Well, we had a great response from readers to our article on Special Offers and our online poll, where we asked the question, “Do you use Special Offers to boost sales?” 67% of respondents said “Yes”, 33% said “No”. (You can read Part 1 of this article here)
We also had a fantastic response on the professional social networking website LinkedIn, where the article was kindly re-posted by Shellie Leete, who runs the “Bed and Breakfast Bloggers” group and is owner of the Clairborne House B&B in Rocky Mount, Virginia.
Here is a selection of the most interesting comments from B&B owners in different parts of the world:
“There are times during our off season when we will give a room for a lesser rate (if customers ask for a deal) because it’s better than the room sitting empty. We are fortunate in that we are in a destination location that brings in a high rate of tourism, but even when we charge full price, as we are now doing in our high season, we always try to add on something. For example, we have a relationship with a local winery and they give us complementary tickets for wine tasting. We advertise wine tasting for two with booking a room and it doesn’t cost us a thing. We also partner with a local river rafting company. Book a room and get 10% of a river raft trip. Doesn’t cost us a thing, but gives us a nudge above another inn.
I’m constantly trying to think outside the box to come up with ideas. I do understand though, we are small businesses and it can impact our income especially if you’re not in a year-round area. We have to earn our year’s income in 8 months. But we try to look at it as if the guest is happy and feels as if they got a great deal they’ll keep coming back.”
Patti Maghamfar (Abigail’s B&B Inn, Ashford, Oregon)
“My experience with discounts is a positive one. I have many returning guests due to giving a special consideration. While there are few attractions in the town where I live, I am in close proximity to many tourist draws. Giving a minor discount entices people to stay a little farther from their actual destination, like the NC Zoo, which is about 22 miles away.”
Yvonne Carteret (Heartfriends Inn B&B, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina)
“Since we are new Inn, a discount is really hard to provide, however if they are requesting more than one room for more than 1 night I will provide a discount. Our rates go down on Sunday thru Thursday, so I guess you could say I already discount from the beginning. I will also discount if it is just one individual and they have returned more than two times. They are very appreciative and I just tell them ii is one of the perks of entrepreneurship!”
J. Gail Hedges (The Cottonwood Inn B&B, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
“I have mixed feelings about special offers. As somebody pointed out, we are small businesses. A hotel or restaurant with 50 bedrooms or table seats can easily offer good deals once they have sold half at their regular price; we can’t.
I do not like the pressure of “last minute deals”: if we go on like this, we’ll soon not have any early bookings. To the contrary, I think people who are helping you by booking early should get the deal. On the other hand, it is impossible to resist a trend. I learned that it is better to offer a deal you chose than it being imposed on you. So I am offering discount for returning guests and real packages with a real – small – discount.
In the case of returning guests or their friends, the efforts of communication to get them was done previously; now they are an extra. I give them either a gourmet basket, or I upgrade a dinner or the wine. For packages, I used to give free entrance to the local museum (it also helped to support it and guests could tell their friends there was something nice to visit).
Now in Paris, for the holiday season I am proposing a deal including rental for a full week + gourmet dinner + champagne and a delivered gourmet breakfast for a price a little bit lower than every service counted separately. I hope guests will be happy to enjoy a very special week with some discount.
Some deals do not cost you a lot and make happy guests. But I don’t grant discount to people that I don’t know from a previous stay, people only looking for deals, not understanding my work and my place.”
Martine Jablonski-Cahours (www.key2paris.com)
“Here in the UK the trend seems to be to ask for discounts and quite a few guests want to get things as cheap as they possibly can. I feel that this is not fair on our other guests who have paid full price.
As our guest house is in a city, I get a lot of 1- and 2-night stays. I cannot afford to offer a discount unless the booking is for a longer say. Also I find that if I do give a discount, the sort of guest who wants things on the cheap seems to be the type of person who does not respect your property.
I feel that our normal prices are very good value and we give an excellent service and a substantial breakfast. I sometimes cannot understand why it is OK for accommodation providers to be expected to lose revenue, whereas people would not be happy if their employer expected them to have a money deducted from their daily salary.”
Karen Cooke (Seymour Guest House, Plymouth, UK)
“I guess the mentality is “ask” and you may receive; if you don’t, you pay full price. I tell everyone I set a very reasonable price so all can afford and all pay the same unless you are staying 7 continuous days and then I discount. BUT I do offer a $5 per day discount if they choose to pay Cash or with a Check and that usually satisfies most people and helps me out with the Credit Card fees, which in essence I am just discounting for them. Then I offer to call the Best Western for them as they may have discount. That settles it pretty much, given the Best Western is more than me even with the discount.”
Christina A. Urzan (Olde Judge Mansion B&B, Albany, New York Area)
If you’d like to see all the comments that our article provoked, you can head over to the original thread on LinkedIn HERE.