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Value Adding-How do you get guests to give you good TA ratings on value?

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We are working on adding value to guests stays rather than doing deep discounts. We offer all the usual- free parking, free wifi, dogs stay for free, hot tub, guest robes, spa bath amenities, big breakfast, afternoon homemade treats, wine and cheese gatherings, concierge services, etc. We also offer complimentary cruiser bikes to use during their stay as well as discounted ski lift tickets, free DVD movies to watch in the evenings, fresh roses in all the rooms, an extensive library of books that people can take home with them and return once completed, complimentary drinks at a famous restaurant in town, discounted spa treatments, etc.
However, our TA reviews still show lower ratings on value. So here are my questions- how do guests really perceive "value" and how do prove to be a better "value" than other competitors? Is it just about the cost of the room? What are some other value-adds we are not thinking of? (We do off a 10% discount for return guests and we also include complimentary champagne and chocolate covered strawberries for special occassions.) The other hotels in town charge for all sorts of things, even one charges a $9 resort fee that none of the rest of us can figure out what that's for.
What are we missing on this?
 

SweetiePie

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I think you're offering more than most any place I know of already. If your prices are in line with the competition, I wouldn't worry about the critics over at TA. They are always looking for something to complain about.
 

NW BB

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Forget about it. I think it's human nature to always want more.
There's a B&B I know that has winter rates of $55 per night....their TA reviews are typically 5 stars, but people still rate them less for value. Go figure...people are never satisfied.
 

Morticia

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I think you have to 'sell' the value. The guests need to understand you have gone far, far beyond the norm for the price they are paying. HOW to do this beats me as I don't offer half of what you do and I don't get full marks for value either. If I were offering what you do I'd be crying!
But, I do have a question for you...how do you do the free drinks at the restaurant? Do you give guests something they turn in like a ticket? I like that idea.
 

gillumhouse

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Personally, I think you are giving too much. I do not think people appreciate things as much if it is given to them. The old analogy of a kid's bicycle. The bicycle he had to earn was well-taken care of, the bicycle that was just given would be left in the driveway and not taken care of.
I think it is the same with your inn. If they had to pay for some of the things you give for free it would be valued more. People could CHOOSE to have some of those services and amenities and that would make them better than the rest of the guests because they could afford to pay for the nicities. It would feed the Superiority Complex that humans seem to need. And if it costs - it has value.
As an example, I gave a couple some sparkling cider and hand-blown WV goblets for their anniversary. She wanted to buy 2 more to have a set of 4. I am trying to be a nice guy and charged her $5 for the 2 of them. SHE was disappointed because she expected them to be expensive. SHE would have been happier if I had charged her $10 each - I could tell from her demeanor when I told her the price I was going to charge her for them. I took away the "special". And it is the "special" that creates the feeling of value.
 

Morticia

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Personally, I think you are giving too much. I do not think people appreciate things as much if it is given to them. The old analogy of a kid's bicycle. The bicycle he had to earn was well-taken care of, the bicycle that was just given would be left in the driveway and not taken care of.
I think it is the same with your inn. If they had to pay for some of the things you give for free it would be valued more. People could CHOOSE to have some of those services and amenities and that would make them better than the rest of the guests because they could afford to pay for the nicities. It would feed the Superiority Complex that humans seem to need. And if it costs - it has value.
As an example, I gave a couple some sparkling cider and hand-blown WV goblets for their anniversary. She wanted to buy 2 more to have a set of 4. I am trying to be a nice guy and charged her $5 for the 2 of them. SHE was disappointed because she expected them to be expensive. SHE would have been happier if I had charged her $10 each - I could tell from her demeanor when I told her the price I was going to charge her for them. I took away the "special". And it is the "special" that creates the feeling of value..
Good points. So, some of those things should be what? Add ons?
Maybe I should raise the price of my mugs. I sell them but when guests hear the price they don't buy. I'm going to try that. If they don't sell at $6 and they don't sell at $9, I haven't lost anything, have I?
 

gillumhouse

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Personally, I think you are giving too much. I do not think people appreciate things as much if it is given to them. The old analogy of a kid's bicycle. The bicycle he had to earn was well-taken care of, the bicycle that was just given would be left in the driveway and not taken care of.
I think it is the same with your inn. If they had to pay for some of the things you give for free it would be valued more. People could CHOOSE to have some of those services and amenities and that would make them better than the rest of the guests because they could afford to pay for the nicities. It would feed the Superiority Complex that humans seem to need. And if it costs - it has value.
As an example, I gave a couple some sparkling cider and hand-blown WV goblets for their anniversary. She wanted to buy 2 more to have a set of 4. I am trying to be a nice guy and charged her $5 for the 2 of them. SHE was disappointed because she expected them to be expensive. SHE would have been happier if I had charged her $10 each - I could tell from her demeanor when I told her the price I was going to charge her for them. I took away the "special". And it is the "special" that creates the feeling of value..
Good points. So, some of those things should be what? Add ons?
Maybe I should raise the price of my mugs. I sell them but when guests hear the price they don't buy. I'm going to try that. If they don't sell at $6 and they don't sell at $9, I haven't lost anything, have I?
.
I sold mine for $20 - and sold out. If my potter ever starts potting again, I will be selling them again. They fairly "flew off the shelf".
 

Morticia

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Personally, I think you are giving too much. I do not think people appreciate things as much if it is given to them. The old analogy of a kid's bicycle. The bicycle he had to earn was well-taken care of, the bicycle that was just given would be left in the driveway and not taken care of.
I think it is the same with your inn. If they had to pay for some of the things you give for free it would be valued more. People could CHOOSE to have some of those services and amenities and that would make them better than the rest of the guests because they could afford to pay for the nicities. It would feed the Superiority Complex that humans seem to need. And if it costs - it has value.
As an example, I gave a couple some sparkling cider and hand-blown WV goblets for their anniversary. She wanted to buy 2 more to have a set of 4. I am trying to be a nice guy and charged her $5 for the 2 of them. SHE was disappointed because she expected them to be expensive. SHE would have been happier if I had charged her $10 each - I could tell from her demeanor when I told her the price I was going to charge her for them. I took away the "special". And it is the "special" that creates the feeling of value..
Good points. So, some of those things should be what? Add ons?
Maybe I should raise the price of my mugs. I sell them but when guests hear the price they don't buy. I'm going to try that. If they don't sell at $6 and they don't sell at $9, I haven't lost anything, have I?
.
I sold mine for $20 - and sold out. If my potter ever starts potting again, I will be selling them again. They fairly "flew off the shelf".
.
Right, but that's a hand made item. Mine aren't. Nice logo and all, but not anything you'd 'treasure' other than if you collect mugs like I do.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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Wow! Unless you're charging $300 a night, I'd say the added value is very apparent to anybody breathing.
I couple things about your offerings jump out at me though.
Do your local ordinances allow you to offer alcohol even if complimentary?
Does your liability insurance cover you you offering the mountain bikes, and serving alcohol to guests?
When we get our annual renewals, those type questions are always in there, so you might want to double check your policy to make sure you're covered in the event of say the worst case scenario.
Let's say you serve someone who can't handle even a little bit of alcohol, they jump on the cruiser bike, ride into town and in addition to using the "complimentary" free drinks you gave them, had a few too many and crashed the bike, or weaved and got hit by a car and killed.
Many states have third party laws regarding alcohol and it would be a total bummer to have some smart lawyer and his client be the new owners of your place.
The things our very similar approach when we first started got us were not that welcome or revenue producing. We didn't necessarily get more appreciative people coming in general. We started getting more of the anniversary/wedding champagne gift recipients going on TA and sharing that aspect of their stay, followed by many more than normal reservations telling us its their "anniversary". What do you say to somebody, prove it?
Three years ago, after we switched from champagne and dipped starwberries for special occasion gifts to sparkling cider, dipped strawberries and a nice card, the number of reservations stating its their "whatever" dropped and the number of TA reviews mentioning that amenity also dropped.
If your offerings are way out of whack with your ADR or price point, it'll drain you financially and forget about it as a guest list builder. We just had a discussion here this morning about how our most loyal, repeat guests were rarely enticed here by any freebies and the ones who are, rarely say a word to anybody about you else so the referral potential seems really low for all the effort and extra expense.
 

happykeeper

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Personally, I think you are giving too much. I do not think people appreciate things as much if it is given to them. The old analogy of a kid's bicycle. The bicycle he had to earn was well-taken care of, the bicycle that was just given would be left in the driveway and not taken care of.
I think it is the same with your inn. If they had to pay for some of the things you give for free it would be valued more. People could CHOOSE to have some of those services and amenities and that would make them better than the rest of the guests because they could afford to pay for the nicities. It would feed the Superiority Complex that humans seem to need. And if it costs - it has value.
As an example, I gave a couple some sparkling cider and hand-blown WV goblets for their anniversary. She wanted to buy 2 more to have a set of 4. I am trying to be a nice guy and charged her $5 for the 2 of them. SHE was disappointed because she expected them to be expensive. SHE would have been happier if I had charged her $10 each - I could tell from her demeanor when I told her the price I was going to charge her for them. I took away the "special". And it is the "special" that creates the feeling of value..
I gravitate towards this way of thinking. We see our value by providing complimentary services hotels charge for. However, we offer add-ons that you have to pay for. I think our guests see those add-ons as an extention of our value.
An example- we rarely discount our lei workshop. It's $45 per person. so as a guest, you feel that we think that we are already giving them a value by offering some nice amenities and that if they want to enhance their stay further, that has a value they need to pay for. Am I making any sense?
Another example- our local coffees are $25 a pound- we serve it at breakfast as a compliment. If they want more of it, they must pay- and we sell a fair amount of it.
Value added are the things that are already in place and would be regardless of whether we call it an extra. When it dips into the bottom line and we can't recover revenue on the other side- they pay for it.
I also think this leads our budget minders to see our experience as worth revisiting because there is more to do that they have not tried. "Maybe next time we come we'll be able to have the lomi lomi massage."
A bit rambly but oh well
 
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I think you have to 'sell' the value. The guests need to understand you have gone far, far beyond the norm for the price they are paying. HOW to do this beats me as I don't offer half of what you do and I don't get full marks for value either. If I were offering what you do I'd be crying!
But, I do have a question for you...how do you do the free drinks at the restaurant? Do you give guests something they turn in like a ticket? I like that idea..
We just approached the restaurants and they created the drink coupons. Then when the guest turns them in for their complimentary cocktails, the restaurant keeps track of them and records how many guests we have referred over the course of the season. It's a nice partnership.
 

SandySoule

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I agree that it's human nature to want the most and pay the least! Nevertheless, you might want to consider adding a list of added value items with an estimated dollar amount to your website and other internet marketing, so that folks realize the value of the freebies you are adding. You can see a sample of it on a press release we did on B&B bonuses by clicking here.
Sandy
 

gillumhouse

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In regard to your bikes - if that is complimentary, I would keep it that way. I was advised by a bike shop owner who did rentals to NOT do rental because the insurance would "eat you alive". We have 2 bicycles in our shed for guests to use (helmets also) we suggest a donation to the Lord's Pantry for their use but it is not a requirement. If the guests use them... we did not rent the bikes to them.
It is the same with the horses - insurance will not cover me if I am involved with the horses. I do not touch stable fee money. That is left at the stable. The only time I am involved with stable fees is if it was a no-show, I add stable fee to the charges - and that is spelled out in the confirmation letter.
 

Copperhead

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I agree that it's human nature to want the most and pay the least! Nevertheless, you might want to consider adding a list of added value items with an estimated dollar amount to your website and other internet marketing, so that folks realize the value of the freebies you are adding. You can see a sample of it on a press release we did on B&B bonuses by clicking here.
Sandy.
Sandy - sorry I do not think that would work at least not in these economic times. I can hear it now..."Oh I don't plan to use the pool so I can deduct $10 from my room rate?"
On the other hand it may be benefitial to list all these items (no values) and place in bold letters "All inclusive with NO hidden charges"!!! There are several articles in the national press regarding all the hidden charges hotels are adding to the bill in the end. Here is one of the latest...
www.cnn.com/2009/TRAVEL/traveltips/06/15/hidden.hotel.fees/
Maybe it is time we boldly state the VALUE of our business with NO hidden charges to boot!!!
 

SandySoule

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I agree that it's human nature to want the most and pay the least! Nevertheless, you might want to consider adding a list of added value items with an estimated dollar amount to your website and other internet marketing, so that folks realize the value of the freebies you are adding. You can see a sample of it on a press release we did on B&B bonuses by clicking here.
Sandy.
Sandy - sorry I do not think that would work at least not in these economic times. I can hear it now..."Oh I don't plan to use the pool so I can deduct $10 from my room rate?"
On the other hand it may be benefitial to list all these items (no values) and place in bold letters "All inclusive with NO hidden charges"!!! There are several articles in the national press regarding all the hidden charges hotels are adding to the bill in the end. Here is one of the latest...
www.cnn.com/2009/TRAVEL/traveltips/06/15/hidden.hotel.fees/
Maybe it is time we boldly state the VALUE of our business with NO hidden charges to boot!!!
.
Copperhead -- excellent idea! My main point is that most innkeepers could be more proactive about telling prospective guests about what an excellent value the B&B experience provides. Hotels charge $6 dollars for bottled water that innkeepers generally provide for free.
 

MooseTrax

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I agree that it's human nature to want the most and pay the least! Nevertheless, you might want to consider adding a list of added value items with an estimated dollar amount to your website and other internet marketing, so that folks realize the value of the freebies you are adding. You can see a sample of it on a press release we did on B&B bonuses by clicking here.
Sandy.
SandySoule said:
I agree that it's human nature to want the most and pay the least! Nevertheless, you might want to consider adding a list of added value items with an estimated dollar amount to your website and other internet marketing, so that folks realize the value of the freebies you are adding. You can see a sample of it on a press release we did on B&B bonuses by clicking here.
Sandy
this has to be one of the most annoying marketing schmes out there. like getting the bill for a magazine and it states the price of the magazine and then lists that you get access to the website FREE. if i was looking for a place to go and saw a list of items that were included in the price of my room with a *suggested retail price* next to them i would move on quickly. that makes me think this is an innkeeper who will be counting the cookies i eat and how many cups of coffee i drink in the morning.
however, it is a scheme that works because people are clueless and have to be led. they cannot seem to do a cost comparison themselves and come up with: hotel charges $179 for room and $10 per person for breakfast; b&b charges $180 and includes everything. hotel must be a better deal.
 

MooseTrax

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I agree that it's human nature to want the most and pay the least! Nevertheless, you might want to consider adding a list of added value items with an estimated dollar amount to your website and other internet marketing, so that folks realize the value of the freebies you are adding. You can see a sample of it on a press release we did on B&B bonuses by clicking here.
Sandy.
Sandy - sorry I do not think that would work at least not in these economic times. I can hear it now..."Oh I don't plan to use the pool so I can deduct $10 from my room rate?"
On the other hand it may be benefitial to list all these items (no values) and place in bold letters "All inclusive with NO hidden charges"!!! There are several articles in the national press regarding all the hidden charges hotels are adding to the bill in the end. Here is one of the latest...
www.cnn.com/2009/TRAVEL/traveltips/06/15/hidden.hotel.fees/
Maybe it is time we boldly state the VALUE of our business with NO hidden charges to boot!!!
.
absolutely true. the latest one is that they don't want breakfast so deduct that from the bill. they only say that when i tell them breakfast is included in the price. if i tell them parking is free and the office/workspace area in sincluded, they say they are not coming to work, deduct that from the bill, they are taking a cab, deduct the parking. knocking my head against the monitor here.
 

SandySoule

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I agree that it's human nature to want the most and pay the least! Nevertheless, you might want to consider adding a list of added value items with an estimated dollar amount to your website and other internet marketing, so that folks realize the value of the freebies you are adding. You can see a sample of it on a press release we did on B&B bonuses by clicking here.
Sandy.
Sandy - sorry I do not think that would work at least not in these economic times. I can hear it now..."Oh I don't plan to use the pool so I can deduct $10 from my room rate?"
On the other hand it may be benefitial to list all these items (no values) and place in bold letters "All inclusive with NO hidden charges"!!! There are several articles in the national press regarding all the hidden charges hotels are adding to the bill in the end. Here is one of the latest...
www.cnn.com/2009/TRAVEL/traveltips/06/15/hidden.hotel.fees/
Maybe it is time we boldly state the VALUE of our business with NO hidden charges to boot!!!
.
absolutely true. the latest one is that they don't want breakfast so deduct that from the bill. they only say that when i tell them breakfast is included in the price. if i tell them parking is free and the office/workspace area in sincluded, they say they are not coming to work, deduct that from the bill, they are taking a cab, deduct the parking. knocking my head against the monitor here.
.
Just can't win with some folks, that's for sure. Reminds me of an ancient joke -- guy comes into a restaurant and asks if the water is free. "yes!" Is the bread free? "yes!" is the gravy free? "yes!"
"OK, then I"ll have a glass of water with bread and gravy please."
 

JBloggs

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We give guests a $40 upgrade for free on top of saving for booking online and they still put less than I would like on that criteria. It is what it is. Don't give away the farm.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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We give guests a $40 upgrade for free on top of saving for booking online and they still put less than I would like on that criteria. It is what it is. Don't give away the farm..
"We give guests a $40 upgrade for free on top of saving for booking online"
Even if Joe doesn't respond, can anyone explain this to me?
Am I reading this correctly that by simply booking online and not calling or emailing the B&B, the guest gets an automatic upgrade and additional discount?
Just trying to confirm how that pencils out in the big picture of things.
 

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