Cookie Tour - Inn Stroll

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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 The innkeepers' association is sponsoring a Holiday Inn Stroll and Cookie Tour.   We are on the tour because when we said 'no,' somehow it was not acceptable to the group and got turned into a 'yes.'   LOL

We've done a tour 3 of the past 4 years and are worried that our inn is getting boring.  People have already seen it!   

Anyway, we sell 100 tickets at $25 each to tour 5 inns decorated to the rafters and pick up a bag of cookies at each inn.  

I'm switching up the tablescape and mantle decorations this year because, as I mentioned, it's been done.  Also bought some new decorations to beef up the theme of the tree which is pinecones and woodland creatures.  What else?   I usually serve hot mulled cider and muffins.   Maybe switch to a different munchies presentation.   Suggestions?  Have you participated in holiday open houses?   

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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So, it was decided, no cookie tour next year.

Ideas for fund raisers?  The tour benefited the innkeepers' scholarship to local high school grads.  I suggested a raffle for one night in each inn.   So, multiple raffle winners, each receiving a night in a local inn.   Not sure if townies would be interested in spending a night in an inn down the street.

Maybe we raffle off a piece of art or an antique.   Hmmmmm - that's actually not a bad idea.  find a pretty piece of furniture at an antique store and have a raffle.   Question becomes, where or how do you sell the tickets.

 

Do you have a great fund raising idea?

Morticia's picture
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How involved do you want to get? Our local chamber got a 'Monopoly' game made for our town. They sold places in the board, plus the game is sold in town for $40.

Or, our teen center has an auction every year where they all paint the same item (chairs, paddles, clocks) and then auction them off. They get local artists to participate as well.

I've seen this in artsy communities - larger objects are painted by locals and artists and auctioned - life size statuary of pigs, sheep, etc. They are displayed through out town until the auction. There was one of these in the UK where all kinds of famous people decorated life size models of Shaun the Sheep. I think they even got people like Sir Paul and Sir Elton to paint them.

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gillumhouse's picture
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A group in town did a fundraiser a few years ago at Christmas and raffles off a couple donated decorated Christmas trees.  The raffle tickets were sold at businesses in town and at City Hall (benefit of being a small city). The drawing was done the second week of December. The trees were displayed at some of the businesses and the one I donated was on display at City Hall.

You could do that displaying the trees at places around town or if City Hall would allow it, all of them at City Hall or at your inns with a tour that has ONLY cider& cookies as refreshments.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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What a lovely idea.   Still creative, but not so individual.   Every inn could donate a tree.   Nice.

Generic's picture
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Well, the idea of getting the locals to see the place so they can suggest it to their friends was a good one, but why not instead making it an inn tour and bake sale with the proceeds going to charity.

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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100 tickets X $25 = $2500.   We had 5 inns.   Our inn invested nearly $500 on decorations, food, cookie dough and bags and ribbons.   So, why bother?   Just toss the money in the kitty and the fundraising is done!!

gillumhouse's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

100 tickets X $25 = $2500.   We had 5 inns.   Our inn invested nearly $500 on decorations, food, cookie dough and bags and ribbons.   So, why bother?   Just toss the money in the kitty and the fundraising is done!!

WHAT??? I am sorry, but that is way outside the ballpark for here. I made mufins, cookies, and had some munchies with hot cider, coffee, and tea but never spent nearly that much The olive penguins would be time consuming but cheap to make and impressive. IF tht is something you enjoy, great, but if not, your not again is the right way to go.I figured they were here to see what my house looked like, refreshments would be simple.

From your initial post, you were pleased with the reaction to what you served. That should be the take-away. You were remembered for your food. The one that just served pretzles was remembered for that.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

100 tickets X $25 = $2500.   We had 5 inns.   Our inn invested nearly $500 on decorations, food, cookie dough and bags and ribbons.   So, why bother?   Just toss the money in the kitty and the fundraising is done!!

WHAT??? I am sorry, but that is way outside the ballpark for here. I made mufins, cookies, and had some munchies with hot cider, coffee, and tea but never spent nearly that much The olive penguins would be time consuming but cheap to make and impressive. IF tht is something you enjoy, great, but if not, your not again is the right way to go.I figured they were here to see what my house looked like, refreshments would be simple.

From your initial post, you were pleased with the reaction to what you served. That should be the take-away. You were remembered for your food. The one that just served pretzles was remembered for that.

Some of the output was for new decorations.   Our old stuff was getting tired and we spruced up.  We also paid for the cookie ingredients - for 400 cookies.  And ribbons.   It just added up!

gillumhouse's picture
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Some of the output was for new decorations.   Our old stuff was getting tired and we spruced up.  We also paid for the cookie ingredients - for 400 cookies.  And ribbons.   It just added up!

I know it does. It is after the event when you sit down and add up what you spent that you say - How did we do that? WHY?? 

Wrap yourself up in the success of it and hope people remember enough to want to book in the future. I am the only B & B in my County so I cannot be part of any tour. I have done tours at Christmas back when we had a craft shop in town. THEY decorated 2 of my rooms and I did the rest. We were pikers though - $1 at the door for the Lord's Pantry. 

TheBeachHouse's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:

Some of the output was for new decorations.   Our old stuff was getting tired and we spruced up.  We also paid for the cookie ingredients - for 400 cookies.  And ribbons.   It just added up!

I know it does. It is after the event when you sit down and add up what you spent that you say - How did we do that? WHY?? 

Wrap yourself up in the success of it and hope people remember enough to want to book in the future. I am the only B & B in my County so I cannot be part of any tour. I have done tours at Christmas back when we had a craft shop in town. THEY decorated 2 of my rooms and I did the rest. We were pikers though - $1 at the door for the Lord's Pantry. 

Thanks.    It was a successful event, but it was too much and we (the couple of inns) carried it ourselves.    Since the 'community' of inns isn't supportive, I think we will have to let this one go.

I did get some very nice comments on the house, so I enjoyed that part!  

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

100 tickets X $25 = $2500.   We had 5 inns.   Our inn invested nearly $500 on decorations, food, cookie dough and bags and ribbons.   So, why bother?   Just toss the money in the kitty and the fundraising is done!!

Dumb down the goodies next year. That's too much outlay. OR, do what our chamber does and ask other businesses to set up shop in your place. We had one meeting where a local brewery and vodka distiller showed up at an open house. Get more people involved who can contribute food items.

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Did you require people to remove their shoes?  We don't allow shoes beyond the front door. 

I'd be interested in doing some promotional things like you described but I think it would be tough asking people who aren't guests staying at our place to remove their shoes.

 

TheBeachHouse wrote:

 The innkeepers' association is sponsoring a Holiday Inn Stroll and Cookie Tour.   We are on the tour because when we said 'no,' somehow it was not acceptable to the group and got turned into a 'yes.'   LOL

Morticia's picture
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MNVineyardBB wrote:

Did you require people to remove their shoes?  We don't allow shoes beyond the front door. 

I'd be interested in doing some promotional things like you described but I think it would be tough asking people who aren't guests staying at our place to remove their shoes.

 

TheBeachHouse wrote:

 The innkeepers' association is sponsoring a Holiday Inn Stroll and Cookie Tour.   We are on the tour because when we said 'no,' somehow it was not acceptable to the group and got turned into a 'yes.'   LOL

There are times you have to relax your policies. If it's not traditional to remove shoes where you are, you are not going to create the best first impression standing at the door admonishing guests.

If it's standard in your area, then people will already be prepared to remove shoes.

Plan for a deep cleaning after the event.

I don't see getting a large number of people to huddle around the door balancing on one foot, then the other to remove and put on shoes twice in 10 minutes, to be optimum enjoyment.

Perhaps something in the summer where everyone stays outside to enjoy the gardens would work better.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Having people take off their shoes at an event like this would be a logistical nightmare, and I think, a bit rude.  So no.  We didn't.  AND it was raining and snowing the entire time.

We did a good vacuum on the floors the next day.

And we don't require our guests to remove their shoes either.   That is what floors are for. (to me.) 

TheBeachHouse's picture
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The tour was a big success and I'm still recovering.  Never again!  

We are on one side of the map of inns participating, so most people started with us.  The tour went from 4 pm to 7.  We had 75 people through our inn between 4 and 5:30!  (We limited tickets to 100) LOL

Appetizers were a bigger hit than I'd expected.  We ran out of pigs in a blanket.   I also made brie in a blanket and pesto in a blanket.   A theme thing.   Big hit.   I also did a pretty veggie platter and a boring hummus platter.   Hot spiced cider (still finding sticky spots on the floors!)

I heard from  a stroller, that our inn and one other were beautifully decorated and the food was lovely.  The other three inns put out minor or no munchies at all - one had a bowl of pretzels.    They roped off the rooms so there wasn't much to look at.  

I'm a little hurt by it.  We had 5 inns involved and only two of us really caught the spirit.  The other inn told me that in years past, they would have 14 inns on the tour and it was a huge deal.

Oh well, times change and this tour is ended.  

gillumhouse's picture
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I said never again after the ham & bean dinner this year - and found myself saying the next day, "Next year we will ....." UGH!

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Get on your December 2018 calendar now and write, "Never again!!" to remind yourself. 

gillumhouse's picture
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It is November. It is their only fundraiser of the year. What I needed to do was know in advance WHEN it will be to block reservations. I had guests (who actually went to the ham & bean dinner to support us) which added to the pressure. As one of the younger members (the very few younger are still working) who was not sick, I got to be the one to do the scut work on the evening before and the wee morning of. Helpers were there from 9 AM on.

2018 is an election year which means the politicians will be attending fundraiser dinners. It also means I can set a date now since I know when election day will be. We made over $900 clear that day.

Morticia's picture
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We have the exact same guests every year for our holiday celebration weekend. I have 3 sets of decor I use in the rooms to change things up. 

But, the house decor stays the same. This year I'll be putting out my mom's Christmas decor but have to figure out where.

Do you always get the same people showing up for the tour?

TheBeachHouse's picture
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We do get repeat people.   Sometimes I even see these women on my Sunday Looky-Loo Open House tours.   LOL

How much did you get from your Mom?   It's fun to shake it up, but at the same time, some pieces just demand the same spot.  I have a collection of sleighs - one from Lenox, one from Spode - that sort of thing.   I try to move them around but always end up putting them in the same spot.

On the other hand, I have a Christmas Village collection that has been in a different spot each year since we moved here.   Last year, they were on the mantle, this year, I'm making them the centerpiece on the dining table.   We'll see how that looks.

Morticia's picture
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I just packed it all up. No idea what I've got! I think I kept all of the Santas. Gave my brother a bunch of things that were for his kids.

I'll have to take a look next week.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Like a pre-Christmas Christmas! 

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