Tuesday, June 23, 2015

PAII News You Can Use 6-23-2015

In case you missed it: in last week’s Member’s Monthly Magazine we informed you that PAII attended the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Workshop on “The Sharing Economy” in Washington D.C., advocating for all B&Bs, on 9 June, 2015.

You – as an innkeeper and industry partner – can access the full report submitted by Jack North, PAII, Board of Directors, and Innkeeper - Mayhurst Inn, Orange, VA. Jack notes: I cannot emphasize how important it was to “be in the room” to listen to the speakers and watch their body language.  Even more important was to watch the audience reactions, listen to their reactions, discuss issues and questions one-on-one with audience members and speakers, meet the Airbnb panel member and to specifically address issues with fellow innkeepers, the AHLA Representatives, and the BBAV Director many times during the conference and over lunch. 

While we - the licensed/insured/tax-paying innkeeping industry have tended to focus on the issues of a ‘level playing field’, ethics, and guest safety, you’ll see that was not the focus the hearing.  Here are 2 excerpted examples (Jack provides more in the full report):

1.      Note the use of the term “Platform” in reference to Uber and Airbnb…while not incorrect, their use created an interesting dynamic.
a.     Using the term “Platform or Application” essentially makes these systems faceless and “neutral”.  It is difficult to be negative about an inanimate object.
b.     How could a “Platform” have questionable business practices? 
c.      A “Platform” is a thing, not a commercial business that wants to control its market. 
d.     Because a “Platform” is a thing, it is devoid of sellers and customers (people) who may be pleased or injured or unhappy with what the “Platform” does to them.     
2.     … “Rating Systems or “Platforms” are potentially better at policing sellers than are Government Regulations, and, that in many cases these “Platforms” can regulate the industries better than the “decades old laws and regulations”. … There was almost a constant theme that “you don’t need all these laws, regulations and taxes” … However, statements such as “…less Consumer protection is needed…”, “…the consumer needs less protection…” and …”the emphasis on safety may be misguided,” and the proposed use of “rating systems” to replace laws and regulations designed to protect our guests from harm are scary.  …
c.      The average guest at a hotel, Legal B&B, Airbnb property, Homeaway Vacation Rental or any other short term lodging facility doesn’t even think about safety, building codes, security, health and food issues or the properties insurance because they believe they don’t have to and because they know those things are covered by various laws and regulations – right?  Likewise, they would never think to ask if the lodging facility pays taxes – they assume everything is legal. 
d.     Keep in mind as you read this that Airbnb is 4 things.  A user’s system to find lodging (like Expedia); a sellers system (like your Web site or B&B.COM); a rating system (like TripAdvisor); and a “for profit” making behemoth for its owners that are bent on total domination of the market.  They have the best of all worlds – and they control it all.  Airbnb is not an inanimate object.  
3.     The issue of “fairness” (taxes and laws and regulation) was essentially ignored.   Not once during the 4 sessions was the simple fact that state and local Governments rely on the tax revenue generated from lodging establishments to fund wide variety of programs for the very people who need government assistance the most. 

As you read the full report, you’ll see that new – or at least additional - tactics of addressing the issues are needed. You – as an innkeeper and industry partner – can access the full report submitted by Jack North, PAII at http://paiiinnkeepers.blogspot.com/2015/06/federal-trade-commission-workshop-ftc.html

ALSO in this News You Can Use:
Book Now or Check Availability: which call to action is preferred continues to be debated. But there is little debate about the need for a call to action, and now, Instagram has announced the release of a button that lets accounts promote an action to users.  Details:  Instagram's New 'Shop Now' Feature Can Turn Inspiration Into Bookings

What are key components to an image (including your property listings, banner ads) that will increase the likelihood of the reader converting to a guest? In addition to a blue background, mentioning the length of the stay shows the reader that this trip pertains to them and fits into their vacation time. Ads that include offers have on average a 98% higher conversion rate than those that don’t, and perhaps you’ll be surprised by which gender is the better seller! Read the research results in Your creative could be failing to convert because you are using the wrong images.

Outdated information is a frustration for everyone, and now Google has announced their plan to follow up with Google My Business users via email to confirm that they are still actively managing a business page when there has been 6 months of inactivity. Check out the link to Mike Blumenthal – a presenter at PAII’s 2015 
(“Understanding Google Places & Local Search) as he includes Google’s warning email text.  This may help you separate a legitimate message from the tons of spam in your inbox!  Full article:  Google Says It May Unverify Inactive Local Business Listings.

INNkeeping NOW – Photo and Recipe Contest
YUM – view, vote, and be inspired by the photos submitted for our contest! What’s your favorite – perfectly browned scones, strata topped by a juicy tomato, a baked apple with melty-ice cream, or …?  Any of these could be enjoyed al fresco on the welcoming porches – tell us your favorite: flowers-at-their-peak, inviting cushioned wicker seating – captured in the unique style of each inn.

YUM YUM – imagine the flavors of our pancake recipe entrants. Why not Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chips, Bananas Foster for breakfast – we can’t think of any reasons! Not to be outdone, our savory recipes feature Sweet Potatoes, Baked Eggs Benedict (guests have definite opinions about eggs, note the innkeepers), and Omelets flavored with, well, just about everything!

Your last day to vote is Friday June 26 … look for the winners in next week’s INNkeeping Now Magazine, coming to your inbox.

‘til next week
~Kris Ullmer, PAII Executive Director

Vote for the People’s Choice!
Photo entries for our Summer IQ Magazine!

Recipes entries for our Summer IQ Magazine
Vote for your favorites!

People’s Choice Voting ends Friday, June 26, 2015 at 4:00 PM EST

News You Can Use:
Instagram's New 'Shop Now' Feature Can Turn Inspiration Into Bookings

Your creative could be failing to convert because you are using the wrong images

Industry News:
U.S. lodging outlook remains strong despite lag in economic indicators   

Social Media & SEO Changes Innkeepers Should be aware of:
Google Says It May Unverify Inactive Local Business Listings

Featured Past PAII Webinar from our Archives:
The Family Business

Innkeeping Recipes:
From the The Country Inns of the Dartmouth - Lake Sunapee Region  http://www.nhcountryinns.com/
Chilled Peach and Cantaloupe Soup from kitchen of the Rosewood Country Inn

Conference Update Vendor Spotlight:
The Oigidecht Group sees three big challenges to the Innkeeping industry at this time: technological costs, big brands wanting a piece of the independent/inn market, and understanding travel habits of Millennials. CEO Stephen Donahue observes, “We see many clients struggling with aging clientele, online travel sites, understanding how technology can work together and it’s ROI, as well as an aging product and what is really needed to be done ensure profitability.”  Read more about The Oigidecht Group at http://paiiinnkeepers.blogspot.com/2015/06/welcome-to-oigidecht-group.html

Upcoming Webinars (free for members)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015,  2:00 PM EST
The 5 Greatest Marketing Challenges

Wednesday, July 1, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Email + Social Media: Strategies & Tools

Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
How Associations can use Social Media to help market their members
–PAII Staff

Wednesday, July 15, 2015,  2:00 PM EST
Understanding the Guest Experience, presented by Liz Day

Wednesday, August 12, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Attracting Millennials to Your Bed and Breakfast

Wednesday, August 19, 2015,  2:00 PM EST (Sponsored Webinar)
Benefits of RezStream Cloud, presented by Josh Wise

Wednesday, September 2, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Topic to be Announced

Wednesday, September 9, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
The Importance of Yelp for B&Bs
–PAII Staff

Wednesday, Sept 16, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
7 Strategies to Increase Traffic to Your Website

Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Topic to be Announced

Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
10 tax tips for B&Bs

Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Topic to be Announced

Wednesday, November 4, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Yield Management

If you would like the full descriptions for each webinar without having to login, please visit http://paiiinnkeepers.blogspot.com/p/upcoming-webinars.html

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