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Tell innkeeper about bad website??

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cherry64

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I booked a room at a B&B on my route to Maine for Friday night, but I almost didn't because all they have is a bed and breakfast . com website. It bugs me when inns don't have a personal website, let alone no online availbility calendar or booking option. If they didn't have a really high review rating, I would not have sent an email asking availability. Their proximity to the highway was a big deciding factor too. Still, I had kept looking for something better, but even without a personal website, this place still looked the best for what I want in a B & B. To be fair, they did put alot of info on the site.
My question is, should I mention this to the innkeeper? She sounded exceptionally nice on the phone and their reviews indicate people are still staying there and really enjoying their visits. Maybe if she asks how we found their inn?
 

Morticia

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My guess is that she won't believe you that a website would help. Like JBJ says all the time...absence of proof is not proof of absence. They are probably busy as they want to be.
However, IF you get an opening, I would mention that a website filled with pix and more info would be nice.
 

JBloggs

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YES! My theory on this is if they do not have a professional website they are not professional. It goes into all aspects of a B&B - like not accepting credit cards - or saying people don't want online reservation systems - get into this century please. She will say to you if you tell her "Why no one has ever mentioned that to me before. Have you seen our trip advisor ratings?" There is a BnB about 25 minues from us who has the most awful website, email requests for a reservation, and paypal. She is a highly intelligent individual and for the life of me cannot figure out how she can exist with this most terrible website for over two years now. In my opinion there is nothing more important than the website, that is the guests first introduction/impression of your BnB. If it is a bad one, don't remind us to say "I told you so" when you tell us how bad the stay was. I just reread what you wrote, I will give credit to the innkeeper who uses a simple directory for their listing over the one I mentioned above, better that than an awful homespun website.
 

Copperhead

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This may be a sideline business and are doing as much business as they want...But, if you do get an opening you could mention how you were surprised that they did not have their own site and mention that you do not usually book a B&B without one as you like to see more pictures and information. Let that be the bait you dangle and see if she takes hold and continues the conversation. If not, move on and hope that she later thinks about what you said and acts on it. Usually if a suggestion is mentioned to me by a guest, I keep replaying it over in my mind to determine what to do with the information so it may not happen right away, but it has a lasting impression.
 

Morticia

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This may be a sideline business and are doing as much business as they want...But, if you do get an opening you could mention how you were surprised that they did not have their own site and mention that you do not usually book a B&B without one as you like to see more pictures and information. Let that be the bait you dangle and see if she takes hold and continues the conversation. If not, move on and hope that she later thinks about what you said and acts on it. Usually if a suggestion is mentioned to me by a guest, I keep replaying it over in my mind to determine what to do with the information so it may not happen right away, but it has a lasting impression..
Copperhead said:
Usually if a suggestion is mentioned to me by a guest, I keep replaying it over in my mind to determine what to do with the information so it may not happen right away, but it has a lasting impression.
Sometimes they play for a long while before I act on them! Our first month here we had everyone giving us suggestions on how to make the business better. Who knew so many guests were closet marketers or decorators! I'm going to start another thread on this topic instead of playing pirate here...
 

egoodell

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cherry64 said:
My question is, should I mention this to the innkeeper? She sounded exceptionally nice on the phone and their reviews indicate people are still staying there and really enjoying their visits. Maybe if she asks how we found their inn?
I'd give it a try. There are still innkeepers out there who believe that they don't need online booking and that they need to "vett" (sp?) their bookings over the phone. While they think this makes them more professional in giving personal service they are not accepting that they need to get up to date and give the personal service that is in demand these days.
These days travelers want to be able to do it all online and to call an 800 number if they have specific questions. So in my mind an innkeeper who refuses to moderninze and work with online booking is actually NOT giving good service. Sometimes you just want to find what you want and book it, not feel like you have to take the time out to "chat".
Riki
 

swirt

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cherry64 said:
My question is, should I mention this to the innkeeper? She sounded exceptionally nice on the phone and their reviews indicate people are still staying there and really enjoying their visits. Maybe if she asks how we found their inn?
I'd give it a try. There are still innkeepers out there who believe that they don't need online booking and that they need to "vett" (sp?) their bookings over the phone. While they think this makes them more professional in giving personal service they are not accepting that they need to get up to date and give the personal service that is in demand these days.
These days travelers want to be able to do it all online and to call an 800 number if they have specific questions. So in my mind an innkeeper who refuses to moderninze and work with online booking is actually NOT giving good service. Sometimes you just want to find what you want and book it, not feel like you have to take the time out to "chat".
Riki.
Well said Riki :)
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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So are you staying there as a guest or as a B&B consultant?
If as a paying guest, I'd enjoy the stay, move on to your other business in the area and respect this woman enough as a collegue to run her place the way she finds most amenable to her style and desires.
Perhaps this innkeeper is a part-timer or hobbyist who doesn't need the income and is perfectly happy with the amount of business she currently has.
Perusing my local area's B&B directories and other areas I travel to, I see more than enough innkeepers with perfectly functioning and professionally managed websites who undervalue their offerings and efforts for years.
I shake my head sometimes being in an extremely popular, very high occupancy rate area and see some competition working their tails off to offer comparable quality of experience as most of us around here do, but offering rooms at 25-35% less than the rest of us and what the market will bear. The volume idea by being much cheaper doesn't really work with 4-6 room B&Bs like it does at a 400 room hotel/motel.
Some folks come to innkeeping after very successful corporate careers and are sitting on plies of money and don't care if they make money at this. Its a lifestyle choice to them.
There also are plenty of innkeepers who want full control over how and where guests find them in order to assure themselves that they book only to the types of guests they want in their homes.
For every lousy Schmotels.com guest we've accepted into our home sight unseen with no "vetting" whatsoever who made us regret we offer rooms via those thrid party venues, I'd have to say that having the financial security to be a little pickier is something we are working diligently towards.
 

seashanty

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i would not.
if there are comment cards, i'd suggest more of a website. otherwise, no.
maybe it is a financial constraint. huge mortgage (or two or three, plus other issues?) maybe it's already in the planning stages. maybe they are thinking about it but are scared off by the admonition to get professional photos, etc. again, $$.
in early days, i'd come into this forum and read about a room re-do or buying new sheet sets or something was on sale ... and i'd just cry ... money was that tight.
when someone would tell me i had to spend money to make money i would have to counter that i needed to make a little money before i would have some to spend to make more.
 

cherry64

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Sounds like keeping mouth shut, unless specifically asked is the way to go.

That's what I was thinking too.
Thanks!!
 

Morticia

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Sounds like keeping mouth shut, unless specifically asked is the way to go.

That's what I was thinking too.
Thanks!!.
cherry64 said:
Sounds like keeping mouth shut, unless specifically asked is the way to go.

That's what I was thinking too.
Thanks!!
I had an innkeeper ask me (knowing what I do for a living) if there was anything that needing seeing to in the room. I had to pick one thing because I didn't want to overwhelm them. What with a tub that didn't drain, a bed that listed to one side, no locks on the doors, etc I went with the sagging bed as I felt like I was going to roll out onto the floor unless I was smack in the middle of the bed. They told me there was nothing wrong with the bed. I should have gone with the slow drain!
 

JBloggs

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I tend to agree with the other comments about not saying anything, that is exactly what I would do, nothing. There is no reason to suggest anything to anyone unless they are on this forum seeking advice, or at an innkeeper conference, or a friend. They are doing themselves a diservice they do not even know about however. Re Seashanty's no money issue that is a fair amount of innkeeping in a nutshell. We don't make a salary, we put everything we earn back into these houses.
 

cedarhouse

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I agree with someone elses comment that if you do not have your own web site you are not serious about marketing your inn to the public. With so many easy to use web site templates there is no excuse to not have a web site. Some choose to hire a web site designer which is fine as well.
Also not having a web site does not bode well with search engine optimization and possible linking to other sites in your area that offer ancillary services to guests like restaurants and shops.
We have had and still have inns in our marketplace without their own web site. I check competitors occupancy levels often and the inn or inns without their own sites do not fare as well.
We had one inn that is no longer in business that did not have a web site or inhouse computer. They were always in the public library checking their emails for reservations.
 
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