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Indy Inn Surveys Millennial Guests

An old Purdue friend attended a small wedding at a Marriott Beach Resort on St. Thomas. Scott was the general manager of an Indianapolis-area inn, owned by his family. He decided to sell his relatives on the benefits of marketing to millennial-age independent professionals.

 

At the wedding, he met some younger friends of the bride and groom. All shared these traits:

 
1. They were between 20 and 34.

2. They were employed by other people.

3. Also, they were involved in group entrepreneurial start-ups.

4. They stayed employed, while launching their new two-three person businesses.

 

“These people travel for their employers, on established business expense accounts,” Scott told me. “Then, for entrepreneurial things, they travel on personal, or new and separate, small business expense accounts.” Low budget, limited credit card, multitasking electronics.

 

“In the Indianapolis area, we get a lot of them. Where can they stay?” he asked. “They need to be near the city’s hub of transportation connections, business networks, popular eateries, and financial resources. They need places to stay, with amenities that combine technology, work, social networking, comfort, and healthy eating. They need affordable room and service rates.”

 

Scott has two millennial-age sons. At the inn’s annual July 4 party in 2016, he “surveyed” the guests and visitors, also his younger relatives. Here’s a sampling of that survey.

 

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Intro: You are a millennial between ages 20 and 34. You travel for your employer at least once a month. Also, you are starting a group business. You travel for that one or two times a month.

 
1. What amenities do you need available when you stay here? Be specific, please.

2. What connectivity resources are a necessity when you stay here? Be specific.

3. What foods, snacks and beverages do you need and/or want available when you stay here?

4. What special services are a necessity at no extra cost, when you stay here? Be specific.

5. What is your inclusive budget limit for staying two nights, on employer’s expense account?

6. What is your inclusive budget limit for staying two nights, on your own or group business account?

7. What color schemes do you prefer in your guest room? Public areas? Eating/snacking/pub areas?

8. What things don’t you want present, whenever you stay overnight here?

 

It took Scott over six months to report back to everyone on his “Boilermaker” list. He called the survey responses “mixed.”  He called the responders “decisive” overall, “wishy-washy” when their answers were compared to their actual requests and uses while visiting the Inn.

 

“I’m still trying to figure this out,” he e-mailed us. “And my own sons and their wives, all millennials, gave different responses on that survey every time they completed it.”

 

So what happened to marketing to the millennial entrepreneurial professionals that stay at the Inn?

 

“We give them the services they need when they’re here,” explained Scott. “Even when it requires us to scramble to outfit their space in time for check-in…. So far, our off-season bookings are up 26 percent….Not bad!”

 

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Market to the people that  you and your people are cut out to best serve.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting Them: Inns and Bed and Breakfasts on Rue de les Fleurs. Part 1: Exteriors

An inn or bed and breakfast (chambre d’ hôte) occupies every building on the row of this Haute Alpes village, in southeast France. Each property’s owners live in a third or fourth story attic, or a small apartment behind the kitchens. Originally, each property was what we might call a “row house.”

 

Jean-Paul, my mother’s cousin, e-mailed about the property owners’ problems. “All of the buildings are in disrepair. Business is très mal (very bad). Soon, travelers will stay in other villages, or in the city.”

 

He e-mailed a detailed description of “les maisons pour les touriste stays” (houses for tourist stays). He drew a mental picture of the condition of the seven, tightly sandwiched structures. Cell phone photos followed. Red roofs canopied the five towers.

 

“What can we do?” he asked. “I’ve staged original productions in small theatres, including here. These touriste stays must not crumble to ruin. Tourism is the village’s main source of revenue.”

 

At first, I had no clue how to answer Jean-Paul’s question. How could we help? That French village was located over 4,480 miles away.

 

Then, an image appeared of the Seralago, a historic hotel in Kissimmee, Florida. Scaled down and reconfigured, it could have been the buildings on Rue de lès Fleurs. Their red-painted tower roofs announcing their formidable presence in the community.

 

The Seralago became the inspiration for an idea that sparkled with possibilities.

 

In June, I brainstormed with two painters at different Marriott-managed hotels. I mentioned the idea to my mother. (Caution!) And, she and Jean-Paul took it from there.

 

OVERALL PLAN – A Capsule Version

 

1. Designate two project leaders. One, for the exteriors of the buildings; the other for the interiors. Each will work with the owner(s) of each row house, to oversee and help with every phase of the exterior, or interior, part of the project.
2. Arrange for photos to be taken – before, during, after each phase of the project. And, with every row house.
3. Hold a “Rue de les Fleurs” la fête (party) to launch the restoration project. Publicize the event, and the project. Contact the media.

 

SELECTING EXTERIOR PAINT CREWS – A Capsule Version

 

1. Find a very skilled and agile commercial painter in the area.

A. Engage him to give the tower roofs a fresh coat of red paint. Urge him to donate his services.

B. Try to get his employer – l’contracteur – to donate the paint.

C. Let the media know about their generosities.

2. Line up the work crews – all local villagers:

A. Paint crew. Persons skilled at using a paint brush, and at least two able to use a roller.

— Find one or two skilled in using a spray system. Five able to work on ladders, and scaffolding.

B. Repair and prep crew. Fit persons: out-of-work, retired or unoccupied. Men and women.

— Include a few that are able to work on extension ladders.

C. Ground crew. Teenagers and adults, willing to help with work on the street level.

 

NEW LIFE FOR EXTERIORS OF BUILDINGS

 

1. WALLS. Clean. Scrape off old paint and loose masonry. Patch and/or fill all areas that need it. Lightly sand surfaces when dried.
2. FRONT DOORS. Clean, and scrape off old paint. Sand, patch, and paint all. Paint each door a distinctive and complementary color. TIP: Alternate deep bright blue, extra white, and crimson red (or, colors close to those of the nation’s flag).
3. HARDWARE-FRONT DOORS. Clean and polish each door’s hinges, knocker, and handle. (In the photos, they look like brass.)
4. WINDOW FRAMES, INSETS, and CORNICES. Clean, scrape, patch, sand, and reseal frames and insets of all windows. Also, window cornices and ledges. Paint to match the respective doors on street level.
5. WINDOW SHUTTERS. Remove from the buildings. Be sure to mark each shutter for building, window, and side of window. Clean, patch, fill, and sand. Paint the shutters to match the respective doors on the first story. TIP: Spraying shutters produces a much better finish, and longer-lasting coatings.
6. FLOWER BOXES. Put a few retired carpenters to work building a flower box for every window, including on each end of the row. Paint to match the respective front door on street level.
7. SEATING. Find a park bench for each front entry. Used ones are fine. Repair each, as necessary. Scrape off loose, old paint or finish. Sand till smooth. Paint all with gloss black. Or, paint each in the color that matches the respective door.

 

NOTE: Area steps 3 through 7 have entailed more than what’s outlined here.

 

PROGRESS ON THE RUE DE LES FLEURS.

 

Work on the row of inns progresses. Jean-Paul says the spirit of villagers grows. “Like the crops on surrounding farms… The townspeople prepare for a busy touriste stay season. And, the little theatre will be ready to reopen on October 16. Très bonne.”

 

PLEASE READ: Painting Them: Inns and Bed and Breakfasts on Rue de les Fleurs. Part 2: Interiors.

 

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“Buildings, like persons, deserve special care – outside, and inside.” Jean-Paul.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.” Copyright 2015. Robert Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

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