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Morticia

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So I read on a blog (innkeeping) that a 'good, solidly performing' B&B or inn should have around a 50% repeat rate.
Care to discuss this? Do you agree? Disagree? Have a different perspective?
 

Willowpondgj

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I think it totally depends on whether your area is a "destination" or not. The majority of our guests are people traveling between Salt Lake and Denver...who are actually traveling cross country, from California or somewhere east and do not want to drive another 4 hrs to get to their next stop. In second, are the folks from Denver looking for a getaway under 4 hours, from which most of our repeats come from. We do get some repeats, and we do get summer tourists coming to the monument, but mostly, we're are a most desireable pit-stop...The majority of repeats are people who have family here, and generally they are visiting elderly parents.The most frequent comment we get is, "I wish I had known there was so much to do here, we'd have booked another night"...we, hopefully, reel them in to return someday....We always try to talk our one nighters into another night, not just because of the revenue, but because we know they will wish they had, because our place is really peaceful and there really is so much to do here that most people don't know about. We actually got an e-mail from a guest a couple weeks back, thanking DH for talking him into the extra night! That one was a shocker!
 

Copperhead

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I don't know if this is the way to rate as 'good, solid performing' or not. - I really think it depends on what area you are in and the type of guests you attact. Large, tourist areas would be less liikely (I would think) in having a large persentage of repeats...at least multi repeats. In some areas, maybe a mixture of repeat / referrals with a high % would constitute fitting that term.
I have also read that a B&B with a 50% occupancy rate is a solid business. - That could be or not depending on a lot of factors.
Interesting topic, looking forward to other comments.
 

Proud Texan

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We've only been open for 11 months, so it's too soon to tell. I wouldn't think we'd have repeats sooner than a year of being open. We have had repeats, but not that many.
 

JeannineIrish

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I think it totally depends on whether your area is a "destination" or not. The majority of our guests are people traveling between Salt Lake and Denver...who are actually traveling cross country, from California or somewhere east and do not want to drive another 4 hrs to get to their next stop. In second, are the folks from Denver looking for a getaway under 4 hours, from which most of our repeats come from. We do get some repeats, and we do get summer tourists coming to the monument, but mostly, we're are a most desireable pit-stop...The majority of repeats are people who have family here, and generally they are visiting elderly parents.The most frequent comment we get is, "I wish I had known there was so much to do here, we'd have booked another night"...we, hopefully, reel them in to return someday....We always try to talk our one nighters into another night, not just because of the revenue, but because we know they will wish they had, because our place is really peaceful and there really is so much to do here that most people don't know about. We actually got an e-mail from a guest a couple weeks back, thanking DH for talking him into the extra night! That one was a shocker!
.
You just about took the words right out of my mouth. I don't know what our % is but I bet it is not too high for repeats. Family's looking at colleges only become repeats if their kid gets into the school and then only while the kid is here. We get a lot of one nighters coming in or going home on international flights at the New York airports. Rather than stay ovenight in New York they stay here on their way to or from vacation. We also get "I wish I had known there was so much to do here, we'd have booked another night"... Repeats may also be people who have family in the area. We also get people stopping here on their way to or from somewhere else, going to Cape Cod, farther north in New England etc.
I just did a report in Rezovation for last year and 21% of our reservations were "Repeat Guests".
 

Morticia

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I don't know if this is the way to rate as 'good, solid performing' or not. - I really think it depends on what area you are in and the type of guests you attact. Large, tourist areas would be less liikely (I would think) in having a large persentage of repeats...at least multi repeats. In some areas, maybe a mixture of repeat / referrals with a high % would constitute fitting that term.
I have also read that a B&B with a 50% occupancy rate is a solid business. - That could be or not depending on a lot of factors.
Interesting topic, looking forward to other comments..
Thanks. That is more what the article said...they considered referrals from guests into that 50%. So a combo of guests you have seen before and guests who they referred to you.
What makes me wonder about any kind of repeat biz is don't people want to go somewhere different? I guess if this was a 'quick drive' from a big city it would make for a nice weekend getaway. The funny thing here is that the majority of my repeats are not from that close. They're from 6-8 hours away, at least.
 

One Day

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I think it totally depends on whether your area is a "destination" or not. The majority of our guests are people traveling between Salt Lake and Denver...who are actually traveling cross country, from California or somewhere east and do not want to drive another 4 hrs to get to their next stop. In second, are the folks from Denver looking for a getaway under 4 hours, from which most of our repeats come from. We do get some repeats, and we do get summer tourists coming to the monument, but mostly, we're are a most desireable pit-stop...The majority of repeats are people who have family here, and generally they are visiting elderly parents.The most frequent comment we get is, "I wish I had known there was so much to do here, we'd have booked another night"...we, hopefully, reel them in to return someday....We always try to talk our one nighters into another night, not just because of the revenue, but because we know they will wish they had, because our place is really peaceful and there really is so much to do here that most people don't know about. We actually got an e-mail from a guest a couple weeks back, thanking DH for talking him into the extra night! That one was a shocker!
.
You just about took the words right out of my mouth. I don't know what our % is but I bet it is not too high for repeats. Family's looking at colleges only become repeats if their kid gets into the school and then only while the kid is here. We get a lot of one nighters coming in or going home on international flights at the New York airports. Rather than stay ovenight in New York they stay here on their way to or from vacation. We also get "I wish I had known there was so much to do here, we'd have booked another night"... Repeats may also be people who have family in the area. We also get people stopping here on their way to or from somewhere else, going to Cape Cod, farther north in New England etc.
I just did a report in Rezovation for last year and 21% of our reservations were "Repeat Guests".
.
What general area are you located near NYC ?
 

muirford

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I would guess that about 1/3 of our guests are repeats. Unfortunately I have to guess because Webervations 2.0 doesn't have a report that will tell me that without my counting. Adding in referrals would make it higher, and spanning over almost 25 years before I have any data would also make it higher. We just had guests last week who were here two or three times with previous owners but it was their first time with us.
We are in a market that makes that more common, though, being a weekend getaway for a major city and close enough to a few other metropolitan areas. We have festivals that people return to year after year as well. 50% seems high to me except for those in tourist areas - however, lots of B&Bs (not well-represented here) are in those areas. My parents and their friends make an annual trip to Cape May NJ and stay at the same place every time.
 

EmptyNest

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I know of some that meet this..but not many. For us..we got a few repeats. We never expected them. Just like me..I never go to the same B & B twice...I want to try different places..not the same thing again. Though there are many who find comfort in the same location and knowing what they are gettting. Different strokes for different folks.
 

Breakfast Diva

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We run about 25% return guests. That doesn't include referrals. I find a 50% repeat to be unusually high. Of course it depends on the overall occupancy rate too. If you have 50% return guests, but you have an annual occupancy rate of 25-35% then it doesn't have the same relevancy as an inn with much higer occupancy.
 

wendydk

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Our repeat rate is considerably lower than 50%...would be higher, but everyone who has stayed before wants to come in the summer, but because we run 90% in the summer, there's only room for so many. I can't tell you how many prior guests I've had to refer elsewhere because we were full. The ones that stay most often (some 9-10 times in six years) are the ones that come in the fall and winter.
 

JBloggs

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I know of some that meet this..but not many. For us..we got a few repeats. We never expected them. Just like me..I never go to the same B & B twice...I want to try different places..not the same thing again. Though there are many who find comfort in the same location and knowing what they are gettting. Different strokes for different folks..
catlady said:
I know of some that meet this..but not many. For us..we got a few repeats. We never expected them. Just like me..I never go to the same B & B twice...I want to try different places..not the same thing again. Though there are many who find comfort in the same location and knowing what they are gettting. Different strokes for different folks.
I never go to the same place twice either, no matter how much i loved it, I want to keep it a good experience/memory.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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I think one must consider length of time in business very heavily in the calculation. Local competition should also be factored in.
I would imagine an area that is within a few hours drive from a major metro area with few choices would have a much higher percentage.
We've seen our repeat guests increase every successive year, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to 50%.
Does the multitudes of guests who go on and on about how they are going to tell all their friends count?
That one could go in the "I can't wait to get home and write a review on TA for you" category.
 

Morticia

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I think one must consider length of time in business very heavily in the calculation. Local competition should also be factored in.
I would imagine an area that is within a few hours drive from a major metro area with few choices would have a much higher percentage.
We've seen our repeat guests increase every successive year, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to 50%.
Does the multitudes of guests who go on and on about how they are going to tell all their friends count?
That one could go in the "I can't wait to get home and write a review on TA for you" category..
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
 

Morticia

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I think one must consider length of time in business very heavily in the calculation. Local competition should also be factored in.
I would imagine an area that is within a few hours drive from a major metro area with few choices would have a much higher percentage.
We've seen our repeat guests increase every successive year, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to 50%.
Does the multitudes of guests who go on and on about how they are going to tell all their friends count?
That one could go in the "I can't wait to get home and write a review on TA for you" category..
Here's the quote from the blog:
[FONT= &quot]First of all, we know from all of our consulting work with Inns across the country that really successful, mature Inn businesses have repeat and referral guests at least equal to or greater than 50% of their overall business. [/FONT]In other words, people who have already been there or who come to the Inn based on direct word of mouth referral from a guest who has been to the Inn should constitute at least half of the overall guest visits to the Inn in a given year.

This place has been in biz for 22 years. We DO still have the original guests coming back, but fewer of them than 5 years ago. We just don't have the same personalities as the former owners. So that can work against a biz, too. The guests get 'comfy' and then a new 'regime' comes along. The blog didn't address a change in mgmt.
If the PO's had kept computer-based records they shared with us (instead of walking off with them) we might be able to track how many of those PG's we lost. Every once in awhile someone shows up at the door and says they were here 10 years ago, so we count them as a repeat.
But the repeats usually avoid 'in season'. They only come out in the off season. Unless they vacation here for the summer. We do get a few of those.
 

muirford

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I think one must consider length of time in business very heavily in the calculation. Local competition should also be factored in.
I would imagine an area that is within a few hours drive from a major metro area with few choices would have a much higher percentage.
We've seen our repeat guests increase every successive year, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to 50%.
Does the multitudes of guests who go on and on about how they are going to tell all their friends count?
That one could go in the "I can't wait to get home and write a review on TA for you" category..
Here's the quote from the blog:
[FONT= &quot]First of all, we know from all of our consulting work with Inns across the country that really successful, mature Inn businesses have repeat and referral guests at least equal to or greater than 50% of their overall business. [/FONT]In other words, people who have already been there or who come to the Inn based on direct word of mouth referral from a guest who has been to the Inn should constitute at least half of the overall guest visits to the Inn in a given year.

This place has been in biz for 22 years. We DO still have the original guests coming back, but fewer of them than 5 years ago. We just don't have the same personalities as the former owners. So that can work against a biz, too. The guests get 'comfy' and then a new 'regime' comes along. The blog didn't address a change in mgmt.
If the PO's had kept computer-based records they shared with us (instead of walking off with them) we might be able to track how many of those PG's we lost. Every once in awhile someone shows up at the door and says they were here 10 years ago, so we count them as a repeat.
But the repeats usually avoid 'in season'. They only come out in the off season. Unless they vacation here for the summer. We do get a few of those.
.
Care to share the innkeeping blog that started this conversation? Is it one we should add to the blogroll?
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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I think one must consider length of time in business very heavily in the calculation. Local competition should also be factored in.
I would imagine an area that is within a few hours drive from a major metro area with few choices would have a much higher percentage.
We've seen our repeat guests increase every successive year, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to 50%.
Does the multitudes of guests who go on and on about how they are going to tell all their friends count?
That one could go in the "I can't wait to get home and write a review on TA for you" category..
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
.
Bree said:
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
Was only pointing out that it takes time to build a clientele to the point that they would return to the same place for a vacation or weekend more than once.
This freakin' business amazes me.
We have all this talent here with all these backgrounds, skills, professional and life experiences and many folks will defend how great their guests are, the decor, approach, menu, towel choices, profitablility, etc. of their B&Bs, blah....blah...blah..... but losing repeat guests to OUR own burnout is a major factor ?
I don't get the incompatibility in that mentality in the slightest. If there is a pattern to that its in my opinion self-induced because of the typical track people take to becoming innkeepers. Nobody told the vast majority of innkeepers to wait until they were in their mid to late 50's to open or buy a B&B.
So somebody will work 30-40 years for some corporate entity or company, but they open a B&B and suddenly 5-7 years is all the sotmach they have for hard work, dealing with customers, etc.?
We didn't start our working life as innkeepers, but I'll tell you what, I've worked for some real jerks in my other work life and this is the easiest, quickest to learn, easist to be good at set of skills I've ever tried to accomplish.
 

Morticia

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I think one must consider length of time in business very heavily in the calculation. Local competition should also be factored in.
I would imagine an area that is within a few hours drive from a major metro area with few choices would have a much higher percentage.
We've seen our repeat guests increase every successive year, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to 50%.
Does the multitudes of guests who go on and on about how they are going to tell all their friends count?
That one could go in the "I can't wait to get home and write a review on TA for you" category..
Here's the quote from the blog:
[FONT= &quot]First of all, we know from all of our consulting work with Inns across the country that really successful, mature Inn businesses have repeat and referral guests at least equal to or greater than 50% of their overall business. [/FONT]In other words, people who have already been there or who come to the Inn based on direct word of mouth referral from a guest who has been to the Inn should constitute at least half of the overall guest visits to the Inn in a given year.

This place has been in biz for 22 years. We DO still have the original guests coming back, but fewer of them than 5 years ago. We just don't have the same personalities as the former owners. So that can work against a biz, too. The guests get 'comfy' and then a new 'regime' comes along. The blog didn't address a change in mgmt.
If the PO's had kept computer-based records they shared with us (instead of walking off with them) we might be able to track how many of those PG's we lost. Every once in awhile someone shows up at the door and says they were here 10 years ago, so we count them as a repeat.
But the repeats usually avoid 'in season'. They only come out in the off season. Unless they vacation here for the summer. We do get a few of those.
.
Care to share the innkeeping blog that started this conversation? Is it one we should add to the blogroll?
.
muirford said:
Care to share the innkeeping blog that started this conversation? Is it one we should add to the blogroll?
It's on the blogroll already, just that this particular post didn't come up. Let me see which one I clicked on and found this one. Quantum Hospitality.
 

Morticia

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I think one must consider length of time in business very heavily in the calculation. Local competition should also be factored in.
I would imagine an area that is within a few hours drive from a major metro area with few choices would have a much higher percentage.
We've seen our repeat guests increase every successive year, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to 50%.
Does the multitudes of guests who go on and on about how they are going to tell all their friends count?
That one could go in the "I can't wait to get home and write a review on TA for you" category..
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
.
Bree said:
Length of time in business is a double-edged sword. You have time to get the repeats, but you also have time to lose them by burning out.
Was only pointing out that it takes time to build a clientele to the point that they would return to the same place for a vacation or weekend more than once.
This freakin' business amazes me.
We have all this talent here with all these backgrounds, skills, professional and life experiences and many folks will defend how great their guests are, the decor, approach, menu, towel choices, profitablility, etc. of their B&Bs, blah....blah...blah..... but losing repeat guests to OUR own burnout is a major factor ?
I don't get the incompatibility in that mentality in the slightest. If there is a pattern to that its in my opinion self-induced because of the typical track people take to becoming innkeepers. Nobody told the vast majority of innkeepers to wait until they were in their mid to late 50's to open or buy a B&B.
So somebody will work 30-40 years for some corporate entity or company, but they open a B&B and suddenly 5-7 years is all the sotmach they have for hard work, dealing with customers, etc.?
We didn't start our working life as innkeepers, but I'll tell you what, I've worked for some real jerks in my other work life and this is the easiest, quickest to learn, easist to be good at set of skills I've ever tried to accomplish.
.
You've missed a lot of my 'PO' stories. Here's a short rundown...these are people who WANTED to be innkeepers so badly they spent all of their money to buy this place. By the time we came along (4 years later) they were snarling at each other over breakfast. (We stayed here on vacation.) OK, HE was snarling at her and undermining her at every turn. SHE was nice as pie. They went back to work at their former occupations and as far as I know are perfectly happy at them. They have spending money, they have their weekends off, they are doing work they love, they can indulge their expensive hobbies.
Some people just find it easier to not be in charge. It's easier to let someone else take the brunt of unhappy clients. 'You'll have to speak to the manager/owner/supervisor' is a great way to avoid having to deal with situations you don't know how to handle. Such as guests using the kitchen and myriad other issues we ran into our first year here. They let the inmates run the asylum and sold when they realized they couldn't take charge.
I see how it happens because we have guests now who think the rules don't apply to them. 99% of the repeats treat this place as OUR home, but 1% treat it like THEIR home. We have to gently nudge them out of the non-guest areas without seeming like we're doing that.
So, yeah, SOME people get in over their heads. They didn't/wouldn't say no and it got out of hand. They gave up. They retreated to their room and didn't come out until breakfast. Where they argued with each other in front of the guests. Even my BIL, looking at their info page on the website said, 'Knock off another $25k, they hate each other and can't wait to sell.' (He was right.)
Our first day here as owners the POs came to 'help' us get set up. 3 hours late. HE called my husband names in front of the guests who were standing around and that was the end of that. We said we didn't need their help, thank you very much, and away they went. But not before they insulted us a few more times and made us realize how penny-pinching they were and how that can make you a sour person very quickly. (ONE tbsp of ham was a serving size. TWO spritzes of cleaner were 'enough' to clean a whole shower. If you can get by without fixing something, it's money in your pocket. So, yeah, they still have us beat on the money thing, but we're a heck of a lot happier in our work.)
I think I said before I didn't get into this to serve the public, but, like yourself, it's something I find I do fairly well and it's easy to learn.
 
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