Kicking Around CRS Implementation

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05/04/2013

We are a small boutique inn of 20 rooms, located in a small town about 10-12 minutes from 2 medium-sized cities, 30 minutes from a larger city, and 12 minutes from an interstate.  

We are looking to fill the typical Sunday-Thurs voids and believe it may now be time to "invest" in a CRS connection.  We have fixated on Sit eMinder and Innl ink as CRS the main providers to consider.   I realize that quite a few of you are 2-8 room B&Bs, but do any of you have some "innsight" for us as we consider heading in this direction?  Pretty much it's a numbers game and  - although there is a commission component - the potential increased volume, coupled with potential trickle down "direct reservations" later on, should be able to cost-justify this connection.  In theory anyway.  We already pick up a small number of Expedia-generated reservation through the Bedan dbreakfast dot com connection and our Tri pAdvisor listing.

Any suggestions are welcomed!  Thanks!

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05/04/2013

I appreciate all the constructive comments and will get working on the business angle, photo changes, etc.  If anyone has anything to share regarding CRS platforms/companies, we're all ears. But most certainly a business-oriented and seasonally-appropriate photo selection is in order! I fully agree.  Sometimes we're too deep in the forest to "see the trees"!

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10/07/2008

I think I recall your URL from a year or so ago. If I am correct (lots of green) I love your place!

So here is my immediate knee jerk reaction - the site is beautiful, btw.

              Your rooms and your place is perfect for a business guest, but you have some frou frou photos in your header image slider that make me think romance only.   Remove the snow, the ice photos it is summertime! You can put them back in over the fall-winter months! Agreed with any christmasy type images. That is valuable real estate up there, use it to maximize your bang for your buck (Buck-eye) Smiling

If you had a BUSINESS tab on your header somewhere it would be terrific! You have it under "getaways" and it isn't a getaway. A business person wouldn't even look there.

I wanted to commend you on blogging seasonally, if that is all you can do or squeeze in then that is better than nothing! You can fill your one blog article with 5 to 10 seasonal images! You can also write a business guest welcome blog article, it may be worthwhile.

We're all in this together. yes

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Gluten free is never free. - Joey Bloggs

 

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Joined:
05/22/2008

Your website could use a bit of a makeover to appeal to the business traveler.  Adventures and Bike Trails as a main tab on your navigation doesn't make me think you are business friendly.

and though the holiday decoration photos are pretty...I would get something else on there this time of year.  Making it look too "froo froo" doesn't appeal to business travelers. A page devoted to them and a main link would be a good thing.

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05/04/2013

Good Point Joey on the "trickle-down" thought.  In general, I agree.  tTe "however" for us is that we are surrounded by 5 colleges in a 15-minute drive.   These folks are potentially repeat guests.  If we get them in the door the first time because "they never knew we were here" - voila - trickle down. This currently happens with the Exped ia BnB connection - but that's a 30% hit.  Although I convert 80% of these to a direct booking using a....ahem....confirmation phone call.  So...just exploring here, that's all.  Thanks!

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10/07/2008

Buckeye wrote:

Good Point Joey on the "trickle-down" thought.  In general, I agree.  tTe "however" for us is that we are surrounded by 5 colleges in a 15-minute drive.   These folks are potentially repeat guests.  If we get them in the door the first time because "they never knew we were here" - voila - trickle down. This currently happens with the Exped ia BnB connection - but that's a 30% hit.  Although I convert 80% of these to a direct booking using a....ahem....confirmation phone call.  So...just exploring here, that's all.  Thanks!

Smart!

You are on the ball Buckeye!

Colleges around here are rarely repeats, they are here to check it out, or parents weekend, and then graduation. Everyone wants a room for graduation, and there are never enough.

If you have business guests in the area, I would jump on that any way I could. I am sure you have looked into the larger companies and who they use for travel. Send over a discount card/letter and cookies! Most do not realize B&B's are viable for business guests, it is often looked down on like they are wining and dining if they stay at an Inn vs a standard generic hotel. I would work on the "family owned business" angle. But you never know!

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Joined:
05/04/2013

Thanks Empty Nest, but we're not looking at a PMS/BE which is what ResKey is....this thread/question is rather focused on CRS connectivity.  ResKey, in fact, is compatible with some CRSs. Two different things. I'm sure that there are SOME larger B&Bs/inns who wander through InnSpiring who might have some thoughts/ideas for us.   The fact is that during major events where guest volume exceeds local hotel rooms, spillover frequently happens, upwards of 30-45 minute drives for some folks. Especially with national events, shows, conferences.  So....while you are correct with the idea of the 30 minute out-of-the-way matter, it does not always apply.  We are 10-12 minutes from locations where there is alot of business travel.  That could change the dynamic considerably.

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Joined:
05/22/2008

Oh yes I agree, when there are events going on etc....people will drive the 30 minutes but that is an exception...not the everyday. 

Is there a way you can target some of those business travelers? Those would be the people who would utilize you mid week. Some one on one contacting would be a good thing.

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Joined:
10/07/2008

I am unable to help being a smaller inn as well, but wanted to point out this comment:

"potential trickle down "direct reservations" later on" as it never happens, no matter what platform you use, it never equates to people coming back and paying full fare or direct bookings later.  I wouldn't put too much stock in this. 

All the best Buckeye. If you are on social media, we are small but we are mighty here, you know getting hooked up with these innkeepers may result in a ton of us sharing your stuff online. It doesn't cost a penny. Something to think about...

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Joined:
06/24/2013

Commission is a percentage of your income.  Without the push, your income is zero.  With the push, it is more than zero - a percentage.   Still more than zero.  

I like commission way better than flat fee because 1) your interests are aligned - they only get paid if they do their job and 2) you only pay if you fill a room.  So you can't lose money.

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TBH

 

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Joined:
05/22/2008

haven't you discussed reservation stuff here before?  Most of us here are too small to use these systems. I believe we discussed lots use Reservation Key.

I really don't know why something like innL ink would increase your occupancy Sun - Thurs. I mean there is only so many reasons why people would stay in your area. If I am going to go to the larger city near you...I am staying there..not 30 minutes away. 

seems to me you need to market to those areas and get yourself known so people know what you have available. 

I am just talking off the top of my head here. I really can't relate to what a 20 room property does. ..sorry.

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