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Reply to Katerinka12
"we are the only accommodation that gives each guest a welcome tour of their room"
How do you advertise it? Or that's for your loyal (returning) clients?
Reply: We don't actually advertise it - however it is mentioned consistently in our reviews as a positive. We treat ALL guests the same, whether 2 weeks or 1 day, they get the tour. An acute observation of body language tells me to either to make it snappy or indulge the guest with a half hour long discussion. :-)
I am surprised, that you are only the one with best view and yet other properties are overbooked and you are not full.
Reply: We are full. But it is almost impossible to avoid 1 or 2 day gaps between some bookings which we then open up to short term bookers. Our main competitor has a 60 room hotel and various reception staff - they quite often get overbooking (a bad thing!) and phone us for help in accommodating them. We are much smaller and have a channel manager plus monitor each arrival by placing them into a spreadsheet. We therefore spot over bookings almost immediately (only 4 in total in 5 years) - all mistakes were usually caused by not reopening a cancellation correctly or a channel manager connection problem at time of booking.
I see your point, however why should we pepper our accommodation with multiple single days that then prevent other guests from booking 3 days to two weeks because we have a multitude of single days slap bang in the middle of when they wish to stay with us?
The majority of our guests are trying to come here for a full holiday (sometimes a full 14 days) whereas the majority of single day guests are simply using us as a stopping point because we are near the airport and the rest of their holiday was booked elsewhere.
We are therefore a little mercenary (for good reason) in our policy and it works well. If we have single and two day 'gaps' - we THEN open those rooms to people who are seeking them - but not before we have given our long stay guests the opportunity to book.
At the end of the day, as much as we are in the business of making the most for our guests, your emotions should not interfere with good business sense.
Don't lose too much capital by being overly generous to guests.You are running a business not a charity. We therefore do not just throw discounts in willy nilly.
Simple things like complimentary bottle of water or wine can go a long way. There are other ways too - as we check people in we need their ID for the Eco Tax. This gives us their dates of birth and if they have a birthday during their stay, we put a vase with a rose in it accompanied with a birthday card from us.
Customers leaving us quite often give us bus cards with unused journeys on them - we pass these to selected guests - usually cash strapped youngsters who are appreciative of the gesture - it costs us nothing.
Of course, returning and regular guests can be given extra treatment - here we offer free transfers, and will reduce the rate for a return booking.
We have set check in times between 14:30 to 23:00 - however as we live on site, this translates to 24 hours in reality. As we have a front door intercom that connects to our mobile phone we are able to respond to guests arriving at silly O'clock from airports. Our only requirement is that we have forewarning of them coming.
Those late arriving guests get escorted straight to their room and check in the next day at a sensible hour - that is always appreciated.
Guests arriving during normal hours are checked in and given a tour of their room, the facilities and then we spend time in front of a map of the town and the country (being Malta which measures only 30km x 14km - guests can access the entire country from the hotel!). We determine whether they have been before or are new to the country, if the latter - have they researched and formulated a travel plan? If they do have a plan I provide tips to make it more workable considering the local transport system etc, Guests who come unprepared and have no idea - we offer suggestions of places to visit and explain how the public transport works.
This meet and greet has been done from day one and is second nature to us now. Our reviews tell us it works and gets you from 8/10 into the 9/10 to 10/10 - it really works folks!. We do realise that we are a small Guest House - a 60 room hotel cannot emulate this, but people who choose a Guest House over a Hotel with better facilities are generally looking for the personal touch - so don't disappoint them.
Our prices are based on the fact we have the only sea view in the town, (the three other hotels face the wrong way!), we have the best reviews (that is something we strive to keep - by being the 'best', there are no short cuts), we are the only accommodation that gives each guest a welcome tour of their room, the facilities and tips on where to go - plus a guide on the town and where shops and restaurants are. This can take 10 minutes to sometimes half an hour per guest but it makes us unique. One of the competition provides a key code and the guest arrives to an empty building, uses their code to enter and finds their room - other than a welcoming fruit bowl, it is a rather cold way to greet a guest in our opinion - albeit efficient.
Saying all that, we have limitations over other bigger establishments that have on-site restaurants and a swimming pool so we need to be aware that we cannot out price those places with better facilities. We therefore set our rate and adjust UPWARDS by monitoring the opposition who are all higher than us because of these better facilities. If they put their rates higher by €10 - so do we, we therefore keep competitive but take advantage of closing the gaps in rate disparity when they occur.
Lastly, we actually have good relationships with our competitors - if they overbook (surprising how bigger establishments overlap guests and need to accommodate them for a day) we are always on hand to use our 'gaps' to take the one day stayers despite our three day minimum policy. There should be no empty beds1
We too are running close on 100% during high season - this bell curve of income is what keeps you going in the 'off' season. As a ski resort you have a problem in that there is no reason for being there except to use you as a holiday with no ski ing intended - we have people coming to us off season because they don't like the heat of our peak season and now have regular returning guests.
You will need to appeal to a totally different customer in off season - these will be people looking at having a break at a discount - however your discount should not be so great that you are offering accommodation, utilities, cleaning costs and wear an tear of linen and decors for what amounts to the water from a boiled egg.
Factor in costs, add a modest extra and see what happens - if you cannot fill your rooms then take quality time off or use the time to decorate for the peak season when you are full. You may wish to adjust your peak rate to earn yourself a little extra to soften the blow for being empty off season.
Our bedding is changed weekly with towels changed every three days. Both are subject to request - used towels are quite often placed in the shower for a change, never had a request for a bedding change yet!