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"Fellow Innkeeper Courtesies" & verifying "Travel Agents"

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StonehengeBNB

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What is the current tradition or expectation (if any) in terms of courtesies amongst innkeepers? In our travels, many innkeepers would ask us specifically whether we were travel agents or innkeeprs, but they didn't explain what would happen if we had said "yes" to either.
Also, what is the best way to "verify" someone really is a travel agent when they are asking for their commission from us?
 

egoodell

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I think a travel agent should have a number - I forget the acronym - someone bigger than me will chime in here. We are so small we don't take bookings from anyone that charges but Richmond might have more competition from the hotels.
You do have online booking, right? You'll be dead in the water without it.
Don't give any discounts for travel agents or anyone like that. They will just use you for a free stay and you will never get any business from them. If they sound legit, tell them that you will refund their stay after they have sent you x amount of business - like $2000 worth or something like that.
Innkeepers often swap stays. There is an online group called "night for night" which we have used and enjoyed. You join for free, and agree to take others on straight swaps. We went to New Orleans and Ashville and North Carolina this way, and have hosted about 3 innkeepers in return. It's great fun and saves a lot of money traveling.
You need to come over and visit! We are only about 45 minutes - 1 hour away!
riki
 

domsmom

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The travel agent's number is called an IATA ..International Association of Travel Agents. It is several digits long and identifies their location, telephone number and etc. if you were to contact IATA and verify it.
 

EmptyNest

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You don't have to comp or discount anyone. Do not feel obligated to discount just because someone says they are an innkeeper. There are thousands out there :) And you only have one room....don't know if you plan to expand or not.
Some of the forum inn-mates here do exchange nights with one another at no cost but that is because we have known each other for years.
Same with travel agents. Most people unless they are traveling on business...don't use travel agents. We got very few ever calling us. Most people just book on line themselves. If truly a travel agent..they will have to give you some proof of that along with their IATA number etc.
As RIKI said...make sure you have on line availability and booking capability. It is a must these days.
 

Morticia

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Courtesies among innkeepers are whatever we make them out to be. I'm a little surprised that anyone would ask you that out of the blue. If you mentioned owning or aspiring to own a place that's different.
As far as travel agents go, I ask for their company name and then look them up. If they are trying to book a room for themselves for their own vacation, I'm a bit put off by that! But, we've had good luck with travel agents from Europe.
 

Joey Camb

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We have 3 travel agents we work with regularly but we have never been asked by them for stays (people who we don't do business with ask all the time the cheek!) they are employed by companies to sort out the travel arrangements for their people ie one company has branches all over the country/world so they just say we need one room in Harrogate and they sort it out and we pay commission as and when. The other 2 work with the conference centre in town and we allocate them rooms and they sell them for us (cheeper commission than laterooms) they advertise on the conferences web site and do mailings on our behalf so it is worth the bother. There are one or two others who call now and again but only when their usual places are full. I wouldn't give free nights as I pay enough commission ta.
 

Boomer

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We offer AAA and active military discounts only - nothing else. Used to years ago, but truly never got anything back on it. We do offer complimentary stays with several other Inn's that we frequent the areas for business or pleasure, but only a hand full
 

egoodell

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We only give discounts to military that are coming from or going to what we call a "hardship" post. (Iraq, Afghanistan, away from family) We only tell them as they check out. We get too many military from DC who make ten times what we do. I'd go broke discounting to active military because of our location.
RIki
 

gillumhouse

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Early on I got nicked by a travel agent and will never do another. She booked my -nn-to-inn package for three rooms and asked for the travel agent commission - I then discovered SHE was one of the group she had just booked! She used her friends to get HER portion free! She never sent another iota of business to us afterward either.
 

Breakfast Diva

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I have had several travel agents call over the years to book room for their clients. Each time I tell them I don't pay a commission. They have all booked anyway....I think their clients were the ones telling them to book us instead of the agent scouring the internet. Unless you are in an area with a lot of business traffic, I don't think it's worth paying an agent commission.
 

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We will discount any reporter or writer that comes to stay with us especially if they are writing a review or promoting the area. That has worked out very well for us so far with free statewide publicity What I will not do is give government discounts for state and federal employees on business. Their per diem is lower than I want to go.
 

JBloggs

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and yet travel writers say they cannot accept free rooms or discounts as it would not be a fair evaluation/review.
 

wendydk

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We will discount any reporter or writer that comes to stay with us especially if they are writing a review or promoting the area. That has worked out very well for us so far with free statewide publicity What I will not do is give government discounts for state and federal employees on business. Their per diem is lower than I want to go..
Proud Texan said:
What I will not do is give government discounts for state and federal employees on business. Their per diem is lower than I want to go.
AND, they make a ton of money on our dime. Pay the employee an outrageous salary with tons of time off and lifetime benefits, but only pay peanuts for them to stay anywhere. Atrocious. My cousin quit her full time casino hotel front desk job to work Saturdays only delivering mail for the Post Office. Her take home is more now than it was when she was working full time. How the heck is that fair?
 

Proud Texan

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We will discount any reporter or writer that comes to stay with us especially if they are writing a review or promoting the area. That has worked out very well for us so far with free statewide publicity What I will not do is give government discounts for state and federal employees on business. Their per diem is lower than I want to go..
Proud Texan said:
What I will not do is give government discounts for state and federal employees on business. Their per diem is lower than I want to go.
AND, they make a ton of money on our dime. Pay the employee an outrageous salary with tons of time off and lifetime benefits, but only pay peanuts for them to stay anywhere. Atrocious. My cousin quit her full time casino hotel front desk job to work Saturdays only delivering mail for the Post Office. Her take home is more now than it was when she was working full time. How the heck is that fair?
.
Little Blue said:
Proud Texan said:
What I will not do is give government discounts for state and federal employees on business. Their per diem is lower than I want to go.
AND, they make a ton of money on our dime. Pay the employee an outrageous salary with tons of time off and lifetime benefits, but only pay peanuts for them to stay anywhere. Atrocious. My cousin quit her full time casino hotel front desk job to work Saturdays only delivering mail for the Post Office. Her take home is more now than it was when she was working full time. How the heck is that fair?
I worked for the DOD and was able to stay in officer's quarters on most Army and Air Force Bases even when we weren't traveling on official business. It was cheap cheap cheap and very nice. However, whenever we had to travel to an area where there wasn't government lodging we got to stay at the Roach Motel.
 

Proud Texan

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and yet travel writers say they cannot accept free rooms or discounts as it would not be a fair evaluation/review..
Joey Bloggs said:
and yet travel writers say they cannot accept free rooms or discounts as it would not be a fair evaluation/review.
As long as it brings me business....

 

StonehengeBNB

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Obviously, Klaus and I are new to this fascinating world-- so we REALLY appreciate all the advice in these forums!
Many of the things y'all said were things I had not yet thought about--but now I am. I love the idea of swapping nights with other innkeepers one knows.
Since we do plan to focus on attracting "traveling executives", I will look more into the IATA site to see how I can verify the claim of being a travel agent.
What about discounts through marketing sites--like purpleroofs.com? Is there a reason to offer a discount like that? We've stayed in many B&Bs we found through there, and I'd say it's half and half as to which inns offered the "PurpleRoofs discount" and which did not.
Someone mentioned the AAA discount... is that done in return for being listed in AAA guides?
Thanks!
--Eriks
 

EmptyNest

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Obviously, Klaus and I are new to this fascinating world-- so we REALLY appreciate all the advice in these forums!
Many of the things y'all said were things I had not yet thought about--but now I am. I love the idea of swapping nights with other innkeepers one knows.
Since we do plan to focus on attracting "traveling executives", I will look more into the IATA site to see how I can verify the claim of being a travel agent.
What about discounts through marketing sites--like purpleroofs.com? Is there a reason to offer a discount like that? We've stayed in many B&Bs we found through there, and I'd say it's half and half as to which inns offered the "PurpleRoofs discount" and which did not.
Someone mentioned the AAA discount... is that done in return for being listed in AAA guides?
Thanks!
--Eriks.
AAA discounts are given to the AAA members when they travel. And yes you have to be listed in their guide books. You do not qualify for this as you are basically a homestay...one guest room. I believe you have to have 4 rooms at least to be in AAA and meet their specific guidelines.
As for discounts, you can choose whether or not to give them. That is up to your discretion. But...for the most part I wouldn't do it. You are a very small one room place. You are not going to make much doing this and then a discount on top of that....sorry..I would not. I have friends who are list on Purpleroofs and they don't give discounts...I see no reason to do so. Otherwise you will get everyone and his brother asking for discounts. Are you close enough to downtown Richmond, that you will get "traveling executives"? Most l would think prefer being in close to where they will be meeting. Do you have a marketing plan /strategy to attract such clientele? "Build it and they will come" does not work.
 

StonehengeBNB

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Obviously, Klaus and I are new to this fascinating world-- so we REALLY appreciate all the advice in these forums!
Many of the things y'all said were things I had not yet thought about--but now I am. I love the idea of swapping nights with other innkeepers one knows.
Since we do plan to focus on attracting "traveling executives", I will look more into the IATA site to see how I can verify the claim of being a travel agent.
What about discounts through marketing sites--like purpleroofs.com? Is there a reason to offer a discount like that? We've stayed in many B&Bs we found through there, and I'd say it's half and half as to which inns offered the "PurpleRoofs discount" and which did not.
Someone mentioned the AAA discount... is that done in return for being listed in AAA guides?
Thanks!
--Eriks.
AAA discounts are given to the AAA members when they travel. And yes you have to be listed in their guide books. You do not qualify for this as you are basically a homestay...one guest room. I believe you have to have 4 rooms at least to be in AAA and meet their specific guidelines.
As for discounts, you can choose whether or not to give them. That is up to your discretion. But...for the most part I wouldn't do it. You are a very small one room place. You are not going to make much doing this and then a discount on top of that....sorry..I would not. I have friends who are list on Purpleroofs and they don't give discounts...I see no reason to do so. Otherwise you will get everyone and his brother asking for discounts. Are you close enough to downtown Richmond, that you will get "traveling executives"? Most l would think prefer being in close to where they will be meeting. Do you have a marketing plan /strategy to attract such clientele? "Build it and they will come" does not work.
.
We are less than 15-20 minutes from most downtown skyscrapers, but there is also a lot of business and light manufacturing "out here in the County." We do have a written marketing plan, which I have been following to the letter thus far. Thanks for the clarification about AAA. We elected to offer only one room because we figured it is a good way for us to gain some experience before trying to manage something bigger--plus it required NO rezoning or other government hoops. So here we are in the heavily wooded suburbs of Richmond... :)
 

Morticia

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Obviously, Klaus and I are new to this fascinating world-- so we REALLY appreciate all the advice in these forums!
Many of the things y'all said were things I had not yet thought about--but now I am. I love the idea of swapping nights with other innkeepers one knows.
Since we do plan to focus on attracting "traveling executives", I will look more into the IATA site to see how I can verify the claim of being a travel agent.
What about discounts through marketing sites--like purpleroofs.com? Is there a reason to offer a discount like that? We've stayed in many B&Bs we found through there, and I'd say it's half and half as to which inns offered the "PurpleRoofs discount" and which did not.
Someone mentioned the AAA discount... is that done in return for being listed in AAA guides?
Thanks!
--Eriks.
StonehengeBNB said:
Someone mentioned the AAA discount... is that done in return for being listed in AAA guides?
Thanks!
--Eriks
You do not HAVE to give a AAA discount unless you are a 'member' property. We are in the AAA book, but we don't pay to be able to display their logo (that costs big bucks). So, we can give a discount if we want to but we are not required to.
 

StonehengeBNB

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Well, now that I know we're too small to be listed, methinks that giving a AAA discount would be silly for us.
My gut instinct is not to give discounts, period. But I am thrilled with the NightForNight concept. :)
 
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