Thursday, March 08, 2012

How Innkeepers Connect with Guests Online

The Wellfleet Information Booth, above, is closed in winter. People, who make their way to the Outer Cape in quiet season may find accommodation by consulting the Wellfleet Chamber of Commerce, or Discover Wellfleet. Both sites provide innkeepers with a steady flow of customers in summer, but additional advertising is always desirable. Innkeepers can connect with potential guests through the various Web sites that offer information on accommodation. This fall, we lost our favorite because the owner, in the UK, turned the business over to his son and the son decided to regroup, eliminating listings in the USA for the time being. What a shame!

Chez Sven was listed on Green Hotels seven years ago, but we dropped membership. The site offers mainly hotels, as the name implies, so is not really appropriate for small B&Bs. Someone could easily start a site for green B&Bs. There are more every day.

Some sites require payment but not all.

This winter we joined Organic Holidays in the UK. Now we are signing up for Responsible Travel, also based abroad. Chez Sven is listed under "New England." One of the requirements is that the innkeepers promise their B&B will sustain the environment. Here are the 200 words I'm submitting for admission:

“We recycle and compost. We offer guests recycling bins in each accommodation. We filter well water. Sandy is active in the movement to stop the utility company from spraying herbicides that will enter the sole-source aquifer and pollute drinking water. She discusses the issue of toxic chemicals in the environment with guests whenever they show interest. She writes letters to the editors of local newspapers on this topic.

Sven and Sandy are among community members who remove trash from Wellfleet's beaches.

We use mulch in our garden to avoid over-use of water.

We request that guests lower the heat when they leave their rooms.

We would love to install solar panels, since the building faces south, but have not yet been able to afford them.

During renovation, we made our accommodations as eco-friendly as possible. We installed low-energy ventilation fans, high-efficiency windows and CFL lighting. We used VOC-free paint and improved insulation. We had the carpenters recycle the 12-inch wide pine boards. The house remains similar to the Atwood Higgins House, in the nature park nearby. When new residents are building McMansions, we believe the old buildings in town need to be preserved and do our part with Chez Sven.”

Do you think about sustainable practices in your choice of B&B? If not, why not?