Hotel and training centre, Melksham, Wiltshire
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Honesty and a friendly welcome goes a long way

I really enjoy having people come and stay at Well House Manor - our mugs have said "Come as a Student, leave as a friend" for many years and that still holds for delegates. For hotel visitors, it's more "Come as a guest and leave as a friend" - we wish to welcome them, make them feel welcome, and provide something they wish to come back for. That's partly because we enjoy making people happy, and it's much more a practical thing too - we want repeat visitors, and we want people to go away as our ambassadors.

You would think that other hotels and hoteliers, and their teams, would be the same way, wouldn't you? Surprisingly, that's not always the case. This week I stayed at the Bonsyde House Hotel "in" Linlithgow, the Claremont Lodge Hotel in Alloa, and Smith's Guest House on Mayfield Road in Edinburgh. But the only one I would return to is the Claremont Lodge in Alloa, in spite of it being the smallest room, and very much the most in need of redecoration. I would go back there because the advertising was honest, and the staff welcoming - it makes such a huge difference to me, and I suspect to others.

Now - an admission - I went somewhat downmarket this week, and I booked late taking what I could get in one of the busiest weeks in Edinburgh, so I didn't expect the earth. Rather, I decided to have a learning experience from three interesting looking places with availabiity on LateRooms, with a view to noting the good, the bad and the plain ugly and relaying back the bad with a "make sure we NEVER do this", and the good with a "should we take up this idea"?

So - what did I learn?

That you can't believe what you're told on a website, even though the law now provides for Advertising Standards to apply, and the Advertising Standards Authority can take action.

Fair play to the Bonsyde House Hotel for changing their website from "3 minutes from the station" to "3 minutes DRIVE from the station" when I pointed out it was misleading. But that didn't save me a 30 minute walk at each end of the day, nor did it "magic" up a taxi which they suggested I catch, as there is no taxi rank at Linlithgow station! Yes, I liked the better room (which would, of course have cost them nothing to provide to me as it wasn't otherwise booked), but I lost a total of 2 hours, missed two breakfasts and got soaked. The lad on the bar, bless him, drove past me as I slogged my way up the hill in the pouring rain on the second night, and when I went down for a recuperatory pint he cheerfuly told me he'd done so, and said he would have offered me a lift had he known I was going to the hotel. But there was pointedly no offer of an earlier breakfast ...

Smith's Guest House states on LateRooms that their normal rate for the night I booked is 140 pounds, so I expected something rather good. The front garden looks rather pretty - in fact it won an award in 2004, proudly shown on a certificate that's displayed in the hallway. I had a good chance to admire the garden, as I had to ring the doorbell three times (with a good wait between each) before the owner appeared to let me in. The 140 pound figure is a lie, it turns out; the rack rate shown in the hotel is 40 pounds per person, and I had got a markdown from 40 to 35, not from 140 to 35. Yes, for 35 pounds in Edinburgh it wasn't too bad - you get what you pay for - but I resent the lie on LateRooms which is done to push them up the list, and hook unwary customers. Breakfast wasn't available until 08:00 (the time at which I had to leave), and the owner was clearly happy to have save himself the cost and trouble of providing. The whole atmosphere and strings of rules pasted up on signs dissuaded me from raising the website with the owner; I feel it would simply have given him great pleasure to realise that his little ruse had worked!

At 35 to 60 pounds a night, I'm happy to put up with little "amusements" such as the chandelier with three different types of bulbs, the "Feng Sui" approach with no flat desk or place to sit, and the paperthin wall with a toilet pump just behind it that ran several times during the night when the folks in the next room used their facilities. I can solve the "how to fill the kettle" riddle when it won't fit under the tap, and I can cut and butter a bread roll with the handle of a soup spoon when no knife is provided, and the staff have disappeared. But I certainly won't be going back to either of those two hotels that got me there under false pretences and turned out to be inappropriate.

Alloa? Yes - I (personally) am happy with the rather worn and cramped comfort; I didn't mind the little single room, and I appreciate the friendly banter of the staff and their clear pleasure to have guests.

Hotel bed and room, near LinlithgowVery large (upgraded) bedroom at the Bonsyde House Hotel. Pity I was misled to stay at an inappropriate location.


Hotel bed and room, AlloaClaremont Lodge Hotel Alloa - the room is nothing to blog about, but the welcome was welcoming ;-)


Hotel bed and room, EdinburghSmith's Guest House - if this room's rack rate is £140.00, then I've got two head!

(written 2011-06-25, updated 2011-06-26)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G502 - Well House Consultants - Business Practice
  [4520] No cold sales calls please - but delighted to hear from others! - (2015-09-29)
  [4415] Buffet review - taking the price into account - (2015-02-05)
  [4293] Certification - (2014-09-15)
  [4107] Snog, Marry, Avoid - (2013-05-31)
  [3755] Cruising on the Mersey Ferry? - (2012-06-07)
  [3750] Matching opening hours to when customers can come in and buy - (2012-06-04)
  [3665] Will will smile? - (2012-03-22)
  [3613] Keeping Business Local. But is that realistic? - (2012-02-13)
  [3506] Cold call contacts - preference services and turning off spam sales approaches - (2011-11-03)
  [3157] A new monopoly on the ferry to Northern Ireland - (2011-02-04)
  [3073] Customer Service - the boundary - (2010-11-27)
  [2966] Cheap Country Hotel in Melksham, Wiltshire? - (2010-09-21)
  [2936] The service that customers should receive - (2010-08-27)
  [2821] Chancellor George Osborne inspires Perl Program - (2010-06-22)
  [2788] Cost of Sales - (2010-06-01)
  [2598] An excuse for making a sales call - (2010-01-26)
  [2465] Melksham Town - asleep or awake? - (2009-10-21)
  [2331] Certification Revisted - Lua - (2009-08-09)
  [2283] Everyone is in the customer relations business - (2009-07-12)
  [2190] How you are (re)presented at an exhibition - (2009-05-19)
  [2187] Are we IITT (Institute of IT Training) members? - (2009-05-17)
  [2161] Get it right ... if it goes wrong, it takes so much effort to sort out! - (2009-05-08)
  [2126] Weeding out old phone numbers - (2009-04-11)
  [2122] Commission Creep - (2009-04-08)
  [2044] Please Trouble me - (2009-02-16)
  [1913] Alastair Darling helps make paperwork and confusion - (2008-11-30)
  [1855] Volunteer v Employee - a skewed balance? (FSB) - (2008-10-25)
  [1713] Ways to accept credit cards - or not! - (2008-07-19)
  [1626] Early May - a short chance to regroup and improve - (2008-05-01)
  [1485] Copyright and theft of images, bandwidth and members. - (2007-12-26)
  [1453] What makes our courses special? - (2007-12-02)
  [1394] Business to Business Networking - North and West Wilts / Melksham - (2007-10-17)
  [1373] New Month, New Quarter, New Laws - (2007-10-01)
  [1342] Google, wwmdirectory, Freshwater, ATP - new scam? - (2007-09-09)
  [1319] Customer feedback - lifeblood of a business - (2007-08-25)
  [1263] 0800 043 8225 - a new phone number for Well House - (2007-07-10)
  [1260] An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06)
  [1243] Heavy duty hole punch - (2007-06-24)
  [1165] Extended Credit request - train in June and be paid in September - (2007-04-27)
  [1157] Speed Networking - a great evening and how we arranged it - (2007-04-21)
  [1133] B-2-B Networking, 20th April. Useful for YOUR business? - (2007-04-03)
  [1084] Writing terms and conditions for conferences and other events - (2007-02-17)
  [1057] Selling by phone and Skype - our policy - (2007-01-30)
  [906] A commitment we won't be making - (2006-10-27)
  [883] Age discrimination law - (2006-10-01)
  [869] UNABLE TO ATTEND - (2006-09-16)
  [849] Staff Meeting - (2006-08-30)
  [808] Sales call - (2006-07-19)
  [766] Discounts and approved supplier lists - (2006-06-17)
  [664] Ruby course - oops - it's not happening - (2006-04-01)
  [652] Morning Post - (2006-03-20)
  [626] Not just a pretty face to answer the phone. - (2006-02-26)
  [536] Cancellations and penalties - (2005-12-21)
  [491] Being atypical is typical - (2005-11-10)
  [487] On line course booking - credit card protection - (2005-11-06)
  [467] Tell them three times - (2005-10-17)
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  [438] Fair system for travel and accommodation expenses - (2005-09-07)
  [399] simplicity hides real size - (2005-07-31)
  [321] Sales - the alternative close - (2005-05-23)
  [297] A reminder that the customer is King - (2005-05-01)
  [226] Growing our systems - (2005-02-24)
  [217] Use of time - (2005-02-16)
  [211] Look after your staff and they'll look after you. AOL. - (2005-02-12)
  [200] Tips for the top - (2005-02-03)
  [188] Pink elephant and appreciation - (2005-01-24)
  [180] Skunk works - (2005-01-17)
  [157] Automatic service upgrades - (2004-12-19)
  [137] Certification schemes - (2004-12-02)
  [129] Trawling our site to prevent student copying - (2004-11-24)
  [125] Staff theft - (2004-11-21)
  [121] Fair and Simple - (2004-11-17)
  [108] A typical morning - (2004-11-03)
  [95] Five red flags - (2004-10-21)
  [88] Getting the right level of trainer - (2004-10-14)
  [77] Telephone systems - (2004-10-07)
  [68] Get the strategy worked out and the tactics just fall into place. - (2004-09-30)
  [27] Sales technique - (2004-08-25)
  [15] 90 to 10 or 80 to 20 rule - (2004-08-15)

M401 - Well House Manor - Seeing how others do it
  [4443] Seventh stay away this year - and it's still only February! - (2015-02-25)
  [4373] A long and disappointing evening - (2014-12-30)
  [4348] Taking my life in my hands in Swansea - (2014-12-11)
  [4321] Are administration / review charges on hotel guests acceptable? - (2014-11-20)
  [4255] Making a personal gain from a more expensive business hotel stay - (2014-04-02)
  [4245] It always happens to me when I'm in Borehamwood! - (2014-03-06)
  [4177] Setting and publishing your hours to suit your customer base - (2013-09-18)
  [4109] What might you find at a tiny bed and breakfast? - (2013-06-03)
  [4093] More things to make sure that we do NOT do ... - (2013-05-18)
  [4091] A reminder of why we opened Well House Manor for our customers - (2013-05-17)
  [4081] Pushing down the advertised price, pushing up the total price charged. - (2013-05-08)
  [4058] The highs and lows of customer service - Cheltenham - (2013-04-03)
  [3975] Being an amateur hotel inspector helps me run a professional hotel - (2013-01-14)
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  [3963] National TV - Melksham - 9th January 2013, Pre-alert. - (2012-12-27)
  [3900] The Xxxxx Guest House in Xxxxxxxxxxx - my stay reviewed - (2012-10-20)
  [3794] Should hotel staff sit on the toilet in the customer bedrooms? - (2012-07-02)
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  [2911] Feeding the Grockles - (2010-08-09)
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  [1406] Away or home - which do I prefer? - (2007-10-25)
  [1374] Maidenhead Coffee Challenge - (2007-10-02)
  [1356] Crystal Ball - How long do I need to be online? - (2007-09-18)
  [1354] Match the Bedroom to the Hotel - (2007-09-17)
  [1347] Wireless Internet Access at hotels - an update and some pitfalls - (2007-09-12)
  [1333] Kasteel Elsloo - Michelin rated hotel. - (2007-09-05)
  [1301] Plastic or China - (2007-08-12)
  [1287] Work and play at Well House Manor - Football and Shell Shortcuts - (2007-08-02)
  [1205] Arrival and Departure experiences - another hotel - (2007-05-26)
  [1091] The Psyche is all wrong. - (2007-02-24)
  [1026] The Wheatsheaf 2, The Bell 0 - (2007-01-09)
  [1011] Well House Manor and Beechfield House, Hotels, Melksham - (2006-12-29)
  [966] CSL, KISS and RTFM - (2006-12-05)
  [736] New Tape Librarian - (2006-05-28)
  [714] Room for Octopuses - (2006-05-08)
  [699] Extremes costs of getting on line - (2006-04-25)
  [693] The on line booking experience - (2006-04-21)
  [619] If its Sunday, it must be the Norland - (2006-02-23)
  [514] Crazy Day-sies - (2005-12-02)
  [17] Differing tastes - (2004-08-17)


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A lesson from the sporran market?
Some other Articles
Home Grown Pigs, near Melksham Station
Efficient travel - from Melsksham to Edinburgh by Sleeper Train
Practical Extraction and Reporting
A lesson from the sporran market?
Honesty and a friendly welcome goes a long way
DNA to Amino Acid - a sample Perl script
Comparing Alloa and Melksham - stations and services
A lot of exercise this week
Perl from basics
Summer Sundays - days out by train from Swindon on the TransWilts
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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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