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July/August 2008

Summer Travel Survey Results

In late June 2008, BedandBreakfast.com polled more than 5,200 U.S. innkeepers about advanced bookings for the July 4th weekend. The 1,346 respondents reported that July 4th weekend reservations are even with or have increased over last year at more than 70 percent of B&Bs.

Nearly 28 percent of respondents reported that July 4 bookings have increased year over year, while nearly 42 percent noted that they are even with last year's reservations -- a notable achievement in an unstable economy. Innkeepers' comments explaining the reasons for increased reservations ranged from an increase in return guests, to proximity to scenic attractions, to more couples looking for shorter, one-tank getaways. In fact, one in three innkeepers cited the increase in shorter getaways as the reason for strong July 4 bookings. This year, the July 4 holiday falls on a Friday, giving vacation-deprived Americans a three-day weekend, perfect for travel.

Interestingly, in BedandBreakfast.com's May survey, 37 percent of survey respondents stated that bookings were down for Memorial Day travel year over year. Yet less than 30 percent (29.3 percent) said that July 4 bookings were behind this year, showing that Americans are turning to B&Bs for value-filled summer vacations. Among those responding, 80 percent attributed the decrease in bookings to the price of gas, and nearly 78 percent claimed that the unstable economy was affecting travel (respondents could select more than one reason). More details on the May survey are online here.

Results of the survey were included in this press release, and response statistics can be seen here.

Here’s a brief sampling of the over 500 comments:

Green:

  • Business has increased by about 25% since we became state certified by the Florida Green Lodging Program last August.
  • Green certification through New Hampshire Sustainable Lodging and Restaurant Program; antioxidant-rich, botanical amenities; luxurious 100% Egyptian cotton towels; organic produce and locally produced produce; earth-friendly cleaning products.
  • We get almost all our guests because we are GREEN.

 

Reviews:

  • Trip Advisor and BedandBreakfast.com reviews probably influence at least 50% of our guests. We love them as they sort (subjectively of course) the good from the awful, unclean, rude and generally less than professional innkeepers.
  • Cleanliness and great reviews are why guests choose our inn.
  • We are the most inexpensive B&B in our county (with over 40 B&Bs) and we have 17 positive guest reviews – people get the most bang for their buck with us.
  • We have had many guests comment on our BedandBreakfast.com reviews, and I think they help the guests decide to stay with us.


Pets:

  • Pet-friendly does the trick for us. Lots of great people love to travel with their great dogs!
  • We have a petting zoo for children. If they fuss during the breakfast, the parents let us take them outside to see the animals so the adults can relax.
  • We take dogs in two rooms with no limit to the size of dog.
  • My mama moose had twins this year! Guests enjoy watching the babies.


Online reservations:

  • We respond to every reservation personally even if made online. Each is provided with a sample four-day itinerary with area activities and sights, which often results in extended stays.
  • Our bookings continue to go up every year (nine years now)...if you serve people, have reasonable rates, disclose everything on your website (no surprises), record what guests say about you and provide real-time online booking....people love it, come back and tell their friends...all the other hoopla doesn't really mean very much.
  • We’re using BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations, and it's working!


Travel trends:

  • Gas prices are keeping some travelers home.
  • Tourists are switching from RV rentals to B&Bs and compact cars.
  • All guests come from within a 150-mile radius, and are looking for a great experience closer to home!
  • The Fourth of July has always been a "no vacancy" period for us; the only difference between this and previous years is that guests are waiting longer to schedule.
  • Closer to home visitors; increase in word-of-mouth guests; internationals are traveling in spite of fuel prices.
  • B&Bs are now popular wedding sites. Brides are choosing smaller venues and fewer guests.
  • Some folks don't want the traditional flowers and lace B&B and love our more contemporary look.
  • Several guests have mentioned the federal tax rebate.
  • Gas prices are keeping people at home. They would rather have a cook out at home with hot dogs, not steaks, and pay their bills rather than travel.
  • Many new area hotels are driving down rates.
  • Reduced airline service to our area is making travel more expensive and is reducing the number of tourists.
  • Flooding in the Midwest.


Marketing:

  • BedandBreakfast.com has made the difference for us.
  • Filled the inn by emailing past guests about a Fourth of July party, including a $25 gas card, a reserved spot for the concert and fireworks, and a barbecue dinner on the night of the 5th.
  • Working with local merchants on cooperative advertising in major venues; invested $385 and got $25,000 in ads.
  • Our listing on BedandBreakfast.com has been a big part of our traffic.
  • Increased our rates and increased our occupancy.


Guest service & amenities:

  • Lots of attention given to guests, which really seems to be appreciated.
  • We have the amenities and location that guests want, and they come back.
  • Swimming pool, breakfast gazebo, lovely gardens; peace, tranquility, relaxation.
  • Customize meals for dietary needs such as vegan, vegetarian, kosher, gluten-intolerant, allergies.
  • Fresh flowers throughout the house and grounds.
  • Spa robes/slippers; en suite coffee/tea; fruit baskets; fresh flowers; silver beverage service in each room; personalized rubber duckies.
  • Complimentary daily beach towels, beach chairs, umbrellas, use of bicycles; faux down/feather hypoallergenic beds and comforters.
  • On-site cooking classes, retreat and board meeting facilities (indoors or out), wedding and shower facilities (indoors or out), corporate meeting rooms, and special event weekends (fly-fishing, river rafting, gourmet cooking, murder mystery weekends.
  • Each guest room has an iron and ironing board, stocked mini-fridge, hair dryer, private phone with voice mail.
  • Our laundry facility is much appreciated by my guests, as is our low-cost international telephoning service.
  • Waterfront B&B with free dockage for your boat or floatplane.
  • Individual thermostats and ceiling fans in each room.
  • I do routings of area attractions so people can relax and enjoy by just following my directions.
  • Our guests are truly our primary concern, we want them to leave loving our B&B, and they do!
  • Guests love the complimentary canoe, garden labyrinth, lake swimming (beach towels provided), and outdoor dining by the waterfalls.
  • Signature robes, high-end mattresses, elevator, two-hour breakfast window with menu of choices.
  • Complimentary wine hour with our signature cocktail makes for a lively fun evening of story-telling; no pressure getting to know each other.
  • Chocolate truffles in room, sleep masks, back scratchers, endless homemade biscotti
     









 

This Month's Sponsor

Reviews = Reservations

No doubt about it: travelers want reviews, and they are more likely to stay somewhere that has reviews posted. The BedandBreakfast.com reviews program was developed specifically for B&Bs. An easy way to get more reviews on your listing is to add a badge, like the one below, to your website. Log in to your Home Base. Click Reviews, then click Links, Awards and Review Reminders to download the badge and other helpful review tools.


 

Online Trade Show

Visit our newest vendor members!


 Click here to view our Online Trade Show. Are you a vendor? Click here to get featured!

Gift Card Reseller Program

Could you use some extra cash? Sign up for the gift card reseller program, and make 15% on each sale! There is no cost to get started; click here for details. If you'd like to receive a free reseller kit, contact us at 800-462-2632 or Support@BedandBreakfast.com.


            

"As much as I would like to sell gift certificates that are exclusively for my inn, I realize that we are not the perfect gift for everybody. This year, I gave everyone who enquired about a gift certificate an option of a GC to be used exclusively with me or good at any B&B in the BedandBreakfast.com membership. Many liked the idea of having choices, and I sold them the BedandBreakfast.com gift card. I got the commission up front, and I don’t have to worry about the liability. I also get most of the face value back should the gift card be used at my inn. The process was quick and easy. I am very happy with the results and will continue to offer BedandBreakfast.com cards as an option." Mike Venturini, Munro House B&B Spa, Jonesville, MI

Referral Program

What’s better than three month’s free membership? How about six months? Or a whole year? Refer fellow innkeepers to BedandBreakfast.com, and if they join at the Silver level or above, your membership will be extended by three months for each B&B that signs up. If four B&Bs sign up, your membership is free for a year!  For details, log in to your Home Base and click Referral Program under Free Member Benefits, or call 800-GO-B-AND-B (800-462-2632).
 

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"I am happy to report that we have had several enquiries from your site, including one guest who is staying for five nights, so our membership cost has been covered. Thanks for your help!" Caitlin Adair, Sanctuary, Putney, VT

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