Archive for June 2011
Part of the Du Vin brand that includes 14 properties, the Hotel du Vin in Poole is the old Mansion House just off the Old Quay. Dating from the Georgian era it houses 38 bedrooms and suites, with two event spaces.
Why did we go?
We wanted to find a hotel that is high end, but warm and welcoming. We run many events for very senior business executives, and they are used to a very high standard, but often want a more personal experience home from home.
What did we do?
We stayed for 2 nights in April, with some friends. We wanted to eat at the hotel as well as try out a local restaurant. We ate at the hotel for dinner the first night, and then for breakfast both days.
It’s a classic boutique hotel that has been modernised but in total keeping with the history and style of the building. Tucked away on a quiet street, but only 2 minutes walk from the sea front and the town centre it’s ideally located for both business and pleasure. The exterior is beautifully maintained and the grandeur and warmth puts one in mind of staying at a relatives grand Georgian house.
It’s a bit awkward as you drive up, as the road is narrow and it’s not obvious where to put the car. It does talk about valet parking on the website, and if I was going to be picky I would suggest they let people know before they get there where to put the car.
Reception is welcoming and comfortable, a large mural depicts the different du Vin hotels, and some key du Vin team members (we think!). Calm and quiet, we were checked in quickly and shown to our rooms.
The rooms were immaculate and simply decorated in a modern, boutique style.
In the room we had everything we need…tea and coffee making, mini bar, tv, iron etc…perfect for a long or short stay. Robes in the bathroom confirmed its place as high end, as well as the general finish and level of information in the room. Generally they create the impression that nothing is too much effort.
Eating and Drinking:
Pre-dinner drinks were a must (of course) and we settled down in the snug bar after a short walk along Poole front, before we got changed for dinner. A sumptuous room, full of velvet couches, long low tables, candle light and all sorts of interesting historical gadgets, pictures and knick knacks. We were almost horizontally relaxed, and the long gin and tonics, served with complimentary nibbles sealed the deal.
After a quick change for dinner, we re-appeared and were offered a table in the bar prior to moving to the restaurant. They handed us the menus and we selected from a delicious, varied (but not too varied) bistro menu. The restaurant was very much modelled after a French bistro, and had a great, lively atmosphere. It wasn’t too big, so avoided that sometime cavernous feeling of noisy restaurants.
The food was a perfect mix of simple dishes with a gourmet touch – which resulted in delicious, filling meals – such as egg mayonaise – bit with tasty duck egg and homemade mayonnaise on the side as well as warm, hearty bread. One of our party had the cheese course, and it was fascinating to hear the background of each cheese before serving – more like a cheese experience than a simple cheese course.
Highly recommended for both business and pleasure. The staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming. We felt like old friends every time we went to the restaurant or bar. A great sense of luxury via the decor, level of service, and quality of the food meant we had an enjoyable, relaxing weekend.
Most B2B businesses would say they don’t have an e-Commerce website … they don’t have a shopping cart and for good reason; B2B purchases are often high value items or service contracts.
I propose that most B2B sites ARE eCommerce sites, it’s just that the final transaction takes place off-line. The site plays an important role in a longer sales process. For this reason research and complex decision-making dominate the B2B user experience rather than a shopping basket and checkout. B2B sites have to offer in-depth information that you’d never normally find on a B2C site.
So B2B sites are just another form of eCommerce, but, there’s one big contrast between B2C and B2B – pricing. You rarely find it on B2B sites. In recent B2B research by the Neilsen Norman Group, wanting to get pricing (or an indication of cost) was rated as the most important information needed by B2B site visitors (29% higher than product/service availability which ranked 2nd).
The research shows that in order to make a decision to further the buying process, B2B visitors want a basic knowledge of products and services from their initial research that includes an idea of the cost.
So what’s your excuse for hiding your price?