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harmony

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My husband and I have been looking for a home that would work as a B&B in SW Virginia for a few years now. We finally just took the plunge, and have purchased a B&B that until about a year and a half ago was in operation. We are in the process now of getting our LLC set up, city license, health inspection, etc. We bought the place turn-key, so there will be a minimal number of things we will need to do to get started. We hope to be open within the month. I have followed this forum intermittently for a while now, and am now following it seriously, since I can use all the help I can get! I am so happy to be able to be a part, not as an aspiring owner, but now a real one!
 

Morticia

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Good luck!
 

GoodScout

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Welcome to the club! We're glad to have you as a fellow innkeeper!
 

gillumhouse

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Welcome and congratulations. Be yourselves and all will be well. Avoid the OTAs like the plague!!
 

CoralKeeper

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Congratulations!!!

And I completely agree about the OTAs. I had a horrible experience with one and FINALLY got away from it. Completely unnecessary - 5 star reviews through Trip Advisor, Google and Facebook are the key!!! And guests help me set up our Instagram and Facebook accounts. I post a marketing pic and commentary every 3 days and get a ton of bookings from my own free marketing!

I wish I knew which B&B you were opening. Our little slice of heaven is on the island of St Croix in the Caribbean and we’re taking a road trip in October to “get off the rock” for a minute and visit family. We’ll actually be in your neck of the woods and just as before we started our B&B dream, we’ll only stay with all of you!! :)

Have fun!!!!
 

harmony

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Welcome and congratulations. Be yourselves and all will be well. Avoid the OTAs like the plague!!
Thanks! By OTA, do you mean Booking.com, Hotels.com, etc., or do you also mean AirB&B? Sorry - everything is so new!
 

harmony

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Congratulations!!!

And I completely agree about the OTAs. I had a horrible experience with one and FINALLY got away from it. Completely unnecessary - 5 star reviews through Trip Advisor, Google and Facebook are the key!!! And guests help me set up our Instagram and Facebook accounts. I post a marketing pic and commentary every 3 days and get a ton of bookings from my own free marketing!

I wish I knew which B&B you were opening. Our little slice of heaven is on the island of St Croix in the Caribbean and we’re taking a road trip in October to “get off the rock” for a minute and visit family. We’ll actually be in your neck of the woods and just as before we started our B&B dream, we’ll only stay with all of you!! :)

Have fun!!!!
Thanks for the tips! We are in Marion, VA, the Collins House B&B on Main Street. We would love to meet you if it would work out!
 

GoodScout

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OTA (Online Travel Agencies) traditionally include Exp, Boo, Hotels, etc., but have now been expanded to include Air, VRBo, TripAdvisor, etc., since they also act as third parties, selling rooms for inns and B&Bs.
 

gillumhouse

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Thanks! By OTA, do you mean Booking.com, Hotels.com, etc., or do you also mean AirB&B? Sorry - everything is so new!
ALL the above. If it is not YOUR .com it belongs to someone else and they are charging commission (not to be confused with a Directory that you pay an annual fee for a listing - and they are NOT doing bookings for you, just a place to be discovered.. FO ha e online reservations - I use ReservationKey and some on here use Thinkreservations. Also, use Square or Stripe for processing - fee charged ONLY when it is used, not every month whether you have business or not.
 

JimBoone

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@harmony when I do a search on Bing collins house b&b marion va - Bing I'm seeing a picture with a bold red bar that say Permanently Closed and a web link that takes me to a non existent page. You probably want to put this on your "to do" list if it is not there already to correct this and continue to search for other old, dead, web information that may work against you.

I also use Reservation Key, find it more reasonably priced than than others. I use Wells-Fargo and Authorize.net, for me I find them reasonable and fit my needs, I make a small charge when a guest books online. Note, I'm the odd kid here with an 8 room mom & pop motel, bed without breakfast.
 

CoralKeeper

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Thanks for the tips! We are in Marion, VA, the Collins House B&B on Main Street. We would love to meet you if it would work out!
Yay! I’ve put it on our list and hope to meet you in October!

As for my references to OTAs, I see other responses here that I don’t necessarily disagree with. I detest booking and others who add a blanket 15+% and insert themselves into my guest’s experience (and not in a good way). That said, on my island I HAVE to be on VRBO and Airbnb to compete with all the private homes here, and I find them very easy to coordinate with (using iCal links through my ReservationKey system (that I love by the way and the owner provides excellent service and support)). I do charge higher rates on those sites so that booking direct with me is always the most economical option for my guests.

Hope that helps - see you soon!!!
 

Jay Curci

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Booking direct is always priced best!! Adding commission costs at a minimum to the OTA's is a good idea. Helps promote Guests reserving from you. We always take note of Guests from OTA"s an we CONVERT them to order from us personally on return visits. Works great!
 

KenW

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We do use all the OTAs, and convert them to direct when the opportunity arises. Our direct bookings increase every year and now at about 70%. they are a necessary evil in building reviews and filling last minute vacancies.
 

Jay Curci

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That's exactly what happens with us as well. Seems like common sense to us.
 

GoodScout

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I'm part of the "use them to convert new guests" and "use them mainly to fill slow-time rooms" crowd.
 

Generic

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I'm part of the "use them to convert new guests" and "use them mainly to fill slow-time rooms" crowd.
I won't let them choose the room via the OTAs and I have more strict cancellation rules via the OTAs.

I get emails asking which room, etc. And I just tell them that if they book direct, they can choose the room they want :) For me, OTAs are advertising money...
 

GoodScout

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I won't let them choose the room via the OTAs and I have more strict cancellation rules via the OTAs.
FYI, this is how the large hotels handle it. And usually, the best rooms never go to OTA guests.
 

Anon Inn

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We finally just took the plunge,....I am so happy to be able to be a part, not as an aspiring owner, but now a real one!
Welcome! The "OTA" I use is Air. I'm finding more people this year are finding me on Air, but booking direct. (direct info is in the description for those who read). Oddly, the not-as-nice guests of August seem to be back on the road. My direct bookers have been messier recently. Air guests are reviewed by hosts and have seem to have cleaned up their acts. Every year a bit different though. ;)
 
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