Last week, Hampton Terrace and Lenox MA were featured by USA Today in a centerpiece story about the bed and breakfast industry.
A stay by Travel Editor Laura Bly was predicated by a Professional Association of Innkeeper’s Survey which indicated that in spite of the current economic environment, inns and b&bs nationally were not only surviving, but bucking trends that were causing the lodging industry in general to be down almost 30% in 2009. Most inns are showing flat to slightly negative trends….and some, including Hampton Terrace, are demonstrating significantly higher revenues as more travelers take vacations within driving distance of their homes.
Ms. Bly contacted BedandBreakfast.com, the largest on-line inn directory, to inquire what US destination might best exemplify this trend, and they recommended Lenox, Massachusetts as one of the best concentrations of upscale inns in the country. They went on to single out Hampton Terrace, sharing that our 2009 numbers through June were 60% above comparable 2008 dates. Our summer also continued this trend, with revenue up almost 20%, in spite of the fact that we did not raise our rates, and it is hard to squeeze more room nights in when you are already almost sold out.
To see the actual article, CLICK HERE.
We credit our success at Hampton Terrace to many factors, not the least of which is our loyal base of returning guests…..friends who consider us a "home away from home." As a matter of fact, Sandra Aplin of Boca Raton, Florida said exactly that in the USA Today article. Another factor is our attention to guest reviews, especially on Trip Advisor. Before check-in, we e-mail every guest to let them know that they should alert us of any issues or improvements to their stay WHILE THEY ARE HERE, so that we can address them. Then immediately upon their departure they get another e-mail from us asking how things went. This is important because most negative Trip Advisor reviews result from unaddressed guest issues….and we do not want there to be any at all. So we have spent most of the last two years sitting at the top of the Trip Advisor rankings for Lenox.. With more than two dozen inns, that is an important accomplishment.
Finally, to distinguish ourselves from a plain vanilla hotel stay, we make sure we communicate that staying at Hampton Terrace is an EXPERIENCE. A chance to "Turn Back the Clock to the Gilded Age." And we price our rooms to make people feel they have received a good VALUE. Ms. Bly wanted to know how much we were discounting in order to maintain our revenues this year. Our answer is that we have not had to discount at all….other than our normal price breaks for off-season and mid-week. That is contrary to the deep discounting trends that are haunting the lodging industry in general.
When your hotel room looks the same in Tulsa as San Diego, and when a traveler has the option of getting off Interstate Exit 89 or 90, then price does play a role. An experience at Hampton Terrace? Priceless. Well, not really, but you understand the concept.