Saturday, July 30, 2016

Best Choice To Buy Bed and Breakfast Gift Certificates and Gift Cards

Make the best choice to buy bed and breakfast gift certificates or gift cards.  There are several points you should consider before making a bed and breakfast gift certificate or card purchase. Will you want to purchase a gift certificate from a nationwide directory, a bed and breakfast association, or a specific property of choice?

The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast
My first recommendation for buying a gift certificate is to find an inn or bed and breakfast where you yourself might like to stay. Call the innkeeper and ask questions, or better yet, if it is possible, make an appointment and drive to the inn to see a few rooms. Most innkeepers are gracious and love to show off their property. Ask yourself if the innkeeper exhibits enthusiasm for hospitality.  Are they excited about their property and their locality?  Do they inspire you to come?  Do they have suggestions for touring, eating, entertainment, or relaxation?  Check the property's reputation on tripadvisor.  Consider all aspects of the property. Be sure to ask about their cancellation policy. Do they serve a breakfast? Make sure your questions about privacy and comfort are answered.  If this is your property of choice, ask if they sell gift certificates, if they have an expiration; are they transferrable, and how do they handle the extra money if the certificate is more than the room cost?  Your thoughtful choice will make it a uniquely personal gift for your loved one.  Buying directly from the inn will insure that they will go to your inn of choice. Of course, your family or friend will reserve the date of stay.

Buying directly from the inn or bed and breakfast greatly helps the inn's bottom line.  Buying through a directory pays a commission of perhaps 10%, 15%, or 20% to other sources. We sell many certificates to family members of guests who regularly stay with us. Many adult children purchase gift certificates for their parents.

Relax at The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast

It might be a "Quick Fix" in a busy season to purchase a gift certificate from a directory, and where the recipient can choose the inn of their choice.  On the other hand, it might be a more meaningful gift to do the homework to find that special get-a-way that you believe they would most enjoy.

Directories -  Property owners list with directories for the advantage of exposure to the thousands of persons seeking unique lodging experiences. Examples of bed and breakfast directories are:  bnblist.com, bedandbreakfast.com, bnbfinder.com, iloveinns.com, and selectregistry.com, to name a few.  Of course, we owners need and love our online directories.  Most directories offer gift certificates or gift cards. Keep in mind that cards and certificates purchased from a specific directory can be redeemed only at those directory properties that are participating in that directory's gift certificate program. If you have a bed and breakfast in mind for your loved one, check to see if that property is a participant in the directory's gift program before purchasing from the directory.

The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast
Example:  The Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast is listed on bedandbreakfast.com; however, we do not participate in their gift program. Notice on this bedandbreakfast.com local page, that participating properties have the word "Accepts" and a gift card icon shown below the room rate, on the right side of the listing. Often people with bedandbreakfast.com gift cards call us to make a reservation. They are saddened when they learn that we are not participants; and that only the inns displaying the gift card icon are participants in the gift program. Bedandbreakfast.com has a FAQ page that specifically shows properties that accept gift cards.

Bnbfinder.com has a gift certificate information page on their site that explains requirements, this being available to the purchaser prior to clicking the link to make the purchase. Here is a link of participating properties.

Associations - You may also discover many bed and breakfast associations that offer gift certificates or cards. In searching; however, I find that few associations give much explaination about gift certificate redemption.  Some sites say they may be redeemed at their member properties.  I suggest that you inquire of the association prior to making a purchase. Associations typically are well managed and commited to serving their clients.
Holmes County, Ohio

It's the law in Ohio - All gift certificates issued in the state of Ohio (in any industry) must be honored for two years.  Here at the Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast we honor gift certificates for two years.  After the two-year expiration date, we will, as long as we own the inn, continue to honor expired gift certificates for a Sunday through Thursday stay, but not during the peak season which runs mid September through the month of October.

We, here at the Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, accept gift certificates issued by iloveinns.com. We especially like our partnership in the iloveinns.com because they charge us only 10% commission on their certificates.  BnBfinder.com charges redeeming inns a 15% commission, and yet another leading directory charges 20% commission, (with some additional rebate to property).

Innkeepers like myself must assess whether or not it is advantageous to participate in directory or association gift programs.  Several factors impact the decision.  We here at The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast are located in Ohio's Amish Country. Holmes County Ohio which hosts over 4 million visitors annually to our area.  Typically we are able to fill up most weekends around the calendar, so we do not rely on directory gift certificates to fill our rooms.

Visit Ohio's Amish Country in Holmes County, Ohio.  If it's mid-day, stop by for a tour of open rooms.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
July 30, 2016






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