Thursday, October 8, 2009

Holiday Gift Certificate Dilemma

With Sweetest Day, Christmas and Valentines Day coming up many people purchase gift certificates for an over night stay at a bed and breakfast.  There are different types of gift certificates that you should be aware of.  The obvious is that you can purchase a gift certificate directly from 1 bed & breakfast that is valid only at their B&B.  The other option is that there are several bed and breakfast directories that advertise thousands of inns.  They offer gift cards that are valid at "participating" inns.  That is what you need to be aware of when purchasing that type of card.  For example, you may have found a bed & breakfast on bedandbreakfast.com, stayed there, loved it, and now you want to buy a gift certificate for your parents for Christmas.  Your parents call your favorite inn, make a reservation, and show up with a gift card.  The only problem is that your favorite inn doesn't participate with the gift card program and now your parents have to pay for their room when they thought that they could use the gift card.  Each of the directories that sell gift cards instruct the recipient to visit their website for a list of "participating" inns.  Many people over look that statement and assume that all inns participate if that advertise on that directory.  You should do your homework as to how many inns participate in the state(s) that you think the person receiving your gift may visit.  The reason that not all inns participate in these programs is that the directories take up to a 30% commission when the gift card is received.  So if you buy a $100 card, the innkeeper charges $100 per night but they only get to keep $70 because the directory keeps $30.  If there is a place that you really like you might consider purchasing a gift certificate directly from the inn and then you know that your gift will be accepted when the person receiving it arrives.
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608 www.garden-gate.com

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