Quantcast

Meetings AND guests in house?

INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources

Help Support INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources:

Redbirds

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
95
Reaction score
0
Hello, everyone: long-time reader, first-time poster!
We've been open for about two weeks (actually we have re-opened a previous bnb) and have a policy question. We'd like to host meetings, soirees, etc. in the house, but wonder about doing such and having guests on the same nights.
Do the guests feel cheated if they can't use the common areas of the house for those 3-4 hours? Do the meeting attendees get miffed if they see other people wandering around, coming and going?
We haven't had this come up yet, but we've only had a handful of guests and no meetings.
Also, what kind of charges do you have for hosting meetings/gatherings? In the past, quite a few groups used the house in this way, and we are anticipating the requests soon.
On a personal note, I've learned A LOT from this forum just reading the posts and comments!
Thanks,
Fred
 

EmptyNest

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
8,741
Reaction score
1
A couple of different scenarios here that I can see. Don't know what your occupancy will be mid week..so it may not be a problem.
Also, check your local zoning...is this allowed? Can you serve food other than breakfast?? check with your health dept.
1. Meetings during weekday when you have no guests...which to me would be the best way to do it and the least hassle. Rent them the space for a set price ( ie: $100 for 2 hours.... and if you feed them get a per person rate..say $12-15 for a light lunch.
Remember, you will be doing alot of prep work..so you have to pay for your time. If they buy lunch, then maybe you can do lower on the space.
2. Most guests will probably eat breakfast and leave for the day by say 11 AM. But if they don't, then as a paying guest, I would be "miffed" if I was denied access to say a lounge area or whatever if a meeting was going on. I would try NOT to do that.
Have you talked to the previous owners? I would ask what they charged. Then up that price.
Best wishes.
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,284
Reaction score
150
My personal take first...we were walk-ins at a B&B in WA and they told us they were hosting a dinner for a group if we wouldn't mind NOT using the dining room and parlor for these hours. It was ok with us as we were headed for dinner. BUT, it was a LARGE house with lots of space and we did not have to walk thru those areas to come and go.
The innkeeper speaks...We have hosted small events here and have explained to the 'other' guests what was happening. We tried to time it for when we thought the most people would have other plans. We planned to host the event in the dining room. The event attendees sat in the living room. And the dining room. And the reception area. Effectively taking ALL the common space for themselves.
If I had been a guest here at the time, THAT would have bothered me. Feeling like I was invading a private party when all I wanted to do was go to my room or leave the building.
If you can close off the space so guests do not feel that way, that is best. Another option is to host the events during the afternoon, when guests are more likely to be absent.
 

Redbirds

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
95
Reaction score
0
Thanks for the comments thus far.
We were asked at our BZA meeting by the board members if we were going to continue to host meetings as in the past, to which we replied that we were. That was met with a positive reaction and comments like "we need an elegant place to hold small meetings in this town" etc.
The Mayor stopped in Thursday and said he was looking forward to coming to soirees here like was done before.
We probably won't be doing any cooking, except light snacks and coffee/tea. The Health Inspector was informed and saw no problem.
It sounds like to need to be sensitive to our guest reservations, close off some meeting space (we have pocket doors in all common rooms downstairs) and let everyone know in advance.
Thanks again.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
3,893
Reaction score
0
Welcome Fred and Sally!
All good questions. Yes the guests will get irritated and most likely will never say a word. I have heard that from guest after guest who told me about a prev stay somewhere and they felt IMPRISONED IN THEIR ROOM. Even a wedding night couple bringing back their family to open wedding gifts on the porch. Lockdown for other guests.
We have stayed at a B&B where the owners had their family over and the grandkids in the parlor watching cartoons. They never asked us, but said, hope you don't mind...blah blah blah.
I said to myself, I could get this treatment at home and not pay the big bucks and have to drive 5 hours!!
I would be very careful about that. Esp when guests are on a special ocassion like we were and felt trapped. We stayed away from the B&B and it was not fun. When we were back in our room, is some kid going to charge into my room with grannies keys? No privacy, no romance, no fun.
Lastly, we held functions here at this B&B and our community was ALL FOR IT.
BUT the time frame got smaller and smaller. I tell the callers "we host wedding nights not showers or receptions or weddings"
We can make more in ONE ROOM NIGHT for a wedding night than all the hassle involved in a luncheon, ALL THE HASSLE, ALL THE WORK, ALL THE EXPENSE!
We orig did some functions to open the place up to the community so they could see who we were and recommend and refer people to us. LOL!
Point #1 in my ever-long rampage about marketing - your guests will come from OUT OF YOUR AREA. Spend your time, Spend your money, spend your energy on markeing ONLINE, not locally.
I know, too much information. But this is a fact. Local events might be fun to fill in the winter season when we have fewer guests, but keep the boundaries up or the GUESTS will be harmed. Other than Christmas, most events are not winter season.
EX: Is it worth it to get one BAD Trip Advisor review because guests were held-up in their room for 4 hours while there was an event at the B&B? NOT EVEN CLOSE TO WORTH IT!
You came to the right place for questions, answers and general fellowship of the inn-mates as I like to call us. We are a bunch where noone else has a clue what we do or how we do it. This forum does! We all understand.
We're all in this together - separate but together.
 

Copperhead

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 24, 2008
Messages
5,969
Reaction score
0
JBJ brought up some very good points but I do have a few differences of opinion to some. There's no right or wrong here, just opinions. Things that work well for some, do not for others. Here is my take:
Weddings, receptions etc.: All our rooms are included in the contracted rate. Most have people coming in from out of town that this limits trying to find and block other lodgings. We provide less 'on hands' with these overnight guests and explain this at booking.
Meetings and such: I really think it depends on your B&B setup, type of overnight guests, etc. If you are a 'romantic getaway' place or an all inclusive, where guests spend most or all their time on site, I would limit or refrain on the meetings. But if 'generally speaking' most guests are leaving during the day then why not take in a meeting here or there. I would let your overnight guests know in advance that the XX room has been reserved from 2-4 for a private meeting. If they know before arrival, things should be fine, especially if they get the feeling they can be in other areas, just not in that space.
As far as price, I would see what others are charging and go from there. Tweek price for things you can do (or space you provide) that makes your location special. Be competitive!
JBJ wrote:Point #1 in my ever-long rampage about marketing - your guests will come from OUT OF YOUR AREA. Spend your time, Spend your money, spend your energy on markeing ONLINE, not locally.
I disagree somewhat to this thinking but will start a new thread for this.
 

Willowpondgj

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
571
Reaction score
0
My advise is to not mix guests with meetings unless it is a midweek thing and only if you have a non-guest area that they can meet without disturbing your guests. If we do decide to have overnight guests, we tell them about the event at booking or if we book the event after the fact, we call them and tell them , so they have a heads up. But we have a room where events and meetings can take place that is separate from the guest area and also has a separate entrance and parking.
We make it VERY clear where event guests are permitted to be on the property, so they will not be wandering around in places disturbing ON guests. All the details are in a contract for all events.
We tried several times to juggle the weddings and parties, etc, while having ONG's and it does not work for us. The ON'ers felt they were disturbing the event (holing up in their rooms or feeling they couldn't hang out) and Vice Versa. We also felt we could not be fully available to both sets of guests as small problems presented themselves (all the little things that are bound to happen, like guests showing up late for check in when you are in the middle of helping set up for the event and now you can't help the event peeps...) and we did not want to present anything less than great service to either. Not worth a bad review.
I agree with JBJ that it is a lot of extra work for not a lot of extra $$, most places are going to compare you to the cheap banquet room they can get at a restaurant or hotel with cheap food included and if you charge them what it really costs you to pay yourself and cover costs, they will scoff, a lot!
We do not host overnight guests when we have events and so the cost of the rooms is figured into the pricing. Make sure you charge for the space, anything you are including that would normally be rented, such as chairs, tables, A/V equipment, etc. food/beverage, set-up & clean up, whatever you want to pay yourself for doing it, staff - if you need to hire assistance, and depending on what you are shelling out-don't forget about things like extra heat, electric, that may not normally be getting used at that time, it all adds up.
And remember, the person who is booking is not going to inform their guests of your houserules, so you will always have someone either disgruntled when you tell them they can't be in a certain area or can't smoke or whatever or just being a PITA.
Check out your rules for food, we do not have a commercial kitchen so any food brought onsite (other than breakfast) has to be prepared in a CK. If you have any issues with that sort of thing, you may lose a lot of business because the peeps want to self cater and that could be a no-no...We get a lot of that and have to turn them away.
 

Redbirds

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
95
Reaction score
0
Thanks for all the comments/advice. This is exactly what I was looking for!
Fred
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
3,893
Reaction score
0
The thing is...A meeting or function is booked way in advance usually. You might have no guests booked in when the function is booked, but then the call comes in for a 3 or 4 night stay! Can you turn away $400? NO WAY!!! So you either block it off or what?
Wedding parties etc, like mentioned would have to book ALL THE ROOMS. Have a longer cancellation period, like 30 days so you can rebook if needbe.
Re fees - are you in a small town? People here will go to the local greasy spoon and pay more than they are willing to pay HERE, and they would get a drink and dessert included and they WILL NOT TIP HERE. So if you tell them $10 they act like it is the moon. $10 does not leave much room for profit. We do not have wholesale food deliveries like a restaurant would. Restaurants charge auto gratuity on 5 or more!
Someone mentioned not letting them into other areas. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT - that is what they want to do, see the rooms, AND that is what you want them to see, really.
Time wise it just gets way way to tight and you either have it with guests possibly present or squeeze it all in and kill yourself.
I get requests weekly. If you do this, and only do light refreshments then if is way more hassle. Funny if a caterer brought food in here - it would be $12-15 per person. What about space rental? Dishes, clean up, servers? Is our time worth NOTHING?
These groups I am talking about here have been RED HATS, GARDEN CLUBS, GRITS, LADIES PRAYER GROUPS, etc.
 

Willowpondgj

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
571
Reaction score
0
yes, I think people really do think your time is worth nothing, after all if you aren't able to offer them the moon for 5 bucks, it's a bad review for you! And they know it!
 

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,522
Reaction score
84
Thanks for the comments thus far.
We were asked at our BZA meeting by the board members if we were going to continue to host meetings as in the past, to which we replied that we were. That was met with a positive reaction and comments like "we need an elegant place to hold small meetings in this town" etc.
The Mayor stopped in Thursday and said he was looking forward to coming to soirees here like was done before.
We probably won't be doing any cooking, except light snacks and coffee/tea. The Health Inspector was informed and saw no problem.
It sounds like to need to be sensitive to our guest reservations, close off some meeting space (we have pocket doors in all common rooms downstairs) and let everyone know in advance.
Thanks again..
This happened before I became an innkeeper.
We were traveling with friends and booked into a beautiful mansion in Memphis - 2-rooms for 1 night. When we arrived we discovered there was a wedding reception downstairs that night, rooms with wedding party, etc. We were NOT told in advance and we felt to go to dinner we had to go through the reception and would feel like gate-crashers. So instead of going out to dinner and having a nice evening in Memphis, we huddled in the small common room on the second floor and ordered a pizza for dinner. We felt cheated because we were not informed. We would have chosen another B & B or perhaps would have said OK (not knowing the whole place would be given over tothe wedding) but at least would have been aware.
I see nothing wrong with doing the meetings, parties, etc as long as guest are told prior to arrival that a function will be held that evening. And to have it possible for guests to enter and exit without navigating the function is essential. If it is my party I do not want to pay for guests to crash it and as a guest, I do not want to feel like I am crashing.
 

Latest posts

Top