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"It's too hard to book at a B&B" (A PAII research project?)

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Morticia

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I'm taking this out of context from JBanczak's post about why the majority of the attendees at a B&B conference stayed at hotels instead of B&B's. He said he was told it was 'too hard' to book at a B&B.
So, Jay, is there a way PAII can do some sort of research to see what travelers mean by 'too hard'? What are the obstacles we're putting in their way? How do we get rid of them? I know around here hotels book up way faster than B&B's do. But that could be branding, convention contracts, etc and not lack of access.
 

JBloggs

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Is this question open for general discussion?
Can each forum member add a reason they have found it too difficult to book a stay at a BnB? Not from an owners perspective, but as a guest.
I will begin mine with:
If the rates are not posted right smack dab next to the room pics and info I will move on or close the browser window.
 

Don Draper

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Agree with Joe here...I want to see all the necessary info up front. And I DO NOT usually want to make a phone call (unless I have a question and/or special request), I want to be able to book it online and be done.
Long cancellation periods can be a deterrent as well, but it's a fact of life for most of us.
 

Morticia

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Is this question open for general discussion?
Can each forum member add a reason they have found it too difficult to book a stay at a BnB? Not from an owners perspective, but as a guest.
I will begin mine with:
If the rates are not posted right smack dab next to the room pics and info I will move on or close the browser window..
Absolutely! Let's do our own poll here and then Jay will have a place to start!
 

Morticia

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Is this question open for general discussion?
Can each forum member add a reason they have found it too difficult to book a stay at a BnB? Not from an owners perspective, but as a guest.
I will begin mine with:
If the rates are not posted right smack dab next to the room pics and info I will move on or close the browser window..
Joe Bloggs said:
If the rates are not posted right smack dab next to the room pics and info I will move on or close the browser window.
I just put that on my list...instead of a range of prices, I will put them by season with the caveat that 'prices are subject to change' (which is a phrase I dread, but I need leeway to change rates on the fly).
 

seashanty

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for myself ... it's branding. it's booking someplace feeling confident of what it will be like when i get there.
if i don't see a b&b website quickly that grabs me and makes me feel confident or if i just want to KNOW what i'm getting, there is a particular hotel i look for ... and it pretty much will be the same wherever i go ... like a chain store ... i know what to expect.
i already know what kind of non smoking room i'll be in, i know what room location i want - away from the ice maker, not next to the pool, not next to the stairs or the elevator, i know what the beds and the bathrooms are like, i know they have free wifi and room cards instead of keys, i know there's a coffee maker in the room and a mini fridge, and i am not looking for a place to be social.
i have stayed in all kinds of b&bs and some i loved, some i did not.
 

NW BB

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I'm with Joe, don't make me have to search for the rates info. No phone calls. How close is the B&B to where I'm going.
But my main reason for not booking a B&B when I'm going to a PAII conference is that I don't want to talk about business on my off hours. The conferences are wonderful and I get so saturated with information and people, that I just want annonimity and privacy when I'm in my off hours.
 

Morticia

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I'm with Joe, don't make me have to search for the rates info. No phone calls. How close is the B&B to where I'm going.
But my main reason for not booking a B&B when I'm going to a PAII conference is that I don't want to talk about business on my off hours. The conferences are wonderful and I get so saturated with information and people, that I just want annonimity and privacy when I'm in my off hours..
NW BB said:
How close is the B&B to where I'm going.
I am not being sarcastic here, but how does the B&B owner, when designing the website, know WHERE you want to go? As a fer instance, I DO state we are walking distance to what MOST people come here for. I state it on the home page, on the rooms page and elsewhere. It's still the number one question (other than price) when guests call...'How far is it to...?'
Other than having that be my headline on my website, I'm not sure how to make it clearer!
Then, there are folks who want to be doing something I never gave a second thought to. It might be 1/4 mile from here, but I never heard anyone say that's what they came here to do so I wouldn't mention it!
So, there's another question...how do you let guests know what you are near? Map? Lists?
Because many guests have NO idea where anything is (as in they did not look at ANY map while planning their trip) I sometimes have guests booking who really want to be 3 hours north but they don't realize how big this state is. I get this when they tell me they made reservations for dinner at some restaurant that's nowhere near here!
Or, the guests who had an anniversary party to go to and they said, 'We booked with you because we thought you'd be closer to where the dinner is. It's in the next town over.' So I ask where is the dinner? It's right next door to me. They were even happier, but it shows how little anyone pays attention to where they are going!
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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First of all, I don't share the opinion or idea that B&B owners didn't or don't choose to stay at B&Bs for negative reasons at all.
Is this topic also including ease of B&B booking in general or just for innkeepers going to big B&B conferences?
Big conferences for any industry group are held in the easiest big cities to get to, serviced by big airports, and are generally held in a big hotel that offers attendees a discount ot stay there.
Many typical and prime "convention and conference" cities may not have a vibrant B&B sector or even an attractive "old town" area where most of the B&Bs would be located. Or that area may have been miles and miles from the conference location. Or possibly the package deal offered at the participating hotel and the scheduling of the workshops, lectures just precluded many folks from staying offsite.
I've seen enough B&B websites both locally and in other locations to say with 100% confidence that onerous or highly restrictive and punitive cancellation policies do not appear to be a very widely used practice. Seems like a convenient out for some who responded to John's poll.
We all have to ask ourselves, do we find our cancellation policies extreme?
I sure as hell don't here. Ours is as guest friendly and fair as any I've seen.
I've looked at hundreds of others and frankly don't see it.
Maybe if all a traveler only stays in hotels with the standard 24 hour and least restrictive cancellation policy, anything more than that would be viewed as too tough.
 

EmptyNest

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I would guess the reason they don't book a B & B is because the conference is usually held at a hotel/conferenece center which gives attendees special rates. Also most B & Bs are probably not a convenient location to a convention / conference center which means extra time driving to and from the B & B for the conference, dealing with traffic in a strange city etc etc. Personally I would not choose a B & B...I want to be where the conference is along with everyone else. I would feel the same for any type of conference.
 

Morticia

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First of all, I don't share the opinion or idea that B&B owners didn't or don't choose to stay at B&Bs for negative reasons at all.
Is this topic also including ease of B&B booking in general or just for innkeepers going to big B&B conferences?
Big conferences for any industry group are held in the easiest big cities to get to, serviced by big airports, and are generally held in a big hotel that offers attendees a discount ot stay there.
Many typical and prime "convention and conference" cities may not have a vibrant B&B sector or even an attractive "old town" area where most of the B&Bs would be located. Or that area may have been miles and miles from the conference location. Or possibly the package deal offered at the participating hotel and the scheduling of the workshops, lectures just precluded many folks from staying offsite.
I've seen enough B&B websites both locally and in other locations to say with 100% confidence that onerous or highly restrictive and punitive cancellation policies do not appear to be a very widely used practice. Seems like a convenient out for some who responded to John's poll.
We all have to ask ourselves, do we find our cancellation policies extreme?
I sure as hell don't here. Ours is as guest friendly and fair as any I've seen.
I've looked at hundreds of others and frankly don't see it.
Maybe if all a traveler only stays in hotels with the standard 24 hour and least restrictive cancellation policy, anything more than that would be viewed as too tough..
The initial post (on another thread) was about innkeepers not staying in B&B's in Napa to attend a B&B conference. And those innkeepers, when asked, saying it was too hard to book a B&B.
I did ask on the other thread if John knew WHAT made it so hard. My assumption being that innkeepers, of all people, know innkeeping, innkeeping websites, etc would make an effort to book unless it was excessively onerous.
 

aieechihuahua

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What will keep me from booking at a B&B is location, (not close enought to what I am going to see), or price - $150 is my max, ususally. I will search high and low all over the internet to find one that fits my needs. I rely heavily on association web sites first, then TA and then b&b directories.
I find it very curious that the B&B owners that were mentioned said that B&Bs were too hard to book, don't you? Maybe too hard to find at the last minute, but hard to book? Hmmm
 

Morticia

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I would guess the reason they don't book a B & B is because the conference is usually held at a hotel/conferenece center which gives attendees special rates. Also most B & Bs are probably not a convenient location to a convention / conference center which means extra time driving to and from the B & B for the conference, dealing with traffic in a strange city etc etc. Personally I would not choose a B & B...I want to be where the conference is along with everyone else. I would feel the same for any type of conference..
I would have thought that, too, except John said they told him it was 'too hard to book'. Not 'inconvenient to the site' or 'too far away' or 'we want to be together in the hotel' or 'we couldn't find a B&B'.
 

aieechihuahua

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First of all, I don't share the opinion or idea that B&B owners didn't or don't choose to stay at B&Bs for negative reasons at all.
Is this topic also including ease of B&B booking in general or just for innkeepers going to big B&B conferences?
Big conferences for any industry group are held in the easiest big cities to get to, serviced by big airports, and are generally held in a big hotel that offers attendees a discount ot stay there.
Many typical and prime "convention and conference" cities may not have a vibrant B&B sector or even an attractive "old town" area where most of the B&Bs would be located. Or that area may have been miles and miles from the conference location. Or possibly the package deal offered at the participating hotel and the scheduling of the workshops, lectures just precluded many folks from staying offsite.
I've seen enough B&B websites both locally and in other locations to say with 100% confidence that onerous or highly restrictive and punitive cancellation policies do not appear to be a very widely used practice. Seems like a convenient out for some who responded to John's poll.
We all have to ask ourselves, do we find our cancellation policies extreme?
I sure as hell don't here. Ours is as guest friendly and fair as any I've seen.
I've looked at hundreds of others and frankly don't see it.
Maybe if all a traveler only stays in hotels with the standard 24 hour and least restrictive cancellation policy, anything more than that would be viewed as too tough..
I am with you Tim. I think our cancellation policies are just fine. I don't want the guest that is looking for an out at the last minute, and the alarm goes up for me as soon as they ask..."how close to my stay can I cancel without getting charged?"
 

Morticia

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First of all, I don't share the opinion or idea that B&B owners didn't or don't choose to stay at B&Bs for negative reasons at all.
Is this topic also including ease of B&B booking in general or just for innkeepers going to big B&B conferences?
Big conferences for any industry group are held in the easiest big cities to get to, serviced by big airports, and are generally held in a big hotel that offers attendees a discount ot stay there.
Many typical and prime "convention and conference" cities may not have a vibrant B&B sector or even an attractive "old town" area where most of the B&Bs would be located. Or that area may have been miles and miles from the conference location. Or possibly the package deal offered at the participating hotel and the scheduling of the workshops, lectures just precluded many folks from staying offsite.
I've seen enough B&B websites both locally and in other locations to say with 100% confidence that onerous or highly restrictive and punitive cancellation policies do not appear to be a very widely used practice. Seems like a convenient out for some who responded to John's poll.
We all have to ask ourselves, do we find our cancellation policies extreme?
I sure as hell don't here. Ours is as guest friendly and fair as any I've seen.
I've looked at hundreds of others and frankly don't see it.
Maybe if all a traveler only stays in hotels with the standard 24 hour and least restrictive cancellation policy, anything more than that would be viewed as too tough..
I am with you Tim. I think our cancellation policies are just fine. I don't want the guest that is looking for an out at the last minute, and the alarm goes up for me as soon as they ask..."how close to my stay can I cancel without getting charged?"
.
I used to look at that as a red flag. But now I look at the 'cancellation question' as the guest wanting to be sure they understand the policies. I think some folks have been burned and they're just being proactive. I'm going to have to start making notes to see if there is a bigger proportion of them cancelling than any other guest.
We had 79 cancellations last year (some of them for wedding parties and other groups who cancelled multiple rooms at once) but I don't have any notes on whether they asked in advance about the policies.
 

aieechihuahua

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First of all, I don't share the opinion or idea that B&B owners didn't or don't choose to stay at B&Bs for negative reasons at all.
Is this topic also including ease of B&B booking in general or just for innkeepers going to big B&B conferences?
Big conferences for any industry group are held in the easiest big cities to get to, serviced by big airports, and are generally held in a big hotel that offers attendees a discount ot stay there.
Many typical and prime "convention and conference" cities may not have a vibrant B&B sector or even an attractive "old town" area where most of the B&Bs would be located. Or that area may have been miles and miles from the conference location. Or possibly the package deal offered at the participating hotel and the scheduling of the workshops, lectures just precluded many folks from staying offsite.
I've seen enough B&B websites both locally and in other locations to say with 100% confidence that onerous or highly restrictive and punitive cancellation policies do not appear to be a very widely used practice. Seems like a convenient out for some who responded to John's poll.
We all have to ask ourselves, do we find our cancellation policies extreme?
I sure as hell don't here. Ours is as guest friendly and fair as any I've seen.
I've looked at hundreds of others and frankly don't see it.
Maybe if all a traveler only stays in hotels with the standard 24 hour and least restrictive cancellation policy, anything more than that would be viewed as too tough..
I am with you Tim. I think our cancellation policies are just fine. I don't want the guest that is looking for an out at the last minute, and the alarm goes up for me as soon as they ask..."how close to my stay can I cancel without getting charged?"
.
I used to look at that as a red flag. But now I look at the 'cancellation question' as the guest wanting to be sure they understand the policies. I think some folks have been burned and they're just being proactive. I'm going to have to start making notes to see if there is a bigger proportion of them cancelling than any other guest.
We had 79 cancellations last year (some of them for wedding parties and other groups who cancelled multiple rooms at once) but I don't have any notes on whether they asked in advance about the policies.
.
You're right, but what I look for is how they ask the question. There is a difference. Now you have me wondering how many cancellations I had last year. I'm gonna look that up.
 

Morticia

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First of all, I don't share the opinion or idea that B&B owners didn't or don't choose to stay at B&Bs for negative reasons at all.
Is this topic also including ease of B&B booking in general or just for innkeepers going to big B&B conferences?
Big conferences for any industry group are held in the easiest big cities to get to, serviced by big airports, and are generally held in a big hotel that offers attendees a discount ot stay there.
Many typical and prime "convention and conference" cities may not have a vibrant B&B sector or even an attractive "old town" area where most of the B&Bs would be located. Or that area may have been miles and miles from the conference location. Or possibly the package deal offered at the participating hotel and the scheduling of the workshops, lectures just precluded many folks from staying offsite.
I've seen enough B&B websites both locally and in other locations to say with 100% confidence that onerous or highly restrictive and punitive cancellation policies do not appear to be a very widely used practice. Seems like a convenient out for some who responded to John's poll.
We all have to ask ourselves, do we find our cancellation policies extreme?
I sure as hell don't here. Ours is as guest friendly and fair as any I've seen.
I've looked at hundreds of others and frankly don't see it.
Maybe if all a traveler only stays in hotels with the standard 24 hour and least restrictive cancellation policy, anything more than that would be viewed as too tough..
I am with you Tim. I think our cancellation policies are just fine. I don't want the guest that is looking for an out at the last minute, and the alarm goes up for me as soon as they ask..."how close to my stay can I cancel without getting charged?"
.
I used to look at that as a red flag. But now I look at the 'cancellation question' as the guest wanting to be sure they understand the policies. I think some folks have been burned and they're just being proactive. I'm going to have to start making notes to see if there is a bigger proportion of them cancelling than any other guest.
We had 79 cancellations last year (some of them for wedding parties and other groups who cancelled multiple rooms at once) but I don't have any notes on whether they asked in advance about the policies.
.
You're right, but what I look for is how they ask the question. There is a difference. Now you have me wondering how many cancellations I had last year. I'm gonna look that up.
.
Yes, there is a difference in how the question is asked. If someone asks and they've already mentioned me being second choice or wanting to be closer to where their event is, then I tell them it's best to book when they're sure they'll be staying here. I bet I lose a few guests that way because they're NEVER going to find rooms closer to where they want to be because they waited too long!
 

Copperhead

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This IS a good question and one that I am sure has quite a few answers.
We are working quite a lot on our website. I have been taking in things here on this forum to address problem areas. I also have been trying to look at my site each an every time like a first time viewer. I am getting there...slooooowwwwly.
 

JBanczak

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What will keep me from booking at a B&B is location, (not close enought to what I am going to see), or price - $150 is my max, ususally. I will search high and low all over the internet to find one that fits my needs. I rely heavily on association web sites first, then TA and then b&b directories.
I find it very curious that the B&B owners that were mentioned said that B&Bs were too hard to book, don't you? Maybe too hard to find at the last minute, but hard to book? Hmmm.
aieechihuahua said:
What will keep me from booking at a B&B is location, (not close enought to what I am going to see), or price - $150 is my max, ususally. I will search high and low all over the internet to find one that fits my needs. I rely heavily on association web sites first, then TA and then b&b directories.
I find it very curious that the B&B owners that were mentioned said that B&Bs were too hard to book, don't you? Maybe too hard to find at the last minute, but hard to book? Hmmm
Yes - hard to book. Half the BB's still don't have online bookings - so you have to call, or email, and wait. Then most only have reservation requests - and we've seen in our surveys that 1/4th of people refuse to do a request, and another 1/4 strongly dislike it. Then there is the issue of a booking engine being really confusing (i won't name competitors), or not having photos next to the descriptions of rooms, or when you get to the credit card pages, having no visible hacker protection or credit card security.
Think if you went to Amazon and you were going to buy an item, and you saw no picture, you couldn't see if it was in stock - you had to email and ask them... In order to request it you had to put your credit card info onto a page with no hacker or credit card seal? And to make matters worse, when you got to the final page, they asked you to hand enter your requested product in again...
That is the experience that most BB's are still giving to guests - there is no wonder why folks are wary of the final product.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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What will keep me from booking at a B&B is location, (not close enought to what I am going to see), or price - $150 is my max, ususally. I will search high and low all over the internet to find one that fits my needs. I rely heavily on association web sites first, then TA and then b&b directories.
I find it very curious that the B&B owners that were mentioned said that B&Bs were too hard to book, don't you? Maybe too hard to find at the last minute, but hard to book? Hmmm.
aieechihuahua said:
What will keep me from booking at a B&B is location, (not close enought to what I am going to see), or price - $150 is my max, ususally. I will search high and low all over the internet to find one that fits my needs. I rely heavily on association web sites first, then TA and then b&b directories.
I find it very curious that the B&B owners that were mentioned said that B&Bs were too hard to book, don't you? Maybe too hard to find at the last minute, but hard to book? Hmmm
Yes - hard to book. Half the BB's still don't have online bookings - so you have to call, or email, and wait. Then most only have reservation requests - and we've seen in our surveys that 1/4th of people refuse to do a request, and another 1/4 strongly dislike it. Then there is the issue of a booking engine being really confusing (i won't name competitors), or not having photos next to the descriptions of rooms, or when you get to the credit card pages, having no visible hacker protection or credit card security.
Think if you went to Amazon and you were going to buy an item, and you saw no picture, you couldn't see if it was in stock - you had to email and ask them... In order to request it you had to put your credit card info onto a page with no hacker or credit card seal? And to make matters worse, when you got to the final page, they asked you to hand enter your requested product in again...
That is the experience that most BB's are still giving to guests - there is no wonder why folks are wary of the final product.
.
"Yes - hard to book. Half the BB's still don't have online bookings - so you have to call, or email, and wait."
Wait for what? We check our emails during waking hours more than once an hour, right before bed, right after waking and send an email confirmation within hours of receiving it even when we're on vacation. We've never had a confirmation take more than 24 hours to go out, ever. We carry our cordless phone with us every waking moment we're on property and check phone messages regularly if not on property for even more than an hour.
I'm sure most innkeepers carry cellphones, PDAs, laptops, etc. wherever they go and are not out of communication capability for more than a few hours at a time, ever. The bigger ones with staff, probably have trained them to answer the phone or check emails if the owner is out running errands also. So where is this lack of communication ability occurring?
Lazy innkeepers who don't respond quickly to inquiries? If thats the case, they don't deserve the bookings and will quickly find themselves run over by their more dedicated, efficient and professional competition.
"Then most only have reservation requests - and we've seen in our surveys that 1/4th of people refuse to do a request, and another 1/4 strongly dislike it."
Well, of course you'd respond like that. You are in the business of selling a reservation system to innkeepers.
I don't mind that, but unless you are prepared to share the actual data from all these "surveys" your company does, I'll reserve the right to not fully trust it given the potential conflict of interest in using such data to make a point.
We've never had one guest express discomfort with a "request" sytem over anything including old-fashioned phone calls, emails, etc.
"That is the experience that most BB's are still giving to guests - there is no wonder why folks are wary of the final product."
Excuse my high school math education and bluntness, but "MOST" means more than 50% to me and in your first sentence you stated only 50% of B&Bs still don't offer online reservations. Can you provide some sourcing for making that claim?
I hate to hold you to a higher degree of scrutiny than anyone else here, but you have a vested financial interest in providing certain kinds of information to innkeepers here and it seems fair to do so on my part.
Espcecially if I'm considering purchasing more of your company's products than I already subscribe to.
 

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