Your state association

35 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined:
06/15/2008

Are you a member of you state association? If you are not what is the reason for not being a member? 

If you are what is the bigest benefit you feel you recieve as an association member?

__________________

sandynn

 

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

I'm a bit late in here because we're in the middle of leaf season but have to share this. I got an email last week from our provincial B&B association. It's renewal time and they are reducing their membership fee by more than half!

They are doing this as part of a strategic plan to significantly increase membership; and they realize the best way to do this is to make it affordable and accessible to every B&B.

They understand that in these economic times, they will lose members if they don't change their model. And of course losing members means losing $$ to support the association. They have also cut back on one of their biggest expenses by changing the format of their printed booklet to a map-style print piece. Of course they also have an online directory of members.

They are also adding price-reduction incentives for regional associations to join them. The goal is to grow the association--and to grow the coffers--on volume. The association has a small portion of the market and stand to do well. As more members join at the reduced cost, they will spread the word to their regional groups and it has the potential to grow exponentially. At the same time, the online directory will grow, making it a more useful tool to travellers and guests.

From my own experience talking to B&B's in my area, I can see this strategy working. Within my region I can count about 15 B&B's who do NOT belong to the provincial association and only 2 of us who do belong. Of the ones that don't belong, at least half of them have cited the cost of membership as being the reason. This is on the agenda for our regional AGM next week.

I really hope Eric & John of B&B.com are reading this and realizing that this is a viable, sound, pricing strategy for increasing the bottom line. It's win-win-win. The little B&B wins because they can afford to play withe big boys. The guests win because they have a robust directory to peruse. The organization wins because their revenue increases at a much higher rate than their expenses.

I'm not trying to re-beat a dead horse here. It's just perfect timing and makes me SO HAPPY to see that sometimes things actually work right.

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

happyjacks wrote:

I'm a bit late in here because we're in the middle of leaf season but have to share this. I got an email last week from our provincial B&B association. It's renewal time and they are reducing their membership fee by more than half!

They are doing this as part of a strategic plan to significantly increase membership; and they realize the best way to do this is to make it affordable and accessible to every B&B.

They understand that in these economic times, they will lose members if they don't change their model. And of course losing members means losing $$ to support the association. They have also cut back on one of their biggest expenses by changing the format of their printed booklet to a map-style print piece. Of course they also have an online directory of members.

They are also adding price-reduction incentives for regional associations to join them. The goal is to grow the association--and to grow the coffers--on volume. The association has a small portion of the market and stand to do well. As more members join at the reduced cost, they will spread the word to their regional groups and it has the potential to grow exponentially. At the same time, the online directory will grow, making it a more useful tool to travellers and guests.

From my own experience talking to B&B's in my area, I can see this strategy working. Within my region I can count about 15 B&B's who do NOT belong to the provincial association and only 2 of us who do belong. Of the ones that don't belong, at least half of them have cited the cost of membership as being the reason. This is on the agenda for our regional AGM next week.

I really hope Eric & John of B&B.com are reading this and realizing that this is a viable, sound, pricing strategy for increasing the bottom line. It's win-win-win. The little B&B wins because they can afford to play withe big boys. The guests win because they have a robust directory to peruse. The organization wins because their revenue increases at a much higher rate than their expenses.

I'm not trying to re-beat a dead horse here. It's just perfect timing and makes me SO HAPPY to see that sometimes things actually work right.

We tried to convince our local chamber group to follow this model...reduce rates and get more businesses to join. From what I heard last week, our rates went up $200.

__________________

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

 

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

Anyone who would cite our Assoc. dues as a reason to not join cannot afford to be open. I gulped when I heard what some States are paying! WHOA!!!

Our annual Directory is an important piece of marketing but the only way we can afford to print it each year is because of the advertising reimbursement program our State began and then - after almost ruining it - came back with an even better deal for the "little" guys.

I am glad to hear that an Assoc. is realizing they were pricing themselves out of reach of those who needed them the most. Kudos to your Association!!

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Very interesting. We have discussed NOT doing a printed directory every year. I think they will bring this up to the membership for discussion at our annual meeting.

Unfortunately, we depend on our member dues to pay for our marketing and our staff..so cutting dues even though it sounds good.We have committed $$$ to a new web site for the coming year  $25K at least...same to pay for printed directory..so this would not be the year for us to cut dues. 

I am not sure would work for us. But I do see your point.

Also, our members must be inspected and approved and there are many inns out there who will not meet or want to change to meet our standards. So just because they are an inn, does not mean they will qualify to join our association. There are many we do NOT wantSad

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Our member B&Bs are inspected and approved before joining, too; and there would certainly be some that wouldn't meet the standards.

I think a major determining factor in whether or not this could work is the existing market penetration. If an organization has only a small % of the total market potential, then the pricing strategy is very likely to work.

If an organization already has a large portion of the market, then there is little room to grow, and the strategy becomes risky.

In the case of our provincial association, they only have about 10% of the market. That's to say that only about 10% of the B&Bs in the province are currently members. There is a LOT of room to grow that number. If the association gets even 25% of the market with the new strategy, it will be worth it. They're aiming for 100% of eligible B&Bs, and I think even 50% would be in fairly easy reach. It won't happen all at once, but it's the kind of thing that snowballs. Increasing membership by 500% while reducing fees by 57% is good math.

That's why I think it could work for B&B.com too. They seem to have only a small portion of the small-B&B market segment. Lots of room for growth there.

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

From what I gather, and the org is not very forthcoming, the major names (retailers) dropped out because the rates were too high (around $3000 for places making over $1m). They figured there is no need as everyone walks right by their store anyway. But, do the math on that...$3k on over $1m and they drop out. And yet we're expected to pay 1%+ of our earnings. They could get more buy in if the rates were lower, making the town look 'bigger' and more interesting. That's another dead horse I'm tired of beating. We'll drop the chamber this year and see if they improve marketing to the point that my subscription actually gets a return worth paying for.

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

One of our regional tourism associations (not B&B-specific) increased their rates 2 years ago by 400% for my level of membership! I phoned and emailed and talked to the director and explained if I did that to my guests I'd be out of business. We hammered out an agreement whereby I could join at the lower (cheaper) level and then add on a couple things a la carte. The agreement extended to the other members in my little B&B association, but by then everyone else was fed up and none of them renewed. This year when the membership renewal came around, I saw they added one of my a la carte extras to the lower level membership, so maybe they aren't too dense to learn from their mistakes afterall. Still frustrating to have to deal with.

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

One thing everyone needs to remember - an association is only as strong as its members make it. Members need to get involved and BE involved for an association to function and thrive. It is when everyone gets the "Let George do it syndtome" except for a core group who try and try and DO get tired and ask "wy am I knocking my head against the wall for people who do not care?" and quit trying, that an association starts to die.

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Exactly...however..there does come a time...and mine is coming quickly...that I need to pass that torch on to someone elseSmiling

Offline
Joined:
06/24/2008

Could not have said it better myself GH! 

Offline
Joined:
06/24/2008

Welcome to innspiring!

Why not try your state Attorney General's office.  They should be able to assist you either personally or direct you to the proper channels to get assistance. 

Good luck and let us know what you find out. 

Offline
Joined:
09/30/2008

i just opened a year ago October and was charged the association membership fee and a quality assurance fee in which they are to come to your inn, inspect, and give a certificate.  I have yet to be surveyed, have asked numerous times for my money to be returned, i do not have access to board member names, only the president who is doing the poor job of organizing the website.  I have not had one person stay who found me by way of the association.  I am very unhappy and would like to report them, but who to?  I will not be a member again.

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

I would really be interested in what State you are in. Please e-mail me off-Forum if you prefer.

Edited to say: Ooops. Had left to serve breakfast and posted before reading again.

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Hmmm I am very sorry to hear that. Do they have an association website? Are officers listed on it?  I find this very disheartening and would hope associations are more professional than this.

Yes please let us know a state. Someone here may know who to contact.

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

carlarso wrote:

i just opened a year ago October and was charged the association membership fee and a quality assurance fee in which they are to come to your inn, inspect, and give a certificate.  I have yet to be surveyed, have asked numerous times for my money to be returned, i do not have access to board member names, only the president who is doing the poor job of organizing the website.  I have not had one person stay who found me by way of the association.  I am very unhappy and would like to report them, but who to?  I will not be a member again.

Which state? Maybe someone on here knows who you can contact.

Offline
Joined:
09/30/2008

I live in Minnesota, there are no officers listed on the website, I hate to go above their heads and complain, but i have emailed the President many times to no avail.

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

I don't see anything on that state's site either. I would forget the emails and pick up the PHONE!!!! Call and complain. Maybe the email address has changed or the spam filter caught it. Something like this should be discussed ..not emailed.

 

Offline
Joined:
06/24/2008

catlady wrote:

I don't see anything on that state's site either. I would forget the emails and pick up the PHONE!!!! Call and complain. Maybe the email address has changed or the spam filter caught it. Something like this should be discussed ..not emailed.

 

I agree here with Catlady, if the only contact has been via email (sometimes I miss facts by speed reading). - She is right too many emails are 'lost' in the system.  But instead of calling or at least to follow up your call, I would send a letter, and if the first one does not stem an immediate reply (no more than 10-14 days), send another one certified (signature required).  Sometimes it takes something written in black and white to get someone's attention.  Attaching a copy of your emails to the letter(s) to show that this is not your initial request is a good idea as well because of the time factor here.  (I worked for 20+ attnys for longer than I ever want to admit)

Then if you get no response or do not get the response you feel you deserve, then call your Attorney General's office.  A brief discussion with one of the staff should provide you with information as to what should be your next step and with whom. 

Offline
Joined:
06/15/2008

Thank you all for the info. I am glad to have the feed back.

 

seashanty's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/02/2008

i joined when we first were gearing up to open to lend credibility to our place.  when you are brand new, with no history, it helps.

also, what i've found with associations is that potential guests see that you belong to a couple and might feel more confident about staying with you. 

the only history we had was as 'an old wreck' ... NOT a good image for potential guests!

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

No, not a member.

OBBA appears to basically inspect inns and list them on their website.  $345/year for that privilege, plus $45 first year fee.  No one else in my area is listed with them either.

Have contacted them in the past, asking about the deadline for their directory.  They're happy to send out a form.  Beyond that the information is sparse.  If someone was even slightly proactive in pursuing me I might have joined in spite of the high cost, but they never got back to me about deadlines, never contacted me about joining. 

Maybe when the kids are older and I've got more time I'll join it and shake things up a bit...

=)
Kk.

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

Maybe when the kids are older and I've got more time I'll join it and shake things up a bit...

 

I hope I am still around to watch! THAT will be a good show! You could do it too!

Offline
Joined:
06/24/2008

Just recently joined our state association as they recently changed the membership criteria.  I the past, a B&B had to 1st become a member of the state tourist association, then apply to the state B&B association.  This made it virtually impossible for the smaller B&B's to be members and it did not represent the industry as a whole. 

In the past 3-4 years they noticed their membership dwindle down to only a small core group and have been agressively making changes as they talk to innkeepers accross the state.  The 1st change was to remove their close connection with the state tourist assoc. by removing the need to be a member of that assoc., thus the state B&B assoc. became more affordable. 

I can not really comment what the best benefits are yet, I will need to wait and see but what they do is very similar to what GH stated about theirs. 

We also have a county association - which is a Lodging association, not just for B&Bs.  I get a more information about the lodging industry as a whole by being a member of this group and have made some good contacts here too.  Several of the hotels nearby use me as their 1st option if they overbook.  For them they feel it is a win win situation.  They do not loose a good customer to another chain AND they know that this guest will get a great stay in the area.  On my end, I may fill a room I thought would go empty (do not get many last minute bookings on my own and NO walkins in my area).   We also ask members of the local and state CVB's to give a short talk on what they are doing and also have event planners, etc. come tell about their events and also get heads up on any new regulations coming down the pike or new legislation.  I get a lot from this organization and for ~ $50 it is worth it.  I also serve on the board - the only non hotel board member.

Offline
Joined:
06/02/2008

No I don't belong.  http://www.nabb1.com/ Their web site is better now than it used to be.  They get together once a year.  To my knowledge have never offered an aspiring workshop. They charge by number of rooms or suites.  So even though my suites rent lower than other rooms, I have to pay more to belong.  I just don't see the advantage when I had 1 suite.  When I am fully open, I may join because I will have time to be involved and I think that is key if you are going to belong to something.

Offline
Joined:
06/15/2008

What states are you all from. I would love to see your state website. I should have asked the with the question first.

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

maineinns.com/

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

www.wvbnbs.com

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

Yes! I would not dream of not being a member. Our dues are downright cheap but for that we get:

  • a great web site with each inn having a page good enough to use as a web site until one could afford their own
  • in a 4-color annual Directory (have printed between 20 to 25k each year)
  • a realationship with the Tourism Division who looking kindly upon B & Bs
  • legislation to allow 6 rooms or less to operate without a commercial kitchen
  • legislation to change Fire Codes so B & Bs do not have to have the same fire doors, enclosed staircases, etc as a Holiday Inn or Marriott
  • mentoring
  • ads in publications that drive people to the web site where members can be found
  • the ability to say - inspected and approved - as we are inspected every 3 years
  • conferences with vendors (I found my potter and my maple syrup vendors at a conference) and excellent work sessions to learn many things over the years
  • networking and referrals

I asked DH what he thought were reasons and he named what I said but he also said that what someone gets out of the association depends on what they put in it. If they just pay their dues and are never heard from again, they will not be found because if they wait for someone to come to them - it ain't happening!

 

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

I am and I think the most I get from that is free classes and lots and lots of email about the changing regulations, which I would have no idea about otherwise. I get little traffic from the site, it's not very well promoted. Really I pay for the expertise I can call on if I'm unsure of a reg.

greyswan's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/03/2008

I'm part of the same state association as Riki... great website and we have a fairly active regional group that meets quarterly.  The person-to-person networking is great.

egoodell's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/01/2008

 We are lucky in that we have a good association. They have a super website that works for me.

By the way, El, I wanted to post on the blog on our website and can't figure out how to do it. When I sign in it takes me to my blog since I use the same site for my own. How do I enter information on it? I'm dense...

Riki

__________________

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

 

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

And a new association web site is well on its way. I have been compiling stuff all morning for the new oneSmiling It will be the best ever!!!!! You click here And click on COMMENT.

egoodell's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/01/2008

 Catlady,

How do I enter a new topic on the Association's Blog? If I click on "comment" it is specifically for a comment about the topic already there.

RIki

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

Once you get others to start posting (with pix) it will be a great resource!

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

No, State association doesn't really do anything.  They made a feeble attempt at a innkeeper get together and nothing much came of it.  Also, they have relatively few members because of the previous statements. 

I'd rather spend my money on other marketing. 

__________________

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

 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.