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NW BB

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Now, don't worry. I'm not here to beat a dead horse about the merits or lack of, in the gift certificate program. That's been hashed to death.
I have opted for many reason to not take them. In the past few weeks I have gotten no less than 4 phone calls where people start to make a reservation and then tell me they have a bb.com gift card/certificate. Two days ago, when guests checked-out, they tried to pay with a gift card. They were very nice when I told them we don't take them. Now tonight I got a webervations and through my superstatz program I knew they found us on bb.com, so when I e-mailed them their confirmation letter I added in our policies that the only gift certificates/ cards we take are the ones we sell for our inn and our state association (we pay no commission).
About 45 minutes later I received an e-mail from them saying they had a bb.com gift card and were hoping to use it for this stay. I had to write them back and tell them how to find the list on bb.com of the inns who participate and I hope they still stay with us, but understand if they want to cancel.
Here is my frustration...it's very bad PR for all these guests to be told they can't use their cards and really puts us innkeepers in an awkward position. I called bb.com last week to complain. I now have had to add my policy of no gift cards to both my webervations pages and my inn's policy page.
In the past I used to have maybe 1 per year who wanted to use the cards, now all of these are happening. Bb.com is really pushing this program and I resent being the one to disappoint the guests. Bedandbreakfast.com needs to fix their website to make it clear that not all inns participate!
Are you having the same experience?
John, if you're reading this, NO, I am not changing my mind about accepting them. Don't even go there.
 

happykeeper

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We stopped participating because we simply didn`t think they fit with our business model. We don't do a lot of extra discounting or specials that reduce our revenue. We are using a sliding scale and it can get confusing if you start trying to use premium rates for things. Guests end up getting less value than they are entitled to.
Perhaps as our business matures we'll try selling our own gift certificates more first. Rez GT has a way to do that and that seems like it will work better for us.
I also suspect that Hawaii is a different kind of market than the mainland and participating in mainland programs doesn't always translate that well.
To be honest, we have never had a request from a guest to use one. We ended our participation about three months ago.
 

scrambled_eggs

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I take them and I am getting quite a few customers. Some that wouldn't stay with us otherwise but I am the only one who takes them here. The bad part is the commission. I just had a guy redeem $500 worth. B & B.com kept $100 for their profits. I don't like that part but if I wouldn't of taken them then I wouldn't of even had the $400 for those days when no one else booked.
 

muirford

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When we stopped taking them - when the commission went to 20% - we added a note to our website, our Webervations policies, and to our confirmation email that we no longer accept them. Since then, we have not had anyone try to book with one or use one here. We did those things because the last time we stopped taking them we had several problems where guests would show up with them without letting us know.
I haven't checked lately but the last time I looked at their pdf file with participating B&Bs we were still listed. I sent an email to our service rep but never got a response. I agree with you - it is completely a service problem for the innkeeper when that happens, not for bandb.com. It's hard not to think that they like it that way - they get more inns to participate. We rejoined after a few of those experiences - the last time, not this time.
It is also one of the main reasons we planned not to renew our listing with them - to keep guests from expecting us to take the cards because we are listed there.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Question: What would happen if BandB.com didn't take such a high commission on GC's? Would you accept them then?
With BandB.com promoting all the non expiring GC's they will have to do something as so many inns have opted out. Seems to me they need to come up with this solution so people are not ticked off at calling and calling and finding places will not accept them.
I feel with many gc's being deemed useless in this economy people are more frantic to use these.
I think BandB.com needs to bite the bullet and SUPPORT their members. They also need to make the inns highly identifiable to the card holders - the list they got when they rcvd the gc is no longer active. I think most on this forum have now opted out.
Just a healthy suggestion to BandB.com
Note: If they force us to accept the GC's as a rqmt of membership then expect to lose a ton of members. end note.
 

Morticia

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I've only had a couple of calls in the past 6 months. After the debacle I had 2 years ago, I thought the GC program was fixed to easily show online which inns take the GC's. But, as JBJ says, if they send a printed list, that could be out of date before it is mailed.
In my case the guest was at the door with the GC. Luckily I saw it in her hand and explained we didn't accept them. She threw a fit saying I HAD to take it, the only reason she was at this place (got ahead throw the sneering voice in on that one) was because she had this crummy GC. Because she showed up way before check-in, I told her the room wasn't ready and if she would come back at 3, I would see what could be done. I ate the GC so she wouldn't be grumbling the whole time she was there. Then I regifted it to someone else.
 

egoodell

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Question: What would happen if BandB.com didn't take such a high commission on GC's? Would you accept them then?
With BandB.com promoting all the non expiring GC's they will have to do something as so many inns have opted out. Seems to me they need to come up with this solution so people are not ticked off at calling and calling and finding places will not accept them.
I feel with many gc's being deemed useless in this economy people are more frantic to use these.
I think BandB.com needs to bite the bullet and SUPPORT their members. They also need to make the inns highly identifiable to the card holders - the list they got when they rcvd the gc is no longer active. I think most on this forum have now opted out.
Just a healthy suggestion to BandB.com
Note: If they force us to accept the GC's as a rqmt of membership then expect to lose a ton of members. end note..
You betcha. I only accept my own Gift Certificates as they pay my bills in December, and our State Association's, which will not be next year. Next year it will only be my own.
Riki
 

EmptyNest

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Question: What would happen if BandB.com didn't take such a high commission on GC's? Would you accept them then?
With BandB.com promoting all the non expiring GC's they will have to do something as so many inns have opted out. Seems to me they need to come up with this solution so people are not ticked off at calling and calling and finding places will not accept them.
I feel with many gc's being deemed useless in this economy people are more frantic to use these.
I think BandB.com needs to bite the bullet and SUPPORT their members. They also need to make the inns highly identifiable to the card holders - the list they got when they rcvd the gc is no longer active. I think most on this forum have now opted out.
Just a healthy suggestion to BandB.com
Note: If they force us to accept the GC's as a rqmt of membership then expect to lose a ton of members. end note..
You betcha. I only accept my own Gift Certificates as they pay my bills in December, and our State Association's, which will not be next year. Next year it will only be my own.
Riki
.
Sorry but if you are a BBAV member, you MUST accept BBAV gift certificates. I hope that doesn't mean you won't be rejoining. :-(
 

egoodell

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Yes, I know I accept them for this year. But I don't think I will be rejoining next year. That's what I was referring to.
Riki
 

Willowpondgj

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Question: What would happen if BandB.com didn't take such a high commission on GC's? Would you accept them then?
With BandB.com promoting all the non expiring GC's they will have to do something as so many inns have opted out. Seems to me they need to come up with this solution so people are not ticked off at calling and calling and finding places will not accept them.
I feel with many gc's being deemed useless in this economy people are more frantic to use these.
I think BandB.com needs to bite the bullet and SUPPORT their members. They also need to make the inns highly identifiable to the card holders - the list they got when they rcvd the gc is no longer active. I think most on this forum have now opted out.
Just a healthy suggestion to BandB.com
Note: If they force us to accept the GC's as a rqmt of membership then expect to lose a ton of members. end note..
We joined the program after a potential guest threw a fit that we didn't take them, then we dropped out after the 20% hike. We put a note on our site that we were no longer accepting them. We still get calls because we are the only inn currently in our area that belongs to bb.com, but we are not renewing.
I think it's going to take calls from angry guests to get them to take care of it. I would just tell the guests, sorry, but this is how bb.com is handling it, please call them to work it out!
I know it's awkward, but that's how they are working at the moment, how is that the innkeeper's fault? Why should we eat it?
 

NW BB

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When I called them a couple weeks ago, I was told that they were "working on it". One thing they were considering was to add an icon to each member's listing that said "this member does not take gift certificates".
My biggest gripe is that because people don't read as we well know, that once they get onto bb.com, it takes a sleuth to figure out where the list of participating inns are.
By the way, I just got an e-mail from the guest requesting to cancel their reservation. Great. Fortunately, it's during the summer and I'll fill it anyway.
 

Morticia

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When I called them a couple weeks ago, I was told that they were "working on it". One thing they were considering was to add an icon to each member's listing that said "this member does not take gift certificates".
My biggest gripe is that because people don't read as we well know, that once they get onto bb.com, it takes a sleuth to figure out where the list of participating inns are.
By the way, I just got an e-mail from the guest requesting to cancel their reservation. Great. Fortunately, it's during the summer and I'll fill it anyway..
NW BB said:
When I called them a couple weeks ago, I was told that they were "working on it". One thing they were considering was to add an icon to each member's listing that said "this member does not take gift certificates".
My biggest gripe is that because people don't read as we well know, that once they get onto bb.com, it takes a sleuth to figure out where the list of participating inns are.
By the way, I just got an e-mail from the guest requesting to cancel their reservation. Great. Fortunately, it's during the summer and I'll fill it anyway.
No, no, no. Never say no when advertising. Make it clear what the dopey gift box stands for instead making those that do not take the GC's seeming pariahs. 'GC accepted here' rather than 'GC NOT accepted here'. What is wrong with the marketing dept there anyway? Positive spin works better for all concerned. All it's going to do by saying 'no' is make people wonder what's wrong with the GC program that so many do not accept them.
It's funny but I think the opposite of you...I think it's altogether waaay too obvious where to click for the gift certificates! It's bannered all over the place!
 

NW BB

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When I called them a couple weeks ago, I was told that they were "working on it". One thing they were considering was to add an icon to each member's listing that said "this member does not take gift certificates".
My biggest gripe is that because people don't read as we well know, that once they get onto bb.com, it takes a sleuth to figure out where the list of participating inns are.
By the way, I just got an e-mail from the guest requesting to cancel their reservation. Great. Fortunately, it's during the summer and I'll fill it anyway..
NW BB said:
When I called them a couple weeks ago, I was told that they were "working on it". One thing they were considering was to add an icon to each member's listing that said "this member does not take gift certificates".
My biggest gripe is that because people don't read as we well know, that once they get onto bb.com, it takes a sleuth to figure out where the list of participating inns are.
By the way, I just got an e-mail from the guest requesting to cancel their reservation. Great. Fortunately, it's during the summer and I'll fill it anyway.
No, no, no. Never say no when advertising. Make it clear what the dopey gift box stands for instead making those that do not take the GC's seeming pariahs. 'GC accepted here' rather than 'GC NOT accepted here'. What is wrong with the marketing dept there anyway? Positive spin works better for all concerned. All it's going to do by saying 'no' is make people wonder what's wrong with the GC program that so many do not accept them.
It's funny but I think the opposite of you...I think it's altogether waaay too obvious where to click for the gift certificates! It's bannered all over the place!
.
Bree said:
NW BB said:
When I called them a couple weeks ago, I was told that they were "working on it". One thing they were considering was to add an icon to each member's listing that said "this member does not take gift certificates".
My biggest gripe is that because people don't read as we well know, that once they get onto bb.com, it takes a sleuth to figure out where the list of participating inns are.
By the way, I just got an e-mail from the guest requesting to cancel their reservation. Great. Fortunately, it's during the summer and I'll fill it anyway.
No, no, no. Never say no when advertising. Make it clear what the dopey gift box stands for instead making those that do not take the GC's seeming pariahs. 'GC accepted here' rather than 'GC NOT accepted here'. What is wrong with the marketing dept there anyway? Positive spin works better for all concerned. All it's going to do by saying 'no' is make people wonder what's wrong with the GC program that so many do not accept them.
It's funny but I think the opposite of you...I think it's altogether waaay too obvious where to click for the gift certificates! It's bannered all over the place!
Sure, there are banners all over the place to BUY the certificates, but they don't send you to the list of participating inns.
 

birdwatcher

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I'm kind of new at the GC thing, only had one guest last year use it. I opted out of B&B.com the year before last and it seems that I didn't get the reservations I should have so I went ahead and got back into that listing last year when they where offering the buy a year and get 3 months free.
I have tried several places to list my B & B and this was the best site that I knew or know of to get reservations, now I didn't know that they hiked the commission to 20%, I will have to think about the GC this year.
Any suggestions on the BEST place to list your inn? I've tried IloveInns, BB on line and others that just don't give me the calls or e-mails....would love some suggestions
 

Morticia

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I'm kind of new at the GC thing, only had one guest last year use it. I opted out of B&B.com the year before last and it seems that I didn't get the reservations I should have so I went ahead and got back into that listing last year when they where offering the buy a year and get 3 months free.
I have tried several places to list my B & B and this was the best site that I knew or know of to get reservations, now I didn't know that they hiked the commission to 20%, I will have to think about the GC this year.
Any suggestions on the BEST place to list your inn? I've tried IloveInns, BB on line and others that just don't give me the calls or e-mails....would love some suggestions.
birdwatcher said:
Any suggestions on the BEST place to list your inn? I've tried IloveInns, BB on line and others that just don't give me the calls or e-mails....would love some suggestions
Do a search as a guest would to find somewhere to stay in your area. Maybe 'my town, my state B&B' and see what shows up. THOSE directories are the ones you want to be on. For a lot of people, their own website shows up better than the directories do. And Google map shows 10 places as well. (For certain keywords in certain locations.)
 

Morticia

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I'm kind of new at the GC thing, only had one guest last year use it. I opted out of B&B.com the year before last and it seems that I didn't get the reservations I should have so I went ahead and got back into that listing last year when they where offering the buy a year and get 3 months free.
I have tried several places to list my B & B and this was the best site that I knew or know of to get reservations, now I didn't know that they hiked the commission to 20%, I will have to think about the GC this year.
Any suggestions on the BEST place to list your inn? I've tried IloveInns, BB on line and others that just don't give me the calls or e-mails....would love some suggestions.
birdwatcher said:
Any suggestions on the BEST place to list your inn? I've tried IloveInns, BB on line and others that just don't give me the calls or e-mails....would love some suggestions
Do a search as a guest would to find somewhere to stay in your area. Maybe 'my town, my state B&B' and see what shows up. THOSE directories are the ones you want to be on. For a lot of people, their own website shows up better than the directories do. And Google map shows 10 places as well. (For certain keywords in certain locations.)
.
As an example...bbonline doesn't show up at all for a search on your town. Nor does iloveinns or lanier. And I think the only reason any of the others do is because YOU are listed on them. In that case, you may want to be more general and try to hit the bigger places nearby you, or the things to do in your area and see which directories show up. AND, you may also want to try out some SEO to get your site to show up before those directories, you have a good shot at it as it doesn't look like you have much competition. (Yes, I do remember your problems with your web designer, how's that going by the way?)
Example...if there is a particular place nearby that guests want to see like the Monogahela National Forest, find out if THAT shows up any B&B directory searches. Or Charleston. That looks like maybe the next biggest town and try to list yourself under that town.
 

gillumhouse

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I'm kind of new at the GC thing, only had one guest last year use it. I opted out of B&B.com the year before last and it seems that I didn't get the reservations I should have so I went ahead and got back into that listing last year when they where offering the buy a year and get 3 months free.
I have tried several places to list my B & B and this was the best site that I knew or know of to get reservations, now I didn't know that they hiked the commission to 20%, I will have to think about the GC this year.
Any suggestions on the BEST place to list your inn? I've tried IloveInns, BB on line and others that just don't give me the calls or e-mails....would love some suggestions.
birdwatcher said:
Any suggestions on the BEST place to list your inn? I've tried IloveInns, BB on line and others that just don't give me the calls or e-mails....would love some suggestions
Do a search as a guest would to find somewhere to stay in your area. Maybe 'my town, my state B&B' and see what shows up. THOSE directories are the ones you want to be on. For a lot of people, their own website shows up better than the directories do. And Google map shows 10 places as well. (For certain keywords in certain locations.)
.
As an example...bbonline doesn't show up at all for a search on your town. Nor does iloveinns or lanier. And I think the only reason any of the others do is because YOU are listed on them. In that case, you may want to be more general and try to hit the bigger places nearby you, or the things to do in your area and see which directories show up. AND, you may also want to try out some SEO to get your site to show up before those directories, you have a good shot at it as it doesn't look like you have much competition. (Yes, I do remember your problems with your web designer, how's that going by the way?)
Example...if there is a particular place nearby that guests want to see like the Monogahela National Forest, find out if THAT shows up any B&B directory searches. Or Charleston. That looks like maybe the next biggest town and try to list yourself under that town.
.
For her it would be New River Gorge or Beckley for searches. I would also look to see what came up with the Beckley Coal Mine or Exhibition Coal Mine. She is not too far from those places.
 

swirt

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I'm kind of new at the GC thing, only had one guest last year use it. I opted out of B&B.com the year before last and it seems that I didn't get the reservations I should have so I went ahead and got back into that listing last year when they where offering the buy a year and get 3 months free.
I have tried several places to list my B & B and this was the best site that I knew or know of to get reservations, now I didn't know that they hiked the commission to 20%, I will have to think about the GC this year.
Any suggestions on the BEST place to list your inn? I've tried IloveInns, BB on line and others that just don't give me the calls or e-mails....would love some suggestions.
birdwatcher said:
Any suggestions on the BEST place to list your inn? I've tried IloveInns, BB on line and others that just don't give me the calls or e-mails....would love some suggestions
Do a search as a guest would to find somewhere to stay in your area. Maybe 'my town, my state B&B' and see what shows up. THOSE directories are the ones you want to be on. For a lot of people, their own website shows up better than the directories do. And Google map shows 10 places as well. (For certain keywords in certain locations.)
.
As an example...bbonline doesn't show up at all for a search on your town. Nor does iloveinns or lanier. And I think the only reason any of the others do is because YOU are listed on them. In that case, you may want to be more general and try to hit the bigger places nearby you, or the things to do in your area and see which directories show up. AND, you may also want to try out some SEO to get your site to show up before those directories, you have a good shot at it as it doesn't look like you have much competition. (Yes, I do remember your problems with your web designer, how's that going by the way?)
Example...if there is a particular place nearby that guests want to see like the Monogahela National Forest, find out if THAT shows up any B&B directory searches. Or Charleston. That looks like maybe the next biggest town and try to list yourself under that town.
.
There is some excellent advice in Bree's post. :)
 
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