Directory listing

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greyswan's picture
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I just received an email showing that I was listed with theinnkeeper.com directory...... for a free 4 month trial and after which I would then pay$XXX amount... Whaaaattttt?   Has anyone else received this?

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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Posting anon was to be able to post funny or amusing guest stories.  Which we like to do.  We actually enjoy our guests and our businesses.

It was never meant to be armour against a bed and breakfast directory, which it now has become. Good luck pulling anyone out of their protective shell now!

Word today that yet another directory was lurking here.  That makes it 3 or 4 (that I know of) since this conversation started. 

__________________

"What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds." Will Rogers

 

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How do regular posters feel about other directories lurking/posting anonymously?  Might be a good topic for a new thread, or even a poll.  The reason we do not do this is that I think it would seem odd if you didn't know I was from a specific company, yet I was posting in defense of my company.  Isn't there some type of forum etiquette that says if you are going to post in discussions regarding your own business or competitors businesses, that you must identify you are indeed a stakeholder in the conversation so that folks understand this?

__________________

John Banczak
Owner
Inn Above Onion Creek

 

gillumhouse's picture
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Lurking and saying nothing shows restraint in many cases. However, anyone is permitted to lurk. Anyone who posts anonymously is found out - we are not a stupid lot - altough they will not be exposed as long as they are genuine in what they say. Many detectives here.

Many people have exhibited intelligence until they opened their mouths. I, for one, have no problem with an opinion being expressed by anyone/everyone (as themselves or anon) as long as it is kept civil and factual. Yes, we all (and I mean human beings as we all) get emotional when the right buttons are pushed, just do not get personal nor judgemental to any and all who disagree. I do not believe anyone issued a personal attack on anyone from bandb - just stated a disgruntled issue and why and from that point on attempted to get someone to understand our issue - or even try to understand it.

We have been trying for way too long to get the point across that without a web link - that the rest of the world considers a standard item - your Bronze listing is useless and that is the level that the small inn can afford. We are giving you the answer on a silver platter! One that should have been figured out in your own Board Room - make it in quantity. There is probably more money to be made by adding the web link to Bronze and getting all those small inns that cannot afford the Silver Platter demanded of us. Do you not think a press release that could say we list 14,000 inns would make a much bigger impression than we list 7,000?

This Forum tries to help everyone - even bandb.com........

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Sounds like we are all on the same page then.  I thought I had read that another directory had posted anonymously here, but I think we are up to 100 posts now so losing track.  I agree that innkeepers should be able to post anonymously - just wouldn't think that vendors of any kind would.

 

muirford's picture
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You mis-take my point.  It is not the posting anonymously that will garner attention.  It is any post that recommends a product without reservation, whether the promoter is anonymous or known.  Vendors can post anonymously if they want to.  If we ask what kind of beverage people like to drink in the a.m. and you post an answer to that anonymously - that's fine, we don't care that you work for bandb.com.

__________________

Jeanne

There are no rules, just follow your heart. ~ Robin Williams

 

swirt's picture
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There are some posting anonymously and as long as they are not deceptive (promoting themselves or demoting others) about it they are welcome to participate and share.  Some just "listen in" as a way of staying connected.  I think it helps them understand their clientelle that much better than listening to a crowd at a conference round-table or presentation.

If they are presenting themselves anonymously, I have no tolerance for self-promotion or game playing.  If they are presenting themselves openly (as you, Eric, and Sandy do) then some self-promotion is allowable. 

Of course it is always possible that someone may sneak-in and create an anonymous account and not give any hint at who they are, but as Muirford and Guilumhouse mentioned, when they start opening their mouth, they often reveal more than they realize.

I think you and Eric and Sandy certainly get credit (as many have already said) for coming here openly and representing bedandbreakfast.com openly.  Personally, I may not always agree with what you say or the arguments used.  I also think that you (more so than Eric or Sandy) have seen some benefit from coming here (or this forum's predecessor) and listening.  You've asked for feedback on various things over the past year or so and I think you've gone away with some useful info. 

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I agree - particularly on our RezOvation product.  We made a number of changes to the product as a direct result of this forum.  Specifially last January on the availability calendar product, and more recently on the credit card security stuff.  Sometimes we can't make them all whether it is due to programming time, other users want something else, but we try to be an open book on the UI.  If you guys would want to see it, I'd post every change we plan on there before it goes live since usability can be so tricky.

swirt's picture
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You are welcome and encouraged to ask about anything you want some feedback or suggestions on.  I've seen you carry out many of the suggestions that have been offered (at least the technical ones) in the past so I have no reservations about taking time to respond to your requests for feedback. 

And if you ever have questions about raising your rates, I'm sure there will be lots of ready suggestions on that too  (sorry it's the best emoticon I have to represent sarcasm)

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JBanczak wrote:

Sounds like we are all on the same page then.  I thought I had read that another directory had posted anonymously here, but I think we are up to 100 posts now so losing track.  I agree that innkeepers should be able to post anonymously - just wouldn't think that vendors of any kind would.

As stated by others, anyone can post anonymously, directory or innkeeper or aspiring or spammer.  But if you (meaning the general, all-of-the-above you) make a claim we're going to examine it, discuss it, pick it apart, and come to our own conclusion about what is said.

Yes, other directories post, but, as Swirt said, not in response to your comments (so far).  They have practiced admirable restraint and earned our respect because of it.  I assume that if and when they can no longer restrain themselves they will identify themselves when they post.

As it says in the FAQ's: 

What about self promotion?As long as your self-promotion is appropriate and innkeeper related, it's no problem.  If you sell something we innkeepers can use (embroidery, soaps, mugs, website design, etc.) then we want to know about it.  If you're a regular, active member of the forum, we particularly want to help promote you.  If, on the other hand, you are only here to promote a non-innkeeping product (drugs, porn, spam) expect to be deleted, blocked, and ridiculed in very short order.FAIR WARNING:  You had better be brave if you're not legit (especially for website seo and design services).  If you're not legit, we'll tear you to pieces and expose you for the foul fraud you are.  Everyone else is welcomed with open arms.

 

See... it's not just you.  You think you have it tough?  Go back and read what we did to the scam website designer who meandered on here!  Shredded to pieces, trod into the mud, tarred and... well, you get the idea.

=)
Kk.

muirford's picture
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Any poster on this board who either promotes or defends any company generally gets called on to defend their position.  We do our research independently and draw our own conclusions which we almost always post.  There have been some posters with new directories or B&B services who have got the pros and the cons of their offerings pointed out very clearly and precisely here.

This forum is run by innkeepers and for innkeepers and aspirings.  Innkeepers have reasons to have their identities masked on this kind of forum.  You don't have to say who you are - you will get the same response if you are John Doe Innkeeper promoting the BedandBreakfast.com directory, trust me.

swirt's picture
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Lurking and posting anonymously are no problem.  It is when the business posts anonymously either promoting themselves or demoting competitors that they would get called on it and exposed. 

I may not always be able to detect it, but I can assure you that to date (3pm October 2nd)  anyone that has posted anonymously in support or opposition to your product discussions has not been a competitor of yours. 

If I think a person is abusing their anonymity, as described in the terms of use, I will expose the abuser and not allow it to continue.  You have my word on that.

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JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

Word today that yet another directory was lurking here.  That makes it 3 or 4 (that I know of) since this conversation started. 

Interesting to see how much power the "little guys"  really have. Think the directories are nervous?

I've been RIVETED to my computer since this started. I have applauded you guys and cheered to my screen, given myself a high five, pumped my fist, all of that when you've "scored a point". You all really are something that I "aspire" to be: honest, forthright, display integrity, no holds barred, velvet fisted people.

This couple of threads are worth the price of admission and far exceed what I would learn at some boring, old, Aspiring Innkeeper Seminar!!

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emspiers wrote:

JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

Word today that yet another directory was lurking here.  That makes it 3 or 4 (that I know of) since this conversation started. 

Interesting to see how much power the "little guys"  really have. Think the directories are nervous?

I've been RIVETED to my computer since this started. I have applauded you guys and cheered to my screen, given myself a high five, pumped my fist, all of that when you've "scored a point". You all really are something that I "aspire" to be: honest, forthright, display integrity, no holds barred, velvet fisted people.

This couple of threads are worth the price of admission and far exceed what I would learn at some boring, old, Aspiring Innkeeper Seminar!!

ROTFLOL!

And glad to be of service... 

=)
Kk.

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Eric, as I stated in my post, what that other directory did was not ethical - to that point we agree.  As for the other issue of my post, I clearly stated it was not comparing apples to apples, I was just making a point (as I see it) that there are times when I feel that your directory does things that are not quite ethical as well.  I know we disagree here.  Additionally my point regarding the hotels.com issue was to state that we did not hear Lanier whinning about you sweeping the contact away from her, period.  She was very professional in letting those in the program know the program was ending. 

Regarding the Hotels.com issue, I would like to add some of those additional facts you felt compelled to leave out when you wanted to present the facts - the 30% commission. This is at least 10% more than when the other directory had the agreement.  From what I am understanding from your site (correct me if I am wrong - I know you will), a member is not required to use your guest management system to be signed up for this so why should that have been an issue? 

For the other directory, as far as the members knew having this was a bonus for being a member.  They may have gotten a kick back ( I don't know) but to the members there was no additional cost and the 20% was (is) right around industry standard regarding commissions for online bookings (based on my research).  The company I use to be on the GDS charges between 15% and 18%,  so that puts your program a good 10% more than others.  Also based on the many other nickel and diming you are doing on your site, I am quite sure you are making a good bit of commission off this program.  (Intergrating the EFT payment was a nice addition I might say but it personally would not have been a deal maker for me.)

About the WHINNING - give me a break.  This reminds me of when my daughter was young.  My DH would tell her to stop crying and her reply in a whinning little voice "Daddy, I'm not crying I'm whinning."  There are many ways to get your point across that would not be viewed as whinning, give it some thought before you post.  Sorry, I just call it as I see it! 

To be very frank with you, your site is very nice and you DO a good job in promoting the industry.  I would not have joined if I felt differently.  - Yes I am a member.  I will see at the end of the 12 month membership if all this hype you give here produces enough business for me to justify the cost with the 30% increase.  At this time I do not use any of your other promotions that cost me money (i.e. GC, online rez., etc) for I feel my membership cost should reflect bookings for what I am getting from my listing.  The additional services (programs) you offer are at an additional cost, with the value of those services being reflected by the cost of each. 

And yes, your comment in another post about your membership cost affecting the 'smaller' B&B's is a good observation.  One that has been made by several of the posters here (and previous site) for several years (even before the last 30% increase).  Finally you are addressing it, at least by providing the monthly payments.  I know I have stated in many posts about your 'nickel and diming' but seriously maybe you should look into a membership level between the bronze and silver or have a tack on (be fair) at the bronze level to add a website link so the 'smaller' B&B's (to which there are many more than we all know) can possibly justify listing on your site and help to put them in the same playing field. 

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To clarify here, the Lanier-Hotels.com deal was 30%.  If there were inns at 20%, then I'm guessing that would be an exception.  We have a copy of the Lanier contract, and we also made Expedia/hotels.com warrant to us that we would be giving innkeepers exactly the same pricing as was done through Lanier.

I'd be happy to explain the differences in the extranets used and payment processed used in the days Lanier resold the product vs. now if you would like me to, but I'm trying to be conscious of promoting our product, so if you'd rather not have me spell them out, not a problem.  I'm also happy to talk about GDS economics - we have a GDS link here and have done a lot of presenting on it - usually more why inn's don't need one...  which I know sounds strange coming from a GDS provider...

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Eric, why? Why is it so important you know who each other is? Does it make an opinion any more valid? Do you want my social security number too? That is not the point of this forum nor the intent of its creators. You have chosen to flagrantly put yourself in our faces, you chose to use your name and company, but there is no expectation that that is the way it is to be.

You have such an eccentric way of continuously rubbing us the wrong way and truly sounding condescending while denying you are doing just that very thing!

One last thing, making negative assumptions as to why your competition has chosen not to enter into these forums does not help you at all. You don't have to put others down to be validated. Do you really not see how judgmental you sound?

 

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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We have also had another very popular bed and breakfast directory person on here of late who read but did not post ANYTHING TO DEFEND, PROMOTE or PUSH themselves on the innkeepers or otherwise.  I applaud them.  It would have been VERY difficult to hold back. In fact said they will continue to represent the innkeepers, small and large as best they can in all marketing and otherwise. (my wording)

 

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This "limited number of innkeepers" should be looked upon as a poll - you know, those things that get taken to see which way the wind is blowing today. Only a limited number of people are contacted and that is exterpolated (whatever the spelling) to replfect what is thought to be true today.

We may be a limited number on this Forum but we represent all areas of the United States, several areas of Canada, and have opinions from Mexico.

And I thoroughly resent that comment alluding to the lunar cycle - I do not believe for one minute that it referred to the phases of the moon. Tap dance all you want on that comment but you will be digging a deeper hole in the manure pile with me on that one. It was totally uncalled for.

Eric Goldreyer's picture
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Good point GillumHouse.  My assumption (probably incorrectly because as I stated ealier, we all know what happens when one "assumes") based upon what I have seen posted and by whom (it's not always easy to tell who's who here which is a little weird and also makes it hard to tell property size/location, etc.) was that the group tended to have a smaller than average property size - meaning that if the average property in the US is 8 rooms, I was assuming maybe you guys were more like the 3-5 rooms (on average).  I still don't actually know if that is correct or not, but i guess it is not too important.  The point i was trying to make was that I can see a situation where unfortunately our pricing effects the smaller properties more than the larger ones.

I can assure you that you completly misinterpreted my "lunar cycle" comment.  I was a trying to say in a light-hearted way - What is is the negativity based on.  Is it the message, or something completely out of my control (like a "lunar cycle").  No need to overreact.  I was simply trying to lighten up the discussions as they seem to be somewhat heavy.  I'll stop doing that because someone actually answered my joke question about what an onomatpiea is...  ;^) 

I followed up on the timing of the notice we sent to innkeepers.  It was scheduled to drop on Wednesday and for whatever reason did not go out until Friday.  That is totally my fault for not being aware of that and I tale the blame.  Due to this fact, we will not be implementing the new rate structure until this Friday, October 3rd.  My apologies!

I'll try and dig through a few more of these real quick...

Thanks,

Eric

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Eric Goldreyer
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BedandBreakfast.com

 

swirt's picture
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Eric wrote:
...was that the group tended to have a smaller than average property size - meaning that if the average property in the US is 8 rooms, I was assuming maybe you guys were more like the 3-5 rooms (on average).

Just checking that you do understand the way an average (mean) works when dealing with a sample that never goes to zero and rarely goes to one.  If you have an average of 8 it means that MORE than half of the sample is below average because the higher room counts for larger inns make it a non-normal distribution.  The same is true for ADR.  An ADR of $170 indicates that MORE than half are below that ADR.  So assuming that the members here are below average in room count or ADR, is actually an indication that they are more the norm than the exception.

In terms of my area, the ADR may be close but the room numbers are way off.  In NY a B&B is anything with 5 or fewer rooms and here in the Finger Lakes  there are over 100 B&B's (even if they call themselves an inn) and only 5 or 6 true inns (having more than 5 rooms)

 

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NOTE:  Sorry for the long paragraphs...where did my breaks go? 

swirt's picture
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Sometimes if you paste in from a word processor the formatting from the word processor injects a lot of other junk that then gets pulled out by the forum software.  Sometimes paragraph breaks get caught in the crossfire. 

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 I feel compelled to add my opinion here regarding the so call plagiarism by the other directory.   Having studied journalism (many years ago) I agree with those that state that the information placed in the press release is free game. BUT I do feel as though, because of its use, that it really was an unethical act on that directories part.   Illegal not, unethical yes, even if they were to give credit for the content.   (But John, I must say your example of the medical breakthrough was ridiculous.) I do find this less unethical than what B&B.com did when they swiped the hotels.com deal away from Lanier several years ago. Of course we are not going to see eye to eye on that one!!! But did Lanier go around publicity bashing B&B.com, NO. They just went on with their business.   I know this is not comparing apples to apples, just making note that I for one do not see BandB.com as a shining star either!

  I do tire of every time John, Eric or now even Sandy makes comments on this forum it always reverts back to COST and why they have to raise their rates or tack on this expense or that expense. To quote John in his post #15130 on this topic “This is just one more example of why our directory is more expensive.  Forget the fact that we drive more traffic, but we actually employ people who need to make a living here to put together original content, in addition to everything else we do.”   Then Eric says “It's not that we expect a pat on the back”  What?????? Sorry, it sure looks that way as well as filling those pockets with that extra 30%!  Now you are here whining about spending your day out of town trying to help the industry...In a way, isn't that in the best interest for your business?  If there was no B&B industry, you would be starting over!  Seems like a no brainer to me!  Yes, there are other directory posters on this forum, one which posted in this thread. They are here to add helpful content on topics that we are addressing, not constantly promoting and defending their sites here. It was because of one of your (Eric or John) posts when I was lerking on this site, that I posted that I would like the site to be for “innkeepers only”.   I still, for the most part, feel that way but understand how difficult it would be to achieve.   On the other hand, if it were closed to view staff at all the directories would not be reading all the things that ‘we’ the innkeepers would like, dislike or need by all the online directories.

 

Eric Goldreyer's picture
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Copperhead,

I do not see how you compare someone taking our original content and displaying it on their own site and changing the links (that were a part of the original content they took as well) to point them to their own property listings with a straight out fair compepition.  You are right that they are not even close to being apples to apples and this is a completely and totally different point/issue.  Now if I go on to explain the differences so folkks have a clear/better understanding of the actual facts, some of you will say we are "promoting" ourselves or saying this to get a "pat on the back"...?  We are posting about us because we are the discussion.  We feel adding facts to the discussion should be helpful for everyone in the discussion.

To be clear in the Lanier Hotels.com scenario, we built iour own custom in-house end-to-end online reservation system with our own technology designed specifically for innkeepers and the B&B industry - versus simply "selling" the existing hotels.com product/extranet like the Lanier folks did.

We got innkeepers involved and used our first-hand knowledge from being in the internet travel space and not a guidebook author to bring the experience to the table to actually build a better online reservation program for the industry.  Our system made it much easier for innkeepers to upload and manage their information, import all of their existing content from their BBCOM listing, get the actaul contact information of the guest, and get paid instantly via EFT at check-out versus reconciling and invoicing hotels.com and waiting for a check. 

We had approximately 500-600 properties already on our program (many who were getting off of Lanier's/hotels.com's program to get on ours) before hotels.com approached us and wanted to work with us.

We made a considerable investment and then competed fairly for the chance to provide hotels.com with their inventory,  AND then added in Expedia which Lanier did not have and that drives 10 times more traffic than hotels.com.

Just my take but that is cleary different than just stealing someone else's work and I wanted this discussion to have the facts behind the assumptions.  So I don't know what grouns folks at Lanier would have to say negative thinsg about us other than being upset.  We competed fairly.  We didn't steal their extranet/data schema/etc...

Finally, I am not whining.  Please quit saying I am.  I promise you I am sitting at my desk thrying to logically reply to the various posts here.  if you guys think every time we try to give you explanations/reasons behind why we do what we do or charge what we do is whining, then go ahead and feel that way.  We just "assumed", maybe incorrectly, that someone with the facts would "get it" or understand.  I certainly am not whining or bummed I am here in vegas at this conference.  It's a fun industry to be in.  My comment at the end of that last post about joing my other "B&B directory buddies ot find more ways to promote the industry" was again a toune-in'cheek way to TRY and let you guys know that they are not here.  The other B&B directories do not do this.  I am not saying this so you can congratulate me and give me a ribbon.  I am simply trying to help educate you guys that to create the leading directory requires doing a lot of things that others do not do.  It is not an accident.  I guess I can understand if some of you guys could care less.  But we thought with the facts, you would understand a little better.  Maybe not...

Thanks.

Eric

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Copperhead wrote:
I still, for the most part, feel that way but understand how difficult it would be to achieve.   On the other hand, if it were closed to view staff at all the directories would not be reading all the things that ‘we’ the innkeepers would like, dislike or need by all the online directories.

Glad you see it... and glad you're here!

=)
Kk.

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Thanks for the welcome, Swirt!

I would still like to hear an answer to my question, and it seems the answer could have come from Sandy or Eric and not just John. The question is, that since you all feel so strongly that the other site stole your hard work and that you have been wronged, have you actually contacted and talked to anyone at that site? It was put before the public in this forum, but confronting them first, privately, seems like the right way to handle an issue. Cuz two wrongs don't make it right!

The other thing I hear is, Eric, you sure seem to take a personal affront to the negative comments, and your assumptions about why it is affecting those of us who show an attitude contrary to yours is completely condescending. And they were true, then it defies your rationale for raising your prices!

You keep going on and on promoting how great you guys are and NO ONE else is as great as you guys. The reality is that you are part of a huge company which allows you to afford much more and quote lots of big statistics to prove it. So you raised your rates and feel justified doing so. Fine. Now just let us decide what is best for us and stop whining that we don't love you after all you have done for us and the industry. It sure sounds like posturing to me and it isn't becoming.

Eric Goldreyer's picture
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Sorry... I didn't get your name...?

Because it gets annoying and we think innkeepers should see the type of ethics some of the other folks in the industry have.  I guess this tells you a little about us and a little about them... 

I didn't realize there was anything wrong with being so tied into and caring so much about the business that I take it personally...??  It's my company.  Seems to be somewhat logical as the face of the company and someone (anyone for that matter) that pours everything they have into something - be passionate about it and take negative feedback personally.  I guess I do not see that as a negative quality.  But you feel free to see it however you like.  I am not lecturing or trying to convert you.  I am explaining my POV.  Maybe I should just not give a toot...

I see nothing wrong with the logic of raising my prices no more than I would expect you as a business person not to set your room prices based upon what folks could afford to pay but rather based on the value you provide and the costs you incur.  I don't see many innkeepers, based on my logic, keeping their prices low for the couple that wouuld love to travel and stay at a B&B but because of their jobs, cannot afford this particular property. 

I fail to see how saying that maybe our policies are having an adverse effect on you guys more specifically as a group (since you do not appear to be a good representative sample of the greater innkeeper population), is condenscending.  It certainly was not meant to be. But I will not try to figure out the logic...

Let's be clear, I am not "promoting".  I am spending valuable time on this board attempting to share with you uwhy we feel the way we do.  My best educated way in understanding how to do that is to share data with you that "should" explain our position and why we feel the way we do.  It doesn't have a thing to do with "promoting".  I am sharing/stating facts of data.  i do not understand why you seem to always turn that into "promoting" or "whining"...?   Seriously.  I don't.  Honestly I have not seen any of our posts as "whiny".  You seem to think if we have a differing point of view or share with you something that we feel helps explain our position, we are "whining"...  I just havwe to tell you, it sounds like you are projecting...

Sorry.  I have to go.  I have spend the day here in Vegas with all of my other leading B&B directory buddies finding more ways to get exposure for our members...

Cheers,

Eric

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I actually agree with you that another directory (or business) that takes something you've written and presents it as their own is unconscionable.  Press release, newsletter, whatever.  Legal, schmegal...it was wrong.  They knew what they were doing.  It is bad form. 

However, I think it was also bad form how y'all handled this commission price increase on the gift cards for one.  I just signed up on your directory & personally chatted with your rep, not once or twice, but three times and it was never mentioned.  The only notice I personally got was the notice on my Home Base page.  I think you could have handled this better since you are a "leading B&B directory".  You can set the standard for this sort of thing, instead of basically springing it on your members.  

Times are tight, travel is down, costs are up for everything...we'll all make tough decisions about where to spend our dollars (or lack thereof) in the near future.  Most innkeepers (with the exception of quite large properties which are the smallest percentage....where is that exact PAII statistic when I need it!) are just average Joes (or Josephines).  We do this because we have a passion for it, but we need to eat, pay the bills, and plan for retirement (what's that??), too. 

I think you're being a bit defensive about some of this...you should take your lumps for not handling these increases the right way.  But, I could be saying all this because I miss Austin and you get to work there and I'm jealous.....

 

 

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People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
~ Anton Chekhov

 

Eric Goldreyer's picture
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Samster,

Very fair points.  We will keep this in mind going forward.

Thanks,

Eric

PS.  Feel free to come see us in Austin!  We host an innkeeper open house every summer with lunch, but the doors are always open any time of the year!

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Thanks for the invite but travel is out right now because I'm paying for directory listings to get my new business going!!   Summer when I have no guests might be possible if I make some $$.  haha!

I am curious...when you (Eric) specifically talk about ADR, are you talking about published "rack" rates?  Or what we actually sell our rooms for?  Our average rate here is $180/night but that is not the average amount that I've sold my rooms over our first 6 months in business:  military discounts, grand opening discounts, Summer (low season) discounts, etc. all come into play.  That is a little statistical snafu right there.  My $180 ADR sounds good, but it's not reality

PS...Edited to add:  Many of us are anonymous on here to protect the guilty, which would mostly include bad guests!  This is a forum where we do feel comfortable to kvetch about obnoxious or unruly guests. 

inncogneeto's picture
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Wow, you know, it was hard enough to swallow the breaking of your  terms and agreements and the idea of forking out even more money to you before all of your posts.... After seeing where this has gone with all of your replies, particularly the condescention, wow, you've said a lot here in the course of this discussion, and it's reflected a lot of light on you and your business. 

Remember, we too, refer other B&B's and aspirings to you.

I think I seriously need to reconsider whether I want to do business with B&B.com at all. "You ain't all that!"

And another thing, I think we are a great representation of your average innkeeper. Perhaps we should do a poll on how many of us came here via the message boards on bandb.com. I did.

 

Eric Goldreyer's picture
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I have to say I think it is a bit odd that folks can post anonymously here.  It doesn't seem right to be able to say whatever you want and not even let folks know who you are.  It seems folkks would be a little more cordial and professional if everyone had th ebenefit of knowing who they were... We are not hiding...  but whatever...

The lack of a seven day notice was my fault as I posted on another reply already and we have changed the new rates to not go into effect until Friday.

Eric

PS.  Where was i condscending?

swirt's picture
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Quote:
I have to say I think it is a bit odd that folks can post anonymously here.  It doesn't seem right to be able to say whatever you want and not even let folks know who you are. 

That comment doesn't carry a lot of weight when your own forum also allows anonymous posts. 

muirford's picture
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Not to mention anonymous reviews!

YellowSocks's picture
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Eric Goldreyer wrote:

I have to say I think it is a bit odd that folks can post anonymously here.  It doesn't seem right to be able to say whatever you want and not even let folks know who you are.  It seems folkks would be a little more cordial and professional if everyone had th ebenefit of knowing who they were... We are not hiding...  but whatever...

We all know who each other are.

When a new person comes on anonymously, it's a big mystery puzzle to solve, which we eventually do.  A person who is not anonymous is immediately Googled, and their website checked out.  The anonymous ones take longer, but we know who they are, too.  (It's not that big of a group of regulars.)

But they have nothing to fear from us.  If someone chooses to post anonymously we respect that anonymity and try to preserve it.  It allows innkeepers to vent about their more difficult guests (PITAs), which is, after all, a major purpose of this forum.

There are people on here from all over the US, Canada, Mexico, and we have a few occasional posters from various countries overseas.  The smallest regular posters have 1-2 rooms (well, I suppose the truly smallest are the aspirings who don't have any rooms yet!).  The largest I know of has 8 rooms (unless there's a larger one here I'm forgetting about).

I don't know about "the industry" averages.  I know that as I look around me, I see only two inns in my area with more than 4 rooms (one is more resort than inn), but there are quite a few with 2-3 rooms.  They are not members of PAII, or listed on B&B.com, so I don't know if maybe they don't get included in "the industry" when the statisticians do their averaging.  But they are out there, in droves.  They're out there with poor or nonexistent websites, and with no online reservations, but they're out there.  We're traveling at Thanksgiving... only two B&B's in the town we're visiting, neither take credit cards.  I feel as though these B&B's are invisible to you guys.  It's a shame, because there are literally thousands of them, and no one advocating for them....

=)
Kk.

IronGate's picture
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Eric Goldreyer wrote:

I have to say I think it is a bit odd that folks can post anonymously here.  It doesn't seem right to be able to say whatever you want and not even let folks know who you are.  It seems folkks would be a little more cordial and professional if everyone had th ebenefit of knowing who they were... We are not hiding...  but whatever...

. . .

People don't have to post at all.

But they do.

__________________

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

 

Innkeep's picture
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I am nearing one year in operation.  I was an aspiring for two years, and very early on I discovered this site's predecessor.  From reading the archives and participating in a few discussions I learned much more than I could have hoped, so that when the contractors moved out I was able to host guests with a wealth of experience gleaned from these pages.  I am disappointed to find out that B&B.com doesn't think that this group of inkeepers is representative of innkeepers as a whole, because I give my forum buddies as much credit as possible for my success. 

If I look at a representative sample of B&B's in my state, most are 6 or fewer rooms, and many have rates less than $100 per night and some have made little or no attempt at a professional website.  The innkeepers here have put much effort into keeping up their websites, knowing how to price for their markets, maintain their properties, and, incredibly still have time to post on this forum on a daily basis!  In my book, these folks are far above average, and I have found their advice to rank above any other resource.  My biggest regret is that I'm working so hard and having so much fun that I can't get back here more often.

Eric Goldreyer's picture
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Innkeep,

I apologize if I said (wrote) it wrong, but all I was trying to say was that I could see where our price increases would be a little tougher on smaller properties - which I assumed this group consisted of. 

According to thenumber sin your post it seems maybe I was correct.  You said the average for your "state" is six rooms and less than $100 ADR.  The "industry" average is 8 rooms and $172 ADR.  This does not mean anything other than what i said above in that the smaller the property, the harder it is when rates go up because they do not have as many assetts (rooms) to monetize to get an ROI on their investment.

That's all I was trying to say.

Along that thought... we have discussed before trying to figure out a way to come up with pricing based on number of rooms instead of flat pricing.  I know Select Registry does thia but they charge $3-$5K/year.  We just can't see how it would be fair to an 8 room property paying us $700 a year to be below a 1 room property paying us $200.  Also not sure it is such good business sense on our part.  One analogy that comes ot mind for me (not the best one but one none-the-less) is Superbowl ads.  As an advertiser, you are buying visibility to a certain demographic audience of a certain size (reach).  You pay the same for the 30 second spot if you are Apple selling iPods or if you are Eric's Orchard selling apples.  The price of the ad space is related ot the reach the advertisier gets, it is not based on the advertisers ability to monetize the ad.  If the ad is worth $2.8M to one company, there is no reason that the network with the SuperBowl should sell the spot to someone else for less because they cannot make as much of an ROI as the other guy...

So I have trouble wityh this concept one from a business ROI perspective in that we have an opportunity cost, as well as would it truly be fair or not for innkeepers.  I could argue that he/she who pays the most should get the best placement...

Anyway, another thread for another day!!!

Cheers,

Eric  

YellowSocks's picture
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Eric Goldreyer wrote:
Because it gets annoying and we think innkeepers should see the type of ethics some of the other folks in the industry have.  I guess this tells you a little about us and a little about them... 

Um... don't talk about ethics and then break your own Terms and Agreements.

Eric wrote:
Maybe I should just not give a toot...

Oh, you should definitely give a toot.  And I really like that about you!

Eric wrote:
I don't see many innkeepers, based on my logic, keeping their prices low for the couple that wouuld love to travel and stay at a B&B but because of their jobs, cannot afford this particular property. 

Well, actually, i don't keep my prices low for a particular couple, but I do have to keep them reasonable or have no one come at all.

Eric wrote:
I fail to see how saying that maybe our policies are having an adverse effect on you guys more specifically as a group (since you do not appear to be a good representative sample of the greater innkeeper population), is condenscending.  It certainly was not meant to be. But I will not try to figure out the logic...

How are we not a representative sample?  Actually, we're not representative in that we are significantly more internet and marketing savvy...  Hmm... so you're going after the less savvy?  Naw, couldn't be that...

No, condescending is when you tell an innkeeper, "Your website's no good, let us build one for you."

Eric wrote:
Let's be clear, I am not "promoting".  I am spending valuable time on this board attempting to share with you uwhy we feel the way we do.  My best educated way in understanding how to do that is to share data with you that "should" explain our position and why we feel the way we do.  It doesn't have a thing to do with "promoting".  I am sharing/stating facts of data.  i do not understand why you seem to always turn that into "promoting" or "whining"...?   Seriously.  I don't.  Honestly I have not seen any of our posts as "whiny".  You seem to think if we have a differing point of view or share with you something that we feel helps explain our position, we are "whining"...  I just havwe to tell you, it sounds like you are projecting...

LOL!  Listen to yourself!

Eric wrote:
Sorry.  I have to go.  I have spend the day here in Vegas with all of my other leading B&B directory buddies finding more ways to get exposure for our members...

CONDESCENSION!!  [Sorry, I can't talk with you little people anymore, gotta go do real work.]

PROMOTION!!  [Here I am, working for you!  Yay us!]

CONDESCENSION!! [Here I am, in Vegas with the big guys, where I belong!]

PROMOTION!! [we're the leading B&B directory]

Sorry, couldn't resist...

No hard feelings, OK?

=)
Kk.

Eric Goldreyer's picture
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<Yellowsocks> Eric Goldreyer wrote:Because it gets annoying and we think innkeepers should see the type of ethics some of the other folks in the industry have.  I guess this tells you a little about us and a little about them... 

 

Um... don't talk about ethics and then break your own Terms and Agreements.

<Eric>

One was intentional and one was not and has been fixed...

<Yellowsocks> Eric wrote:I don't see many innkeepers, based on my logic, keeping their prices low for the couple that wouuld love to travel and stay at a B&B but because of their jobs, cannot afford this particular property. 

 

Well, actually, i don't keep my prices low for a particular couple, but I do have to keep them reasonable or have no one come at all.

<Eric>

Agreed.  The point was that your pricing is based mor eon your costs and the value, than one's ability to pay, to the degree that you have a business that will sustain that.

<Yellowsocks> Eric wrote:I fail to see how saying that maybe our policies are having an adverse effect on you guys more specifically as a group (since you do not appear to be a good representative sample of the greater innkeeper population), is condenscending.  It certainly was not meant to be. But I will not try to figure out the logic...

 

How are we not a representative sample?  Actually, we're not representative in that we are significantly more internet and marketing savvy...  Hmm... so you're going after the less savvy?  Naw, couldn't be that...

<Eric> 

Well... just by the definaition.  If you guys as a group don't match the industry averages, then you are not a representative sample of the industry.  If your ADR as a group is higher or lower, if your RevPar is higher or lower.  If your occupancy is higher or lower.. Maybe you actually are but I meant it only as one would expect...

<Yellowsocks>

No, condescending is when you tell an innkeeper, "Your website's no good, let us build one for you."

<Eric>

Well... I guess the question is is it true or not?   I really have not looked at your website.  But some people would just call that honesty if it really does need work... If your website really does need work, I hope someone would tell you because I can assure you it is costing you thousands of dollars a year in lost business if that is the case so I'd be thankful someone let you know..

<Yellowsocks>

Let's be clear, I am not "promoting".  I am spending valuable time on this board attempting to share with you uwhy we feel the way we do.  My best educated way in understanding how to do that is to share data with you that "should" explain our position and why we feel the way we do.  It doesn't have a thing to do with "promoting".  I am sharing/stating facts of data.  i do not understand why you seem to always turn that into "promoting" or "whining"...?   Seriously.  I don't.  Honestly I have not seen any of our posts as "whiny".  You seem to think if we have a differing point of view or share with you something that we feel helps explain our position, we are "whining"...  I just havwe to tell you, it sounds like you are projecting...

 

LOL!  Listen to yourself!

<Eric>

I did.  I don't find it funny at all.  I find it genuine.

<Yellowsocks>

Eric wrote:Sorry.  I have to go.  I have spend the day here in Vegas with all of my other leading B&B directory buddies finding more ways to get exposure for our members...

 

CONDESCENSION!!  [Sorry, I can't talk with you little people anymore, gotta go do real work.]

PROMOTION!!  [Here I am, working for you!  Yay us!]

CONDESCENSION!! [Here I am, in Vegas with the big guys, where I belong!]

PROMOTION!! [we're the leading B&B directory]

<Eric>  This reminds me of the saying that "Perception is reality".  It seems clear that regardless of what we say, you guys are hearing whatever you want to hear.  If the fact that my entire exec team has spent the better part of the last few days on this board while out on vacation, traveling for buisness, or on a religious holiday makes you think that we feel you are "little people" we clearly are wasting our time here.  

Cheers,

Eric

YellowSocks's picture
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Eric wrote:
YS wrote:
Eric wrote:
I don't see many innkeepers, based on my logic, keeping their prices low for the couple that wouuld love to travel and stay at a B&B but because of their jobs, cannot afford this particular property.

Well, actually, i don't keep my prices low for a particular couple, but I do have to keep them reasonable or have no one come at all.

Agreed. The point was that your pricing is based more on your costs and the value, than one's ability to pay, to the degree that you have a business that will sustain that.


No, I’m saying that my pricing is absolutely based on what people will pay. The value could be priceless, but I can only charge what the market will bear. Which I do. (And which I believe you also do.)

I charge as much as I can and still get reservations. I could charge less and get more reservations, but I only have four rooms. It may seem backwards, but having set my rates I then have a measure for my expenses… they cannot be higher than a certain amount, because I cannot raise my rates. If my fixed expenses (gas, electricity) go up, then I have to find ways to trim my variable expenses (food, other amenities).

It comes across as though you are saying “these are our expenses, therefore we must charge this amount.” But expenses and rates are far more intricately related than that, especially for a business like yours. What I mean by that is that I only have four rooms. I need to set a price that will bring reservations in, but only as many reservations as it takes to fill four rooms fairly regularly. You, in comparison, have a huge number of potential customers, and the ability to take all that come. Now, you may decide you don’t want to have 14,000 listings and raise your rates to keep the numbers down, but obviously that is not the case as you are a directory and the more listings you have the bigger your bragging rights. So I suppose your price simply goes as high as it can until listings taper off. Even though you have all these massive expenses, the supply is fairly limitless… you control the demand.

Eric wrote:
YS wrote:
Eric wrote:
I fail to see how saying that maybe our policies are having an adverse effect on you guys more specifically as a group (since you do not appear to be a good representative sample of the greater innkeeper population), is condenscending. It certainly was not meant to be. But I will not try to figure out the logic...

How are we not a representative sample? Actually, we're not representative in that we are significantly more internet and marketing savvy... Hmm... so you're going after the less savvy? Naw, couldn't be that...

Well... just by the definaition. If you guys as a group don't match the industry averages, then you are not a representative sample of the industry. If your ADR as a group is higher or lower, if your RevPar is higher or lower. If your occupancy is higher or lower.. Maybe you actually are but I meant it only as one would expect...

OK… to proceed further we need to define some terms. What, exactly, is the industry average? And what is the source of the industry average? I’d really like to know. Then we can figure out what the average is of the regular posters and see if we’re a representative sample or not. I think the fact that regular posters here range from 1-8 rooms gives us quite the variety. We often marvel at the difference in operating procedures between those with 2-4 rooms and those with 5-8 rooms.

Since you haven’t clicked my sig, I’ll tell you that I have four rooms, in a smallish town in north central Ohio. It is at least 30 minutes drive from me before you get to a B&B with more than four rooms. There are four B&B’s in my town, and I’m the largest. My prices are in the middle (I don’t want to be the cheapest, and the inn south of me is a lot prettier than I am) and are 95/110/110/120. In July I’m a steal and in January I can either lower my rates or be content with a handful of reservations.

Another factor you seem to overlook… us “vocal regulars” are not just a handful of opinionated innkeepers. We are connected to other inns around us. I know all the other innkeepers in my town… we get together for dinner. I network as I’m able with other B&B’s around my state. When I travel I stay in still other B&B’s. Some of us are members of our state associations. It happens that I’m not, but a few of the other regulars here are extremely active in their state association. When I make comments I do not speak only for myself (why should you care what I think?) but for what I am hearing from my innkeeper friends as well.

Eric wrote:
Yellowsocks wrote:
No, condescending is when you tell an innkeeper, "Your website's no good, let us build one for you."

Well... I guess the question is is it true or not? I really have not looked at your website. But some people would just call that honesty if it really does need work... If your website really does need work, I hope someone would tell you because I can assure you it is costing you thousands of dollars a year in lost business if that is the case so I'd be thankful someone let you know..

You didn’t tell me that, your firm emailed that to another innkeeper, whose website was professionally designed, and which is working quite well for her. In fact, it’s a pretty impressive website considering her size and location. I know a larger inn that uses bbonline for their website because they feel they can’t afford to host their own. It’s quite impressive that she’s spent as much as she has to create a good website, but then she gets an email from you guys, trolling for business, which she took as an insult.

Finally, I am disappointed that you did not have a response to my post #15315: http://www.innspiring.com/node/1449#comment-15315 particularly the part about how you front the money on the GC’s. I know you're busy and out of town, but I hope you'll find time to address it eventually.

=)
Kk.

gillumhouse's picture
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It seems clear that regardless of what we say, you guys are hearing whatever you want to hear.  If the fact that my entire exec team has spent the better part of the last few days on this board while out on vacation, traveling for buisness, or on a religious holiday makes you think that we feel you are "little people" we clearly are wasting our time here. 

Actually what it says to me is that you DO care what this small group of innkeepers is saying because you know that what we say DOES matter to a lot of other innkeepers. The views of this group were respected on the previous Forum and when we moved, many of the others moved. In a very short time, the numbers on this Forum have become impressive. THAT is why you and your staff have been monitoring several theads.

If you take nothing else from these discussions, please take this - Give the Bronze level a link to our web sites and a lot of the very small inns - yes, at 3 rooms in Podunk, I am small but I play big when I can - WILL list with you. At $349 I can no longer - and will no longer - play, but with a link to my web site, would, even after the insults (my perception) because it would be a business decision to list as Bronze. You will make more with the volume and gain more with the numbers than you will being "hard-nose" and raising rates right when eveything is most iffy in OUR economic world.

Morticia's picture
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Eric Goldreyer wrote:

Sorry... I didn't get your name...?

Because it gets annoying and we think innkeepers should see the type of ethics some of the other folks in the industry have.  I guess this tells you a little about us and a little about them... 

I didn't realize there was anything wrong with being so tied into and caring so much about the business that I take it personally...??  It's my company.  Seems to be somewhat logical as the face of the company and someone (anyone for that matter) that pours everything they have into something - be passionate about it and take negative feedback personally.  I guess I do not see that as a negative quality.  But you feel free to see it however you like.  I am not lecturing or trying to convert you.  I am explaining my POV.  Maybe I should just not give a toot...

I see nothing wrong with the logic of raising my prices no more than I would expect you as a business person not to set your room prices based upon what folks could afford to pay but rather based on the value you provide and the costs you incur.  I don't see many innkeepers, based on my logic, keeping their prices low for the couple that wouuld love to travel and stay at a B&B but because of their jobs, cannot afford this particular property. 

I fail to see how saying that maybe our policies are having an adverse effect on you guys more specifically as a group (since you do not appear to be a good representative sample of the greater innkeeper population), is condenscending.  It certainly was not meant to be. But I will not try to figure out the logic...

Let's be clear, I am not "promoting".  I am spending valuable time on this board attempting to share with you uwhy we feel the way we do.  My best educated way in understanding how to do that is to share data with you that "should" explain our position and why we feel the way we do.  It doesn't have a thing to do with "promoting".  I am sharing/stating facts of data.  i do not understand why you seem to always turn that into "promoting" or "whining"...?   Seriously.  I don't.  Honestly I have not seen any of our posts as "whiny".  You seem to think if we have a differing point of view or share with you something that we feel helps explain our position, we are "whining"...  I just havwe to tell you, it sounds like you are projecting...

Sorry.  I have to go.  I have spend the day here in Vegas with all of my other leading B&B directory buddies finding more ways to get exposure for our members...

Cheers,

Eric

Every small business makes decisions on pricing everyday. We, of course, raise out rates. 6%. Now, my fuel bill went up 100% this year. It will be 10% of my income to pay that bill this coming year. Can I raise my rates to cover that? Absolutely not. I offer good value, but certainly not a $150/night difference in the experience from last year to next year. What I will have to do to get the wary traveler in the door who just lost half their portfolio overnight and may think a weekend away an indulgence this winter, is to LOWER my rates as I cannot afford to add more amenities to keep the prices the same, much less raise them in my off season. We are not a 5 star property that pulls its clientele from the rich. We cater to Middle America. The group that is hardest hit in any and all economic downturns.

Like I said in another post, you still bring a 10:1 value for my dollar. Actually it just dropped to 10:1 with the price increase. (So, yes, I can attribute $3490 to guests who say they used your site to find me.) I'll go for the price increase this year. If there's no value to it next year, I'll spend my exceedingly hard-earned buckeroos elsewhere. It remains to be seen if the 30% increase is worth it to me.

It's good that your work on the website you own has brought in innkeepers who need not watch every dime and thus do not complain. Would that I could be so casual with my money as well.

Just a thought...if you just once say, 'I hear you, I understand times are tough, let me look at what we can do,' you would get a lot further with this small, but vocal and connected group, than all the 'This is what we're doing, like it or leave.' That works with employees, not customers.

__________________

Never judge a person's story by the chapter you walked in on.

 

Eric Goldreyer's picture
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Bree,

Thanks for the input. 

You might like to know that based on innkeeper feedback we invested considerable resources to launch monthly billing for membership -specifically to address the economy issue so innkeepers could pay monthly and smooth out their cash flows.  

Now a new member can join and most likely pay for their membership as the year progresses from the buisness they get from the site.

Cheers,

Eric.

Morticia's picture
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Eric Goldreyer wrote:

Bree,

Thanks for the input. 

You might like to know that based on innkeeper feedback we invested considerable resources to launch monthly billing for membership -specifically to address the economy issue so innkeepers could pay monthly and smooth out their cash flows.  

Now a new member can join and most likely pay for their membership as the year progresses from the buisness they get from the site.

Cheers,

Eric.

Sorry Eric. Here are my exact thoughts when I saw the monthly billing: 'They realize the price is too high for the average business, so this is how to make it more palatable to the small inn.' (And, yes, that's how I talk to myself when we're speaking to each other.) It's also nice to know that you do listen to innkeepers. WHICH innkeepers is still up for grabs as the PAII crowd also seems upset by the price hikes. (Altho that was a nice conversion to your GC program.)

As to the comment on another post that we are anonymous...most of us know who the other posters are. We post anonymously on here because we often bring up details about innkeeping that we would prefer our guests to not be offended by should they find this forum. Personally, I had a guest I complained about on the About forum FIND that post and email me, offended.

Edited to remove name as I want to go back to being quasi-anonymous, and figured everyone who wanted to read this had done so by now.

Eric Goldreyer's picture
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So what's an onomatopoeia again?  ;^)

Gang,

It's not that we expect a pat on the back.  We just have a hard time understanding why we sometimes catch so much heat from a limited number of innkeepers (like on this group) when to the best of our knowledge we are doing so much that we don't see anyone else doing.  I truly am not saying that to get an attaboy. 

But we don't see anyone else invest the time or money like we do, openly participate with innkeepers on the forums like we do (positive or negative), openly explain everything we are doing like we do, invest in a first-class gift card program, partner with leading Online Travel Agencies, retain a PR person to consitently put out press releases, hire business development folks to grow distribution (visibility for members), invest in getting their PMS "Microsoft Certified", partner with Quickbooks, etc. etc. 

So I don't really know how to say it, and you guys don't even need to reply (I mean feel free but I am not asking you to), but we are occasionally a little bewildered in that it does seem that innkeepers could care less and that sometimes they even are upset by it...   I am sorry if we occasionally get a little defensive - we are just protecting our baby.  Not trying to offend anyone.  After spening the last 14 years of my life criss-crossing the country and doing everything we could to educate innkeepers on internet marketing, it's just weird to have people upset with you when you feel you have given so much and when you have explained what it seems are very real, logical, and factual reasons why we do this or that.  Sometimes I'll reflect on how far our industry has come and how 12 years ago I was telling innkeepers that the Internet is how they were going to get guests in the future and they were sayig they didn't want computer geeks staying at their B&B.  Ten years ago I was telling innkeepers to quit using BeandBreakfast.com or BBOnline as their home page and to get your own domain name.  Nine years ago it was online reservations.  Two years ago online reviews.  So to think we spend time and money traveling all across the country educating innkeepers (well, at least sharing thoughts and ideas with those that will listen) and then fols are upset with us - is just weird.  We have over 7,000 members and over a 90% renewal rate which would seem to indicate that we are doing something right.  Then we get on here and it seems to be a bashing party that is 90% emotional and 10% fact and 99% negative.  Is it the message?  The group?  The lunar cycle?

I can live with it and I guess that is life/the way it is.  But I guess a key thing for me is that while I obviously am in business to make money, I am in the industry because I am and have always been passionate about it.  I could have run a "business" in any industry.  But I am not here to steal from innkeepers and I would hope that after 14 years of running this business my actions have demonstrated that.  I guess it would be naive of me to think that my actions would have demonstrated that to "all" innkeepers because you can never please everyone (and maybe that's it - maybe the reason we have 7,000 members and a 90+% renewal rate but you guys on this forum tend to be more upset/negative is because we are important to you guys and since it seems most of you are smaller properties, maybe you feel the effects more than the average and larger size properties in the industry when we have to raise our rates...?).  Just a thought...  Anyway, I realize there is a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.  When the day is over, I can sleep at night  because i know that even if I have some angry innkeepers, we did what we truly felt was best for our members and our business.  If we waited for or expected 100% buy in for everything we launched, not a single product (including the website) would have ever launched because every time we get ready to launch something (the site, online res, ratings, etc.) we hear from a handful of innkeepers that disagree with whatever it is we are doing.  I am sure we have been wrong occasionally - If we hadn't I'd say we are not trying enough to move the business forward.  My philosophy is that If you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards.  So what do we do?  We try and learn all of the facts we can (through innkeepers, industry peers, outside industry statistics and our general knowledge and understanding of the internet travel industry - like the conference I am at as I type this post) - then we make a logical, educated and informed  business decision.  

Ideally you have a business model whereby everyone's interests are aligned.  For example, our online res program with Expedia - we only make money when innkeepers make money.  Our gift card program - we invest in all of the development and ongoing costs and innkeepers only pay us when they get a reservation from the program.  Our membership - based on innkeeper input we invest in the technology to move the billing to monthly to help with innkeeper's cash flow and offer a 90 day 100% money-back gaurantee... 

Having said that, I do care what all of you guys think.  We are not heartless.  That's why I am as open as I am and why I (and my team) spends time on the boards.  But caring and wanting to know what you think about something and actually being able to implement all or some of your feedback - is a different thing  We listen.  We may not always react the way you would like based on what we hear, but we do listen.  Then we make a business decison based on all of the factors.

Sorry for the long post but in conclusion, to go back to this whole crazy plagerism issue... the meat for me here is that here is a case whereby we did work to create some original editorial content to drive exposure for our site and our member properties in the release (which because it is exposure for "B&B's" indirectly helps the industry).  And some of you here on this board feel that as long as the B&Bs themselves get the exposure, who cares, let another site take the content and link to their own listings for the property.  So then let's play this out... so then this other site that has taken our copy and replaced the links to their own member listings gets additional traffic (that they send on to you from THEIR directory) and while you benefit, you have absolutely no idea that that traffic came from OUR invesment/effort to drive you business and you give the other directory credit.  Does that really sound right/fair to any of you?  We obviously would like for the traffic to you to come through us since we did all of the work and are trying to promote our members through us.  Just another example of how we are different and not just another directory, but it seems you guys could care less.  The reason you should care is because if this was always the way it was, we would stop doing it.  Why would we spend the money on something that drives business to oour members through channels where we get no benefit?  if we did that you guys would say "stop doing that and cut my membership fee"...  So....... we try to explain and show you guys what we do that is different so you see that this stuff does not just randomly appear out of nowhere, and we are bad guys because of it...?

That is the part I really don't understand and what got me to sit down and try and share some thoughts with you guys.

Regards,

Eric

YellowSocks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Eric Goldreyer wrote:
So what's an onomatopoeia again?  ;^)

A word that sounds like a sound (buzzz, bang, achoo). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onomatopoeia

Why do you ask?

Eric wrote:
It's not that we expect a pat on the back.  We just have a hard time understanding why we sometimes catch so much heat from a limited number of innkeepers (like on this group) when to the best of our knowledge we are doing so much that we don't see anyone else doing. 

And we're trying to help you to understand our point of view (or views, as there are actually several floating around here).

Of course you're doing more than anyone else... you're bigger than everyone else and have more funds to do it with.  Whether or not all that even needs done is a whole 'nother can of worms!

Eric wrote:
I truly am not saying that to get an attaboy.  But we don't see anyone else invest the time or money like we do

No one else has either the time or the money.

Eric wrote:
, openly participate with innkeepers on the forums like we do (positive or negative), openly explain everything we are doing like we do, invest in a first-class gift card program, partner with leading Online Travel Agencies, retain a PR person to consitently put out press releases, hire business development folkks to grow thier distribution (visibility for members), invest in getting their PMS Microsoft certified, partner with Quickbooks, etc. etc. 

You do realize that you've told us you do all this before.  In fact, several times before.  It's the repetition that gets you the accusations of looking for pats on the back.  We know you do all that!  You've told us!  We get it!  You do lots and lots of stuff which costs lots and lots of money.

Eric wrote:
So I don't really know how to say it, and you guys don't even need to reply (I mean feel free but I am not asking you to), but we are occasionally a little bewildered in that it does seem that innkeepers could care less and that sometimes they even are upset by it... So maybe we get a little defensive sometimes - we are just protecting our baby.  I am sorry if that offends anyone. 

Of course it's your baby.  Naturally you are defensive of it.  I neither begrudge you your baby nor feel you should stop what you are doing.  In fact, I admire a person who finds an industry they love and who is passionate about their work.  I think that's great!

But don't ask me to be passionate about your baby.  It's not a reasonable expectation for anyone.  I'm passionate about baking and entering in the County Fair.  I'm sure you couldn't care less about the intricacies of creating baked goods from scratch or the time, money, and organization required to do what I do.  Why should you?  It's my baby, not yours!  And if I try to tell a guest... sorry, your room's not clean and your breakfast is late because I'm doing my Fair thing it's not going to fly.  Why should they care?  They are paying money to have a clean room and a fabulous breakfast.

This is a very key point that I'm not sure you're hearing... we, the innkeepers, are where your money comes from and we, the innkeepers, are who you should be most concerned about.  In my Fair baking analogy I can tell my guests that my baking for the Fair garners me blue ribbons, increases the public's awareness of my existence, and enhances their experience when they stay with me.  But if I'm too busy to provide the basics of what they need (clean room, good breakfast) then I have not served my customers and they will (rightly) go elsewhere.  If I say to them, "I need to charge you more because I have all these other expenses," they won't care.  They, in their turn, are living in their own self-centered world (which I don't begrudge them, either).  They are only going to care about their own cost versus experience.

You say, "we are serving the industry, driving customers to the industry, promoting the industry."  But, to some extent, that's a self-assigned role.  A noble one, sure.  A big one, definitely.  A needed one, maybe.  But here I am, the little guy... I only have four rooms (which is the most rooms of any B&B in my town) and only need to spend enough money to keep four rooms full, not 7-12 rooms full.  And, naturally, I am also self-centered, primarily concerned with my own bottom line.  Your noble pursuit is interesting, but not compelling to me, just as my Fair baking is interesting to my guests, but only in passing.

To me, as a small B&B, and self-assigned representative of all the itty bitty, dinky B&B's in the world (of which their are thousands and thousands), it seems that if you truly wanted to serve the industry you would not only be concerned with the grand (and noble) task of driving customers to and promoting awareness of our industry, but also with making it easier for small B&B's to compete on the same level as the big boys.  Oh, you'll say, you've "spent the last 14 years criss-crossing the country to educate innkeepers on internet marketing, websites, and online reservations."  If you really wanted to serve us, then instead of 7,000 listings you'd have 14,000.  You'd find a way that every single bed and breakfast in the nation, no matter how tiny, would list with you.  That it would be as natural as listing with Google.  That as soon as a new B&B opened they'd get on Google and go list with you.

But it's not that way.  Here I am, open a year now, and I still haven't decided whether or not to list with you.  If I could be sufficiently full from Google I wouldn't subscribe to any directory!  Naturally the number one thing I look at is cost.  If I spend $349 dollars a year, that is a significant portion of my marketing funds.  Oh, it's only three room nights, you'll say.  No, because three room nights costs me other overhead costs as well.  It's probably more like 6-8 room nights just to break even on the expense... and with only four rooms, that's a signifcant cost. 

But you know, as logical as I am (and I'm sure I drive you nuts with it), I am human, too.  Because it's not just ROI involved here.  Here comes the part you won't like to hear:  your actions have smacked of a money grab.  To increase the percentage on your GC's commission with so little notice... you've broken your own Terms and Conditions.  This is a BIG deal.  You had an agreement with your innkeepers:  we take your GC's, you'll take your commission, and you'll give us at least 7 days notice if things change.  That's a contract, an agreement, and to break such an agreement not only has legal consequences, but it's lousy for your image as well.  Why should I do business with a company who breaks a promise?

This is what has everyone up in arms against you.  This is why your renewal rate may drop.  And even if it doesn't, your relationship with your innkeepers may become more adversarial.  In my case, I may end up listing with you simply because it makes business sense to do so, but no one likes being forced to do business with someone out of necessity, and at some point scruples outweigh profit and we all say we'll make do without doing business with the company who's rates are so high, and who's promises we can't trust.

Now... to address some of your other comments:

Eric wrote:
After spening the last 14 years of my life criss-crossing the country and doing everything to educate innkeepers on internet marketing, it's just weird to have people upset with you when you have explained what it seems are very real, logical, and factual reasons why we do this or that.  Sometimes I reflect on how 12 years ago I was telling innkeepers that the Internet is how they were going to get guests in the future.  Ten years ago I was telling innkeepers to quit using BeandBreakfast.com or BBOnline as their home page and to get your own domain name.  Nine years ago it was online reservations.  Two years ago online reviews.  And to think we spend time and money traveling all across the country educating innkeepers (well, at least share thoughts and ideas with those that will listen) and then get treated like this - its just weird. 

1) Most B&B's are owned by innkeepers who have only been in business fewer than 7 years.  I only know of a handful in business more than 12 years.  You may have this history, but you need to remember that your customers (we innkeepers) collectively have been in business significantly fewer than 14 years. 

2) When you crisscrossed the country, where did you go?  To PAII conventions?  In what manner did you educate the itty bitty B&B's (you know, the ones who can't afford PAII?)?  If you didn't, why not?  Aren't we worth your effort, too?

Eric wrote:
We have over 7,000 members and over a 90% renewal rate which would seem to indicate that we are doing something right. 

Why don't you have 14,000 members?  Of the 5-6 B&B's in my area, only one is listed with you... you have the potential for so many more!  As for doing something right... as I discussed above, I may eventually conclude that I have no choice but to list with you, in spite of what I perceive an unnecessarily high cost.  So, that's "doing something right," right?  But do you really want resentful clients?

Eric wrote:
Then we get on here and it seems to be a bashing party that is 90% emotional and 10% fact and 99% negative.  is it the message?  The group?  The lunar cycle?

It's the short notice on the raise of the commission on GC's, which we already weren't thrilled about.

Eric wrote:
I can live with it and I guess that is life/the way it is.  But I guess a key thing for me is that while I obviously am in business to make money, I am in the industry because I am and have always been passionate about it.  I could have run a "business" in any industry.  But I am not here to steal from innkeepers and I would hope that after 14 years of running this business my actions have demonstrated that.  I guess it would be naive of me to think that my actions would have demonstrated that to "all" innkeepers because you can never please everyone

OK, now who's getting emotional?

Eric wrote:
(and maybe that's it - maybe the reason we have 7,000 members and a 90+% renewal rate but you guys on this forum tend ot be more upset/negative is because we are important to you guys and since it seems most of you are smaller properties, maybe you feel the effects more than the average and larger size properties in the industry when we have to raise our rates...?).  Just a thought... 

Um, how is average defined?  To me, the average B&B is about where I am... 4 to 6 rooms.  But it sounds like you are defining me as a smaller property.  Gosh, do B&B's with 1-3 rooms even rate in your scale?

And, um, didn't you already tell us about the 7000 and the 90%?  In this same post?  And you're not looking for pats on the back?

But, yeah, us smaller properties really do feel the effects more.  And the truly small just don't even bother trying to be included anymore.

Eric wrote:
Anyway, I realize there is a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.  When the day is over, I can sleep at night  because i know that even if I have some angry innkeepers, we did what we truly felt was best for our members and our business.

Well, that's a relief.

Eric wrote:
If we waited for or expected 100% buy in for everything we launched, not a single product (including the website) would have ever launched because every time we get ready to launch something (the site, online res, ratings, etc.) we hear from some innkeepers that disagree with whatever it is we are doing. 

Naturally we do not expect you to have 100% buy in for everything you launch.  Nor has anyone has implied such a thing.  You're not being defensive, are you?

Of course you hear from some innkeepers who disagree.  That's our perogative, just as it's yours to ignore the naysayers and press on.  But when you get a clamorous response, maybe you should consider what's being said.

Eric wrote:
I am sure we have been wrong occasionally - If we hadn't I'd say we are not trying enough to move th ebusiness forward.  If you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards.

I agree completely.

Eric wrote:
So what do we do?  We try and learn all of the facts we can (through innkeepers, industry peers, outside industry statistics and our general knowledge and understanding of the internet travel industry - like the conference I am at as I type this post) - then we make a business decision.  

And having made these decisions, hear what we're saying now! 

1) Your rates are high and it hurts to pay them.  We only do it because we have to, but if we find that we can get by with just Google, or with a combination of Google and bbonline and iloveinns, you'll lose your member inns and then where will you be?  You can go on and on about serving the industry, but in the end, we are where your money comes from, and if we leave in droves, you'll be screwed. 

2) Your lack of proper notice on the commission change is annoying at best and potentially illegal.  Even if the ROI is fine, who wants to deal with a company who breaks their own Terms and Areements?

3) It's great that you do all you do for the "industry" but where your money comes from is individual inns, owned by individual innkeepers.  If you are condescending in your attitude toward innkeepers (as some have felt you have been), they may react with emotion rather than business... a natural enough thing to happen, but potentially devastating to you.  In the end, we are not just an industry, but a collection of real, feeling, human beings.

4) Little inns matter, too, and you're overlooking a huge market segment by ignoring them.  By making yourself the "big guy" you get lots of muscle to play with and bargain with and promote with, but it is the duty of the big guy to look out for the little guys, too. 

Eric wrote:
Ideally you have a business model whereby everyone's interests are aligned.  For example, our online res program with Expedia - we only make money when innkeepers make money.

I'm too little to list with Expedia.  So, since you can't make money from me, is that why you're not interested in me?  Perhaps that's not the case, but it's how it comes across.

Eric wrote:
Our gift card program, we invest in all of the development and ongoing costs and innkeepers only pay us when they get a reservation from the program. 

WHAT?????  HELLO????  You get the money up front, when the card is sold.  You keep the money, get interest from the money, and do not pay US until we not only get a reservation, but actually collect the money from the guest and then request it from you.  And on the commissions, with the new increase, you keep the difference between the 15% and the 20% until the end of the year!!!!!

Don't try to claim altruism where none exists!!!!!

Eric wrote:
On our membership - based on innkeeper input we invest in the technology to move the billing to monthly to help with innkeeper's cash flow and offer a 90 day 100% money-back gaurantee... 

OK, that's nice.  Are you sure you're not looking for a pat on the back?

Eric wrote:
Having said that, I do care what all of you guys think.  We are not heartless.  That's why I am as open as I am and why I (and my team) spends time on the boards.  But caring and wanting to know what you think about something and actually being able to implement all or osme of your feedback - is a different thing  We listen.  We may not always react the way you would like based on what we hear, but we do listen.  Then we make a business decison based on all of the factors.

We know you care.  And, truly, I do not resent your making a profit.  It's what I'm trying to do, too!  I don't even blame you for trying to make as large a profit as possible!  And I wish you all the best and hope you have continued success.  And as I've already said, I'm impressed with you guys coming on here and getting beat up and not just going away in disgust.  Good for you for taking a licking and then coming back for more!

Eric wrote:
Sorry for the long post but in conclusion, to go back to this whole carzy Plagerism issue...

I haven't expressed an opinion so far.  I'm sure it sucks to have something you created stolen.

Eric wrote:
the meat for me here is that here is a case whereby we did work to create some original editorial content to drive exposure for our site and our member properties in the release (which because it is exposure for "B&B's" indirectly helps the industry) and some of you feel that as long as the B&Bs get the exposure, who cares, let another site take the content and link to their own listings for the property.  So then let's play this out... so then this other site that has taken our copy and replaced the links to their own member listings gets additional traffic (that they send on to you from THEIR directory) and while you benefit, you have absolutely no idea that that traffic came from OUR invesment/effort to drive you business and you give the other directory credit.  Does that really sound righ to any of you? 

Well, no.  But I'm not sure that you coming here and telling me how much work you did is the solution, either.

Eric wrote:
We obviously would like for the traffic to you to come through us since we did all of the work.

Well, naturally.  You want to justify those rates, after all!

Eric wrote:
  Just another example of how we are different an not just another directory, but whatever.... So we try to explain and show you guys and we are bad guys because of it...

1) This doesn't make you "not just another directory."  I'm sure all of the major directories struggle with similar issues. 

2) You're not bad guys because of explaining about plagiarism... more about the GC's change notice, high commissions, high rates, high horse, and the occasional condescending attitude, particularly to smaller B&B's.

Eric wrote:
That is the part I really don't understand and what got me to sit down and try and share some thoughts with you guys.

Thank you for sitting down and sharing your thoughts.  Please, please, please try to hear what I've said.  I'm not listed with you, and am still on the fence.  I hear one B&B say, "Yay, they've got monthly payments now!" and another say, "I got a reservation right away when I listed."  I hear another say, "They sent me an email dissing my website."  And another say, "I can't believe they gave such short notice on the commission change."  And another say, "I told them I was discontinuing and they didn't even try to persuade me to change my mind."

You're big, you're powerful, you're probably worth the cost.  But are you so big that all your time and investments are not helpful to a small inn like mine?  Do I want to do business with a firm that breaks an agreement?

If I'm on the fence, I'm sure others are, too.  You should be concerned...

Respectfully,

=)
Kk.

swirt's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/17/2008

Hi Eric,

I do appreciate that you and John and Sandy are on the forum here.  I think you add some value here and some balance to our discussions, even if they aren't always appreciated by all.

Like it or not, you have become the Microsoft of the B & B world.  Like Microsoft, you have your hands in marketing and inn operations, you are everywhere.  And there are great benefits from being the trendsetter and the bar raiser.  Unfortunatetly, being that large you are bound to be a bit of lightning rod for discontent, the same way Microsoft is.  There will be those who resent you for becoming too large and too successful.  There will be those who resent you for squashing other lesser known directories.  There will be those who are annoyed that the cost of a functional listing (with a link) went up 30% in one year.  There will be those who are annoyed that the bite taken from the Gift Card program went up 30% with less than 5 days notice.  There will be those who are annoyed because the 30% increase in the gift card program is being attributed to inngoers having the ability to put "war kittens" (like Capital One) on their gift card.

It's a voting year, have you done all you can do to make your 500lb Gorilla look more sensitive and approachable? (rhetorical)  

egoodell's picture
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Joined:
06/01/2008

I don't take them so I don't know how they work.

Do those who purchase the gift certificate get a discount or something? Another inn told me they had guests checking in who told them they were coming after a stop at Costco to buy a BedandBreakfast gift card first on their way there. Sounds like the word is out to use it as a discount coupon, I don't know.

Riki

__________________

Riki Goodell
Arcady Vineyard Bed & Breakfast
Arcady Vineyard Wine Tours
www.arcadyvineyard.com
Come! Let us show you the beautiful Monticello Appellation!

 

Eric Goldreyer's picture
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Joined:
09/27/2008

Riki,

Yes.  The "gift cards" have been discounted at Costco to try an incent people to give the gift of a B&B experience.  Unfortunately more folks are starting to use them as "discount travel cards" so we have pulle dout of the Costco stores.  A few stores may still have a little inventory that they are selling through, but we are not shipping them anymore.

Thanks,

Eric

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