After paying $4.45 a gallon for gas in Connecticut, the idea of $6/gallon prices before the end of the summer seems more probable than possible, recent slight trends downward not withstanding.
And this, according to Marti Mayne, B&B marketing guru, is making travelers very anxious about their summer vacation plans.
Mayne is the coordinator for the Better Way To Stay campaign, sponsored by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.
The fun and clever site offers several fun and clever programs to help travelers discover today’s B&B experience, and the “”B&B Kick Gas” offer is clearly an attention-getter an money-saver.
And with good reason.
According to a March 2011 survey of 40,000 travelers from BedandBreakfast.com more than 43% of respondents admitted that increasing gas prices would impact their plans for travel in the coming months.
And the 2011 National Online Consumer Behavior study by Harris Interactive revealed that 67% of people overall said they agree that gas prices factor into their decision around which businesses to visit.
Eighty-seven per cent of women ages 18-34 said gas prices and distance influence their decision, as compared with 67% of men in the same age range.
In response, nearly 300 inns and B&Bs from every state in the US and throughout Canada have joined in the “B&B Kick Gas” deal, offering free gas, gas credits, and rewards for carpooling and eco-driving to help ease pain at the pumps.
Typically, most “B&B Kick Gas” offers provide a $25 or greater incentive, with stays of two days or more.
And a number of B&B organizations have come up with their own spins:
• Distinctive Inns of New England rewards eco-travelers who carpool to the inn and stay two nights with a $25 or greater gas incentive, plus picnics, gourmet dinners and more. Offers vary by inn.
• Better Baltimore Bed and Breakfast says travel with friends by plane, train, or carpool and receive up to 20% back on lodging costs to put into the gas tank when two or more rooms are booked for two or more consecutive weekday nights.
* The seventeen inns of the Seattle B&B Association offer $25 in public transit vouchers for the new light-rail line for guests staying three or more nights.
At BetterWaytoStay, there are many B&Bs Kick Gas! offers. So save a few bucks and travel smart.
Tale of Two Kick Gas Inns
We wanted to see what kinds of inns were part of the campaign, so we went to Connecticut where gas prices were hovering around $4.45 a gallon.
The Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in village of Niantic, is perched above a picturesque marina where small pleasure boats bob with fishing boats and some expensive yachts.
The 9 room turn-of-the century inn with it’s wrap around porch and lovely gardens has won a couple of Golden Pineapple awards for its exceptional guest service and hospitality, and though very unpretentious, the guest rooms are tastefully designed with lots of light, and views which look out over the bay and the harbor.
The complimentary wine in the sitting room is a welcome touch, and innkeepers Sue and Dave Labrie serve up a solid buffet breakfast.
If the sound of gulls and sense of the sea are what you want, the gas deal here is one car with two couples staying two nights get a $50 gas certificate.
The Tidewater Inn is also on the Connecticut shoreline,
and is a completely different experience.
Very English tea-room feeling with lush gardens, the inn could easily be a setting for a PBS Masterpiece Theater event.
In the village of Madison, Tidewater’s two acres of landscaped gardens and estate furniture fit in perfectly with the village surroundings of boutiques, antiques and artisans, a stone’s throw from the broad beaches and nature preserve of Hammonasset State Park.
The “Kick Gas” deal here is 2 couples staying 2 nights Sunday through Thursday get a $35 gift card each for dinner. Couples on their own get a $25 gift card.
Innkeeper Victoria Kolyvas is a master chef. Her pre-dinner wine and gourmet cheese chats by the fireplace with fresh figs and good conversation are alone worth the trip.
Bravo to the B&B community for flexibility and creativity in responding to market challenges. Their “Kick Gas” campaign is a terrific example of creating a partnership with travelers, giving them the increased value they look for, and deserve.