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Suggestion Book

 
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Sue Dyer



Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Posts: 2580
Location: Belford, Northumberland

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:42 pm    Post subject: Suggestion Book Reply with quote

I have a guest book where renters put comments about their stay but it tends to be "lovely cottage, nice area" type of thing.
I was thinking of starting a book off with suggestions, mention a good meal I had in a local pub, a good beaches for quiet strolls etc and inviting guests to put their suggestions in as well. Does anyone else do this and how does it work out? I do provide local tourist information leaflets too but find sometimes a personal recommendation may work better. I thought I might learn something too!

Also, for anyone else has rental places in Northumberland and North East. I work for a charity called Sustrans who are responsible for the National Cycle Network (NCN). (love us or hate us!!)

Anyway, we produce a really good free cycle map called "Northumbria Cycling Kingdom" which is really popular and a good map for non cyclists too. I'd be happy to send small quantities out from work to anyone interested if they sent me a private message. Also, anyone in the UK who has enquiries from guests who are cyclists asking re routes around their property they could refer them to our website www.sustrans.org.uk where there is interactive mapping and a national info line. I have had a few cyclists renters who I have been thrilled at the info I've been able to supply. End of plug for work!!
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tansy



Joined: 20 Sep 2004
Posts: 2106
Location: La Manche, Normandy, France

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Soodyer..HNY seems ages since we talked!

Our visitors book has become the local restaurant guide by sheer accident..we had some folk that stayed that felt they were the answer to The Michelin Guide ....it's snowballed from there...all sorts is in the book now - so I now tell folk to please read other folks recommendations and go from there...at least I don't get it in the neck if they don't agree with the book!

I also state when I write to folk with an information pack about the area and house if they spot anything we could improve on please let us know...so far all I've had in 4 years is that during a very hot spell we had ants in the house! That is the sum input for 2 houses!
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Sue Dyer



Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Posts: 2580
Location: Belford, Northumberland

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there Tansy!!!
I've been busy doing a million and one things but still watch the forum every day.

I will go with the book this season. As I say, I've helped with enquiries for the area which are quite diverse - such when might a guest see puffins on Farne Islands, but unless that is your thing you just don't consider it. If someone has an interest and writes about it that may inspire other visitors to do something they hadn't considered.

The information for eating out may come over better from guests as it will (probably) be unbiased. You do become friendly with the folk who run the pubs and cafes around your property so it puts you in a spot to recommend or otherwise.

I do find it hard not to overwhelm guests with information and try to remember that holidays are about discovery too. It's always great to feel you have "found" somewhere and then have the feeling you want to share it with others.

I shall put one suggestion on each theme - eating out, walks, things to do for kids and see where the guests take it from there..... Smile
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paolo



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 3934
Location: Provence, France

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sue,

I think the suggestions book idea is a very good one (so good I wrote about it in the first Lay My Hat newsletter!)

I have got restaurant reviews, itinerary suggestions, 'don't-bother-going-to' warnings, things and places I had never heard of, all written up in my suggestions book.

On top of that I get all the usual glowing reviews which are useful for pasting onto my websites.

All it takes is an intro or a label on the front explaining that this is a suggestions book, and if you have seen, done or eaten anything particularly memorable, please tell future guests about it.

Many people love to write up their experiences. I also get water-colours and some questionable poetry inspired by the house.
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Buckie Aitken



Joined: 07 Dec 2004
Posts: 2
Location: Loch Lomond, Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have a book in our apartments where we ask our guests to tell us what, where and how the occupied their stay with us. Most guests add someting ranging from a few lines to a few pages. It is very enlightening to us who have lived here all of our lives to learn of places which our guests have found and mostly enjoyed and are a very good barometer to the local restaurants. We offer a free off season short break for the best entry each season which also creates an interest. It goes without saying that we also have an extensive number of brochures of places of interest along with our local tourist board annual lists of events staged in the area.
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Sue Dyer



Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Posts: 2580
Location: Belford, Northumberland

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paolo Embarassed maybe it's been lurking in my subconcious since that newsletter??!!!

Buckie - great idea on the comp.
I deliver cycling tourist information maps and leaflets to the local TIC's so just pick up any new leaflets at the time. I think it's important to keep them current for guests.
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tansy



Joined: 20 Sep 2004
Posts: 2106
Location: La Manche, Normandy, France

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh it's not just restaurants...we've even got which is the best horse to ask for at one of the horse riding stables...to where the best place is to swim for the seal to come and play...even the saga of Tom accidentally pulling the curtains and pole down and his dad fixing it....bless him he went out and bought a drill!

We have a huge big box full of brochures where to go etc. but I agree it is interesting to read where folk have found...I quite often find myself not knowing that!
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vrooje



Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 3263
Location: Burgundy, France

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Question: what kind of book do you use for this? How fancy is it?

We had a rather nice book going for a while, but our meanie partner took it with her when she moved out. Don't know why, really, since it was about our house and she no longer owned it and hadn't written in the book since her "welcome" message... but I guess she must have considered those comments "hers."

Anyway, I'm a bit worried about starting another one -- primarily because we don't live near the house and what if someone wrote something awful in the book? We wouldn't know about it for months!
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tansy



Joined: 20 Sep 2004
Posts: 2106
Location: La Manche, Normandy, France

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

we bought a livre d'or at the Buro Express..leather bound with lovely stiff paper gold edged...it makes it a bit of an occasion to write in it if you see what I mean. We've never had anything negative written in it except one lady had a good moan about a restaurant in great detail!

If anyone has had to point out a lightbulb blown whatever they have always left it on a peice of paper for us....I leave a pad in the house for exactly this and for folk to write shopping lists etc..it's something you wouldn't think to pack!
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musicmonkey



Joined: 15 Oct 2004
Posts: 87
Location: Manche

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We too have a book and encourage all our visitors to make an entry. In the front of the book we suggested the kind of things to include. 100% of our visitors have made a comment and all positive about the house, but also mention the weather, local attractions good or bad, and more.

When we first visited France we booked regularly with Brittany Ferries who encourage (maybe even insist?) that their property owners have a gite book. When we arrived, it was one of our first jobs to see what useful info others had provided for us. Sometimes very useful info like temperamental appliances or where to find neighbours who could supply fresh milk, eggs, etc.

I would definitely recommend it. If I was to have a negative comment it would enable me to act on it (assuming it was justified - I say that because I had a large lady complain that the bed wasn't big enough, yet it's a standard 4' 6"), as I would rather know.

Musicmonkey
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HolidayWebs



Joined: 30 Dec 2004
Posts: 61
Location: Puerto Pollensa, Mallorca

PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2005 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In our apartment we have the following:

Bookcase which includes local guides & maps plus any fiction & magazines etc. that people leave behind & a shelf for tourist leaflets etc. that I try & sort out at least once a year.

Two folders (ring-binder with pages in those transparent pockets):

1) Folder for the apartment itself with instructions etc. regarding use the property & includes an inventory. This is also includes some 'blank forms' people can complete & leave out for our agent if there are breakages or other property issues etc.

2) Folder for the area which includes our recommendations of places to go, favourite restaurants etc. I update this each year with prices of excursions, bus timetables, new/closed restaurants.

We then have a visitors book which most people use to describe where they went, favourite restaurants etc. Unfortunately my son managed to bring the Visitors book home last September to it hasn't yet made it's way back to the apartment!
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