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800 number still needed?

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toddburme

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Seems like a small thing and it always looks so unprofessional not to have one. 85% of our business is in state so it seems that in the day and age of free long distance that maybe we could cheap out on this?
 

Don Draper

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We've never had one. If they don't want to make a long distance call they can book online, which we prefer anyway. For a hotel it *might* look unprofessional not to have an 800 number, but I strongly disagree that's the case for B&B's, at least to me as a consumer.
 

Banana

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I've just made the decision in the last week or so to get rid of my 800 number. I have to cut costs somewhere, and bundling my services (without the toll free number) saves me 50% off these services. I think with 95% of the population having cell phones, and using them to place long distance calls because it is free, the toll free number is not a necessity.
 

Copperhead

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What's the average cost of a 800 # ?.
One Day said:
What's the average cost of a 800 # ?
I think that depends on who you go through to get it! We went through a 3rd party long distance provider. I think we pay $2 a month to have the # and then ave. long distance amounts ( .045) for each call. If you go through your major phone company and have a commercial phone account with them it can be pretty costly.
If you do not have a toll free number already, I do not see the real need to get one in this day and time... But for me, I have it printed on all my brochures & business cards... for $2 a month and the few (yes they are dwindling down) calls I receive on it, I will keep it until I have new printings done and such time as I feel the old (now current) brochures are not being used.
 

JBloggs

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How many rooms? If you have a reg sized B&B people don't expect an 800#, they all use cell phones, they will call when they can call for free on their plans anyway!
 

Morticia

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What's the average cost of a 800 # ?.
One Day said:
What's the average cost of a 800 # ?
Interestingly, the PO's told us the 800# service ran to $700+/month in the summer, we have never seen that. Maybe the website is better? Maybe cell service has taken that away? We're kind of stuck with it until I wean us off it in all of our marketing. Maybe another 5 years before I'm comfortable saying we don't need it.
 

gillumhouse

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I pay nothing (other than the taxes associated) per month for my toll-free number. I pay about 5 cents a minute. For 62.9 and taxes & all was 9.61 this month. Another nice thing about this toll-free is that I do not have international calling on my landline BUT I do have Canada on my toll-free service so if I need to call a guest or my friend in Canada, the toll-free service picks that up. I have a resedential phone - I am a residence and the price is vastly different if I have a business line.
 

toddburme

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That is embarassing. I do not know what we are paying for it. I just assumed it was expensive based on previous experience. Add one more thing to the todo list.
 

Samster

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I don't think it's necessary anymore between online reservations, free long distance on mobile phones, and even free long distance with a lot of land line plans. I wouldn't spend the money.
 

Country Girl

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I will keep ours for a few more years. It's not very expensive and I find that guests still use it.
 

muirford

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I will keep ours for a few more years. It's not very expensive and I find that guests still use it..
We keep ours for the same reason. If I was a startup, I wouldn't get one, but ours has been around for over 20 years now and is on a lot of marketing materials. It costs the same as our long distance which is very cheap. So we'll keep it.
 

JBloggs

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Let me ask you this very pertinent question:
If you have an 800# and online reservations, do you think they might possibly be competing with each other? Do you think the guest will find it easier to "Just" call? This is why I offer an incentive to book online, the biggest, well the second biggest reason is this -
  • they tick my policies box
  • they put in the dates and choose their room, they get their confirmation immediately.
  • they put in their own info (half the time I can't hear or they have strong accents and the booking takes longer than necessary over the phone.
  • Not to mention it is just me here unless evenings, even still DH won't be checking in guests he is out mowing or working or showering from working. So I cannot be all things to all people. To be STUCK on the phone with someone for 15 minutes - oh and you innkeepers know what I mean, 10 -15 minutes is not a lengthy reservation call, it is almost the norm. So multiply that y'all and see how much more time YOU HAVE by having online reservations.
Of course back to the amenities thing, guests can book from anywhere in the world at any time. They can and do email a quick question off to you. As innkeepers on the phone we don't want to seem abrupt but we have people banging on the front door to chefc in, stuff burning, the call waiting beeping etc
Just some more food for thought on the online reservations and 800#.
 

Don Draper

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Let me ask you this very pertinent question:
If you have an 800# and online reservations, do you think they might possibly be competing with each other? Do you think the guest will find it easier to "Just" call? This is why I offer an incentive to book online, the biggest, well the second biggest reason is this -
  • they tick my policies box
  • they put in the dates and choose their room, they get their confirmation immediately.
  • they put in their own info (half the time I can't hear or they have strong accents and the booking takes longer than necessary over the phone.
  • Not to mention it is just me here unless evenings, even still DH won't be checking in guests he is out mowing or working or showering from working. So I cannot be all things to all people. To be STUCK on the phone with someone for 15 minutes - oh and you innkeepers know what I mean, 10 -15 minutes is not a lengthy reservation call, it is almost the norm. So multiply that y'all and see how much more time YOU HAVE by having online reservations.
Of course back to the amenities thing, guests can book from anywhere in the world at any time. They can and do email a quick question off to you. As innkeepers on the phone we don't want to seem abrupt but we have people banging on the front door to chefc in, stuff burning, the call waiting beeping etc
Just some more food for thought on the online reservations and 800#..
Since implementing an online booking discount we have been SO HAPPY with the reduction in nonsense phone calls. We let most calls go to voice mail, and our outgoing message describes the online discount. 90% of the people who call book online (from what we can tell based on called id).
Without exception we are finding that the phone calls that we have to return (people who don't or won't book online) are PITA's who are looking for dates we are already filled, trying to stuff 5 people into one room, or looking for a discount. It's really that straight forward.
So I would say yes, definitely, a 1-800 number could be competing with your online reservations.
 

JBloggs

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When we bought this place they had a fax line, room hooked up on the main phone line for internet connection (who would ever need it right?), 800#, etc etc. TIMES CHANGE. Don't look at what another inn has and feel it is what you need. Many have been inns BEFORE the www. like our B&B, we have old printed directories. AAA guidebooks, print ads, etc the only way to market in those days!
Times are not only changing, but they are changing rapidly. For anyone to NOT HAVE online reservations makes them a dinosaur. For anyone to not offer WIFI, well you get the gist. Now this is not keeping up with the joneses in innkeeping, this is not adding jacuzzi tubs to all the rooms, this is just common sense, you have to do these things, it not only makes guests happy, it will make YOU HAPPY!
 

JBloggs

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I had a call last night, 6 people in a room. WHAT THE! I wish I had a magic electrical zapper device to zap those people!
And as way of explanation for our o/s innkeepers, here in America it is EXTREMELY RARE to find a B&B with a "Family Room or Family Suite" We may have two rooms that you can book together, and perhaps save a couple bucks, but we just don't have B&B's with three beds, it is very rare.
 

gillumhouse

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Let me ask you this very pertinent question:
If you have an 800# and online reservations, do you think they might possibly be competing with each other? Do you think the guest will find it easier to "Just" call? This is why I offer an incentive to book online, the biggest, well the second biggest reason is this -
  • they tick my policies box
  • they put in the dates and choose their room, they get their confirmation immediately.
  • they put in their own info (half the time I can't hear or they have strong accents and the booking takes longer than necessary over the phone.
  • Not to mention it is just me here unless evenings, even still DH won't be checking in guests he is out mowing or working or showering from working. So I cannot be all things to all people. To be STUCK on the phone with someone for 15 minutes - oh and you innkeepers know what I mean, 10 -15 minutes is not a lengthy reservation call, it is almost the norm. So multiply that y'all and see how much more time YOU HAVE by having online reservations.
Of course back to the amenities thing, guests can book from anywhere in the world at any time. They can and do email a quick question off to you. As innkeepers on the phone we don't want to seem abrupt but we have people banging on the front door to chefc in, stuff burning, the call waiting beeping etc
Just some more food for thought on the online reservations and 800#..
I was a start-up in the dinosaur days, just on the cusp of the Internet era. I did not get one right away because of the cost myth and it was before the days of cell phones and unlimited long-distance. It is printed on too many things to do away with it.
In addition to my previous post about the Canada service, it also enables the kids/grandkids to contact us. I also have a s-i-l who is nuts (unfortunately I am not kidding), the only thing that keeps her from being a bag lady is that she does own Ma's house now. She is wilely enough to say the right things. We had the cops do a welfare check yesterday and were able to say we gave her a toll-tree to call us on but we had not heard from her. We did hear from a church that has been enabling her that was trying to find a way to "reach her" and I am sure were disappointed to be told call Social Services - it is the best that can be done for her. Too many years of living with my late m-i-l is her problem - Ma made her children believe they were victims (DH believes he is a victim of polio but escaped her clutches otherwise) and it was easier to let Ma take care of them than to find jobs and have a life. Having a toll-free is sometimes a good thing from the family situation aspect in addition to business and yes, mine IS used more for business than personal.
 

Samster

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Let me ask you this very pertinent question:
If you have an 800# and online reservations, do you think they might possibly be competing with each other? Do you think the guest will find it easier to "Just" call? This is why I offer an incentive to book online, the biggest, well the second biggest reason is this -
  • they tick my policies box
  • they put in the dates and choose their room, they get their confirmation immediately.
  • they put in their own info (half the time I can't hear or they have strong accents and the booking takes longer than necessary over the phone.
  • Not to mention it is just me here unless evenings, even still DH won't be checking in guests he is out mowing or working or showering from working. So I cannot be all things to all people. To be STUCK on the phone with someone for 15 minutes - oh and you innkeepers know what I mean, 10 -15 minutes is not a lengthy reservation call, it is almost the norm. So multiply that y'all and see how much more time YOU HAVE by having online reservations.
Of course back to the amenities thing, guests can book from anywhere in the world at any time. They can and do email a quick question off to you. As innkeepers on the phone we don't want to seem abrupt but we have people banging on the front door to chefc in, stuff burning, the call waiting beeping etc
Just some more food for thought on the online reservations and 800#..
Since implementing an online booking discount we have been SO HAPPY with the reduction in nonsense phone calls. We let most calls go to voice mail, and our outgoing message describes the online discount. 90% of the people who call book online (from what we can tell based on called id).
Without exception we are finding that the phone calls that we have to return (people who don't or won't book online) are PITA's who are looking for dates we are already filled, trying to stuff 5 people into one room, or looking for a discount. It's really that straight forward.
So I would say yes, definitely, a 1-800 number could be competing with your online reservations.
.
I didn't have an 800# and I still have to agree that a majority of the phone calls I got were from folks looking for a BIGGER discount than what was offered for booking online or any of our specials/discounts, begging for us to take pets, trying to wrangle a deal for cramming people into rooms, or the "we just want a clean place to sleep, we don't need any amenities" callers. Online booking was the way to go.
 
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