Newbie Question: Why would they stay at $175-$200 a night inn when they can stay in entire AirBNB apartment for $110 a night?

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Mrs. G

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Hello Innkeepers! Another newbie question for you. In this 'hotspot' tourist city in which I am looking at the 8 room inn, why would people choose a nice historic inn for $160-ish to $200+-ish a night (more during peak season) over a AirBNB room for $65 or an entire apartment for $120. My thinking is that the guests would get more of a boutique hotel experience with wine/appetizers, breakfast, lobby/sitting/lounge areas, nice background music, hotel ambiance, and feel more like they are on a special experience or vacation. Am I wrong about this? If we buy this inn, I'd like to take it from BNB more over to small boutique hotel. Am I deluding myself thinking people will pay these hotel nightly fees over just grabbing an AirBNB room, opening their own bottle of wine at the place, grab breakfast at Starbucks, and have just as much fun for half the price.

Do you any of you have perspective on this? I mean, let's say you owned an inn in Washington DC near tourist sites. Just throwing that city out there. How would you the innkeeper, owner feel confident that you offer more to certain guests over the AirBNB experience? What in your opinion or experience are you offering that compels guests to shell out double or even more to stay at your special, boutique, unique property? I guess I am hoping to get responses, feedback about real situations in which innkeepers, owners consistently draw a nice stream of guests to their place over the less expensive AirBNB experience.

I'm just worried that over time AirBNB could snuff out Bed and Breakfast/Boutique small inns because the smaller inns cannot compete with all of those AirBNB reduced per night offerings. Anyone have any perspective on how people actually DO pay for the more special, hotel, BNB, inn experience over just AirBNB specifically in a tourist city/area? It's kind of freaking me out to get on AirBNB and see all of those pop up for half the price all around this inn that I am eyeing!

Any feedback appreciated!! Thanks in advance!
 
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Morticia

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You make yourself a concierge, which they won’t get at an unattended air rental. You also list on air so those people who will only stay at an air property (Heaven knows why) will see your gorgeous property, with breakfast, and whatever perks you have on offer.

Some people who will sleep in someone’s spare room and share a bathroom would never stay at a B&B because they have weird ideas about what that means. So, you won’t get those people.

Unfortunately, air has co-opted our unique offering and you’ll have totally clueless people calling your lovely, boutique accommodations an Airbnb. You will refrain from slapping them.
 

Mrs. G

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You make yourself a concierge, which they won’t get at an unattended air rental. You also list on air so those people who will only stay at an air property (Heaven knows why) will see your gorgeous property, with breakfast, and whatever perks you have on offer.

Some people who will sleep in someone’s spare room and share a bathroom would never stay at a B&B because they have weird ideas about what that means. So, you won’t get those people.

Unfortunately, air has co-opted our unique offering and you’ll have totally clueless people calling your lovely, boutique accommodations an Airbnb. You will refrain from slapping them.
And I think plenty of people want an experience, memories, ambiance, some excitement, novelty, all of that. I know I wouldn't be too excited about just sleeping in some random bedroom or apartment in NYC or DC when I could stay in a fun, more interesting boutique hotel. If I was on a budget then the airbnb is fine, but a hotel, inn, BNB can provide a different more vacation like experience and hopefully enough people are still willing to pay for that.
 

gillumhouse

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I have not checked prices this year, but I WAS the most expensive room in the County. No, I am not inundated with calls and guests - I do not want to be. I get guests who WANT to be pampered. They WANT coffee that was roasted just for them. They WANT to know they were able to choose their breakfast meat - they are not going to get homemade maple venison sausage elsewhere,. They WANT to have someone be able to tell them the best places to go and the best things to see. They WANT to have a great breakfast and know how much they would have to pay for a breakfast not has as good not plentiful in addition to whatever the cheap room cost - and they are discerning enough to know the axiom is true - you get what you pay for. I do not use ANY of the OTAs, and I get enough business to keep me in business, to pay my bills, and support the house that I get to live in. I do not want the bottom-feeders. They will not respect my home and what I do. Also - I never pass up an opportunity to point out the difference between a REAL registered, licensed, inspected, and insured bed & breakfast and an AIR.
 

JimBoone

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Old guys thoughts: Over the years I have reinvented ourselves at least several times, changing prices and style as I grew, aged and changed over time. You lose some guests initially yet gain more/better in time. If the place is doing business now, get your feet on the ground first and adapt to that which makes you happy slowly.

I think there are guests for all of us out there, the long term key is connecting with the guest that you enjoy. As an individual I've stayed at those cheap places that fit my budget at the time, I aged and would not choose them today, as an operator, cheap people treat your place poorly, set the pace for the life you desire.

Heywood Hotel, Austin, TX, Horton Hotel, Boone, NC. Might look at these on the net for ideas, is this sort of what you are thinking as a theme? They are not me, I'm mom & pop in the country, but they are beautiful places.
 

FHI2426

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We are in Annapolis MD, so close to DC. We are surrounded by 800 hotel rooms within 1.25 miles, and many many whole house Air and several single rooms. We list on Air and get a lot of great guests that way, better quality than Expedia/boking... so I need to peel off 6 rooms from the incoming population...

Dont agonize over Air, you will find there are many segments - people who would never stay in Air, people who only look on Air, people who only stay at large hotels because of points and people who want to stay in a B&B. Decide what you want as your position in the market, and do all your communications and serving your guests consistent with your vision. Ask nicely for reviews and they will be good if you deliver on your promise.... Happy to talk more offline...
 

Mrs. G

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We are in Annapolis MD, so close to DC. We are surrounded by 800 hotel rooms within 1.25 miles, and many many whole house Air and several single rooms. We list on Air and get a lot of great guests that way, better quality than Expedia/boking... so I need to peel off 6 rooms from the incoming population...

Dont agonize over Air, you will find there are many segments - people who would never stay in Air, people who only look on Air, people who only stay at large hotels because of points and people who want to stay in a B&B. Decide what you want as your position in the market, and do all your communications and serving your guests consistent with your vision. Ask nicely for reviews and they will be good if you deliver on your promise.... Happy to talk more offline...
Whew, okay. That makes sense. I was imagining more and more airbnbs popping up all around the inn and spouse and I staring at each other twiddling our thumbs in an empty inn. :-( Would be no fun. I think you are right that the key is to think of what niche you want to go after and then deliver on it. If you build it, they will come!
 

gillumhouse

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Whew, okay. That makes sense. I was imagining more and more airbnbs popping up all around the inn and spouse and I staring at each other twiddling our thumbs in an empty inn. :-( Would be no fun. I think you are right that the key is to think of what niche you want to go after and then deliver on it. If you build it, they will come!
As more and more articles are written about the things that happen at AIR facilities, as the States & cities start forcing collection of taxes, and the commissions start to raise, people may actually realize AIR is NOT a deal. I have faith in people coming to their senses. Plus - they will see their wallets start screaming.
 

Generic

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Air is exactly the opposite of a vacation for me. Couldn't make it any worse. I'm on vacation... last thing I want to do is worry about everything, clean after myself and have to be my own concierge.

I'm on vacation. I'm not cooking. I'm not cleaning. I'm not worrying about if I left the place clean enough for them, in spite of paying them hundreds in a cleaning fee. I'm not worrying about the nasty review they could leave for me. I'm on vacation!
 

Anon Inn

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Hello Innkeepers! Another newbie question for you. In this 'hotspot' tourist city in which I am looking at the 8 room inn, why would people choose a nice historic inn for $160-ish to $200+-ish a night (more during peak season) over a AirBNB room for $65 or an entire apartment for $120.…………..Anyone have any perspective on how people actually DO pay for the more special, hotel, BNB, inn experience over just AirBNB
Take a good look at occupancy rate history for the property. Also look ar Air listings for the area. if you know someone knowledgeable, ask if Air units are proliferating. Are there many options like yours in the area? Are you inheriting the good will of this inn? Can you take that base and grow with your vision?

For my part, I am now a solo traveler, over 60. I will pay a premium for being assured of cleanliness, safety, amenities like coffee and tea available at all hours. Breakfast included is a big draw. If in a hotel I would hope a real human could be reached 24/7 if needed. In a premium hotel, I would hope other meals would be available.

I just took my first solo overnight a few weeks ago. I chose a B&B. I’m glad I did.

Best wishes. ❤
 

Mrs. G

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Oh well, what the heck, I am just going to post the listing here that I am thinking about. It is this beautiful inn in Wilmington, NC and has been on the market for years. Our situation is that my husband's career in oil gas has taken a pretty significant toll on my mental health at this point. We have had to move so many times, live apart from each other for years at a time while he works across country, and it is constant cycles of boom and bust. Now with COVID, we are in another bust and he can't find a position in his niche (corporate-executive level) for going on 18 months. Several of his colleagues are in the same boat and some have jumped ship into other careers. This is unprecedented for my husband to be out of work for this long. One of our ideas is to buy this inn and we run it as a baseline income that we have going, a safety net so we are never put in this horrible position again with extremely volatile boom and bust oil gas. Frankly, it has been brutal on me with having to bounce around the country so much- nature of the business that jobs tend to be more project based than long term security.

Anyway, I wonder if this inn, the building would appreciate in years to come AND in the mean time provide us a steady income that buffers us against the hell of the oil gas industry. Plus, we would get to live in this beautiful home and have the guests pay off the mortgage. He could go work good positions that come up but I would stay in Wilmington and run this inn- full capacity if he is not working, maybe scale back less rooms if he is working.

I am desperate to lay down roots somewhere in NC (kids going to college here) as we have been oil gas nomads now for years. I hope to create a home base for our kids here as they plan to stay. I dunno. I am confused and unsure. My heart loves this place and has fallen in love with it with a feeling of passion for running it. My head keeps going though the frightening potential pitfalls of this plan and terrified it could be a bad move. I don't understand why it hasn't sold in years per Zillow. Anyway, here is the inn that I am thinking about if anyone has any input: Edited: 412 3rd St S, Wilmington, NC 28411 | MLS #100228080 | Zillow
 
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Morticia

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The price is kind of high for the yearly revenue. Maybe $850-900, but not that price. Which may be why it hasn’t sold. BTW, if they track when the inn name shows up online they’ll see this. You might want to remove the name.
 

Mrs. G

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gillumhouse

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I did not see a picture of the kitchen. As a B & B the kitchen is the hub followed by the laundry room. THAT is where I would be spending a huge chunk of my time. What appliances are there? Counter space? cabinet space? I do not know from $$$$ - my comfort zone is called Broke. I leave that to people who know about such things but I do know about no counter space & no cabinet space. UGH!!!!
 

Mrs. G

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I did not see a picture of the kitchen. As a B & B the kitchen is the hub followed by the laundry room. THAT is where I would be spending a huge chunk of my time. What appliances are there? Counter space? cabinet space? I do not know from $$$$ - my comfort zone is called Broke. I leave that to people who know about such things but I do know about no counter space & no cabinet space. UGH!!!!
I think the kitchen is smaller. I'm okay with an old school smaller kitchen but I know some are not so that could be a concern as far as resale. I dunno. I love that place so much that maybe I would just take my last breath there and pass it on to my kids someday.
 
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Morticia

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Kitchen space: the open floor space in my kitchen is 3’x 8’. I have 5 not -continuous feet of usable counter space. My plating space is 18”x 24”. We can feed 16, but not all at once. We had to take the knobs off the cabinet door so we could get the oven door open. Believe me when I say you can make it work, but you might not be happy with the things you cannot do because of space constraints.
 

Mrs. G

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Kitchen space: the open floor space in my kitchen is 3’x 8’. I have 5 not -continuous feet of usable counter space. My plating space is 18”x 24”. We can feed 16, but not all at once. We had to take the knobs off the cabinet door so we could get the oven door open. Believe me when I say you can make it work, but you might not be happy with the things you cannot do because of space constraints.
The smaller kitchen could definitely be what is part of what has held it back from selling as a single family home or inn. We definitely don’t want to get tied into something that we couldn’t sell in a reasonable amount of time. Although, I'm sure in due time this beautiful property will sell as Wilmington is becoming a more and more desirable city.
 
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JimBoone

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Love it, it is a beautiful building, yet me, I am a chicken. As a "handyman" I see huge expenses maintaining that type of building, all those jobs that I couldn't or wouldn't be able to do myself. My apologies in advance, but I seem to see two themes playing out, 1] I love the building and the dream and 2] I need a base income and home so as to not be chasing work around the country, which one is most important? I'm guilty, I followed my heart, a dream, fortunately, just on the cheap side. Several weeks into the business I had rented 5 rooms and wondered what I stepped into, our first March the gross sales were half of the February power bill. What happens if you need to support the business initially rather than it supporting you? I don't mean to be negative, but love what we do and would hate to see anyone hurt. Wish you the best whatever you choose to follow.
 

Mrs. G

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Love it, it is a beautiful building, yet me, I am a chicken. As a "handyman" I see huge expenses maintaining that type of building, all those jobs that I couldn't or wouldn't be able to do myself. My apologies in advance, but I seem to see two themes playing out, 1] I love the building and the dream and 2] I need a base income and home so as to not be chasing work around the country, which one is most important? I'm guilty, I followed my heart, a dream, fortunately, just on the cheap side. Several weeks into the business I had rented 5 rooms and wondered what I stepped into, our first March the gross sales were half of the February power bill. What happens if you need to support the business initially rather than it supporting you? I don't mean to be negative, but love what we do and would hate to see anyone hurt. Wish you the best whatever you choose to follow.
All good points. The current owners seem to have done such an amazing job keeping it in perfect condition. They have such glowing reviews about how clean and perfectly maintained it is. For a higher priced property like this, there would have to be a very robust occupancy rate combined with strong market for upscale room rates in order for it to be financially viable.
 
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Eugee2

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The ratio of assessed value to taxes is good but I’d agree that the list price is high given the assessed value at 545k. Beautiful house but plan on some paid help, that’s a big house. I do mine mostly myself at 5000 sq ft but I’m always busy keeping it looking good inside and out.
 
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