B&B .com promotion

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GeorgiaGirl's picture
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I just received an email from b&b.com, http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/specialoffers.aspx?ctx=lnk2  I was just curious who pays the $?  I'm sure it's the Inn, but was just curious, since not all inns have the "green  book it" button I was thinking this was a opt in promotion?

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Update on the couple that called from the local motel. They were walking through the cemetary looking for their people's gravesites as Mike & Ginny were trying to find his grandparents (I showed them this morning as they were leaving) as the office was closed.

The subject had come up of if they were from here and when saying they were from PA and Mike & Ginny said Arizona but were staying at the Gillum House, the woman said they had almost stayed there but it was a shared bath. Kicker - in the conversation she mentions they have a Yorkie that travels everywhere with them (they cannot take their other dog because he yips) but she is very quiet and there are a lot of places that do not take dogs but they work around it. Ginny said it sounded to her like they sneak the dog in because it is small. Looks as if I dodged the bullet.

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I said I would quit before and came back only when the ads that I objected to were gone. I have proven with my actions that when I say I will quit, I will. I run out in Feb and I am NOT renewing!

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Hi Samster,

The $50 is not actually deducted from what the inn received.  The inn receives the same amount the day before the promo started, or the day after it started.  The $50 comes out of our pocket.  As far as attracting the "wrong" people, we've certainly heard that point before and understand how it is a real issue.  We really get it from both sides - a lot of innkeepers ask us what we are doing to get new folks to stay at B&B's, and what we are doing to help stimulate midweek/business demand since that is one area where a lot of B&B's seem to have vacancies.

We don't believe that B&B's are just about price - but price certainly is a factor.  Countless B&B's run discounts and specials, and even five-star hotel chains like Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton offer all kinds of special rates.  Ideally we'd like to get that midweek Hyatt or Hilton customer to give a B&B a try so that their eyes open up to how great it is to stay at a B&B - then they'll become repeats, tell their friends, and help expand the market.  In all of our marketing, we try to use upscale imagery, rich content, etc. to convey the luxury aspect of the stays that our member properties offer.

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John Banczak
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Inn Above Onion Creek

 

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J, I'm not an owner yet, so haven't had much interface with bandb.com but as a guest I have found it to be an attractive, helpful website.

As an aspiring innkeeper, my question to you is, when you say "The $50 comes out of our pocket." who put that $50 in your pocket? As I understand it, your salary and business expenses are paid by innkeepers through yearly dues and commissions. As I've read on other threads, these yearly dues and commissions that you collect from innkeepers were significantly increased this year, since, as you say, your necessary costs are increasing.

So how do you determine what is a necessary cost to conduct your business? How was it decided that this $50 off to guests should be offered when innkeepers are struggling to swallow your new fees?

I know that, like B&Bs, each B&B directory is different and must market itself differently. It appears to me that your website is one of the more "upscale" (despite the $35/night lodging that you advertise), and I would expect that the cost of doing business with you would inherently be higher. That's your niche.

I don't necessarily disagree with the choices you've made to make your service to guests more upscale, but I find it misleading that you say, essentially, "Don't worry, I've got this one" if the innkeepers are the ones footing the bill in the long run through constant rate increases. I might buy the argument that you believe B&Bs should raise the bar on their marketing strategy and are acting on this premise, but it doesn't seem to me that a savvy businessman like yourself would really put himself or his company into debt to offer a promotion like this.

I think transparency into these types of decisions would be appreciated by those who end up footing the bill.

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Hi Stephanie,

I understand where you are coming from on this – we are an intermediary between the inn and the consumer – but this promotion really isn’t tied to any pricing increase.  We are hearing right not from a lot of innkeepers that their business is down, and we are also hearing that hotels are cutting rates – and hotel websites are cutting rates.  So we have tried to drum up some business by running a promo like this.  It seems to me what you are saying is something to the effect of “if BedandBreakfast.com didn’t offer consumer promos like this – then they wouldn’t have to raise their prices…”  and I do not think the two are correlated.

Across the internet – we compete not only with B&B directories, but the big hotel companies and hotel websites as well, and we also have to keep a pulse on what is driving consumer behavior.  Every B&B may not agree with our marketing decisions, but we react and respond here much like an innkeeper would with their own specials, packages, and offers.  With the economy the way it is, and with other lodging options offering discounts, we wanted to make sure we were competitive.  Consumers are definitely looking for deals right now, and we wanted to have an offer for them as well.

 

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JBanczak wrote:
We are hearing right not from a lot of innkeepers that their business is down, and we are also hearing that hotels are cutting rates – and hotel websites are cutting rates. 

Yep, it is.  We've been toying with rate cutting here, too. 

How 'bout you? 

=)
Kk.

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With the economy the way it is, and with other lodging options offering discounts, we wanted to make sure we were competitive.  Consumers are definitely looking for deals right now, and we wanted to have an offer for them as well.

John, you just said it all! Just what we have been telling bandb!!  With the economy the way it is, and with other lodging options offering discounts  WE are YOUR consumers. WE are looking for deals. WE NEED deals too if WE are going to survive. Do the users of your web site pay you anything? No! It is the fees/commissions from the innkeepers that are paying you. Yes, the innkeeper is paying you to deliver guests but that basically means having a clean, clear, crisp, attractive, easy to navigate web site so the potential guest can find us easily and quickly.

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JBanczak wrote:

Hi Samster,

We don't believe that B&B's are just about price - but price certainly is a factor.  Countless B&B's run discounts and specials, and even five-star hotel chains like Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton offer all kinds of special rates.  Ideally we'd like to get that midweek Hyatt or Hilton customer to give a B&B a try so that their eyes open up to how great it is to stay at a B&B - then they'll become repeats, tell their friends, and help expand the market.  In all of our marketing, we try to use upscale imagery, rich content, etc. to convey the luxury aspect of the stays that our member properties offer.

John- If the above statement about 'upscale imagery' etc is really true, then you absolutely cannot showcase 'See more inns from $35/night' as the reason guests should click the links in that promo. I was stunned to see a hostel listed under the $50 off promo. There is nothing 'luxurious' about 'remember you may be sharing a room with a person of the same sex'.

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I agree that the this property is not exactly luxury… nor would it be a property that appeals to me personally.  The problem we always run into is with the wide range of properties and innkeepers that consider themselves some type of a B&B.  This property in particular has been on the site since 1998, and I just checked their history – we do not have any consumer complaints about them.  In fact, you can read their reviews by clicking here: http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/ShowReviews.aspx?inn=221277&m=1#s1969719.

In terms of highlighting this property, we’ve figured out the reason why it is showing up and we are trying to do something about it.  For this specific promotion for online reservation properties, we pull the price from the lowest price entered by area properties.  This is a price that a B&B enters themselves.  Unfortunately it is hard to police them to see what price is good for when, and who has that available.  The price range was pulled automatically – it wasn’t something that our marketing people put together – and it just so happened it was for this property.  We are trying to figure out a better way to do this, although many times we are at the mercy of the data entered by B&B’s since we can’t possibly be verifying every single piece of information entered. Hopefully we’ll figure something out on this asap.

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Motel 6 crowd = beer swilling cigarette smoking adults, kids jumping on bed and running up and down halls.

As I heard in the musical Chicago - "She just ain't got no class."

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Well I would think it would be the ones that use the online reservations with bedandbreakfast.com that this would apply to.  If you do use that feature it is probably better to have your most expensive room on there so you get more of the money.  I am thinking that if a customer were to book a room on that system and enter in the promo code to get the discount we would still get our normal amount of pay from the room.  I do like the gift cards  because the inn doesn't need to keep track of any gift certificates handed out.  We no longer offer our own gift certificates.  It is a pain to keep those on the books and have them floating out there not knowing if they will redeem them or not.  This way I just issue a gift card and forget about it.

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oceans wrote:

Well I would think it would be the ones that use the online reservations with bedandbreakfast.com that this would apply to.  If you do use that feature it is probably better to have your most expensive room on there so you get more of the money.  I am thinking that if a customer were to book a room on that system and enter in the promo code to get the discount we would still get our normal amount of pay from the room.  I do like the gift cards  because the inn doesn't need to keep track of any gift certificates handed out.  We no longer offer our own gift certificates.  It is a pain to keep those on the books and have them floating out there not knowing if they will redeem them or not.  This way I just issue a gift card and forget about it.

I remember thinking that.  Thinking it out, working it out in my mind.  Then thought - BUT if someone wants to BOOK the most expensive room, I am out even more $$.

So what did I do? (this is with a BOGO offer I am on) I just put the stipulations for midweek travel only and hop they book more than one night.  SO far that has ocurred a couple times with that offer. I let them choose the room.

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Hi All,

The promotion is indeed for the inns that are in the online reservation program - as some have referred to as "the green button."  The promo though comes from BB.com - we take $50 off the final price - we do not ask for additional discounts from the inn.  This is the same as our summer gas promo that we ran.  We gave the consumer $50 back and did not ask for additional discounts from the inns.

Some inns feature midweek promotions on their own - without being bookable through us.  Those would not qualify, and we would link consumers to the inns for that additional pricing.

I know it can be a little confusing to consumers, but with so many different booking engines that people use, some properties in the online reservation program, some not, etc. - it is hard to make it really clean.  What we are trying to do though is focus on midweek travel this fall as the consumer leisure market seems to be hurting lately.

Hope that helps to explain it,

JB

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Clarify for me:  "You" took $50 off the price.  This means it came out of the funds that you collected on behalf of the inn/B&B through your reservation system for a stay and was deducted from what the inn ultimately received for that reservation?  It's not like this $50 came out of bandb.com's pocket?  This is in addtion to the monies paid by the inn for this reservation system. 

An innkeeper would have to specify that this promotion was not good with any other discount being offered at the same time as the reservation, I would imagine.  People will try & get something for nothing.

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gillumhouse's picture
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What we are trying to do though is focus on midweek travel this fall as the consumer leisure market seems to be hurting lately.

I understand what you are trying to do on YOUR end, but remember this = WE are the ones taking these people into our HOMES! From things I have heard from others who took the GCs many of the GC users were NOT B & B people, I want B & B people in my home, not the Motel 6 crowd.

I want people who appreciate an experience enough to pay what we charge to get it. I do not want the people such as the call i had last night from the local motel that was full. They wanted a room for 2 nights - but not at my rates. There are a lot of guests I would rather pass on thank you.

If going to B & B was just about price, I would not have had my best year ever this year. Gas was higher than ever, stock market wobbly, now Wall Street, Freddie, & Fannie are in the tank - and not one of my October reservations has cancelled. There is a Microtel, Super 8, Comfort Inn, no-tell etc in the area some that advertise  starting at $29.95 + tax. It is rare that I get a guest simply because everything else is full. They want the B & B experience if first timers (and I get a fair number of those) or they are experienced and want the personal attention they know they will get at a B & B.

So please, do not think that all we are wanting is "heads in beds", we want those heads to be ones that will appreciate what we have and treat it gently. A guest who pays $100 but misuses our home and furnishings in such a way to have to throw away towels, wash cloths, blankets, comforters, and sheets or have to do major repairs that cost us $150 or more is not a good ROI guest. They are out there. We want them at the Motel 6!

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Sorry, I too misunderstood and thought the inn was out the $50.

You DO have the technology, tho, to only have participating inns show up in that list below the promo. It's bewildering to us, and you know we know your site pretty well. Imagine a guest who sees that list, sees the $50 off up above and then goes searching for an inn in the list below. The majority of them did not have the 'book it' link. (I checked in the DC and NO lists.)

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Oh, boy...here we go again~

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Glad they are looking out for us B & Bs.

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Okay just for clarification a directory pays for nothing IN THIS PROMOTION.  It is the INNS themselves.  The directory is just the animal to get the information out to the public.  Sort of like a co-op.

If you SAVE $50 it is the inn offering you a discount.  If you Buy One Night Get One Night Free - the Inn is paying for the second night.  All costs involved. 

Thank you for bringing this up, as we don't realize how many guests think it is some association or something that is footing the bill. 

We pay to be on the directory, we pay annually.  We pay for anything and everything.  Which is what the stink was about on the other thread with less than appropriate notice given that now if YOU HAND ME a Gift Card with BandB.com printed on it, I will now get $80 on the room instead of what you are paying with it, $100.  You pay with a $100 gift card - we get paid $80.  We cannot say NO DISCOUNTS to those guests, so if I gave you a $10 off discount or $15 military discount - I am now getting $65.

So from $100 down to $65.  Add into that food costs, flowers, electricity, extras like afternoon snacks or drinks, cleaning help (if applicable), time and work involved, and you come out with ...a headache. 

GeorgiaGirl's picture
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JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

Okay just for clarification a directory pays for nothing IN THIS PROMOTION.  It is the INNS themselves.  The directory is just the animal to get the information out to the public.  Sort of like a co-op.

If you SAVE $50 it is the inn offering you a discount.  If you Buy One Night Get One Night Free - the Inn is paying for the second night.  All costs involved. 

Thank you for bringing this up, as we don't realize how many guests think it is some association or something that is footing the bill. 

We pay to be on the directory, we pay annually.  We pay for anything and everything.  Which is what the stink was about on the other thread with less than appropriate notice given that now if YOU HAND ME a Gift Card with BandB.com printed on it, I will now get $80 on the room instead of what you are paying with it, $100.  You pay with a $100 gift card - we get paid $80.  We cannot say NO DISCOUNTS to those guests, so if I gave you a $10 off discount or $15 military discount - I am now getting $65.

So from $100 down to $65.  Add into that food costs, flowers, electricity, extras like afternoon snacks or drinks, cleaning help (if applicable), time and work involved, and you come out with ...a headache. 

I really knew the answer before I asked, but since this was the first time that I remember getting an email from them with a discount code attached to it I was curious.  What I really want to know is, does B&B.com email/mail and let you know  what they are going to do and ask if you want to participate?  Or do the Inns that you can automatically book while on B&B.com's website have to participate (the email says the Inns participating are the ones with the green "book" button)   What if someone books using that code but they are NOT on business?  I'm sure there's no way to really check.

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What I really want to know is, does B&B.com email/mail and let you know  what they are going to do and ask if you want to participate? 

Well, that's an interesting point, because I received an e-mail asking to participate and I did not respond or sign up to participate and I have a green button, and I am not offering that promo...so i wonder who will be paying for it if someone tries to book it, won't be me!

I know that guests cannot book specials through bandb.com, they have to book directly with the inns to get the specials, at least that's what they told me. i guess that's a plus for us, we don't have to pay the comission in that case, but we have to honor the special, but then the customer can't book it on bandb.com which would be inconvenient for them...

i think it would definitely be a major point of frustration for guests to try to figure out which inns will honor which specials...

they get aggravated enough trying to use the GC's when many do not accept them...

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inncogneeto wrote:

What I really want to know is, does B&B.com email/mail and let you know  what they are going to do and ask if you want to participate? 

Well, that's an interesting point, because I received an e-mail asking to participate and I did not respond or sign up to participate and I have a green button, and I am not offering that promo...so i wonder who will be paying for it if someone tries to book it, won't be me!

I know that guests cannot book specials through bandb.com, they have to book directly with the inns to get the specials, at least that's what they told me. i guess that's a plus for us, we don't have to pay the comission in that case, but we have to honor the special, but then the customer can't book it on bandb.com which would be inconvenient for them...

i think it would definitely be a major point of frustration for guests to try to figure out which inns will honor which specials...

they get aggravated enough trying to use the GC's when many do not accept them...

What happens when all these GC's are sold and over half the Inns listed on BanB.com won't accept them?  I am sure this is currently being discussed at the board table, as I know it is not this forum of innkeepers alone who have bailed on this fantastic Stick-it-to-ya GC prgm.  (I am sure I will be quoted on that one)

My certain bet will be it will soon become mandatory for all B&B inns to accept GC's.  My second bet is they will have Inns jumping ship like leapin' lemurs... I will not be renewing this year.  I know of a few others who will not as well.

 

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 I have heard of other inns having to deal with cranky guests calling to book to find out the GCs are not accepted at the inns. 

I only take my own and my association's GCs. Like you say, I would leave. This area books very well without having to discount anything other than two months out of the year, and I need every penny to pay off our building debt.

Riki

__________________

Riki Goodell
Arcady Vineyard Bed & Breakfast
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Come! Let us show you the beautiful Monticello Appellation!

 

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GeorgiaGirl25 wrote:

JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

Okay just for clarification a directory pays for nothing IN THIS PROMOTION.  It is the INNS themselves.  The directory is just the animal to get the information out to the public.  Sort of like a co-op.

If you SAVE $50 it is the inn offering you a discount.  If you Buy One Night Get One Night Free - the Inn is paying for the second night.  All costs involved. 

Thank you for bringing this up, as we don't realize how many guests think it is some association or something that is footing the bill. 

We pay to be on the directory, we pay annually.  We pay for anything and everything.  Which is what the stink was about on the other thread with less than appropriate notice given that now if YOU HAND ME a Gift Card with BandB.com printed on it, I will now get $80 on the room instead of what you are paying with it, $100.  You pay with a $100 gift card - we get paid $80.  We cannot say NO DISCOUNTS to those guests, so if I gave you a $10 off discount or $15 military discount - I am now getting $65.

So from $100 down to $65.  Add into that food costs, flowers, electricity, extras like afternoon snacks or drinks, cleaning help (if applicable), time and work involved, and you come out with ...a headache. 

I really knew the answer before I asked, but since this was the first time that I remember getting an email from them with a discount code attached to it I was curious.  What I really want to know is, does B&B.com email/mail and let you know  what they are going to do and ask if you want to participate?  Or do the Inns that you can automatically book while on B&B.com's website have to participate (the email says the Inns participating are the ones with the green "book" button)   What if someone books using that code but they are NOT on business?  I'm sure there's no way to really check.

Innkeepers can sign up for these promotions.  If you are a green inn, then you can sign up for a green promotion, kid friendly inns can sign up for family promotions, etc  They do not sneak it on anyone.  

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So, I'm looking at the list and I'm assuming this is a list of places offering the $50 off a 2 night stay. So, I pick the hostel for $70 for 2 nights and they actually only get $20 for my stay? Something isn't right. Either with the list or the promo.

 

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Bree wrote:

So, I'm looking at the list and I'm assuming this is a list of places offering the $50 off a 2 night stay. So, I pick the hostel for $70 for 2 nights and they actually only get $20 for my stay? Something isn't right. Either with the list or the promo. 

I think the problem is with the promo.

You get $50 off, two night, mid-week... but only for the inns with the green "Book it!" button.

Then it says, "See more inns from $35/night."

But the $35/night inn does not have the green "Book it!" button, therefore is not part of the promotion.

Does that count as deceptive advertising?

=)
Kk.

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Let me also add additional disappointment as I tried several 'book it' B&B's for a variety of dates in the time frame mentioned in the promo and I got the message that no rooms had been allocated for the dates I requested.

It's a great idea, but as with the GC debacle earlier when guests had no idea WHAT B&B's participated in the program, there needs to be some back end programming done here so ONLY B&B's on the their online booking system who have rooms available show at any given time.

B&B fixed that GC problem by having an easy to find list of B&B's that accept the GC. They can fix this, too, before they have grumpy B&B goers saying, 'Great promo, too bad I can't use it anywhere I want to go.'

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YellowSocks wrote:

Bree wrote:

So, I'm looking at the list and I'm assuming this is a list of places offering the $50 off a 2 night stay. So, I pick the hostel for $70 for 2 nights and they actually only get $20 for my stay? Something isn't right. Either with the list or the promo. 

I think the problem is with the promo.

You get $50 off, two night, mid-week... but only for the inns with the green "Book it!" button.

Then it says, "See more inns from $35/night."

But the $35/night inn does not have the green "Book it!" button, therefore is not part of the promotion.

Does that count as deceptive advertising?

=)
Kk.

That was the problem. I realized while looking at some of those lower priced places that SEEM to be part of the promo, that they do not have the booking engine attachment. So, me, looking to spend $20 to stay in DC for two nights would be disappointed. Or, $70 for two nights in NO, similar disappointment.

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JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

and you come out with ...a headache. 

Sounds like a rough way to try to run a business.

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I don't know about this promo but I am a tad annoyed as I scrolled down that list of 'cheap' rates (the lowest being $35) that these are the types of accommodations being listed. The lowest price ($35) is a hostel.

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