Polite way to hang up?

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Madeleine's picture
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Summer is when we get calls that go like this:

'Hi! You got any rooms? HOW MUCH?' <click>

And:

'Well, if you're full can you recommend somewhere else to stay? Do you have the number? What are their rates? Do they have a king bed available? Is it clean? Is it safe?'

And, the worst of the lot:

'Hi! We're planning to come to your town on vacation. How do we get there from the airport? (in another state, we give directions to the caller) Where are the beaches? Can you give me directions? (we tell the caller approximately where they are) How long will it take to get to...? (back in the same state with the airport) Can you give me directions to there from the beach? How much are your rooms? OK, well we want one night, what's your best rate? OK I have to ask my husband.' <click>

That last conversation was 10 minutes. I don't mind helping with ideas of things to do and how long it will take to get here from the airport. But a full itinerary? And you know she's calling back the econosleep down the street and staying for $69 now that she has all the info she needs to take her one night vacation. All the info the pimply teenager at the front desk couldn't tell her.

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I have a "frequently asked questions" tab on my website and I answer tons of questions there.  I try to direct guests to that tab.  I add to the tab whenever I get questions that need answering that are not already there.  Many people don't seem to read ANYTHING on the website but for those that do it is helpful.

Also, a few days before guests arrive I send them lots of local info in an email including driving directions, things to do, tours, places to eat etc.  Guests really seem to like this and it saves me lots of time & money because I don't have to print out the info anymore...they have it all in the email I send them.

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Chatty Cathy here too!  I love this area and love to tell people about it.  But I have been better about doing like Arkie said - I give basic info like oh yes, that is 30 mins away and will give all the other info when you get here.  Now lets get you booked in....  If they want details before they book, it is a sign they will be going elsewhere as you said.    

Ice
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I hate, HATE! when they ask about another place to stay if I don't have a room.  There is no other place I could recomend!!!   I never saw any of the other places but I have heard plenty from the guest who had stayed there and they came to stay with us because they wanted something nicer!!!  What we have around us is alot of hunter fishermen kinds places.  Trust me, we get the cream of the crop the come to the area!!!  

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gillumhouse's picture
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I am fortunate because I am familiar with the other B & Bs here and can recommend them. Due to my 10 years as Marketing Chair plus whenever we travel through the State I am always on the lookout for potential members so make appointments w/possibles if possible so i have visited B & Bs all over the State. This helps with referring to the next leg of the journey or when I get those calls making a rez with me and they ask how far to....... and it is nowhere near me. Have given numbers for Charleston, Spencer, and Shepherdstown that I can think of at the moment due to that question.

Arks's picture
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"This will be a lot easier to do in person. We'll go over the beaches, restaurants, and all the other attractions here, and how to get there, after you check in. Looking forward to seeing you!"

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Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

THe reason that I don't have a toll-free number, they seem to get right to the point more often if they are paying for the phone call. 

Try to ask them the dates first, so that you aren't the tourist information bureau instead of a B&B. Something like "Well, let's see if we have availability for the dates that you are looking for. What dates were you looking at?" Oh, you aren't sure? Well, think about it and call me back and you can always book on our website. Thank you and have a very nice day. They likely have been so sidetracked that they won't go back to the discussion and well, the rest is essentially moot until they call back with a reservation. Anything to get them into the booking mode.

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Madeleine's picture
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That's what I was saying to DH...is there a way to nail down the reservation first and THEN do all the tourist info stuff? 'Yes, we'd be happy to help you with directions, first let's get that reservation info in the system!'

It never seems to work. There's always one more question to ask before they book.

He did get the date right off and we do have rooms. That's when all the questions started. 'If we come...' Right, IF you come we can help with all of this stuff!

I'm just as much of a chatty cathy when I'm on the phone. It's just hard to get them off. Like the one who wanted me to FIND the other place for her to stay not just give her phone numbers. Eventually I just have to say the doorbell is ringing and I'm the only one here, please call the numbers I gave you.

Generic's picture
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You have to stop. It's costing you time and money. Yes, I said money. Think of it this way, if you are paid $40 an hour, then the 15 minutes on the telephone is $10. If it's a toll free line, add in the cost. You aren't talking up your property and you don't have the reservation, this is negative money. This is the "best price" they are talking about. It's why I discount on my website, it gets them off the phone and it's in their best interest to book online. 

And no, they won't book online most of the time, either. They are shopping around for information and then going to make a choice, they are sucking you into their vortex. Don't buy in. Because they aren't going to purchase. Basic info until your have bought, more detailed when you are here. It's the black hole of time... "Have a nice day and please book online."

Joey Camb's picture
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Plus if the line is tied up with this idiot then there may be 10 other paying customers who want to get through. This is why I don't entertain telemarketers - im not loosing a potential booking for those idiots!

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Generic's picture
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You can also try getting them off the telephone by preparing a page with all the needed information in a "packet" of sorts. For example: Oh, when you book, send us a note and we will send you our email with all the relevant information, but it's only for booked guests.

I live in the big city. We are known for our restaurants. There are thousands. I know the restaurants, well. And I can usually suggest the restaurant that suits my guests, but it's something that I only do in person or in email (for the foodies who know that they need a reservation). When they ask me about the restaurants, I tell them that we help our guests in email and in person with restaurants. "Oh, can you tell me about.... " and I answer "Of course, in email or when you are here." They get it, I'm a wealth of information that they can tap... when they are here. But not for free, not on the phone. And in email, I ask them what day they are booked and arriving, because not all restaurants are open all days and some are harder to get on weekends. Eventually they figure out that YOU have a value. You are giving it all away. Become the expert they seek and pay for. Make YOU the asset. You are the person that can condense their vacation, make it more valuable, give them the suggests that they need, the way into the best food for them. It's something that the hotel just can't do because no one that cares.

Madeleine's picture
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Eventually they figure out that YOU have a value. You are giving it all away. Become the expert they seek and pay for. Make YOU the asset.

Good point!

 

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Madeleine wrote:

Eventually they figure out that YOU have a value. You are giving it all away. Become the expert they seek and pay for. Make YOU the asset.

Good point!

 

This belongs with the Innspiring quotes for Innkeepers.... 

Something we should all remember it's not just the place or amenities - it is what WE offer that sets us apart. 

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

I get the "Do you have weekly rates?" as well as the do you have a room tonight? How much?  No to the first and the rate to the second usually take care of the call.

I had one tonight that was ready to make the rez. Fortunately, I looked at my online before I took it. Found i have a glitch in my system - it did not change the rate for Private Bath and did not block the third room on a previous rez (I must have taken that one online because I had manually entered the pvt bath rate - my tip-off). I gave the phone numbers of 2 inns in my area that are easy to get to where she wants to go although farther off the Interstate than me. I did a test rez to be certain there is a glitch.

Proud Texan's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:

I get the "Do you have weekly rates?" 

 We get that one too.  I want to say "We ain't running a flop house here",  but  I suggest that a motel would be cheaper,  then tell them to Google it.   

Or the ever popular,  

"Can you recommend another bed and breakfast in the area?"  

I ask them how they found us.   "On the internet"  

Me:  Well there may be others listed on the internet,  did you look?

Joey Camb's picture
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What's even funner is the ones that insist they found you on booking engines you don't even use!

seashanty's picture
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ps ... if they REALLY like you, they will call back

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gillumhouse's picture
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seashanty wrote:

ps ... if they REALLY like you, they will call back

Or cannot find anywhere else.

seashanty's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:

seashanty wrote:

ps ... if they REALLY like you, they will call back

Or cannot find anywhere else.

or they just want to chat some more ....

Madeleine's picture
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seashanty wrote:

gillumhouse wrote:

seashanty wrote:

ps ... if they REALLY like you, they will call back

Or cannot find anywhere else.

or they just want to chat some more ....

I have had the same person call me 6-7 times. 2-3 to make the rez, 2-3 to find out if there were any cancellations so they could stay longer, another call for something else.

We have the code for the door that I give to each guest. This one will be here for 2 nights with a night in the middle spent elsewhere in town. You can be darned sure I am NOT leaving the original code in the door for the second night. This person is not going to show up at 9 AM after the breakfast at the other place and get in without having to ring the bell.

Just the sort of person who would go right to the room even if another guest was still in it!

Madeleine's picture
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seashanty wrote:

ps ... if they REALLY like you, they will call back

Again and again and again for more information...

seashanty's picture
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haha

oh brother!  i sympathize.

'Thank you very much for this call.  You can find a lot of information on the area at www.  xyz.com 

I have to take another call now.

Have a great day'

click

i know, it's been said that we should all be ambassadors for our area.  but i used to get these endless calls at some of the worst possible times and on my dime(s) on the toll free number.  then they'd hang up.

it almost seemed that the MORE time i would spend with these callers, the less likely they were to book a room with ME. 

sometimes, really galling, i'd run into someone at the boat dock or the general store or post office (i always had on my b&b apron and/or baseball cap) and they would say

'oh ... do you remember me?  you are sooooo nice, you gave me all kinds of info about the area and i'm staying at the NOT WITH YOU HOTEL.'

why???

 

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