Friends and Family discounts

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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Hi, I'm new here.   We are buying an existing Inn at the end of the Summer and expect lots of friend to come stay with us.   (I imagine this has been discussed and I did look, but didn't find it, so forgive if I'm repeating, but.....)

How do you handle friends and family?  Do you offer a 10% discount?  50%?   Second night free?   Anything?

Thanks for input.  

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Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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Oh, that's good! blush

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Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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I would never charge close family. They all have skills and contribute - dad is an electrician and b-i-l can fix anything! My mother, and close friends help me with draperies, upholstery and other sewing projects as well as gardening. They contribute so much and are willing to take any room any time. Sometimes we have to put them on the 3rd floor, but no one seems to mind. 

I do have cousins who are occasionally in the area for business and they insist on paying, but I never charge them full price. They have a beach house and we trade off rooms. DH and I just got back from 4 days down the shore!

Oh, and speaking of beach houses...if the aforementioned website IS yours, please update it. It's not very user-friendly at all and if that may be the only impression people get of your place. They'll move on to the next. 

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Aussie...fyi.. the web site is NOT theirs.

Kay Nein's picture
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If it's a weekend where we might sell out, I'll discount 10-15%.  Otherwise, it depends on which family or friend is coming.  If it's a BFF that's a struggling single mom, I'd probably charge 50%, if even that.  Most of my family & friends travel with their dogs, so I don't have to worry about it - we don't accept pets.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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One thing about having family and friends visit at the b&b is that it's wonderful to see them, but it's truly exhausting if you have other guests also.

Madeleine's picture
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BTW, as you may have already figured out, you are probably going to get a zillion different answers! You get to pick what works for you! These are merely suggestions and your mileage may vary. (YMMV)

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

BTW, as you may have already figured out, you are probably going to get a zillion different answers! You get to pick what works for you! These are merely suggestions and your mileage may vary. (YMMV)

 

Oh I know.  I expected different answers.  But I'm new to the business and really wonder what everyone else does.

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That is another reason you have to take an aspiring innkeeper workshop ASAP

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

BTW, as you may have already figured out, you are probably going to get a zillion different answers! You get to pick what works for you! These are merely suggestions and your mileage may vary. (YMMV)

 

Oh I know.  I expected different answers.  But I'm new to the business and really wonder what everyone else does.

Try creating a poll.

Then you can compare apples and oranges.

yes

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gillumhouse's picture
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I have paid a local motel for a night when the kids came in a night of a full-house. Cost less than giving up a room. Now I would be hurting. That  motel is so full they pay ME to house their accountant for 2-nights in January. Of course, after the first stay, he TOLD them he wanted to stay here!!!

OnTheShore's picture
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Back to the tax issue  -- how is your business organized, and who actually owns the building?

In other words, if you own the building personally, it is your residence, and are renting out rooms most of the time, but using them yourself some of the time (e.g. letting family stay for free), then the IRS will scrutinize how much of the building's expenses you can claim as business expenses vs. what you have to accept as your personal, non-deductible, expenses.

It may be different if the business is its own entity (e.g. a corporation), IT owns the building, and it is leasing back to your your living quarters, perhaps as part of your compensation for working in the business....

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Madeleine's picture
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Good points about the differences between sole proprietorship and an LLC or S corp. That may be why the hotels can allow comp rooms for the owners and family.

gillumhouse's picture
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I do have a charge for my friends and family - I know I must charge thanks to that wonderful 3-letter agency - however they cannot tell me how much I must charge nor who pays it. My sibs, cousins, and my kids are booked in and there is a minimal charge that I pay as far as the books are concerned. - and include in the revenue stream for taxes. The rooms I give to my City/the churches/etc. are marked donation.

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Beach House it really depends on who and when. I guarantee people WON'T come in the off season to see you, they want the beach. 

But, having said that, if it is a family member of mine, I want to see them! I am not from a family who is always together all the time. When my Nana came out that was the last time I saw her. I would give anything for her to stay with us again! 

People TALK about coming to visit, more than they do visit. It still costs money to go on vacation, drive or fly. It will make you nervous thinking that EVERYONE is going to known down your door to stay with you, then realize very few actually do.

Of course you may have that cousin overseas who thinks he/she can crash at your place for a month. So you know who they are and will prevent that.

My final thought - after 10 years of running a B&B, if I cannot do what I want when I want to, if I am so strict with my business as to miss out on the important things in life, like friends and family, I will dig myself into a quick grave. Be proud of your place, show it off. They can be great PR for you! smiley

TheBeachHouse's picture
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You make several good points.  I learned long ago that I need to work to live, not live to work.  Family and important moments matter more.  So I appreciate your last paragraph. 

We are good hosts.  We've been told that by many.  At this point, we live in a 4 bedroom house and it is full two or three times during each summer, so the people who have been visiting us in this town for years, will want to continue.  I want them to have a great visit without giving away the farm (or the Inn.)  

I did not realize that using a room without charging was a tax issue, so I am very glad I asked and heard that.   Useful. 

 

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I don't know if this is your place or not...if it is..I suggest a new website quickly.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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hmmm. is this my hazing for being the new kid?

Kay Nein's picture
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The hazing hasn't even begun.  You'll know it when it happens. devil

We all have opinions and some of us sound harsher in text than we really are.  So, search our page for anything you want to know, ask a ton of questions and take whatever useful information you can from all of it.  Don't get offended if you ask everyone's opinion and you hear stuff you don't like.  I've been on this forum only a year and I can't imagine what I would have done without it!  People around me are tired of hearing me say, "On the Innkeeper forum, they said..."  But, they listen because they know it's informed, tried & tested information.

 

Madeleine's picture
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K9 wrote:

The hazing hasn't even begun.  You'll know it when it happens. devil

We all have opinions and some of us sound harsher in text than we really are. ...  But, they listen because they know it's informed, tried & tested information.

 

I am actually a sweetheart in person. Eye-wink

And, yes, the info is tried & tested. It doesn't all work everywhere, but it sure as heck works somewhere!

Madeleine's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

hmmm. is this my hazing for being the new kid?

We are an inherently nosy group. I found the same place yesterday and wondered... Eye-wink

TheBeachHouse's picture
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not me.  to save you lots of trouble, the place isn't called the Beach House.  But if I were to name it, I would name it that.  We aren't planning to change the name even though we don't particularly like it. We want to ease into any changes.  My understanding is that the place has many loyal guests. 

Madeleine's picture
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This is good. It was way too easy to find that place and you don't want guests finding this site if you need to vent!

In re making changes with a loyal following...we waited a year to change anything. (Obv you have to fix broken stuff!) This year I started stripping wallpaper. The very first guests who were big fans of the OO (original owner) had died so I figured I could start making changes! (8 years into it!)

I wanted to strip that wallpaper on Day 1. The older guests thanked me for 'not being rash'. Now they're gone. It may be 'bad enough' for the repeats that you're a new person. Really. You may get some of that. Guests get attached to the owners.

What we did do right off was get all new bedding. That really perked the place up without spending a fortune. We've bought new mattresses and done things the guest don't 'see' but can appreciate. And we've done a ton they can see and appreciate.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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We do plan to get new mattresses.  But not until next spring at the earliest. We will be buying new furniture for the front room/common living room. 

And we know people love the current owner.  So we want to be respectful.

Wallpaper can be a b!tch, eh?

Madeleine's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

Wallpaper can be a b!tch, eh?

Yes indeed. BTW, we have a nanny filter on here so you can spell out Potty Mouth (auto filter)! (see what happens)

Never say bad things about the PO! Let the guests do it for you. We were told they walked on water until some other guests came in and said otherwise. It all depended on who we talked with. Our POs' were not good at repairs. Or updating. But everything was workable for a year.

No idea where you are and you don't have to say, but there's a great place in Portland to get mattresses. Made in Portland.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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I like the idea of the off season rate in season.  Easy to explain, easy to apply and consistent.

I wouldn't apply this to many people, but I do expect some.

Madeleine's picture
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Repeat after me 'This is my business and my livelihood.' You'll need to say that a lot to yourself and to all your friends and rels who think they just struck it rich to know someone with a 'beach house' in New England.

We thought friends and family would show up in droves. They didn't. But, our plan was this - moms & dads stay free, but they have to come in the off season. Siblings stay free, they also have to come in the off season, preferably when we're closed. (BTW, you really can't do 'free' or the IRS looks at you very closely. So we ask everyone to pay something.) Friends? They get the off season rate in season.

I have no idea why hotels can let the owners/CEO's get comped stays but we can't but that's the way I've been told it is.

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It depends on your friends and family. cool

TheBeachHouse's picture
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We'll be open year 'round. 

Are you saying that technically, if I give a rentable room for free, I've violated my Inn designation for tax purposes? 

We have filed schedule E in the past, but not for an Inn (for an apartment.)

Madeleine's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

We'll be open year 'round. 

Are you saying that technically, if I give a rentable room for free, I've violated my Inn designation for tax purposes? 

Yes, exactly. So everyone has to pay something.

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05/22/2008

If you intend to use your B & B rooms as deductions on income tax, you must charge them. Family pays or you have to adjust the number of days you use as a B & B. This has been discussed previously. Of course, we all know people do it all the time and don't report it. But you really need to make it clear that you are a business and it has to be treated as such otherwise your friends and family may take advantage and take up more of your time than guests will.

Flower's picture
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06/19/2011

I guess I am different. I told my family and friends that this is our busy time of year. They are more then welcome in our personal quarters. Our nick name for that room is called the paupers roomLOL.

But if you want to stay in one of our Suites it must be as a paying guest. My sister in law comes every year with her girl friend and stays for 4 days We treat her just like our other guests. She loves it in this area as we have winery after winery.

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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Flower wrote:

I guess I am different. I told my family and friends that this is our busy time of year. They are more then welcome in our personal quarters. Our nick name for that room is called the paupers roomLOL.

But if you want to stay in one of our Suites it must be as a paying guest. My sister in law comes every year with her girl friend and stays for 4 days We treat her just like our other guests. She loves it in this area as we have winery after winery.

We did/do the same. If family/friend stays in our cramped OQ, no charge. Stay in a guest room and they pay. Out of season I'll give a BIG discount, but in season they pay full price. Sometimes I've had them stay at cheaper motels in the area because of their budget.

Flower's picture
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The first few years hubby family came to check out our house. He has a big family. Now they come every year one or the other one.  They are pretty good about coming when it is not crazy.We just bought a motor home so now it is great! they stay there if we are full. They love it as they can come a go as they wish. They could before too. But for some strange reason they felt like they had to hang a round. I supply the breakfast they perpare theirs. As we delivery our guest(paying guest} there breakfast. Then it is clean up time for us and shopping for fresh produce. We reconnect late afternoon and late evening. It is a bit crazy at times .  As we are a "holiday Place to be" so they all love coming here then. Belive it or not we do get some quality time in

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