Time to drop "Bed and Breakfast" from our name?

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PhineasSwann's picture
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09/25/2012

Time to survey our friends here on a major issue that's dividing me and my spouse. Would really be interested in everyone's feedback on this issue, that goes to branding, positioning, signage, marketing - the whole shebang. 

In the interest of not coloring people's opinions, I'm not going to let you know which side of the coin I come down on. 

The issue: Should we remove "Bed and Breakfast" from the name of our establishment and just go with "Inn?" Or something entirely different

Currently: The current name of our establishment is "Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast Inn." Yes, it's redundant. But the previous owners named it that to maximize returns on search engines when customers are looking for either a B&B or an Inn. It's currently part of our legal name ("Corporate Name dba Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast Inn.")

Arguments For:

  • The value of the term "bed and breakfast" has been diminished, damaged and possibly even destroyed by Air. When you tell people you run a B&B these days, they ask "which rooms in your house do you rent?" 
  • "Bed and Breakfast" among younger customers has a dated, grandma's house feel that can't be overcome.
  • "Bed and Breakfast Inn" is redundant. Pick one or the other. 
  • "Bed and Breakfast" doesn't summarize all that we do here. We host events. We host 10-15 weddings per year. We provide multiple amenities and services like in-room massages that some B&Bs don't.
  • We need to change in order to draw in more younger customers. Many younger customers don't use the search term "bed and breakfast."

Arguments Against:

  • Changing a brand is dangerous. It can negatively affect your search engine placement, brand recognition,'
  • Changing costs money. Reprinting materials, replacing signs, the time involved in updating other referring sites and OTAs.
  • "Bed and Breakfast" defines what we do. We provide a room or suite to stay in and breakfast. We don't serve dinner. We aren't a restaurant. We don't have a bar. Using "Phineas Swann Inn" would suggest services we don't provide. 
  • Many millennials aren't turned off by the B&B name. They see it as a romantic option. 
  • If it ain't broke, don't fix it. We outsell the two other inns in our town, and are the only "bed and breakfast" (excluding the airs). 

Naming options brainstormed:

  • Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast (drop "Inn")
  • Phineas Swann Inn ("drop Bed & Breakfast")
  • Phineas Swann Inn & Suites
  • Phineas Swann Resort
  • Phineas Swann Resort & Spa (we currently don't offer full spa services but would like to)

We value everyone's experience and viewpoints here. Also would be interested if anyone has had similar thoughts or experiences. Thanks!

 

 

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OnTheShore's picture
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You think you've got it bad, how about "Housekeeping Cottages?" No one knows what that means anymore. So we've taken to calling ourselves "Waterfront Vacation Cottages." We haven't changed our sign or stockpile of print pieces yet.... Legally, our corporate name is just ______, Inc. with no mentions of cottages at all...

As I understand it, "Resort" implies full food service, so not sure you want to go there.  It also suggests to me lots of on-site "activity" amenities...

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Morticia's picture
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Someday, when I retire, I want to stay there in your housekeeping cottages!

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I don't think you should change the B&B term from your business name. That is what makes you unique. I myself own a B&B in Vermont and though I like B&B I also like going by the name of Boutique Inn. So I think you can add on those amenities and change it likewise.
Also, I love your Banner.

Tom
Tom's picture
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10/11/2009

We're B&B Inn, as well.  I figure the more key words the better.  The brand is the Phineas Swann part of the name anyway. So, I wouldn't worry about it.

And you are right: rise of Airbnb has had the impact of a brand name (Kleenex:facial tissue) taking over a generic.  But B&B is still a valid concept for a style of hospitality and communicates a more homey experience than Inn alone.

TinaC's picture
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09/21/2008

No-oo.  Bed & Breakfast or Bed & Breakfast, Inn evokes the vary thoughts, images, feelings of what we seek from these properties in the first place.  A respite from a too rapidly changing world.  A road less traveled, Going home again.  That type of thing.  Dropping Bed & Breakfast will be a sad move, Inn-deed!  At least in this B&B Lover's heart   Sad

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seashanty's picture
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Oh, I do love that sign!! 

In my case, it was Inn Bed & Breakfast as a legal name. Inn on the sign

A number of people (non guests) would come to the door wanting to buy breakfast. I really wanted to serve them and probably should have, claiming 'ignorance of...' if challenged. The area inns had restaurants so it was a natural mistake. I kept Inn because it was the original name -- the new owner doesn't serve breakfast to anyone any more *sigh* 

happykeeper's picture
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12/11/2008

Switched from Kalaekilohana Bed and Breakfast to Kalaekilohana Inn and Retreat once we had a class one commercial kitchen authorized to serve dinner. Good decision. We did it in conjunction with a switch to the TA hotel page and ended up #1 on the island right above the FS. Things have gotten chopped up a bit after TA changed how they recognize #1, but folks must have thought the new way was a naked play to hotels and it got switched back recently. No idea where they're headed next.

We're getting prepared for working with OTA's, which means changing over to a boutique hotel model. That means lower base prices with less included that mean less commision combined with more inclusive options on our own site that can convert comparison shoppers. 

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Anon Inn's picture
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Probably 6 of one......

I did change ours to 'inn', specifically to move to hotel status on TA.  Before I applied for the category change, TA changed their lineup completely, so no longer an issue.  Trip connect has helped solve the TA problems.  I no longer actively solicit a large number of reviews.  I spread the ask between Goog (probably most important currently), Ylp and TA.  

Reviews most always feature comments about the food, so that second 'b' is really important!  We do serve optional dinners and offer take away lunches. 

Overseas visitors  (tiny percentage of total guests)  have changed from fewer Europeans to more Asians.  No idea if due to name change or other factors.  

Overall occupancy trended up every year until this one.  We will be slightly above 2016 by year's end, but not to 2017 levels.  I was helping a friend with a vacation rental last year and took a 10% cut.  Mostly I said no to no one due to getting my mind (as much as possible) off of grieving a death in the family.  I don't remember much of last year. 

Fewer letters for customized purchases a small bonus.   Smiling

Lee2014's picture
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   My thought is to do a questionnaire online on your website/Facebook accounts.  It will bring people in and get you noticed etc.  Guests can share with their friends.  It will give you the idea what your guests think your name should be and you can make a better decision.

   Our experience in this same thoughts... The inn is "MyPlace Guest House".  We talked about dropping the "guest house" since we got people calling wanting long term lodging etc so we went by "MyPlace Guest House Inn" for awhile and then put up a sign out front MyPlace Inn.  We found that the inn alone had people commenting or complaining about no elevator, no restaurant, no 24 hour desk personal, etc to us and online.  Also we got more pita guests when it was just inn than the guest house.  So its back to MyPlace Guest House, a family owned and operated inn. and "Sorry, we don't do discounted long term lodging"...   When people ask why the guest house name we say brightly, "Because our guests and the house are the most important here!"  

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dumitru's picture
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What's the profile of your average customer? Americans or non-Americans? 
Because in many parts of the world the word "inn" is unknown or very rarely used, while bed & breakfast is both a specific search query and a descriptor of what you do.

I would surely NOT drop B&B out of the name.

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JimBoone's picture
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12/18/2014

What's the line, "A rose is still a rose"? You're already there and I hope enjoying success, you have B & B and Inn in the name so hopefully a search would find you either way. Once I've found you it is up to you to sell me that you're the place for me, what you call yourself really no longer matters (to me) at that point if you were successful selling me on a visit. Now to be fair, I'm not part of the younger crowd.

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Highlands John's picture
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04/16/2010

Different perspective here as there are marked differences between US and UK.

The name "Inn" here is more often than not associated with pubs, old coaching Inns are not uncommon,  where they used to stopped to change the horses, selling food, drink and a bed for the night.

From my experience in the US your B&Bs are what we call "Guest Houses". 4-12 rooms, owners on the property but very separate, usually with a guest lounge. More than a B&B, basically a small, independent hotel but no bar or restaurant. 

B&Bs here tend to be rooms in someones home, sharing the space with the owner, just a bed for the night and breakfast in the morning. They basically grew out of a wife at home while the husband is at work, kids have left home so wife lets out the spare room to passing tourists. The waters have been muddied over the years, with boutique B&Bs etc, but that's why there isn't so much kick-back against air here as they're really selling what B&Bs have always been.

IMHO managing guest expectations is key, so you need to make sure whatever it is it matches what you're doing. There does seem to be  a marked contrast in the style of your sign and of your website!

 

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Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

We're 'My Place Inn Bed and Breakfast.'

Totally get what you're saying that the b&b part has been trashed by air. I don't use the b&b part when I answer the phone. But it's still on all our marketing. I even started adding it years ago to everything online.

Yes it's confusing as 'inn' implies dining options other than breakfast. (Ours is also the original name.)

I agree with arks that the change to a new name can be done gradually. 

I like resort and spa, but do you offer lots of resort stuff? I'd expect that means there are other options on site besides just the room and breakfast. 'Suites' in the name makes me think of hotels.

It stinks we have to reinvent ourselves because someone co-opted our business model and turned it into trash. 

PhineasSwann's picture
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Changing our sign will/would be an expensive proposition:

 

TinaC's picture
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09/21/2008

I love This Sign!!!  Would be sad to see it change!

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

Get a paint match and just take out the B&B part. The PS part is enough for people to find you. Or do you get much street traffic? If so, get a piece to put over the B&B part. That says "Inn" and "Dogs welcome" 

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Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

We often just use our name without the B&B part. In your case, drop the B&B and leave the Inn. The resort might be too uppity in some people's minds.

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Great and topical question.

I lean toward dropping bed & breakfast and keeping inn.

As far as changing costing money, you could do that over time. No great problem to still have B&B mentioned on rack cards and such. Just change the name when it's time to reprint.

But might be a good investment to get a cool new sign with the new name on it. I know Anthony Melchiorri often gets new signage for the inns he helps, and it can make a great first impression to guests if you do it well. On the other hand, a new sign will mainly help with walk-in business, people who see your sign as they drive through town, and most of your business probably doesn't come to you that way.

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