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ICVA does assist bed-and-breakfasts

August 7, 2010

As the owners and innkeepers of Nestle Inn B&B downtown for the past 11 years, we were perplexed by your investigative report [in the Aug. 2 Focus], “Overshadowed and underappreciated?” We wondered why we weren’t given an opportunity to participate in some way. There are only about six of us in the city, and to rely solely on two (one of whom isn’t a current member) to evaluate the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association’s performance seemed quite shallow.

Now, after the fact, we feel we must weigh in. Our experience, with our business and with ICVA, is contrary to that reported in virtually every respect. First, our business has continued a relatively steady growth since opening in 2000. Second, had you researched national statistics for B&Bs vs. hotels, you would have found that bed and breakfasts have held up far better than hotels during the economic downturn of the past few years.

Finally, we believe the $525 membership we pay, annually, to ICVA to be one of our wisest marketing investments. By our own choosing, we do not participate in the ICVA reservation program—feeling it is not cost-effective and believing we do not need it.

However, we do participate in nearly everything else ICVA provides—attending their events and meetings, distributing their magazine to each of our guests, visiting their offices, informing them when we have availability during major events via cancellations, etc. We believe that these networking opportunities, offered as part of membership, have significantly contributed to our success as a small business.

With our five-room inn, we do not expect to be marketed as the “headquarters hotel” for meetings and conventions recruited by ICVA. But each time ICVA attracts another event, we benefit via increased occupancy. Some folks just seek bed and breakfasts, others try us after the hotels are filled, and some are referred directly to us by some of our best-known hotels once they have reached capacity—another advantage of having a presence and establishing relationships at ICVA events.

For those events ICVA has established long-term contracts with, we have typically had the same guests return each year. We have found B&B guests have an exceptionally high degree of loyalty—once they find you, they return each time something brings them to town.

In summary, we believe you presented a distorted view of our industry and the manner in which the lead organization in bringing guests to our city accommodates the smallest of its members. We felt it only fair that the “rest of the story” be presented.

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Steve and Barb Tegarden
Nestle Inn Bed & Breakfast

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