Hi, Mary here from BnBFinder.com. The $500 gift certificate is being paid for by us and is redeemed like any other gift certificate. We thought it made sense for the promotion to Women's Day readers about our gift certificates and BnBFinder.com inns. Yes, a $500 certificate is a larger certificate than what is usually purchased but Women's Day wanted an attractive giveaway for their readers. If the winner's stay is less then $500 they will have a balance on the certificate to use for a future getaway.
To answer the other question, we reimburse innkeepers 85% of the certificate value. Our gift certificates are not meant to compete with your own gift certificate program. They are for people who don't know where the recipient will want to go. Rather, the program is another form of advertising that we give innkeepers on BnBFinder.com the choice if they want to participate in.
As always if you have any questions, please contact me directly as I’m happy to clear up any confusion.
Any chance you would consider a program for an inn to sell your gift certificates, like banb.com allows inns to sell their gift cards?
Here's the problem I have with these kinds of gift certificates, wherever they're sold.
The idea is great. Open up new markets for B&Bs. Who's not for that?
And I admit, when I've seen them myself on the shelf, I've thought cool. Maybe someone will buy one as a gift and open the eyes of a new guest.
But the reality is that each B&B is unique. That's the whole point, isn't it? There is no one perfect B&B. They are dependent not only on the personality of the owner, they're equally dependent on the owner's skills as a cook, a manager, a host, a marketer, a designer, as well as on the geography and activities of an area, and the property itself.
In short, just because Aunt Agnes likes her B&B with doilies and scrapbook weekends doesn't mean that her nephew and his fiancee are going to find the perfect place to launch a kayaking weekend.
So the opportunity for failed expectations is very very high. That alone is enough reason for caution.
Who wants guests who don't belong? They negatively impact the stay for guests who are there because they want to be there. They're much more likely to post a negative online review simply because the place they went to was different from what they expected or wanted.
Add to that the discounts and, well, to me, I just don't think it's the best laid plan for any B&B. With luck, the person buying or receiving the gift certificate will have the perfect place in mind.
But B&Bs aren't like Starbucks or Borders; there is no one size fits all.
So much as I am all for pooled resources and sharing between inns, big box gift certificates don't seem to be the best answer for most. They seem more a recipe for disappointment for everyone but the middleman.
In my humble opinion.