Ocupancy?

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yv1berj2's picture
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Thank you all for your replies to my "A Stupid Question".  Now I have another one.

I'm trying to get an idea about what I may possibly be able to expect with regard to occupancy.  I realize that there are a million answers to this question, but any input is more than I have now.

The parameters are:
  Location: Catskill Mtn, NY area.  Near Ski areas.
  Concept:  Bed & Biscuit. (Niche marketing to dog owners, who want to vacation with their pets.)
  Size:     Probably 12 - 15 rooms.

Obviously, (at least I think Obviously!) I can expect very good occupancy during Ski season, but I'm not sure what to expect the rest of the seasons.

Any ideas would be helpful.

Thank you.

yv1berj2's picture
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Thank you all again for your input. 

I tried pulling up the Smith Travel Report, but of course they want to sell the subscription.  I'm going to contact the NY State Hospitality & Tourism Assn. and a couple of other agencies tomorrow to see if I can get more info.

Trishany,

You raised some very good points.  I've put together a list of Pros & Cons and two of your points are arleady on the Cons list.  There are a lot of small details that have to be worked out, to say the least.  Re: "Do the OTHER guest know that you have a dog-friendly B&B".  That will be predominant in the promotion and advertising. 

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Since most of us are not from there...we really don't have a clue. Why don't you do some checking with the local chamber of commerce?

JeannineIrish's picture
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Maybe it is because I have a fondness for the HV area but we have been there a number of times because we have family or friends that live in the area and didn't want to stay in a chain hotel.

One B & B in Red Hook I would not stay in again.   Stayed at a B & B about a 30 min ride from Albany (it was the only one close to Albany)-great place.  Stayed in another one in Croton-on-the-Hudson-nice place.  Stayed at another B & B in Saratoga Springs-listed in Select Registry but served a cold breakfast (sparse)-other than that OK.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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It's true, the grass loses its green-ness as soon as it's yours. I hope I get a few good years before I become desensitized!

Actually we get to pay someone to make it green (lawn fertilizer) so we can mow it twice a week.

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trishany's picture
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The marketing to dog owners is an iffy concept.   I know there are alot of people who would love to bring their dogs along.  But I think, there are MORE people, who would like to leave their dog at home. 

A few things to ponder:

- Do the OTHER guest know that you have a dog-friendly B&B

- Will there be constant whining, barking cause one dog knows another dog is there

- Are all the dogs housetrained.  It would not be a good thing if there is a dog that unrinates in the room. 

If you decide to have a dog-friendly B&B, I would have certain rooms just for dogs.

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What others have posted about CVB's are correct.  They are IN the market to sell the area - during all seasons. 

In order to get some accurate information about the high and low seasons in an area, what you need to get would be about 2 years worth of the Smith Travel Research reports in the area(s) you are looking in.  If the CVB can not (will not) help you with this, ask them for a contact for the local Hospitality Association.  The Smith report is a must for both organizations.

The report will provide you with information on the % of rooms rented in the area for the month.  This should help you to determine what you need to know. 

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If that data is for sale, it is also available for free from the state (in a lot of states anyway). They'd need to get the lodging revenue reports and know how many room provided that revenue. And how many rooms there are in total to get an idea of occ for the area.

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How close would you be to a college that might have parents with their dogs visiting their children? Are you close to Saratoga Springs for racing? 

yv1berj2's picture
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Hi emspiers,

   I haven't looked specifically into colleges, but  I don't think there is much around there.  Saratoga Spgs. is at least a couple of hours drive going north.

   I may be wrong, but I figured the Catskills area is close enough to NYC (about a 2 hour drive) that it can generate the weekenders that don't want too long a drive. 

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I see. We lived outside of Albany for a few years. I was just trying to get a feel for your location.

I said this to another person who was looking at something in that area: the people in NYC, Boston, Providence, Hartford, ect, all drive sometimes 2 hours each day to get to work. They will drive farther than that to get to a place for vacation. Boston is 3 hours from Albany, Hartford is 1 1/2 hours from Albany, NYC is 90 minutes from Albany...just don't underestimate the amount of population available to you in that area.

I would bet that people in that area would travel at least 4 1/2-5 1/2 hours one way for a GREAT place.

(Keep in mind, I could be wrong  )

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Thanks emspiers,

  You're right.  Not having to commute to work, I didn't even think of that, but it is a valid point.

  I'm trying to find a location that will at least give me at least two fairly strong seasons and hopefully one moderate.  I don't know if that is wishful thinking. 

 

yv1berj2's picture
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Thank you both for getting back to me.

Bree,
   Good point about regular (non dog) clients.  I hadn't thought about that. Definitely worth adding into my planning.
   Hunter has done a lot regarding snow making.  As I understand it they are up there with the best of them, weather permitting of course.  If there is a warm winter, I know that area will be more effected than Northern N.E.
   I've been to the Paw House and it's great.  I found out about it after I decided to look into this more seriously and spent a weekend there.  What they're doing is exactly what I have in mind.  
   Several years ago I had stayed at an Inn in another part of NY that was probably the first one, in this part of the country, to utilize this Bed & Biscuit concept and it just stuck in the back of my mind.  Now I've finally decided to  follow up on it.
  
Stephanie,
   Believe it or not people really do like to take their dogs on vacation.  The alternative is to either leave them at home, using a pet sitter, which is a good way to do it, or putting them in a kennel, which isn't a good way of doing it.  
   I'm a little surprised about your saying the summer is dead in that area.  I'm just begining to research the different seasons and I just contacted the Greene County Tourism Office and they said that summer and fall foliage seasons are strong. 
   Now I'm confused, but that's the story of my life, mass confusion.

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yv1berj2 wrote:

Stephanie,
   Believe it or not people really do like to take their dogs on vacation.  The alternative is to either leave them at home, using a pet sitter, which is a good way to do it, or putting them in a kennel, which isn't a good way of doing it.  
   I'm a little surprised about your saying the summer is dead in that area.  I'm just begining to research the different seasons and I just contacted the Greene County Tourism Office and they said that summer and fall foliage seasons are strong. 
   Now I'm confused, but that's the story of my life, mass confusion.

Clearly I'm not a dog person! I've only had pets that can babysit themselves for a weekend. For a minute, I was just thinking "why would someone take a dog skiing?" Brain freeze. Now that I think about it, I have a friend who will not travel without her pug.

Well, it could have been the particular summer weekend I was there, but it was sloooow. I guess it was overcast and a little drizzly, so maybe everyone just stayed home? The majority of the restaurants in Tannersville were open, but not very full. Went to Hunter, and saw very few cars. Most looked like locals.

Have you spent much time there in the off-season? I personally don't trust the tourism offices unless they're giving you hard numbers. Of course they're going to say they do great year round.

Woodstock does pretty well year round, BUT their zoning isn't very B&B friendly, from what I've heard. Mainly rumors, but you should make sure you check that out if you consider Woodstock.

yv1berj2's picture
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Thanks Stephanie,

   I'm in process of doing my due dilligence and will be making a number of weekend trips to get a feel of things.  

   I'm researching the entire area, but since skiing is such a strong draw I don't know if I want to get too far away from that.   

   Woodstock is a consideration, or possibly somewhere in between there and Hunter to take advantage of both.  People will drive 30 min. easily, more than that gets iffy.

   I'm waiting for some info from the Chambers of Commerce of a couple of towns to learn whatever I can from them.

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You are dead on about the local tourism offices. Our C&VB will tell people that there is a plethora of things to do here in July/August.  Uh, no....totally not true.  There are not that many activities other than the usual museums, historic sites, and stuff like that.  BUT those attractions don't have any special exhibits during those months.  It all cranks back up in September.  This city is pretty dull in the dead of Summer. 

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Hey there,

So I don't have a dog and therefore may not know, but do people really bring their dogs with them to go skiing? Hiking, hunting, even touring around, I could see doing better, unless there's dogsledding in the Catskills.

Alright, so I've done a bit of research in that area, as well. What I can say is it VERY much depends on where in the Catskills, among other things. When I looked at Hunter and even Tannersville, they are dead in the summer other than a few bikers and ATVers. But they're probably booked solid in the winter, when the weather's good. Not great this past year. Fall foliage is probably beautiful, but the mountainous drive a half hour off the highway isn't worth it for some people.

If you're looking closer to 87 and the Hudson, you'll get some summer/fall activity for water sports and historic towns or getaways. I believe the area immediately surrounding 87 actually tends to do better in the summer/fall than in the winter. I've seen some that can pull up to 75% in the summer and fall months, down by the Hudson. If the area's easy to get to and well-marketed, I've seen some that average around 50% for the year. But I haven't seen anything in your niche, so that could be way off. There's a B&B I looked into that was next to a kennel--they were not doing well, just scraping by.

So many factors. Wish I could be more helpful.

JeannineIrish's picture
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From experience I'll tell you that there are not enough B & B's in the Hudson River Valley area from NY to Albany.  It is gorgeous in the summer and anyone visiting family and friends in that area any time of the year don't have too many options other than the chain hotels.  The Albany area has almost nothing and there are a lot of colleges around there that would attract parents, seminar attendees etc.

I don't think I would stay at a B & B that allowed pets in the rooms even though I am not allergic and have a cat.  Pets can leave lots of dander and hair and would make it would require more time to clean guest rooms and common areas.  MHO

Also Hunter Mt. has a huge Irish Festival in the summer.

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I agree completely JI. There aren't enough B&Bs in that area. I lived there for a few years, 10 years ago. It is a beautiful area. I have posted this link before, but I thought I'd give it out again.

www.historicproperties.com

There are a ton of beautiful properties on that site in that area that are not B&Bs yet. I say "yet" because it would certainly be possible to make them into one.

There is a State University campus in Albany. There are 5 (I think) campuses of SUNY around the state. The Albany one was, when I lived there, the largest.

Good luck

Morticia's picture
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That's funny, in a way. Yes, absolutely true there are not enough B&B's in certain parts of the HV. Rhinebeck does ok. (Wrong side of the river, I know.) What's funny is that I lived in the HV for a few years (high school & college and my parents still live there) and for the life of me I have no idea why anyone would go there on vacation. Other than the large 'camps' in the Catskills.

I do know it's sad when I have to stay at a hotel when I visit my parents, tho!

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Bree, you'd be surprised. NYC is so overcrowded that the whole population will go just about anywhere to get out of the concrete maze. Now that the Hamptons are overcrowded, there is a lot of press on alternatives that offer outdoor activities or just some fresh air and quietude.

The great thing about the New Paltz/Poughkeepsie area is that they're accessible via train. Most NYers don't have cars and it saves them $250 on a rental and gas if the innkeeper can pick them up from the MNR or Amtrak. There are B&Bs along the railroad that do VERY well with barely any nearby attractions--just a place to vege out for the weekend. Their prices rival that of NYC hotels. Unfortunately, public transportation gets limited north and into the Catskills.

The problem you'll face is, it's not just 1 destination; there are hundreds of towns in the HV and Catskills and it's hard to search for B&Bs on Tripadvisor and the like unless you have a town name in mind. People will just search for "B&B Catskills." So to get the NYers to find you, you have to get press for your B&B and optimize your search engine results to stand out from the crowd.

With your niche, it shouldn't be a problem to get press, though! I haven't seen any Bed & Biscuits up there, so it'd be a great story. And NYers will pay exorbitant rates to pamper their pets.

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stephanie wrote:

Bree, you'd be surprised. NYC is so overcrowded that the whole population will go just about anywhere to get out of the concrete maze. Now that the Hamptons are overcrowded, there is a lot of press on alternatives that offer outdoor activities or just some fresh air and quietude.

I'm not the least bit surprised. I lived in NYC for 13 years. We had a cottage not far from Pok. It was rustic and fun to go there. But, after we moved there and I rusticated awhile longer, I just can't see GOING there to do anything but visit my family! I'm desensitized to the beauty of the area and it's not quiet anymore. All those dang city people moved there and take the train to work!

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Haha. 13 years, eh? So that's where your edge comes from. Interesting... seems like there's a lot of former NYC folk in the B&B biz.

I haven't even gone that long and I get excited at the first clump of trees or wandering deer every time I leave.

It's true, the grass loses its green-ness as soon as it's yours. I hope I get a few good years before I become desensitized!

Morticia's picture
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stephanie wrote:

Haha. 13 years, eh? So that's where your edge comes from.

Edge? you think I have an edge? You talkin' to me?

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Oops.

Morticia's picture
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stephanie wrote:

Oops.

I told hubs about this little back and forth and he laughed. 'Oh, that lady should see you in person!' He always used to think I was yelling at him until he heard a dining room full of NY'ers one morning. He said, 'I thought they were going to kill each other. You're telling me they're all friends? You people are crazy.'

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Bree wrote:

stephanie wrote:

Oops.

I told hubs about this little back and forth and he laughed. 'Oh, that lady should see you in person!' He always used to think I was yelling at him until he heard a dining room full of NY'ers one morning. He said, 'I thought they were going to kill each other. You're telling me they're all friends? You people are crazy.'

Remember my story?  Same dining room scenario and DH thought there was a fight going on!

He came back into the kitchen and said, Man that is bad out there... I replied 'New Yorkers' and he said 'Oh' and then went back out.

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Hehe. Luckily DH has been here longer than me. I'm usually the one telling him there's no need to yell. Especially when we're on the same side.

Morticia's picture
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Best bet...see what 'regular' B&B's have for occupancy in that area. (Do a search and then look at their availability calendars.) Then figure in your niche market. Are you entirely bed & biscuit or do you have 'no pet' rooms? You'll lose some of the market that doesn't want to stay at a pet-friendly B&B because of allergies.

Keep in mind that there is not as much snow making done in the Catskills. Not like in VT or the Adirondacks. The season is fickle. It can be warm enough to rain a lot. Or, there can be feet of snow. What else is there to draw guests that doesn't rely on Mother Nature cooperating?

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Bree wrote:

Keep in mind that there is not as much snow making done in the Catskills.

I only looked into Hunter briefly, but they supposedly have invested in top-of-the-line snowmaking equipment. But you're right, there's only so much you can do with a warm winter.

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stephanie wrote:

Bree wrote:

Keep in mind that there is not as much snow making done in the Catskills.

I only looked into Hunter briefly, but they supposedly have invested in top-of-the-line snowmaking equipment. But you're right, there's only so much you can do with a warm winter.

Sorry, I didn't know that. I was speaking from old (college) info.

How close will you be to the new Woodstock Museum? THAT might be a draw.

Have you looked at this place for ideas...The Paw House in VT? You might also read their TA reviews to see what isn't working.

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