Toll-free number?

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Kesous

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Greetings everyone....and happy holidays...What is your opinion on the importance of having a toll-free number for your B&B? How many of you have one?
Thanks, Kesous
PS..............I am having a good time reading posts on this forum. I can tell that I will be a regular here, as I am learning a great deal. I am glad I found this forum before we were ready to open our doors, so that I start learning these things now.
 

wendydk

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Funny you should ask...after 6 years with a local and a toll free number, I dropped the toll free number just before the mid-year point. Has made no difference in business or phone traffic.
In fact, I bundled our internet, cable and telephone through the local cable company at that time. Our phone number is now considered a home phone, and so is not listed as a business number in information any more. Still no difference. Of course, our business is nearly all online, and anyone who calls is looking at us somewhere online.....may not be the same for everyone else.
 

Morticia

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We have had a toll free number for eons. It gets used less and less. If you have any competition in your area, you should see what they do.
I won't be removing the toll free anytime soon because I'm not sure if it's prior guests who are using it or new guests. I'd hate for prior guests to get a 'sorry, that number has been disconnected' message.
 

ginocat

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I get lots of calls on my toll-free. I also advise guests to use it to call if they are going to be late arriving, etc. I have so many coming in from Europe and the UK who don't have cell phones. Anyway, it doesn't cost me much to have it and it certainly get's used.
 

Copperhead

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While the new age of cell phones and online booking is taking the world by storm the land line is not dead in the water, at least not yet. I continually get calls through my toll free number and would not think of getting rid of it. Why? It does not cost me anything unless I get a call and those calls lead me to reservations. Strictly a good business practice. As Gillium said, she is more likely to do business with someone with a toll free number than one that does not. The toll free number still gives customers an important sign - "I'm in business and I am wanting your business!"
 

swirt

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I can't remember... I think it was SeaShanty that had a cool 800 number she could use to forward to whatever phone she wanted and only paid for actual calls used. Seemed like a good idea to me. We don't have a, 800 number. Most of the places in our area don't have one so we never felt the need to get one either but I'm not sure that it is great reasoning on my part.
 

sgirouard

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Good thoughts, here. We do not have one (we're pretty spankin' new). We decided against it because it seems "everyone" either has a cell, and/or bundles their services at home so had unlimited long distance, and/or has VOIP, so long distance is a non-issue.
BUT - I recently had to pick DH up at the airport. Here was this poor gentleman, just off the plane from France, whose cell phone wasn't getting any service. Of course (Murphy's Law), he had no change for a pay phone (at least they had them!). I could not change the big bills he had, and he wouldn't take the change I did have (which, let's face it, was pitiful - does anyone carry much cnage anymore?). There was a machine there selling pre-pay phone cards, but the minimum purchase was $20 and he was reluctant to do that (limited on his cash dollars upon getintg into the country maybe?). Finally, the security guards gave him coins for the phone. I got the impression they see it a lot. Really can make you see how a toll-free number could have made things a lot easier on the guy.
 

seashanty

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hi kesous. welcome.
you are right, swirt, i used my 800 online
i got an 800 number because the other area b&b's had them.
the above service worked great for me because it was forwarded to any number i wanted, even for just a weekend. my situation was running a completely seasonal b&b and it was too cold for anyone stay in the building during the winter. so, i'd close up (literally) and any calls to the 800 number came to wherever i happened to be. it's a prepaid service, so i'd add minutes as need be. also, a little added perk ~ i could see every number that dialed in on my 800 number ~ even those that show up as 'private' or 'unknown' on caller id show up on the 800 bill that i was able to access immediately online. i had a few random repeat hangups that i was able to call back and stop because of that.
 

gillumhouse

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Perhaps in the world of cell phones, the toll-free is less important however, I still have one and will keep it until land-lines no longer exist. I know a lot of people who do not have a cell phone - and probably more who do not have a land-line, including most of my kids - but I am more likely to call a business with a toll-free than one without. For business reasons I will keep it.
My cell phone does not call Canada but my toll-free is good for Canada & US and I can call Canada from my land-line. This time of year, my "bread & butter" is horse people coming south from Canada. It does not cost me that much to keep it since I only pay for the incoming minutes.
I would also keep it for personal reasons. My brother got a toll-free so his kids could/would call him. It is also the only way my s-i-l will call us because she cries broke (and may well be) but at least she keeps in touch with DH.
Edited to add: IF I am out and about and do not have cell service, I can ask to use any phone to call home or check the answering machine with my toll-free number or DH who has no cell phone can call from anywhere so e also has no excuse other than I forgot to call..... It has been VERY helpful for me in that way over the years.
 

egoodell

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We get a lot of cell phone users use our toll free number. I like ours because it emails the number and information to me so I know who is calling. I can forward my number too.
RIki
 

Kesous

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Thanks a lot for all of your feedback. It has given me different angles which I can present to my employer so that a more informed decision can be made.
Kesous
 

ginocat

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I certainly don't pay for the line - only incoming calls and it's not expensive. The calls come to my main phone line which I can forward to any phone I like. Yes, people have cell phones but if they don't have to pay for the call it's an advantage for them. You don't need a coin for a toll-free call from a pay-phone either. I've used the number when I've been away and wanted to call home from a hotel. Much cheaper than paying hotel phone charges and they don't usually charge for toll-free calls either. It's a great convenience and one that doesn't cost me money unless someone calls on it. I don't know why all businesses don't have a toll-free number.
 

egoodell

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I certainly don't pay for the line - only incoming calls and it's not expensive. The calls come to my main phone line which I can forward to any phone I like. Yes, people have cell phones but if they don't have to pay for the call it's an advantage for them. You don't need a coin for a toll-free call from a pay-phone either. I've used the number when I've been away and wanted to call home from a hotel. Much cheaper than paying hotel phone charges and they don't usually charge for toll-free calls either. It's a great convenience and one that doesn't cost me money unless someone calls on it. I don't know why all businesses don't have a toll-free number..
ginocat said:
I certainly don't pay for the line - only incoming calls and it's not expensive. The calls come to my main phone line which I can forward to any phone I like. Yes, people have cell phones but if they don't have to pay for the call it's an advantage for them. You don't need a coin for a toll-free call from a pay-phone either. I've used the number when I've been away and wanted to call home from a hotel. Much cheaper than paying hotel phone charges and they don't usually charge for toll-free calls either. It's a great convenience and one that doesn't cost me money unless someone calls on it. I don't know why all businesses don't have a toll-free number.
Mine forwards to my phone as well and costs very little, only when called.
Riki
 

Tomtrex

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We've had a toll free # since 04-1998 & even though people have cell phones we'll always keep our toll service. We've even had a few guests say they reserved with us rather than other B & B's in our area because the others did not have a toll # ( we were perceived as a genuine professional inn ). Rates are cheap. Our toll "rides" the regular landline # to the inn so there was no special equipment to install/purchase. We've seen the usage of the toll reduce because of callers w/ cells.. If we wanted to drop the toll it may cause problems because we've advertised it all over the place for many years; I wouldn't want someone to call it & get a message the # is no longer in service thus miss a reservation.
The Baird House of Valle Crucis
www.bairdhouse.com
 

EmptyNest

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If I were starting out in business right now, I would not bother with the cost of a toll free number. SO many folks with cell phones these days, I just don't think many care about toll free at this point. And it is an additional cost to you and money you could probably use better elsewhere...like a great web site:)
 

gillumhouse

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We've had a toll free # since 04-1998 & even though people have cell phones we'll always keep our toll service. We've even had a few guests say they reserved with us rather than other B & B's in our area because the others did not have a toll # ( we were perceived as a genuine professional inn ). Rates are cheap. Our toll "rides" the regular landline # to the inn so there was no special equipment to install/purchase. We've seen the usage of the toll reduce because of callers w/ cells.. If we wanted to drop the toll it may cause problems because we've advertised it all over the place for many years; I wouldn't want someone to call it & get a message the # is no longer in service thus miss a reservation.
The Baird House of Valle Crucis
www.bairdhouse.com.
We've even had a few guests say they reserved with us rather than other B & B's in our area because the others did not have a toll # ( we were perceived as a genuine professional inn ). Rates are cheap.
Welcome to the Forum. I agree totally. A toll-free number says you are interested in getting their business - I will pay for you to call me. Plus you only pay for minutes used - if anyone pays more, look into changing service company. There is no install fee. I was even able to get my local number as my toll-free to make it easier! Only the area code is different.
 

Morticia

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We've had a toll free # since 04-1998 & even though people have cell phones we'll always keep our toll service. We've even had a few guests say they reserved with us rather than other B & B's in our area because the others did not have a toll # ( we were perceived as a genuine professional inn ). Rates are cheap. Our toll "rides" the regular landline # to the inn so there was no special equipment to install/purchase. We've seen the usage of the toll reduce because of callers w/ cells.. If we wanted to drop the toll it may cause problems because we've advertised it all over the place for many years; I wouldn't want someone to call it & get a message the # is no longer in service thus miss a reservation.
The Baird House of Valle Crucis
www.bairdhouse.com.
That's one reason we keep our toll free number...it's been out there so long repeat guests have it programmed into their phones. It's on printed materials that show up buried in someone's kitchen drawer from a million years ago and they call!
 

egoodell

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We have Kall8 at Kall8.com
They are very cheap, and email me the information on the caller if it's a listed number so I can see the name and phone number. Really helps when I miss a call or if i'm away from the office I have the number to call back.
It gets used on a regular basis and only costs me something like 10 - 15$ per month.
Well worth it
RIki
 
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