Yesterday morning at the the breakfast table, a comment was made which made me think… We’re Not Your Grandmother’s House. The comment was from a couple in their late 50’s/early60’s that was looking for a book to read. They mentioned when they visited B & B’s before, they always have books. I said in 2004, we used to have books but found that no one actually read them. Seems like, these days, guests bring their own books and more often than not have an iPad or an e-reader. And that got me thinking…
And that got me thinking… We’re Not Your Grandmother’s House
Maybe when I first took over the 1795 Acorn Inn Bed and Breakfast in 2004, it may very well have been my Grandmother’s house. Built in 1810, it was full of stuff. Too many things hanging on the walls. Doilies. Full canopies on beds. Even a crocheted canopy in the Angell Room. Gingham checked swags for window coverings with matching tissue box holders. Bookshelves in every room, including six wall-to-wall shelves on the upstairs landing. And a decent collection of VHS tapes. Consequently, this Finger Lakes accommodation was all nicely decorated in a Country Colonial theme, but it felt old. And it wasn’t me. So often a Bed and Breakfast is a reflection of it’s owner.
The Evolution of Bed and Breakfasts
Years, actually decades ago, women stayed at home to raise a family. As a result, when the kids got older and went off to college, they found themselves with not much to do. Hence, in an effort to keep busy at something they were good at and consequently earn a few extra bucks, they started renting out rooms on a short-term basis. Providing breakfast was easy and eventually Bed and Breakfasts came about.
Eventually, it soon became something older couples could do together to supplement their income and make use of their large home. Often it was decorated with wallpaper and years of memories. It was warm and welcoming and a cozy option to staying in a chain hotel. At some point, not too long ago, it became a livelihood for some and businesses were born. Papers were filed with local entities. Income was reported. Taxes paid. Inspections passed. Standards maintained. And marketing plans put in place.
Read the rest of this page »
Well, there’s bound to be at least one bad apple in the bunch. I have often felt that tripadvisor reviews are a double-edge sword; an Innkeeper’s dream and nightmare. I have been fortunate in all these years to have wonderful reviews. I did have one bad review written some time ago and was successful in getting the guest to remove it. Her review was based on conversations between her husband and me. He did not accurately report back to her and said things that were not said. She was kind enough to remove it and it was quite the victory. I don’t imagine I will be that fortunate twice.
The issue for me with tripadvisor is that there is no one monitoring whether a review, good or bad is justified. It would be a horrific task. With so many wonderful reviews, one bad one certainly doesn’t spoil the whole bunch. Guests can tell what is valid and what is not. It’s actually good to have a bad one because then they believe the good ones more. What does hurt one’s business is the ranking. One bad review can drop your ranking significantly and it takes possibly hundreds to bring it back up. I guess I will find out. I have long thought that tripadvisor should have a mediation committee whose job isn’t to sensor reviews (free speech and all), but to determine if the complaint should affect the ranking. Here’s why…
Read the rest of this page »