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Country Girl

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For those of you who get a lot of business travelers can you share what they are looking for in a B&B? Is it primarily the proximity to the business where they are working? We offer the usual amenities like free wi-fi, a work space in the rooms, discount for business travelers, flexible cancellation, etc, but is there something else we can do to market ourselves better for business travelers? We are located in a small town but we are close enough to larger cities. I just feel like if business travelers KNEW about B&B's and gave us a try they would make the switch from the hotels to us. We have had business travelers (mostly women) who have stayed here and loved it but it would be great to have more consistent business clientele.
 

agoodman

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Many business travelers from large corps HAVE to book through their corp travel dept or through a GDS which is NOT the same as an expedia/travelocity although these are fed by GDS. I have a large plant near me and HAD to go GDS to get their business which cost $$ and "before the economic crash" was worth it but since so many companies started restricting travel the monthly fees were just not worth it for the few bookings I was getting. Fortunately since they have now stayed with me before they will now contact me directly to book even though technically this is against corp booking policy, but they don't want to stay anywhere else in the local area (well really there is not much else "decent" ......
The best thing to do to get business travelers with a small (or no) budget is to WALK (or call) the businesses that may be bringing in visitors from out of town and let them know you are there
Yes they do want intenet etc but they want flexible check in times (often they are flying in from somewhere), early breakfasts and most importantly a good night's sleep. Mine also like the fact I will do dinners for them (even something light) because they don't want to have to go out again, esp single travelers. Every situation is unique and you just have to "find your market", I don't think anyone can give a magic formula.
 

Gingerbread Latte

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I can only speak as a former business traveler. I liked B&Bs, but had to pay the extra out of pocket (which I did gladly) b/c my University only paid a set amount. I also needed an early breakfast due to having to be at a conference early. I was more than happy if the Innkeeper packed muffins, etc to go & had the coffee going early.
Notice hotels start breakfast at 6am for that reason. I plan to give any business people that option.
My Lab partner (also a woman) & I traveled with very expensive equipment and I always liked the security of parking at a home instead of leaving the van in a hotel parking lot. Maybe we can mention that when marketing to the business community.
I'm in a small town and I plan on letting the businesses here know I'm an option and that I will work with them.
 

JBloggs

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Unfortunately biz travel has almost gone nonexistent for us now. Most biz guests are day visitors or teleconf now to save cost. They have NO travel budget for the most part.
Female biz guests like the security, no outdoor corridors etc. Yes proximity to the business, and proximity to restaurants is important. I have a guest fridge which I primarily got for biz guests from feedback on this forum (and they never use it). Our other guests do, and we have the sodas etc in there as an amenity.
I know some on the forum CUT the breakfast portion for biz guests, which to me is not right. This is part of the reason they enjoy B&B's, to have some home cooking, they eat out ALL the time and are sick of it!
For our biz guests we allow a special cancellation policy, a discount, earlier breakfast, privacy, comfort and a necessity is A CABLE TV.
But having said that, biz guests are the ones who cancel the most, plans change.
 

Gingerbread Latte

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True on the cancellations. Hotels let us cancel up until that evening. If my partner's child is sick and I can't find a replacement, then we call off the conference. True also on the safety issue. We hated staying in places with construction workers (nothing against them and yes I'm generalizing) but they would hang out and drink until all hours of the night, it was noisy and a little unsettling. Sometimes our husbands would travel with us, but most of the time it was just us.
 

Alibi Ike

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The few that stay here like that when they come to the door we greet them like they're home. Breakfast is when they need it. Late check-in is always available. We don't get road warriors. We get folks who travel for work to go to meetings. Mostly because they need to check in with the businesses in person, to see things that are happening, talk privately. (We get a fair number of children's advocates who have to meet in person.)
They are folks who like the hominess.
 

Country Girl

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Many business travelers from large corps HAVE to book through their corp travel dept or through a GDS which is NOT the same as an expedia/travelocity although these are fed by GDS. I have a large plant near me and HAD to go GDS to get their business which cost $$ and "before the economic crash" was worth it but since so many companies started restricting travel the monthly fees were just not worth it for the few bookings I was getting. Fortunately since they have now stayed with me before they will now contact me directly to book even though technically this is against corp booking policy, but they don't want to stay anywhere else in the local area (well really there is not much else "decent" ......
The best thing to do to get business travelers with a small (or no) budget is to WALK (or call) the businesses that may be bringing in visitors from out of town and let them know you are there
Yes they do want intenet etc but they want flexible check in times (often they are flying in from somewhere), early breakfasts and most importantly a good night's sleep. Mine also like the fact I will do dinners for them (even something light) because they don't want to have to go out again, esp single travelers. Every situation is unique and you just have to "find your market", I don't think anyone can give a magic formula..
agoodman said:
Mine also like the fact I will do dinners for them (even something light) because they don't want to have to go out again, esp single travelers.
Interesting. So do you serve dinner to all your guests or just your business travelers? Nights and weekends?
 

Joey Camb

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To get the initial booking I would either phone or pop round for example I have developed a good relationship with a software company as they booked one person in through Late-room s and he left his aftershave I popped round with it as an excuse (it is only 5 mins away) and now they always book with us and I do a special guaranteed rate. I think in some ways it is easier now as the onus is on companies to get a good deal. We have another chap who is haggling to stay with us every 2 weeks for the next year (with his company not us) becuase he likes our breakfast room (go figure?) and we do a small supliament if he wants to bring his girlfriend (we do one bill for the chap and one for the girlfriend so he doesn't get in trouble with his expenses) I think late check in is essential as that chap often comes at 12 but he knows the drill with the lock box and finds that really handy. Most people are happy to do it as they don't like getting you up either. They like comfortable beds and nice linen just the same as everyone else.
Also depending on your location some form of food we also allow takeaway to be delivered and provide cutlery and plates as I am soo not cooking.
 

Copperhead

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The first thing to remember is that everyone is not alike - this goes for romantic needs for a special weekend, special needs for family travelers and of course the business traveler. Edited to add: you will never get the ones that bank up the loyalty points from hotels, they save these for personal trips (though some companies have caught on & capture these points on the corp level), or those that corp policy requires GDS use.
For the ones that stay here they have mentioned the following:
  • the unique rooms - non cookie cutter atmosphere
  • peace and quiet
  • safety - especially the women, like the fact they would be missed if they were not seen
  • Breakfast (w/flex serving time) is my #1 compliment by bus. travelers
  • obv. the free wifi, cable and clean comphy bed
  • convenience to the location is nice but I have had some drive further just to stay here
Having a lax cancel policy, flex arrival times and business traveler discounts (1 person, S - Th) are key factors as well.
As mentioned, business travel has been down for some time but I have seen a small pick up in business guests in the last few weeks. I am hoping this is the begining to a revived trend. I have been missing this business.
 

Breakfast Diva

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We never get business travelers because of our location, but we just got a call from the guys that are driving the weiner mobile. They were 2 guys and wanted two rooms...their budget was $60 per night per person. NO WAY! The weiner wouldn't even fit in my parking area and whatever local pr I would get would be a waste....local only.
Oh, they did say they would give us a ride in the weiner. LOLOL
 

JBloggs

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We never get business travelers because of our location, but we just got a call from the guys that are driving the weiner mobile. They were 2 guys and wanted two rooms...their budget was $60 per night per person. NO WAY! The weiner wouldn't even fit in my parking area and whatever local pr I would get would be a waste....local only.
Oh, they did say they would give us a ride in the weiner. LOLOL.
Breakfast Diva said:
We never get business travelers because of our location, but we just got a call from the guys that are driving the weiner mobile. They were 2 guys and wanted two rooms...their budget was $60 per night per person. NO WAY! The weiner wouldn't even fit in my parking area and whatever local pr I would get would be a waste....local only.
Oh, they did say they would give us a ride in the weiner. LOLOL
Now that I would go for!
I just had a drug task force detective here. I have offered the state rate midweek for diff detectives to attend a class down the block from us in March Of course I nearly didn't open the door, I spoke to him on the phone, but he is undercover and looked like a right dirt bag. GOOD JOB, I told him. haha This is part of the giving back to the community, we won't make anything, but allow them to stay in a nicer place than the roach motel. And the instructors as well. He had us as the recommended lodging choice, but said 75% will only be here for the day due to budget constraints, and the rest prob stay at a chain, which is what they usually do.
 

Alibi Ike

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We never get business travelers because of our location, but we just got a call from the guys that are driving the weiner mobile. They were 2 guys and wanted two rooms...their budget was $60 per night per person. NO WAY! The weiner wouldn't even fit in my parking area and whatever local pr I would get would be a waste....local only.
Oh, they did say they would give us a ride in the weiner. LOLOL.
OK, I might have done it for the weinermobile. That's something we would have fun with.
 

JBloggs

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We never get business travelers because of our location, but we just got a call from the guys that are driving the weiner mobile. They were 2 guys and wanted two rooms...their budget was $60 per night per person. NO WAY! The weiner wouldn't even fit in my parking area and whatever local pr I would get would be a waste....local only.
Oh, they did say they would give us a ride in the weiner. LOLOL.
Breakfast Diva said:
We never get business travelers because of our location, but we just got a call from the guys that are driving the weiner mobile. They were 2 guys and wanted two rooms...their budget was $60 per night per person. NO WAY! The weiner wouldn't even fit in my parking area and whatever local pr I would get would be a waste....local only.
Oh, they did say they would give us a ride in the weiner. LOLOL
Tell them to go to VA we want to ride in the weinermobile! Local kids here rode in it after winning the jingle contest. I posted that a long time ago...I just wanna see it drive past!
 

Breakfast Diva

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Oh, I forgot to mention in my post that they wanted 5 nights and part of them were on the holiday weekend. One night I might have gone for it, but 5?
 

JBloggs

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Oh, I forgot to mention in my post that they wanted 5 nights and part of them were on the holiday weekend. One night I might have gone for it, but 5?.
Breakfast Diva said:
Oh, I forgot to mention in my post that they wanted 5 nights and part of them were on the holiday weekend. One night I might have gone for it, but 5?
Oh! I thought they were just passing through on a promotional Oscar Meyer trip... okay fogettaboutit.
 

seashanty

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we got a few business travelers ... even in a tiny harbor location ... they were usually builders or folks that were going over to an island
i had a BUSINESS TRAVELERS section on my website -- listed offer i offered as though it's tailor made just for them. i put that on the site when a couple stopped in who were staying a 45 minute drive away from the ferry. ferry was across the street from me.
the free wifi of course
FAX service
i mentioned complimentary coffee and tea any time (they loved that)
complimentary newspapers (new york times and the local biggest paper) even though they were online, some liked the 'papers'
complimentary evening snack (was usually pie, cookies, cheese and crackers)
early check-out and bundled breakfast - usually a breakfast sandwhich or they could make themselves toast & cereal (to catch the 7 am ferry - they had to be over there at 6:30)) or full complimentary breakfast at whatever time you serve it.
peace and quiet ... local restaurants within walking distance ... onsite innkeepers (female travelers often asked me about this) ... cable tv in common areas ... guest refrigerators ... plenty of hot water and fluffy towels - some were concerned they couldn't get a hot shower at 5 am ... yup, let me fire up the boiler for ya
i couldn't offer an exercise room but i could point them in the direction of the lighthouse a mile away ... uphill going, downhill coming back.
and i put my special rack cards for business travelers at the local tiny airport, bus terminal and restaurants, chamber and visitor's center. you never know. take a look at the nearest hotel type places that have a business traveler section and see what they offer ... i bet you offer most if not all of what they do.
 

agoodman

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Many business travelers from large corps HAVE to book through their corp travel dept or through a GDS which is NOT the same as an expedia/travelocity although these are fed by GDS. I have a large plant near me and HAD to go GDS to get their business which cost $$ and "before the economic crash" was worth it but since so many companies started restricting travel the monthly fees were just not worth it for the few bookings I was getting. Fortunately since they have now stayed with me before they will now contact me directly to book even though technically this is against corp booking policy, but they don't want to stay anywhere else in the local area (well really there is not much else "decent" ......
The best thing to do to get business travelers with a small (or no) budget is to WALK (or call) the businesses that may be bringing in visitors from out of town and let them know you are there
Yes they do want intenet etc but they want flexible check in times (often they are flying in from somewhere), early breakfasts and most importantly a good night's sleep. Mine also like the fact I will do dinners for them (even something light) because they don't want to have to go out again, esp single travelers. Every situation is unique and you just have to "find your market", I don't think anyone can give a magic formula..
agoodman said:
Mine also like the fact I will do dinners for them (even something light) because they don't want to have to go out again, esp single travelers.
Interesting. So do you serve dinner to all your guests or just your business travelers? Nights and weekends?
.
I do dinners on request and with advance notice (I say 4 days but I can always rustle up a soup and salad or a sandwich) and I offer it to any guests. I have mentioned before they are NOT money makers but I do sell rooms because guests like the dinners and a lot of my guests want to come in and stay in.
Tonight is a 4 course "Southern Style dinner" (Shrimp and Grits, 7 layer salad, fried chicken, collard greens, black eyed peas and pecan pie) NOT my usual style of dinner but I had a special request
Tomorrow is Cream of Mushroom Soup, Spring Mix salad, Cornish Hen w/asparagus and fingerling potatoes and Pavlova (ah yes the recipe on here inn-spired me) or Creme Brulee.
 

agoodman

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Heck FIVE nights would have made it even more attractive for me, you don't have a complete (room) turn every night and it's guaranteed business. 2 rooms x 5 nights x $60!! Not to mention the wienermobile. I would have arranged parking next door at the funeral home!!
 

JBloggs

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See I am loving the whole weinermobile concept. Maybe it can make an road trip and stop off at diff B&B's. haha
 

Copperhead

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Heck FIVE nights would have made it even more attractive for me, you don't have a complete (room) turn every night and it's guaranteed business. 2 rooms x 5 nights x $60!! Not to mention the wienermobile. I would have arranged parking next door at the funeral home!!.
agoodman said:
Not to mention the wienermobile. I would have arranged parking next door at the funeral home!!
This just got my inner eye very tickled at the thought. I am sure THAT would have a lasting impression for the funeral home....

 
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