29 replies [Last post]
YellowSocks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Seems like the last three calls I've had have started with "How much are your rooms?"  The last caller had an accent (Asian)... "Oh, that's not cheap!"  (I love internationals, they're so honest!)  The Americans all say, "Oh, OK, I'll check and call you back."  (Yeah, right.)

So, I mention it to my sister (mistake?) who says, "that's not cheap."  I tell her I don't want to be cheap, that we're so much nicer than a hotel!  And we do get bookings...  And I have been happy with the kinds of guests we get...

I have no intention of lowering my prices, but until I get my next reservation I'm feeling uncertain...

Thanks!

=)
Kk.

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

For everyone who quibbles, there is at least one other guest who will just book!

Had a cancellation for Columbus Day. This guest has been coming here for this weekend for 2 nights for waaaay longer than I have been here. She's like a fixture here for that weekend. Circumstances beyond her control intevened and she's not able to come. (I'll book her in for next year once I get the Oct calendar set up.)

Emergency email to all my 'buds' in the area and I got a THREE night booking for that weekend for the empty room, no questions even asked about the price.

I realize that days gone by with no bookings are lost forever, but sometimes you get that prize booking by being patient and open to possibilities.

Right now I need to book 30 more room nights in Sept to meet last year's occ. That's steep. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't.

__________________

Most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes. - Oscar Wilde

 

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

To those who said they are getting, "Oh those rates are quite reasonable" - you probably are too low. The answer to that is this: "That is our introductory rate for this year." The raise your rates by about $5 or so.

Kk, I think your assessment that they are seminarians looking for the $25 bed is correct - or else they are the fleabag variety. Neither is going to pay for a decent place so fergitaboudit! You have a lovely facility with excellent amenities. Do not sell yourself short. Just remember this for a mantra - It can all change with a phone call!

I am having my best year ever. I have been busy since April. September - even with me having to block off 6 nights for Conferences - is busy and October is filling up also. Everyone knows I am in Podunk! I am not even on most maps because my city is only about 2300 pop. I have been getting a lot of 3-nighters this year. Gas prices have not stopped anyone because driving is the only way to get here.

We have a couple who were here in August to take their daughter back to school who within 2 weeks were booking for 2 nights in October. My rates are $125 for the ensuite and $95 each for the shared. I have also sold a lot of packages that are even sweeter ($$$)!

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

We are having the same thing here.  Times are tight and people are being cautious with their money. 

I had 4 calls before a gal booked for an event here because her dh thought the rate was too high (that was with a military discount).  I didn't do a hard sell.  I just said, "Check hotel rates and then factor in our amenities and you'll see what a great value we are for the money.  If you want to stay someplace really inexpensive, I can recommend some of the newer and cleanest motels.  Also, please send your dh to TripAdvisor to see our reviews and see if he thinks that he'll get his money's worth".   They booked 2 nights. 

If things weren't still so slow right now,  I probably wouldn't have put that much energy into it.  One of the other B&Bs called me yesterday to ask me to recommend them for the week we are on vacation.  They were booked almost solid for the week.  They had over half of their rooms cancel! 

I think unless you're in a true year round tourist destination or very established, we're going to see this.  Our Fall should be picking up more than it is.  The other established B&Bs are slower than they should be too.

Tough on those of us who have just opened, but we'll just have to keep watching it to see what to do. You are certainly busier than we are here so you must be doing something right! 

__________________

People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
~ Anton Chekhov

 

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Samster wrote:

We are having the same thing here.  Times are tight and people are being cautious with their money. 

I had 4 calls before a gal booked for an event here because her dh thought the rate was too high (that was with a military discount).  I didn't do a hard sell.  I just said, "Check hotel rates and then factor in our amenities and you'll see what a great value we are for the money.  If you want to stay someplace really inexpensive, I can recommend some of the newer and cleanest motels.  Also, please send your dh to TripAdvisor to see our reviews and see if he thinks that he'll get his money's worth".   They booked 2 nights. 

If things weren't still so slow right now,  I probably wouldn't have put that much energy into it.  One of the other B&Bs called me yesterday to ask me to recommend them for the week we are on vacation.  They were booked almost solid for the week.  They had over half of their rooms cancel! 

I think unless you're in a true year round tourist destination or very established, we're going to see this.  Our Fall should be picking up more than it is.  The other established B&Bs are slower than they should be too.

Tough on those of us who have just opened, but we'll just have to keep watching it to see what to do. You are certainly busier than we are here so you must be doing something right! 

THAT was an excellent save! Good for you to highlight everything in a positive manner and to offer to lead them to the 'best of the rest'.

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Thanks, I'm learning!  I try to be a glass half full person.  I'm adding a Fall gas savings to our website too.  I need to get people in the doors here. 

Proud Texan's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

I keep having people say to me "Your rates are very reasonable"   how should I take that?   too cheap? or just right?

Offline
Joined:
06/24/2008

Proud TX wrote "I keep having people say to me "Your rates are very reasonable"   how should I take that?   too cheap? or just right?"

You just need to watch for a while.  If you keep hearing that you may want to inch up your rates a little at a time, but you don't want to scare off your potentials either.  You need to have time to get to know the market in the area.  Keep your eyes on what the area hotels and other B&B's charge and how they compare to your place.  

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Copperhead wrote:

Proud TX wrote "I keep having people say to me "Your rates are very reasonable"   how should I take that?   too cheap? or just right?"

You just need to watch for a while.  If you keep hearing that you may want to inch up your rates a little at a time, but you don't want to scare off your potentials either.  You need to have time to get to know the market in the area.  Keep your eyes on what the area hotels and other B&B's charge and how they compare to your place.  

I agree. 'Very reasonable' could be code for 'Wow! What a deal!' When that wasn't what he had in mind at all.

Proud Texan's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

I think we're competative.   There's only a couple of other B&Bs in the area, but nothing like ours.   Their rates are about the same, but they offer a different kind of B&B experience.  

I think Copperhead's advice about waiting is a very prudent approach.   We've only been open 3 1/2 weeks.  (Booked every weekend!)

I can see easing up on the rates.  DW and I want to add additional amenities, but couldn't think about doing it at the current rate level.

Offline
Joined:
07/23/2008

sounds like your in the same boat we are. we too are new, and people tell us our rates are very reasonable and that we should raise our rates. we too are watching and waiting.

__________________

Sunshine

 

Offline
Joined:
06/24/2008

Just got this email:

"Hi - Just got a job in the area and need a reasonable place to stay as my budget is tight.  What are your weekly or monthly rates, without meals?"

Doesn't that spell out that they are looking for a 'boarding house'?  She should have done her homework before accepting a job in the area. 

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Copperhead wrote:

Just got this email:

"Hi - Just got a job in the area and need a reasonable place to stay as my budget is tight.  What are your weekly or monthly rates, without meals?"

Doesn't that spell out that they are looking for a 'boarding house'?  She should have done her homework before accepting a job in the area. 

We get this a lot around here. It's 'tourist town' as far as some are concerned and summer is over. Rates should be around $25/night and they're doing me a favor by taking empty rooms off my hands. I've also gotten calls wanting FREE rooms for people flying in for job interviews.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Copperhead wrote:

Just got this email:

"Hi - Just got a job in the area and need a reasonable place to stay as my budget is tight.  What are your weekly or monthly rates, without meals?"

Doesn't that spell out that they are looking for a 'boarding house'?  She should have done her homework before accepting a job in the area. 

Must be the pressure building from all these hurricanes, I just took a weird call as well.  Very weird.

Is this a new phenomena like the full moon, or the high tide, we have those whose barometer prompts them to call B&B's?!!!

__________________

"What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds." Will Rogers

 

Offline
Joined:
06/24/2008

I have times when I get the same type of calls.  To note: I am the only B&B in the area (closest is 30 miles or so), and our rates are comparable to the nicer hotels in the area. 

If given the chance I ask what they were expecting.  The usual response is that they thought B&B's were less expensive than hotels.  I think they are thinking of the old 'boarding houses'.  I just give the names of the 3-4 flea bags around here. 

You have nice things and need to have patrons that will respect you and your home.  If you are keeping busy, there is no need to rethink your rates. 

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Copperhead wrote:

I have times when I get the same type of calls.  To note: I am the only B&B in the area (closest is 30 miles or so), and our rates are comparable to the nicer hotels in the area. 

If given the chance I ask what they were expecting.  The usual response is that they thought B&B's were less expensive than hotels.  I think they are thinking of the old 'boarding houses'.  I just give the names of the 3-4 flea bags around here. 

You have nice things and need to have patrons that will respect you and your home.  If you are keeping busy, there is no need to rethink your rates. 

You know automatically if someone said that about being too expensive they have never stayed in a B&B before in their life.  A B&B goer would not say that. They would get what they get and book or not book.  They wouldn't tell the innkeeper "Why are your rates so high?"  I mean the more you think about it the more absurd it is!

I only get that from locals.  Guess what, if you stayed in our local flea bag you will be paying nearly the same for a smokey stinky dirty room.

YellowSocks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:
You know automatically if someone said that about being too expensive they have never stayed in a B&B before in their life.  A B&B goer would not say that.

I agree... I think it's all just poor seminarians looking for a place to stay.  Campus housing ($25 per bed per night, share your room with a stranger and your bathroom with two more) must be full.

=)
Kk.

inncogneeto's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/31/2008

How do you know the next ten callers won't think you're under priced? Let it slide, you'll get the guests you're meant to get! Laws of averages, we've all had spurts of calls like that, oh, well, go somewhere else! You have to price for your area and for your work...

Have to share...I have 3 sets of guests, all separate parties, all staying for 7- 8 days, they all get along, one couple thinking of moving here, one here for HS reunion, one here taking care of deceased  family's estate... They are all LOVELY PEOPLE! Low maintenance, neat freaks, haven't had to do any of the mid week cleans...What are the odds? Very low I'm sure!!! No special diets, no weirdness...

I'm in a state of shock. Keep waiting for somethin'!

Pardon me, I'm going to go count my blessings now...

And after looking at your rates, I would gladly pay another $25 for any of those beautiful rooms!

Offline
Joined:
06/02/2008

I have had some of the same reaction to my latest suite opened in June.  When we go over $100, there is alot of hesitation.  I checked my 3 closest rivals down town. Holiday Inn, Cornhusker Marriot and Embassy Suites.  The HI offers some for $89, Marriot and ES are more like $139.  The B&B that has been open for 20 years and is nice, but run by students is $70 to $139. The B&B only has single rooms and my suite has 2 bedrooms.  It is great for 2 couples traveling together as they also get 4 breakfasts.  The hotels don't offer that. 

I am rethinking what I want to charge for it. 

Also have 1 room that I will be opening soon and am thinking how do I set my price on the room in comparison to my 2 suites. 

We just have to do what is right for us.  In your case, it is also your home.  In my case, it is another house to maintain.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

If you have no intention then you what you are doing, it is RIGHT.

My room that is $130 now was $90 when we bought this place.  It may have been one  of those "priced too low" situations.  I listened carefully to the then Prez of BBAV and monitored it closely.  I raised it to $130 a month ago, I had it at $125 after making the two twins into a king and it has been a good seller ever since.

So don't be afraid to change anything or tweak it after a year down the road.  That is what we all do.  I was thinking about some of this how much I have chaned from day 1.

I got interrupted and hit save on that.

Anyway - I was thinking about how much I have learned, much from this forum and other innkeepers on many aspects of innkeeping. Nothing in a book compares, nor a seminar.  Just little tidbits of useful things we pick up on.  Example: I will never buy 100% cotton sheets, I gave them all to goodwill and started with a cotton/poly mix and have saved myself much aggravation and time.

Update: Two months ago I bought the guest small microwave and so far not one person has used it (That I know of).  But I do have a week long stay coming up and I BETCHYA they will appreciate it for leftovers etc.

So keep doin' what you are doin' and good things will come. 

Offline
Joined:
07/23/2008

I actually had a couple of guests tell me I need to raise my rates! I thought I was exactly in the middle of what the local B&B's are offering!

YellowSocks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:
Update: Two months ago I bought the guest small microwave and so far not one person has used it (That I know of).  But I do have a week long stay coming up and I BETCHYA they will appreciate it for leftovers etc.

Yes, my longer stays usually do.  Give us an update!

JBJ wrote:
So keep doin' what you are doin' and good things will come. 

Thanks!!

=)
Kk.

YellowSocks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

If you have no intention then you what you are doing, it is RIGHT.

My room that is $130 now was $90 when we bought this place.  It may have been one  of those "priced too low" situations.  I listened carefully to the then Prez of BBAV and monitored it closely.  I raised it to $130 a month ago, I had it at $125 after making the two twins into a king and it has been a good seller ever since.

So don't be afraid to change anything or tweak it after a year down the road.  That is what we all do.  I was thinking about some of this how much I have chaned from day 1.

Yes, if nothing else it gives me more to think about.  Like maybe my little room with the two twins could be less... but I'm not ready to go down.  It's a good rate for a nice room and a fabulous breakfast.

I was reviewing my numbers for August and September.  The occupancy rate is about the same for both, but the income is significantly higher for September.  It was because of our long term stay... she was on a government rate (we negotiated that we didn't give her breakfast).  It was less work, but also a lot less money.  I like money, but right now I'm plenty busy...

It's the usual toss up!  More money equals more work.  Work is good for me, but after a certain point I don't need the money that badly!

=)
Kk.

YellowSocks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Well, the guests we had last weekend said our rates were just right.

But I just got the best affirmation of all... repeat customer showed up at the door just now (surprise!) wondering if I have rooms this week... I have tonight and tomorrow, but I'm full house on Thursday.

I'm guessing there's a class going on at the seminary for a week.  The caller was asking about Sunday thru Thursday, and this guy needs M-T-Th.  That's cool.  And it explains the bargain seekers, too.

YAY!!

(And thanks...)

=)
Kk.

IronGate's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/09/2008

I have found that

  1. people ARE what they are willing to pay
  2. things that can be had cheaply are treated that way
  3. the only things expensive about "cheap people" are the damages they tend to leave behind (because, "hey, it can't be worth that much or the rates wouldn't be so low"), and the time they demand of you (usually by complaining)

Take a deep breath, and keep telling yourself "It's not worth having cheap guests . . . "

BTW, your rates are quite reasonable! 

 

__________________

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

 

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

You can also use this as a learning experience for yourself by asking, 'What is your price range for your room and breakfast?' You can also say (as I do), 'Let me refer you to a motel with lower prices.' Then give them a phone number. Many times they then protest they were not wanting a motel, but a B&B and you can use this as a chance to teach them that B&B's offer amenities beyond the motel and include a FULL, homemade breakfast , not out of a tin.

If they give me a chance, I am always gracious. But most of the time they hang up.

Proud Texan's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Stick to your guns!   You might explain to them that the prices of the room is commensurate with the quality of lodging experience.   We're new too, but what seems to work for us is selling the whole package.  B&Bs are different and, if you're like us, you've gone to great pains to make things comfortable for your guests.   If they want cheap canned lodging, they can go to a motel.   If you wanted to provided cheap lodging, you would have opened one.

 

YellowSocks wrote:

 The last caller had an accent (Asian)... "Oh, that's not cheap!" 

Possible Phone Response: Oh, but you are?
 

 

GeorgiaGirl's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/09/2008

I think your rooms are quite reasonable!   You don't want those people at your Inn.  For example, we have some friends who stay at the cheapest place they can find when they go to Disneyworld  (when I say cheapest, I mean $29.99...you can only imagine what they are getting for that price ) and I for one would NEVER want them to spend the night at my house!!!  Better those kind of people stay away!

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

You are doing the right thing. You are a terrific kid. You need a little confidence in your decisions. These idiots will pass. Real guests will call. You won't be living in a trailer down by the river. (Chris Farley skit on SNL.)

YellowSocks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

LOL!  Thanks!

=)
Kk.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.