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Community Good Will vs. Advertising Budget

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Proud Texan

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DW and I are of the mind that local advertising has a minimal impact on reaching our targeted demographic. This has been reinforced by the sheer lack of community response to the local advertising we HAVE put out there. We believe the best bang for our advertising dollar has been and is on the Internet. That being said, we like most of you are flooded on a regular basis asking for donations of a weekend package, an overnight stay etc. Just recently we were asked to purchase advertising space on the back of t-shirts that will be worn by high school kids all over the area. The price for this "privilege" is around $300.00. Since we target young business professionals from the Dallas and Houston area, this would have very little value for us in our small community. We want to be civic minded, but we've only been open 11 months and feel like we would be giving away the farm especially since our advertising budget is already allocated for advertising that actually works.
The dilemma? How do we come across as community friendly and not break the bank and the same time?
 

wendydk

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Maybe volunteering in all your "spare time"! :)
 

EmptyNest

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Give them "discount coupons" 10% off your stay with us. Sorry but just like you..we found the locals just want bucks from us and delivered us nothing. We soon learned to say that our marketing budget for the year as been spent...sorry...but we would be happy to give you some discount coupons.
Don't feel bad..we've all been there ..done that.. move on...you don't have to give them anything if you don't want.
 

gillumhouse

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Local goodwill is good for will BUT it depends on what kind of facility whether (other than having to live there nd be friendly) you have a facility that locals may use or not. If you are cabins that rent the whole thing as in suitable for a vacation get-away and to come to you they may as well stay home - who gives a rip. If you are a facility with rooms to be occupied (as in moi) - you care. I have actually had a few room nights from locals for anniversaries/birthdays/funeral but not enough to do much local advertising or donate a room night. I donate a couple lunch bags that cost me $5 each.
IF I put an ad in the local rag, it is for a special event coming up and because more out-of-towns get that paper than in-towns.
 

SweetiePie

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Give them "discount coupons" 10% off your stay with us. Sorry but just like you..we found the locals just want bucks from us and delivered us nothing. We soon learned to say that our marketing budget for the year as been spent...sorry...but we would be happy to give you some discount coupons.
Don't feel bad..we've all been there ..done that.. move on...you don't have to give them anything if you don't want..
"Don't feel bad..we've all been there ..done that.. move on...you don't have to give them anything if you don't want."
What got to me was how greedy they were getting. One night was no longer good enough. They wanted a whole weekend.
Also, what consituted a charity was getting very loose. When Mothers of Multiples wanted a free vacation, that was the last straw. Since when does having kids qualify you as a charity?
Don't worry . . . eventually they will stop calling.
 

Breakfast Diva

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When we first bought our inn, we soon found out the the POs didn't have the word "no" in their vocabulary. We were overwhelmed with GC calls, letters, e-mails. I turned everyone down the first year. The second year I started giving donated room nights. What a waste. We do care about our local community and there are many deserving groups. We've decided that we will not give room nights and we will donate money to those causes near and dear to us, but as individuals and that money can be deductible.
We live in a small community also, and they don't "get us". We don't market to locals. I also tried donating $50 certificates to charities...no one has ever redeemed one, and I've even had them refused because it wasn't a full night donation. Go figure!
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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Proud Texan said:
DW and I are of the mind that local advertising has a minimal impact on reaching our targeted demographic. This has been reinforced by the sheer lack of community response to the local advertising we HAVE put out there. We believe the best bang for our advertising dollar has been and is on the Internet. That being said, we like most of you are flooded on a regular basis asking for donations of a weekend package, an overnight stay etc. Just recently we were asked to purchase advertising space on the back of t-shirts that will be worn by high school kids all over the area. The price for this "privilege" is around $300.00. Since we target young business professionals from the Dallas and Houston area, this would have very little value for us in our small community. We want to be civic minded, but we've only been open 11 months and feel like we would be giving away the farm especially since our advertising budget is already allocated for advertising that actually works.
The dilemma? How do we come across as community friendly and not break the bank and the same time?
That is a tough dilemma to weigh. If there is a charity or cause you really feel strongly about, then you almost have to ignore the self-interest in "what will you get out of it" mindset.
Thats why its called charity.
We also get hit up all the time and we do our best to contribute what we can. I can say with no hesitation that donating weekends, rooms, etc. has not worked out for us in the slightest. Many of the charities we've done so for have not been super clear with the raffle winners, auction bidders, etc. on any limitaions we've placed on available dates, etc.
It isn't until the winner reads the fine print that the problems for us have begun.
Then its been put on us to look like the bad guys when we tell someone who might have bid $100 on a stay worth $350 and thinks we should give them the room during Xmas week, or such.
We also had folks cancel multiple times with the damn thing and mess up our calendar.
 

Morticia

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When we first bought our inn, we soon found out the the POs didn't have the word "no" in their vocabulary. We were overwhelmed with GC calls, letters, e-mails. I turned everyone down the first year. The second year I started giving donated room nights. What a waste. We do care about our local community and there are many deserving groups. We've decided that we will not give room nights and we will donate money to those causes near and dear to us, but as individuals and that money can be deductible.
We live in a small community also, and they don't "get us". We don't market to locals. I also tried donating $50 certificates to charities...no one has ever redeemed one, and I've even had them refused because it wasn't a full night donation. Go figure!.
Here, too. PO's seemed to be on everyone's 'call' list. 5 years down the road we're still getting calls asking for them. I won't tell the callers my name as I don't want to be on the list personally.
We picked a couple of things we liked the sound of and donated one night. Started getting pressured for two nights. 'Your neighbor does 2 nights, it makes such a nice auction item.' If I get that again I may just 'rethink' the one night right there on the phone.
What we've found is the same thing...locals don't stay with us, they give the GC to a friend or family member who's visiting.
 

JBloggs

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Tell them you can't afford it. Simple.
Charities and causes have nothing to do with your business, that s/b your personal convictions. Separate it out. Don't let them cross or you will feel obligated as MANY are good causes are they not? Sure they are!
If we gave a free night or weekend, like they ask, to every call we could be full every weekend and not make a penny. Even a BOGO GC is scoffed at, and yet it still takes away from paying guests. Your livelihood!
Remember one important factor as well...when you give away it costs you and the recipient typically is NOT a BnB goer and will cause you more strife than not. They have it and will try to cancel and rebook and regift it and on and on. It is not worth it. My advice: Do not use your business as a charity.
 

JBloggs

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Give them "discount coupons" 10% off your stay with us. Sorry but just like you..we found the locals just want bucks from us and delivered us nothing. We soon learned to say that our marketing budget for the year as been spent...sorry...but we would be happy to give you some discount coupons.
Don't feel bad..we've all been there ..done that.. move on...you don't have to give them anything if you don't want..
"Don't feel bad..we've all been there ..done that.. move on...you don't have to give them anything if you don't want."
What got to me was how greedy they were getting. One night was no longer good enough. They wanted a whole weekend.
Also, what consituted a charity was getting very loose. When Mothers of Multiples wanted a free vacation, that was the last straw. Since when does having kids qualify you as a charity?
Don't worry . . . eventually they will stop calling.
.
SweetiePie said:
"Don't feel bad..we've all been there ..done that.. move on...you don't have to give them anything if you don't want."
What got to me was how greedy they were getting. One night was no longer good enough. They wanted a whole weekend.
Also, what consituted a charity was getting very loose. When Mothers of Multiples wanted a free vacation, that was the last straw. Since when does having kids qualify you as a charity?
Don't worry . . . eventually they will stop calling.
Oh yeah if I posted the list of every elementary school from Michigan to FLA who sends me requests for free weekend GC's - ladies garden luncheons giveaways, I mean they are not even charitable events who are BEGGING for freebies. "We will advertise your business" NO YOU WON'T. Tell them no, and forget about it. Don't try to explain, they see you as a big rich business.
 

JBloggs

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When we first bought our inn, we soon found out the the POs didn't have the word "no" in their vocabulary. We were overwhelmed with GC calls, letters, e-mails. I turned everyone down the first year. The second year I started giving donated room nights. What a waste. We do care about our local community and there are many deserving groups. We've decided that we will not give room nights and we will donate money to those causes near and dear to us, but as individuals and that money can be deductible.
We live in a small community also, and they don't "get us". We don't market to locals. I also tried donating $50 certificates to charities...no one has ever redeemed one, and I've even had them refused because it wasn't a full night donation. Go figure!.
Breakfast Diva said:
When we first bought our inn, we soon found out the the POs didn't have the word "no" in their vocabulary. We were overwhelmed with GC calls, letters, e-mails. I turned everyone down the first year. The second year I started giving donated room nights. What a waste. We do care about our local community and there are many deserving groups. We've decided that we will not give room nights and we will donate money to those causes near and dear to us, but as individuals and that money can be deductible.
We live in a small community also, and they don't "get us". We don't market to locals. I also tried donating $50 certificates to charities...no one has ever redeemed one, and I've even had them refused because it wasn't a full night donation. Go figure!
We said just the other day as a coworker sends all their out of town relatives to the local chain hotels for a wedding today and we have only two rooms booked in here - so much for spending your money locally. What about us? That does not include us and every penny we earn goes back into this community. You are on your own! They think people drive down the streets and stay with us, they have no clue. Local referrals are not there. Don't waste your time. Be involved all you want, keep YOUR business separate.
I would like to say something that will make a few here angry - YOUR identity is NOT your business.
 

Morticia

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When we first bought our inn, we soon found out the the POs didn't have the word "no" in their vocabulary. We were overwhelmed with GC calls, letters, e-mails. I turned everyone down the first year. The second year I started giving donated room nights. What a waste. We do care about our local community and there are many deserving groups. We've decided that we will not give room nights and we will donate money to those causes near and dear to us, but as individuals and that money can be deductible.
We live in a small community also, and they don't "get us". We don't market to locals. I also tried donating $50 certificates to charities...no one has ever redeemed one, and I've even had them refused because it wasn't a full night donation. Go figure!.
Breakfast Diva said:
When we first bought our inn, we soon found out the the POs didn't have the word "no" in their vocabulary. We were overwhelmed with GC calls, letters, e-mails. I turned everyone down the first year. The second year I started giving donated room nights. What a waste. We do care about our local community and there are many deserving groups. We've decided that we will not give room nights and we will donate money to those causes near and dear to us, but as individuals and that money can be deductible.
We live in a small community also, and they don't "get us". We don't market to locals. I also tried donating $50 certificates to charities...no one has ever redeemed one, and I've even had them refused because it wasn't a full night donation. Go figure!
We said just the other day as a coworker sends all their out of town relatives to the local chain hotels for a wedding today and we have only two rooms booked in here - so much for spending your money locally. What about us? That does not include us and every penny we earn goes back into this community. You are on your own! They think people drive down the streets and stay with us, they have no clue. Local referrals are not there. Don't waste your time. Be involved all you want, keep YOUR business separate.
I would like to say something that will make a few here angry - YOUR identity is NOT your business.
.
When we were first looking at B&B's all of the family was excited! Yay! A nice place to go for vacation. Everyone said, 'We'll keep you in business your first year.' How many of them have come here even ONCE, much less enough to keep us in biz? The last time we invited everyone to come up some of them chose to stay at a hotel instead. They got a better discount at the hotel. Yeesh.
 

Breakfast Diva

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I know it's been said over and over on this forum, but we seem to have quite a few new aspirings on the board. When you donate a GC for a charity, you basically get NO tax benefit. You can not take the cost of the room off on your taxes. The only write off you get is the cost of food, electricity, etc & if you have housekeeping, the cost of what the housekeeper would cost to clean the room. That's it! That's not enough for me to even keep track of. You get a much better write off if you give money to your favorite charities..
What I absolutely hate is when a guest has stayed with us (usually 2 nights) and about a year or so later they are hitting us up for room nights for their chairity because "because we just loved your little place so much we thought it would be perfect for our auction!" It puts us in a very awkward and difficult position. I turn them down, explain why, and then you can basically write them off from them ever returning. They just don't understand even after you explain it to them! If I give them a GC, then their 2 night stay was just turned into a buy 1 get one free.
 

Morticia

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I know it's been said over and over on this forum, but we seem to have quite a few new aspirings on the board. When you donate a GC for a charity, you basically get NO tax benefit. You can not take the cost of the room off on your taxes. The only write off you get is the cost of food, electricity, etc & if you have housekeeping, the cost of what the housekeeper would cost to clean the room. That's it! That's not enough for me to even keep track of. You get a much better write off if you give money to your favorite charities..
What I absolutely hate is when a guest has stayed with us (usually 2 nights) and about a year or so later they are hitting us up for room nights for their chairity because "because we just loved your little place so much we thought it would be perfect for our auction!" It puts us in a very awkward and difficult position. I turn them down, explain why, and then you can basically write them off from them ever returning. They just don't understand even after you explain it to them! If I give them a GC, then their 2 night stay was just turned into a buy 1 get one free..
Wow, that is a tricky one. If nothing else, they'll be embarrassed to come back.
I get a little suspicious when the person who asks for the donation turns out to be the person who wins the auction. We've had that happen twice for the same auction, two different 'presidents' of the committee.
 

EmptyNest

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I know it's been said over and over on this forum, but we seem to have quite a few new aspirings on the board. When you donate a GC for a charity, you basically get NO tax benefit. You can not take the cost of the room off on your taxes. The only write off you get is the cost of food, electricity, etc & if you have housekeeping, the cost of what the housekeeper would cost to clean the room. That's it! That's not enough for me to even keep track of. You get a much better write off if you give money to your favorite charities..
What I absolutely hate is when a guest has stayed with us (usually 2 nights) and about a year or so later they are hitting us up for room nights for their chairity because "because we just loved your little place so much we thought it would be perfect for our auction!" It puts us in a very awkward and difficult position. I turn them down, explain why, and then you can basically write them off from them ever returning. They just don't understand even after you explain it to them! If I give them a GC, then their 2 night stay was just turned into a buy 1 get one free..
So what if they have stayed with you. That doesn't make them family or friends. I don't think they need any explanations if they can't understand, "No, I am sorry we can't donate it is not in our budget."
 

Willowpondgj

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When we first bought our inn, we soon found out the the POs didn't have the word "no" in their vocabulary. We were overwhelmed with GC calls, letters, e-mails. I turned everyone down the first year. The second year I started giving donated room nights. What a waste. We do care about our local community and there are many deserving groups. We've decided that we will not give room nights and we will donate money to those causes near and dear to us, but as individuals and that money can be deductible.
We live in a small community also, and they don't "get us". We don't market to locals. I also tried donating $50 certificates to charities...no one has ever redeemed one, and I've even had them refused because it wasn't a full night donation. Go figure!.
Breakfast Diva said:
When we first bought our inn, we soon found out the the POs didn't have the word "no" in their vocabulary. We were overwhelmed with GC calls, letters, e-mails. I turned everyone down the first year. The second year I started giving donated room nights. What a waste. We do care about our local community and there are many deserving groups. We've decided that we will not give room nights and we will donate money to those causes near and dear to us, but as individuals and that money can be deductible.
We live in a small community also, and they don't "get us". We don't market to locals. I also tried donating $50 certificates to charities...no one has ever redeemed one, and I've even had them refused because it wasn't a full night donation. Go figure!
We said just the other day as a coworker sends all their out of town relatives to the local chain hotels for a wedding today and we have only two rooms booked in here - so much for spending your money locally. What about us? That does not include us and every penny we earn goes back into this community. You are on your own! They think people drive down the streets and stay with us, they have no clue. Local referrals are not there. Don't waste your time. Be involved all you want, keep YOUR business separate.
I would like to say something that will make a few here angry - YOUR identity is NOT your business.
.
When we were first looking at B&B's all of the family was excited! Yay! A nice place to go for vacation. Everyone said, 'We'll keep you in business your first year.' How many of them have come here even ONCE, much less enough to keep us in biz? The last time we invited everyone to come up some of them chose to stay at a hotel instead. They got a better discount at the hotel. Yeesh.
.
No kidding! Other than Dh's parents, we have had 3, count 'em 3 visitors (family & friends) since moving here 3 years ago. They all said the same thing.HA! We're so loved!

 

wendydk

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I tell everyone now that "we have one animal charity that we donate to each year, and that donation has already been made for this year".
 

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