Quantcast

Booking B&Bs from a Guest Perspective

INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources

Help Support INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources:

Samster

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
6,475
Reaction score
14
Location
South Carolina
My dh and I are taking a Spring trip and except for a short stay with family, we are staying at B&Bs. YAY! I've gotten written confirmations from every place so thought that I'd give y'all some input from the guest perspective. (I wish that I had some feedback like this from guests in the past!)
You already know this, but let me just say that if the confirmation is lengthy, not only will I not read it all, but I'll be ticked off that I have to print multiple pages. Please make sure that all the info will print and not get chopped off on the sides. Yes, I know we need to put our policies in the confirmation.....again. And, I know that some rez programs automatically add policies to every email that you've entered but maybe they can be edited a bit.
Bulleting the important points would be nice so that they come to my attention. Don't bury the most important info in a bunch of other text. Just come straight to the point and tell me what I need to know.
I use my GPS on my SmartPhone but I also like to print out directions and it's nice if I don't have to print a page on your website with a big picture header and all of that. So, either put the directions in the confirmation or give me a link to a PDF file that is simple. (This is one thing that we did have and guests commented on it all the time because we are 90 minutes from a very large metro area airport.)
Please verify in the confirm that you got any special guest requests, including dietary restrictions, no matter how simple they are. They're important to me. (Especially if I ordered an add-on or special package.)
Let me know in the confirmation that you have already charged my credit card a deposit or for the full stay! After reserving at a bunch of places, I may have forgotten that you're going to run my card and I don't want surprises when I open my bill. I had one of those.
If you inject either humor or something that's truly welcoming, I'll remember that. One place said, "Just pack your bags with comfortable walking shoes, a sweater for cool nights, and a book for the deck!" Another said, " Breakfast is served hot at 9 AM".
Just some random thoughts...
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
Thanks for the insight. I am looking at my "stuff" again.
Unfortunately I do not have the ability to do BULLETS or numbering on this new pgrm, or I would! With bells on. I am also unable to change the font size. From the system it is a simple database and pulls the info, there is no changes I can make to it except FIELDS that it draws from.
I am not complaining right now as it does OTHER things I have longed for years for on my old online system.
I know when you get a handful of confirmations and compare it is easy to see a big difference and what is more appealing.
  • Okay I just printed mine even though my ink is though...
  • It is on two pages, no color photos or anything like that, but I must have the policies there, and I can't have the font too small - our guests are sometimes "age-ed" (not that I have a choice).
  • I could of course manually send confirmations from Outlook and all that). If I got rid of the directions that would put it all on one page. :)
Dang it I WANT BULLETS!!! GIMMEE BULLETS!!
 

Samster

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
6,475
Reaction score
14
Location
South Carolina
Thanks for the insight. I am looking at my "stuff" again.
Unfortunately I do not have the ability to do BULLETS or numbering on this new pgrm, or I would! With bells on. I am also unable to change the font size. From the system it is a simple database and pulls the info, there is no changes I can make to it except FIELDS that it draws from.
I am not complaining right now as it does OTHER things I have longed for years for on my old online system.
I know when you get a handful of confirmations and compare it is easy to see a big difference and what is more appealing.
  • Okay I just printed mine even though my ink is though...
  • It is on two pages, no color photos or anything like that, but I must have the policies there, and I can't have the font too small - our guests are sometimes "age-ed" (not that I have a choice).
  • I could of course manually send confirmations from Outlook and all that). If I got rid of the directions that would put it all on one page. :)
Dang it I WANT BULLETS!!! GIMMEE BULLETS!!.
My system didn't have any formatting either! :-( But it had lots of features that I liked.
Dang it! NONE of them have everything. :-( I'm sure that there is no perfect solution.
I've just gone through and written the street address and phone numbers in BIG LETTERS on the top of all the confirms for my GPS and if we get delayed. Perish the thought.
One confirmation from a place that uses Webervations sends their detailed confirmation as a Word document attachment. I think that could have problems. The nice part of their confirmation is that they reminded me of the features of the rooms that I selected. That was nice after booking several places.
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
I tried to add this "+" as a bullet and when I printed it did not show. I do have address and phone at top. I rerouted a couple of things, but can't add any formatting or anything fancy.
Problem is directions are lengthy on mine, as people come different ways and in the end - they all use a GPS and come in the back anyway. hint hint. They always say "The GPS took us..." and I say didn't you have our directions? "Yes."
As long as they get here, but they don't see any restraurants or walmart coming in the industrial route. GPS take you the FIRST POSSIBLE EXIT, which may be I-81 through the mountains on winding roads. MANY guests have arrived this way of late. I say "Were you trying to sight see in the dark?" "No." We have a highway just 1 mile from us. haha
Question: Would you, given you have so many confirmations - remove the DIRECTIONS and just leave the address? If I do this it will be down to one page instead of page and a half.
 

Samster

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
6,475
Reaction score
14
Location
South Carolina
I tried to add this "+" as a bullet and when I printed it did not show. I do have address and phone at top. I rerouted a couple of things, but can't add any formatting or anything fancy.
Problem is directions are lengthy on mine, as people come different ways and in the end - they all use a GPS and come in the back anyway. hint hint. They always say "The GPS took us..." and I say didn't you have our directions? "Yes."
As long as they get here, but they don't see any restraurants or walmart coming in the industrial route. GPS take you the FIRST POSSIBLE EXIT, which may be I-81 through the mountains on winding roads. MANY guests have arrived this way of late. I say "Were you trying to sight see in the dark?" "No." We have a highway just 1 mile from us. haha
Question: Would you, given you have so many confirmations - remove the DIRECTIONS and just leave the address? If I do this it will be down to one page instead of page and a half..
Yes, I would remove the directions from the confirmation BUT provide a link to the directions page on your website.
Also, we probably don't think to check to make sure that our stuff prints out from Firefox properly vs. IE. Eeks! I mean, I probably wouldn't.
I never had the directions on our confirmation, just a link to a printable PDF file on the website directions page which our lovely webmaster had set up for us.
I can tell you people used GPS and didn't print the directions here. For us, that wasn't good as we're on a STREET with a number and there is an AVENUE with that number and it's not in a good place. So, if they picked Avenue.... It didn't happen very often, but it did happen.
 

Copperhead

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 24, 2008
Messages
5,969
Reaction score
0
Samster, thanks for this post. My current confirmation prints on 2 pages so I will see what I can trim down. We do not have our directions on it only a link to our directions page and our address for GPS users. I am going to give my webmaster/DH another task and that is to make a PDF direction page - THANKS for the tidbit!
I think I will attempt bullets - don't know what it will format to though! I know I like it better when I am the customer too.
I do use Webervations but instead of sending the confirmation directly from there, I have all sent to my email and then send from there. I had many, many problems with 'lost' confirmations when using Webervations as it appears to be spam and are totally rejected. We still have some problems but most of the time show up, some will say they checked spam for it. I agree that having it as an attachment could cause problems as well.
 

Samster

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
6,475
Reaction score
14
Location
South Carolina
Samster, thanks for this post. My current confirmation prints on 2 pages so I will see what I can trim down. We do not have our directions on it only a link to our directions page and our address for GPS users. I am going to give my webmaster/DH another task and that is to make a PDF direction page - THANKS for the tidbit!
I think I will attempt bullets - don't know what it will format to though! I know I like it better when I am the customer too.
I do use Webervations but instead of sending the confirmation directly from there, I have all sent to my email and then send from there. I had many, many problems with 'lost' confirmations when using Webervations as it appears to be spam and are totally rejected. We still have some problems but most of the time show up, some will say they checked spam for it. I agree that having it as an attachment could cause problems as well..
CH, I'm thinking your Webervations problem could be why the one innkeeper sent me a very nice Word Document attachment. Their email was not an auto template type email from Webervations.
I'm definitely not saying that I have all the answers here! I just noticed some things as a guest, making multiple bookings at B&Bs for a trip. :)
 

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,554
Reaction score
137
I send my confirmation business letterhead as the e-mail. I have a WORD confirmation letter that I copy/paste as the e-mail. I am certain it goes into 2 pages because I include the coffee list for them to choose the coffee country. I include the day of arrival and date, day and date of departure, number of nights, number in party, which room, rate, and tax plus dietary requirements if any (including the smart ass - no brussel sprouts). If it is a package, I itemize everything in the package and do tell them my cancel policy and breakfast policy.
I send directions from the guests location in the confirmation letter. If they are coming from another direction they usually tell me and get amended directions. I also tell them what the toll is if they are coming from the south AND about the speed trap town they cannot avoid.
 

BBBBoB

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2008
Messages
136
Reaction score
0
I tried to add this "+" as a bullet and when I printed it did not show. I do have address and phone at top. I rerouted a couple of things, but can't add any formatting or anything fancy.
Problem is directions are lengthy on mine, as people come different ways and in the end - they all use a GPS and come in the back anyway. hint hint. They always say "The GPS took us..." and I say didn't you have our directions? "Yes."
As long as they get here, but they don't see any restraurants or walmart coming in the industrial route. GPS take you the FIRST POSSIBLE EXIT, which may be I-81 through the mountains on winding roads. MANY guests have arrived this way of late. I say "Were you trying to sight see in the dark?" "No." We have a highway just 1 mile from us. haha
Question: Would you, given you have so many confirmations - remove the DIRECTIONS and just leave the address? If I do this it will be down to one page instead of page and a half..
Yes, I would remove the directions from the confirmation BUT provide a link to the directions page on your website.
Also, we probably don't think to check to make sure that our stuff prints out from Firefox properly vs. IE. Eeks! I mean, I probably wouldn't.
I never had the directions on our confirmation, just a link to a printable PDF file on the website directions page which our lovely webmaster had set up for us.
I can tell you people used GPS and didn't print the directions here. For us, that wasn't good as we're on a STREET with a number and there is an AVENUE with that number and it's not in a good place. So, if they picked Avenue.... It didn't happen very often, but it did happen.
.
We include a Google map link with the confirmation, from the address that they have given us to the B&B [COLOR= rgb(0, 0, 0)]as well as GPS Latitude: 42.028125 ° Longitude: -83.029687 °[COLOR= rgb(0, 0, 0)] coordinates. We have several google map links on our map page on the website to various locations. I have been toying with the idea of making a Google Map with various places of interest tagged on it. Has anyone done that?[/COLOR][/COLOR]
BBBBoB
 

Samster

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
6,475
Reaction score
14
Location
South Carolina
I send my confirmation business letterhead as the e-mail. I have a WORD confirmation letter that I copy/paste as the e-mail. I am certain it goes into 2 pages because I include the coffee list for them to choose the coffee country. I include the day of arrival and date, day and date of departure, number of nights, number in party, which room, rate, and tax plus dietary requirements if any (including the smart ass - no brussel sprouts). If it is a package, I itemize everything in the package and do tell them my cancel policy and breakfast policy.
I send directions from the guests location in the confirmation letter. If they are coming from another direction they usually tell me and get amended directions. I also tell them what the toll is if they are coming from the south AND about the speed trap town they cannot avoid..
It's good because you're small and don't have a high volume of guests that you can go into that level of detail for every guest. It would not be feasible for some folks sending out a large number of confirmations and re-confirms every day along with doing everything else that's on their plate. I know that I would not have had the time to do that!
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
I tried to add this "+" as a bullet and when I printed it did not show. I do have address and phone at top. I rerouted a couple of things, but can't add any formatting or anything fancy.
Problem is directions are lengthy on mine, as people come different ways and in the end - they all use a GPS and come in the back anyway. hint hint. They always say "The GPS took us..." and I say didn't you have our directions? "Yes."
As long as they get here, but they don't see any restraurants or walmart coming in the industrial route. GPS take you the FIRST POSSIBLE EXIT, which may be I-81 through the mountains on winding roads. MANY guests have arrived this way of late. I say "Were you trying to sight see in the dark?" "No." We have a highway just 1 mile from us. haha
Question: Would you, given you have so many confirmations - remove the DIRECTIONS and just leave the address? If I do this it will be down to one page instead of page and a half..
Yes, I would remove the directions from the confirmation BUT provide a link to the directions page on your website.
Also, we probably don't think to check to make sure that our stuff prints out from Firefox properly vs. IE. Eeks! I mean, I probably wouldn't.
I never had the directions on our confirmation, just a link to a printable PDF file on the website directions page which our lovely webmaster had set up for us.
I can tell you people used GPS and didn't print the directions here. For us, that wasn't good as we're on a STREET with a number and there is an AVENUE with that number and it's not in a good place. So, if they picked Avenue.... It didn't happen very often, but it did happen.
.
We include a Google map link with the confirmation, from the address that they have given us to the B&B [COLOR= rgb(0, 0, 0)]as well as GPS Latitude: 42.028125 ° Longitude: -83.029687 °[COLOR= rgb(0, 0, 0)] coordinates. We have several google map links on our map page on the website to various locations. I have been toying with the idea of making a Google Map with various places of interest tagged on it. Has anyone done that?[/COLOR][/COLOR]
BBBBoB
.
BBBBoB said:
We include a Google map link with the confirmation, from the address that they have given us to the B&B [COLOR= rgb(0, 0, 0)]as well as GPS Latitude: 42.028125 ° Longitude: -83.029687 °[COLOR= rgb(0, 0, 0)] coordinates. We have several google map links on our map page on the website to various locations. I have been toying with the idea of making a Google Map with various places of interest tagged on it. Has anyone done that?[/COLOR][/COLOR]
BBBBoB
Hey Bob,
Yes I have done it. And in fact if you look in your area there might be others already done you can link to as well. I made one of Historic covered bridges with us as a small bed icon in the middle of the map, I found someone else made one of B&B's in a 50 mile radius for their wedding (for family and friends) another innkeeper did one of authors in their state and book map.
Here is one to look at - of course due to the content this is completely out of date now - we don't even belong to ilov e inns now.
Virginia B&B's w/One Night Free
These are the Inns listed in "I Love Inns" in their book and website in Virginia as having one night free stay (blackout dates vary and you must purchase the book from the website to get the coupon) THE LINK IS HERE TO VIEW IT
 

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,554
Reaction score
137
I send my confirmation business letterhead as the e-mail. I have a WORD confirmation letter that I copy/paste as the e-mail. I am certain it goes into 2 pages because I include the coffee list for them to choose the coffee country. I include the day of arrival and date, day and date of departure, number of nights, number in party, which room, rate, and tax plus dietary requirements if any (including the smart ass - no brussel sprouts). If it is a package, I itemize everything in the package and do tell them my cancel policy and breakfast policy.
I send directions from the guests location in the confirmation letter. If they are coming from another direction they usually tell me and get amended directions. I also tell them what the toll is if they are coming from the south AND about the speed trap town they cannot avoid..
It's good because you're small and don't have a high volume of guests that you can go into that level of detail for every guest. It would not be feasible for some folks sending out a large number of confirmations and re-confirms every day along with doing everything else that's on their plate. I know that I would not have had the time to do that!
.
I have 2 confirmation letters saved in WORD. One is regular and one is horses. I just fill in the blanks and add the directions for the correct direction. There are only so may ways to get here. The in-house coffee list is a copy/paste. I do not do reconfirmations. One letter is it.
This is to confirm your reservation for a party of __ for the _____________ Room for _ nights arriving ___________ and departing __________ at a rate of $00.00 plus 6% WV sales tax per night which includes a complimentary full breakfast served at the time you specify each morning. You have indicated ___ dietary restrictions or requirements. Please inform us each evening as to the time you wish to breakfast. We roast our green coffee beans fresh each evening for our guests who prefer coffee if they choose a country of origin in the evening to be served fresh-ground in the morning. For our guests who prefer tea, we have over 100 varieties.
 

Samster

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
6,475
Reaction score
14
Location
South Carolina
I send my confirmation business letterhead as the e-mail. I have a WORD confirmation letter that I copy/paste as the e-mail. I am certain it goes into 2 pages because I include the coffee list for them to choose the coffee country. I include the day of arrival and date, day and date of departure, number of nights, number in party, which room, rate, and tax plus dietary requirements if any (including the smart ass - no brussel sprouts). If it is a package, I itemize everything in the package and do tell them my cancel policy and breakfast policy.
I send directions from the guests location in the confirmation letter. If they are coming from another direction they usually tell me and get amended directions. I also tell them what the toll is if they are coming from the south AND about the speed trap town they cannot avoid..
It's good because you're small and don't have a high volume of guests that you can go into that level of detail for every guest. It would not be feasible for some folks sending out a large number of confirmations and re-confirms every day along with doing everything else that's on their plate. I know that I would not have had the time to do that!
.
I have 2 confirmation letters saved in WORD. One is regular and one is horses. I just fill in the blanks and add the directions for the correct direction. There are only so may ways to get here. The in-house coffee list is a copy/paste. I do not do reconfirmations. One letter is it.
This is to confirm your reservation for a party of __ for the _____________ Room for _ nights arriving ___________ and departing __________ at a rate of $00.00 plus 6% WV sales tax per night which includes a complimentary full breakfast served at the time you specify each morning. You have indicated ___ dietary restrictions or requirements. Please inform us each evening as to the time you wish to breakfast. We roast our green coffee beans fresh each evening for our guests who prefer coffee if they choose a country of origin in the evening to be served fresh-ground in the morning. For our guests who prefer tea, we have over 100 varieties.
.
All I can say is I was grateful for my rez system each and every day! I was a HUGE time saver for me with the confirms that needed to be sent out. Plus, I could put in reminders for re-confirms. I tailored them to each guest also.
 

Joey Camb

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
4,793
Reaction score
0
Hello a top tip I was given is to put all your polices such as cancellation etc in the signature of your email and then it is on the bottom of everything you send out so no one can ever say they were confused about it. Also you can put as much text in the signature as you like so you could in effect put in your whole confirmation template so it pops up on every email you send so it would save you copying and pasting every time you would just need to fill in the blanks. I like to confirm personally as some people want really weird combinations of rooms and stays. Sometimes a table is good. (we do a lot of conference trade so it may be 8 rooms for 1 company but not necessarily the same person every night so you have to make sure you have understood properly cos if not the next chap won't be happy! Some people swear by a set template but its each to their own. Also we have a town map showing clearly where we are and a map of how to get into the car park as it is at the back which we have scanned in and send as an attachment with each confirmation.
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
Hello a top tip I was given is to put all your polices such as cancellation etc in the signature of your email and then it is on the bottom of everything you send out so no one can ever say they were confused about it. Also you can put as much text in the signature as you like so you could in effect put in your whole confirmation template so it pops up on every email you send so it would save you copying and pasting every time you would just need to fill in the blanks. I like to confirm personally as some people want really weird combinations of rooms and stays. Sometimes a table is good. (we do a lot of conference trade so it may be 8 rooms for 1 company but not necessarily the same person every night so you have to make sure you have understood properly cos if not the next chap won't be happy! Some people swear by a set template but its each to their own. Also we have a town map showing clearly where we are and a map of how to get into the car park as it is at the back which we have scanned in and send as an attachment with each confirmation..
What I really thought was a keen idea was the include a small photo of the B&B as we have many guests who travel and may stay at a different B&B each night. By the time they have booked all the stays with all the different combinations - it is good to have the info there for them. Any-who images really were an issue with spam filters, so I stopped sending html and any images.
I thought people would enjoy seeing the B&B and saying "Oh yeah, that one!" or "There it is!"
Often they come in and have a folder with sheet after sheet of confirmation, directions etc. When you see them all stacked together you can see that simpler is better. Pertinent info at the top for the check in/find us mode.
This is why I say so often, we all need to plan a trip to a few B&B's and take it...and see how it is! Planning and going over hideous websites with no rates or check availability RIGHT THEN AND THERE can ruin your whole day. I have a special innmate here soon...always so much fun to visit with forum-mates.

 

BBBBoB

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2008
Messages
136
Reaction score
0
I tried to add this "+" as a bullet and when I printed it did not show. I do have address and phone at top. I rerouted a couple of things, but can't add any formatting or anything fancy.
Problem is directions are lengthy on mine, as people come different ways and in the end - they all use a GPS and come in the back anyway. hint hint. They always say "The GPS took us..." and I say didn't you have our directions? "Yes."
As long as they get here, but they don't see any restraurants or walmart coming in the industrial route. GPS take you the FIRST POSSIBLE EXIT, which may be I-81 through the mountains on winding roads. MANY guests have arrived this way of late. I say "Were you trying to sight see in the dark?" "No." We have a highway just 1 mile from us. haha
Question: Would you, given you have so many confirmations - remove the DIRECTIONS and just leave the address? If I do this it will be down to one page instead of page and a half..
Yes, I would remove the directions from the confirmation BUT provide a link to the directions page on your website.
Also, we probably don't think to check to make sure that our stuff prints out from Firefox properly vs. IE. Eeks! I mean, I probably wouldn't.
I never had the directions on our confirmation, just a link to a printable PDF file on the website directions page which our lovely webmaster had set up for us.
I can tell you people used GPS and didn't print the directions here. For us, that wasn't good as we're on a STREET with a number and there is an AVENUE with that number and it's not in a good place. So, if they picked Avenue.... It didn't happen very often, but it did happen.
.
We include a Google map link with the confirmation, from the address that they have given us to the B&B [COLOR= rgb(0, 0, 0)]as well as GPS Latitude: 42.028125 ° Longitude: -83.029687 °[COLOR= rgb(0, 0, 0)] coordinates. We have several google map links on our map page on the website to various locations. I have been toying with the idea of making a Google Map with various places of interest tagged on it. Has anyone done that?[/COLOR][/COLOR]
BBBBoB
.
BBBBoB said:
We include a Google map link with the confirmation, from the address that they have given us to the B&B [COLOR= rgb(0, 0, 0)]as well as GPS Latitude: 42.028125 ° Longitude: -83.029687 °[COLOR= rgb(0, 0, 0)] coordinates. We have several google map links on our map page on the website to various locations. I have been toying with the idea of making a Google Map with various places of interest tagged on it. Has anyone done that?[/COLOR][/COLOR]
BBBBoB
Hey Bob,
Yes I have done it. And in fact if you look in your area there might be others already done you can link to as well. I made one of Historic covered bridges with us as a small bed icon in the middle of the map, I found someone else made one of B&B's in a 50 mile radius for their wedding (for family and friends) another innkeeper did one of authors in their state and book map.
Here is one to look at - of course due to the content this is completely out of date now - we don't even belong to ilov e inns now.
Virginia B&B's w/One Night Free
These are the Inns listed in "I Love Inns" in their book and website in Virginia as having one night free stay (blackout dates vary and you must purchase the book from the website to get the coupon) THE LINK IS HERE TO VIEW IT
.
Joey Bloggs said:
Yes I have done it. And in fact if you look in your area there might be others already done you can link to as well. I made one of Historic covered bridges with us as a small bed icon in the middle of the map, I found someone else made one of B&B's in a 50 mile radius for their wedding (for family and friends) another innkeeper did one of authors in their state and book map.
Thanks for the link I just tried to make my own, a work in progress.
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?source=s_q&ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=107311325046824024483.000483406dea6da1ebb34&t=h&z=12
BBBBoB
 
Top