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May 2008

Our Members Speak Out

Lathrop House B&B, Springfield, MA

Question for June:  What are your suggestions for the 10  things that make your inn “green”? Please add any other comments or suggestions for ways that green travel has a positive impact on your marketing and operations.

Email your responses to
Sandy@BedandBreakfast.com. If we publish your comments, we’ll thank you with a $25 credit in our Featured Properties Auction program!

You were asked: Gas prices are up, the dollar is down, and vacation travel may be affected. Are you planning any special marketing to keep your occupancy strong?

“As I travel around the state in my various volunteer capacities, I always have brochures for my inn, brochures for our state rail-trail system, and my promo item of the year, mini fly swatters shaped like a house and in a bold blue color. Imprinted on the handle is ‘Swat the Blues at Gillum House Bed & Breakfast’ with my toll-free number. This is to let people in my state know I am here if they want to stay close to home. I have also placed ads in newsprint-type magazines that address my target market of the year – bicycles & wine lovers. While that is my ‘target’ this year, I still maintain a presence on sites targeting my previous fields – horses and motorcycles. I have given certificates for freebies to a travel writers’ organization to plow the field and plant the seeds for next year, and to a national motorcycle rally – telling that group they were receiving the certificate because last year’s winners booked two extra nights over and above the certificate.” – Kathleen A Panek, Gillum House Bed & Breakfast, Shinnston, WV

“I plan to keep my prices down; that's my strategy for dealing with the crushing rise in gas prices. No rate hikes for the past four years, combined with more discounts on rooms occupied for three nights or more, even deeper discounts for family reunions and group stays. And prayers...” – Diana Mara Henry for the Lathrop House B&B, Springfield, MA

For the first time, we are offering a $20 gift card from Casey's, our local gas station chain, to any customers who stay on a Monday - Thursday night in the month of May. I hope people will respond well. I am doing more regional advertising in hopes of attracting customers who are traveling cross country. (We're just 20 miles south of I-90 and 23 miles east of I-35.) I have an ad in Midwest Living's "Best of the Midwest". BedandBreakfast.com does a great job of making my inn known to people all over the nation, which is very important, since I can't possibly afford to advertise in any other national venue. Thanks for providing a way for people from far and wide to find my inn!"–  Sherrie Hansen, The Blue Belle Inn Bed and Breakfast, St. Ansgar, IA

More answers:
What is the funniest moment you've ever shared with a guest?

“A couple of years ago, a woman came into the office and wanted to look at our rooms. I asked her if she had a ‘Big husband or a little husband.’ She looked a little surprised, but when I explained that my husband is 6'4" and needs a king-sized bed, I could see the light bulb go on over her head and she said, ‘Oh. He's a little husband.’" – Nancy Carnahan, Riverside Inn, Downieville, CA

“We had a couple call us after being here for a weekend and said they thought they left their cell phone in their room, as they looked everywhere and could not find it. Since the room had already been rented again by that time and the staff had not found anything, we looked again after the next guests had checked out. We did not find it. We called them back and said we were sorry but we had not found it. She was so sure she had it last in the room, she asked us to please look again. We turned the room upside down looking for it. We pulled the bed out since she thought maybe it had fallen off the nightstand under the bed. We called her again and apologized.

“A few days went by, and the next weekend at checkout time, the couple who stayed in that room said they had something rather strange to share. The husband said first of all it was a good thing he was so confident in his sexual prowess. ‘Oooh,’ I thought, ‘More than I want to hear.’ He continued. ‘At about 1 a.m. when we were not sleeping,’ he said, ‘but in bed if you get my drift, we heard this funny cackling laughter. It sounded almost like it was coming from under the bed.’ His wife was very startled and jumped from the bed, taking all the covers with her. And then just as suddenly, the laughter stopped and he felt this vibration like the headboard was going to move, and then a strange light started shining on the ceiling and it sounded like someone was hiccupping. He had asked if the place was haunted when they checked in (as many do), but this was more than he every imagined from a haunting.

“The previous guest with the lost cell phone had decided she would try to call herself. She had tried before, but evidently it was when no one was in the room. Her phone had become lodged between the headboard and the mattress; her teenage daughter had programmed the phone for calls from home to ring like a cackling witch!

“He handed me the cell phone with a note attached to it: ‘Thanks for a hilariously good time in bed.’" – Pam Thorsen, Classic Rosewood - a Thorwood property, Hastings, MN


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