5 Warning signs you're got troubles at your Bed and Breakfast

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5 Warning signs you're got troubles at your Bed and Breakfast

Recipes for Success - tips, tools and information to help start and run a successful B&B business

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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We like to go to different place too, but thank goodness we have a lot of repeats staying with us who don't think like us!. It amazes me how we'll get guests staying over and over, year after year, mostly celebrating their anniversary. I think it's because they found a place that's "like them" and they don't have to think too much about trip planning. There's definitely something to be said about folks who once they've found a place, want to create an 'easy' tradition.

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I never go to the same place, ever. I am too much of an adventurer, no matter how much I loved it, I want to find what is around the next bend. 

I agree with your titles, good titles make people click and open. Well, BAD titles make them click and open even moreso!

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I'm pretty much the same way...don't go back to the same place unless I'm traveling through and I adore the place!  There is of course the major exception to this which is returning to my dh's favorite place on earth.  I haven't been able to change that in many years! 

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stayparrysound's picture
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As the author I have a couple of things to profess:

  • alarmist titles get people to read....(I'm sure you get the point)
  • I bet if you look down really deep, most - not all - of your guests are very similar to you...friendly, enjoying meeting new people, sharing experiences, like to learn new things, understand that you get what you pay for...otherwise, for the most part they would stay at a hotel over a B&B

There will always be stinker guests - and the good news is that generally the feeling is mutual and you won't see them again.  Having a targeted niche doesn't guarantee that no one else would come either.  In addition, it's your location that dictates primarily whether people come back again - I have a very low return rate of 12% simply because once you've seen the rocks, water and trees around here, they don't change much, so people don't tend to come back.

The point of the article is that if you have limited marketing dollars, you need to focus it on where the people who will pay the price you are asking,  are looking for information on a B&B in __________ location.  

Always enjoy reading the comments in this forum!

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seashanty's picture
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stayparrysound wrote:

As the author I have a couple of things to profess:

  • alarmist titles get people to read....(I'm sure you get the point)

The point of the article is that if you have limited marketing dollars, you need to focus it on where the people who will pay the price you are asking,  are looking for information on a B&B in __________ location.  

so you use a title that has nothing to do with the article just so people will read it and hopefully link to it as was done here?  ... i'm not liking that approach at all

 

 

Joey Camb's picture
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mind you there is no understanding people (1) wrote a blog article on the tour de france which is finishing its first leg in my town then setting off again no tweets and no facebook likes (2) wrote an article on a new restaurant opening (very small article) got 3 tweets and a facebook like - so there you go

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Madeleine's picture
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stayparrysound wrote:

  In addition, it's your location that dictates primarily whether people come back again - I have a very low return rate of 12% simply because once you've seen the rocks, water and trees around here, they don't change much, so people don't tend to come back.

I find this interesting. I have a favorite place I love to go. If I can't get there I go places that look a lot like it. Prior to moving to the state, I used to go to this particular place 2x/year and stay at the same place if they had a room open.

Our repeat rate is closer to 25%. Many of those repeats are people who bookend their week-long cabin rental with a couple of nights here on their way up and on their way back.

A lot of hospitality consultants suggest aiming for 50% repeat business (this might be directed more at hotels). Partly because it's easier to keep the repeat than to get the new guest.

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There are few reasons to keep coming back here.  haha.  Although if this whitewater thing is a hit, that could change the picture. 

But in the meantime, we have 3 new hotels that are opening pretty soon.  It's hard for the remaining B&B here to compete with their amenities, service, and price without putting more effort into it.  I would expect that if they ever consider a reasonable price for the property, the remaining B&B here will actually revert to a private residence as the others have.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

A lot of hospitality consultants suggest aiming for 50% repeat business (this might be directed more at hotels). Partly because it's easier to keep the repeat than to get the new guest.

Perhaps these are the same consultants that told everyone they MUST have whirlpool/Jacuzzi/spas and hot tubs that many innkeepers installed and then went broke.  I still believe that except for certain locations they are not necessary. and considering the comments here of those who would only use their own due to not knowing how they were cleaned - I rest my case.

Yes, SOME repeat business is great but sometimes the repeats expect a bit more of YOU because they are repeats - and that is not always easier.

 

gillumhouse's picture
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 I have a very low return rate of 12% simply because once you've seen the rocks, water and trees around here, they don't change much, so people don't tend to come back.

Although there are some who feel if you do not have repeat guests, you must be doing something wrong, I totally understand this. I also have a low percentage of repeats (we all have some who come back because they feel comfortable with us) because if the been there-done that syndrome. Back in the day when I was traveling, I was the BTDT traveler. This Country has so much to see and do that going back to anything other than Williamsburg (it seems to always be evolving) and the windjammer cruise off the coast of Maine (4 times on the same schooner) but taking different routes there and back each time was not in the picture.

I have searched my area and know what will draw people - and there are a LOT of people with those interests. Therefore I use my marketing dollars where those people will be looking. There is a publication that is done on newsprint rather than glossy paper (the size of papers like the Chicago Sun Ti mes so a quarter-page ad there is much cheaper than in a glossy. Also this publication (paid for by ads and distributed free) has an Early Bird order your ad by Feb 1 and get 2 for 1 and I use that. It is distributed in 6 States!! Small horse magazines are less expensive and so are their web sites - and the horse magazine I advertise in in online as well. It is given out at horse shows around the country. Look for things like that to stretch your dollars.

 

Madeleine's picture
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We have gotten rid of the dog niche market, tho. Just could not stand the clean up afterwards. We cut back on the 'family' market by eliminating some second beds in rooms. But, we are not going for the 'romance' market, either.

How do you put on your website you want 'just folks'?

Madeleine's picture
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'Niche market' tho doesn't mean you're not going to get guests you don't like. I can target a specific group and still have guests I can't wait to see the back of. And it's a personality thing you can't control for. So, you can 'target' all you want and still end up with too many guests who annoy.

As far as the 'niche' thing goes...those are the guests who come BACK. The ones who liked you and who you liked in return. But, without coming out and saying, 'If you're an arrogant SOB stay elsewhere,' we are going to get those people here at some point.

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Madeleine wrote:

'Niche market' tho doesn't mean you're not going to get guests you don't like. I can target a specific group and still have guests I can't wait to see the back of. And it's a personality thing you can't control for. So, you can 'target' all you want and still end up with too many guests who annoy.

As far as the 'niche' thing goes...those are the guests who come BACK. The ones who liked you and who you liked in return. But, without coming out and saying, 'If you're an arrogant SOB stay elsewhere,' we are going to get those people here at some point.


And we need to stay in business, so we take all guests, anyway, like you say the needy, the pitas, the quiet, the loud. That is what we do. 

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Tom I can't recall where it said that, but I agree. yes

People say that we attract like-minded, and that is completely untrue. For me anyway. I love the variety and I say that to nearly every guest when they ask about how long and how do I like running this B&B.  I tell them "I did not know in the beginning that variety of guests would be the spice of this innkeepers life" if I were just here for one specific demographic, I would hate it.

I love the quirky eccentric odd balls the best! I cannot anticipate the conversation, and it is stimulating and I learn something every time! (or wait, maybe I am like that! haha) 

The guests are the best part of the biz. The worst part too. Ironic isn't it.

Tom
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10/11/2009

Okay article although unrelated to the somewhat alarmist title.

Prompts a question: do you really want guests just like you, as the article asserts?

Given some basic need for respect for my inn and hospitality, I rather like having guests not like me.  More interesting conversation.  I can talk to myself any time (seem to be doing it a lot at breakfast - in the dark - lately, anyway).

gillumhouse's picture
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Tom wrote:

Okay article although unrelated to the somewhat alarmist title.

Prompts a question: do you really want guests just like you, as the article asserts?

Given some basic need for respect for my inn and hospitality, I rather like having guests not like me.  More interesting conversation.  I can talk to myself any time (seem to be doing it a lot at breakfast - in the dark - lately, anyway).

The like me syndrome might be true if we were "one-note johnny" innkeepers. We all seem to have such a wide variety of experience and experiences, hobbies, etc that we can connect with a variety of guests on many levels. WE are not sloggers in blinders.

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