Poll Results & Readers’ Comments
(You can read Part 1 of this article here.)
We’ve had a very stimulating response, as always, to our guest post from Sally Taylor at the Torcroft Hotel in Devon, about her experience of running a Groupon Campaign. A whopping 93% of those who voted in our online poll said they wouldn’t consider selling through the flash sales site. They offered their opinions via theBandBer.com itself, as well as LinkedIn and Facebook (good to see social media bringing B&B folk together). Here’s a selection of their comments:
“We did a ‘very special’ offer last year via The Sunday Times (Sunday Nights promotion) and got a few bookings – most of these, like the guests you mentioned, just wanted as much as possible for as little as possible. We wouldn’t do that sort of offer again.”
- Rosi Davis, Exmoor House, Somerset
“We did an offer with Money Supermarket. They were extremely professional, we loved the ad. The percentage was really reasonable, and we were fully booked from January – April, with the overflow. We have had several referrals and returns as a result. Most importantly, we had an increase in positive reviews which have been driving our business this summer.
We opened in May 2011, and because of the offer, we have not yet had a slow season. I would gladly do it again. Groupon has called several times, but they want a higher percentage, so no incentive for us. Oh, BTW… we met lots of lovely people this winter, since we really had to entertain them more, as most of our gardens and NT properties were closed. Sometimes a challenge, but mostly a joy!”
- Monique Wright, Kester House, East Sussex
“[Groupon] called me the other week asking if I’d like to and I asked them to send me info and I’d think about it. Needless to say, I didn’t hear anything more, which confirmed my gut feeling to say no.”
- Sue Melvin, Southdown B&B, Wiltshire
“I thought about it for about 5 minutes at most, actually about Living Social. I decided for me, the answer was no, because:
#1 – I need to make money for me, not for someone else. I do not mind working hard but it needs to be for me. The price structure gave them money off my labor and expenses.
#2 – I do not have enough rooms to do it, with 3 rooms and only one with en suite – not a good fit.
Our rates are built to cover expenses and still give some profit. With these deals, the innkeeper shoulders all the expenses – food, electricity, insurance, laundry, housekeeping, taxes and even taking out the fixed expenses the added cost of utilities (and guests are not cost conscious), food, laundry, and time for housekeeping and laundry, the innkeeper just housed those guests for free while Groupon or Living Social made money.
Too many people look at the part that says you get a check for xxxx dollars and this % will never come. You will still have too many coming that you will work for nothing and regardless of what is said – the liability is for everyone to come. I know my inn is so wonderful that everyone would want to come and that is what I would expect to happen. Those who would be told they are expired will be ticked off. Just think how many nasty comments happen when a donated certificate is told no, it is expired.
I look at these deals the way I look at the e-mails that say their SEO will make me #1 in the searches.”
- Kathleen Panek, Gillum House B&B, Greater Pittsburgh
“We have done LivingSocial during our slower winter months. The deal brought new guests to our inn and to our county. It worked out quite well for us. We made money. We had great guests. We will do it again. Last time though, we offered chocolate covered strawberries and a picnic lunch – won’t do that again. Very labor intensive and crazy making. Just make sure that if you do such a deal, you are prepared for a week of overly busy phones.”
- Jimm Burton, Inn At Riverbend, Pearisburg, Virginia
“We have bought Groupon vouchers for nearby inns just to see how, what and why they do it. Simple answer – they are failing businesses. Out dated furniture, linen and decorations. Poor quality bathrooms and often plumbing. They are doing it to generate turnover not profit. We have never thought of going back at the full rate – people simply don’t. Next time you see one on Groupon, check their reviews on TA – or better still – try one for yourself and see – at least you get a night off.”
- Steven White, Old Shoulder of Mutton B&B, Winster
“We’re on our second offer with Groupon and it works for us too on a number of levels – hits to website and TripAdvisor reviews! All good so far…”
- BW Philipburn Country House Hotel, Selkirk
“Not worth it at all. You have to offer 1/2 price, then Groupon takes another huge cut (nearly 50%) leaving you with 25% of the regular take.”
- Desert Rose B&B, Cottonwood, Arizona
Thanks to everyone who contributed. You can read part one of this story here.