BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection FAQ
About the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection
BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection Standards and Requirements
On-Site and Off-Site Inspections
About the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection
Why did you launch the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection?
BedandBreakfast.com’s mission is to take consumers out of large chain hotels and put them into smaller, independently owned properties. We feel we’ve done a good job of that over the years, but we heard from a distinct group of consumers who tend to stay at smaller luxury hotels and say they have had a hard time making the switch to B&Bs. Our goal of launching the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection is to fill that void – to distinguish a select group of properties that tend to highlight that the B&B industry can cater to all types of travelers. Our hopes are that this helps to broaden the industry even more and get more and more people to consider a B&B the next time they travel.
Why should I join?
If you know that your inn is among the best properties in your town/region, joining the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection is a way to demonstrate it to potential guests. Travelers will seek out properties that have both great consumer reviews and professional inspections, plus all modern amenities/luxuries, from online reservations to Wi-Fi to whirlpool tubs to first-rate hospitality. Diamond Collection properties are an exclusive group of professionally inspected and guest-reviewed luxury inns with extensive modern amenities. Once guests have experienced one Diamond Collection inn, they’ll be looking for a similar experience on their next getaway.
What do I get for the extra money?
Additional display coverage via featured displays on the BedandBreakfast.com home page, state, region and city pages, coverage on the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection members page, Diamond Collection Blog, badges/plaques/clings for your inn/website, and many more features we'll be adding in the coming months. We anticipate that Diamond Collection properties will see a significant increase in click-throughs compared to non-Diamond Collection properties.
Are payment options available for the application fee?
Yes. You can pay the entire amount when you apply or in three equal installments.
I’m already a Platinum member; does this mean I will no longer be on your first page of results if I don’t join the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection?
BedandBreakfast.com displays one scrolling page for any destination, not multiple pages that require multiple click-throughs. We’ve always displayed our properties this way, and we’ve never penalized any member's level by putting them on a second, third, or fourth page. On average we expect one or two properties at most in any given destination to become Diamond Collection members, meaning the placement for Platinum Properties will not change in any measurable way. The benefit of being a Diamond Collection member is much more encompassing than just page placement.
Why would I join now? Why not wait and see how it goes?
Our introductory offer (free secondary city listing) has a value of nearly $1,200, for starters. In addition, early adopters will be inspected as quickly as possible, while later folks may have to wait longer for an inspection. Most importantly, early adopters will have more exposure on the BedandBreakfast.com home page, state and regional pages as well as on their city page. Think of the value of being the top-listed property on high traffic destinations!
The monthly price for Diamond is a lot more than what I am paying. What will I get for that additional monthly fee?
Let’s take a closer look at that. First of all, you’re not just paying for a higher level – you’re part of an exclusive group of inns that represent the best of the best, from the inspection process to the checklist of required amenities. The monthly cost for the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection also includes the fee for the annual off-site inspections that’s required to be a member of the collection. If you calculate the amount you may now be spending on Inn of the Month and/or secondary city listings (free with our intro offer) your monthly membership cost may stay about the same. If you do join the Diamond Collection and are not satisfied, our usual 90-day guarantee applies, although application fees are not refundable. (The 90-day guarantee does not apply to the membership fee during any promotional sign up trials or offers.)
When will my listing go live at the Diamond level?
If you are an existing member, your listing will go live immediately at the Diamond level while your inspection is pending.
What if I don’t get any more business from upgrading to the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection?
Like all of our products, the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection is covered by our 90-day guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied, let us know within 90 days of your upgrade and we'll refund the additional amount. The 90-day guarantee does not apply to the cost of the inspection.
If I am new to your site, can I join the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection?
If you are not currently a member of BedandBreakfast.com, you are welcome to apply for the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection, but we recommend joining at the Platinum level with the free 90-day trial so you can start build your listing and become familiar with the site.
Does the free 90-day trial apply to the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection?
No. The free trial is available at the Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels.
What happens if a guest isn’t satisfied with their stay?
We honor a satisfaction guarantee on all of our BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection properties. That means we will work with member properties to resolve the guests’ concerns.
What if a guest complains directly to BedandBreakfast.com?
Negative reviews will be handled just as they are for all BedandBreakfast.com members. If three serious complaints are received in a one-year period, either in the form of reviews or direct contact with BedandBreakfast.com, your membership will either be downgraded to your original membership level (or suspended, if preferred) and an onsite re-inspection will be required at the current rate before you can be reinstated to the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection.
Will there be any additional exposure outside of higher placement and the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection member page?
Yes. Members will be able to post specials, features, etc to a BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection blog, and we’ll have special PR and marketing efforts. Diamond Collection properties will be featured on the BedandBreakfast.com home page, state and regional pages, just as the Featured Reviews are now. Just as we do for all of our members, we will continue to look for additional ways to provide increased exposure for our Diamond Collection members.
Will you be printing a book?
No. BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection members will receive far more exposure via the BedandBreakfast.com websites and its partner sites than could be achieved by a printed book with limited circulation. In addition, online marketing ensures that members benefit immediately – no need for the delay of a printed publication.
Is this program only available in the U.S.?
We are launching it in the U.S. and hope to expand internationally in 2011, possibly sooner.
BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection Standards and Requirements
What are the basic requirements?
To become a BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection member, you must complete an application, pass an inspection, and have the following:
- Guest rooms with private enclosed bathrooms
- Official certificate of occupancy and permit
- All current applicable licenses including lodging, liquor, food and beverage, as well as mechanical elevator and fire safety permits
- Current insurance coverage with at least US $1 million of comprehensive business liability
- Free Internet service for guests
- Online reservations on property website
- Professional-quality photos on BedandBreakfast.com & property website
- Flexible check-in or guaranteed late arrival
- Staffing 7 days a week from 6AM to 8PM
- 24 hour per day guest accessibility to service or staff
- Accept BedandBreakfast.com gift cards
- Maintains a 4.0 or higher BedandBreakfast.com consumer review rating
- 10 or more consumer reviews on BedandBreakfast.com
- Proactively maintains high customer satisfaction
If you have any questions about these standards and criteria, please contact us at 1-800-GO-B-AND-B.
What if I meet most but not all of these requirements?
If you meet most requirements, but don't yet have one or two features like online reservations or high quality photos, let us know so we can help you expedite the process. For example, if you want to wait until spring to add photos so you can show your grounds in full bloom, that won't affect your eligibility.
What do you mean when you say “Private Bathrooms?”
Consumers have responded over and over that they greatly prefer to stay at properties that have private bathrooms; our consumer surveys show that 95% of inngoers want this – more than any other amenity. Every BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection member must at least have this option available. We do not require that every guest room must have a private ensuite bath (i.e. not down the hall or adjacent to the room), rather that it’s available in almost every one and that the bathroom is enclosed. For example, if you had a two-bedroom suite sharing a bath, there would be no problem.
What qualifies as “Online Reservations?”
If you offer the ability for guests to see availability, and either book specific dates or request specific dates, then generally you qualify for online reservations. If you are using a Booking Engine product from companies like RezOvation, SuperInn, Resnexus, Booking Center, or if you are using an availability system including Webervations or Availability Online for more than just displaying availability, then you qualify. The online booking option must be PCI compliant and offer a secure environment, so that guests’ credit card security is not at risk.
What qualifies as “Professional Photos?”
Photos from such industry experts like Jumping Rocks, Rare Brick, and many others certainly qualify. We understand that many innkeepers are also hobby photographers though, so this is a grey area. If you have photos you took yourself, and you think that they are on par with some of the photographs from our list of experts, let us know – we’ll take a look and let you know if they will work. Our goal isn’t to force you to use one of our list of experts, but it is an investment that will pay for itself many times over, and we want our Diamond Collection to present itself in the best way possible. Photos must be in high resolution, so that interested guests can get a good idea of what their room will look like.
What is “Flexible Check-in or Late Arrival?”
We understand that a B&B isn’t a 24 hr/day business, but we expect that Diamond Collection properties have regular plans in place for late check-ins. Properties must offer a regular guest check-in until at least 8 p.m. local time, and have a plan in place that is well-communicated to guests for check-ins after this time. This can include anything from a key lock-box, to electronic door locks, to full-time staffing. Our goal is for guests to be comfortable that they can arrive late without being locked out. As long you have a plan in place that you communicate to guests to make it easy for them to check in if you are unavailable, then you qualify for this. This does not require you to let guests check in early, although flexibility in this regard is helpful.
What about 24 hr/day guest accessibility to service or staff?
Although room service is not required, you must have an emergency contact number for guests to call. We’ve heard from guests who sometimes feel abandoned if something goes wrong. While we don’t want to change the private and personal feel of a B&B, we do want guests to rest assured that if something goes wrong, there is someone who can be there in minutes, and who is only a phone call away who can help them fix it.
Why do I have to accept BedandBreakfast.com Gift Cards?
Quite simply, it would be an awkward experience for a consumer if they could not rest assured that our BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection properties accepted our gift cards. Ultimately the goal of the Diamond Collection is to help further the image of B&Bs. Image is built up from both quality and consistency, and having a select group of properties who may or may not accept the gift card we work so hard to promote in retail and corporate channels would create nothing but confusion to consumers. Even groups like Select Registry offer to consumers the consistent experience of universal gift card acceptance and we feel it is important to do so as well. Diamond Collection properties can request free customized BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection gift cards with a photo of their inn that they will have the option of selling, receiving a 20% commission.
BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection members enjoy an additional
rebate in our tiered rebate program. This rebate reduces the effective
commission paid by properties which receive a large volume of gift
- When a property reaches the $1500 threshold, they will receive a 5%
rebate on their subsequent redemptions (effective commission: 15%)
- When a property reaches the $5001 threshold, they will receive 10%
rebate on their redemptions (effective commission: 10%)
The rebate period begins January 1 and ends December 31 of each year.
These rebates are processed after the end of each calendar year.
Innkeepers who qualify for the rebate will receive email notification
when their rebate is processed. Rebates will be sent via EFT if the
property has their bank account information on file; otherwise, the
payment will be sent via check to the mailing address on file.
What if I don’t have 10 reviews, and what do I need to do to maintain a 4.0 average?
The BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection is meant to be a marriage of both consumer and professional reviews. We require Diamond Collection properties to have at least 10 reviews on the BedandBreakfast.com site. If you don’t yet have 10 current reviews, we can help you achieve that goal with numerous techniques that will help you get a review or two every week, which will quickly get you to 10. As for the 4.0 average, our review product is a self-renewing pipeline for evaluations of your property. We average out each five-point scale review on BedandBreakfast.com to determine your property level average. We hope all member inns will maintain a 4.0 average review level, but it is required of Diamond Collection properties. If you fall below a four-point average, you will have 45 days to make changes and improvements at your property, or you will be removed from the Diamond Collection.
What if my reviews rating drops below a 4.0?
We will notify you by email if your rating drops below a 4.0. Because it’s a program requirement, you will have 45 days to get your rating back up to 4.0 or above. If you don’t re-establish your rating within 45 days, your membership will be downgraded to the original membership level or you may choose to suspend your membership, and a re-inspection will be required at the current rate for inspection.
What if I don’t want to accept BedandBreakfast.com gift cards?
It is a requirement of the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection to accept BedandBreakfast.com gift cards and gift certificates. Guests love our gift card program, and they are going to want to use them at Diamond Collection properties.
On-Site and Off-Site Inspections
How long is the inspection process?
After the application is received, allow up to 90 days for an on-site inspection and 45 days for an off-site inspection.
Who is doing the inspections?
Inspections are being handled by David Hiler, Stephen Tallon, and Jim Miller of InnConcierge.com. Their onsite inspections will not only qualify you for the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection, but can help you improve the quality of your property, increasing both your reservations and profitability.
: InnConcierge inspectors are former owner/innkeepers of AAA 3-Diamond, Select Registry, Mobil 3-Star properties, who have also worked at the highest levels in senior management across multiple hospitality disciplines including the management of award-winning hotels and restaurants. They take their qualitative evaluation criteria very seriously, when performing both on-site and off-site inspections on behalf of the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection.
InnConcierge offers independent inns a one-stop shop for all their needs during challenging economic times and beyond. This network of former inn owners and professionals is deeply entrenched in the hospitality industry; they understand how challenging it is to give equal attention to day-to-day operations and the big picture strategies that will keep small properties competitive for the long-haul. InnConcierge offers independent advice based on the latest industry information and a trusted InnPartnership concierge program to help you build successful businesses.
Will I be told when the inspection will happen?
- Off-site inspections: These will combine anonymous phone calls and emails with follow-up conversations with an inspector.
- On-site inspections: A reservation will be made anonymously, although the inspector will introduce him/herself on arrival. When you apply for BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection membership, please let us know if there will be a time that doesn’t work for you for an inspection – for example, if you are renovating, under construction, property closed for season, etc.
What does an on-site inspection involve?
Onsite inspections involve a total of about three working days, including pre-departure research and coordination, travel time, overnight at the property, write-up of the inspection, follow-up work, and sharing the findings with the innkeepers, providing the additional benefit of having had such high caliber professional inspectors at their property. Inspections will cover the following points:
- CREDENTIALS: Operating permits, BBB approvals, chamber memberships and other minimum requirements
- TELEPHONE / RESERVATIONS: Handling of inquiries for conversions, wait time and professionalism
- TRAINING: Organized orientation program, cross training, skill certification
- EXTERIOR: Landscaping, maintenance, signage, walkways, parking, architecture
- PUBLIC AREAS: Cleanliness, character, ambiance, decor and furnishings including fire and safety signage, WiFi accessibility, music
- GUEST ROOMS: Size, variety, private baths, decor, linens, housekeeping, entertainment
- GUEST SERVICE / HOSPITALITY: One or more of the following available including wake-up calls, VIP offerings, upgrades, in-room dining, quality/caliber of staff, housekeeping, maintenance, ancillary services.
- FOOD & BEVERAGE: Breakfast services, quality, times served, location options, in-room amenities, afternoon refreshments, dinner options (if available)
- CHECK-IN/OUT: Organization, ease of doing business, a sense of hospitality, incentives to return, times
- SYSTEMS: Reservation software, on-line reservations, POS (if restaurant on site), website, blogs, accounting, general technology, security
- EXERCISE/SPA: In-house or off-site options, running maps, in-door and out-door equipment (skis, boats, bikes, work-out, etc) alternative options
- SALES/MARKETING PLAN: Documented, strategic alliance goals, direct sales, PR plan, innovation
- UNIQUE QUALIFICATION: "Wow Factor," "Ah-Ha" moment, special services-scenarios, upgrades, value added offers, mementos, community involvement, social consciousness
What if I already have an inspection from another association?
Inspections must be conducted by professional, independent inspectors familiar with luxury inns and B&Bs. Peer inspections are not accepted.
Inspections must be for high-end properties, not to establish whether a B&B meets basic standards for comfort and housekeeping.
At the present time, we are accepting inspections from current members in good standing of:
How frequent are the inspections?
- Select Registry
- Relais & Chateaux
- Mobil / Forbes (three stars and up)
- AAA (three diamond and up)
An on-site inspection is normally required the first year, with off-site inspections in each of the next two years.
What if I fail the inspection?
If you fail either an on-site or an off-site inspection, you may either opt out of the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection and choose a regular membership level, or suspend your membership pending an on-site re-inspection to occur within the next 90 days at your expense. If you choose not to continue with a Diamond Collection application or you get re-inspected and do not pass, you must wait 12 months before re-applying. If you fail an off-site inspection, an on-site inspection will be required before you can continue your BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection membership.
If you were previously a BedandBreakfast.com member, your property will be set back to the level you were at before joining the Diamond Collection, and your monthly fee will be adjusted accordingly. If you were not previously a BedandBreakfast.com member, you can either select an appropriate membership level, or you can suspend your BedandBreakfast.com membership.
You can re-apply to be inspected at any time and will pay the current rate for re-inspection. You will have one additional chance to be re-inspected; if you fail a second time, you must wait 12 months to reapply. If you fail an off-site inspection, an on-site inspection will be required before you can join.
Do I get a refund on the inspection if I fail?
There are no refunds on the application fee if you fail the inspection. You will be able to be re-inspected and pay the current rate.
What is the timing on a off-site inspection?
The off-site inspection will be completed with 45 days of receiving the application.