As an individual innkeeper and a member of the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association (ABBA), I have participated in programs specifically designed to recognize military personnel and veterans. At Blake House, I offer an ongoing 5% discount to active military and ABBA offered a Valentine’s Day free night program for a few years. But as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have dragged on and as most of us have suffered through a slow economy, it has become easy to forget that the sacrifices of our service people are ongoing. Just as our support should be.
I am a big proponent of social media and believe that it is not a fad, but something that will become more prevalent as a method for the exchange of information. I recently read about the B&Bs for Veterans program that was started in 2009 by the West Virginia B&B Association as a local, grassroots program to recognize our Veterans. Participating B&Bs are offering a free night’s stay to Veterans on the night of 11/10 (or 11/11 which is actually Veterans Day). And it was through Facebook that I learned of the program. Someone I knew in high school was wounded in Iraq and he began a company called IraqandBack.com that offers recognition, support and information for wounded warriors and their family. He posted something on his business Facebook page and as a Fan, I saw the post and thought, how wonderful that the B&Bs for Vets program was specifically designed for someone like me, a B&B owner. When I first signed up to participate over a month ago, mine was the only B&B in Asheville participating. Now, there are several in this area and over 900 across the country and internationally. And all of this is as a result of people getting the word out to their friends and family. What a terrific first-hand example of the power of social media.
At first, I was very excited to have signed up and within 24 hours, I had booked all of my free night rooms. Of the 4 reservations I took, 3 have canceled, so I only have one room booked for Thursday night. While the three cancellations are disappointing, I started thinking that it’s highly likely that many vets just can’t come on the 10th or 11th. How can I continue the spirit of the program, but do it in a way that makes it accessible year-round and by all veterans? So, I came up with the Monthly Veterans Recognition Program.
Through this program, I will offer a free night’s stay every month to a Veteran. Each month, the date will change, but the free night could be any day of the week, including a Friday or Saturday night. At the beginning of the month, I will post the date for the free night for that month on the Inn’s Facebook Page, Twitter (@blakehouseinn), LinkedIn, and any other social media sites I can. Any Veteran who wants the free night just needs to be a Fan of the Inn and respond to the post. The first responder gets it. Anyone who sees this should forward it to their family, friends, and veterans so that they can possibly enjoy a free night in a bed and breakfast and enjoy a wonderful, home cooked breakfast. However, there are some conditions…
- The free night’s stay is for double occupancy. If the winning Veteran wishes to bring his/her family, there is a minimal Extra Person charge.
- If the room being offered has a maximum occupancy of 2 people and the winner needs a larger room, you may upgrade and pay the difference between the rate for the free room and the rate of the upgraded room.
- We do require a credit/debit card to hold the reservation. The card will not be charged, but is needed in case of damage or cancellation within our cancellation policy. Please only respond if you know you can make it. I would hate to give the room to someone who isn’t sure they can come and cancels at the last minute, leaving the room empty. If you aren’t sure, hold off until the next month.
- All other Inn policies apply.
That’s it. Not so bad, I hope. I am excited to offer this program and thank all of our service men and women for all they have done and continue to do for this great country! If anyone is still looking for a place to stay on Veteran’s Day (Thursday, November 11th), give me a call (888.353.5227). Otherwise, follow the Inn on Facebook and look for the December free night date sometime around the 1st of December.