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High traffic dates- minimum night stay or higher rate?

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Willowpondgj

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Do you think you have more success with a minimum night stay/same rate for high traffic weekends or a higher rate/no minimum? Do your guests prefer to pay more and have the freedom of length of stay, or pay less and add a night? I know many of you do charge more for special event weekends. I have gotten some feedback that guests "don't want the business telling them how long they have to stay". But do they pay more for those same nights with no minimum or go elsewhere?
Your thoughts? Which do you do and why?
 

Morticia

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Both, but more 2-night min than higher rates at this point. I get a lot of calls for one nighters for prime weekends. I learned the first year that as soon as I accept those one nighters, 3 people will call who want 4 nights and I cannot accommodate them.
Trying to fill single nights on a prime weekend is horrible. However, you can book a Thurs-Fri or a Sat-Sun on a 2-night min weekend and I will take that as I know I can fill the Friday or the Sat. Where it gets tough is if the 2-nighter cancels (which happens a lot) and I've already booked the single night.
 

Copperhead

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I do both as well. Of course, the minimum night stay varys depending on the event or holiday. If the caller is not wanting the length of stay to get our reg. rate, then the price goes up. For one of our big events and for most holidays that tact on to a weekend (i.e. memorial day), I have a 3 night minimum but usually they really want Fri. & Sat.. My price will go up 15% to drop to 2 nights and go up to 25% for only one night.
My goal is to have as little of a turnover as possible. If I still have availability and the date is close, I can always drop my price or minimum to attract last minute lookers. Usually at that time, hotels have started bumping up their prices so mine look more attractive anyway.
This is the type of thing that is different in different areas. What may work well for me may not for you. Check out what others are doing in your area. Then develop your plan that fits your needs. Keep up with the market trends too, what works today may not work a year or two down the road.
 

gillumhouse

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I tried the 2-night min for Labor Day and had a call for a one-night. They offered to pay a surcharge for the one night. I said yes and ended up - that year - selling another 1-night with the surcharge.
 

Morticia

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I do both as well. Of course, the minimum night stay varys depending on the event or holiday. If the caller is not wanting the length of stay to get our reg. rate, then the price goes up. For one of our big events and for most holidays that tact on to a weekend (i.e. memorial day), I have a 3 night minimum but usually they really want Fri. & Sat.. My price will go up 15% to drop to 2 nights and go up to 25% for only one night.
My goal is to have as little of a turnover as possible. If I still have availability and the date is close, I can always drop my price or minimum to attract last minute lookers. Usually at that time, hotels have started bumping up their prices so mine look more attractive anyway.
This is the type of thing that is different in different areas. What may work well for me may not for you. Check out what others are doing in your area. Then develop your plan that fits your needs. Keep up with the market trends too, what works today may not work a year or two down the road..
Keep up with the market trends too, what works today may not work a year or two down the road.
That's why the prices haven't gone up this year for holiday weekends. I've never tried having a different price for a shorter stay, tho. We used to be the only place that had 2-night mins for holidays, now everyone does.
 

Samster

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Can I talk about this as a guest? OK, here goes...I understand weekday vs weekend rates but jacking the price up for some prime time weekends torques me off. Then, if I got wind that you discounted to a last minute guest...grrrrrrrr. To me, it's a form of price gouging.... I know, I know, that hotels and other people do it. I have no problem with the minimum nights stay requirement.
I paid a premium price (almost $200/night) to stay at a B&B over 4th of July weekend one year, plus was there for 3 nights due to their minimum requirement. It was a totally lousy stay & they did nothing special for the "holiday" pricing. Just my 2 cents....
 

happyjacks

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I do both: on a long weekend I charge more/night plus have a 2-night minimum. Any time when I have given in, I've regretted it. On really prime weekends, the bird in the hand is NOT worth more than the two in the bush.
 

gillumhouse

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Can I talk about this as a guest? OK, here goes...I understand weekday vs weekend rates but jacking the price up for some prime time weekends torques me off. Then, if I got wind that you discounted to a last minute guest...grrrrrrrr. To me, it's a form of price gouging.... I know, I know, that hotels and other people do it. I have no problem with the minimum nights stay requirement.
I paid a premium price (almost $200/night) to stay at a B&B over 4th of July weekend one year, plus was there for 3 nights due to their minimum requirement. It was a totally lousy stay & they did nothing special for the "holiday" pricing. Just my 2 cents.....
Then, if I got wind that you discounted to a last minute guest...grrrrrrrr
That is exactly why the second 1-nighter was charged the surcharge - that guest #1 proposed paying in the first place to get the one night rather than the minimum as in "Well what if I pay a surcharge?" and if I remember correctly, it was $20 more.
 

egoodell

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We do both but the difference in price is not very great - about $25 per night more on weekends.
We require in season from about March through November two night stays on the weekend.
Everyone in our area does, but we do especially because we are always running wine tours on the weekend and we can't physically be there to turn the rooms for a Saturday check in.
We only have two rooms so don't ask why we don't have an employee. We can't afford one until we have the other wing built.
Riki
 

happyjacks

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Can I talk about this as a guest? OK, here goes...I understand weekday vs weekend rates but jacking the price up for some prime time weekends torques me off. Then, if I got wind that you discounted to a last minute guest...grrrrrrrr. To me, it's a form of price gouging.... I know, I know, that hotels and other people do it. I have no problem with the minimum nights stay requirement.
I paid a premium price (almost $200/night) to stay at a B&B over 4th of July weekend one year, plus was there for 3 nights due to their minimum requirement. It was a totally lousy stay & they did nothing special for the "holiday" pricing. Just my 2 cents.....
Samster said:
Can I talk about this as a guest? OK, here goes...I understand weekday vs weekend rates but jacking the price up for some prime time weekends torques me off. Then, if I got wind that you discounted to a last minute guest...grrrrrrrr. To me, it's a form of price gouging.... I know, I know, that hotels and other people do it. I have no problem with the minimum nights stay requirement.
I agree with you that it can be price gouging when taken to extremes, but in some markets, premiums are just the way it is.
My holiday rates are $10/night higher (will probably increase this to $15/night higher). The hotels in town increase their rates 50-100% for peak weekends, and their rates already fluctuate wildly between high and low seasons.
Being in a seasonal, tourist area, we have to make enough money to support us all year within a limited time. Guests are few and far between in the spring no matter what we do to lure them. Then comes a long weekend and half the province decends on the town, all wanting a place to stay. They have to subsidize the slower periods or we (as a tourism industry) would not be able to maintain as much inventory as we do throughout the rest of the year.
 

Mr.Design

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As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation.
 

gillumhouse

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As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation..
As a guest you may not like minimum stays, but as an innkeeper who wants to be able to have that room there for you when you want it, a minimum stay may be necessary. And if the whole area does minimum stay.... Hotels have minimum stays. In Morgantown ALL the hotels and motels have a 2-night minimum on football weekends so why not the B & Bs? I understand for the thru traveler, but for weekends and special holidays? Those are times when people are wanting to go away for 2-nights. The minimums that I do not like are the 3-night a la NYC - for any stay - and I found a lot of those when I was looking for lodging in 2006.
 

Morticia

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As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation..
Mr.Design said:
As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation.
No one likes policies that don't allow them to do what they want!
But, the problem with recessionary thinking is that you have a long, hard struggle ahead to return the business to the standards you have in place now. Should I start taking every booking that comes my way, including dogs in every room, 2-3 children in every room, one night stays, discounts in season, etc, I could potentially hurt my business in the future. Those same guests who are happy to take advantage now will not be happy to go back to the higher rates and stricter policies in the future. And the guests who have stuck with me will see I am only focused on bringing in more money regardless of what experience they are being provided with while here.
Thus far I HAVE turned down one night stays for weekends that have traditionally been 3-4 nighters. And yes, guests argue with me, yell at me, etc, but I tell them they can always wait and book in the week they are coming. Last week I had a guest call and tell me everything else is booked for that weekend. Every hotel and B&B in the area is full. Would she book? No. Didn't like the price. Everything else is full and she didn't like my price.
There are enough places around that anyone can find exactly what they are looking for. One night, cheap rates, pile the kids in, etc. Each business has to make the decision on how they wish to position themselves for the future, not just the present.
 

Mr.Design

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As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation..
Mr.Design said:
As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation.
No one likes policies that don't allow them to do what they want!
But, the problem with recessionary thinking is that you have a long, hard struggle ahead to return the business to the standards you have in place now. Should I start taking every booking that comes my way, including dogs in every room, 2-3 children in every room, one night stays, discounts in season, etc, I could potentially hurt my business in the future. Those same guests who are happy to take advantage now will not be happy to go back to the higher rates and stricter policies in the future. And the guests who have stuck with me will see I am only focused on bringing in more money regardless of what experience they are being provided with while here.
Thus far I HAVE turned down one night stays for weekends that have traditionally been 3-4 nighters. And yes, guests argue with me, yell at me, etc, but I tell them they can always wait and book in the week they are coming. Last week I had a guest call and tell me everything else is booked for that weekend. Every hotel and B&B in the area is full. Would she book? No. Didn't like the price. Everything else is full and she didn't like my price.
There are enough places around that anyone can find exactly what they are looking for. One night, cheap rates, pile the kids in, etc. Each business has to make the decision on how they wish to position themselves for the future, not just the present.
.
Bree said:
Mr.Design said:
As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation.
No one likes policies that don't allow them to do what they want!
But, the problem with recessionary thinking is that you have a long, hard struggle ahead to return the business to the standards you have in place now. Should I start taking every booking that comes my way, including dogs in every room, 2-3 children in every room, one night stays, discounts in season, etc, I could potentially hurt my business in the future. Those same guests who are happy to take advantage now will not be happy to go back to the higher rates and stricter policies in the future. And the guests who have stuck with me will see I am only focused on bringing in more money regardless of what experience they are being provided with while here.
Thus far I HAVE turned down one night stays for weekends that have traditionally been 3-4 nighters. And yes, guests argue with me, yell at me, etc, but I tell them they can always wait and book in the week they are coming. Last week I had a guest call and tell me everything else is booked for that weekend. Every hotel and B&B in the area is full. Would she book? No. Didn't like the price. Everything else is full and she didn't like my price.
There are enough places around that anyone can find exactly what they are looking for. One night, cheap rates, pile the kids in, etc. Each business has to make the decision on how they wish to position themselves for the future, not just the present.
Interesting points, but if you're not positioned well for the present, chances are there won't be a future.
I'm not trying to insult you but if every other hotel and B&B in the area were already full, why weren't you? Policies, perhaps?
I would start taking any reservation I could... I'm afraid this is only the tip of a very hard and long recession and I do believe B&B's will be one of the hardest hit due to their lack of presence within mainstream travel. Only time will tell, I suppose.
I can see a minimum for special events but for weekends, no.
 

gillumhouse

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As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation..
Welcome to the Forum. So we may understand your point of view a bit better could you tell us what area of the country you are from? Do you travel a lot? I am just curious as I like to hear perspectives from various areas - they are often quite different depending on the area.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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If it is a busy weekend why would you want to LOSE money by NOT having a 2 night min? I mean, having diff occupants in the same room on two nights means WORK - if you have help, you have to pay the housekeeper, do the laundry, etc etc. So you are LOSING money on top of it.
Any time you know you can get a 2 night min - do it!!!
 

Copperhead

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As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation..
Mr.Design said:
As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation.
No one likes policies that don't allow them to do what they want!
But, the problem with recessionary thinking is that you have a long, hard struggle ahead to return the business to the standards you have in place now. Should I start taking every booking that comes my way, including dogs in every room, 2-3 children in every room, one night stays, discounts in season, etc, I could potentially hurt my business in the future. Those same guests who are happy to take advantage now will not be happy to go back to the higher rates and stricter policies in the future. And the guests who have stuck with me will see I am only focused on bringing in more money regardless of what experience they are being provided with while here.
Thus far I HAVE turned down one night stays for weekends that have traditionally been 3-4 nighters. And yes, guests argue with me, yell at me, etc, but I tell them they can always wait and book in the week they are coming. Last week I had a guest call and tell me everything else is booked for that weekend. Every hotel and B&B in the area is full. Would she book? No. Didn't like the price. Everything else is full and she didn't like my price.
There are enough places around that anyone can find exactly what they are looking for. One night, cheap rates, pile the kids in, etc. Each business has to make the decision on how they wish to position themselves for the future, not just the present.
.
Bree said:
Mr.Design said:
As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation.
No one likes policies that don't allow them to do what they want!
But, the problem with recessionary thinking is that you have a long, hard struggle ahead to return the business to the standards you have in place now. Should I start taking every booking that comes my way, including dogs in every room, 2-3 children in every room, one night stays, discounts in season, etc, I could potentially hurt my business in the future. Those same guests who are happy to take advantage now will not be happy to go back to the higher rates and stricter policies in the future. And the guests who have stuck with me will see I am only focused on bringing in more money regardless of what experience they are being provided with while here.
Thus far I HAVE turned down one night stays for weekends that have traditionally been 3-4 nighters. And yes, guests argue with me, yell at me, etc, but I tell them they can always wait and book in the week they are coming. Last week I had a guest call and tell me everything else is booked for that weekend. Every hotel and B&B in the area is full. Would she book? No. Didn't like the price. Everything else is full and she didn't like my price.
There are enough places around that anyone can find exactly what they are looking for. One night, cheap rates, pile the kids in, etc. Each business has to make the decision on how they wish to position themselves for the future, not just the present.
Interesting points, but if you're not positioned well for the present, chances are there won't be a future.
I'm not trying to insult you but if every other hotel and B&B in the area were already full, why weren't you? Policies, perhaps?
I would start taking any reservation I could... I'm afraid this is only the tip of a very hard and long recession and I do believe B&B's will be one of the hardest hit due to their lack of presence within mainstream travel. Only time will tell, I suppose.
I can see a minimum for special events but for weekends, no.
.
Mr.Design said:
I would start taking any reservation I could... I'm afraid this is only the tip of a very hard and long recession and I do believe B&B's will be one of the hardest hit due to their lack of presence within mainstream travel. Only time will tell, I suppose.
I can see a minimum for special events but for weekends, no.
One thing I must say here is that just like any other business, we must do what works the best for US. There is a lot to consider when establishing policies and changing established policies. When you are a new business, there are a lot of things to consider. What types of guests are you wanting to attract. Will you accept kids (I know some do not have this privilege), pets, prices, cancellation policies, etc. What works well for B&B's 'off the beaten path' will not work well for those in big city USA.
Your statement about minimums is just one example of this. In general, except for special events & holidays, I do not have a minimum stay policy. Why because my target guests don't want them, but in the big city near me, minimum stays for weekends are the rule, not the exception. Why, because it works for them. Period.
Changing policies (in general) once you have a good repeat base is foolish. These guests come back BECAUSE they like what they are getting, if this changes, you will loose that base. This is one issue I am not willing to test fate.. I have never (even when opening my doors) taken 'any' reservation and would rather eat beans & rice or close my doors and get a full time job than to start doing so.
 

Morticia

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As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation..
Mr.Design said:
As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation.
No one likes policies that don't allow them to do what they want!
But, the problem with recessionary thinking is that you have a long, hard struggle ahead to return the business to the standards you have in place now. Should I start taking every booking that comes my way, including dogs in every room, 2-3 children in every room, one night stays, discounts in season, etc, I could potentially hurt my business in the future. Those same guests who are happy to take advantage now will not be happy to go back to the higher rates and stricter policies in the future. And the guests who have stuck with me will see I am only focused on bringing in more money regardless of what experience they are being provided with while here.
Thus far I HAVE turned down one night stays for weekends that have traditionally been 3-4 nighters. And yes, guests argue with me, yell at me, etc, but I tell them they can always wait and book in the week they are coming. Last week I had a guest call and tell me everything else is booked for that weekend. Every hotel and B&B in the area is full. Would she book? No. Didn't like the price. Everything else is full and she didn't like my price.
There are enough places around that anyone can find exactly what they are looking for. One night, cheap rates, pile the kids in, etc. Each business has to make the decision on how they wish to position themselves for the future, not just the present.
.
Bree said:
Mr.Design said:
As a guest I don't like minimum stays. Several properties have lost my business because of minimum night stays.
With the recession in full swing, I would think twice before turning down any reservation.
No one likes policies that don't allow them to do what they want!
But, the problem with recessionary thinking is that you have a long, hard struggle ahead to return the business to the standards you have in place now. Should I start taking every booking that comes my way, including dogs in every room, 2-3 children in every room, one night stays, discounts in season, etc, I could potentially hurt my business in the future. Those same guests who are happy to take advantage now will not be happy to go back to the higher rates and stricter policies in the future. And the guests who have stuck with me will see I am only focused on bringing in more money regardless of what experience they are being provided with while here.
Thus far I HAVE turned down one night stays for weekends that have traditionally been 3-4 nighters. And yes, guests argue with me, yell at me, etc, but I tell them they can always wait and book in the week they are coming. Last week I had a guest call and tell me everything else is booked for that weekend. Every hotel and B&B in the area is full. Would she book? No. Didn't like the price. Everything else is full and she didn't like my price.
There are enough places around that anyone can find exactly what they are looking for. One night, cheap rates, pile the kids in, etc. Each business has to make the decision on how they wish to position themselves for the future, not just the present.
Interesting points, but if you're not positioned well for the present, chances are there won't be a future.
I'm not trying to insult you but if every other hotel and B&B in the area were already full, why weren't you? Policies, perhaps?
I would start taking any reservation I could... I'm afraid this is only the tip of a very hard and long recession and I do believe B&B's will be one of the hardest hit due to their lack of presence within mainstream travel. Only time will tell, I suppose.
I can see a minimum for special events but for weekends, no.
.
Not a clue why I don't have a single reservation for that weekend. One caller and she wouldn't book because she didn't like the price. Being as the weekend is still 5 months away and many of those 'full' hotels, etc will start getting cancels, because many guests are place holding, I'm not worried. I will say that I think one reason for the lack of reservations is that the college that is having their graduation that weekend has gone to a 'pay to play' system where you have to buy into their reservation calendar in order for them to let anyone know you are even in the area.
I can get around that by just making sure I list the graduation info on my site.
 

Landmark

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We keep the same prices year round & I do have 2 night minimums most of the time on the weekends and 3 on holidays. By the way my rates did go up this year and we are ahead of last year. As our occupancy has increased so has the minimum stays. I use SI, but many of the other programs don't allow you to set individual minimums by room, only by date. Keeping a waiting list for one nighters helps to fill last minute rooms or a Sat the another guest booked a Thurs-Friday for example. One thing I won't do is discount the rooms. For one thing I feel that we have already have a good value, Second it keeps my life simple & it doesnt train your guest to expect a discount.
 

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