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Discount wisely...a link on Twitter this morning

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Morticia

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Discounting not all it's cracked up to be...
Which brings up something I was thinking about today given we've had only half of our guests paying full price...ouch! Yes, it is easier to get the repeats back than brand new guests, but the discount program is costing us this year big time. OK, wrong way to look at it. Maybe some of those repeats would have tried a different place so having the discount program gives them incentive to come here.
 

JBloggs

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I do not look at discounts as a loss I look at them as a reason we have guests booked in our rooms. It is not costing you. It is gaining revenue.
Just like I do not look at their payment via a cc as a loss vs cash, it is all a part of doing business. Each one of us in our own niche markets how we need to for occupancy. None of us is doing this for fun, it is a business, and we want to be successful. For us it is easier to get new guests than repeats. We have so many first time BnB goers that we get them hooked and unleash them upon everyone else!
This morning (to sidetrack, sorry) guests commented on the view from their room window how they sure picked the right room! In 6 years no one has said that to me. Have others enjoyed that side of the house? Yes probably, but none has commented on it. What is that forum motto? "ABSENCE OF PROOF is not proof of absence" so here I am thinking that is not a favorite room, and these guests just loved it. Go figure! So we have such a variety of guests - all of us on this forum, which is the reasoning behind listening to others marketing ploys, I mean, ideas. You never know...
Any great ideas for discounting and keeping the quality as is, please share everyone.
 

NW BB

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I don't offer discounts. We have a large return guest base so what I do is periodically (at my whim) add a complimentary item to their reservation (champagne, picnic basket, etc). It is important to show the repeats that you appreciate them. A lot of times, the repeat guests will be here celebrating their anniversary every year and if I offered them all a repeaters discount I would be losing money since they more than likely would be here anyway.
The only discount I offer is a referral discount. If they refer one of their friends here, then after the friend's 2 night stay, I will credit them $20 on their next stay with us. That kills two birds with one stone....I get the referral AND the original guest staying with us again to use their $20 credit.
If you keep your room rates up and offer an add on, it costs you much less.
 

Morticia

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I don't offer discounts. We have a large return guest base so what I do is periodically (at my whim) add a complimentary item to their reservation (champagne, picnic basket, etc). It is important to show the repeats that you appreciate them. A lot of times, the repeat guests will be here celebrating their anniversary every year and if I offered them all a repeaters discount I would be losing money since they more than likely would be here anyway.
The only discount I offer is a referral discount. If they refer one of their friends here, then after the friend's 2 night stay, I will credit them $20 on their next stay with us. That kills two birds with one stone....I get the referral AND the original guest staying with us again to use their $20 credit.
If you keep your room rates up and offer an add on, it costs you much less..
I guess I'm lazy...it's easier for me to knock off a few bucks than to put together some sort of package thank you! I thought about doing the referral discount but never got around to it because we don't seem to get a lot of that kind of traffic. I'm not thinking the referral rate would go up any if I was offering a 'kickback' for referrals, but I don't know.
The change I made this year was to give the repeats a better discount than anyone else might get. Given that some of them are here 4-5 times/year, it seemed appropriate.
 

SweetiePie

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As has been mentioned elsewhere, once you discount it then becomes difficult to return to your original pricing.
 

Morticia

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As has been mentioned elsewhere, once you discount it then becomes difficult to return to your original pricing..
SweetiePie said:
As has been mentioned elsewhere, once you discount it then becomes difficult to return to your original pricing.
We did a BOGO this March where the guest bought one room and got a second room free. The idea was to get more NEW traffic in the door. I offered it to repeat guests only to 'bring a friend'. I had a few nibbles but most did not want to come in March. One couple did and stayed 3 nights. Their friends said, 'So, next year WE bring a different couple with us, right?' For that couple it worked. They want to come back and bring a friend who gets the free room (which works out to everyone paying 50% of the room rate). If both couples come back with someone new, then there are 2 MORE new couples who may want to come some other time. No guarantee we'll ever see them again but March is kind of slow anyway.
Whether that's a good marketing idea or not I'm not sure. I had a marketing consultant tell me I was stupid to offer a free night to my really long-time repeats. Maybe so. Maybe they would come here no matter what I offered.
 

Penelope

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As has been mentioned elsewhere, once you discount it then becomes difficult to return to your original pricing..
SweetiePie said:
As has been mentioned elsewhere, once you discount it then becomes difficult to return to your original pricing.
We did a BOGO this March where the guest bought one room and got a second room free. The idea was to get more NEW traffic in the door. I offered it to repeat guests only to 'bring a friend'. I had a few nibbles but most did not want to come in March. One couple did and stayed 3 nights. Their friends said, 'So, next year WE bring a different couple with us, right?' For that couple it worked. They want to come back and bring a friend who gets the free room (which works out to everyone paying 50% of the room rate). If both couples come back with someone new, then there are 2 MORE new couples who may want to come some other time. No guarantee we'll ever see them again but March is kind of slow anyway.
Whether that's a good marketing idea or not I'm not sure. I had a marketing consultant tell me I was stupid to offer a free night to my really long-time repeats. Maybe so. Maybe they would come here no matter what I offered.
.
Bree said:
Maybe they would come here no matter what I offered.
Maybe, maybe not. Is your area as cut throat as I think it might be?
 

Morticia

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As has been mentioned elsewhere, once you discount it then becomes difficult to return to your original pricing..
SweetiePie said:
As has been mentioned elsewhere, once you discount it then becomes difficult to return to your original pricing.
We did a BOGO this March where the guest bought one room and got a second room free. The idea was to get more NEW traffic in the door. I offered it to repeat guests only to 'bring a friend'. I had a few nibbles but most did not want to come in March. One couple did and stayed 3 nights. Their friends said, 'So, next year WE bring a different couple with us, right?' For that couple it worked. They want to come back and bring a friend who gets the free room (which works out to everyone paying 50% of the room rate). If both couples come back with someone new, then there are 2 MORE new couples who may want to come some other time. No guarantee we'll ever see them again but March is kind of slow anyway.
Whether that's a good marketing idea or not I'm not sure. I had a marketing consultant tell me I was stupid to offer a free night to my really long-time repeats. Maybe so. Maybe they would come here no matter what I offered.
.
Bree said:
Maybe they would come here no matter what I offered.
Maybe, maybe not. Is your area as cut throat as I think it might be?
.
penelope said:
Bree said:
Maybe they would come here no matter what I offered.
Maybe, maybe not. Is your area as cut throat as I think it might be?
How do you mean 'cutthroat'?
 

Penelope

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As has been mentioned elsewhere, once you discount it then becomes difficult to return to your original pricing..
SweetiePie said:
As has been mentioned elsewhere, once you discount it then becomes difficult to return to your original pricing.
We did a BOGO this March where the guest bought one room and got a second room free. The idea was to get more NEW traffic in the door. I offered it to repeat guests only to 'bring a friend'. I had a few nibbles but most did not want to come in March. One couple did and stayed 3 nights. Their friends said, 'So, next year WE bring a different couple with us, right?' For that couple it worked. They want to come back and bring a friend who gets the free room (which works out to everyone paying 50% of the room rate). If both couples come back with someone new, then there are 2 MORE new couples who may want to come some other time. No guarantee we'll ever see them again but March is kind of slow anyway.
Whether that's a good marketing idea or not I'm not sure. I had a marketing consultant tell me I was stupid to offer a free night to my really long-time repeats. Maybe so. Maybe they would come here no matter what I offered.
.
Bree said:
Maybe they would come here no matter what I offered.
Maybe, maybe not. Is your area as cut throat as I think it might be?
.
penelope said:
Bree said:
Maybe they would come here no matter what I offered.
Maybe, maybe not. Is your area as cut throat as I think it might be?
How do you mean 'cutthroat'?
.
Harsh, hard to get along with, deceitful, untrustworthy...you know: cutthroat ;) I know you're not, but them?
 

JBloggs

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A few years ago we had this whole discussion on "added value." Our guests, however do not see the added value prior to staying, then they see all the extras and special treatment once here.
They would not know this from marketing or websites, in fact, I am one who does not want to list every little detail on the website like I have seen some do. It actually irritates me to see every detail of what is in a room layed out on a website, almost as if grasping at straws, instead of mentioning high end linense they print the actual thread count and brand names.
So in light of that, I find guests would rather see the money they are saving vs getting a gimicky gift or add on (if this is known upfront, not repeats like NWBB was speaking of).
So when this was the hot topic, we all racked our brains to ADD stuff to our rooms, packages, marketing to draw them in and it never seemed to make one bit of difference. Not for us it didn't. You know what I mean "Stay two nights and get a..." I did this a few months back with a dinner gift card and it was actually a royal pain to get it and the guests never even mentioned it. So I go back to the standby of cutting a few bucks off the booking which they seem to enjoy. The other benefit of this is they leave a gratuity when they see they have been treated this way, they do the same. Not all, but some.
 

Morticia

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As has been mentioned elsewhere, once you discount it then becomes difficult to return to your original pricing..
SweetiePie said:
As has been mentioned elsewhere, once you discount it then becomes difficult to return to your original pricing.
We did a BOGO this March where the guest bought one room and got a second room free. The idea was to get more NEW traffic in the door. I offered it to repeat guests only to 'bring a friend'. I had a few nibbles but most did not want to come in March. One couple did and stayed 3 nights. Their friends said, 'So, next year WE bring a different couple with us, right?' For that couple it worked. They want to come back and bring a friend who gets the free room (which works out to everyone paying 50% of the room rate). If both couples come back with someone new, then there are 2 MORE new couples who may want to come some other time. No guarantee we'll ever see them again but March is kind of slow anyway.
Whether that's a good marketing idea or not I'm not sure. I had a marketing consultant tell me I was stupid to offer a free night to my really long-time repeats. Maybe so. Maybe they would come here no matter what I offered.
.
Bree said:
Maybe they would come here no matter what I offered.
Maybe, maybe not. Is your area as cut throat as I think it might be?
.
penelope said:
Bree said:
Maybe they would come here no matter what I offered.
Maybe, maybe not. Is your area as cut throat as I think it might be?
How do you mean 'cutthroat'?
.
Harsh, hard to get along with, deceitful, untrustworthy...you know: cutthroat ;) I know you're not, but them?
.
penelope said:
Harsh, hard to get along with, deceitful, untrustworthy...you know: cutthroat ;) I know you're not, but them?
Oh no, not at all! We could not have landed in a better, more collegial town than this one. And I am totally serious. Even the innkeepers who do not want to be 'in each other's pockets' are friendly and helpful, they just keep to themselves. We even have innkeeper nights where we all go out for dinner together.
There's the ocassional grimace when someone does something less than cooperative, but it's mostly good people who help where they can.
 

Morticia

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A few years ago we had this whole discussion on "added value." Our guests, however do not see the added value prior to staying, then they see all the extras and special treatment once here.
They would not know this from marketing or websites, in fact, I am one who does not want to list every little detail on the website like I have seen some do. It actually irritates me to see every detail of what is in a room layed out on a website, almost as if grasping at straws, instead of mentioning high end linense they print the actual thread count and brand names.
So in light of that, I find guests would rather see the money they are saving vs getting a gimicky gift or add on (if this is known upfront, not repeats like NWBB was speaking of).
So when this was the hot topic, we all racked our brains to ADD stuff to our rooms, packages, marketing to draw them in and it never seemed to make one bit of difference. Not for us it didn't. You know what I mean "Stay two nights and get a..." I did this a few months back with a dinner gift card and it was actually a royal pain to get it and the guests never even mentioned it. So I go back to the standby of cutting a few bucks off the booking which they seem to enjoy. The other benefit of this is they leave a gratuity when they see they have been treated this way, they do the same. Not all, but some..
Joe Bloggs said:
A few years ago we had this whole discussion on "added value." Our guests, however do not see the added value prior to staying, then they see all the extras and special treatment once here.
And unless they have stayed elsewhere, they often don't realize the added value even after they've gone home. Yeah, it was really nice, but wasn't it supposed to be? Isn't every place like that?
It's not until you get a few guests who have traveled quite a bit and who have seen it all that you get the comments about how much is done for them at your own place.
Sorry to say, but I have a few guests who RAVE about how wonderful the food is at a couple of other B&B's they regularly stay at. 'Oh, he's a real chef, he does cooking classes at the inn and they offer dinner!' I know they are just happy about where they have been, but it takes some getting used to because there ain't no chef here!
We've had 3 professional chefs stay here in 2 weeks. Not a one has even mentioned the breakfast here. Not a single 'very nice' or a 'thanks to the cook' not a syllable about the food. Now THAT can make you worry! And yet, today, with most of the dining room full of repeats it was 'Wow! Another great breakfast!' while the professional chefs just sat there.
 

gillumhouse

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A few years ago we had this whole discussion on "added value." Our guests, however do not see the added value prior to staying, then they see all the extras and special treatment once here.
They would not know this from marketing or websites, in fact, I am one who does not want to list every little detail on the website like I have seen some do. It actually irritates me to see every detail of what is in a room layed out on a website, almost as if grasping at straws, instead of mentioning high end linense they print the actual thread count and brand names.
So in light of that, I find guests would rather see the money they are saving vs getting a gimicky gift or add on (if this is known upfront, not repeats like NWBB was speaking of).
So when this was the hot topic, we all racked our brains to ADD stuff to our rooms, packages, marketing to draw them in and it never seemed to make one bit of difference. Not for us it didn't. You know what I mean "Stay two nights and get a..." I did this a few months back with a dinner gift card and it was actually a royal pain to get it and the guests never even mentioned it. So I go back to the standby of cutting a few bucks off the booking which they seem to enjoy. The other benefit of this is they leave a gratuity when they see they have been treated this way, they do the same. Not all, but some..
Joe Bloggs said:
A few years ago we had this whole discussion on "added value." Our guests, however do not see the added value prior to staying, then they see all the extras and special treatment once here.
And unless they have stayed elsewhere, they often don't realize the added value even after they've gone home. Yeah, it was really nice, but wasn't it supposed to be? Isn't every place like that?
It's not until you get a few guests who have traveled quite a bit and who have seen it all that you get the comments about how much is done for them at your own place.
Sorry to say, but I have a few guests who RAVE about how wonderful the food is at a couple of other B&B's they regularly stay at. 'Oh, he's a real chef, he does cooking classes at the inn and they offer dinner!' I know they are just happy about where they have been, but it takes some getting used to because there ain't no chef here!
We've had 3 professional chefs stay here in 2 weeks. Not a one has even mentioned the breakfast here. Not a single 'very nice' or a 'thanks to the cook' not a syllable about the food. Now THAT can make you worry! And yet, today, with most of the dining room full of repeats it was 'Wow! Another great breakfast!' while the professional chefs just sat there.
.
Our eldest son is a chef. We have asked him about the food when we have gone out with them here. He NEVER critiques another chef. He will just say it was good. He says each chef does things differently.
 

egoodell

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A few years ago we had this whole discussion on "added value." Our guests, however do not see the added value prior to staying, then they see all the extras and special treatment once here.
They would not know this from marketing or websites, in fact, I am one who does not want to list every little detail on the website like I have seen some do. It actually irritates me to see every detail of what is in a room layed out on a website, almost as if grasping at straws, instead of mentioning high end linense they print the actual thread count and brand names.
So in light of that, I find guests would rather see the money they are saving vs getting a gimicky gift or add on (if this is known upfront, not repeats like NWBB was speaking of).
So when this was the hot topic, we all racked our brains to ADD stuff to our rooms, packages, marketing to draw them in and it never seemed to make one bit of difference. Not for us it didn't. You know what I mean "Stay two nights and get a..." I did this a few months back with a dinner gift card and it was actually a royal pain to get it and the guests never even mentioned it. So I go back to the standby of cutting a few bucks off the booking which they seem to enjoy. The other benefit of this is they leave a gratuity when they see they have been treated this way, they do the same. Not all, but some..
Joe Bloggs said:
A few years ago we had this whole discussion on "added value." Our guests, however do not see the added value prior to staying, then they see all the extras and special treatment once here.
And unless they have stayed elsewhere, they often don't realize the added value even after they've gone home. Yeah, it was really nice, but wasn't it supposed to be? Isn't every place like that?
It's not until you get a few guests who have traveled quite a bit and who have seen it all that you get the comments about how much is done for them at your own place.
Sorry to say, but I have a few guests who RAVE about how wonderful the food is at a couple of other B&B's they regularly stay at. 'Oh, he's a real chef, he does cooking classes at the inn and they offer dinner!' I know they are just happy about where they have been, but it takes some getting used to because there ain't no chef here!
We've had 3 professional chefs stay here in 2 weeks. Not a one has even mentioned the breakfast here. Not a single 'very nice' or a 'thanks to the cook' not a syllable about the food. Now THAT can make you worry! And yet, today, with most of the dining room full of repeats it was 'Wow! Another great breakfast!' while the professional chefs just sat there.
.
Bree said:
We've had 3 professional chefs stay here in 2 weeks. Not a one has even mentioned the breakfast here. Not a single 'very nice' or a 'thanks to the cook' not a syllable about the food. Now THAT can make you worry! And yet, today, with most of the dining room full of repeats it was 'Wow! Another great breakfast!' while the professional chefs just sat there.
I can tell you that the chefs that I have spoken with say it's such a pleasure to have someone else cook for THEM for a change that they don't care if it's just plain scrambled eggs and bacon, they enjoy it.
I can also think that they don't want to intimidate someone who is not a trained professional by talking about the food.
DH and I have both worked in the restaurant business and can confirm that there are very few polite and caring types that work as chefs. The only ones I recall were the chefs at the CIA at Napa and the chef at Berringer Winery. Wonderful people and a joy to work with.
Recalling the mean stinkers, I can tell you Bree if they didn't like it those types would have had no qulams telling you so out loud in front of God and everyone.
So I can only assume from my experience, these chefs at your place didn't say anything because they were simply enjoying time away from the "business" and didn't want to talk business. Just relax and enjoy.
Riki
RIki
 

SweetiePie

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Professional chefs have a different standard and aren't always known for their politeness and courtesy (Chef Ramsey is a good example
). If they aren't your part of your regular clientel then I wouldn't take it personally as long as your other guests are happy..
 

JBloggs

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The chef's I have known are all prima donnas of the worst kind. They are the rudest worst behaved people to work with! I would not worry if they did not even give you a thank you.
 

Morticia

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A few years ago we had this whole discussion on "added value." Our guests, however do not see the added value prior to staying, then they see all the extras and special treatment once here.
They would not know this from marketing or websites, in fact, I am one who does not want to list every little detail on the website like I have seen some do. It actually irritates me to see every detail of what is in a room layed out on a website, almost as if grasping at straws, instead of mentioning high end linense they print the actual thread count and brand names.
So in light of that, I find guests would rather see the money they are saving vs getting a gimicky gift or add on (if this is known upfront, not repeats like NWBB was speaking of).
So when this was the hot topic, we all racked our brains to ADD stuff to our rooms, packages, marketing to draw them in and it never seemed to make one bit of difference. Not for us it didn't. You know what I mean "Stay two nights and get a..." I did this a few months back with a dinner gift card and it was actually a royal pain to get it and the guests never even mentioned it. So I go back to the standby of cutting a few bucks off the booking which they seem to enjoy. The other benefit of this is they leave a gratuity when they see they have been treated this way, they do the same. Not all, but some..
Joe Bloggs said:
A few years ago we had this whole discussion on "added value." Our guests, however do not see the added value prior to staying, then they see all the extras and special treatment once here.
And unless they have stayed elsewhere, they often don't realize the added value even after they've gone home. Yeah, it was really nice, but wasn't it supposed to be? Isn't every place like that?
It's not until you get a few guests who have traveled quite a bit and who have seen it all that you get the comments about how much is done for them at your own place.
Sorry to say, but I have a few guests who RAVE about how wonderful the food is at a couple of other B&B's they regularly stay at. 'Oh, he's a real chef, he does cooking classes at the inn and they offer dinner!' I know they are just happy about where they have been, but it takes some getting used to because there ain't no chef here!
We've had 3 professional chefs stay here in 2 weeks. Not a one has even mentioned the breakfast here. Not a single 'very nice' or a 'thanks to the cook' not a syllable about the food. Now THAT can make you worry! And yet, today, with most of the dining room full of repeats it was 'Wow! Another great breakfast!' while the professional chefs just sat there.
.
Bree said:
We've had 3 professional chefs stay here in 2 weeks. Not a one has even mentioned the breakfast here. Not a single 'very nice' or a 'thanks to the cook' not a syllable about the food. Now THAT can make you worry! And yet, today, with most of the dining room full of repeats it was 'Wow! Another great breakfast!' while the professional chefs just sat there.
I can tell you that the chefs that I have spoken with say it's such a pleasure to have someone else cook for THEM for a change that they don't care if it's just plain scrambled eggs and bacon, they enjoy it.
I can also think that they don't want to intimidate someone who is not a trained professional by talking about the food.
DH and I have both worked in the restaurant business and can confirm that there are very few polite and caring types that work as chefs. The only ones I recall were the chefs at the CIA at Napa and the chef at Berringer Winery. Wonderful people and a joy to work with.
Recalling the mean stinkers, I can tell you Bree if they didn't like it those types would have had no qulams telling you so out loud in front of God and everyone.
So I can only assume from my experience, these chefs at your place didn't say anything because they were simply enjoying time away from the "business" and didn't want to talk business. Just relax and enjoy.
Riki
RIki
.
Thanks. I think it may have been the other folks traveling with them who wanted to impress us. The actual chefs never said boo about what they do. In fact, the 2 guys in the party never said a word to anyone as far as I could tell!
Because we have never set out to 'be' anything spectacular, I'm just happy that the regulars like the cooking. I just told hubs they were chefs, glad I waited...
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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We offer several regular discounts and do some seasonal discounts mostly in the off season to get folks in the door. We tend to gear things down during the height of the busiest months, but as a newer B&B without a trust fund or big amounts of capital to fall back on, we feel like its a proactive way to advertise without upfront costs UNTIL someone books.
All of our discounts are geared to rewarding longer stays and our loyal returning guests.
We also participate in the B&B.com "hot deals" regularly which don't often yield immediate results, but puts our name and identity in front of targeted folks who have requested email alerts about a particular town or area.
We offer a 10% lifetime discount to all returning guests. They really are all of our best advertising and while not a huge discount, it is greatly appreciated. One just can't ignore what it means when anybody wants to come back more than once in an extraordinarily competitive market like we're in.
Our most popular one is our "drive green" special. We're treehuggers and are running a very "green" property, so in addition to us walking our talk, we put our money where our mouths are in trying to attract like minded and our target demographic guests.
What's really ironic on that one is that last summer when gas was over $4.00 per gallon, barely anybody took advantage of it, but now with the economy in extended recessionary mode, lots of folks are doing it.
With a certain number of nights stay, we offer a sliding scale discount depending on the combined average MPG of the car folks arrive in. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has a website www.fueleconomy.gov which lists every make and model for the last 15 years. When folks know what they are driving in advance we can tell them right away what the discount will be. Otherwise, its whatever rental they were given at the airport.
Another we offer is a sliding scale for extended stays. Most of our colleagues and competitors don't offer anything off until someone has booked for seven nights, so we think its a unique approach in our area.
Being about 20-25 minutes from our "city" requires some creativity and inducement to entice people away from the downtown area.
 

Morticia

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We offer several regular discounts and do some seasonal discounts mostly in the off season to get folks in the door. We tend to gear things down during the height of the busiest months, but as a newer B&B without a trust fund or big amounts of capital to fall back on, we feel like its a proactive way to advertise without upfront costs UNTIL someone books.
All of our discounts are geared to rewarding longer stays and our loyal returning guests.
We also participate in the B&B.com "hot deals" regularly which don't often yield immediate results, but puts our name and identity in front of targeted folks who have requested email alerts about a particular town or area.
We offer a 10% lifetime discount to all returning guests. They really are all of our best advertising and while not a huge discount, it is greatly appreciated. One just can't ignore what it means when anybody wants to come back more than once in an extraordinarily competitive market like we're in.
Our most popular one is our "drive green" special. We're treehuggers and are running a very "green" property, so in addition to us walking our talk, we put our money where our mouths are in trying to attract like minded and our target demographic guests.
What's really ironic on that one is that last summer when gas was over $4.00 per gallon, barely anybody took advantage of it, but now with the economy in extended recessionary mode, lots of folks are doing it.
With a certain number of nights stay, we offer a sliding scale discount depending on the combined average MPG of the car folks arrive in. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has a website www.fueleconomy.gov which lists every make and model for the last 15 years. When folks know what they are driving in advance we can tell them right away what the discount will be. Otherwise, its whatever rental they were given at the airport.
Another we offer is a sliding scale for extended stays. Most of our colleagues and competitors don't offer anything off until someone has booked for seven nights, so we think its a unique approach in our area.
Being about 20-25 minutes from our "city" requires some creativity and inducement to entice people away from the downtown area..
That 10% lifetime discount is a nice incentive. We do a $ amount which can be 10% or more or less depending on the season.
I totally like the idea of the discount based on the car's MPG! Do you advertise that online? Care to mention what the sliding scale is?
We'll be doing something later on when the train comes to town to encourage weekenders to not drive but to take the train instead. We've had a couple of Zip cars here so I'm guessing the train might appeal to those who don't have a car at all.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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We offer several regular discounts and do some seasonal discounts mostly in the off season to get folks in the door. We tend to gear things down during the height of the busiest months, but as a newer B&B without a trust fund or big amounts of capital to fall back on, we feel like its a proactive way to advertise without upfront costs UNTIL someone books.
All of our discounts are geared to rewarding longer stays and our loyal returning guests.
We also participate in the B&B.com "hot deals" regularly which don't often yield immediate results, but puts our name and identity in front of targeted folks who have requested email alerts about a particular town or area.
We offer a 10% lifetime discount to all returning guests. They really are all of our best advertising and while not a huge discount, it is greatly appreciated. One just can't ignore what it means when anybody wants to come back more than once in an extraordinarily competitive market like we're in.
Our most popular one is our "drive green" special. We're treehuggers and are running a very "green" property, so in addition to us walking our talk, we put our money where our mouths are in trying to attract like minded and our target demographic guests.
What's really ironic on that one is that last summer when gas was over $4.00 per gallon, barely anybody took advantage of it, but now with the economy in extended recessionary mode, lots of folks are doing it.
With a certain number of nights stay, we offer a sliding scale discount depending on the combined average MPG of the car folks arrive in. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has a website www.fueleconomy.gov which lists every make and model for the last 15 years. When folks know what they are driving in advance we can tell them right away what the discount will be. Otherwise, its whatever rental they were given at the airport.
Another we offer is a sliding scale for extended stays. Most of our colleagues and competitors don't offer anything off until someone has booked for seven nights, so we think its a unique approach in our area.
Being about 20-25 minutes from our "city" requires some creativity and inducement to entice people away from the downtown area..
That 10% lifetime discount is a nice incentive. We do a $ amount which can be 10% or more or less depending on the season.
I totally like the idea of the discount based on the car's MPG! Do you advertise that online? Care to mention what the sliding scale is?
We'll be doing something later on when the train comes to town to encourage weekenders to not drive but to take the train instead. We've had a couple of Zip cars here so I'm guessing the train might appeal to those who don't have a car at all.
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We offer it on our website, the big directory sites and it is one of our regular "hot deals" via B&B.com
The "drive green" is scaled so that ther person only gets the maximum if they rent a hybrid or very high mileage car and it goes down in 5% increments for every five MPG less the car acheives. Somebody showing up in a Hummer should not bother even asking for it. We reserve the right to round DOWN to the next level. It also starts out 5% lower for any stay that includes even one weekend night.
We just lost a booking to someone who wanted argue over his car's MPG while I was on the phone and looking at the government's website. Sure, we could have just caved in, but this special is reserved for people who are appreciative of our sacrifice in revenue for the greater good. He probably would have given us headaches on other issues given his tone and demeanor, so why bother?
It also must be mentioned by the guest when making their reservation, none of this at check out stuff "Oh, what about my drive green discount?"
We don't voluntarily offer any discounts unless asked except for the returning guest one.
The sliding scale is 5% for four nights, 10% for five, 15% for six, etc. with a maximum of 25% for eight or more nights. The labor saved on longer stays is evident so for the most part we prefer longer stays. That is unless its the type of guest I described yesterday for who, two nights is two too many. LOL
Thankfully, the folks staying the longest are usually the ones most excited to be staying here to begin with, so its a win-win.
The other form of "discounting" we do regularly is room upgrades and complimentary dipped strawberries and sparkling cider for anniversaries, wedding nights and such.
We have a 48 hour block on the rooms we offer via B&B.com because we don't mind surprise "call-ins" from the road at full price but not through that system, so its easy to tell by the afternoon if we can switch someone who arrives and immediately connects with us in a very positive way to a nicer room. That we feel is another one of those little feather in our cap kind of surprises we can offer that folks really remember and appreciate.
 
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