B&B's shooting themselves in the foot?

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bbinnsitters

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Recently someone made this comment to me and I wondered what your thoughts were.
We were talking about the recent (in the past 2 years) increase in last minute bookings. I blamed it on the economy and people not knowing till the last minute if they had a little extra money to splurge on a weekend away. My friend blamed it on B&B's offering last minute deals (you all know the site - something about lukewarm deals) - she said "why would anyone book ahead, when you can get a really good deal at the last minute and also most B&B's have the 7 day cancellation policy that they enforce - B&B's are shooting themselves in the foot"
I didn't know how to respond! Has anyone else out there noticed an increase in last minute bookings? What do you attribute it to?
 

Penelope

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What about the "gotta have it now" mentality? "Can't plan for 2 months away...it's just too hard to wait that long." "I want to go away NOW. I earned it. I deserve it."
I'd say that plays into it, too.
Also, discresionary spending might only be known a paycheck in advance or so.
But it could be a combination of all you mentioned, PLUS all I've mentioned, PLUS other things.
 

Alibi Ike

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Not B&B's for crying out loud. Hotels, the folks with the money to advertise are the ones pushing the last minute deals. Walk into a hotel and get the room for 1/4 of the rack rate if you threaten to walk out and leave the room empty. Do that at a B&B and you probably get, 'Have a nice day then.'
One little email from a B&B directory is not going to millions of homes like the TV ads are doing.
So, tell your friend it has nothing to do with that B&B directory email because no one ever books after reading it. I think there might be 1-2 B&B's on here that have ever gotten a single night from that email.
 

gillumhouse

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Your friend, in my opinion, is incorrect. People are not certain of having a job. And if they ARE in a "safe" job, they are not sure from month to month if they are going to have to start paying for health insurance or other benefits they "used" to have as more and more companies drop bennies. Retired people are dependent on the market with their retirement income. I have friends who retired with all their "ducks in a row" for a comfortable retirement. 3 years later the company removed health insurance for retirees and they had to scramble.
I have had guests cancel a reservation made for a class reunion (comfortable in advance for me) with total regret asthey were repeats because they had several family commitments that were required and the reunion was a wannado - they could not afford the wanndo expense.
Although reservations are more last minute (for me usually a week or two out), I had a much better year this year. I think it was a combo of my rail-trail finally getting repaired so it was back to 17 miles (as opposed to a chasm 1.5 miles up)
amd
after being told the sky is falling for the last however many years, they have looked up and seen that the sky is still there - I AM GOING!!!
 

Samster

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I agree totally with IKE....it's this marketing push by the big third party reservation sites that are creating issues. Why book in advance when if you wait you can get the best room for less than half the rack rate? People are expecting this from B&Bs also and it's not usually happening. Smaller lodging properties can't offer that deep of a discount with a narrower profit margin.
I do think that people are waiting to see what kind of money they have for any discretionary spending before they book a short getaway vacation or "I deserve a break" vacation. I know that I'm watching airline deals very closely for discounts. If people typically vacation at the same locale every year, I'm not sure if this applies though. I think they want to book their lodging and have it taken care of for them.
I did those "deals" all the time and never got a single booking from them. Never even had the deals mentioned to me.
 

egoodell

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I agree totally with IKE....it's this marketing push by the big third party reservation sites that are creating issues. Why book in advance when if you wait you can get the best room for less than half the rack rate? People are expecting this from B&Bs also and it's not usually happening. Smaller lodging properties can't offer that deep of a discount with a narrower profit margin.
I do think that people are waiting to see what kind of money they have for any discretionary spending before they book a short getaway vacation or "I deserve a break" vacation. I know that I'm watching airline deals very closely for discounts. If people typically vacation at the same locale every year, I'm not sure if this applies though. I think they want to book their lodging and have it taken care of for them.
I did those "deals" all the time and never got a single booking from them. Never even had the deals mentioned to me..
I agree too that it's those tv ads about "the room's advertised at $250? Offer them $99!"
We got calls in the super busy season when there was not a room to be had in town
"We are coming to Charlottesville. What can you do for us if we book your inn?"
Uh, nothing. We're full
Riki
 

Alibi Ike

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I agree totally with IKE....it's this marketing push by the big third party reservation sites that are creating issues. Why book in advance when if you wait you can get the best room for less than half the rack rate? People are expecting this from B&Bs also and it's not usually happening. Smaller lodging properties can't offer that deep of a discount with a narrower profit margin.
I do think that people are waiting to see what kind of money they have for any discretionary spending before they book a short getaway vacation or "I deserve a break" vacation. I know that I'm watching airline deals very closely for discounts. If people typically vacation at the same locale every year, I'm not sure if this applies though. I think they want to book their lodging and have it taken care of for them.
I did those "deals" all the time and never got a single booking from them. Never even had the deals mentioned to me..
I agree too that it's those tv ads about "the room's advertised at $250? Offer them $99!"
We got calls in the super busy season when there was not a room to be had in town
"We are coming to Charlottesville. What can you do for us if we book your inn?"
Uh, nothing. We're full
Riki
.
That's what is amazing. They don't even ask if you can accommodate them before they start dickering about the price.
 

Copperhead

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It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!
 

Tom

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Agree, it isn't B&B's it is hotels and TV in general. Marketing's response to the new frugality in the economy is a greater emphasis on the deal in a percieved buyer's market: squeeze the desparate business owner. Try the groupon approach: pay 50% commission on a half-off offer -- you get 25%!. A hotel can do demand pricing and offer last minute deals, but B&B, no, and I don't think most of us do much price cutting just to fill a room. I'll give a weekday rate on a weekend if I am not busy, but once you start to go down the greasy chute on price, there is no stopping.
We get the calls, "do you have a super special for a room tonight?" Our response is yes, our (regular) rates are a super deal, and explain. Drives me nuts: a caller is quoted the price, spends 15 minutes asking all about the rooms, etc. and then says "Do you have any better deal? I'll have to talk to my husband". In English that means, not coming here.
 

InnBloom

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It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!.
Very well said.
 

Alibi Ike

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Agree, it isn't B&B's it is hotels and TV in general. Marketing's response to the new frugality in the economy is a greater emphasis on the deal in a percieved buyer's market: squeeze the desparate business owner. Try the groupon approach: pay 50% commission on a half-off offer -- you get 25%!. A hotel can do demand pricing and offer last minute deals, but B&B, no, and I don't think most of us do much price cutting just to fill a room. I'll give a weekday rate on a weekend if I am not busy, but once you start to go down the greasy chute on price, there is no stopping.
We get the calls, "do you have a super special for a room tonight?" Our response is yes, our (regular) rates are a super deal, and explain. Drives me nuts: a caller is quoted the price, spends 15 minutes asking all about the rooms, etc. and then says "Do you have any better deal? I'll have to talk to my husband". In English that means, not coming here..
I had one the other day. One room open and the guest is coming that day, hasn't left home yet (6 hour drive from here) and wants 'the best deal you have'. So, I am going to have to do extra work because you're not getting here during regular hours, I have only one room open (which means I'd like to be full but it is not a great requirement) and you want a deal?
I said, conspiratorialy, 'The best I can do on that room is- (named my full price), will that be ok?' They took it.
 

Alibi Ike

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It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!.
copperhead said:
It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!
I'm not sure if guests will know this or not, so yours is a good plan, but the hotels around here don't charge extra for anything, except, maybe your morning newspaper. Everything is included, but the guest might not know that if they've just called me and nowhere else. I don't think most hotels let a live one walk, so if someone is calling me it's because they've called just me or other B&B's.
And, I get a fair number of people who think the price I quote them includes tax. So, maybe I should just start quoting with the tax included instead of saying 'Plus tax' after every price I quote.
Does anyone else do that? Quote the full price, with the tax, when someone asks what the price is?
 

JBloggs

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so what.
big deal
everyone can run their business they want to
we have to roll with the punches
we have to be open to new things
we have to stop being the old crotchety innkeepers
offer last minute deals
you have bills to pay
be proactive
guests are guests
 

gillumhouse

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It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!.
copperhead said:
It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!
I'm not sure if guests will know this or not, so yours is a good plan, but the hotels around here don't charge extra for anything, except, maybe your morning newspaper. Everything is included, but the guest might not know that if they've just called me and nowhere else. I don't think most hotels let a live one walk, so if someone is calling me it's because they've called just me or other B&B's.
And, I get a fair number of people who think the price I quote them includes tax. So, maybe I should just start quoting with the tax included instead of saying 'Plus tax' after every price I quote.
Does anyone else do that? Quote the full price, with the tax, when someone asks what the price is?
.
Does anyone else do that? Quote the full price, with the tax, when someone asks what the price is?
I quote the price as plus 6% tax, I do not have the hotel tax.
My city did not enact the ordinance to collect hotel tax, so I cannot collect it. So with the tax rates around me, I save folks 6% off the top and I want them to know it. I am not undercutting another B & B weith this because there is none within 20 miles of me and no other in my entire county sadly.
 

Samster

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so what.
big deal
everyone can run their business they want to
we have to roll with the punches
we have to be open to new things
we have to stop being the old crotchety innkeepers
offer last minute deals
you have bills to pay
be proactive
guests are guests.
I agree to a point....
YOU have to decide what is your bottom line price where you are still making a profit for different scenarios. So you don't kick yourself when someone takes it! :) We all know that there might not be any profit in deep, deep discounts for just one room when you have to either run the A/C or heat full blast in a large building or run around to buy groceries, etc.
Just make your decision and go with it and don't resent the guests that might take you up on it....
 

Alibi Ike

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It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!.
copperhead said:
It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!
I'm not sure if guests will know this or not, so yours is a good plan, but the hotels around here don't charge extra for anything, except, maybe your morning newspaper. Everything is included, but the guest might not know that if they've just called me and nowhere else. I don't think most hotels let a live one walk, so if someone is calling me it's because they've called just me or other B&B's.
And, I get a fair number of people who think the price I quote them includes tax. So, maybe I should just start quoting with the tax included instead of saying 'Plus tax' after every price I quote.
Does anyone else do that? Quote the full price, with the tax, when someone asks what the price is?
.
Does anyone else do that? Quote the full price, with the tax, when someone asks what the price is?
I quote the price as plus 6% tax, I do not have the hotel tax.
My city did not enact the ordinance to collect hotel tax, so I cannot collect it. So with the tax rates around me, I save folks 6% off the top and I want them to know it. I am not undercutting another B & B weith this because there is none within 20 miles of me and no other in my entire county sadly.
.
So, you don't say the price is (as an example on a $100/night room- for the sake of easy math) '$106'. You say the price is '$100 + 6% sales tax, but we don't charge you lodging tax so you save 6%'?
I'd have to have it calculated out for a variety of rates but I might start quoting with the tax included and say, 'The TOTAL is... NO additional fees, no resort fees, no parking fees, no additional fees.' OK, that might be excessive, but you get what I mean.
 

Copperhead

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It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!.
copperhead said:
It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!
I'm not sure if guests will know this or not, so yours is a good plan, but the hotels around here don't charge extra for anything, except, maybe your morning newspaper. Everything is included, but the guest might not know that if they've just called me and nowhere else. I don't think most hotels let a live one walk, so if someone is calling me it's because they've called just me or other B&B's.
And, I get a fair number of people who think the price I quote them includes tax. So, maybe I should just start quoting with the tax included instead of saying 'Plus tax' after every price I quote.
Does anyone else do that? Quote the full price, with the tax, when someone asks what the price is?
.
Does anyone else do that? Quote the full price, with the tax, when someone asks what the price is?
Yes, I do. In my area, B&B's with 5 or less rooms do not collect some taxes that the big boys must, then because I am not in the city limits, I have an additional advantage of not collecting the city taxes. It clearly benefits me to provide my room rate and then our rate with tax. When people call that are clearly price shopping, I tell them to make sure they ask the price WITH tax. I save the average guest 8.75% over a city hotel. And if they are pricing the difference between the BIG city and staying 30 minutes away, we save them 11.75% in tax savings alone.
Now those that are looking only for a clear bargain - this is not going to do it & I don't want it to either. (if you knowwhatimean)
 

Alibi Ike

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It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!.
copperhead said:
It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!
I'm not sure if guests will know this or not, so yours is a good plan, but the hotels around here don't charge extra for anything, except, maybe your morning newspaper. Everything is included, but the guest might not know that if they've just called me and nowhere else. I don't think most hotels let a live one walk, so if someone is calling me it's because they've called just me or other B&B's.
And, I get a fair number of people who think the price I quote them includes tax. So, maybe I should just start quoting with the tax included instead of saying 'Plus tax' after every price I quote.
Does anyone else do that? Quote the full price, with the tax, when someone asks what the price is?
.
Does anyone else do that? Quote the full price, with the tax, when someone asks what the price is?
Yes, I do. In my area, B&B's with 5 or less rooms do not collect some taxes that the big boys must, then because I am not in the city limits, I have an additional advantage of not collecting the city taxes. It clearly benefits me to provide my room rate and then our rate with tax. When people call that are clearly price shopping, I tell them to make sure they ask the price WITH tax. I save the average guest 8.75% over a city hotel. And if they are pricing the difference between the BIG city and staying 30 minutes away, we save them 11.75% in tax savings alone.
Now those that are looking only for a clear bargain - this is not going to do it & I don't want it to either. (if you knowwhatimean)
.
I would consider almost 12% off to be a very good deal! Especially if I was also going to get hit with a 'resort' fee as well. 12% 'off' is more than I would offer a caller.
 

Copperhead

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It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!.
copperhead said:
It is being drilled in to people's heads in every form possible... Just think of those Progressive (car ins) ads...
But as far as the hospitality industry goes, it is the hotel discount sites & ads that are encouraging this thinking.
As an industry we should say our special deal is that while we provide you with an excellent room, comfortable bed, etc. we do not charge you extra for _______ (fill in the blanks) Here is your total - NO hidden charges!!!
I'm not sure if guests will know this or not, so yours is a good plan, but the hotels around here don't charge extra for anything, except, maybe your morning newspaper. Everything is included, but the guest might not know that if they've just called me and nowhere else. I don't think most hotels let a live one walk, so if someone is calling me it's because they've called just me or other B&B's.
And, I get a fair number of people who think the price I quote them includes tax. So, maybe I should just start quoting with the tax included instead of saying 'Plus tax' after every price I quote.
Does anyone else do that? Quote the full price, with the tax, when someone asks what the price is?
.
Does anyone else do that? Quote the full price, with the tax, when someone asks what the price is?
Yes, I do. In my area, B&B's with 5 or less rooms do not collect some taxes that the big boys must, then because I am not in the city limits, I have an additional advantage of not collecting the city taxes. It clearly benefits me to provide my room rate and then our rate with tax. When people call that are clearly price shopping, I tell them to make sure they ask the price WITH tax. I save the average guest 8.75% over a city hotel. And if they are pricing the difference between the BIG city and staying 30 minutes away, we save them 11.75% in tax savings alone.
Now those that are looking only for a clear bargain - this is not going to do it & I don't want it to either. (if you knowwhatimean)
.
I would consider almost 12% off to be a very good deal! Especially if I was also going to get hit with a 'resort' fee as well. 12% 'off' is more than I would offer a caller.
.
You would think but then some are wanting to pay the Motel # price but get everything we have to offer for it.
The 12% (tax) savings is not going to put us in that same ballpark, and I really do not want them either.
 

Joey Camb

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I loose out in this weather cos if i turn the heating down in the guest rooms too much then they take a dogs age to heat up again. so I am working on a 50% on and 50% off basis turning on one as I sell one but I worry about the pipes bursting which I can do without so I am trying to make sure things keep ticking over (ie rotate what rooms are used) But to be honest I think a lot of people are just broke right now especially with christmas comming up all the going away money is spent. I think people have the ability now to shop around easily and quickly so they do. Where as before it was a nightmare so people gave up or booked say the cheapest of three now they can look at 30.
 
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