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YellowSocks

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Does anyone have any experience with these, pro or con?
Thanks!
=)
Kk.
 

Innkeep

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I just got a phone call from them earlier in the week. I put her off for a week trying to decide if it was worth it. I suspect it is unlikely even if I decided to participate that I'd get many takers, and although I haven't read their contract thoroughly, I think they send you a check for $89 if someone uses a gift certificate at your place. So, it's either free advertising or you get a percentage of what you would normally sell your room for. I think there's a lot less risk for us than there would be in touristy places. Do keep us posted as to what you decide to do.
 

muirford

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We were contacted awhile ago, and they sent us a sample box. They are attractive and I have seen them for sale at some bookstores already. We decided not to do it - the commission rate was 30% and we weren't ready to sign up for that, in addition to all the usual problems with gift certificates/cards sold en masse that we've talked about before.
JB They are nicely packages vacations - their website is http://www.smartbox.com/us/.
 

JBloggs

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We were contacted awhile ago, and they sent us a sample box. They are attractive and I have seen them for sale at some bookstores already. We decided not to do it - the commission rate was 30% and we weren't ready to sign up for that, in addition to all the usual problems with gift certificates/cards sold en masse that we've talked about before.
JB They are nicely packages vacations - their website is http://www.smartbox.com/us/..
I see this inn is listed there (Riki's good friends) http://www.smartbox.com/us/?menu=activity&id=56285 I wonder what they think of it? They serve a gourmet dinner at the inn, it seems to be part of the packaging for this.
30% is pretty steep. So J you are saying once you are listed, then you are out there forever on this promotion as long as someone has purchased the box?
 

muirford

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We were contacted awhile ago, and they sent us a sample box. They are attractive and I have seen them for sale at some bookstores already. We decided not to do it - the commission rate was 30% and we weren't ready to sign up for that, in addition to all the usual problems with gift certificates/cards sold en masse that we've talked about before.
JB They are nicely packages vacations - their website is http://www.smartbox.com/us/..
I see this inn is listed there (Riki's good friends) http://www.smartbox.com/us/?menu=activity&id=56285 I wonder what they think of it? They serve a gourmet dinner at the inn, it seems to be part of the packaging for this.
30% is pretty steep. So J you are saying once you are listed, then you are out there forever on this promotion as long as someone has purchased the box?
.
Joey Bloggs said:
So J you are saying once you are listed, then you are out there forever on this promotion as long as someone has purchased the box?
Yes, I believe that is so unless something has changed with the program. That was another concern.
 

EmptyNest

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We were contacted awhile ago, and they sent us a sample box. They are attractive and I have seen them for sale at some bookstores already. We decided not to do it - the commission rate was 30% and we weren't ready to sign up for that, in addition to all the usual problems with gift certificates/cards sold en masse that we've talked about before.
JB They are nicely packages vacations - their website is http://www.smartbox.com/us/..
I have never heard of this site. Wonder if anyone else has??? yowsa..30%..that's a big chunk..and as you say...same problem as with gift cards etc.
 

muirford

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We were contacted awhile ago, and they sent us a sample box. They are attractive and I have seen them for sale at some bookstores already. We decided not to do it - the commission rate was 30% and we weren't ready to sign up for that, in addition to all the usual problems with gift certificates/cards sold en masse that we've talked about before.
JB They are nicely packages vacations - their website is http://www.smartbox.com/us/..
I have never heard of this site. Wonder if anyone else has??? yowsa..30%..that's a big chunk..and as you say...same problem as with gift cards etc.
.
I think some other SR inns have chosen to participate. At least one (although I can't remember who) mentioned it at our last regional meeting. They are beautifully packaged but not cheap to buy, either. I'm not a fan of prepackaged 'experiences' for myself, but lots of people are.
 

seashanty

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are these like the vacations to the bahamas you can buy at sam's?
 

JBloggs

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If sold at bookstores then I think there is something to that, good marketing. I don't do packages/tours but there are many people who do, so maybe this is the demographic they are appealing to. It resembles a neat board game to me, and I am liking the look of it. I think I may have seen these at B&N on my last visit but never picked one up.
I am guessing it is the pre-packaged-ness that is the selling point, as a gift, it is an experience you can wrap up and give to someone or put under the tree. There are plenty who buy "drive a race car at 120mph, or fly in a bi-plane" experiences for parents, friends, coworkers or spouses, so this seems to be a step further on the packaging side. Maybe giving the recipient more options on where they go and how they spend it? I have given experience gifts to those "who have it all" and thought I was pretty clever.
Once I gave a B&B package where one recipient slept on a chair in the room both nights due to an overabundant use of "febreeze" sprayed onto the bed and linens.
 

muirford

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are these like the vacations to the bahamas you can buy at sam's?.
I've never looked at those packages but they might be similar. They are focused on 'experiences' - there's an adventure smartbox, a gourmet retreats smartbox, a serenity smartbox, all by geographic region or state. Then within that experience you choose from several options for the experience - spa treatments, B&Bs, restaurants - and that smartbox coupon or whatever it is is taken as payment by the chosen partner.
 

Morticia

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If sold at bookstores then I think there is something to that, good marketing. I don't do packages/tours but there are many people who do, so maybe this is the demographic they are appealing to. It resembles a neat board game to me, and I am liking the look of it. I think I may have seen these at B&N on my last visit but never picked one up.
I am guessing it is the pre-packaged-ness that is the selling point, as a gift, it is an experience you can wrap up and give to someone or put under the tree. There are plenty who buy "drive a race car at 120mph, or fly in a bi-plane" experiences for parents, friends, coworkers or spouses, so this seems to be a step further on the packaging side. Maybe giving the recipient more options on where they go and how they spend it? I have given experience gifts to those "who have it all" and thought I was pretty clever.
Once I gave a B&B package where one recipient slept on a chair in the room both nights due to an overabundant use of "febreeze" sprayed onto the bed and linens..
Richard Petty driving schol. Gomez went twice. One hour 'learn to fly' lessons, Gomez & son went. They absolutely LOVED those gifts. Something they wouldn't do unless it was already paid for.
 

Morticia

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are these like the vacations to the bahamas you can buy at sam's?.
I've never looked at those packages but they might be similar. They are focused on 'experiences' - there's an adventure smartbox, a gourmet retreats smartbox, a serenity smartbox, all by geographic region or state. Then within that experience you choose from several options for the experience - spa treatments, B&Bs, restaurants - and that smartbox coupon or whatever it is is taken as payment by the chosen partner.
.
What's good in a way is that you don't have to be the place chosen for the coupon, but most people don't throw away 'books' so they may keep it as a reference for another time. 'Let's try one of these other places.'
How much does it cost to buy one of those boxes? Never mind, I looked it up.
 

gillumhouse

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I just got a phone call from them earlier in the week. I put her off for a week trying to decide if it was worth it. I suspect it is unlikely even if I decided to participate that I'd get many takers, and although I haven't read their contract thoroughly, I think they send you a check for $89 if someone uses a gift certificate at your place. So, it's either free advertising or you get a percentage of what you would normally sell your room for. I think there's a lot less risk for us than there would be in touristy places. Do keep us posted as to what you decide to do..
It hit me at first that this was similar to something I had an e-mail about a couple weeks ago. Your reply cinched it. They would pay me $87 toward a package I put together. I declined. I would rather put my packages together and get full rate for them.
Edited to add: This was a guidebook that would sell for $129 in the bookstore with coupons in it. Not a "box" of ecperiences.
 

YellowSocks

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They have a bunch of different "boxes." Each box has a guide (book) and a GC for something inside. Some of them are for family outings or adverture stuff. The call I got was for Charming Getaways, which is overnight at a B&B.
Kathleen has the numbers right... customer buys the box for $129 which includes the book and a GC for one "package." The package includes 1) overnight stay 2) breakfast 3) welcoming food or beverage and they ask you have that be worth $129. Well, all of my rooms include bed, breakfast, and snacks, so that part's easy. My rates are in the $110-$120 range, but now that it's the dead of winter we're running 20% off specials, so getting $87 for a room night would be acceptable.
My fear was that we'd have people using them on our peak weekends, but the rep told me I can specify some block out dates on my page. (Not sure if that's true, but she thinks so!) She also said that last year the distribution was 10,000, and this year's will be more. I'm, like, at least 10,001, right?
Very pretty books, and I agree that they'd be floating around out there for a while. I believe the GC is good for 1-1/2 years, although someone told me that this summer federal law will kick in and GC's will have to be good for 5 years.
At this point I'm going to go ahead with it...
=)
Kk.
 

JBloggs

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They have a bunch of different "boxes." Each box has a guide (book) and a GC for something inside. Some of them are for family outings or adverture stuff. The call I got was for Charming Getaways, which is overnight at a B&B.
Kathleen has the numbers right... customer buys the box for $129 which includes the book and a GC for one "package." The package includes 1) overnight stay 2) breakfast 3) welcoming food or beverage and they ask you have that be worth $129. Well, all of my rooms include bed, breakfast, and snacks, so that part's easy. My rates are in the $110-$120 range, but now that it's the dead of winter we're running 20% off specials, so getting $87 for a room night would be acceptable.
My fear was that we'd have people using them on our peak weekends, but the rep told me I can specify some block out dates on my page. (Not sure if that's true, but she thinks so!) She also said that last year the distribution was 10,000, and this year's will be more. I'm, like, at least 10,001, right?
Very pretty books, and I agree that they'd be floating around out there for a while. I believe the GC is good for 1-1/2 years, although someone told me that this summer federal law will kick in and GC's will have to be good for 5 years.
At this point I'm going to go ahead with it...
=)
Kk..
YS let us know how it goes for you. The listings are web based, so you will be added immediately correct? So these are for sale now, they are just trying to add more and more inns available for the user to choose from.
I am of the mind set that not every room is booked solid every day in season here, so this might be a good prgm. It would be very difficult to say "no graduation weekend, no holiday weekend, no leaf peeping weekends, etc etc" til you have so many NO DATES, can you just specify the YES dates? Unless your occup is 50%+, there is always room at the inn. :)
Thanks for letting us know about this, I will have a look next time I visit B&N.
 

gillumhouse

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They have a bunch of different "boxes." Each box has a guide (book) and a GC for something inside. Some of them are for family outings or adverture stuff. The call I got was for Charming Getaways, which is overnight at a B&B.
Kathleen has the numbers right... customer buys the box for $129 which includes the book and a GC for one "package." The package includes 1) overnight stay 2) breakfast 3) welcoming food or beverage and they ask you have that be worth $129. Well, all of my rooms include bed, breakfast, and snacks, so that part's easy. My rates are in the $110-$120 range, but now that it's the dead of winter we're running 20% off specials, so getting $87 for a room night would be acceptable.
My fear was that we'd have people using them on our peak weekends, but the rep told me I can specify some block out dates on my page. (Not sure if that's true, but she thinks so!) She also said that last year the distribution was 10,000, and this year's will be more. I'm, like, at least 10,001, right?
Very pretty books, and I agree that they'd be floating around out there for a while. I believe the GC is good for 1-1/2 years, although someone told me that this summer federal law will kick in and GC's will have to be good for 5 years.
At this point I'm going to go ahead with it...
=)
Kk..
My experience is that these things never want to come EXCEPT at high season, on a special event weekend and want me to hold my ankles...
 

Morticia

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They have a bunch of different "boxes." Each box has a guide (book) and a GC for something inside. Some of them are for family outings or adverture stuff. The call I got was for Charming Getaways, which is overnight at a B&B.
Kathleen has the numbers right... customer buys the box for $129 which includes the book and a GC for one "package." The package includes 1) overnight stay 2) breakfast 3) welcoming food or beverage and they ask you have that be worth $129. Well, all of my rooms include bed, breakfast, and snacks, so that part's easy. My rates are in the $110-$120 range, but now that it's the dead of winter we're running 20% off specials, so getting $87 for a room night would be acceptable.
My fear was that we'd have people using them on our peak weekends, but the rep told me I can specify some block out dates on my page. (Not sure if that's true, but she thinks so!) She also said that last year the distribution was 10,000, and this year's will be more. I'm, like, at least 10,001, right?
Very pretty books, and I agree that they'd be floating around out there for a while. I believe the GC is good for 1-1/2 years, although someone told me that this summer federal law will kick in and GC's will have to be good for 5 years.
At this point I'm going to go ahead with it...
=)
Kk..
I saw one of the listings online and it looked good.
My question would be about how it is described in the book. Would the guest be 'expecting' some sort of welcome package? Wine & cheese or something like that given what you described?
Now if your rooms are well above the price of the book and the person is getting a 'heckuva deal' by only paying $129, how much more are you expected to spend on making these folks happy?
I guess I'm not seeing how $87 can be worth it for some folks.
I like the way it is being packaged and marketed. Much more so than the other GC's that were for sale at cut rate prices. But it's a 50% reduction for some places. Much more than the 30% the other GC's were getting.
And as we've been discussing here, is it worth turning the heat on in the whole house for $87? Because if you're going to block peak season, that's the other side of the coin.
 

YellowSocks

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It's not online... it's an actual box you buy in an actual store. I think the 2010 one will come out in August.
I write up my stuff on the form they sent, send 10 high res pics, and they do the layout. Supposedly I get to proof the final.
The rep said I can put blackout dates, but I have to agree... it wouldn't look as good. I could put "not valid for Mid-Ohio weekends" but I think what will work just as well is to go to a two night minimum for those weekends. So even if they use the gift card they'd have to pay full price for the next night.
As far as what we offer, it must include 1) room, 2) breakfast, 3) welcoming snack or beverage for a total "package" worth at least $129. It looked to me like a lot of the existing ads were pretty much that... room, breakfast, beverage on arrival. I figured I'd throw in some chocolate covered strawberries to up the value without significantly increasing my costs. (They're easy for me to make... and reasonable unless it's the first week of November!)
=)
Kk.
 

JBloggs

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YS if is it not online how are we looking at it and seeing the difference experiences and diff participating inns in each state?
 
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