Hotel and training centre, Melksham, Wiltshire
High quality accommodation for course delegates, business travellers and the leisure visitor too.

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Well House Manor Hotel - on plan for 2009 business guests

Well House Manor todayThree years ago, we were contemplating the "Well House Manor" project. An offer had been made on "The Old Manor" B&B with a view to turning it into delegate and businessman accommodation for our courses, and had been accepted. It was (at that stage) subject to the inevitably slow property sale cycle in the UK, and that was made more so that our purchase was conditional on planning permission being received to ... err ... do very little in fact! We needed planning consent to reclassify from "residential" to "business"; we had no plans to live at "The Manor" and that made the change necessary. The neighbours were suspicious, and we came to understand why once we learned fuller details of the proposals to develop the site that had been quietly submitted in a prior plan, and rejected.

As a sanity check for myself to make sure that all the jigsaw pieces would fall into place correctly, and as something that we could present as a business plan, I put together a provisional Well House Manor web site describing what we would be offering and how it would all fit. Three years later, and a log file from Google's crawler reminded me of the site, sitting there in some dusty corner. And that gave me a chance to see how close we are to our target.


Actually, we're remarkably close! Amazingly so! So let me just pick at the differences.

1. We had been considering continuing to run the training courses at the building that is now our HQ ... but the availability of two large, ground floor rooms at The Manor has lead us to run the courses there. A sensible move, as it means that the delegate don't have to traipse 800 yards up the road to class, it means that the phones of HQ don't disturb the course, and that we have our home back seeing as we also live at HQ!

2. Breakfasts are much more substantial that we proposed; we've added yoghurt, fresh fruit, hams, other meats and cheeses to the 'short' continental originally planned, and the orange and grapefruit juices are freshly squeezed by the customers - a nice touch that we came across as a realistic option just before we opened.

3. The cancellation terms we proposed seemed sensible, but in explaining them through to staff and potential customers we realised that we should go with something that was more of an industry norm. Leisure hotels tend to require considerable notice and apply heavy penaltys, whereas business hotels know that they need to allow for reasonably last minute changes of plan without scaring the would-be customers off from rebooking. So - although it can hurt occasionally - we allow cancellations right up to the day you're due to arrive, normally at no penalty. Regrettably, we DO have to say "normally" and reserve the right to charge, in order to prevent a tiny minority blocking rooms for possible rather than probable visits.

4. We've added an 0800 (freephone) number with a diversion capability so that the duty staff member can be reached, 24 x 7, wherever they are. And we've extended the range of credit and debit cards we accept to include American Express.

5. We took the opportunity of the VAT reduction last month to round down 2 of the three prices we quote to make it a neat 90 - 80 - 70 system (pounds, per night, double, single, and contract/delegate).

6. Checkout time is 11 a.m. rather than 10:30, and Saturday and Sunday breakfasts are from 8 to 10 rather that the 7 to 9 of the rest of the week.

7. My proposal to call the in-room information folder by the name RTFM was vetoed - and probably correctly. If it's not a term you've seen before, it stands for "Read The F***ing Manual" in the IT technical support business; it might well have puzzled those who were NOT 'in the know', and offended those without a sense of humour who did understand. And I will admit that the term could be regarded as putting customers down in a way I would not wish to do, even in jest.

8. We have mellowed a few policies. The "no walkins" rule still applies to new customers late at night, but we can (and do) take regulars late if they show up at the door, and we'll take new clients with appropriate ID even into the early evening. We don't shout our "no children, no smoking" policy quite so loud; many of our guests appreciate the effect of these policies, but it seems so negative to shout them from the rooftops. And - as planned - we do not have a Gideon's Bible in each room, and again that's not a policy we shout about. We do, though, offer a wide variety of reading materials in our library, which guests may take to their rooms if they wish.

There's a lot of other things that we've done as well as what we planned ... but those changes are the biggest. And in fact the web site was so close to being right, even now, and is search engine indexed, that I have elected to make those minor changes necessary (and the major change of tense!) and leave it up and running.

See the first single page here. See the site that followed it shortly here. And see the FAQ that I wrote as my nuts and bolts concept test here

The full, current Well House Manor site is here if you want to make a comparison, and if you want to book you can call that freephone number which is 0800 043 8225, or use our secure online booking system.

Notes - the picture at the top was (literally!) taken today - it's current. As is the news here which is another page that Google reminded me that I needed to update!
(written 2009-01-03, updated 2009-08-31)

 
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Back to
Moving a directory on your web site
Previous and next
or
Horse's mouth home
Forward to
Where is this IP address, IPv4 and IPv6
Some other Articles
Looking forward, in Melksham, in 2009
From spam to mod_alias - finding resources
Going round the block
Where is this IP address, IPv4 and IPv6
Well House Manor Hotel - on plan for 2009 business guests
Moving a directory on your web site
Required Request
Pettifog and forum boards away from public view
Telling Google which country your business trades in
Plagarism - who is copying my pages?
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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