Are you getting enough business?

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I've been helping B&Bs get more customers. I'm doing a bit of research and need some help.

If you're not making the amount of revenue you want, what do you think your main challenge is with getting more customers?

Thanks, I'd love to hear your input.

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We have played a home-made mix of an Early-American instrumental band for 12 years, every day, day-in day out.  No ASCAP, No fees.

All you need to do is ASK the artist for permission.  It also helps that we SELL their CDs in our little gift shop and feature them at our Front Desk.  Everybody's happy - we purchase their product, we sell product.  They win, we win.  And their music is wonderful, soothing, and hits our "spot".  After-dash-Class-dot com.

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Hi Josh,

I am going to turn the tables on to you.  Try using your knowledge about our industry to help this B&B.  As an avid traveler of B&B's I am sure you have dealt with many challenges.  As a marketing professional wanting to help a business grow, helping them from a travelers perspective may be the best way.

What were the challenges YOU faced in finding a B&B in the area(s) you were traveling? 
When booking, what problems arose?
When you arrived, were you at times overwhelmed with information or forgotten at the door?  

I am sure you now know where I am going with this.  Jot down the issues you have experienced then use that knowledge to assist this place. 
Sorta a kinder, gentler Gor don Ram sey so to speak!
 

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Hi,

Yeah, that's exactly what the process was at the last place I helped. The owner told me his difficulties and I also asked guests about everything. Straightening out the issues then putting some marketing to work made a big difference.

Some owners I have met can have trouble seeing the problems & solutions clearly because they are totally inside the business. I had a business coach for a few years and having an outsider's perspective was a great help.

OnTheShore's picture
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According to the link --

Small business exception: less than 2000 square feet (or less than 3750 square feet for food/beverage service), no license required; if greater than 2000/3750 square feet, no license required so long as you have fewer than 6 speakers or TV's (no more than 4 in any one room).

Suspect that for most B&B's, if you've just got a table-top radio in your breakfast room, you probably don't need a license to have the radio on!

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Here B&Bs are too small. They sent a general letter trying to get licence money, hoping that we were large enough. I read them the definition of a legal B&B and they had to remove us all. Nice try. The only music that I play is from a TV set and therefore licence fees have been set.

One of the record companies send us CDs to play for the guests. I'm still looking for a CD player Smiling

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Josh, it's also a matter of language. What you want is advice, not opinions. Your language came across as a salesperson instead of someone wanted to join the discussion and learn, which is why some people reacted. For the most part anyone who comes to try and sell us things... really doesn't know our business that well and sell us products instead of real solutions. And we are all different in that regard.

That being said, let's see if I can help you...

First, you need for people to know that you exist. So start by creating a website and getting yourself listed EVERYWHERE you can.

Second, you need to get heads in beds before you should really care about being profitable. Why? Because you need people to find you, talk about you and review you online. As your reputation builds, you can raise prices. Don't price TOO low though or you will get the wrong people. This is the hard part, put your prices too high and you get the needy, put them too low and you get the backpackers. Figure out from the places around you what the backpackers are paying and what others in your business are charging and the level above that and base your prices on that. You want to be the splurge for the backpackers and the delight of those who would normally pay more for your level of service.

 

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If you don't know then you can't help.

Sorry we can't try to educate the educator. Yes we are bombarded here and every other way possible. Perhaps that is something you can look into. After 10 calls a day telling us we don't know what we are doing, then on social media, email and forums it gets old. You aren't the first...you may be 185th or so, so don't feel bad. 

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Knowledge is power-what we know came with hard work and sweat. This forum is not a free info to "experts" or marketers but a support and friendly advice to innkeepers-friends.

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I don't feel bad, but It's tough to keep anger in check and not lash out...

Considering this is where innkeepers hangout and I just wanted some honest feedback from them then it obviously is the right place.

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Thanks Camberley....

Pretty harsh responses from the others. Far from the positive group of people I was expecting. I didn't realize it wasn't fair for someone to ask or there was some protocol to follow either.

The reason I ask the question is to find out what issues owners are facing and perhaps find out more. I'd love to chat with some people and see if there are ways I can help and understand their problems.

If others still want to share, I'd like to hear from you. There is nothing for sale here.

P.S. No, I do not write for lifestyle blogs.

Joey Camb's picture
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that would be another challenge we face - to many external people both customers and business see us as a bunch of amateurs - and it comes across badly ie I use a laundry service ie sheets, towels etc all belong to them, they deliver twice a week and if anything has a hole or a mark on it - I just reject them and don't have to pay for them - I have enough to do so this works very well for us.

So  chap from well known electrical brand with a shop in town emails me - you are such an idiot, why don't you do your own laundry it will be much cheaper! you should get our washers and dryers and get with the program -

I am one of the more placid innkeepers on here as you will come to know - but I tore a fricking strip off him! if his attitude had been, have you thought about this? or are you thinking about this? I wouldn't have minded but for someone who has no experience of the industry (against mine and my husbands 37 years) to dare tell me how to run my business got my wool up I can tell you! (wool up is an English expression for really cross)

Also anyone who uses the phrase "its actually really nice here!!" well what did you think it was going to be like? and if so why did you book? and we do have an extensive web site and reviews?

Also huge challenge you will face is making people read anything! I am sure everyone on here will back me up!

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Do you mean the challenge of people not reading signs/rules?

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nope literally anything -

eg we have a car park, we put this everywhere and on everything as its a big selling point as very few other places do, we will get calls, "is there anywhere to park?" even had one stood next to my very large sign in the front garden which says car park at rear asking me if there was any parking

Check in times is my personal favourite - they don't want to read that they want to check in when they fancy it, be that 9am or 2am

 

 

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It must be tough not to get criticism for being snarky, condescending or trying to make people feel stupid!

On the flipside, I stayed in a resort recently that had a sign at the pool saying not to swim if you have had gastroenteritis or diarrhea in the last 14 days. blush Sort of funny! But seriously?

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
they don't want to read that, they want to check in when they fancy it, be that 9am or 2am  do as they please

Applies to all situations, not just checkin!

So the challenge is not just getting heads in beds, it is getting the right heads in beds -- people who appreciate what you have to offer (as opposed to people who expect you to offer what they want you to offer, regardless of what you do offer).

Thus we need clarity in our marketing about what we offer, but also about what we do not. And while clarity is extremely important, it would be nice if people (in general) accepted responsibility for actually comprehending the information that is presented to them.

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Harborfields wrote:

camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
they don't want to read that, they want to check in when they fancy it, be that 9am or 2am  do as they please

Applies to all situations, not just checkin!

So the challenge is not just getting heads in beds, it is getting the right heads in beds -- people who appreciate what you have to offer (as opposed to people who expect you to offer what they want you to offer, regardless of what you do offer).

Thus we need clarity in our marketing about what we offer, but also about what we do not. And while clarity is extremely important, it would be nice if people (in general) accepted responsibility for actually comprehending the information that is presented to them.

excellent points

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Can you tell us who you are, what specifically do you do and how do you b&bs?

Please know that we are bombarded numerous times per day, day after day by people trying to solicit our business and most of them are not upfront with what they offer.

 

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Thank you for your more thoughtful response. I wasn't aware you getting hit with unwanted sale offers.

Of course I'm happy to introduce myself. My name's Josh. I'm 34. Travelling is a very large part of my life. Recently I became very interested in the B&B industry.

The reason is right now I'm in Bali helping a newly established villa in Ubud.

I'm not familiar with all the problems that bed and breakfast are facing. So it seemed obvious to me to ask in the biggest B&B forum for some opinions.

I'm interested in getting more opinions and chatting with people who have had experiences.

I appreciate every honest answer. I hope you understand why I'm here and that I don't want to annoy people.

Thank you!
Josh

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I would think standard protocol when joining in any group where you are not known, an introduction would be in order.

Thank you for telling us Bali. The problems in Bali will be very different than those faced in the States or UK. The problems of doing B & B in New York are VERY different than the problems in West Virginia. Heck, from what I learned in Louisiana in 2006, just going from Parrish to Parrish (like counties) is different rules. Each area has its own problems/challenges. Some can only serve pre-packaged breakfast items. Some can do whatever. I can serve whatever as long as it is only registered guests.

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Hi,

Thanks, I've realized that now. To be honest I'm not a big forum guy.

I'm aware that there are many differences between a B&B in Bali and other places in the world. But of course there are also many similarities. Everybody's B&B goal is to fill the beds and give the visitors a good experience.

One of the main things I'm working on right now is developing the online reputation for this villa. I guess every place has to face this issue.

I wanted to get some ideas on what challenges B&B owners are facing.

Do you have any insights you'd like to share?

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We have been called Sharks among other things. We try to help when we have ascertained it is a legit question and not "plumbing for content or business". We also get a lot of the "we have always dreamed of.... Now what do we do?"  who get angry when we say read books and go to workshops and seminars, read the threads on this Forum...... When we try to rip off the "rose-colored glasses" so they see going into it what work it is. Otherwise we have aided another future disgruntled innkeeper who will give the industry a bad name.  Do as JN suggested - post a poll.

Now if you could figure out how to stop the "dead air" phone calls  at 1 AM and A|GAIN at 5 AM

BTW - if you are not really a Forum person, how did you expect to get answers from a Forum?

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JoshJ wrote:

Hi,

Thanks, I've realized that now. To be honest I'm not a big forum guy.

I'm aware that there are many differences between a B&B in Bali and other places in the world. But of course there are also many similarities. Everybody's B&B goal is to fill the beds and give the visitors a good experience.

One of the main things I'm working on right now is developing the online reputation for this villa. I guess every place has to face this issue.

I wanted to get some ideas on what challenges B&B owners are facing.

Do you have any insights you'd like to share?

May I suggest a poll? You can set up a poll and ask some pointed questions and get a ton of feedback that way. I think that is a great solution.

We are hesitant as we have had this happen so many times here, sorry it comes across harshly. You know the whole once bitten twice shy...saying. smiley

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JoshJ wrote:

 I hope you understand why I'm here and that I don't want to annoy people.

Thank you!
Josh

Sorry Josh, but you still haven't told us what you do and what your skills are! Until we know that, I doubt many will tell you much information.

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I have a lot of experience with online marketing and business turn-arounds. Previously I have mostly been in the health & wellness field. That's how I've earned my money and had the nice opportunity to travel so much and stay in many nice bed and breakfasts and hotels.

I always like to stay in B&Bs because I've experienced that it's often family run and I get to know the family and owner.

I often found myself thinking how to improve the places and had chats with owners about it. That's where I am now. And now I have started working with an owner here in Bali. I'm working with him to improve his newly established business in Bali.

That's my life.

I hope that's enough to know about me to feel free to chat comfortably.

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I find this very insulting that an outsider, never an innkeeper would try to improve something he knows nothing about other than from guests perspective.

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First, I have asked what your challenges were. I didn't presume to know from your perspective.

Secondly, no, I haven't been an innkeeper, but I have skills that can be put to use in your business.

For example, a teacher is usually good at more than just teaching, they're also good at things such as communication, lesson planning, adaptability, crowd control,  and coordinating among different groups (children, parents, administrators, colleagues). Teaching is a noble skill on it's own, but these skills can also be put to use in other areas.

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JoshJ wrote:

Secondly, no, I haven't been an innkeeper, but I have skills that can be put to use in your business.

Josh, you may have skills, but you're definitely not a good communicator. I've asked over and over what those specific skills are and I still have NO CLUE. We're not here to spoon feed you our information.

Best of luck to you. Sorry, but I'm done.

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Me 2

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April wrote:

I find this very insulting that an outsider, never an innkeeper would try to improve something he knows nothing about other than from guests perspective.

Thank you, April, for putting the right word to it. We get guests all the time who KNOW what we SHOULD do to improve our businesses who have no clue what we actually do. My favorites are the marketing suggestions who know absolutely nothing about costs of ads and what goes into marketing. And then there is the how I should operate the business......

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Perhaps the nosy guest doesn't have a place giving advice in certain situations.

I'm not sure how this discussion arrived here. I'm not sure if it's directed towards myself, if so, let me know and I share my opinion about it with you.

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Do not get me started on that one! guests who know so much better than you what you should do!

Its the ones that say I should play a radio in my breakfast room - when I inform them I would need 2 liscences to do so at a cost of $1200 and that I feel the money would be better spent on renovations they are astounded!

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

Do not get me started on that one! guests who know so much better than you what you should do!

Its the ones that say I should play a radio in my breakfast room - when I inform them I would need 2 liscences to do so at a cost of $1200 and that I feel the money would be better spent on renovations they are astounded!

 

Why do you need a license to play a radio?   I'm really interested. 

But in the same vein, I get similar 'suggestions' about breakfast and tell people we are not a licensed restaurant.   And my favorite was, 'you reallly should update the bathrooms.  The fixtures are old fashioned.'  Yes, I know.   As I just mentioned, we've lived here a total of 4 weeks.   We will get to those pesky bathrooms in week 6.  LOL

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We get that as if bathrooms are free - we have done 8 out of 11 in 3 years its not like we aren't trying! you can guarantee that they are in one of the 3 rooms we havn't done yet! room 11's is due to be done in February as we are rearranging the side wall so its not worth doing anything till then. Plus I hope to do room 2's in December which will only leave room 10. Room 10 has a nice big bathroom which could be really lush so I want to save up extra and make it really attractive and a top selling point.

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IF you play the radio at breakfast, you are also liable to licensing fees. My City nust pay fees to ASCAP and another organization if they play the radio at the pool.

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What?!?!?!  This is the craziest thing I've ever heard!

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BananaE29 wrote:

What?!?!?!  This is the craziest thing I've ever heard!

Actually it's true.  This might help explain it.

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Well, this is what I pulled from it, and I don't put myself in this category, so...I consider myself good with that. LOL.

What constitutes a public performance of music?

A public performance is music played "in a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered."

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hmmmm.  I guess it makes sense in the strict sense of copyright.  But we do play CDs in our breakfast room even though they are for our enjoyment only.  I never thought of that. 

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JoshJ wrote:

I've been helping B&Bs get more customers. I'm doing a bit of research and need some help.

If you're not making the amount of revenue you want, what do you think your main challenge is with getting more customers?

Thanks, I'd love to hear your input.

If we knew the challenge we would have the customers...

BTW Who are you? cool Welcome to the forum, and thanks for automatically trying to sell something to us without even getting to know us first...slam bam thank you ma'am.

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Hi Josh! Just a quick heads up...introduce yourself first and explain you write for a lifestyle blog and that you want everyone here to spill their guts so you can write a blog article for money. Otherwise you're not playing fair. If I got that wrong, sorry. But your name sounded familiar.

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mine? the loosing battle against the OTA

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