Archive for May, 2013

QUICK TIPS

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

In the spirit of Memorial Day and summer coming, today’s blog is a series of quick tips.
1. If traveling in a place where language is a barrier for you, snap or upload a photo of the place/places you want to go and keep in your cell phone.

2. Pack everything in your carry on in clear plastic bags. If you need to open your luggage everything can be seen easily.

3. Do you have a large family or group getting together? Consider renting a home instead of several hotel rooms.

4. Keep the mosquitoes away with: garlic, electric fans, lemon dish soap, and watering the lawn.

5. Items you can use to c lean the grill? Dryer sheets, Newspaper, Orange Peel, aluminum foil.

6. Uses for a golf tee: Makeshift cap for tube of lotion, toothpaste, etc., Corn on the cob holders, garden markers (next to bulbs, perennials), or party stake to keep balloons from floating away.

7.  Off the beaten path — drive from Alexander Valley, Healdsburg, through Pine flat and come out at Cloverdale.  The old town (nothing left) of Mercuryville is a nice view point, and the Russian River can be seen in its wild and beautiful run through canyons.  Gorgeous when the hills are still green.  Take a picnic, have plenty of gas.  When in Cloverdale, try Hamburger Ranch, http://www.hamburgerranchandbbq.com , or Ruth McGowan’s Brew Pub.  Both are fun stops.

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YELP

Monday, May 6th, 2013

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An article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat recently peaked my interest. It was titled “Is Yelp Really Just a Forum for Blowhards” and I must say, I’ve felt that way many, many times. Admittedly Yelp has been a thorn in my side, as they’ve allowed a former employee to rant about working here, and a post which simply said ‘they discriminate on young people’. These posts are not what Yelp is meant to do, which is help the consumer when considering their purchase. So, with that in mind, and a little taste of lemon puckering my lips at them, here is a summary of the article written by Sandy Banks, appearing in the Sunday, 4/28/2013 print.

It all started when Ms. Banks went into a restaurant, not checking on Yelp first, enjoyed her experience, then saw a sign in the window ‘Stop the Bully. Boycott Yelp’. She uses the site to get the low down on most everything she does, and later found the restaurant was rated a 3 of 5 stars and had 88 Yelp reviews. The restaurant suggested (and two lawsuits have suggested) that if they paid for Yelp ads, they’d be ranked higher, but instead the negative reviews were filtered to appear first.

The restaurant said their customers repeatedly submitted very good reviews that never show up on the web site. Yelp’s response to the restaurant “perhaps if you paid to do Yelp ads, we could help with this” and they couldn’t determine when asked, why the positive reviews weren’t showing up.

I agree. The same has happened here. We’ve had thousands of guests stay with us, most share a positive experience, and yet, the majority appear negative on Yelp. I gave up for a long time, assuming it was part of the new internet experience, where it gave a voice only to those that wanted to be seen, heard, and blast, not offering anything constructive.

I have a son that works here that has a traumatic brain injury. Now he is not necessarily the best in customer service, but he tries damn hard, and it’s part of his recovery to work. So push come to shove, who will I chose, even if my business suffers? Of course all the mothers out there know, it’s going to be my son.

But let me explain what happened with one review. A guest checked in early, miffed they couldn’t get into the home ahead of time. My son had his lunch on the desk, finishing up while leaving the door open (it was a Saturday and a very relaxed day with us) for potential customers.

Long story short, they gave us a bad review because he was eating his lunch, and delayed them getting in (even though they were early, mind you).

So that’s my bias, I admit, with Yelp. Too many people post to tear people down, rather than give constructive advise.

But on the other hand…????