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Morticia

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I saw someplace and I don't remember where, a blog post about finding out your guests' FB and Twitter accounts and following them so you can be on top of their needs when they show up. HELLO? Does anyone else think that is an invasion of the guests' privacy? I realize Twitter is wide open and some people allow anyone to view FB but do you really want to know in advance that your guest has friends who are totally different from yourself to the point you regret taking the reservation?
I prefer to take the guests as they come. How they behave here may be totally different from what they are 'at home.' Why borrow trouble?
And, given the comment that this ONE person has so gamed the system that he gets whatever he wants to eat whenever he arrives, that's peachy for ONE guest. Did the hotel REALLY just sign up to prepare individual meals for thousands of people EVERY day? And if not, what about the thousnads of non-hedge-funs managers who also Tweet and travel? Do their needs not count?
This is not to say I don't keep track of what guests like. If you need lemon for your water, you've got it. Love the brownies? A plate is waiting for you on arrival. Need more blankets or different pillows? We put them in the room before you get here. But I am not going to do this for guests I've never seen before and probably will never see again. Because I don't want to spend my day glued to Twitter trying to keep track of every possible perk I could offer a guest.
Because if I do it for one, I have to do it for all. ANd I don't have staff people dedicated to social media. I have me and just me. Gomez doesn't even know what Twitter is.
 

Morticia

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I guess I'm not getting the 'application' idea? What kind of application would there be to stay here?
As for asking if it's ok to follow guests or them giving me their info so I can follow them- I don't want to. I have a friend who is so wired she tweets while driving. When she's home she has 10 windows open to keep track of everything as it happens and that doesn't include having her phone on, too.
I don't want to do this. Right now I am finding minutes to post here in between ironing, cleaning rooms, doing laundry, trying to get in touch with the company I just received an order from that is totally crap and I needed the items for TOMORROW for an event here. So, now I don't have the items I needed for the event and I'm supposed to be tracking the guests' tweets so I can run out and buy them something or make them something or have flowers because I'm just finding out it's their anniversary? It's enough to keep track of just getting the things in order that I planned to do!
Nope. Not gonna happen. And I can multi-task! If I asked Gomez to do this he would just go lie down and say it's too much to think about.
I think is an excellent opportunity for those places that can do it. Absolutely, they will take biz away from me. But this is just too much to keep up with. Even if I have one place that funnels everything to me, I still have to wade thru it. I don't even read half my emails anymore unless it looks like it is from a guest.
And this is the slow season. In the summer it is 16 hours/day just treading water.
And here's a scenario that would frost me...I follow a guest's tweets and I'm waiting for them to check in. I've now been up for 14 hours and I would like to get into my jammies but I'm waiting for the guests. So, I'm reading the tweets for fun and there's one from them about the lovely dinner they're having FOUR hours away from here. Which means they won't be here until 2 in the morning. I COULD have been in bed hours ago. Nope, it's better I don't know.
 

Morticia

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The only email that gets thru my email filter is addressed to me. There are thousands of emails that immediately get bounced if they are addressed to anything other than the 3 email addys I have set up. Spammers will take any combo of letters and numbers and just blast all of that (like 'amy@myinnname.com,' 'bob@myinnname.com and so forth, none of that gets thru). I then have two separate spam filters that take out all the 'join our directory' emails. They also take out all the 'we have 4 honeymoon couples who want to stay with you for 10 days' emails.
What's left is mail addressed to me that I just don't have time for. 3 different chambers wanting my attendance at something, businesses in town who want me to tell my guests about their specials, former guests who want to tell me they just got back from exotic locale, etc. PAII classes I should take, bedandbreakfast classes I should take, surveys I should fill out to help PAII and bedandbreakfast. The day just isn't long enough...
I should add the FB & Twitter links to my website. I have them on my blog. Well, I HAD FB on there but it kept showing my personal page and not the inn page even tho the link showed the inn fan page. (No one needs to know my family unless I tell them about my family!) And it wouldn't let me not show fans.
Sometimes the best ideas come out as you're talking about something else!
 

Morticia

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Other than the rose between my teeth, my attire is quite unlike my avatar...
 

muirford

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I appreciate some of your technical advice, MM, but really stop and think about some of the suggestions you have made - an application for guests to fill out before they book, a contact form with a captcha on it? Both of those items make it much harder for a guest to contact us, and I am only speaking for myself but neither of those ideas appeal to me for that very reason. I'm not really in a position where I have so many guests that I can afford to turn off someone by making them work so hard to talk to me or book with me.
 

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I'm sorry but I have to disagree about the email/form thing. From a guests perspective and also a consumer, I hate those forms, I used to have them on my sites and in 4 years, I had a grand total of one person using it vs the email or phone contact and they were trying to sell me something. LOL
I never ever fill them out any more myself because when I used to they either didn't work or I rarely if ever got a response. Whether it was a question of bad customer service on the recieving end or they never got the submission form at all, which when it was an important inquiry I always would call and they said they never recieved it every single time. Of the studies I have done on customer interactions as well, people are not fond of forms.
In terms of putting email on a site, while it can increase the amount of spam (although from my research spammers get your emails more from other means then spidering sites) sites that don't have email asa contact option, I go far far away from, whether it be lodging or any other type of B2B business. Email being a major form of communication, I would rather put up with the small amount of spam I get (and I have my email all over my sites) then miss an opportunity for a business connection.
One of the favorite collection form for spammers is that never ending email joke that keeps getting forwarded on and on and on. I got one the other day with over 2 thousand email addresses attached.
Everyone has their own opinions about this one :) But on a personal and professional level, sorry not my cuppa tea.
 

aieechihuahua

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I'm sorry but I have to disagree about the email/form thing. From a guests perspective and also a consumer, I hate those forms, I used to have them on my sites and in 4 years, I had a grand total of one person using it vs the email or phone contact and they were trying to sell me something. LOL
I never ever fill them out any more myself because when I used to they either didn't work or I rarely if ever got a response. Whether it was a question of bad customer service on the recieving end or they never got the submission form at all, which when it was an important inquiry I always would call and they said they never recieved it every single time. Of the studies I have done on customer interactions as well, people are not fond of forms.
In terms of putting email on a site, while it can increase the amount of spam (although from my research spammers get your emails more from other means then spidering sites) sites that don't have email asa contact option, I go far far away from, whether it be lodging or any other type of B2B business. Email being a major form of communication, I would rather put up with the small amount of spam I get (and I have my email all over my sites) then miss an opportunity for a business connection.
One of the favorite collection form for spammers is that never ending email joke that keeps getting forwarded on and on and on. I got one the other day with over 2 thousand email addresses attached.
Everyone has their own opinions about this one :) But on a personal and professional level, sorry not my cuppa tea..
I second that, Forfeng.
 

muirford

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MarketingMojo said:
I appreciate that you are finding "problems" with my solutions to your problems.
No, I just have problems with your solutions. I don't consider too much email or inappropriate queries to be a daunting problem for me. Not anything I lose sleep over, anyway.
MarketingMojo said:
I guess the question you may want to ask yourself is, "Do I really want someone at my Inn who is so impatient that they can't fill out a form or captcha?"
I'm pretty sure I already have a lot of those people, and they make perfectly fine guests. Do you think my guests want to fill out an online booking form and wait for me to review their application to confirm their reservation? They want to know they have a room. That is okay with me - that is the way I roll, too. That doesn't make them fussy or impatient over breakfast, as far as I can tell.
Of course, this is just my opinion. I don't believe that either of those suggestions would bring me more guests, or guests that were nicer. If you're implying that my opinion would make me too difficult for you to work with, or give you an ulcer - really, that's okay with me too.
 

white pine

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Absolutely no way I would stay anywhere I had to apply to. Prove I am good enough to stay with you? NO THANKS!
 

Morticia

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I appreciate some of your technical advice, MM, but really stop and think about some of the suggestions you have made - an application for guests to fill out before they book, a contact form with a captcha on it? Both of those items make it much harder for a guest to contact us, and I am only speaking for myself but neither of those ideas appeal to me for that very reason. I'm not really in a position where I have so many guests that I can afford to turn off someone by making them work so hard to talk to me or book with me..
muirford said:
I appreciate some of your technical advice, MM, but really stop and think about some of the suggestions you have made - an application for guests to fill out before they book, a contact form with a captcha on it? Both of those items make it much harder for a guest to contact us, and I am only speaking for myself but neither of those ideas appeal to me for that very reason. I'm not really in a position where I have so many guests that I can afford to turn off someone by making them work so hard to talk to me or book with me.
This is why we all went to online booking, right? To make it as easy as possible. Don't put up any roadblocks. That said, I have guests call to book while they are looking at the calendar telling me the dates are open! These are repeats, so they know me, it's not like they're trying to get an idea what I'm like!
I won't fill out a form or a 'request' for a room. Either I'm getting the room right then and there or I'm moving on to the competition.
 

Morticia

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There's a bit of a difference bewtween your working with a client long term to help them meet their goals and me having someone stay overnight. Yeah, we hate the PITA's and we all get them, but a LOT of folks are really stressed and tired when they make a rez and they're not like that at all when they arrive (or they relax soon after) so a 'test' (which is how I'm thinking of the guest survey) might really wind them up. Yes, I could say we're doing it to ensure they have a great stay, but so many of our guests are one nighters (even if they come for one night every year!)
I think a lot of us work it out by chatting up the guests asking what brings them to town, etc. We probably do exactly what you're calling a survey just by talking.
Like the guests who just called...I know where they're going to be before they come here, where they're going after, what they're going to be doing while they're here. Just chatting.
Some abrupt people might just be busy (calling from work when they're trying to not be overheard) or the kids are screaming (please, oh please let this call be for a romantic getaway!), lots of things make them grumpy on the phone and then they're fine when they get here.
Now if you're going to be working with someone very closely for a year or more, the fit has to be perfect. Perfection isn't necessay here. It helps, but it's not required. If the fit is horribly off, we can agree to part ways with the guests and help them find the right fit.
 

muirford

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Absolutely no way I would stay anywhere I had to apply to. Prove I am good enough to stay with you? NO THANKS!.
white pine said:
Absolutely no way I would stay anywhere I had to apply to. Prove I am good enough to stay with you? NO THANKS!
There is a B&B less than an hour away from me that does exactly that. I think this was mentioned on the old forum but not in recent history. You can read an article about it here. Check the TA reviews - guests and prospective guests don't like it. The town's Chamber of Commerce fields complaints about this B&B on a daily basis.
 

Morticia

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Absolutely no way I would stay anywhere I had to apply to. Prove I am good enough to stay with you? NO THANKS!.
white pine said:
Absolutely no way I would stay anywhere I had to apply to. Prove I am good enough to stay with you? NO THANKS!
There is a B&B less than an hour away from me that does exactly that. I think this was mentioned on the old forum but not in recent history. You can read an article about it here. Check the TA reviews - guests and prospective guests don't like it. The town's Chamber of Commerce fields complaints about this B&B on a daily basis.
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Some of the problems on TA seem to be that quite a few people didn't know what place they were reviewing, altho several were quite clear and described the place to a T. I guess I'm more surprised by the number of people who think it's ok to be grilled by the owner before you get a reservation. But, he's been doing this, what, 15 years? So it must work.
 

muirford

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Absolutely no way I would stay anywhere I had to apply to. Prove I am good enough to stay with you? NO THANKS!.
white pine said:
Absolutely no way I would stay anywhere I had to apply to. Prove I am good enough to stay with you? NO THANKS!
There is a B&B less than an hour away from me that does exactly that. I think this was mentioned on the old forum but not in recent history. You can read an article about it here. Check the TA reviews - guests and prospective guests don't like it. The town's Chamber of Commerce fields complaints about this B&B on a daily basis.
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Some of the problems on TA seem to be that quite a few people didn't know what place they were reviewing, altho several were quite clear and described the place to a T. I guess I'm more surprised by the number of people who think it's ok to be grilled by the owner before you get a reservation. But, he's been doing this, what, 15 years? So it must work.
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Morticia said:
But, he's been doing this, what, 15 years? So it must work.
Depends what you means by works. Does he have guests, enough to meet whatever criteria he has to keep the doors open? Yes. Are there numerous complaints about his policies to the local chamber of commerce and visitors bureau? Yes. Do some people not appreciate the experience, even after he's gone through the 'application process' and screening, as evidenced by some bad TA reviews? Yes. I would guess that there are others who feel pleased to be part of an elite group of clientele that doesn't include any homosexuals, smokers, or single adults.
Since we don't know his business results, it's hard to judge whether he's running a successful one or not - we all know some businesses, B&Bs included, that don't make any money but continue on in business for whatever reason. Could be he's independently wealthy and needs the tax writeoff, so he's getting it on his own terms. After the uproar in the UK about a gay couple being refused service at a B&B, I'm frankly surprised someone hasn't taken him on from a legal standpoint.
 

swirt

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Also, people who have money and travel frequently prefer to have things that are considered to be "elite".
I think that is a bit of a reach.
 

egoodell

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The problem with your "solutions" are that you are speaking as if it were 5 years ago and nobody really had to compete for guests. Nobody these days has the luxury to "cherry pick" guests. We need to pay our bills.
Guests today don't want to waste time on filling out forms to be "considered" for a reservation. You'll go out of business. Our guests, than God, fill out our reservation request because I ask them to tell me what they don't like for breakfast so I don't serve it to them.
Don't put our email on our website??? We have to be sure that they can contact us or book us from any page on our website, or they'll go to the next one.
Does not sound like you are familiar with our industry at all.
RIki
 

Morticia

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Absolutely no way I would stay anywhere I had to apply to. Prove I am good enough to stay with you? NO THANKS!.
white pine said:
Absolutely no way I would stay anywhere I had to apply to. Prove I am good enough to stay with you? NO THANKS!
There is a B&B less than an hour away from me that does exactly that. I think this was mentioned on the old forum but not in recent history. You can read an article about it here. Check the TA reviews - guests and prospective guests don't like it. The town's Chamber of Commerce fields complaints about this B&B on a daily basis.
.
Some of the problems on TA seem to be that quite a few people didn't know what place they were reviewing, altho several were quite clear and described the place to a T. I guess I'm more surprised by the number of people who think it's ok to be grilled by the owner before you get a reservation. But, he's been doing this, what, 15 years? So it must work.
.
Morticia said:
But, he's been doing this, what, 15 years? So it must work.
Depends what you means by works. Does he have guests, enough to meet whatever criteria he has to keep the doors open? Yes. Are there numerous complaints about his policies to the local chamber of commerce and visitors bureau? Yes. Do some people not appreciate the experience, even after he's gone through the 'application process' and screening, as evidenced by some bad TA reviews? Yes. I would guess that there are others who feel pleased to be part of an elite group of clientele that doesn't include any homosexuals, smokers, or single adults.
Since we don't know his business results, it's hard to judge whether he's running a successful one or not - we all know some businesses, B&Bs included, that don't make any money but continue on in business for whatever reason. Could be he's independently wealthy and needs the tax writeoff, so he's getting it on his own terms. After the uproar in the UK about a gay couple being refused service at a B&B, I'm frankly surprised someone hasn't taken him on from a legal standpoint.
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That statement in one of the reviews about the local BBB (or CVB) getting multiple, weekly complaints sent a strong message to me...no one has done anything about him. Now, the BBB can't unless he's a member, but it seems no one else wants to, either.
Maybe a lawsuit is what he's waiting for...get his opinion right out there on the big stage.
I will say that the 'thrilled' reviews seem over the top, but there aren't enough of them to scream 'plant.' And there are no responses to the ones that are not even for his place. I'd be all over that. Especially when they actually name the place as 'th e cou ntry in n' in the review.
I still haven't found his website. Unless I missed it.
 

swirt

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I also said I am here in the forum to research what your major marketing challenges are in this industry.
How else would you propose that I learn more about what Innkeepers need and want?
I think the reason you are running into some resistance here is that you say you are here to research, but for the most part you have fallen immediately into helper/expert mode. There really isn't a category for "expert in training" because the two are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
It is good that you want to offer help while you are here, but it may help to play your cards a little closer to your chest for a while, and not offer solutions quite so readilly that reveal your current level of experience with the B&B industry.
 
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