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September 2008

Our Members Speak Out

Question for September: Does your 24/7 job ever get to you? How do you combat innkeeping burnout?

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!
 

Do you need extra help this summer? Or maybe you know an aspiring innkeeper who is looking to dip their toes into innkeeping. The BedandBreakfast.com Employment for Innkeepers forum is here for you. Check it out today!

You were asked: Do you solicit tips? Why or why not? If you do, how do you go about it?

“In my opinion, the only kind of tip you should ever solicit are tips on how to improve what you are doing. If you have employees, they should be paid enough so the question does not even arise. The price our guests pay is inclusive; even if you go out of your way sometimes, like I do, it is only to make sure guests will remember your place and come back.

“On the other hand, if you offer meals as a supplement within the guests’ stay, and if you hire extra help to serve those meals, you can add a small gratuity to the bill. This should be stated clearly either on your menu or in your brochures if the meal option is mentioned. Under no circumstances should B&B owners solicit any kind of gratuity for themselves; it is not ethical.” -- Florence Fracarossi, Flo’s Hideaway, Bristol, VA

“We post ‘no gratuities necessary, your business is thanks enough’ on our website, but people are encouraged to tip for dinner when they dine with us as they would at any restaurant. We also point out all of the amenities that are included with a night in a B&B but often charged for in a hotel--added value. We don't collect until the end of the stay; that way we have the opportunity to meet each guest's need, and by the time they leave we hope they feel it was money well spent.” -- Pam Matthews, Montgomery Inn Bed & Breakfast, Versailles, KY

“Tips…don’t like them…don’t want them, and don’t think we should get them! Do you get a tip for your working day…no! The hospitality industry should pay real wages and not rely on ‘service/gratuity’ charges to make up wages. This con has been going on for too long! It is an international problem, and we honestly think the 20% service charge restaurants impose in the U.S. is offensive. Charge more for the food rather than continuing this false sense of value.

“If a client wishes to reward, write a review/ letter of praise to the management/owner or send a bunch of flowers/wine/two tickets for the lottery.” -- Dora, David and Stanley, Woodstocker Inn, Woodstock, VT




“We solicit tips only if we've served additional meals to our guests (lunch or dinner). Our promotional material and table signage say that an 18% gratuity will be added to the bills for parties of seven or more. That makes it clear that our waitresses and staff members work for tips when serving meals just like they would at a regular restaurant. When we take out credit card paperwork to the guests, we use the variety with a place for tips and ask them to total and sign.

“While most guests leave an amount in keeping with the meal only, some do leave extra for our housekeeping staff. While we don't ask or pressure them in any way to do so, I think it is just wonderful when they do, and I always thank them for their thoughtfulness. I love seeing my staff get a little extra for their efforts, and they like knowing that they did their jobs well enough to merit a special reward.

“Likewise, I don't expect tips, but when a guest finds some special way to thank me, I take it as a compliment and accept their considerate gift graciously. People appreciate good service!” -- Sherrie Hansen Decker, Blue Belle Inn, St. Ansgar, IA

“I do not solicit tips. Although monetary rewards are appreciated, I am more motivated by positive reviews on the internet or in the journals in the rooms. If I offered additional amenities, my rates would reflect it.” -- Shari, Sweetgrass B&B, Rapid City, SD



“We have recently added a tip line to our checkout receipt. Many guests are generous. We have no Oregon sales tax, just the 1% state lodging tax, no city or county tax here. We do not place envelopes in the room for housekeepers. Most fine hotels solicit tips for service. Surely our guests expect and receive 5+ star service and hospitality!” – Shari, Lobenhaus B&B & Vineyard, Carlton, OR
 
“No, we do not solicit tips; we do however accept them when they are left in the room or given to us in person. Always enjoy the tips; makes me feel we’ve completed a good job in the B&B and we’re being thanked for it.” -- Shirley, Apple Country B&B, Yakima, WA  




“We simply display an envelope on the kitchen counter of each suite with ‘Your Suite Was Cleaned By (the name of the staff member who cleaned the suite).’ The majority of the time, a tip is left, the largest one being $100.” – Miriam, Holmes with a View, Millersburg, OH


“Regarding tip solicitation: never, ever, ever at my inn. I have worked in the hotel industry for eight years and have seen that this practice has become very passé. It has never crossed my mind to solicit tips. People feel they are paying a fair rate for their room and expect that rate to include stellar service. I have received tips from a few guests when I went above and beyond for them and I was sure to write and thank them for the gift. If you have a housekeeper, pay fair wages for their work. If someone should leave a tip, be sure to pass this along to the housekeeper.” -- Sue Groffie, Virginia Rose Inn, McKinney, TX

“I am not a solicitor of tips, but if I receive them it puts a smile on my face and a pat on my back.” – Jennifer, The Franklin Victorian Bed & Breakfast, Sparta, WI






“We do not solicit tips. We've been going to B&Bs for over 12 years and recently stayed at one that did. I found it offensive. Guests have left us tips, but unsolicited. Innkeepers do this for the love of meeting and sharing their home with new people, not to make a buck. If you are, then go buy a hotel, not a B&B. We're not waiters or bellhops with our hand out stretched for a tip; we're here to show our guests a restful stay and to tell them about the great treasures our town has to offer.” – Dana, The Inn at Hickory, Hickory, NC

“When we have housekeeping help, we do mention that gratuities are greatly appreciated, although not required. We do this with an embossed, heavyweight cardstock note in an envelope addressed 'To Our Guests'. The note contains our thanks to the guests for staying with us and a request that they let us know if anything could be done better. The note also contains the housekeeper's name and that she takes great pride in her work.

“We have found that with the envelope addressed to the guests, the tips are more frequent and in a higher dollar amount (we never mention what a 'fair' tip should be unless a guest asks directly). Generally, the guest would take the embossed card as a memento and leave the tip in the sealed envelope with a note written to the housekeeper on the envelope flap.

“When we do not have housekeeping help, the note card simply states our thanks for the guests' patronage and the request to let us know if we could do anything better for their next stay. We do not solicit tips for ourselves as we feel it is inappropriate for the owners to do so. Always nice to find an unexpected tip, though! Our best tips are our repeat guests – that’s the perfect way to know we have done our job.” -- Monica & Rock, White Cedar Inn, Freeport, ME 

“We never solicit tips. Our B&B is in Europe where tips are never expected and must be earned. 1.) This keeps the maids on their toes; they know they have done something special when they are tipped. For example, when guests stay with us 5-7 days, we wash a load of their clothes for free. Extra loads, or loads of laundry from daytrippers cost 5 Euros a load. Our maid folds the laundry very carefully, but even twice as carefully now after she once received a tip from a lady after having been able to remove a stain from her sweater. It was unexpected, and she was positively surprised and now outdoes herself. 2.) If my staff expected tips and didn't get them they could be upset and under-perform. 3.) We have a price/quality standard to keep up. We want our clients to feel that little something without having to purchase it. Anything they find extra nice they can tip for and will be appreciated.” -- Virpi de Oliveira, Casa do Valle, Sintra, Portugal

 

Would you like to continue the debate? Go to our innkeepers' forums and post your 2 cents! Log in to your Home Base and click Message Boards.

This Month's Sponsor

Reviews = Reservations

No doubt about it: travelers want reviews, and they are more likely to stay at an inn that has reviews posted. 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. Earn a $5 Inn of the Month credit for each review posted from August 29 to October 31! (Up to $50.)

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Inns for Sale is brand new!

SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY OFFER: Get a free upgrade to the next level if you sign up by September 30!

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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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