Urban B&B - Please Help / Guests not happy with neighborhood

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domsmom

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A little history. My b&b was a b&b for 12 years before I bought it. It is in a diverse (ethnically and financially) neighborhood. We are 4 blocks from a major hospital, 8 blocks from our city's Children's Museum, the closest accommodations to our State Fair Grounds and one of the finest art museums in the country. I have just had a guest leave because, though my home is soothing and she asked about tipping for my "concierge" services, she does not feel comfortable in the neighborhood. This is perhaps the 3rd time in 3 months this has happened. It breaks my heart as I look forward to each guests arrival and then to keep their money and not serve them, just does not feel right. I can not change the landscape of my location (as far as the neighborhood and many of my neighbors keep their facades in beautiful condition). Has anyone else run into such a situation? I will say that a recurring trend is that these guests made their reservations on booking.com, is it that they are looking for a "hotel" with a parking garage surrounded by hotels and I happened to be close to the museums and an amazing price so they booked me? As I said it always saddens me. How do I get over this? More counseling?
 

Morticia

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If it tends to be the 'hotel' guest that is not happy, then you have to ensure that your listing on the booking service states very clearly you are not a hotel, that you are in a residential neighborhood, parking is such and such. When you get a rez thru the booking service, ie- a guest you have not spoken to, give them a call and review with them exactly what they booked.
Is your neighborhood a 'safe' place for guests? Is it ok for guests to walk around at any time? If it is a 'safe' neighborhood (you can't guarantee anything) maybe a little history of the neighborhood would help guests feel more relaxed.
 

domsmom

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Thanks for the reminder. I have in my auto response, when guests book from my website, that we live in a diverse neighborhood. Do I consider it safe? Yes, I live here with my children, we walk the neighborhood, I know my neighbors, many by name and have had them watch my children from time to time. I have to be more diligent in emailing the guests who make reservations from other sites with specifics. I try to be detailed in my information on the websites as well.
 

Samster

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Thanks for the reminder. I have in my auto response, when guests book from my website, that we live in a diverse neighborhood. Do I consider it safe? Yes, I live here with my children, we walk the neighborhood, I know my neighbors, many by name and have had them watch my children from time to time. I have to be more diligent in emailing the guests who make reservations from other sites with specifics. I try to be detailed in my information on the websites as well..
You won't be able to convince some guests who are totally unfamiliar with urban living. Entrenched suburbanites, I call them. They feel safer in an Interstate hotel than in any type of lodging in an urban neighborhood, large or small city. We are in a diverse historic downtown mixed use neighborhood. There are still houses that are being re-done and there are still houses that are vacant. We walk here all the time. We just stayed in an urban B&B in a town of about 25,000 and there was a lot of revitalization. We walked several blocks to the downtown restaurants and outdoor concert in 100F+ heat. It was great...you don't appreciate the architecture of the past and the progress of the present as much when you're driving by in your vehicle.
Be honest about where and who you are and you'll get the guests that will love what you have to offer.
 

EmptyNest

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If indeed that got to you from booking.com..then they are NOT B & B people...I would venture to say. Just make sure your confirmations clearly state location and pertinent information and your cancellation policy. If they leave just because of this...after you assure them it is safe..then they default on your policy and should be charged. Just make sure you have in writing that they agreed to your policies in case of a charge back case.
 

Copperhead

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I agree with the others, if there is a trend that these guests have all booked on another online reservation service that needs to be adressed. You need to be quite clear on your description that you are a B&B in a multicultural residential area - near (walking distance?) ...... Provide pictures that clearly state your type of establishment and the area. If you are clear and they fail to read, that is something you have no control over!
On this subject I remember a past guest description of the previous B&B they stayed in in our neighboring big city. I know the area that this B&B (and a couple of others) is in and it is a multicultural area, mixed with residential and commercial areas and is commonly decribed as a hip upbeat area.
They complained about things that they felt the website had deceived them - picture of B&B was cropped to just barely see the home. So when they arrived they had no knowledge that there was really no yard, the house was very close to the neighbors on either side. They said that they thought they could hear the neighbors talking. The house was totally gated with a tall iron fence with spikes at the top, and the gate was locked so they could not easily have access. The side windows had bars on them as well. So for them it was a rude awakening and felt unsafe. According to them, they would have not booked the place had they seen the full picture (street view maybe?).
I am not suggesting that your area or B&B is like the one decribed, actually the B&B described above was really not as 'bad' as the guest description, but it was all stated through their perception of the place and that is subjective no matter where your B&B is and there is only so much you can do to provide them a cear picture.
 

Morticia

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I agree with the others, if there is a trend that these guests have all booked on another online reservation service that needs to be adressed. You need to be quite clear on your description that you are a B&B in a multicultural residential area - near (walking distance?) ...... Provide pictures that clearly state your type of establishment and the area. If you are clear and they fail to read, that is something you have no control over!
On this subject I remember a past guest description of the previous B&B they stayed in in our neighboring big city. I know the area that this B&B (and a couple of others) is in and it is a multicultural area, mixed with residential and commercial areas and is commonly decribed as a hip upbeat area.
They complained about things that they felt the website had deceived them - picture of B&B was cropped to just barely see the home. So when they arrived they had no knowledge that there was really no yard, the house was very close to the neighbors on either side. They said that they thought they could hear the neighbors talking. The house was totally gated with a tall iron fence with spikes at the top, and the gate was locked so they could not easily have access. The side windows had bars on them as well. So for them it was a rude awakening and felt unsafe. According to them, they would have not booked the place had they seen the full picture (street view maybe?).
I am not suggesting that your area or B&B is like the one decribed, actually the B&B described above was really not as 'bad' as the guest description, but it was all stated through their perception of the place and that is subjective no matter where your B&B is and there is only so much you can do to provide them a cear picture..
My 'long view' photo that shows the whole yard makes guests think I'm out in the sticks. They verify and verify that I am REALLY walking distance.
 

Joey Camb

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I hate to say it but people havn't a clue what they have booked half the time. The don't read and don't look as we clearly say we have parking and it is at the back but they still pull up at the front and where do we go to park?
 

Copperhead

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Catlady
If they leave just because of this...after you assure them it is safe.
I do not suggest using any words assuring their safety - this opens you up to liability in the event something does happen to them or their property.
 

Don Draper

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People do not read anything. I would say make your pictures as representative of your property and your neighborhood as possible. It sounds like a very "hip" setting so that is the type of guest you want to entice. Make them feel like they are part of the hip and urban "innsiders" group!
 

JBloggs

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This is difficult. Hard to really answer without visiting for ourselves. Living in an unsafe or urban area is not the same as visiting one. If you are in a city, even historic district you can still have one block away crack houses and apartments. Perhaps describing the neighborhood in more detail, not the type of people, just what the surroundings are about?
I have had guests stay with us tell us of places that were NOT like the website, but we typically don't show what is next door or behind do we?
 

domsmom

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If indeed that got to you from booking.com..then they are NOT B & B people...I would venture to say. Just make sure your confirmations clearly state location and pertinent information and your cancellation policy. If they leave just because of this...after you assure them it is safe..then they default on your policy and should be charged. Just make sure you have in writing that they agreed to your policies in case of a charge back case..
I should note that I have had many happy guests who book from booking.com. One such gentleman works for a company that always wants him to stay at the Holiday Inn Express. He hates the HI Exp and found me on booking.com, he has come 3 times and last time stayed 2 weeks. I suppose there is something to be said for as you acquire more business expect there to be more "cancellations". I am thankful that the last 2 cancellations did not ask for a refund as I collect payment prior to arrival. They know the cancellation policy. I so appreciate EVERYONE'S advice!
 

Morticia

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This is difficult. Hard to really answer without visiting for ourselves. Living in an unsafe or urban area is not the same as visiting one. If you are in a city, even historic district you can still have one block away crack houses and apartments. Perhaps describing the neighborhood in more detail, not the type of people, just what the surroundings are about?
I have had guests stay with us tell us of places that were NOT like the website, but we typically don't show what is next door or behind do we?.
I definitely don't show what's next to my house! But SS did suggest I take some 'action shots' of the neighborhood, which is a good idea. domsmom could do the same thing. Showing the neighborhood in advance makes it more acceptable on arrival.
One place we didn't buy was beautiful, had 2 buildings, lovely gardens, etc, but when we drove in to look at it there was a 7-11 across the street and strip malls on either side. It just wasn't where I wanted to live.
And you know how I felt showing up to the place in Savannah with the bars on all the windows.
 

JBloggs

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Not saying this is the same situation at all, but we stayed at a lovely B&B, inside was an oasis, it was lovely, the house next door had bars on the windows and security doors as did the ones across the street. They left the front door unlocked and the lights went out at 10pm out front. Made me as nervous as heck staying there.
Now if I were staying in the heart of the city and was going to the hospital or museum, I would love to stay at a nice B&B, an oasis from the city. IF they are staying in that city, they should at least know it is a city, and that is life in the city.
 

egoodell

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I would get more great photos up on your website showing off your diverse neighborhood. We are in Charlottesville, VA and get lots of diverse guests from the DC area - so I think you just need to expose your area more to attract the diversity-loving guest. I'm from San Francisco, and don't feel comfortable when I'm in an all-same-looking Stetford Wifes Movie type of neighborhood. I like diversity and hearing different languages as I walk down the street.
Do you have any festivals or Saturday markets that you could photograph to put on the website? I think you're just getting a couple of hotel people here and there. I would for sure not say, "this area is safe" unless someone asks. Different is not dangerous! Embrace the neighborhood and show it off! People get more from photos than from words on the web
Riki
 

domsmom

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I would get more great photos up on your website showing off your diverse neighborhood. We are in Charlottesville, VA and get lots of diverse guests from the DC area - so I think you just need to expose your area more to attract the diversity-loving guest. I'm from San Francisco, and don't feel comfortable when I'm in an all-same-looking Stetford Wifes Movie type of neighborhood. I like diversity and hearing different languages as I walk down the street.
Do you have any festivals or Saturday markets that you could photograph to put on the website? I think you're just getting a couple of hotel people here and there. I would for sure not say, "this area is safe" unless someone asks. Different is not dangerous! Embrace the neighborhood and show it off! People get more from photos than from words on the web
Riki.
Thank you! I will see what is happening this week in the area. The world's largest gaming convention is in town and pics of people dressed in Star Wars attire may create some conversation as well.
 

Copperhead

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I would get more great photos up on your website showing off your diverse neighborhood. We are in Charlottesville, VA and get lots of diverse guests from the DC area - so I think you just need to expose your area more to attract the diversity-loving guest. I'm from San Francisco, and don't feel comfortable when I'm in an all-same-looking Stetford Wifes Movie type of neighborhood. I like diversity and hearing different languages as I walk down the street.
Do you have any festivals or Saturday markets that you could photograph to put on the website? I think you're just getting a couple of hotel people here and there. I would for sure not say, "this area is safe" unless someone asks. Different is not dangerous! Embrace the neighborhood and show it off! People get more from photos than from words on the web
Riki.
Thank you! I will see what is happening this week in the area. The world's largest gaming convention is in town and pics of people dressed in Star Wars attire may create some conversation as well.
.
domsmom said:
Thank you! I will see what is happening this week in the area. The world's largest gaming convention is in town and pics of people dressed in Star Wars attire may create some conversation as well.
Great! May the Force be with you!
 

JBloggs

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Domsmom have you had any more incidents like the one you expressed in the orig thread?
Riki mentioned diversity, it is racism you are encountering? If so, that is another issue for another time. We cannot force people to feel how we feel about anything, people ask me here if the neighborhood is safe, we have a preacher next door in a big house, a cemetery with no one living right behind us and small town genuine people RIGHT HERE, there is nothing farther from the truth. So if they ask me, then they will ask an urban inn.
Hope it all works out for you. Let us know what you tried to make it better FOR YOU.
 

Joey Camb

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Everyone has issues with something. For example some people panic about parking on the street round here which is perfectly safe but I try to remember I don't know what it is like where they live parking on the street may mean that you come back to no wheeles on your car therefore we have to forbear. Also you don't know if they come from a farm in the middle of no where where you don't even have to lock the doors to the middle of a busy cosmopolitan town or city it may be overload. I wouldn't take it personally.
 

JBloggs

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Cambes people complain about parking EVERYWHERE. If they could just flippin' park in their rooms they would finally be happy! Our parking area has a gate, you walk through the gate and 20 paces up onto the porch around the porch to the front door.
I park FURTHER so the guests have the best parking, and haul in armload after armload of groceries and gallons of milk and bags of potatoes...all the time. People are people, if they don't have something to fuss about they might as well be dead.
 
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