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bbinnsitters

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Just had an interesting B&B experience in France that I thought I would share with you all. I came away with a "wow, that is a great way to get business" (cos I am always looking for the positive side to things)
On our last night in Provence my husband and I decided to get a B&B room and not stay with my sister and her other friends at a 2 bedroom cottage (too crowded for me!) We had to be at the train station early and so it made sense on many levels. I called a B&B in the Rick Steves book that said the owners spoke English - "no, we don't have any vacancies for the night you are looking for, but I will put a mass e-mail out to other B&B's in the area" The next day we got a very nice e-mail from Nathalie - "yes, we have a room for you on that night and we can take you to the train station for 12 euros" etc. etc. l was very happy to have rec'd a quick reply from an English speaking B&B. I don't speak a lick of French and depended on my sister to translate for our whole week there. We ended up getting a reply back from 6 different B&B's which really surprised me cos it was the annual festival in Avignon (sp?). I went with the 1st one cos she replied first and was so kind and spoke English!
HA! Joke is on me - got to the B&B and the owners spoke about as much English as I spoke French! I was a little miffed at first realizing that they evidently had a system where Nathalie probably gets a lot of their reservations for them! But in the long run they were very nice, fantastic room with A/C (rare in France), recommended a great restaurant, lovely breakfast at 7am (certainly not my ideal time), got us to the train station on time and we communicated as best we could.
Lesson learned - things aren't always as they seem, but good, kind service doesn't need a language.
 

karilyn

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Lesson learned - things aren't always as they seem, but good, kind service doesn't need a language.
Well-said, my friend!
 

agoodman

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Having worked in France ... why do we expect people in other countries to speak OUR language - we don't speak theirs when they come here. They "made an effort" with their email probably having something saved or having had someone write for them
People often asked me - why do the French dislike Americans, and the number one reason is because Americans (1) expect every French person to speak French (2) allow their children to run around and / or misbehave in restaurants and (3) they want ketchup with everything.
 

Penelope

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Having worked in France ... why do we expect people in other countries to speak OUR language - we don't speak theirs when they come here. They "made an effort" with their email probably having something saved or having had someone write for them
People often asked me - why do the French dislike Americans, and the number one reason is because Americans (1) expect every French person to speak French (2) allow their children to run around and / or misbehave in restaurants and (3) they want ketchup with everything..
Welcome back!
 

bbinnsitters

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Having worked in France ... why do we expect people in other countries to speak OUR language - we don't speak theirs when they come here. They "made an effort" with their email probably having something saved or having had someone write for them
People often asked me - why do the French dislike Americans, and the number one reason is because Americans (1) expect every French person to speak French (2) allow their children to run around and / or misbehave in restaurants and (3) they want ketchup with everything..
agoodman said:
(1) expect every French person to speak French
I think you meant expect every French person to speak English.
I didn't expect it from everyone, but I WAS expecting it when I got a reply in English - that is why I booked there cos I was tired of trying to communicate in French. I thought my last night there I could relax and enjoy and not have a language barrier. I think they should have had some sort of disclaimer on their website and e-mail correspondence. If I were french and traveling to this country I would certainly be tickled if I found a place that spoke French (especially if I didn't speak much English).
 

souslechene

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The mass email idea is nice. And it gives an advantage to those who answer fast.
On our side, in France as well, I recently set up a web page with list and details of all B&Bs & hotels in our neibourghood (closest to the major POI), with GoogleMaps.
When we are full, we send visitors to that web page. I managed to convince several other owners to do the same. The domain name is simple so that we can give it by mail, but on the phone as well.
For the summer, when many of us are full, I have also managed to obtain & show availabilities from more than half of the properties.
Visitors appreciate. I was surprised to get support from so many colleagues.
A single page is not too much trouble to handle.
 

EmptyNest

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The mass email idea is nice. And it gives an advantage to those who answer fast.
On our side, in France as well, I recently set up a web page with list and details of all B&Bs & hotels in our neibourghood (closest to the major POI), with GoogleMaps.
When we are full, we send visitors to that web page. I managed to convince several other owners to do the same. The domain name is simple so that we can give it by mail, but on the phone as well.
For the summer, when many of us are full, I have also managed to obtain & show availabilities from more than half of the properties.
Visitors appreciate. I was surprised to get support from so many colleagues.
A single page is not too much trouble to handle..
I have always believed in working together as innkeepers. "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar" Every B& B is different and it is good you all realize the benefits of supporting one another. It is a good thing:)
 

Tom

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Having worked in France ... why do we expect people in other countries to speak OUR language - we don't speak theirs when they come here. They "made an effort" with their email probably having something saved or having had someone write for them
People often asked me - why do the French dislike Americans, and the number one reason is because Americans (1) expect every French person to speak French (2) allow their children to run around and / or misbehave in restaurants and (3) they want ketchup with everything..
Hey! We serve ketchup with breakfast, so I guess we are American! Don't let children run around, though, that's why we 'ave l'oubliette, la bas.
 

Samster

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Glad you found something...Provence (and Avignon) are beautiful. When I last visited France, I stayed at Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis in Avignon which was an interesting mixture of modern & historic. Trying to speak the native language is always appreciated, I find.
Just returned from an 11 day Mediterranean cruise where I had to try out my French, Spanish, and new crash course of Italian. I was always grateful when people continued speaking their language instead of switching to English if it was obvious to them that I was American.
It was the only way that my very limited Italian improved!
 

Generic

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How many of you could reply to a message in another language?
We get visitors from all over Europe. I have had to reply in broken Italian, German, Portugese and Spanish when guests haven't clearly understood me. (I can reply in French without help, though)
Heck, we have had to resort to using Google Translate with the guests right here in front of us for Korean, Japanese, Chinese and German.
 

egoodell

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How many of you could reply to a message in another language?
We get visitors from all over Europe. I have had to reply in broken Italian, German, Portugese and Spanish when guests haven't clearly understood me. (I can reply in French without help, though)
Heck, we have had to resort to using Google Translate with the guests right here in front of us for Korean, Japanese, Chinese and German..
I can do basic French and German. I can ask directions and how much and where is the bathroom in Italian. They always answer with their hands which I can understand.
RIki
 

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