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Morticia

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I get a lot of email requests for rates and availability. Guests will tell me the room they want and the date they want it. So, a couple of questions...
  1. Do some guests just need to have contact with the inn before committing so they call or email when the info is all right there?
  2. Do they think calling or emailing will get them a better price?
  3. If you get a lot of these as well, what's your conversion rate? Do you have a 'canned' email you reply back with? What sorts of things do you include?
Today I got an email wanting to know the prices and avail for certain rooms, so the guests had looked at the website and had the names of the rooms. The link to the calendar is right there. It's a B&B with a whole page devoted to food, so why do the ask the price of breakfast?
OK, so that's a lot of questions, but give it a shot!
 

EmptyNest

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I think some folks are just more comfortable making that personal contact rather than just depending on the availability calendar. Some may have no experience with B & B and just have a question.
I usually responded with a "canned" email where I filled in appropriate responses. Usually, that our availability calendar is kept up to date and to check it then give us a call for booking or if they desired they can book on line.
 

Don Draper

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We get a fair amount of these, and I also respond just to confirm what they are asking (even if it is all spelled out right there). I'd say we convert most of these, and most just go ahead and book online. I think some people are fishing for a lower rate, and some might just want to be sure the availability calendar is up to date (usually because they've seen a specific room that they really want).
I'm a fast typer so I don't mind responding to these, I also like to thank them for choosing our Inn.
 

Morticia

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We get a fair amount of these, and I also respond just to confirm what they are asking (even if it is all spelled out right there). I'd say we convert most of these, and most just go ahead and book online. I think some people are fishing for a lower rate, and some might just want to be sure the availability calendar is up to date (usually because they've seen a specific room that they really want).
I'm a fast typer so I don't mind responding to these, I also like to thank them for choosing our Inn.
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InnsiderInfo said:
We get a fair amount of these, and I also respond just to confirm what they are asking (even if it is all spelled out right there). I'd say we convert most of these, and most just go ahead and book online. I think some people are fishing for a lower rate, and some might just want to be sure the availability calendar is up to date (usually because they've seen a specific room that they really want).
I'm a fast typer so I don't mind responding to these, I also like to thank them for choosing our Inn.
OK, that's what I say, too, but I don't get a lot of conversions. So I wondered if maybe there was more info I should add to make it seem like I'm trying to be helpful? I even give them a link back to the calendar to book. Maybe I should mention things to do or proximity to whatever?
 

EmptyNest

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We get a fair amount of these, and I also respond just to confirm what they are asking (even if it is all spelled out right there). I'd say we convert most of these, and most just go ahead and book online. I think some people are fishing for a lower rate, and some might just want to be sure the availability calendar is up to date (usually because they've seen a specific room that they really want).
I'm a fast typer so I don't mind responding to these, I also like to thank them for choosing our Inn.
.
InnsiderInfo said:
We get a fair amount of these, and I also respond just to confirm what they are asking (even if it is all spelled out right there). I'd say we convert most of these, and most just go ahead and book online. I think some people are fishing for a lower rate, and some might just want to be sure the availability calendar is up to date (usually because they've seen a specific room that they really want).
I'm a fast typer so I don't mind responding to these, I also like to thank them for choosing our Inn.
OK, that's what I say, too, but I don't get a lot of conversions. So I wondered if maybe there was more info I should add to make it seem like I'm trying to be helpful? I even give them a link back to the calendar to book. Maybe I should mention things to do or proximity to whatever?
.
If you put it all on a form letter that would be ok but I doubt that is what they really are wanting...they are hoping for a discount...:-( NOT!
 

EmptyNest

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That sounds good to me. To the point and be done with it. I see no need to tell them anything further.
WOW!! ARE YOU BOOKED SOLID OR WHAT??? You may want to remove that webervations link if you want to remain anonymous:)
 

Don Draper

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We get a fair amount of these, and I also respond just to confirm what they are asking (even if it is all spelled out right there). I'd say we convert most of these, and most just go ahead and book online. I think some people are fishing for a lower rate, and some might just want to be sure the availability calendar is up to date (usually because they've seen a specific room that they really want).
I'm a fast typer so I don't mind responding to these, I also like to thank them for choosing our Inn.
.
InnsiderInfo said:
We get a fair amount of these, and I also respond just to confirm what they are asking (even if it is all spelled out right there). I'd say we convert most of these, and most just go ahead and book online. I think some people are fishing for a lower rate, and some might just want to be sure the availability calendar is up to date (usually because they've seen a specific room that they really want).
I'm a fast typer so I don't mind responding to these, I also like to thank them for choosing our Inn.
OK, that's what I say, too, but I don't get a lot of conversions. So I wondered if maybe there was more info I should add to make it seem like I'm trying to be helpful? I even give them a link back to the calendar to book. Maybe I should mention things to do or proximity to whatever?
.
Here's an example of one I had yesterday, this was a legitimate question on if he could put 4 people in a room. He did end up booking on line.
Dear Don,
Greetings from the Genericville Inn! Thank you for your inquiry.
We can accommodate a family of 4 in the Freddie Krueger Room although it is a bit of a squeeze for 4 adults. The bed configuration is one queen bed and one double bed, with private bath. Rate for 4 people would be $209.00/night. If you would like to make a reservation you may do so online at:

www.genericvilleinn.com
or by phoning the Inn at (123) 456-7890
Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Thank you!


Susie & Joe Generic

Innkeepers
 

Don Draper

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That sounds good to me. To the point and be done with it. I see no need to tell them anything further.
WOW!! ARE YOU BOOKED SOLID OR WHAT??? You may want to remove that webervations link if you want to remain anonymous:).
Thanks, I thought I had taken it out but apparently not! Wouldn't want my secret, masked identity to be revealed

 

gillumhouse

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I have always been able to get the rez with a high percentage if I can talk to them - especially when we were 3 w/shared.
I respond via e-mail specific each time to the questions asked. IF there is an indication of area of interest I try to give info about that also. I convert a fair number of those also. I get most of my reservations via phone.
I had a call at 8AM this morning. "This may seem like a strange question, but can you tell me if there are any cabin rentals near Shinnston or Clarksburg?" response: The only ones I know of are at Tygartt Lake State Park. Caller: "But they don't have A/C!" Me: well we do have A/C and we are in the area you eanted. Caller: "We really wanted a cabin but I may be calling you back."
As I hung up - in the middle of making breakfast of course - my thought was Did you ever consider they don't have A/C because they don'e NEED it? They are at a higher elevation and in the woods! Duh!
 

Proud Texan

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It does make you wonder. I get people calling all the time who begin the phone conversation with things like:
Caller: "I'm looking at your website and...."
What I say:
What is it that's unclear and how can I help you?
What I'm Thinking:
"O.K. Dufus, did you READ the website? Everything is stated there in black and white."
Caller: "It says here that you don't accept pets. Well, I have two adorable little pomeranians that are very well behaved and don't make a mess. Would you make an exception"

What I say: I'm sorry, we can't make an exception in consideration of our other guests.
What I'm Thinking: Are you stupid or what? What part of NO PETS do you not understand?!

Caller:
"It says here that your rate for the weekend is $$$. I'm on a budget would you be able to give me a discount?"

What I say: I'm sorry, but we have our prices set at the lowest possible rate.

What I'm Thinking: Bless your heart. I'm so proud that you keep to a budget in this period of economic decline. You know, we too are on a budget and have this B&B to supplement our meager retirement income. May I suggest to you, Oh budget traveler, that to save money you may be happier at the Super 8 down by the interstate. But, if you really want to save money, stay home, order in a pizza and rent a movie.

Does this all sound familiar?
 

NW BB

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I think a lot of times these types of letters come when the guest is not actually on your website, but a directory or listing which doesn't have as much info as your website. Of course we've all had those folks who just can't bother reading.
Mostly the e-mails I get are those people wanting me to make an exception just for them to drop my 2 night minimum on the weekends and just give them a Sat. night. I get this request quite frequently, but I stick to my guns and tell them they will have to wait to book last minute if I haven't filled it.
 

EmptyNest

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It does make you wonder. I get people calling all the time who begin the phone conversation with things like:
Caller: "I'm looking at your website and...."
What I say:
What is it that's unclear and how can I help you?
What I'm Thinking:
"O.K. Dufus, did you READ the website? Everything is stated there in black and white."
Caller: "It says here that you don't accept pets. Well, I have two adorable little pomeranians that are very well behaved and don't make a mess. Would you make an exception"

What I say: I'm sorry, we can't make an exception in consideration of our other guests.
What I'm Thinking: Are you stupid or what? What part of NO PETS do you not understand?!

Caller:
"It says here that your rate for the weekend is $$$. I'm on a budget would you be able to give me a discount?"

What I say: I'm sorry, but we have our prices set at the lowest possible rate.

What I'm Thinking: Bless your heart. I'm so proud that you keep to a budget in this period of economic decline. You know, we too are on a budget and have this B&B to supplement our meager retirement income. May I suggest to you, Oh budget traveler, that to save money you may be happier at the Super 8 down by the interstate. But, if you really want to save money, stay home, order in a pizza and rent a movie.

Does this all sound familiar?.
ALL TOO FAMILIAR!!! Exactly what we heard. I don't know why they bother, but I am sure that there are innkeepers out there who will jump at the chance to give these kinds of folks...who probably are NOT B & B type folks...a discount...just to put heads in the bed. And then complain about them afterwards....WHY DID I DO THAT? We learned early on ...it is not worth it...so move on and we stuck to our guns.
 

aieechihuahua

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Loved your post PT! I could hear the same responses coming out of my own mouth!
I love to contact an inn, even if I can book online. I want to see the tone of the inn before I commit, and I think many potential guests do the same. If I get a rude or uninterested employee or manager - I move on.
I hate the inquisitive calls at breakfast time. It is rarely ever a booking and they are always surprised to hear that I am cooking/serving. DUH!
I hate people who call begging me a month in advance to have one night on a weekend. I don't mind the ones who call last minute tho. And if they are very nice...I'll take them.
 

Morticia

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I think a lot of times these types of letters come when the guest is not actually on your website, but a directory or listing which doesn't have as much info as your website. Of course we've all had those folks who just can't bother reading.
Mostly the e-mails I get are those people wanting me to make an exception just for them to drop my 2 night minimum on the weekends and just give them a Sat. night. I get this request quite frequently, but I stick to my guns and tell them they will have to wait to book last minute if I haven't filled it..
I'm not sure I mention the room names on the directory sites. And if they were on a directory, their email would come from that directory, maybe. Not everyone's email allows that.
 

SweetiePie

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I agree, one nighters are a bummer unless you make it worth your while. We have a 2 night minimum unless they order one of the celebration packages.
 

JBloggs

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We have had all one nighters this weekend and two more one nighters are checking in today.
Answer to the orgi question is #2.
 

Don Draper

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We are feeling the same way...likely could have gotten away with a significant rate hike this year. But with the economy behaving the way it has, who could've known? All we can do is make the adjustment for next year,
 

Proud Texan

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Loved your post PT! I could hear the same responses coming out of my own mouth!
I love to contact an inn, even if I can book online. I want to see the tone of the inn before I commit, and I think many potential guests do the same. If I get a rude or uninterested employee or manager - I move on.
I hate the inquisitive calls at breakfast time. It is rarely ever a booking and they are always surprised to hear that I am cooking/serving. DUH!
I hate people who call begging me a month in advance to have one night on a weekend. I don't mind the ones who call last minute tho. And if they are very nice...I'll take them..
adobenido said:
Loved your post PT! I could hear the same responses coming out of my own mouth!
I love to contact an inn, even if I can book online. I want to see the tone of the inn before I commit, and I think many potential guests do the same. If I get a rude or uninterested employee or manager - I move on.
I hate the inquisitive calls at breakfast time. It is rarely ever a booking and they are always surprised to hear that I am cooking/serving. DUH!
I hate people who call begging me a month in advance to have one night on a weekend. I don't mind the ones who call last minute tho. And if they are very nice...I'll take them.
We had so many "one-nighters" that we decided to drop the two-night minimum and just raise our rates. We are actually pulling in more revenue now than when we had the former conditions. In many instances, callers don't even ask the rates or they don't even blink when the rate is quoted. I could just kick myself for not raising my prices sooner.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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I thought this thread was about Jehovah's witnesses til I opened it!
I think they want to try to swing a deal so they call or email.
 

Copperhead

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Loved your post PT! I could hear the same responses coming out of my own mouth!
I love to contact an inn, even if I can book online. I want to see the tone of the inn before I commit, and I think many potential guests do the same. If I get a rude or uninterested employee or manager - I move on.
I hate the inquisitive calls at breakfast time. It is rarely ever a booking and they are always surprised to hear that I am cooking/serving. DUH!
I hate people who call begging me a month in advance to have one night on a weekend. I don't mind the ones who call last minute tho. And if they are very nice...I'll take them..
adobenido said:
Loved your post PT! I could hear the same responses coming out of my own mouth!
I love to contact an inn, even if I can book online. I want to see the tone of the inn before I commit, and I think many potential guests do the same. If I get a rude or uninterested employee or manager - I move on.
I hate the inquisitive calls at breakfast time. It is rarely ever a booking and they are always surprised to hear that I am cooking/serving. DUH!
I hate people who call begging me a month in advance to have one night on a weekend. I don't mind the ones who call last minute tho. And if they are very nice...I'll take them.
We had so many "one-nighters" that we decided to drop the two-night minimum and just raise our rates. We are actually pulling in more revenue now than when we had the former conditions. In many instances, callers don't even ask the rates or they don't even blink when the rate is quoted. I could just kick myself for not raising my prices sooner.
.
Proud Texan said:
We had so many "one-nighters" that we decided to drop the two-night minimum and just raise our rates. We are actually pulling in more revenue now than when we had the former conditions. In many instances, callers don't even ask the rates or they don't even blink when the rate is quoted. I could just kick myself for not raising my prices sooner.
An interesting way to bring in the guests during these 'economic times'...or maybe you realized your market! Good for you!!!
 
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