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BedandBreakfast.com announcement on new products and services for RezOvation and Webervations

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JBanczak

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We announced this today. All of our customers will be getting emails shortly. None of it is live yet - it will be going live over the next few months, but wanted to make sure we are announcing things well in advance.
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Austin, TX – BedandBreakfast.com, the leading specialty travel website focused on inns and B&Bs, today announced that it is offering an extended line of products and services to help innkeepers better market and monetize their websites, including trip insurance, reservations for local attractions, and increased consumer reviews.
B&Bs using either the RezOvation or Webervations booking engines will soon be able to offer potential guests additional products and services in the checkout path, providing innkeepers with both additional revenue streams and increased reservations. These new optional products/features include trip insurance sold through Access America and add-ons like event tickets and local sightseeing tours, purchased right on inns’ online reservation checkout pages. Properties will also be able to embed BedandBreakfast.com reviews in their check-out path, providing positive reinforcement to prospective guests at a key decision point in the reservation process. RezOvation and Webervations customers can also allow their guests to receive a BedandBreakfast.com review reminder after they have stayed at a property, minimizing the need for innkeepers to solicit reviews directly. Each property will have the option of using any or all of the additional features on its booking engine.
“Our goal is to enable B&Bs to offer the same kind of rich website features as larger properties,” explained Eric Goldreyer, CEO of BedandBreakfast.com. “Until now, smaller properties couldn’t offer trip insurance, generally considered a win-win for travelers and properties alike. In addition, consumers are increasingly demanding to see property reviews, and these new products will help innkeepers both increase the number of reviews they have, and display those reviews to prospective guests.”
None of the additional features require any website changes or work on the part of the innkeepers, except to let BedandBreakfast.com know which features they wish to use. Each feature will be rolled out over the coming months, starting with travel add-ons and the review products;innkeepers will be notified directly in advance of each new feature launch, including details on how to customize, add, or drop the services for their property.
Trip insurance will be sold through an agreement between BedandBreakfast.com and Access America. Consumers booking on a RezOvation or Webervations property website will see a check-box on the final page of the checkout and will be able to choose whether or not they want to purchase insurance. If they decide to take the insurance – which will protect them against such problems as trip delays, illness, and lost luggage – their information will be shared with Access America which issues the insurance policy. Properties will earn revenue on every sale made from their websites and can discontinue the program at any time; all billing and revenue sharing is done automatically. In addition, when travelers are offered trip insurance, it’s easier for innkeepers to implement their cancellation policies; after all, the prospective guests had the option to protect themselves with low-cost insurance.
Travel add-ons will be sold through an agreement between BedandBreakfast.com and Viator, a leading online resource for travel experiences, providing access to 5,500 tours, attractions, and activities in 450 destinations in 75 countries. This feature will be limited to U.S. properties in areas where Viator has coverage. Consumers who book via a RezOvation or Webervations booking engine will see a link to Viator on the reservation confirmation page; they can click through to a Viator web page with add-on activities relevant to their destination, and can purchase any of interest. As with trip insurance, properties will earn revenue on every sale, and the billing and revenue sharing will be done automatically.
The BedandBreakfast.com reviews widget can be displayed in the checkout path to help increase the conversion. The technique of putting third-party reviews into the checkout pages has shown tremendous conversion increases in the retail sector, and is expected to lead to more reservations by consumers wary of staying at lesser-known properties. It will also help generate more consumer reviews for participating properties. The monthly income from just a few travel add-on or trip insurance sales can cover the monthly cost of a booking engine; just one review a month on BedandBreakfast.com earns a property up to $60 annually in membership credits. The reviews can be shown in a separate window when someone checks availability on a property website or as a customized graphic embedded into the room results pages.
BedandBreakfast.com began offering the same embedded review widget in January 2009. More than 600 properties have already added the review widget to their own website, and those properties are generating four times as many reviews on BedandBreakfast.com as properties that do not use the review widget.
One of the most successful techniques for properties to get more consumer reviews is a follow-up email sent to a guest several days after check-out. While this is a very effective tool, many innkeepers are reluctant to solicit reviews, and guests may question whether their information will truly be kept private if an email comes directly from a property. RezOvation and Webervations users will soon be able to give consumers the option of having BedandBreakfast.com send a reminder email to their guests after check-out. This will help innkeepers who want to avoid soliciting reviews themselves and will convey to guests that they are working with a well-respected third party to generate their reviews. Properties using the feature can expect to increase the number of reviews as well as their review credits with no additional effort.
“Travelers will now start to see professional features on small property websites, and they will be more comfortable than ever booking a B&B when they see reviews from the leader in specialty lodging,” commented John Banczak, Chief Operating Officer for BedandBreakfast.com. “We are happy to be able to offer these products to help enable small lodgings attract broader audiences. The products and services available at B&Bs around the world are better than they have ever been; our goal is to help consumers realize what a wonderful travel experience awaits when they stay at B&Bs.”
 

seashanty

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i don't know ... i don't want my little b&b to start to feel like it's part of a chain. and this kind of cookie cutter approach, with automated responses and reminders and the focus on additional revenue streams is not the way i want to go. so what will happen ... over time .... those b&b's that hold out, that buck the trend, that don't sign on will be left in the dust by those who do? we already see the public scanning reviews on ta and other sites ... written anonymously ... and having second thoughts about a sweet little place that's off the review radar.
i don't want to see 'professional features on small property websites' ... i like the mom and pop feel of a b&b and its website. in spite of being able to modify how the features look on each website, it will quickly become the same old thing. want to add on this? want to buy that? click here, click there.
as for email reminders, i don't LIKE reminders to review places and products. i am sick of receiving them already.
speaking just for me ... i want less outside involvement and embedding and all the rest of it. and sharing revenue streams with other places. whoo boy.
man i feel old today!
 

JBanczak

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That is why all of these features are optional - so B&B's can choose what they want! This gets back to the argument of whether having good booking and review features ruins the B&B experience/makes a property feel like a chain. I don't believe that to be the case at all. Giving consumers the online functionality they want should't take anything away from preserving the actual travel experience at the property.
Ideally we give innkeepers tools so they spend less time dealing with the back-office, and more time to dedicate to the customer experience
 

wendydk

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We Innkeeps are a fiercely independent bunch, and run our Inns the way we see fit...I'm glad that we have options, and are not forced to live in the dark ages against our wills. That being said, I think any innkeep who wants to do things the old-fashioned way should be able to.
Some Innkeepers still consider a website to be intimidating or too commercial, and some of us find them to be indispensable. Some would never use online bookings as they feel that they are too impersonal and don't allow them to "feel the guest out" when making the reservation, I could not imagine NOT having online reservations capability or actually HAVING to talk to every guest on the phone.
While I'm not into "review reminders" and "Additional revenue streams", I think it's important for our industry to continue to evolve new technologies that will keep us as competitive as we want to be.
And as John says, cherry pick what you like, don't use what you don't like. My Inn could never be mistaken for a chain property, but neither am I the least bit interested in being below the radar! I will use every single advantage at hand to promote my Inn and be noticed AND to make the running of it easier and more profitable. If the guy down the road does not want to do the same....fine......but I don't want him holding me back either.
 

seashanty

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not trying to hold anyone back. each will do what they want.
i love websites and always have. jumped right in with online reservations - and great pictures - enrolled right away with the google search feature - used twitter and a blog. marketed in different mediums.
but i see this heading in a direction i don't want it to go. time will tell. i can't explain without a post that would be endless paragraphs long. and i can't quite articulate what is nagging at the back of my mind.
so i'll not say any more.
 

Penelope

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not trying to hold anyone back. each will do what they want.
i love websites and always have. jumped right in with online reservations - and great pictures - enrolled right away with the google search feature - used twitter and a blog. marketed in different mediums.
but i see this heading in a direction i don't want it to go. time will tell. i can't explain without a post that would be endless paragraphs long. and i can't quite articulate what is nagging at the back of my mind.
so i'll not say any more..
seashanty said:
i can't explain without a post that would be endless paragraphs long. and i can't quite articulate what is nagging at the back of my mind.
so i'll not say any more.
I truly hope that at some point in the near future you can put the words to the emotions regarding this. I would dearly love to hear what you have to say.
 

JeannineIrish

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For those who want all the bells and whistles, let them have them. We have a website, on-line booking through Webervations, listed on BedandBreakfast,com and BBonline. I also use RezOvation as my guest management system. We are a very small urban B & B located near a major university. We are as busy as we want to be and turn away almost as many people as we accept. We don't need all the bells and whistles to bring business to us. We do not pay commissions or give discounts. One reason why even though we are listed on BedandBreakfast.com I have no interest in paying a commission for on-line booking. Commissions is also another reason why we are no longer participating in bedandBreakfast.com gift certificate program.
 

egoodell

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So, my little B&B is supported by my little tour businessn here in Charlottsville. And B&B.com are going to make it possible for our local B&Bs to hook up with the big tour companies. If this includes the big limo tour companies, all this will do is take my business away from me. It's all getting waaay too complicated, too "big box" and not in my favor.
Riki
 

mooseberry

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I think I will like the Travel Insurance...not sure yet about the rest of it.
 

Morticia

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So, my little B&B is supported by my little tour businessn here in Charlottsville. And B&B.com are going to make it possible for our local B&Bs to hook up with the big tour companies. If this includes the big limo tour companies, all this will do is take my business away from me. It's all getting waaay too complicated, too "big box" and not in my favor.
Riki.
egoodell said:
So, my little B&B is supported by my little tour businessn here in Charlottsville. And B&B.com are going to make it possible for our local B&Bs to hook up with the big tour companies. If this includes the big limo tour companies, all this will do is take my business away from me. It's all getting waaay too complicated, too "big box" and not in my favor.
Riki
When you are both doing the biz fulltime you can set up to do what I do...I contact different local sites and add their tix to my check-out page so guests can book their tix thru me and pick them up on arrival. The tours give me a discount and I pass half on to the customer so everyone wins. I think a lot of Webervations users are doing that already. You COULD add other things to do to your Webervations page if you can get local museums, etc to sell the tix to you at a reduced rate. An example here is a museum that sells me tix for $5 (admission price on the ticket is $10) and I sell them for $7.50 in a pkg or online. Guest saves a little and I make a little.
I read your jewelry idea and will probably do a pkg like yours with a local jeweler. Except I would have the person go right to the store as I don't have a place here to display jewelry. But that will also be an add on during the reservation process.
 

wendydk

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not trying to hold anyone back. each will do what they want.
i love websites and always have. jumped right in with online reservations - and great pictures - enrolled right away with the google search feature - used twitter and a blog. marketed in different mediums.
but i see this heading in a direction i don't want it to go. time will tell. i can't explain without a post that would be endless paragraphs long. and i can't quite articulate what is nagging at the back of my mind.
so i'll not say any more..
seashanty said:
i can't explain without a post that would be endless paragraphs long. and i can't quite articulate what is nagging at the back of my mind.
so i'll not say any more.
I truly hope that at some point in the near future you can put the words to the emotions regarding this. I would dearly love to hear what you have to say.
.
I realize that alot of these technological breakthroughs ARE taking the personal touch out of (at least the reservation portion) the B&B experience. I don't know if that's what seashanty can't express, but I could see that bothering alot of keepers. It's also true that today's consumers are trending in that direction (doing EVERYTHING online) anyway, and that's why companies like bb.com are taking advantage of new technologies to help "exploite" those trends.
I think that's also why some people are suprised when I shake their hands at check-in...they have lost or never even experienced the whole "high-touch" customer service experience....it may be up to us to keep it alive! It's our personal service and home-like enviroment that will continue to make the differences clear between us and the big guys....it's a shame that those differences won't be clear to SOME guests until they actually get here, but it is what it is. If we want to expand our market share, that means snagging some guests that have always stayed in hotels. Could be a bumpy road on both sides of the issue.
It will likewise be an adjustment to some Innkeepers in handling how the reservation process may change...but as is the case with ANY business, when things evolve, everyone has to scramble to keep up if they want to stay competitive.
 

gillumhouse

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i don't know ... i don't want my little b&b to start to feel like it's part of a chain. and this kind of cookie cutter approach, with automated responses and reminders and the focus on additional revenue streams is not the way i want to go. so what will happen ... over time .... those b&b's that hold out, that buck the trend, that don't sign on will be left in the dust by those who do? we already see the public scanning reviews on ta and other sites ... written anonymously ... and having second thoughts about a sweet little place that's off the review radar.
i don't want to see 'professional features on small property websites' ... i like the mom and pop feel of a b&b and its website. in spite of being able to modify how the features look on each website, it will quickly become the same old thing. want to add on this? want to buy that? click here, click there.
as for email reminders, i don't LIKE reminders to review places and products. i am sick of receiving them already.
speaking just for me ... i want less outside involvement and embedding and all the rest of it. and sharing revenue streams with other places. whoo boy.
man i feel old today!.
I am with you. I want people to WANT to come to my little part of the world because they call and get to talk to a PERSON. They do not get press 1 for English, they do not get press 5 to repeat the main menu.
I did not go the spa, Jacuzzi, hot tub route. If it hurt me - sobeit. I get sick and tired of the "gurus" telling me what I "must have" in MY place of business - ratcheting it up every few years and telling people that if this is not found at the B & B (or even hotel) it is a place that is not desirable to visit. And half the time (or more) the guests do not even use it! How many on this Forum say they will not use hot tubs other than their own because they do not know how it was cleaned!
I did go WiFi - that ended up costing me $500 - not counting what my son paid for the equipment - because I really did have to have a computer guy talking to Verizon for the set-up. So far I have had one guest use it - and she was a freebie! But WiFi is technology and something that I can see being needed. I know I go into withdrawal if I cannot check e-mail for reservations.
I have a totally different view and yes, I am old-fashioned - I AM OLD!. I think people are getting tired of the impersonal aspects of everything. I think they are going to start looking for the personal attention that we tell them they will get by going to a B & B. How can they know they will get personal attention once they arrive if there has been no personal attention BEFORE they arrive? How do my guests know this will be the case? When I send my confirmation letter, I also send directions from their location and if I know of something of interest along the way I will point it out. I know their interests because I took the time to talk to them.
Yes, I will use technology to market my business - I would never be without a web site and yes, I do use Webervations for those who want to book online but I also know that even with online available, most of my guests call to make their reservations. They like the fact that I will take the time to answer their questions about the area and find out their interests so I can tell them about things that interest them.
 

egoodell

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So, my little B&B is supported by my little tour businessn here in Charlottsville. And B&B.com are going to make it possible for our local B&Bs to hook up with the big tour companies. If this includes the big limo tour companies, all this will do is take my business away from me. It's all getting waaay too complicated, too "big box" and not in my favor.
Riki.
egoodell said:
So, my little B&B is supported by my little tour businessn here in Charlottsville. And B&B.com are going to make it possible for our local B&Bs to hook up with the big tour companies. If this includes the big limo tour companies, all this will do is take my business away from me. It's all getting waaay too complicated, too "big box" and not in my favor.
Riki
When you are both doing the biz fulltime you can set up to do what I do...I contact different local sites and add their tix to my check-out page so guests can book their tix thru me and pick them up on arrival. The tours give me a discount and I pass half on to the customer so everyone wins. I think a lot of Webervations users are doing that already. You COULD add other things to do to your Webervations page if you can get local museums, etc to sell the tix to you at a reduced rate. An example here is a museum that sells me tix for $5 (admission price on the ticket is $10) and I sell them for $7.50 in a pkg or online. Guest saves a little and I make a little.
I read your jewelry idea and will probably do a pkg like yours with a local jeweler. Except I would have the person go right to the store as I don't have a place here to display jewelry. But that will also be an add on during the reservation process.
.
Bree said:
egoodell said:
So, my little B&B is supported by my little tour businessn here in Charlottsville. And B&B.com are going to make it possible for our local B&Bs to hook up with the big tour companies. If this includes the big limo tour companies, all this will do is take my business away from me. It's all getting waaay too complicated, too "big box" and not in my favor.
Riki
When you are both doing the biz fulltime you can set up to do what I do...I contact different local sites and add their tix to my check-out page so guests can book their tix thru me and pick them up on arrival. The tours give me a discount and I pass half on to the customer so everyone wins. I think a lot of Webervations users are doing that already.
That is a great idea, but I don't know that Monticello, our big draw would do that. They don't consider us much. You can book online for tickets, but most of my guests prefer to wait and see when they would like to go when they get here. The best I can get out of Monticello is a tiny discount if I buy a pack of tickets, and they would still have to reserve their tour time.
I refer overflow to the limos all the time and they could care less. They don't even respond to my emails unless I want to get a price for a van if I consider renting for a big group.
Riki
 

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