How much do you know?

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Madeleine's picture
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If guests ask you what's going on in another town, can you answer? Do you know the best place to see whatever is famous in your area? How much do you expect your innkeepers to know when you travel? (I often find that guests have done extensive research because they have an interest in something. They then pass that on to us.)

But, I am regularly surprised by the animosity when guests know more than we do. We do try to get out and see a lot in the area but guests don't seem to understand that they get to take a vacation with us because we are HERE and not off doing stuff.

I get the feeling sometimes that the guests want us to tell them, super secretly, something that no one else knows about so they can brag about it when they get home.

 

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seashanty's picture
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i never did get over to the island that everyone came to see ... they would all ask me about it and i had no firsthand info.  it would take all day to go over, check it out, and come back.

  guests were surprised, the owner was appalled ... haha. 

 

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Silverspoon's picture
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 We try to get out and about to the other towns in the area and the islands as well, but never in season.  I do, however, read several great guidebooks on the area and pass that information on to my guests if I don't have first hand experience.

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Madeleine's picture
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seashanty wrote:

i never did get over to the island that everyone came to see ... they would all ask me about it and i had no firsthand info.  it would take all day to go over, check it out, and come back.

  guests were surprised, the owner was appalled ... haha. 

 

That's been my goal this year...get out there and see the tourist stuff IN the tourist season. WITH other tourists! I have another ferry boat I'm going to try to take next week. Local. Teeny island. I'm going to go out and come back. I can't wander around for 4 hours waiting for the boat to return!

I think guests will like this as it's in town.

seashanty's picture
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 I totally should have taken time for me.  In slow season, when I had time, everything was closed.   Good for you!

Arks's picture
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Our town has no railroad track (they took it out in the 80s), no bus passes through here, and there is no taxi service. To get here, you drive a car, walk, or paddle up the river from New Orleans.

I've put together some nice round trip drives from here of 30, 40, and 60 minutes. If they want the best attraction that we locals keep secret just for ourselves, they can drive all 3 routes and they've seen the whole county!

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gillumhouse's picture
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I think my kids have seen more of WV than most natives - because every year when we came back for a "dose of hills" we toured another area of the State on our way to wherever our vacation destination was (or on the way home).

Expand your tours. Keep your quickie tours but make others that expand on each. Do not limit yourself to you county. My daytrip tours (except motorcycle) take them no farther than 60 miles from the house but will keep them busy all day - yea! I have destinations along the way - covered bridge, antique shop, scenic overlook, etc - with the winery or waterfalls at the State Park etc as the turn-around to come back via another way to make the circle for the second night of stay. I made these turn-by-turn and put each routing into a table with 3 columns - Mileage; Direction; Route #, street or road name, and landmark if there is one. They will actually drive 150 to 175 mile for the day but it will not seem like it with the stops. Identify where restaurants are if any. If it is real rural (no food), make it a package with a picnic lunch - $$$. I also give them a WV Gazetteer to use in case they want to go exploring. These routes will take them into several counties and even a couple tourism regions. From my location, I am central to 5 of the 11 tourism regions for daytrip.

I can change the routings at will (always say no to save changes with WORD when you go to close after printing) by using my routing up to the point of deviation and from that point on just telling left or right onto whatever route for what they are interested in and delete my stuff from that point on (or over-write mine instead of delete).

On one bridge tour I had made an FYI note about a little "family" museum - turns out it was their family and they did not know it existed - that is why I say IF it is there SOMEONE is interested! they stopped and were SO pleased!

My routings go in different directions so I can give them one for going home if they want to see something instead of doing the arrow-shot home. I have sent people to Friendship Hill in PA, just over the border (home of the first Treasurer of USA), Ft Necessity, etc. It helps that I did so much traveling in the Region and grew up 60 miles from Pittsburgh so I know that area also. As Highlands John said, it is a great excuse to take a few drives with someone. Driver calls out mileafe at the turns and the passenger with clip board marks dow the left/right/straight with the route # or road name and then marks the mileage at the destination of each stop or FYI on the routing.

Generic's picture
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Oh. I forgot to add, we of course get some inquiries that you might never see... we often get people asking us about where to rent a car. (I got one in email today).

Sometimes we get trip planning, places to stay in other cities, things to see. They plan getting here and getting back and just leave the middle blank. And one time we had to even redesign someone's vacation because they didn't understand how big a country this is, and would have spent their whole vacation in the car driving and never seeing anything.

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Joey Camb's picture
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thats a problem I had recently with a very nice spanish couple wanted to go from here to Ednuburgh - do the city in a day and be back here for about 10.

Its at least 10 ours traveling to get there and get back so how much you would see of that amazing city I don't know.

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Generic's picture
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Normally we get Quebec City (3 hours) and Ottawa (2 hours) and both doable as day tripes. With a few trips into the countryside as well. But we've had requests for day trips to Niagara Falls (8 hours by car each way). And one couple that wanted to go to Vancouver for the weekend (not realizing that it's over 4.5 hours by plane and about the same price is flying to Europe.)

Highlands John's picture
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That's a coincidence, I had exactly the same thing the other day. Edinburgh is 3.5 hours each way from here, we do shopping trips to Edinburgh but we always do it as an overnight stop.

Similar problem with Skye, lots of tourists especially foreign tourists want to see Skye and do it in a day-trip from here. People don't appreciate how big Skye is, although it's 2 hours from here to the Skye Bridge, you're still another 35 miles from Portree and most of the best parts are half to an hour away from this link road.

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Madeleine's picture
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We get a fair amount who want to know if there is a bus or a train they can take from the airport. It makes me wonder what they're going to do for their vacation- sit around the house all day???

However, we will soon have a train that stops in town and plans are afoot to have a shuttle bus that goes around town.

Generic's picture
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For us, it's the suburbanites who want to take their car everywhere in the city. They don't understand until they have to pay for parking or have to deal with a parking ticket when we suggest that they not take the car and leave it parked.

The next morning, when dealing with how much parking cost, the trouble of finding parking or the parking ticket, that's when they understand. But I'm not going to argue with them. I explain if they want to hear it. Parking meters are $3 an hour around here and run until 9PM.

Highlands John's picture
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Most of our guests have a hire car, but occasionally we have people who are on organised tours (like last night). These bookings send a shiver down my spine as these folk usually know nothing about the type of area they're going to, the type of accommdoation they've booked and have an all encompassing air of chaos around them (like last night).

 

 

Highlands John's picture
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I think we had an advantage here in that we moved 500 miles to a very touristy area to start our business, so over the first couple of years as we built the business up any chance we had we'd jump in the car and go off either for the afternoon or for a day. Hence we've probably seen more of the Highlands than many of the locals.

Just this weekend we had family staying so we blocked the diary for a day and spent the day at Glen nevis. It's stunningly beautiful, only an hour away, but many locals don't even know it exists.

Joey Camb's picture
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this is partly why ive been setting up partnerships with the harrogate theatre, HIC, royal hall and am just working on a deal with the Harrogate international Festival and crime festival as what has been the problem all along is we have nearly had to fight the venues for information as to what is on - ie if i can't find it then how is the public supposed to? hopefully this arrangement will help as they should be informing us via email ring when they confirm and book and event so we can get the word out much earlier.  

gillumhouse's picture
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I do planning with my packages but that is about it. I can re-do my routings to get them places. I get alerts from the CVB I belong to of events this month for the county north of me. I get nothing from the 2 CVBs in MY county! I know the locations of 2 banks & a credit union in my town. I can tell them where most things of interest are in my State - I do have a book buried in my office somewhere of all the festivals in the State - when & where. Perhaps I should try to find it....

Generic's picture
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We've had the guest or two who have actually ask us to plan their day for them. We always refuse. I'm willing to make suggestions of things to do, if you tell me what you like, but I will not make choices for you. Those, you have to make on your own. And yes, that sometimes includes visits to a city 2.5 hours away, another that is 2 hours away and some smaller towns. 

We often suggest restaurants, stores, bakeries, book stores, cinemas, etc. They ask me about neighbourhoods and what to do in other neighbourhoods. We've been ask for where to buy furniture, bedding, wearhouse stores, kayaks, cheeses, spices, etc. Heck, throw on to that list questions like what can I bring back with me duty free, can I bring this food item back, which bank corresponds with my bank at home, where can I find an ATM that corresponds with my bank, where can I exchange currency, where can I rent a car. And my favourite, do you know of another place to stay (when I'm full and they come to the door).

Madeleine's picture
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I am annoyed by the answer to the currency question- they can't exchange money here, they have to go to the airport. I'm going to call again to be sure as I complained last year that this is a tourist town why the heck doesn't any bank on the main drag have the ability to echange at least popular currencies like Euros and CAD. (I can exchange CAD but I have to do it on my bank account, they won't do it for a guest.)

We get that last one a lot and I have an online resource for the answer of where to stay. If it is late I will even call for them so they're not knocking door to door all night. (Do not know why I do this as they rarely show up where I called!)

It's when some small town event was going on that was poorly publicized that the guests stumble on and then berate me for not telling them as they only got to spend 30 minutes at it that gets me annoyed.

 

Generic's picture
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We deal with it all the time. Most people I just point at the ATMs, but our banks don't do both MC and Visa, so you have to know if it is Plus or Cirrus/Maestro. There the is the Accel/Exchange network that so many don't know about. BoA, Scotia, BNP Paribas, Barclay's Deutsche Bank and Westpac have an agreement, TD has both US and Canadian branches and so does BMO/Harris. And of course there is HSBC which is part of the Accel/Exchange network as well. If anything, you might want to keep a list of ATMs that are part of the Accel network, it covers quite a few smaller banks plus HSBC.

For currency.. there are banks locally that take foreign currency, but I have found a currency trader who gives a better deal than the banks for the most part. But if there is no choice, I stometimes will exchange it for guests at bank rate +3% (ie what the bank pays me) and put it through my personal account to avoid paying the bank fees they charge on business accounts. Or keep it and put it in my personal account in USD. (A lot of us have accounts in USD at the bank, we can even get CC in USD if we want them.)

When in the US, the exchange rates we are offered on CAD is pretty pathetic. When the CAD was 3% above the US we were offered 90c on the dollar in a mall where they wanted us spending money. (Which is why we use the ATM instead.) The ATM is often the best exchange rate we can get as long as the ATM fee isn't too bad.

Arks's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

I get the feeling sometimes that the guests want us to tell them, super secretly, something that no one else knows about so they can brag about it when they get home.

That's exactly what they want, as if the locals keep the best attractions a big secret just for themselves to enjoy.

I know the main things to do in Memphis (90 minutes from us): Graceland and Beale Street. But anybody researching things to do in  Memphis would know that. Smaller things that only locals know about might be nice enough, but they aren't going to be in the same league as the major attractions everybody knows about.

Madeleine's picture
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I do know they want the lowdown. That extra special, super duper destination that no one knows about. And there are times I can give hints like that. The osprey nests were a good example. I found the one no one else was interested in and directed all my guests to look there as the nest was so close to the trail compared with the one everyone knew about.

(BTW, an 8 yo guest proclaimed our breakfast 'really, really, really, extra super duper yummy' so I will be using 'super duper' for awhile.)

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What??!!  You don't have the inside track on all cities/towns within a certain radius of your B&B?  j/k....

Maddie, I have seen your blog and FB posts and clearly you know a lot about different areas of your State.

People also have no clue about how confining owning a B&B biz can be. 

Like my son likes to say...people be cRaZy! 

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