Discounts and the people who love them

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You know, on another forum there is this very uppity theory that discounting a room is for the low-lifes, you will get back guests by doing this...and some on this forum hold to this train of thought as well. " We would NEVER discount a room!! If they can't afford they can go someplace else!"

I have been on this forum to dispute that theory for a decade now, and that the wealthiest people I have ever met wanted a discount. Is this how they obtain and keep their wealth?  Perhaps.

For that allow me to share a story from today: A couple are looking at a buying a home with land here in our county. They are moving from the most expensive real estate in the USA what I call Fox and Hound and Horse country...(Loudoun County Virginia).

it says online on Forbes:

                   Loudoun County weighs in as the richest county in America. 520 square miles, 25 miles from DC.

                   Four of the five wealthiest counties in the United States are in the D.C. area. (The fifth is in New Jersey.)

Did they want the discount? Yes.

They currently pay $30,000 a year in property tax where they are now. They wanted the $10 discount to stay here. On the other forum it has been said "We don't want those people here who want a discount!" and I find it absurd.  This has not been the first ultra wealthy person who wanted the discount, they all do!  

The difference here is that those who are not uber wealthy (ie working class people, military "Joe-the-Plumbers" of the world) are the ones who appreciate everything and leave a gratuity. This has been the case in 75%+ of the instances to date. heart

I just wanted to share this info, because it always gets stuck in my craw when people assume only poor people want a discount and wealthy people don't.

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

You know, on another forum there is this very uppity theory that discounting a room is for the low-lifes, you will get back guests by doing this...and some on this forum hold to this train of thought as well. " We would NEVER discount a room!! If they can't afford they can go someplace else!"

It's the 'uppity' part that is the problem. What works for some will not work for others. There's no reason to be 'uppity'.

With our demographics and our niche, discounting isn't the best thing for us and frankly, it doesn't work FOR US. I've tried it. It did not increase our business and I made less money.

A colleague 30 minutes away in a larger town with tons of hotel/motel rooms does a big discount on really slow months and it works for her because travelers can get ocean front rooms for $50 a night. It keeps her going, and that's what I think is the most important. I won't do it for our property, but that doesn't mean we're better, just different.

The 'uppity' that I hate is when you meet an innkeeper and their first breath (sometimes even before their name) is they are Select Registry which implies if you are not, you're the 'low-life'! Don't get me wrong, SR is fine, it's the class system attitude that some have.

 

Madeleine's picture
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Breakfast Diva wrote:

The 'uppity' that I hate is when you meet an innkeeper and their first breath (sometimes even before their name) is they are Select Registry which implies if you are not, you're the 'low-life'! Don't get me wrong, SR is fine, it's the class system attitude that some have.

 

Luckily for me I know some really down to earth SR innkeepers because I feel like chopped liver around most of them.

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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It's mostly at conferences where it's unbearable. I know we have SR innkeepers here on the forum and I've never felt it from them yes

Skamokawa's picture
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Some of my best inn-keeping friends are SR wink

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I agree with everyone's comments.

Overall I just wanted to share that we don't need to be afraid of discounts, we don't need to consider the low-lifes the ones who ask or want a discount. It is just not the case, everyone likes a discount.  yes

So for your marketing in 2014...something to consider.

Madeleine's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

 

Overall I just wanted to share that we don't need to be afraid of discounts,

Odd at a time when I am getting rid of the 'frequent sleeper' discount as repeat guests dropout, move on, plain old die. I am replacing it with a gift. A box of local chocolates, our mugs, a local bakery's cookies. Something that is not quite the cost to us of giving the original discount but spreads the wealth around town and more so shows the guest we care.

I have also, when I've been quick enough to think of it, offered tickets to museums, etc when someone wants a discount.

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Madeleine wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

 

Overall I just wanted to share that we don't need to be afraid of discounts,

Odd at a time when I am getting rid of the 'frequent sleeper' discount as repeat guests dropout, move on, plain old die. I am replacing it with a gift. A box of local chocolates, our mugs, a local bakery's cookies. Something that is not quite the cost to us of giving the original discount but spreads the wealth around town and more so shows the guest we care.

I have also, when I've been quick enough to think of it, offered tickets to museums, etc when someone wants a discount.

We are apples and oranges, as you are a destination location. And you have many inns nearby. Do any of them discount? or just package?

I love hearing from everyone here and who and why their guests are there. If someone came here for a show or such they would have bought the tickets first. Even though there are some amazing places to go, it is the cart and horse scenario.  One day it will all click and I will find the perfect methodology.

Madeleine's picture
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Discounting - I would say on an ad hoc basis almost everyone will knock off $10. Packages are pretty popular and everyone has something. A lot of us have very similar offerings.

And it's always good to temper what works with the knowledge of the surrounding environment. Absolutely. We get hit really hard with discount shoppers in the between seasons. Right after Labor Day I cannot sell rooms at full price. Not a chance. Those are the 'hey it's after Labor Day, prices are really low now' people who choke when I tell them, 'No, it's not winter, no it's not 'off season', no, I still have 2 months of peak season left to go.'

Many of them are walk-ins who totally bought the media saying, 'The summer season is over, prices are dropping, buy now!!!' that more applies to beach properties in low market areas.

Next big hit is after Columbus Day when the same song and dance starts again. Leaf season is over. Not here it isn't!

Then, try selling a room at a shoulder season price in May. Like pulling teeth. I have to keep winter rates going. (Me, BTW, not other places. It's our market. Not the 'romance' crowd.)

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

No one knows anyone else's financial situation. Teddy Roosevelt was rich yet he was constantly writing books and articles to stay afloat. People look at us as if we are at least "comfortable" because we live in a big house and own a business and yes, I DO contribute to more things than I should. (We sponsor things in town like a team for kids basketball, the tree for the cemetery project, girl scout troop, Turkey Trot, etc) 

You read in the papers about the person who lived like a beggar all their life and leaves millions to a college or hospital. There is so much fixation on rich/poor - not here, but you know what I mean - that too many people do not just enjoy what they have. Everything is relative to what is important in one's own life. A big bank account would make DH happy as a clam but taking a trip is more important to me. It is all relative.....

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The wealthiest seem to always be the worst and neediest. I know several folks in that county...they live from paycheck to paycheck. But act like they are rich Sad

Generic's picture
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I'm of two minds. We have a regular discount related to booking 2 or more nights and a few special packages that have to be paid in cash, so there is no CC surcharges to worry about. But I get people who try to get me to discount even more than that. And that, I don't do. I don't think it is fair to others that some pay more than others because they ask for it. We want to be fair to all.

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Madeleine's picture
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BTW, we don't get a lot of 'Joe Plumber' here, either, at least not judging by the tips. Maybe Joe's boss, but not Joe. Tips here are few and far between.

Madeleine's picture
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It's all kinds of people who want discounts. I think it's the approach that rankles. The 'I can get a room for $59 why should you charge me more than that?' crowd. The kind who call and demand a discount because of whatever affiliation they have to something that is not even an affiliation to US.

They don't know us, don't know what we provide, the strictly price conscious shopper.

The other is the 'song and sob story' crowd that 'really love your website and want to stay but...' and you can fill in the blank with tales of lost jobs, cancer, whatever. I am not a charity. I really don't want to make an exception and give you a room for $100 off so you can have this 'special' time.

We don't tend to get what might be considered 'poor' people around here. People for whom this is a really big, once/year  splurge. There are lots who definitely shop on the price alone and will stay at the $59 hotels. Their reviews show they know there are 'better' places but they are 'just sleeping' so don't want to pay more.

So, yes, people asking for discounts are all sorts of people. And once you've made a connection, giving a discount is a lot easier than some random caller wanting whatever you're selling for less than the other guy got it for.

 

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I have not had a song and sob story lately...used to have them more regularly.

gillumhouse's picture
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Wealthy people are not the ones who usually leave tips here. One of my Vet couples this year was a young couple who did things that cost little ort nothing - played Monop in the dining room, walked the trail and the town, looked at covered bridges... The tip they left me touched me more than any tip left by the folks in a Porche - oh, that is right, they did not leave one.

Do not misunderstand, I am not anti-wealthy people - I keep hoping to be one some day. It is when it comes from the heart is when it means most. (And my wealthy uncle looked for every discount he could get - he worked for every nickel he had and he knew the value of a discount.)

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