The Perception of Value

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I just read a review on TA from a neighboring inn, and a few more. It always makes me chuckle to find the guest's perception of value.  

I had a BOGO and didn't get marked high for value, it was a savings of like $165.00. Another inn from this forum didn't get high marks for value after GIVING GUESTS A FREE STAY for the BnBforvets promotion. Another inn here got knocked on not having name brand sodas for the guest, when they had comp sodas for them.

I guess I will never understand it, if getting 50% off is not great value, and a free stay isn't great value, then what is?

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Madeleine's picture
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OK, value...I am going away for Christmas. (Yippee!) I searched for a place to stay and used Google's hotel finder. Found a hotel rate of $87/night which I KNOW is cheap for the area. Heck, I paid more than that 20 years ago to stay across the street from where I'm going!

Called the hotel to see if they would honor the internet rate and, you know, save themselves 15+% commission. 12 minutes on the phone with an assortment of live and voice prompt 'associates' before someone could honor the rate. And then, out of the blue, I get the room for $78. I didn't ask for that. I certainly took it. And I do know that the room is definitely 'worth' twice that.

So, value-wise I'm happy. Spending 12 minutes on the phone playing 'will she hang up before we do' is not my idea of customer service. (Yes, I could have booked online in 3 minutes. Yes, I could have hung up and called the Hampton right next door. At that point it was a game!)

But, you know it's in the back of my head (and on the back of the door) that this room can go as high as $300 (West Point football game being an example). Worth $300? IF I had to be at that game, maybe. As Joe Citizen? Probably not. It's like the room in Vegas that I had for less than $80 that my mom was being told was $250 3 days after we left. Convention.

Supposedly they serve a cooked-to-order breakfast (incl) and have a pool, spa and exercise room and WiFi is incl, too. (The B&B's in the area are over $200/night and I wasn't planning to pay as I usually sleep on the couch at my bro's.)

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We are going to visit my son & dil for Christmas this year.  $86/night in a newish nonsmoking hotel, free hot breakfast, pool, fitness room, free WiFi, free parking, King size bed, big flat screen TV.  The local historic hotel (which we stayed in and I couldn't sleep due to paper thin walls and hearing snoring from both my room and the one next door...haha) was $50 more and no breakfast,etc.  I think I'm getting a good value....

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Madeleine's picture
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Samster wrote:

We are going to visit my son & dil for Christmas this year. 

Wait, when did your son get married??? I must have been asleep. Or I forgot. Or something. If I didn't congratulate you, sorry about that.

The place I am staying shares a name with the guy who owns the local garage station where my parents have been taking their car for gas and repairs since the 60's. I couldn't resist the name. All I could think was the front desk clerks will all be in greasy coveralls.

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Maddie, they have been married a year!!  Just celebrated their anniversary a few days ago.  The wedding was in the town my son lives in now (he has been there just over 2 years & it also happens to be where his wife grew up.)  I probably didn't talk that much about the wedding, being the mother of the groom and all.  hahahaha....

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I assumed everyone rated value on what "they would have paid" versus what they did. The reviews wouldn't make sense if that column was adjusted for what you did pay. You would have to read every review and figure out what they paid versus the value rating and then look at if you are paying full price or not to see if that rating was a plus or not.

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The problem is that it's perceived value. So if you are looking online for a room in rural MN and 1* and 2* hotels on h0tw!re come back as $35-$40 a night and then you compare this to a room in NYC where the same dates and the same reservation system comes back with rooms for $129-$139, the guy from rural MN might rate your "value" as very low. 

It's a meaningless statistic...

PS: Not a good choice in either case. In NYC you hit $280 before you hit one with 90% happy people. Those it's $55 or so in MN for something that makes 90% of people happy. 

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Joey Camb's picture
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this is why i get cross with 3 in a bed when they have to mark for value - double room in black pool - $80 double room in london for the same thing $300 its all about demand and location. Where I am if you have to come for a particular conference the rate can be double the price from the day before because I know I can get it - and I know all the other bb's will be charging within $20 of what I am charging so why should I charge less.

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toddburme wrote:

I assumed everyone rated value on what "they would have paid" versus what they did. The reviews wouldn't make sense if that column was adjusted for what you did pay. You would have to read every review and figure out what they paid versus the value rating and then look at if you are paying full price or not to see if that rating was a plus or not.

YES!

So if someone got a night free would the value not be much higher than the person who PAID FULL ROOM RATE? Surely so. We are talking about V A L U E.  I get what you are saying, but the VALUE WAS MUCH GREATER!! Smiling

If you gave me a free smoked pork bbq dinner and all the fixin's I sure would review you and thank you and love you. I wouldn't say "Well the value wasn't very good" and mark you down. The value could NOT have been better.

Of course we don't know what people paid, but in the two examples I gave WE DO KNOW.

Should it be the same for someone here on a gift certificate? Not many people review, so it is almost a moot point, but those who did, and got a free night, should not mark less bubbles for value.

With the BnBforvets thing, just like the BOGO from Stash Tea or any other promotion where guests assume we/the inn are being reimbursed. They are not thankful to the inn, they are thankful to the program. Which, as we know, isn't the case.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

With the BnBforvets thing, just like the BOGO from Stash Tea or any other promotion where guests assume we/the inn are being reimbursed. They are not thankful to the inn, they are thankful to the program. Which, as we know, isn't the case.

We're certain everyone thinks we're just writing this off on our taxes. And most people do not even understand what that means. So, they 'assume' we are getting $1500 BACK from the gov't when we get our tax return. We just do it because we like to. I wish more people understood what it means from the biz side to do this.

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I was reading TA reviews for a resort in the Caribbean. They get great reviews with a smattering of negatives as usual. One review on there was very harsh and critical and gave them a value of 2. Here's the kicker...the reviewer had won the stay and was staying for free! It just doesn't make sense.

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On Tri pAdv isor, the thing we have to remember is that there is not an army of people reading reviews and what not  --- as much as possible it is all done by artificial "intelligence." The guy who founded TA studied physics and computer programming at Hahvahd. If you look at the careers section on the TA site, they are really only looking for clever computer programmers. They have a smarts quiz with a bunch of brain twisters and puzzlers for you to solve before you can even get to the application. Their motto is "fast, not right" (or something like that) -- in other words, it is more important that, as a programmer, your computer code come up with an answer (any answer) quickly than that it necessarily come up with the right answer (the bugs can be fixed later).

So EmptyNest, the TA computer didn't like something that it parsed in your review. They can't tell you what exactly because either (1) they don't know themselves, and/or (2) if they did, then you would (and everyone else presumably) would be able to out-smart their computer, and they don't want that.

 

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Harborfields wrote:

On Tri pAdv isor, the thing we have to remember is that there is not an army of people reading reviews and what not  --- as much as possible it is all done by artificial "intelligence." The guy who founded TA studied physics and computer programming at Hahvahd. If you look at the careers section on the TA site, they are really only looking for clever computer programmers. They have a smarts quiz with a bunch of brain twisters and puzzlers for you to solve before you can even get to the application. Their motto is "fast, not right" (or something like that) -- in other words, it is more important that, as a programmer, your computer code come up with an answer (any answer) quickly than that it necessarily come up with the right answer (the bugs can be fixed later).

So EmptyNest, the TA computer didn't like something that it parsed in your review. They can't tell you what exactly because either (1) they don't know themselves, and/or (2) if they did, then you would (and everyone else presumably) would be able to out-smart their computer, and they don't want that. 

WOW! Very informative post! Thanks!

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OnTheShore's picture
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Ok, so maybe there is a little bit of hyperbole in my description (I just double checked the TA careers site), but the nuggets are all there -- the emphasis on web engineering, the puzzles, and the "Speed WIns!" mantra. But programming is not the only job they are looking to fill, and you don't necessarily have to solve the puzzles to get to the application.

 

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Back on JB's original opening query, my working hypothesis is that guests don't judge value against what they actually paid, but against what they would have paid if they had paid full price. Staying at an Inn for half-price (BOGO) or even free (BnB4Vets) isn't deemed a great value if they are not getting what they think they should be getting for $165 (or whatever).

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If we gave everything for free and never charged anyone to stay, we would still get someone that would complain.

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Hillbilly's picture
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Do you live in the same town? If so, drive outside the city and post it fr there. They are filtering from your IP address is my guess.

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Bob wrote:
Do you live in the same town? If so, drive outside the city and post it fr there. They are filtering from your IP address is my guess.

For restaurants and attractions they do not care if you are local as they know most will be.  Must be some wording that is triggering the problem.

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Yes but what should that have to do with anything? I say right in my post I am a local. Locals have a right to post reviews too wink

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EmptyNest wrote:

Yes but what should that have to do with anything? I say right in my post I am a local. Locals have a right to post reviews too wink

I agree. This is there filter. They are thinking if you are posting from your city you are the owner or employee. You could try turning off (or unplugging the power of) your Cable/DSL modem for five minutes. In many cases this will change your IP address. However, if that does not change your IP address, repeat the process for 8 hours (overnight works well) instead of 5 minutes. Hopefully this will result in an IP change. If this does not work. You will have to post from a different city.

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Some people you can not please no matter what you do.  Some people have to have something to complain about and then there are those that never give top ratings just because there is ALWAYS room for improvement. 

I don't understand it either!  I want to be happy!!! 

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I have to jump in here with something about TA. I recently posted a review of a restaurant. It was acknowledged and then NEVER posted. So, I went back several weeks later and posted another review. NOTHING...so I contact TA. They direct me to the Rules...I have read the rules and have followed everyone of them. Was not nasty, but was not good. Just stated the facts.

First response I get was this:

We do not accept reviews written by ownership or management; including past employees or anyone associated with/related to employees of the property with which they are affiliated.  No reviews written by vendors employed by the property. Individuals affiliated with a property may not review other properties of the same type (accommodation, restaurant, or attraction) within the same city or town, or within 10 miles of that property.

I informed them this had nothing to do with me..NEVER HAS and NEVER WILL.  So now I get this reply back:

It appears that your review has been caught up in our automatic filters, which set aside content that we feel might require special attention. Unfortunately, I cannot go into detail about what triggered the removal, nor can I publish your post.

So I have replied back once again. I need further explanation of WHY this particular post is a problem.  Anyone ever encounter any thing like this? Any suggestions? I just wanted to give an honest review of the poor quality our group got. I guess I may have to have someone else in the group send in the review.

Madeleine's picture
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If this is a local place you are reviewing you may need to use a different account than the one you used as an owner AND not post it from home (IP address).

If it isn't, then you might just have to get someone else to write it.

I have found a lot of guests have told me, 'I just wrote a review!' while they are sitting at the guest computer. That will never post online.

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I am using a different account then when I owned the B & B. This is just weird. I will take my tablet and try it from somewhere else. I am waiting for another reply from them to see if they can actually give me a reason.

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EmptyNest wrote:

I have to jump in here with something about TA. I recently posted a review of a restaurant. It was acknowledged and then NEVER posted. So, I went back several weeks later and posted another review. NOTHING...so I contact TA. They direct me to the Rules...I have read the rules and have followed everyone of them. Was not nasty, but was not good. Just stated the facts.

First response I get was this:

We do not accept reviews written by ownership or management; including past employees or anyone associated with/related to employees of the property with which they are affiliated.  No reviews written by vendors employed by the property. Individuals affiliated with a property may not review other properties of the same type (accommodation, restaurant, or attraction) within the same city or town, or within 10 miles of that property.

I informed them this had nothing to do with me..NEVER HAS and NEVER WILL.  So now I get this reply back:

It appears that your review has been caught up in our automatic filters, which set aside content that we feel might require special attention. Unfortunately, I cannot go into detail about what triggered the removal, nor can I publish your post.

So I have replied back once again. I need further explanation of WHY this particular post is a problem.  Anyone ever encounter any thing like this? Any suggestions? I just wanted to give an honest review of the poor quality our group got. I guess I may have to have someone else in the group send in the review.

What would be interesting to know is if another reviewer posted the same comments to see if they were rejected.  Have you posted to YELP? I find more people check it for restaurant reviews.

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05/22/2008

Yes I went to YELP and posted it. Smiling  But it has not shown up under their listing. How long does it take?  If I send you my comments, will someone post to TA and see if they take it?

 

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