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Innkeeping

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Hello,
I'm new to this forum and happy to be here. I'm new to this internet thing and usually don't like putting my info online much. It's nice to find a group with so many people in the same boat I'm in. I wanted to share a marketing idea with you that I use. Within the past few months I was sent a marketing follow-up sample by a former B&B owner. I signed up for the Send Out Cards service and started using it. I'm able to take photos of my guests and make them into a greeting card and mail it to them. The company prints the cards for me in my handwriting, stuffs the envelope and mails it for me. It looks like I paid a lot of money for it but it costs me just over $1 total. They also have other cards to choose from. I'm sending the cards out as thank you cards after the guests leave and have it set up to send them a keeping in touch card a couple of times a year after that. I try to ask for their anniversary and birth dates so I can set it to send one then too. The program lets me type out the card and then tell it when to send it. I had my own personal font made and my signatures added too. It looks like I hand wrote it. The reactions are great.
The thing I like best is they keep the photo card on display and people ask where the photo was taken. It's good word of mouth marketing for me. Word of mouth marketing doesn't cost me a thing. I've had bookings from people that found out about my B&B after seeing my thank you card on display at their friend's house. Another thing I like is I don't have to go out for hours searching for a generic card and paying $3 - $5 for one. I don't have the time to be at the card store everyday and I hate paying that much for a generic card that will probably just go in their trash. Maybe I'm too lazy or cheap! :) Is anyone else using it and getting the good results I am? How are you followingup with guests? You don't need to sign up with a service like this one if you know how to do it on your own.
I also got the book Appreciation Marketing and it is wonderful ( http://tinyurl.com/ydnza5q ) . It's a lot of good marketing ideas that can be used with this card service or just sending cards on your own. I find that sending my guests and leads follow-up notes and don't ask for the sale does wonders. I'm their friend and just writing to say hello. People love doing business with people they like.
Maybe someone already commented on these things here. I'll have to go and check the other topics.
I'll try to sign on to the internet again soon. Business will be slowing down in another month or so. I'll have more time to chat then.
Jenny
 

EmptyNest

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I am glad this works for you, but seems like a time consuming effort to me. $1 per card per guest adds up. Does it get you alot of repeat business?
I just sent my guests a 'thank you" email message. If I took a photo of them, I ususally printed it off before they left and presented it to them. But on occasion would email a photo taken as well. After that, honestly, I didn't have time to keep up with old guests and really never wanted to.
 

Innkeeping

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I am glad this works for you, but seems like a time consuming effort to me. $1 per card per guest adds up. Does it get you alot of repeat business?
I just sent my guests a 'thank you" email message. If I took a photo of them, I ususally printed it off before they left and presented it to them. But on occasion would email a photo taken as well. After that, honestly, I didn't have time to keep up with old guests and really never wanted to..
It did wonders for my business. $1 a card that takes as much time as typing out an email works for me. Would $1 in marketing that can book you a room for a couple of nights be worth the investment? I'd say YES to that one. They get the nice greeting card in the mail that makes it look like I took a lot of time for them. People don't post an email on their fridge with their photo on it for friends to see but do put cards up there.
How many junk emails do you get in a day? I get tons. How many nice unexpected greeting cards to you get in the mail? Not many, if any. It stands out. I like to keep old guests as repeat clients. Why try to keep getting new ones when the old ones want to come back and see their old "friend" and then they tell their friends about my B&B. If it's a bad guest, I don't keep in touch. Usually the good guests like me and only tell their nice friends about my place.
I'm not trying to rain on your parade but the emails to thank a guest seem about as caring as an email on your birthday or a sympathy email after a death in the family. It shows me the person had around 10 seconds of time to show me they cared about me. That's if their email even got through my spam filter. They'll get your thank you email between the ones for porn, a scam wanting your personal info and other ads. Many people are afraid to open any emails with attachments. If I'm not sure who it's from and there is a file attached it gets trashed. If it's a greeting card or postcard in the mail that looks handwritten, I'll check it out. Emails can be OK to keep in touch with special offers if they want them, etc. I hope it didn't make you angry. I'd like to make friends with everyone here.
I'd love to know how others feel on it. I hope I'm not the only one that likes using the snail mail service.
Jenny
 

Don Draper

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Interesting topic...we currently don't do any kind of follow up, so I guess we should be doing something. Email seems impersonal, but the cards seem way too time consuming (we see ~2000 guests per year) so I wonder if there is any in between?
 

JBloggs

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"I'm not trying to rain on your parade but the emails to thank a guest seem about as caring as an email on your birthday or a sympathy email after a death in the family. It shows me the person had around 10 seconds of time to show me they cared about me."
Well considering to date I have stayed at dozens and dozens of B&B's and have NEVER, I REPEAT NEVER received a thank you email of any sort - I think your assumption is wrong. We also have another very important reason for sending thank you emails which you will discover on other threads, if you read them, other than pitching this card thing. (Warning - when someone pops on here never heard from before and pitches - red flags go up)
On this forum you will find exceptional innkeepers who do send thank you emails or cards personalized from their inn, on their inn's stationary and IN THEIR OWN HAND.
I clicked over from your link and immediately saw INCOME OPPTY. Nuff said for me, why you are here. Nice product, great idea if someone wants to spend $ on it.
 

muirford

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Everyone should know that Send Out Cards is a multi-level marketing company similar to Amway and Mary Kay. You may use it but don't try to hide what it is. People make money in the company by recruiting others to use their product. Here is a link to an article which lists both the pros and cons of the company.
Caveat emptor.
 

EmptyNest

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"I'm not trying to rain on your parade but the emails to thank a guest seem about as caring as an email on your birthday or a sympathy email after a death in the family. It shows me the person had around 10 seconds of time to show me they cared about me."
Well considering to date I have stayed at dozens and dozens of B&B's and have NEVER, I REPEAT NEVER received a thank you email of any sort - I think your assumption is wrong. We also have another very important reason for sending thank you emails which you will discover on other threads, if you read them, other than pitching this card thing. (Warning - when someone pops on here never heard from before and pitches - red flags go up)
On this forum you will find exceptional innkeepers who do send thank you emails or cards personalized from their inn, on their inn's stationary and IN THEIR OWN HAND.
I clicked over from your link and immediately saw INCOME OPPTY. Nuff said for me, why you are here. Nice product, great idea if someone wants to spend $ on it..
We also have another very important reason for sending thank you emails which you will discover on other threads, if you read them, other than pitching this card thing. (Warning - when someone pops on here never heard from before and pitches - red flags go up)
Ok so I avoided saying this when I first posted...but it did cross my mind as being a bit 'out there." Seems like a covered up "commercial" to me. SOrry if I am being so negative this morning...just the way I am feeling today :-(
In JMHO, but Innkeepers want to keep their $$$ and not spend it on something like this. Sorry if this offends..but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

 

Innkeeping

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Interesting topic...we currently don't do any kind of follow up, so I guess we should be doing something. Email seems impersonal, but the cards seem way too time consuming (we see ~2000 guests per year) so I wonder if there is any in between?.
The system lets me import all my contacts. All I have to do is type out one card, tell them where I want it to insert their name in the message, type out the message and save it in a campaign. I select the list I'd like to send it to and hit send. It makes it look like I handwrote all 2,000 cards and they do all the work. After the campaign is set I can litterally send cards out to my entire list. I don't think 5 minutes or so to send out 2,000+ cards would be too time consuming for you. :) Time is money to me and this is saving me both time and money. You can also make up different categories and send cards to the clients you want back, those you want to keep in touch with on rare occasions, etc. I can set it to automatically send a card out on their birthday or anniversary. I get calls from people thanking me for remembering their special day. I didn't even know the system sent out a card because I programed it a long time before to do so. It's like your own personal assistant following up with clients as you do other more productive things. I just checked and the link still lets you try the service for free. You can send out 1 card or cards to your entire list. They also have postcards which are even less. With 2,000 I don't think you'd have time to put each of their photos on it but could still save a card in your campaign with a photo of your B&B on it. Give it a try and see what reactions you get. As with all marketing, you should send it out to a large test market and not just one or two people to see how it goes.
Please let us know if you use it.
Jenny
 

EmptyNest

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Interesting topic...we currently don't do any kind of follow up, so I guess we should be doing something. Email seems impersonal, but the cards seem way too time consuming (we see ~2000 guests per year) so I wonder if there is any in between?.
The system lets me import all my contacts. All I have to do is type out one card, tell them where I want it to insert their name in the message, type out the message and save it in a campaign. I select the list I'd like to send it to and hit send. It makes it look like I handwrote all 2,000 cards and they do all the work. After the campaign is set I can litterally send cards out to my entire list. I don't think 5 minutes or so to send out 2,000+ cards would be too time consuming for you. :) Time is money to me and this is saving me both time and money. You can also make up different categories and send cards to the clients you want back, those you want to keep in touch with on rare occasions, etc. I can set it to automatically send a card out on their birthday or anniversary. I get calls from people thanking me for remembering their special day. I didn't even know the system sent out a card because I programed it a long time before to do so. It's like your own personal assistant following up with clients as you do other more productive things. I just checked and the link still lets you try the service for free. You can send out 1 card or cards to your entire list. They also have postcards which are even less. With 2,000 I don't think you'd have time to put each of their photos on it but could still save a card in your campaign with a photo of your B&B on it. Give it a try and see what reactions you get. As with all marketing, you should send it out to a large test market and not just one or two people to see how it goes.
Please let us know if you use it.
Jenny
.
Please let us know if you use it.
US....hmmmmmm. Sounds like someone out to make a buck here and promoting way too hard. Why should we trust you..someone who just only showed up here today and immediately posted what sounds like infomercial.
 

Happy Harpie

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We don't do a follow up email or card, however, at breakfast the last morning they are there, they are greeted with a thank you (postcard). The picture is of a beautiful Georgian Bay sunset just outside our house. An inset photo of our B&B in the winter is also on the card. We personalize the note on the back and of course mention that we would love to welcome them back. This is a big hit and all our guests sincerely appreciate the card and sentiment. The cards bought thru Vista Print cost around $10.00 per 100 cards, are of a high quality and best of all you save on the stamp.
Cheers
Harry
 

BBBBoB

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Everyone should know that Send Out Cards is a multi-level marketing company similar to Amway and Mary Kay. You may use it but don't try to hide what it is. People make money in the company by recruiting others to use their product. Here is a link to an article which lists both the pros and cons of the company.
Caveat emptor..
I have been using the "Send out cards" program for about 6 mths. I do know it is a multi level marketing. Our contact is into those sort of things, but this is the first one that I thought would actually be useful for us.(not interested in doing more work!) We have about 25 rooms per month and have not completed our first year, Have had a couple of e-mails thanking us for the card. I looked into doing our own & if we get busier it may prove to be more cost effective. but right now it is just a click of a couple buttons.
Bill
 

muirford

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Everyone should know that Send Out Cards is a multi-level marketing company similar to Amway and Mary Kay. You may use it but don't try to hide what it is. People make money in the company by recruiting others to use their product. Here is a link to an article which lists both the pros and cons of the company.
Caveat emptor..
I have been using the "Send out cards" program for about 6 mths. I do know it is a multi level marketing. Our contact is into those sort of things, but this is the first one that I thought would actually be useful for us.(not interested in doing more work!) We have about 25 rooms per month and have not completed our first year, Have had a couple of e-mails thanking us for the card. I looked into doing our own & if we get busier it may prove to be more cost effective. but right now it is just a click of a couple buttons.
Bill
.
I personally appreciate that some innkeepers may use this service, and I particularly appreciate that you, Bill, did not write a full-screen bold-print advertisement for the cards as your second post ever on this forum but rather allowed people to know it was a service you used and allowed them to pursue it at their leisure. It will be interesting to hear if you find it cost-effective.
 

EmptyNest

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Everyone should know that Send Out Cards is a multi-level marketing company similar to Amway and Mary Kay. You may use it but don't try to hide what it is. People make money in the company by recruiting others to use their product. Here is a link to an article which lists both the pros and cons of the company.
Caveat emptor..
Deleted
 

wendydk

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Interesting topic...we currently don't do any kind of follow up, so I guess we should be doing something. Email seems impersonal, but the cards seem way too time consuming (we see ~2000 guests per year) so I wonder if there is any in between?.
I send thank you emails to every checkout, II. I would be happy to email you one, if you'd like to do something similar!
 

Innkeeping

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Everyone should know that Send Out Cards is a multi-level marketing company similar to Amway and Mary Kay. You may use it but don't try to hide what it is. People make money in the company by recruiting others to use their product. Here is a link to an article which lists both the pros and cons of the company.
Caveat emptor..
Deleted
.
Deleted too.
 

wendydk

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I am glad this works for you, but seems like a time consuming effort to me. $1 per card per guest adds up. Does it get you alot of repeat business?
I just sent my guests a 'thank you" email message. If I took a photo of them, I ususally printed it off before they left and presented it to them. But on occasion would email a photo taken as well. After that, honestly, I didn't have time to keep up with old guests and really never wanted to..
It did wonders for my business. $1 a card that takes as much time as typing out an email works for me. Would $1 in marketing that can book you a room for a couple of nights be worth the investment? I'd say YES to that one. They get the nice greeting card in the mail that makes it look like I took a lot of time for them. People don't post an email on their fridge with their photo on it for friends to see but do put cards up there.
How many junk emails do you get in a day? I get tons. How many nice unexpected greeting cards to you get in the mail? Not many, if any. It stands out. I like to keep old guests as repeat clients. Why try to keep getting new ones when the old ones want to come back and see their old "friend" and then they tell their friends about my B&B. If it's a bad guest, I don't keep in touch. Usually the good guests like me and only tell their nice friends about my place.
I'm not trying to rain on your parade but the emails to thank a guest seem about as caring as an email on your birthday or a sympathy email after a death in the family. It shows me the person had around 10 seconds of time to show me they cared about me. That's if their email even got through my spam filter. They'll get your thank you email between the ones for porn, a scam wanting your personal info and other ads. Many people are afraid to open any emails with attachments. If I'm not sure who it's from and there is a file attached it gets trashed. If it's a greeting card or postcard in the mail that looks handwritten, I'll check it out. Emails can be OK to keep in touch with special offers if they want them, etc. I hope it didn't make you angry. I'd like to make friends with everyone here.
I'd love to know how others feel on it. I hope I'm not the only one that likes using the snail mail service.
Jenny
.
"Why try to keep getting new ones when the old ones want to come back and see their old "friend" and then they tell their friends about my B&B."
"Why try to keep getting new guests"? Now I know you're NOT an innkeeper; no innkeeper worth his or her salt would ever ask that question!

 

Proud Texan

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Interesting topic...we currently don't do any kind of follow up, so I guess we should be doing something. Email seems impersonal, but the cards seem way too time consuming (we see ~2000 guests per year) so I wonder if there is any in between?.
The system lets me import all my contacts. All I have to do is type out one card, tell them where I want it to insert their name in the message, type out the message and save it in a campaign. I select the list I'd like to send it to and hit send. It makes it look like I handwrote all 2,000 cards and they do all the work. After the campaign is set I can litterally send cards out to my entire list. I don't think 5 minutes or so to send out 2,000+ cards would be too time consuming for you. :) Time is money to me and this is saving me both time and money. You can also make up different categories and send cards to the clients you want back, those you want to keep in touch with on rare occasions, etc. I can set it to automatically send a card out on their birthday or anniversary. I get calls from people thanking me for remembering their special day. I didn't even know the system sent out a card because I programed it a long time before to do so. It's like your own personal assistant following up with clients as you do other more productive things. I just checked and the link still lets you try the service for free. You can send out 1 card or cards to your entire list. They also have postcards which are even less. With 2,000 I don't think you'd have time to put each of their photos on it but could still save a card in your campaign with a photo of your B&B on it. Give it a try and see what reactions you get. As with all marketing, you should send it out to a large test market and not just one or two people to see how it goes.
Please let us know if you use it.
Jenny
.
Please let us know if you use it.
US....hmmmmmm. Sounds like someone out to make a buck here and promoting way too hard. Why should we trust you..someone who just only showed up here today and immediately posted what sounds like infomercial.
.
catlady said:
Please let us know if you use it.
US....hmmmmmm. Sounds like someone out to make a buck here and promoting way too hard. Why should we trust you..someone who just only showed up here today and immediately posted what sounds like infomercial.
I'm with you. It sounds like shameless self promotion. She posts no info on "herself" so there's no way to check out the legitimacy of her claims.
"New to the Internet thing" HELLO, it's how America shops.
 

egoodell

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I email my guests with the photos we take on their wine tours. They appreciate the photos more than a card. I can also personalize my email information instead of everyone getting the same card.
I would say it's pretty obvious you will receive something for everyone that you get to sign up.
I prefer to send my own correspondance, thank you. 99% of my guests use email and facebook as their primary means of correspondance.
I do print a postcard and mail to special guests. I just order them early and do a couple a day.
RIki
 

JBloggs

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Innkeepers please be warned
Sending out confidential guest information to a third party? What do you think they will do with all this contact information?
 
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