No breakfast for you!

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PhineasSwann's picture
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Trying to decide how to feel about this -- smug, sad, disappointed, self-loathing or otherwise. 

Like a lot of us, we get the occasional person who wanders in during breakfast time asking if we serve breakfast. In the past, if I had extra food and felt that my overnight guests wouldn't be inconvenienced, I would serve them, charge them a healthy tab, and use the opportunity to let them see the inside of my place so they could consider a future stay. 

With all the Air's in the area, I've stopped. I refuse to bail out people who passed us up to save a few bucks. They want an AirBnB? They get an AirB. Enjoy trying to find a decent breakfast restaurant or eating your PopTarts. 

I'm kind of sad it came to this. I like being hospitable. But at some point, you have to maintain the value proposition of your product. And our value proposition over the competition is this: You don't stay with us, you don't get to enjoy our amazing gourmet breakfast. Period.

Am I off-base here? And are my mixed feelings justified?

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PhineasSwann's picture
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I always fear writing these type of posts, as I'm afraid they always come off as self-serving.

Plus, I always heard you shouldn't give your competition attention.

That said, I've avoided both cautions and posted anyway.

https://www.phineasswann.com/hospitality-in-an-air-b-n-nothing-world/

 

 

Generic's picture
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Nice post.

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Lee2014's picture
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   I want to "like" Dale's reply!  Keep up the good work, all of you up there!

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gillumhouse's picture
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Good post. In WV, if you serve to someone walking up asking for breakfast, you are a restaurant and subject to commercial kitchen and restaurant rules. Not happening.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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PhineasSwann wrote:

I always fear writing these type of posts, as I'm afraid they always come off as self-serving.

Plus, I always heard you shouldn't give your competition attention.

That said, I've avoided both cautions and posted anyway.

https://www.phineasswann.com/hospitality-in-an-air-b-n-nothing-world/

 

 

i shared it.     Good examples.    

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PhineasSwann's picture
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Working on a blog post on the subject. Will share when finished.

PhineasSwann's picture
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With permission, I'd love to steal part of this for a blog post. 

Morticia's picture
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PhineasSwann wrote:

With permission, I'd love to steal part of this for a blog post. 

Whose comments? 

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PhineasSwann's picture
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Your suggested comments about why we can't let them use them, Mort.

Morticia's picture
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PhineasSwann wrote:

Your suggested comments about why we can't let them use them, Mort.

Sure. Go ahead.

PhineasSwann's picture
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And then there's this.

Just had someone staying at a nearby AirBnB come by, walk in the door, and inquire about using our car charging station. 

Just wow. How do we let these people know that if they don't opt to stay with us to save a few bucks, they don't get to use the amenities that are the reason we cost $20 more a night than their Air rental? 

And how do we communicate this, both in person and via our website, blogs, etc., without sounding like *we're* the jerks?

Generic's picture
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You should tell them to Highgate at $1.50 an hour. Seriously, people want everything for nothing.

Apparently there is a spate of call Air and say X to get them to refund your money going around at the moment. I know that there is a lot of shadiness, but no one seems to really talk about it. Like cancelling a stay but using the code (because they don't live there, they don't program the code, they use the same code...) Could you imagine, you are staying and someone from last week decides to welcome themselves in. Or a local who has the code goes in when you go out and leaves with anything of value... no sign of a break-in.

Morticia's picture
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"The car charging station, like the breakfast, and the (fill in the blanks) are all amenities for our guests. We choose to include these things for the guests staying here because we provide a complete experience. We totally understand your opting for the less expensive room down the street. Thanks for stopping by to see what you get here for a few dollars more. The nearest charging station, if your host doesn't provide that for you with the room, is x miles away at the ski resort."

If I could do it without being snarky I might ask why they are asking me and not their host where to find (breakfast, car chargers, fill in the blank). If they offer to pay any of it I would counter with not being able to allow non-guests to use the property. Insurance regulations. You know, the sort of thing your air host doesn't have. But there's the snark again.

gillumhouse's picture
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Certainly, but since you are not a registered guest, there is a $ 50 charge for a charge.

Anon Inn's picture
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Change is a constant.  I just had my annual Health Dept inspection and was informed our state will likely end health inspections for lodgings of two rooms or less.  I suspect because of Air.  (to even the playing field, loosen the regs)  So we would no longer have to be inspected unless we want to continue doing dinners.  Then we keep the restaurant portion of our annual license and our inspection becomes more rigorous (they have to inspect during service, while now it can be in a quiet time)

I do want to keep my catering and restaurant license, so I'll roll with the changes.  

Momma Smurf's picture
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We have our two smallest rooms on Air at our normal price. The listing title states the Name of our Inn and that Breakfast is Included.  Air guests get exactly the same treatment as everyone else.  We've been doing this two years now and have repeat Air guests who now book direct plus several who have added to their stay once they get here directly.  With a 3% commission which equals normal CC fees, it's all a win. 

Now with no more B&Bcom, folks actually think that Air is a real default directory.  And with our name listed, they can also find us directly if they haven't been brainwashed. Am shocked at how many baby boomers we get along with millennials. 

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Morticia's picture
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Momma Smurf wrote:

We have our two smallest rooms on Air at our normal price. The listing title states the Name of our Inn and that Breakfast is Included.  Air guests get exactly the same treatment as everyone else.  We've been doing this two years now and have repeat Air guests who now book direct plus several who have added to their stay once they get here directly.  With a 3% commission which equals normal CC fees, it's all a win. 

Now with no more B&Bcom, folks actually think that Air is a real default directory.  And with our name listed, they can also find us directly if they haven't been brainwashed. Am shocked at how many baby boomers we get along with millennials. 

There are so many air rooms here, at half our price, that unless every other place is booked no one finds us on air any longer. We had one booking this summer and because I could not log on to accept it (for some reason air refused to allow my log on from a different IP address/device) we almost lost it. I explained to the person and they happily accepted booking directly with us.

Funny thing we notice with air guests - for someone who was willing to sleep in a spare room in someone's house, they are remarkably particular. They know they are getting a real B&B but are upset there are other guests, that there is a scheduled breakfast time (ie - not at noon when they get up), that they have to leave at a certain time, etc.

Momma Smurf's picture
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Placement in results on Air has to do with volume booked or whether or not you are a Superhost. 

Folks choosing a place to stay are not just looking for a cheap place contrary to popular belief.   Also many of those low teaser rates also include cleaning fees...

It's all about how you present yourself in your listing, so folks understand your added value and what they are getting into.  I don't think anyone has ever come here who didn't realize this was a Real BB.  I actually state that we are a licensed BB and folks can Google us, hence the beauty of using our name in the title. 

Air also now allows searches for real Bed and Breakfasts as a category. 

 

Morticia's picture
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Exactly. We get so few bookings we will never get SuperHost (same as we don't get TA or BDC reviews), our prices are too high for the area (it is VERY much about price here - when you can get a house to yourselves with a breakfast basket delivered to the door each morning for $99, no one is booking a single room with a 'shared' breakfast for $50 more), so we are absolutely at the very bottom of the list. So far down you get rooms 50 miles from here before you see ours. (I see YOUR rooms before I see mine!)

So, waste of time for us. Every year I list one room and every year we get one reservation. I only list it in case everything else is full. I can, however, book that room direct for about 90% of the summer.

People will book a place up the street with no breakfast, the owner knocking on your door 15 minutes prior to departure to remind you to get up, clean the room before you leave or you get a bad review, but it's only $95. Altho, they've attained SuperHost now (after 2 months) so prices are going up for next season.

Momma Smurf's picture
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Hmmm, I just searched your town and found only a couple private Airs, the majority of listings were all by your competitor licensed B&Bs at higher prices.  Actually you have far fewer Airs than us in this town.  I have at least 5 practically  next door!!!  The local big Town Inn has been so successful at higher prices than ours, that they now have all five buildings listed on Air.  We talked to the owner last year at their annual Christmas party, and he says Air is by far his favorite Booking entity with tremendous success.  And according to the number of his total reviews, they've booked almost 400 rooms in the past 2.5 years... that doesn't count folks who don't leave reviews nor the number of nights actually booked.

And lo and behold, three of our competitors have also appeared in the past month or so.

I personally would reassess, rethink, restrategize.  Apparently Air does work.

 

 

gillumhouse's picture
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I cannot LEGALLY serve (and charge) anyone who is not a registered guest. If I did, I would be considered a restaurant, have a commercial kitchen, etc., etc.

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I remember Air B&B sending me stuff years back on advertising with them. I finally got to researching what the Air meant in the name. I believe the story was two guys that needed help paying rent got online and advertised an air mattress ( bed )  and breakfast in their apartment.

 

Generic's picture
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We've had them call and ask, we decline. Always have. But we also decline most of the Air rescues... you know, the calls desperate to find a place because they walked into their Air and saw/smelled it and want out.

PhineasSwann's picture
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Generic wrote:

We've had them call and ask, we decline. Always have. But we also decline most of the Air rescues... you know, the calls desperate to find a place because they walked into their Air and saw/smelled it and want out.

Up until now, we've taken them when we can. And we're a bit heavy handed over breakfast in saying "So.... what did we learn.....?"

 

Morticia's picture
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Totally justified. It hurts, tho, because you allowing it in the past probably meant you had a few converts.

When I go for a walk early in the morning I see people lined up at a local breakfast place and I realize all of those people booked an airbnb instead of staying even at a hotel (all of which serve actual food cooked to order). They're not locals, because locals don't frequent that place.

Biz is good for the breakfast places but lousy for the B&B's.

We just discussed going all air last night and what we could charge for just rooms. But, to get into the mix, we'd have to knock off $50/night at least and we all know breakfast doesn't cost $50/day/room. So, there goes the profit aspect.

If you own your property outright, it's doable. But, I'd have to rent 120 rooms just to pay the property tax bill so not happening any time soon!

TheBeachHouse's picture
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I think you are right on!    I have friends of guests come to enjoy the view because they booked the cheaper place.    Why is it cheaper?   One guess!   

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