Thursday, 2 August 2012

You Get What You Pay For...

I’m on holiday at the moment and having a great time. I know the weather back in Enniskillen hasn’t been great so it’s good to get some sun. BTW we’ve also had staycations/playcations at The Cuan (Strangford), Ramada (Portrush), Europa + Malone Lodge (Belfast) and White Horse (Derry) this year to support the home holiday market.
My only real disappointment was when I looked up the BelmoreCourt & Motel on Tripadvisor for Enniskillen; we’d received three reviews in one week from guests who were unhappy with their stay in the Standard Family Apartments. This is the first time our property had received two poor and one average review in the same week. All three reviews mentioned how good the staff were, friendly, humourous and professional.
The common thread was that they felt the apartment wasn’t big enough. The kitchenette was too small; there was no living room or dining space. Our family apartments are priced at £85 - £115/night depending how busy it is and how far in advance the guest books – in fact if they prepay they receive an additional 10% off.
I digress a little but over here in Spain there is a great restaurant in Villamartin called Eduardo’s; For Sunday Lunch I had potato skins (slightly over cooked), followed by roast Aberdeen Angus beef (small portion and beef & Yorkshire pudding slightly overcooked), vegetables (properly cooked) and finished with the apple and rhubarb crumble and ice cream (Excellent). The service was lukewarm but professional and the restaurant was very clean. It is in a lovely setting for people watching in the Square, Villamartin. The waitress and Maitre’D both came over twice to ask if everything was ok and we replied it was – even with the problems I’ve mentioned with brackets. The restaurant serves traditional 3 course Sunday lunches for €9.95 on Sunday before 5pm to help fill the quieter part of the day.
My wife and I discussed the restaurant, food and the setting and agreed for the price we paid even with the small issues it was great value. You get what you pay for.
I believe that if people arrive at our family apartments paying about £25/person/night and think they are getting a full self-catering chalet of course they will be disappointed. For this they will pay at least twice that price. If guests are looking for a living room and kitchen our family suite is available – usually £35-£40/person/night. Most chalets charge extra for heating and electricity.
Each of these reviews did not mention the location, the parking, 30 mins free Wi-Fi, cleanliness, comfort of the new beds, 32” LCD Digital Television or cooking facilities. All of which must be taken into account when writing a review.
If you are staying somewhere, once you feel unhappy about what you are receiving, think about the price you are paying and then if you still feel you are not getting value money, contact reception to see if they is an alternative available – there may be an additional cost to upgrade. The exception to this is cleanliness; no matter what price you are paying the room must be clean.  
We do value the opinions set out in these reviews and we do take everything on board. We’ll look at the term family apartment – should this be changed to family room? We’ll add more photos and floor plans of these accommodations to let people see in advance the layout. Hopefully we’ll be able to add a virtual tour soon of the family apartment and then people will know exactly what they are getting.
Later this year we are hoping to change the carpets in the Standard Rooms and then over the next three years update the kitchenettes with a more efficient design. With a cost of £60,000 for these two projects you can see why it’s taking longer than we would hope.
My advice is think about the cost, the value for money and then take the issue to the staff to see if there is anything they can do – Don’t suffer in silence then give bad reviews.

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