there and done that and it wasn't pretty!

That's pretty much why I was wondering if the price point might be the solution. Lower the price by $10 and see what happens. Even if I refund the $10 to the guests who are already booked into the room, if it gets more bookings, more easily then it's worth it.

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Some things don't have to be prepared. For example, macaroons can easily be stored in the freezer and only need about an hour to defrost. A box of chocolates can sit nicely in the cool basement. 

With 7 rooms in the summer you have to find someone to help, even if it's just a student who needs summer money!

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

With 7 rooms in the summer you have to find someone to help, even if it's just a student who needs summer money!

Like Cambs pointed out no one wants this kind of job. We've had ONE inquiry since we reposted the job. And have not seen a completed application come back yet.

Believe me, I KNOW we need someone!

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Maddie, I don't know how you do it!  I just did a full clean of my personal house (nothing in the second house) yesterday and was exhausted.  When my dh got home from work, I said to him "How in the heck did I do this almost day in and day out for 2 years?!  Plus, cooking and a plethora of laundry and everything else?"  No wonder my health suffered and we almost ended in divorce court!

I really hope y'all get some help before the big rush hits!!

 

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Madeleine wrote:

Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

With 7 rooms in the summer you have to find someone to help, even if it's just a student who needs summer money!

Like Cambs pointed out no one wants this kind of job. We've had ONE inquiry since we reposted the job. And have not seen a completed application come back yet.

Believe me, I KNOW we need someone!

Maddie, have you considered a college student? Offering breakfast and housing if you have the space.

 

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Weaver wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

With 7 rooms in the summer you have to find someone to help, even if it's just a student who needs summer money!

Like Cambs pointed out no one wants this kind of job. We've had ONE inquiry since we reposted the job. And have not seen a completed application come back yet.

Believe me, I KNOW we need someone!

Maddie, have you considered a college student? Offering breakfast and housing if you have the space.

 

OK, here's the deal with hiring people. You put an ad in the paper, online, in the grocery store and then you wait for people to call. Consider a college student? Like I wouldn't if one of them called? Offer them breakfast and housing? Where, in the room I can't book?

I know others on here have had hundreds of responses to their help wanted ads, we have not found that to be the case here.

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Madeleine wrote:

Weaver wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

With 7 rooms in the summer you have to find someone to help, even if it's just a student who needs summer money!

Like Cambs pointed out no one wants this kind of job. We've had ONE inquiry since we reposted the job. And have not seen a completed application come back yet.

Believe me, I KNOW we need someone!

Maddie, have you considered a college student? Offering breakfast and housing if you have the space.

 

OK, here's the deal with hiring people. You put an ad in the paper, online, in the grocery store and then you wait for people to call. Consider a college student? Like I wouldn't if one of them called? Offer them breakfast and housing? Where, in the room I can't book?

I know others on here have had hundreds of responses to their help wanted ads, we have not found that to be the case here.

There in lies the problem with this country, There are jobs out there, people don't want to work!

The good ones have a job and the bad ones are too lazy to even apply.  I am sorry you are not having any luck finding anyone. 

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Weaver wrote:

There in lies the problem with this country, There are jobs out there, people don't want to work!

 

Our experience has been enlightening to say the least.

  • I just got laid off my job so you need to pay me what I was making there.
  • I've done this before so these are the hours I will work and the days I will have off and...Dexter, get down from there! (Yes, she brought a 2 yo to the interview because she couldn't get childcare. Next.)
  • One who showed up for her first day smoking a cig which she flicked into the flower bed while telling us she couldn't come to work that day.
  • We've hired people who have quit before showing up because they found a better (FT) job. Good for them I say.
  • One year we had a guy show up who was already working a 40 hr job but he needed extra money. Told us that on the days his other job req'd him to work weekends he would send his friend over to the work. (Really had to admire the work ethic there- more hours plus he found his own replacement.)
  • Same year several callers who we just could not get to understand the directions how to get here. One kept asking for what bus number she should take (we don't have a bus in this town) and the other who had the taxi driver call us from about 25 miles away to have us repeat the directions because they were at a gas station which obviously was NOT where I told her to go.
  • Another one who had to keep rescuing her 21 yo son from his misadventures so kept missing days.

Of course we also had the really great finds who we encouraged to finish college so they didn't have to do this forever!

I will say that retail and restaurant jobs around here do not go begging. And we do get a fair number of callers who want to work at the front desk greeting people, hositng wine and cheese parties or arranging flowers. No one wants to do housework. Heck, I don't want to do housework which is why I'm trying to hire someone! We have no trouble finding yard help.

All of which has nothing to do with pricing the room. I've hijacked my own thread.

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Yes you have hijacked your own thread but it wouldn't be the same around here if there wasn't at least one hijacking a week. Laughing out loud

OK so let me ask you this...Look at the revenue for the season on the orphaned aformentioned room.  What % of what you would and or will pay a housekeeper is the revenue of that room?  Would it justify taking that room off the market for now, and putting up a housekeeper/asst innkeeper type person with one meal a day and a small salary?  Would the security of that person being there justify or offset the loss of revenue?

Just something to think about.  If you could find a college student that does not want to live at home and is looking for some summer cash and some independance maybe using the orphaned room as a draw might get you the right person, so you get some rest and don't turn into an axe murderer before fourth of July.

Just a thought, when I was running my ex's business when we were together, come summer and the busy season we got really creative.  Sometimes we changed hours, sometimes we hired a local hs/college kid to do general cleaning so neither one of us was washing windows, mopping floors and doing the filing.    That meant more time for me to handle the customers and sell more work, and more time for him to supervise the technicians and do the complicated repairs.  We made more money (ie PROFIT) by hiring someone to do the grunt work.  We got the right person that stayed with us over a year because we let them drive the company truck so they would get to work on time.

So ask yourself this will you be happier not worrying about that room or the room flips and fluffs by using it as temporary summer housing?  And.....will you have more energy to provide better than your normal above average service and or sell more packages thereby increasing current FY income and furture income via repeats?  It may come down to the numbers and whether you think offering room and some board might entice someone to take the position vs having the room available and no help.

Food for thought and a question only you can really answer...run the numbers based on last year's occupancy (bearing in mind the one nighters and the added work they bring), and your proposed lower rate to keep that room full.

 

 

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The short answer is I really don't want a teenager living in my inn for the summer. A teenager. Alone. In a hotel room.

 

 

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Madeleine wrote:

The short answer is I really don't want a teenager living in my inn for the summer. A teenager. Alone. In a hotel room.

 

 

I do not want ANYONE living in my inn all summer other than the 2 people populating the OQ. I do not want to be that "confined". Do not mean to offend any sensibilities, but if I get a phone rez as I step out of the shower, I need to get to my computer and do not want to have to worry about what is covering the yards of epiderma at midnight unless there are paying guests upstairs.

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I've got my own space but I still would feel responsible for the kid. Kind of boring spending the whole summer and not being able to bring your friends over. Worse than being home. No loud music. No TV.

This is another reason we don't hire visa students.

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We are spoilt here as because the economy is so bad in Spain, Lituania and Poland that all their young people ie 18-30 are comming here looking for work so there is a glut of people who will do any kind of work. The only problem is they will do the work till they find something better or improve their English.

We also get migrant workers who have started out in seaside places and realise that it is very seasonal so they move here where there is work all year round.

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Im with Eric on this! mind you I have neighbours who have 12 and no chamber maid but they are very strict about minimum night stays when its busy etc - their thing is they are selling up and are using it as a way to massage the books and sell it to someone as this is how much you can make - but you can only do it for so on.  Its just a case of finding someone dumb enough to think it really is doeable in the long term and finding them fast enough before you crash and die

 

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this is one of the things that drives me mad (and I am sure its the same all over) - the economy is in the toilet and people are clamouring for jobs all over but anything they don't find glamourous they won't do! plently of people I know need help but finding anyone who is any good and reliable is a joke!

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Madeleine wrote:

All good ideas but too much work. I don't want to have to go off on a shopping/baking trip because the room books. I say it's too much work because come summer, when the room does book, I don't have the time to be doing anything extra. We are having zero luck in finding a new housekeeper so that's got me doing all the cleaning, laundry, checking in, taking reservations, gardening, blah blah blah for 7 rooms every day. Throwing one more thing on that pile is not a good thing. I've been there and done that and it wasn't pretty!

That's pretty much why I was wondering if the price point might be the solution. Lower the price by $10 and see what happens. Even if I refund the $10 to the guests who are already booked into the room, if it gets more bookings, more easily then it's worth it.

No refunds! Room rates change all the time. They day they made their reservation the rate was $X and another day it was $Y.

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I think it is just going to be your "Budget Room". That is my room with the full-size bed. My way around the shared bath is to offer the "shared queen" as a private bath down the hall at $5 less than the private ensuite rate and I then do not rent the full room. So far people have been OK with that. It gives me another $15 instead of $0 - the corker is twice I actually got a call for that third room - BUT since I said I was full do not know it they would actually have taken it as a shared. I know it DID impress the guests that I had the call and said no. I still have won more by doing that.

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Are all you aspiring innkeepers out there listening? NO SHARED BATHS!! I don't care how great the house is. Look at how difficult a PRIVATE-detached bath is.

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Sorry, but I have four rooms that don't have private bath. And I have good occupancy. There are just many factors. And of course the origin of your visitors and the age of your visitors. Often our least favourite guests are those that are in the rooms that have private bath. It's too an all encompassing statement.

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Eric, I think your demographics are much different than most of us in the U.S. You get a lot of foreign travellers who culturally are more accepting of the shared bath. You're also in a major metropolitan area with a European feel. I think that's a big difference.

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Absolutely, but your statement was all encompassing. It applies in most circumstances, but not all. There are a few places even in the US that a shared bath will work. And some people have no problem with them. In fact, the younger they are, the less of a problem it is. It's always going to be a matter of pricepoint, amenities, etc.

But to be honest, there are days where I actually think that I would prefer not having the people who only want the ensuite. They are usually a higher maintenance level than those in the shared baths.

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But wait, there's more...

The detached bath also has the 5am showers, they get up super early to get out there before anyone is awake and then make all the racket, hair dryer going etc at 5am. True story.

We have considered a plethora of uses for this room, if there was a way to make it financially feasible. A library, office, etc. The last thing would be to actually add a bath to it, that has always been on the list, but our rooms/occupancy does not call for it, if we were full up all the time, then we would go forward with that. But usually there are other rooms for them to choose from.

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I really am listening to you, as I giggle too. I have done the special of the month, featured room on the blog, the swaparooni of bed sizes, two beds in the room, sleeper sofa, etc. and in the end it was the last booked. Listen to me on this, I even offer it as the only gvmt rate room - you get all the other bells and whistles of the B&B stay...and they WILL NOT TAKE IT. 

I had a guest on memorial weekend actually apologize to me for having to take it. Now talk about odd. "I had to book this room as it was the only one left"  the poor sweet detached room, treated like chopped liver!

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I'm only looking at this particular summer where the room is not booking. Wondering if I have passed a price point limit for the room. The room consistently runs around 25-35% occ for the year, most of that in the 4 months we are really busy.

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Maddy, figure out the pricepoint at where they will spend the extra for the PB. If you need to, experiment with the price. Especially dropping the price well into the future, so it's like an extra, but the price can change sooner into the season. Maybe $30 off if you book 4 months in advance, $20 if you book 2 months in advance and just $10 otherwise. See how that affects the rooms booking. Eventually you will find the pricepoint for this room and increase occupancy.

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What would be no loss to do is make it very clear what it is ie this room has a private bathroom which is simply accross the hall from the bedroom, because of this we provide fluffy robes blah blah this bathroom is not shared with any other guests it is yours exclusively. - people are really dumb you have to really spell it out!

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

What would be no loss to do is make it very clear what it is ie this room has a private bathroom which is simply accross the hall from the bedroom, because of this we provide fluffy robes blah blah this bathroom is not shared with any other guests it is yours exclusively. - people are really dumb you have to really spell it out!

Somehow play up the bathroom as different than the rest. More special....like specialty soaps and salts that the others don't have.

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Mtatoc wrote:

camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

What would be no loss to do is make it very clear what it is ie this room has a private bathroom which is simply accross the hall from the bedroom, because of this we provide fluffy robes blah blah this bathroom is not shared with any other guests it is yours exclusively. - people are really dumb you have to really spell it out!

Somehow play up the bathroom as different than the rest. More special....like specialty soaps and salts that the others don't have.

Yeah soaps and salts oughta do it!

Sorry that was really funny. People, you don't get it, the only ones who will book it are cheapskates, there said it, put it out there for clarity sake, or because there is NOTHING ELSE left in town, period, full stop.  So instead of putting lipstick on the pig, lower the price. 

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Agreed! You need to lower the price AND play up the special amenities.

Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

Honey im all about not putting lipstick on a pig its more a case of greasing the pig so it goes down smoother!

My point is also that people won't risk it being shared so won't book so I am trying to make sure that not a sticking factor.

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Joined:
06/24/2008

Mtatoc wrote:

camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

What would be no loss to do is make it very clear what it is ie this room has a private bathroom which is simply accross the hall from the bedroom, because of this we provide fluffy robes blah blah this bathroom is not shared with any other guests it is yours exclusively. - people are really dumb you have to really spell it out!

Somehow play up the bathroom as different than the rest. More special....like specialty soaps and salts that the others don't have.

This may be your marketing tool with it being the only room with a tub.  For DH, that would have sold him, he loves a bath - not a shower.  You already play on that fact with the tub toys but put in some soaking salts or bubble bath...maybe even a magazine rack to enjoy while you soak away. 

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