Lawyers From Hell
19990607 - Wettestein / Van Osdell - online


PO Box 1757
1170 Brumbach Road

Roseburg OR 97470

Phone Phone: 541) 672-5332 or (800)663-4591
Fax Fax: (541) 672-8737

June 7, 1999

Ms. Doris Van Osdell, Manager
The San Anselmo Inn
339 San Anselmo Ave
San Anselmo, CA 94960

Dear Doris,

As you could tell, I was considerably upset when you said you do not want to enter daily data about the occupancy and receipts of the San Anselmo Inn into the existing on-line computer system. I think this response is wrong headed and uninformed. I also notice that there has been no recent entry, and this makes me very uncomfortable. There are several reasons why we want this entry done, and several reasons, also, why you (or Pamela, if you so desire) should do this small chore (approximately 15 minutes daily), especially since you have rightly placed so much emphasis on keeping accurate reservations bookings.

A report once a month, after the fact, is useless as a management tool. We, as owners, need to have information as up-to-date as possible. A daily on-line report which shows not only occupancy and receipts, but has the potential of showing reservations and customer analysis, provides this information..

I realize that most line managers are not accustomed to operate a business in a fish bowl, but it is precisely for this reason that more and more small (and large) businesses have switched to on-line reporting. The lodging industry is highly competitive, and a marketing aproach based on current data is becoming more and more required. Competent on site operating management is, of course, essential, but it is not sufficient. Also needed are marketing , financial resources, teahnical skill, and top level commitment, planning and direction. Each of these is equally important, and I think you will agree that each is needed if even a small business is to succeed.

As far as internet mareting is concerned, It is not sufficient to merely have a web site (we do), to be listed on other sites providing links (we are) and to mention this web site at every opportunity (on print media, business cards, brochures, etc..) because we do that too. Web sites are important, but they are essentially passive in nature, as potential clients must come to the website, the website cannot go to the client. Active marketing in the form of old fashioned leg work (Pam), web site design and maintenance (Fran) and letters/phone calls (Renee) are within the purview of our small business, while a large campaign involving extensive display ads is far too expensive.

I am constantly updating the web site, making changes to text, pictures, offers, etc. These functions are both beyond your skill and far too time consuming for you to even consider doing. However, my very ability to access the Internet requires the Frame Relay and the Internet hosting services. Also, without the ability to react quickly to the status and current conditions, there is no concomittant ability to direct marketing staff intelligently, (both on site and off site).. Again, intelligent and immediate response to current market conditions requires up-to-date data. Responding to e-mail inquiries, issuing information and answering inquiries is certainly a part of marketing, but is far more time consuming than entering a few lines of financial and occupancy data daily.

The two components of marketing and financial reporting cannot be treated as separate entities. They are two sides of the same coin. It will soon become necessary for us to make and confirm reservations on-line in order to keep our web site, indeed, our bery business, competitive. This will be easily done once an on-line reservation system is constructed and installed. At this point all of us will need to see e-mail inquiries, and their resultant reservations. Without an on-line system, this will be very difficult. The preliminary step to all this is to keep at least current information on line.

To sum up, I agree with all your well intended efforts to cut costs, but it seems shortsighted indeed to turn your back on a promising new technology for the sole purpose of saving a few hundred dollars. Networking technology provides one place where small businesses can compete effectively with the big boys.




cc Cyril and Crowley, LLP


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