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JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Well I took a booking for two rooms here together. One room has a BandB.com GC for $200. Looks like I will be stickin with them.
Have you received many bookings from guests using Bed and Breakfast.com Gift Certificates this year so far?
 

Morticia

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I've received about 3 'Oh you don't take them?' hang ups. All for in-season, all weekends I'm booked at full price. If guests WOULD book in the off season, I'd take the GC's.
 

YellowSocks

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No one's asked me about them yet. (I'm still not listed with them anyway.)
=)
Kk.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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So there ya go. They just checked out.
We had the GC on a two night stay and took a $15 hit each night, 30 total as they had a $200 gc. If they booked on a special discount, it is like shooting ourselves in the foot!
THAT IS NOT CHEAP! I mean, think about it. $30 fee to use a BandB.com gift certificate! YIKES.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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If we gave the $10 to book online that would have been $50. We have the verbage that says NO VALID WITH GIFT CERT's OR OTHER SPECIALS/DISCOUNTS.
 

briarrosebb

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We've redeemed the following from bedandbreakfast.com so far this year:
[tr] [/td]05/26/08[/td]$100.00[/td][/tr][tr] [/td]04/09/08[/td]$100.00[/td][/tr][tr] [/td]04/09/08[/td]$100.00[/td][/tr][tr] [/td]04/09/08[/td]$100.00[/td][/tr][tr] [/td]04/09/08[/td]$100.00[/td][/tr][/table]
We don't think the 15% is so bad. We give 10% discounts at the blink of an eye. And we justify the remaining 5% in that usually only a portion of the stay is paid with a GC and second we build relationships with guests where subsequent stays are not discounted.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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If it is a multiple night stay and they pay with only a $100 gc then that is not super bad. Esp if they are return guests. Most, imho are not. Most are first time B&B goers, so IF they get the fever to do B&B's they will try a new B&B next time. Case in point the B&B goer who has a blog listed on this forum. She is at a diff B&B each night of her trip.
If the room is $100, the GC is $100 BandB.com takes $15, so you have $85. Obv depends on the amt of the GC and the room rate. Typically BandB.com GC's goers choose the least priced room (as was the case today). Not always, of course. You can check your stats and let me know what you have found in that area.
 

JBanczak

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If we gave the $10 to book online that would have been $50. We have the verbage that says NO VALID WITH GIFT CERT's OR OTHER SPECIALS/DISCOUNTS..
John here from BedandBreakfast.com.
Ultimately we think this gift card program benefits the entire industry. There are not many ways for the industry to gain prominence out there - and having a program where a consumer can stay at 4,000 inns is very appealing from a consumer point of view. It is through programs like this where the entire industry is going to get elevated a notch - because in a large scale we can impact many many more customers. If inns do not want to accept them because of our commission, I understand, but I'd like you to put yourselves in our shoes for a minute and really consider the economics.
We incur a LOT of expenses to make this program happen. For starters, we pay the credit card fees on everything - which is almost 3% for these online transactions. Then we custom print every single card on 30mm plastic with custom images. We send a full color directory with every single order now, in a heavy foil-lined envelope, along with a greeting letter and personalized message custom printed for every order. The constant feedback we get from people who won't stay at a B&B is that their impression of B&B's is that they are too small/kitchy/unprofessional/etc. We know this is not true - B&B's are beautiful, professionally run establishments - so we have elevated the quality of our own card product to look as good as an iTunes card, or Hilton, or Starbucks - so from the first impression they start to see how good the B&B industry can be.
So our costs on actual production and transactions are pretty darn high, and our quality is as well. Then you have to add the equipment - the most basic card-printing machine is almost a five digit investment, and you can't just have one in case a machine breaks - which it does pretty regularly. Add to that all of the industrial color laser printers, air-feed folders, etc. and you are talking tens of thousands on equipment and more in parts, upkeep, supplier, etc. Then someone needs to run and maintain this product - there needs to be a team from putting the pieces together on every order, to shipping, dealing with bad credit cards, customers calling in because they lost a card or it didn't show up in the mail. There is a pretty big staff involved with making this happen, and that staff has real costs - salaries, healthcare, etc. Not to mention all of the legal costs to track and maintain compliance with all fifty states regulations. And all of these costs do not even consider the retail channels. For the retail certificates - we literally have to custom design every order, each card carrier is different for each retailer, and we have to fill every single retail store with cards up front - whether they sell or not - and we have to pay for them all in advance, and pay a percentage of every card to the retaier. I do not even want to go into the math because the outlay on it is so large.
At the end of the day, an innkeeper gets someone who redeems a card. Often it is a guest they would not have received if they did not accept the card, and always the card must be accepted for any reservation (those are the rules of the program so that it isn't seen as an airline-mileage deal where you buy them then can never use them). An innkeeper pays no credit card fee on the dollars redeemed... so already an average of 3% comes right off the top and the innkeeper only pays a net 12%. Then we almost always hear that customers spend more than the face value. So after credit card fees - the inn absorbs a true 12% on the face value, and if the consumer spends more (we have pretty good stats that show the average redeemed cert is for 50-60% of the stay), then the real commission on the card is 6-7% or so.
Seems like a pretty reasonable amount to pay for this type of product. We have to stay in business too... and there are real expenses to keep this program going. Hopefully this gives you a better picture that this product isn't as simple as it looks.
 

winewitch

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So I guess you can only make posts that are favorable to bandb.com here? Mine is no longer posted, I only spoke from my experience and said nothing that was untrue.
 

YellowSocks

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So I guess you can only make posts that are favorable to bandb.com here? Mine is no longer posted, I only spoke from my experience and said nothing that was untrue..
Oh no!
If you post was lost, it wasn't because it was negative above bandb.com. We want to hear your experience! I haven't listed with them yet because it irks me no end that they want an extra $150 for a link to my website. We discuss often the GC program and how frustrating it is to take that 15% cut. The only posts that get deleted on this site are ones that have porn, spam, or are truly vulgar. (And I'm not aware of any that have been banned so far.)
I've lost posts by bumping the keyboard so that I go to another page. If you haven't clicked "Save" then anything you type will be lost. And as a fast typist (i.e., long-winded poster) it's discouraging when I spend quite a bit of time carefully crafting a post only to have it vanish because one of my kids leaned on me and I bumped the wrong button.
Please repost your post!
=)
Kk.
 

swirt

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If we gave the $10 to book online that would have been $50. We have the verbage that says NO VALID WITH GIFT CERT's OR OTHER SPECIALS/DISCOUNTS..
John here from BedandBreakfast.com.
Ultimately we think this gift card program benefits the entire industry. There are not many ways for the industry to gain prominence out there - and having a program where a consumer can stay at 4,000 inns is very appealing from a consumer point of view. It is through programs like this where the entire industry is going to get elevated a notch - because in a large scale we can impact many many more customers. If inns do not want to accept them because of our commission, I understand, but I'd like you to put yourselves in our shoes for a minute and really consider the economics.
We incur a LOT of expenses to make this program happen. For starters, we pay the credit card fees on everything - which is almost 3% for these online transactions. Then we custom print every single card on 30mm plastic with custom images. We send a full color directory with every single order now, in a heavy foil-lined envelope, along with a greeting letter and personalized message custom printed for every order. The constant feedback we get from people who won't stay at a B&B is that their impression of B&B's is that they are too small/kitchy/unprofessional/etc. We know this is not true - B&B's are beautiful, professionally run establishments - so we have elevated the quality of our own card product to look as good as an iTunes card, or Hilton, or Starbucks - so from the first impression they start to see how good the B&B industry can be.
So our costs on actual production and transactions are pretty darn high, and our quality is as well. Then you have to add the equipment - the most basic card-printing machine is almost a five digit investment, and you can't just have one in case a machine breaks - which it does pretty regularly. Add to that all of the industrial color laser printers, air-feed folders, etc. and you are talking tens of thousands on equipment and more in parts, upkeep, supplier, etc. Then someone needs to run and maintain this product - there needs to be a team from putting the pieces together on every order, to shipping, dealing with bad credit cards, customers calling in because they lost a card or it didn't show up in the mail. There is a pretty big staff involved with making this happen, and that staff has real costs - salaries, healthcare, etc. Not to mention all of the legal costs to track and maintain compliance with all fifty states regulations. And all of these costs do not even consider the retail channels. For the retail certificates - we literally have to custom design every order, each card carrier is different for each retailer, and we have to fill every single retail store with cards up front - whether they sell or not - and we have to pay for them all in advance, and pay a percentage of every card to the retaier. I do not even want to go into the math because the outlay on it is so large.
At the end of the day, an innkeeper gets someone who redeems a card. Often it is a guest they would not have received if they did not accept the card, and always the card must be accepted for any reservation (those are the rules of the program so that it isn't seen as an airline-mileage deal where you buy them then can never use them). An innkeeper pays no credit card fee on the dollars redeemed... so already an average of 3% comes right off the top and the innkeeper only pays a net 12%. Then we almost always hear that customers spend more than the face value. So after credit card fees - the inn absorbs a true 12% on the face value, and if the consumer spends more (we have pretty good stats that show the average redeemed cert is for 50-60% of the stay), then the real commission on the card is 6-7% or so.
Seems like a pretty reasonable amount to pay for this type of product. We have to stay in business too... and there are real expenses to keep this program going. Hopefully this gives you a better picture that this product isn't as simple as it looks.
.
Hi John and welcome to INNspiring. Thanks for taking the time to explain it all. As I am sure you know, some are fans of the gift card program and some aren't. The important thing is that innkeepers get to chose which is right for them. Some need the benefits from the program, some don't. It does help me see the enormity of the program, things are bigger than they seem at first blush.
 

swirt

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So I guess you can only make posts that are favorable to bandb.com here? Mine is no longer posted, I only spoke from my experience and said nothing that was untrue..
Hi Winewitch and welcome to INNspiring.com. Speaking as the only person here who has access to the magic delete button, I can assure you no post of yours was deleted, nor was any post flagged as abusive (which would make it disappear but not get deleted). You are free to speak from your experience. It is possible that you previewed your comment instead of saving it or some other mystery of the internet prevented it from getting saved, but no action by any human caused anything to be removed.
 

muirford

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So I guess you can only make posts that are favorable to bandb.com here? Mine is no longer posted, I only spoke from my experience and said nothing that was untrue..
I have also lost posts by navigating away from the page before I clicked 'save' - on the old forum a warning was given but that is still on the 'to do' list for this forum. It can be frustrating when you've typed your heart out...
We definitely don't wholeheartedly sing the praises of bandb.com - other than posters from bandb.com, like John Banzcak, Eric Goldreyer and Sandy Soule, when they log on. I just had a very frustrating issue with them this week which took three days, three phone calls, one email and a promise that the next email would be copied to Eric before I got an answer on a missing deposit for gift cards. They showed a direct deposit to our account which was never processed by our bank, even though deposits before and since have been. A phone call on Monday got me a promise that it would be referred to accounting and I would be called back, a phone call late on Tuesday got me a second promise to refer it to accounting and call me back along with the feedback that there was nothing noted in my file from Monday, an email to support on Tuesday got no response whatsoever. A third phone call on Wednesday - with a discussion about the 15% commission costs and what I am really getting for that, along with the promise that my next email to go out if I hadn't heard anything by the end of the day would be copied to Eric - finally got me a return phone call in about an hour with the information that accounting would reprocess the deposit since it had apparrently failed (a month ago!) and I should see it in our account today or tomorrow. All this took a lot of my time, since it was almost impossible to speak to a human on Tuesday and I called in several times before that happened.
We have all had a huge discussion about innkeepers' dislikes of the gift card program, not the least of which is that 15% commission - which didn't seem to going to much service for me based on my experience this week.
Jeanne
 

briarrosebb

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If we gave the $10 to book online that would have been $50. We have the verbage that says NO VALID WITH GIFT CERT's OR OTHER SPECIALS/DISCOUNTS..
John here from BedandBreakfast.com.
Ultimately we think this gift card program benefits the entire industry. There are not many ways for the industry to gain prominence out there - and having a program where a consumer can stay at 4,000 inns is very appealing from a consumer point of view. It is through programs like this where the entire industry is going to get elevated a notch - because in a large scale we can impact many many more customers. If inns do not want to accept them because of our commission, I understand, but I'd like you to put yourselves in our shoes for a minute and really consider the economics.
We incur a LOT of expenses to make this program happen. For starters, we pay the credit card fees on everything - which is almost 3% for these online transactions. Then we custom print every single card on 30mm plastic with custom images. We send a full color directory with every single order now, in a heavy foil-lined envelope, along with a greeting letter and personalized message custom printed for every order. The constant feedback we get from people who won't stay at a B&B is that their impression of B&B's is that they are too small/kitchy/unprofessional/etc. We know this is not true - B&B's are beautiful, professionally run establishments - so we have elevated the quality of our own card product to look as good as an iTunes card, or Hilton, or Starbucks - so from the first impression they start to see how good the B&B industry can be.
So our costs on actual production and transactions are pretty darn high, and our quality is as well. Then you have to add the equipment - the most basic card-printing machine is almost a five digit investment, and you can't just have one in case a machine breaks - which it does pretty regularly. Add to that all of the industrial color laser printers, air-feed folders, etc. and you are talking tens of thousands on equipment and more in parts, upkeep, supplier, etc. Then someone needs to run and maintain this product - there needs to be a team from putting the pieces together on every order, to shipping, dealing with bad credit cards, customers calling in because they lost a card or it didn't show up in the mail. There is a pretty big staff involved with making this happen, and that staff has real costs - salaries, healthcare, etc. Not to mention all of the legal costs to track and maintain compliance with all fifty states regulations. And all of these costs do not even consider the retail channels. For the retail certificates - we literally have to custom design every order, each card carrier is different for each retailer, and we have to fill every single retail store with cards up front - whether they sell or not - and we have to pay for them all in advance, and pay a percentage of every card to the retaier. I do not even want to go into the math because the outlay on it is so large.
At the end of the day, an innkeeper gets someone who redeems a card. Often it is a guest they would not have received if they did not accept the card, and always the card must be accepted for any reservation (those are the rules of the program so that it isn't seen as an airline-mileage deal where you buy them then can never use them). An innkeeper pays no credit card fee on the dollars redeemed... so already an average of 3% comes right off the top and the innkeeper only pays a net 12%. Then we almost always hear that customers spend more than the face value. So after credit card fees - the inn absorbs a true 12% on the face value, and if the consumer spends more (we have pretty good stats that show the average redeemed cert is for 50-60% of the stay), then the real commission on the card is 6-7% or so.
Seems like a pretty reasonable amount to pay for this type of product. We have to stay in business too... and there are real expenses to keep this program going. Hopefully this gives you a better picture that this product isn't as simple as it looks.
.
John,
What is going on with your ranking on google natural results? In our state (Colorado), you are now page 3 for "colorado bed and breakfast" and page 6 for "bed and breakfast colorado". Your pay-per-click ads don't show till pages 2 and 3 respectively for these queries. Obviously, with these results you are placing behind your key competitors. Is this happening everywhere?
 

YellowSocks

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If we gave the $10 to book online that would have been $50. We have the verbage that says NO VALID WITH GIFT CERT's OR OTHER SPECIALS/DISCOUNTS..
John here from BedandBreakfast.com.
Ultimately we think this gift card program benefits the entire industry. There are not many ways for the industry to gain prominence out there - and having a program where a consumer can stay at 4,000 inns is very appealing from a consumer point of view. It is through programs like this where the entire industry is going to get elevated a notch - because in a large scale we can impact many many more customers. If inns do not want to accept them because of our commission, I understand, but I'd like you to put yourselves in our shoes for a minute and really consider the economics.
We incur a LOT of expenses to make this program happen. For starters, we pay the credit card fees on everything - which is almost 3% for these online transactions. Then we custom print every single card on 30mm plastic with custom images. We send a full color directory with every single order now, in a heavy foil-lined envelope, along with a greeting letter and personalized message custom printed for every order. The constant feedback we get from people who won't stay at a B&B is that their impression of B&B's is that they are too small/kitchy/unprofessional/etc. We know this is not true - B&B's are beautiful, professionally run establishments - so we have elevated the quality of our own card product to look as good as an iTunes card, or Hilton, or Starbucks - so from the first impression they start to see how good the B&B industry can be.
So our costs on actual production and transactions are pretty darn high, and our quality is as well. Then you have to add the equipment - the most basic card-printing machine is almost a five digit investment, and you can't just have one in case a machine breaks - which it does pretty regularly. Add to that all of the industrial color laser printers, air-feed folders, etc. and you are talking tens of thousands on equipment and more in parts, upkeep, supplier, etc. Then someone needs to run and maintain this product - there needs to be a team from putting the pieces together on every order, to shipping, dealing with bad credit cards, customers calling in because they lost a card or it didn't show up in the mail. There is a pretty big staff involved with making this happen, and that staff has real costs - salaries, healthcare, etc. Not to mention all of the legal costs to track and maintain compliance with all fifty states regulations. And all of these costs do not even consider the retail channels. For the retail certificates - we literally have to custom design every order, each card carrier is different for each retailer, and we have to fill every single retail store with cards up front - whether they sell or not - and we have to pay for them all in advance, and pay a percentage of every card to the retaier. I do not even want to go into the math because the outlay on it is so large.
At the end of the day, an innkeeper gets someone who redeems a card. Often it is a guest they would not have received if they did not accept the card, and always the card must be accepted for any reservation (those are the rules of the program so that it isn't seen as an airline-mileage deal where you buy them then can never use them). An innkeeper pays no credit card fee on the dollars redeemed... so already an average of 3% comes right off the top and the innkeeper only pays a net 12%. Then we almost always hear that customers spend more than the face value. So after credit card fees - the inn absorbs a true 12% on the face value, and if the consumer spends more (we have pretty good stats that show the average redeemed cert is for 50-60% of the stay), then the real commission on the card is 6-7% or so.
Seems like a pretty reasonable amount to pay for this type of product. We have to stay in business too... and there are real expenses to keep this program going. Hopefully this gives you a better picture that this product isn't as simple as it looks.
.
John,
What is going on with your ranking on google natural results? In our state (Colorado), you are now page 3 for "colorado bed and breakfast" and page 6 for "bed and breakfast colorado". Your pay-per-click ads don't show till pages 2 and 3 respectively for these queries. Obviously, with these results you are placing behind your key competitors. Is this happening everywhere?
.
It's not happening in Ohio, but it's been happening a lot in Virginia (still is as far as I can tell).
=)
Kk.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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If we gave the $10 to book online that would have been $50. We have the verbage that says NO VALID WITH GIFT CERT's OR OTHER SPECIALS/DISCOUNTS..
John here from BedandBreakfast.com.
Ultimately we think this gift card program benefits the entire industry. There are not many ways for the industry to gain prominence out there - and having a program where a consumer can stay at 4,000 inns is very appealing from a consumer point of view. It is through programs like this where the entire industry is going to get elevated a notch - because in a large scale we can impact many many more customers. If inns do not want to accept them because of our commission, I understand, but I'd like you to put yourselves in our shoes for a minute and really consider the economics.
We incur a LOT of expenses to make this program happen. For starters, we pay the credit card fees on everything - which is almost 3% for these online transactions. Then we custom print every single card on 30mm plastic with custom images. We send a full color directory with every single order now, in a heavy foil-lined envelope, along with a greeting letter and personalized message custom printed for every order. The constant feedback we get from people who won't stay at a B&B is that their impression of B&B's is that they are too small/kitchy/unprofessional/etc. We know this is not true - B&B's are beautiful, professionally run establishments - so we have elevated the quality of our own card product to look as good as an iTunes card, or Hilton, or Starbucks - so from the first impression they start to see how good the B&B industry can be.
So our costs on actual production and transactions are pretty darn high, and our quality is as well. Then you have to add the equipment - the most basic card-printing machine is almost a five digit investment, and you can't just have one in case a machine breaks - which it does pretty regularly. Add to that all of the industrial color laser printers, air-feed folders, etc. and you are talking tens of thousands on equipment and more in parts, upkeep, supplier, etc. Then someone needs to run and maintain this product - there needs to be a team from putting the pieces together on every order, to shipping, dealing with bad credit cards, customers calling in because they lost a card or it didn't show up in the mail. There is a pretty big staff involved with making this happen, and that staff has real costs - salaries, healthcare, etc. Not to mention all of the legal costs to track and maintain compliance with all fifty states regulations. And all of these costs do not even consider the retail channels. For the retail certificates - we literally have to custom design every order, each card carrier is different for each retailer, and we have to fill every single retail store with cards up front - whether they sell or not - and we have to pay for them all in advance, and pay a percentage of every card to the retaier. I do not even want to go into the math because the outlay on it is so large.
At the end of the day, an innkeeper gets someone who redeems a card. Often it is a guest they would not have received if they did not accept the card, and always the card must be accepted for any reservation (those are the rules of the program so that it isn't seen as an airline-mileage deal where you buy them then can never use them). An innkeeper pays no credit card fee on the dollars redeemed... so already an average of 3% comes right off the top and the innkeeper only pays a net 12%. Then we almost always hear that customers spend more than the face value. So after credit card fees - the inn absorbs a true 12% on the face value, and if the consumer spends more (we have pretty good stats that show the average redeemed cert is for 50-60% of the stay), then the real commission on the card is 6-7% or so.
Seems like a pretty reasonable amount to pay for this type of product. We have to stay in business too... and there are real expenses to keep this program going. Hopefully this gives you a better picture that this product isn't as simple as it looks.
.
Many are just printing the gift certificates online. That is what this couple had. No plastic printing costs incurred.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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So I guess you can only make posts that are favorable to bandb.com here? Mine is no longer posted, I only spoke from my experience and said nothing that was untrue..
Winewitch repost it. Noone deleted it. BandB.com has nothing to do with this forum. Post whatever you like. Feedback on all directories and programs is APPRECIATED.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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If we gave the $10 to book online that would have been $50. We have the verbage that says NO VALID WITH GIFT CERT's OR OTHER SPECIALS/DISCOUNTS..
John here from BedandBreakfast.com.
Ultimately we think this gift card program benefits the entire industry. There are not many ways for the industry to gain prominence out there - and having a program where a consumer can stay at 4,000 inns is very appealing from a consumer point of view. It is through programs like this where the entire industry is going to get elevated a notch - because in a large scale we can impact many many more customers. If inns do not want to accept them because of our commission, I understand, but I'd like you to put yourselves in our shoes for a minute and really consider the economics.
We incur a LOT of expenses to make this program happen. For starters, we pay the credit card fees on everything - which is almost 3% for these online transactions. Then we custom print every single card on 30mm plastic with custom images. We send a full color directory with every single order now, in a heavy foil-lined envelope, along with a greeting letter and personalized message custom printed for every order. The constant feedback we get from people who won't stay at a B&B is that their impression of B&B's is that they are too small/kitchy/unprofessional/etc. We know this is not true - B&B's are beautiful, professionally run establishments - so we have elevated the quality of our own card product to look as good as an iTunes card, or Hilton, or Starbucks - so from the first impression they start to see how good the B&B industry can be.
So our costs on actual production and transactions are pretty darn high, and our quality is as well. Then you have to add the equipment - the most basic card-printing machine is almost a five digit investment, and you can't just have one in case a machine breaks - which it does pretty regularly. Add to that all of the industrial color laser printers, air-feed folders, etc. and you are talking tens of thousands on equipment and more in parts, upkeep, supplier, etc. Then someone needs to run and maintain this product - there needs to be a team from putting the pieces together on every order, to shipping, dealing with bad credit cards, customers calling in because they lost a card or it didn't show up in the mail. There is a pretty big staff involved with making this happen, and that staff has real costs - salaries, healthcare, etc. Not to mention all of the legal costs to track and maintain compliance with all fifty states regulations. And all of these costs do not even consider the retail channels. For the retail certificates - we literally have to custom design every order, each card carrier is different for each retailer, and we have to fill every single retail store with cards up front - whether they sell or not - and we have to pay for them all in advance, and pay a percentage of every card to the retaier. I do not even want to go into the math because the outlay on it is so large.
At the end of the day, an innkeeper gets someone who redeems a card. Often it is a guest they would not have received if they did not accept the card, and always the card must be accepted for any reservation (those are the rules of the program so that it isn't seen as an airline-mileage deal where you buy them then can never use them). An innkeeper pays no credit card fee on the dollars redeemed... so already an average of 3% comes right off the top and the innkeeper only pays a net 12%. Then we almost always hear that customers spend more than the face value. So after credit card fees - the inn absorbs a true 12% on the face value, and if the consumer spends more (we have pretty good stats that show the average redeemed cert is for 50-60% of the stay), then the real commission on the card is 6-7% or so.
Seems like a pretty reasonable amount to pay for this type of product. We have to stay in business too... and there are real expenses to keep this program going. Hopefully this gives you a better picture that this product isn't as simple as it looks.
.
John,
What is going on with your ranking on google natural results? In our state (Colorado), you are now page 3 for "colorado bed and breakfast" and page 6 for "bed and breakfast colorado". Your pay-per-click ads don't show till pages 2 and 3 respectively for these queries. Obviously, with these results you are placing behind your key competitors. Is this happening everywhere?
.
Brendan, we had a whole discussion on this for months. Virginia is not showing either and when approached was told WE NEVER PROMISED YOU GOOGLE RESULTS. Virginia is still not showing up, yet my own website shows up from my own - unprofessional unpaid webdesign and marketing skills.
I cringe to think of what answers will come up now. Apparently it is being worked on and we are to suck it up.
(See winewitch, many of us have negatory stuff to say about that directory)
 

JBanczak

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If we gave the $10 to book online that would have been $50. We have the verbage that says NO VALID WITH GIFT CERT's OR OTHER SPECIALS/DISCOUNTS..
John here from BedandBreakfast.com.
Ultimately we think this gift card program benefits the entire industry. There are not many ways for the industry to gain prominence out there - and having a program where a consumer can stay at 4,000 inns is very appealing from a consumer point of view. It is through programs like this where the entire industry is going to get elevated a notch - because in a large scale we can impact many many more customers. If inns do not want to accept them because of our commission, I understand, but I'd like you to put yourselves in our shoes for a minute and really consider the economics.
We incur a LOT of expenses to make this program happen. For starters, we pay the credit card fees on everything - which is almost 3% for these online transactions. Then we custom print every single card on 30mm plastic with custom images. We send a full color directory with every single order now, in a heavy foil-lined envelope, along with a greeting letter and personalized message custom printed for every order. The constant feedback we get from people who won't stay at a B&B is that their impression of B&B's is that they are too small/kitchy/unprofessional/etc. We know this is not true - B&B's are beautiful, professionally run establishments - so we have elevated the quality of our own card product to look as good as an iTunes card, or Hilton, or Starbucks - so from the first impression they start to see how good the B&B industry can be.
So our costs on actual production and transactions are pretty darn high, and our quality is as well. Then you have to add the equipment - the most basic card-printing machine is almost a five digit investment, and you can't just have one in case a machine breaks - which it does pretty regularly. Add to that all of the industrial color laser printers, air-feed folders, etc. and you are talking tens of thousands on equipment and more in parts, upkeep, supplier, etc. Then someone needs to run and maintain this product - there needs to be a team from putting the pieces together on every order, to shipping, dealing with bad credit cards, customers calling in because they lost a card or it didn't show up in the mail. There is a pretty big staff involved with making this happen, and that staff has real costs - salaries, healthcare, etc. Not to mention all of the legal costs to track and maintain compliance with all fifty states regulations. And all of these costs do not even consider the retail channels. For the retail certificates - we literally have to custom design every order, each card carrier is different for each retailer, and we have to fill every single retail store with cards up front - whether they sell or not - and we have to pay for them all in advance, and pay a percentage of every card to the retaier. I do not even want to go into the math because the outlay on it is so large.
At the end of the day, an innkeeper gets someone who redeems a card. Often it is a guest they would not have received if they did not accept the card, and always the card must be accepted for any reservation (those are the rules of the program so that it isn't seen as an airline-mileage deal where you buy them then can never use them). An innkeeper pays no credit card fee on the dollars redeemed... so already an average of 3% comes right off the top and the innkeeper only pays a net 12%. Then we almost always hear that customers spend more than the face value. So after credit card fees - the inn absorbs a true 12% on the face value, and if the consumer spends more (we have pretty good stats that show the average redeemed cert is for 50-60% of the stay), then the real commission on the card is 6-7% or so.
Seems like a pretty reasonable amount to pay for this type of product. We have to stay in business too... and there are real expenses to keep this program going. Hopefully this gives you a better picture that this product isn't as simple as it looks.
.
Hi John and welcome to INNspiring. Thanks for taking the time to explain it all. As I am sure you know, some are fans of the gift card program and some aren't. The important thing is that innkeepers get to chose which is right for them. Some need the benefits from the program, some don't. It does help me see the enormity of the program, things are bigger than they seem at first blush.
.
No problem. I guess what I hear the most is that innkeepers are not interested in the program - almost entirely because of the commisssion. If there was no commission - then every innkeeper would join... so it really comes back to not thinking that BedandBreakfast.com is doing enough/has enough costs to justify a 15% commission, or that innkeepers have so much business that they just don't need any more. In the case of the former, hopefully folks can understand that it is not a very simple thing to do. In the case of the latter - if you're full, you're full - tough to argue with that.
 

briarrosebb

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If we gave the $10 to book online that would have been $50. We have the verbage that says NO VALID WITH GIFT CERT's OR OTHER SPECIALS/DISCOUNTS..
John here from BedandBreakfast.com.
Ultimately we think this gift card program benefits the entire industry. There are not many ways for the industry to gain prominence out there - and having a program where a consumer can stay at 4,000 inns is very appealing from a consumer point of view. It is through programs like this where the entire industry is going to get elevated a notch - because in a large scale we can impact many many more customers. If inns do not want to accept them because of our commission, I understand, but I'd like you to put yourselves in our shoes for a minute and really consider the economics.
We incur a LOT of expenses to make this program happen. For starters, we pay the credit card fees on everything - which is almost 3% for these online transactions. Then we custom print every single card on 30mm plastic with custom images. We send a full color directory with every single order now, in a heavy foil-lined envelope, along with a greeting letter and personalized message custom printed for every order. The constant feedback we get from people who won't stay at a B&B is that their impression of B&B's is that they are too small/kitchy/unprofessional/etc. We know this is not true - B&B's are beautiful, professionally run establishments - so we have elevated the quality of our own card product to look as good as an iTunes card, or Hilton, or Starbucks - so from the first impression they start to see how good the B&B industry can be.
So our costs on actual production and transactions are pretty darn high, and our quality is as well. Then you have to add the equipment - the most basic card-printing machine is almost a five digit investment, and you can't just have one in case a machine breaks - which it does pretty regularly. Add to that all of the industrial color laser printers, air-feed folders, etc. and you are talking tens of thousands on equipment and more in parts, upkeep, supplier, etc. Then someone needs to run and maintain this product - there needs to be a team from putting the pieces together on every order, to shipping, dealing with bad credit cards, customers calling in because they lost a card or it didn't show up in the mail. There is a pretty big staff involved with making this happen, and that staff has real costs - salaries, healthcare, etc. Not to mention all of the legal costs to track and maintain compliance with all fifty states regulations. And all of these costs do not even consider the retail channels. For the retail certificates - we literally have to custom design every order, each card carrier is different for each retailer, and we have to fill every single retail store with cards up front - whether they sell or not - and we have to pay for them all in advance, and pay a percentage of every card to the retaier. I do not even want to go into the math because the outlay on it is so large.
At the end of the day, an innkeeper gets someone who redeems a card. Often it is a guest they would not have received if they did not accept the card, and always the card must be accepted for any reservation (those are the rules of the program so that it isn't seen as an airline-mileage deal where you buy them then can never use them). An innkeeper pays no credit card fee on the dollars redeemed... so already an average of 3% comes right off the top and the innkeeper only pays a net 12%. Then we almost always hear that customers spend more than the face value. So after credit card fees - the inn absorbs a true 12% on the face value, and if the consumer spends more (we have pretty good stats that show the average redeemed cert is for 50-60% of the stay), then the real commission on the card is 6-7% or so.
Seems like a pretty reasonable amount to pay for this type of product. We have to stay in business too... and there are real expenses to keep this program going. Hopefully this gives you a better picture that this product isn't as simple as it looks.
.
John,
What is going on with your ranking on google natural results? In our state (Colorado), you are now page 3 for "colorado bed and breakfast" and page 6 for "bed and breakfast colorado". Your pay-per-click ads don't show till pages 2 and 3 respectively for these queries. Obviously, with these results you are placing behind your key competitors. Is this happening everywhere?
.
Brendan, we had a whole discussion on this for months. Virginia is not showing either and when approached was told WE NEVER PROMISED YOU GOOGLE RESULTS. Virginia is still not showing up, yet my own website shows up from my own - unprofessional unpaid webdesign and marketing skills.
I cringe to think of what answers will come up now. Apparently it is being worked on and we are to suck it up.
(See winewitch, many of us have negatory stuff to say about that directory)
.
Junie, I find your reply really interesting. I infer that bedandbreakfast.com was saying they promise traffic, not google ranking. And right now that is our experience. Their ranking puzzles in how awful it is here... but we get traffic. It does not make sense, but we really like the results they provide and spend more marketing $$$ with them than anywhere else. They are our #2 referring domain behind only the googleplex, that is ahead of all of our associations, yahoo, all other B&B directories, everyone else. Generally in a month we get almost as many bedandbreakfast.com referrals as we have roomnights to fill... mind you, our budget with them is pretty high.
How do I find these prior discussions? It doesn't seem like I can get a page of just winewitch posts.
FWIW we are on the top of page 2 for "bed and breakfast colorado" where they are on page 6.
 
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