Tag Archives: privacy

Union Gables Inn and Suites

I want to share with you my interview with the Head of Marketing, Carla Smith, about bed and breakfast Union Gables Inn and Suites of Saratoga Springs, New York.  So why do people love staying at Union Gables Inn and Suites?

We offer all the luxury amenities like an outdoor pool, free wifi, plush bathrobes in the room, as well as the personal touches and comforts that only a locally owned bed and breakfast can provide like freshly made cookies and complimentary wine each evening. What we receive the most praise from guests about after they have stayed with us is how much they enjoyed getting to know and interacting with the staff. Jane, the Innkeeper, has a personality that brightens everyone’s day and she makes each guest feel at home at Union Gables. Creating that personal connection is the greatest benefit, although the outdoor pool, private parking lot and pet-friendly rooms are also greatly appreciated by guests.

Since you have seven pet-friendly rooms, how many guests bring pets?  What pets have stayed at your inn?
As we are one of the only pet-friendly bed and breakfasts in the area, guests often come to us because it is luxury lodging that they can enjoy with their beloved canines. Guests looking for pet friendly rooms compromises approximately 30% of our bookings. Once we had a guest bring a bird for a weekend stay, but mainly the staff gets to gush over guests’ dogs and spoil them with bones!

What is your most popular room and why do you think that is the case?

Guests always ask us which room is our favorite, and it is honestly almost impossible to choose one because each room has a unique charm and various antiques. The two that are requested most by guests are the Bill Room and the Pond Cottage. The Bill Room is in the main mansion of the Inn on the second floor and is one of the largest rooms we have. Its unique feature is a private outdoor porch overlooking Union Avenue that is perfect for morning coffee or an evening glass of wine. The Pond Cottage allows people more privacy because it is a one bedroom cottage in the Japanese garden area of the grounds and has a private outdoor patio so guests can have an area to themselves surrounded by the beautiful gardens.

Are the rooms with names named after people you know?

The rooms were originally named after the individuals who resided here when the property was state-owned in the 1900’s. A few names have been changed over the years after members of the owner’s family.
 
 

Do you have regular guests that visit at least once every year?

We actually have regular guests that visit as often as once a week or once a month and that have become very close friends. We offer a discount to Skidmore [College] parents as they visit their children or attend sporting events regularly, so they comprise a significant portion of our regular guests. We also have many guests that come back each year for the Saratoga Race Track or for annual events in Saratoga like the Flurry Festival or the Food and Wine Festival.
 
From what locations have your guests visited from?
We have had guests from as far away as Australia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
 
Your website shows your award-winning gardens you have, do you have a landscaper or gardener to help you or are you a master gardener?
The owner is the master gardener, credits for the beautiful gardens go to his vision and hard work of him and his maintenance staff.
 
The heated pool is a nice touch!  Since it is heated, what months does it get used?
Thank you! The pool opens in May and closes in September or October depending on how quickly the winter weather strikes in the Northeast. 
 
I am impressed at how well you blend antiques with modern day technology such as flat screen televisions in all the bedrooms.
Since you mentioned blending the old with new, our mission has been to tastefully merge the historic, Victorian culture of the Inn with modern technology and luxuries. We would like to preserve the history of the Inn and the antique decor while advancing into the modern century.  For example, we have purchased a GE Wattstation 240V electric vehicle charging station in order to provide an electric vehicle parking spot in our private parking lot. Guests can charge their vehicle in 4-6 hours while they enjoy a luxurious and comfortable night in Saratoga Springs.  We are now the only bed and breakfast in the state of New York with a 240V electric vehicle charging station.  Saratoga Springs is halfway between the major cities of Ottawa, Montreal, New York City and Boston so Union Gables is now part of the network supporting sustainable travel between those cities.
 

Since you are a bed and breakfast, I have to ask, what is your most popular breakfast dish?

We judge the most popular dish ordered for breakfast by how often it is ordered and how clean the plate is after the guests have finished. The chef’s Cinnamon Baguette French Toast guarantees a spotless plate returned every time. Everything we serve is cook to order and the freshness makes a difference. Bruce, the chef, drenches the baguette in the cinnamon egg mixture and browns it on the griddle, then it is baked in the oven until the center becomes a delicious custard. It is served topped with powdered sugar and the guest’s choice of blueberries, strawberries, or bananas and paired with pure Vermont maple syrup.

How many innkeepers and members of the staff are there?

There are the owners, Tom and Barbara Fox; the Innkeeper and Manager, Jane; the Chef, Bruce; and Me, the Assistant Innkeeper and Head of Marketing. We also have various cleaning and maintenance staff. Tom and Barbara have a close connection to the Union Gables Inn, as this was where they met and married. Because Saratoga Springs was the place for horse lovers to show art and Barbara is an equine artist, it brought her to the area and this is where she met Tom. The Inn has a few paintings in the main foyer that she has painted. Tom and Barbara both take pride in maintaining the beauty of Union Gables as a historic icon to Saratoga Springs, and hope that it will bring enjoyment to those that stay here.

Carla, what do you enjoy most about what you do at Union Gables?

When after a stay at Union Gables, a guest tells me that their experience at the Inn and of Saratoga could not have been more perfect. I get the most joy out of personalizing someone’s stay to make sure their individual needs and goals for their trip are met. I was born and raised in Saratoga, so the greatest pleasure is welcoming visitors to the city I am proud to call home and providing local tips and recommendations that allows them to enjoy Saratoga just as much as the locals do. 

There is so much that Union Gables Inn and Suites offers their guests.  They are located in the heart of Saratoga’s Historic district known as the ‘Magic Rectangle’, one and a half blocks from the Saratoga Race Course on Union Avenue and two blocks to the Historic Congress Park.   Check out their photo gallery and make a reservation to be the guests at another bed and breakfast!

The Hospitality of Hosting

hospitality of hosting

A gracious host is very welcoming and immediately sets you at ease when you arrive. Hospitality is the relationship between the guest and the host, or the act or practice of being hospitable. This includes the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. It is important, as bed and breakfast owners and innkeepers, that guests feel at home in your home.

Hospitality is associated with etiquette and entertainment. It involves showing respect for one’s guests, providing for their needs, and treating them as equals. The word hospitality derives from the Latin hospes, meaning “host”, “guest”, or “stranger”.

 

Hospitable Things To Say

  • “Make yourself at home.”
  • “What brings you here to stay with us?”
  • “Do you need more fresh towels or pillows?”
  • “Can I get you anything else?”
  • “Feel free to select from our DVDs and books to take back to your room during your stay here.”
  • “Would you like to know about some fun things to do in our area?”
  • “Your homemade fresh-cooked breakfast will be ready at….”
  • “Would you care for some tea this afternoon?”

As an innkeeper, you will need to know the fine art of how much to interact with your guests. Be available to answer their questions, but also be sensitive to their need for privacy.  Take your cue from the guests themselves since each person is different.  This way you tailor your hospitality to match the needs and wants of your guests. That is the hospitality of hosting!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Why Bed and Breakfasts are Better Than Hotels

better than hotel

Staying at a bed and breakfast can be better than staying at a hotel. Your B&B could be located in a restored old home or even a mansion with antique furnishings.  Your gardens may be lush and offer comfortable seating, and your rooms range from cozy to luxurious. Staying in your B&B can be a really unique travel experience and not one to be missed. Here are the top 10 benefits you can emphasize to your bed and breakfast guests.

  1. Their bed and breakfast is included.  While this may seem obvious, it’s actually a wonderful amenity in terms of convenience and cost savings. B&B’s offer anything from a continental spread to a hot gourmet meal. As a special touch, you can even bring guests their breakfast in bed.
  2. You can give them the privacy and peace and quiet they desire.  As a B&B, you can be more exclusive with fewer guests. You often have guests looking for a place to spend a quiet weekend.
  3. They’ll get more personal service.  With fewer guests than a hotel, you can give your guests a much more personal experience. Wanting guests to return, you are invested in making sure you have a great stay.
  4. Your bed and breakfast may be located in a less traveled area.  Unlike hotels, your B&B could be located off the beaten path. This provides your guests with a great opportunity to see less traveled parts of your community that they would otherwise miss.
  5. It is the perfect romantic getaway.  In fact, B&B’s have become so popular for couples that you may cater to this romantic angle, offering special romantic packages. These may include events planned ahead or excursions that are included in their stay.
  6. Your bed and breakfast is more secure.  At a B&B, there are fewer people coming and going. With less going on, as a B&B owner, you can keep a much better eye on their property than a typical hotel staff can on a hotel.
  7. Your guests can get a taste of the local culture and style.  Your B&B has its own character. Even better, you have lots of advice for your guests concerning the best things to do and see in the local area.
  8. You can offer extra activities.  You may be one of the many B&B’s that offer additional recreational activities in your regular packages. Depending on the location, your guests may be able to enjoy biking, hiking, canoeing, golfing, or skiing.
  9. Your guests will encounter unexpected luxuries.  B&B’s tend to offer all those extra special touches that can make your guests’ stay pampering and luxurious. Luxury bed linens and bathrobes, organic food, and locally roasted coffee are only some of the many perks that you may offer. You may even stock snacks and drinks in the common areas and rooms in case your guests get hungry.
  10. You provide a great value.  Although B&B rooms tend to be priced higher than hotels, usually your place offers a better value overall than hotel rooms. More amenities are included such as free phone calls and Internet, you get much better service, and the experience tends to be much more unique than an average hotel stay.

So, as the bed and breakfast owner, be sure to emphasize (on your website, blog, and your other marketing) the unique benefits that guests will receive when they stay at your bed and breakfast and why staying with you will give them a better experience than if they were to go to a local hotel.  You can focus on how your B&B gives that extra special personal touch.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

BBB Accreditation Standards

BBB Standards

Do you know what BBB accreditation means to your bed and breakfast? Better Business Bureau Accreditation is an honor – and not every business is eligible. Businesses that meet their high standards are invited to join BBB. Businesses deemed to meet Accreditation Standards are presented to the BBB’s Board for review and acceptance as a BBB Accredited Business.

BBB ensures that high standards for trust are set and maintained. They exist so consumers and businesses alike have an unbiased source to guide them on matters of trust. BBB provides educational information and expert advice that is free of charge and easily accessible.

BBB sees trust as a function of two primary factors – integrity and performance. Integrity includes respect, ethics and intent. Performance speaks to a business’s track record of delivering results in accordance with BBB standards and/or addressing customer concerns in a timely, satisfactory manner.

The BBB Code of Business Practices represents sound advertising, selling and customer service practices that enhance customer trust and confidence in business. The Code is built on the BBB Standards for Trust, eight principles that summarize important elements of creating and maintaining trust in business.

1. Build Trust
Establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace.

2. Advertise Honestly
Adhere to established standards of advertising and selling.

3. Tell the Truth
Honestly represent products and services, including clear and adequate disclosures of all material terms.

4. Be Transparent
Openly identify the nature, location, and ownership of the business, and clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy.

5. Honor Promises
Abide by all written agreements and verbal representations.

6. Be Responsive
Address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally, and in
good faith.

7. Safeguard Privacy
Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of customers regarding the use of their
information.

8. Embody Integrity
Approach all business dealings, marketplace transactions and
commitments with integrity.

Each bed and breakfast, whether BBB accredited or not, has a rating. The BBB letter grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, your grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about your bed and breakfast despite their requests for the information.

BBB assigns letter grades from A+ (highest) to F (lowest). In some cases, BBB will not grade your business (indicated by an NR, or “No Rating”) for reasons that include insufficient information about a business or ongoing review/update of your business’ file.

BBB Business Reviews generally explain the most significant factors that raised or lowered a business’ grade.  BBB grades are not a guarantee of a business’ reliability or performance, and BBB recommends that consumers consider a business’ grade in addition to all other available information about the business grading elements.

BBB grades are based on information in BBB files with respect to the following factors:

1. Business’ complaint history with BBB.

2. Type of business.

3. Time in business.

4. Background information on business in BBB files.

5. Failure to honor commitments to BBB.

6. Licensing and government actions known to BBB.

7. Advertising issues known to BBB.

Bed and breakfast owners, if you are unsure if you have a BBB grade, look up your own name in the BBB directory to see what your file says.  If there are any unresolved complaints, you can contact your local BBB to resolve any issues with your BBB Standards.  It is best to be on good terms with the BBB.  People do consider a business’ BBB grade.  You can apply for membership by contacting the nearest BBB location if you are not already a member.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions

 

When potential guests arrive at your website, do they have all the pertinent information they need in order to know that they want to stay at your bed and breakfast?  Your website needs to be informative and friendly enough so that guests can be assured that your bed and breakfast is the one they want to stay at.

 

Consider having a “FAQ” (frequently asked questions) section on your website. This can list questions and answers about your inn and the surrounding area. The following are examples:

  • What amenities do you offer? This is your opportunity to list things like their own telephone, wi-fi access, jacuzzi or hot tub, air conditioning, cable television, library, a suite, private bathroom, etc.
  • What can I do in the area?  Answering this question gives you the chance to brag about the fun things to do in your area.  This is when you can talk about shopping, area attractions, favorite restaurants, arenas to see sports and concerts, and more!
  • Can you tell me what to expect for breakfast?  You can indicate the time breakfast is normally served, if they can make arrangements to adjust the time, what is normally served, if special dietary needs can be accommodated, and if breakfast can be delivered to their room.
  • Do you allow children to be guests?  You may allow children, but require a specific minimum age or you may decide to keep it only open to adults.
  • Do you allow pets?  Do you have pets living at your bed and breakfast? You may allow pets or have separate cottages for your guests to stay in with their pets. Some B&B owners have pets that live in the B&B, but their pets may be restricted to only specific areas of the place.
  • What about the details?  This is where you can bring up how you handle early arrivals and late departures, your credit card policies, if you have a minimum number of nights they must stay, and if you have any discounts or special packages.
  • How much privacy will we have?  You can answer their questions such as if there is a common area to meet other guests and if they have to interact with the other guests at breakfast and if they will hear the other guests behind the walls.
  • Do you allow smoking?  92% of all B&B’s do not allow smoking inside. There is a trend for healthier environments.  Most states do not allow smoking in public restaurants.
  • Where do the innkeepers sleep?  Many times you live on the premises or just a few minutes away. It gives guests peace of mind to know that they will be able to reach you if and when they need to do so.

Having an FAQ section, on your website, helps answer any frequently asked questions they may be too timid to ask, but truly want to know.  I also recommend giving guests, who have paid for one of your rooms, a number where they can always reach you in case of emergency.  This helps everyone feel more comfortable!