Possible TA, Innkeepers please stop it ... :)

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OK they arrived Fri eve, never read the confirmation OK, tell me they have there own food with them, I ask what they want for b'fast ( 3 options), they mentioned they had food requirements but ( not put on reservation & not told to me,ever) 1st b'fast is fine, this morn I take up homemade waffles, real syrup, poach pears, sausage/bacon & OJ,this is not OK they wanted eggs(never told to me), then say all Innkeepers ask the 1st night what they want & they get the same the next day...would you all stop this  Smiling . They wanted me to go cook eggs and can we have more fresh pineapple like yesterday (pineapple yes..eggs no) here comes  Trip Advisor. OH, I did not charge them for their 11 yr old son,& wont. WOOOO is ME Sad

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I want to know where all these innkeepers are that take breakfast orders the night before!

I've been traveling to B&Bs (coast-to-coast here, and abroad) for over 30 years, worked at a 12 room B&B, and owned a 5 room B&B.  Some have been really expensive places and others were moderately priced.  I only remember a "menu" at one place in all those circumstances.  It had 3 entree choices and that was it.  Everywhere else it's always been "cook's choice" breakfast - sometimes published the night before, but most often not.  So, I think I'm a pretty good example of a well traveled B&B guest.

So, just where are all these places taking the orders for breakfast?? 

 

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YellowSocks's picture
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I don't take orders, per se, but if I only have one guest, then I have a discussion with them about breakfast the night before.... Something like, I'm planning to serve... does that work for you?

It's a lot easier when I only have one or two guests.  As soon as I get multiple rooms or larger crowds (my max is 12 people) then it's absolutely cook's choice!

Eggs every day is not happening... people have no idea how many eggs we'd have to go through! Pancakes = 2 eggs for 6-10 people.

And Joey, what do you have against the Hershey chocolates?

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Kk.

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Right here @ Bridgewater Inn and Cottage. 1/2 B&B and 1/2 Cottages. Bfast is delivered to your room,family style on a tray. I guess you have never been here.Opened in 2002, with 1room,now have 3,hot tub sun room and a event Barn for guest only.

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So, your guests actually tell you what they want for breakfast every single morning of their stay and that's what you prepare for them?

No, I haven't been to your place, dang it! 

Usually we stay at B&Bs that are a bit larger than 3 rooms.   Although, last year we stayed at a wine country B&B with only one room and it was fantastic!  But, the very lovely and delicious breakfast that was delivered to our room.....COOK'S  CHOICE!! 

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some places (usually the very small) have a tick list menu from which you have to order the night before but it is very much frowned upon as customers don't like it. It is from a set choice though not anything you like kind of deal.

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I believe that what we do for guests - catering to their wants/demands should be based on what they pay.  But there are many differences to that determination.

Area - It is not what you charge but where you stand price wise in your area.  If your price is about average, it is my feeling you have set standards and follow them.  If you are on the high end, more catering would be expected. 

Discounting is something different - It is your choice to discount and to do so should not lesson what the guest should expect.  I am not talking bus travelers or long term stays here.  

I don't find that not topping the FT makes that much difference, it is a garnish.  Hey, if it were me & I was getting full rate I still would not buy in bulk something that most would go to waste. 

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is it possible they don't know they are making unreasonable requests demands?  i suppose it is possible ... but i don't think so.

i don't believe it that 'all innkeepers ask what they want the next day.'   do they stay where there are little restaurants within the place?  do they stay where they are the only guests? 

i've stayed at more than a few places and mostly i have been served cook's choice. (i really like that phrase)  at a big place, four mornings of quiche in a row and i opted for the cornflakes.  i was not asked what i wanted. 

at a very small place, i was the only guest, and the innkeeper asked me if i wanted scrambled eggs or pancakes the next morning. that was the exception to what i've experienced. 

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 and Seashanty, like you I would have probably just said "anything is fine" and not even voiced a preference. Surprise me! Smiling  

There are people who are used to people doing what they say, all the time, they don't break this way of being when they go for a weekend getaway. Should they get their way if they pay twice what they pay elsewhere? Maybe. I am just bringing this up, if the location is very pricey, then there better not be hershey chocolates.  haha  And if they get it as a Groupon deal, youbetchya some things have been cut, they need to be cut! 

But I agree, if they had experienced this they assumed it was what all the inns do. I can see that.

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Madeleine's picture
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I guess I'm still up in the air about the pricing. We know there are innkeepers on here charging under $100/night who are doing pretty much the same thing as places charging over $200/night. A lot of it is location and expectation. And charging what the market will bear. 

We serve pretty much the same breakfast/snacks/chocolates when the rooms are $195/night as we do when they are $115. Sure, we make a lot less profit (close to 0), but I have a hard time cutting things out when the prices go down seasonally. And I don't add anything when the prices go up. (Exception being those berries I won't have any use for after tomorrow's breakfast.) But the rest of the breakfast is the same: fruit course, french toast & bacon, juice, coffee, tea.

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 There are those who cut out breakfast or serve cornflakes for corporate guests since they get a cut rate. Not sure i need to rehash it twenty times, YES when you get a huge discount there are cuts that are made, in most instances.  Not here, people give away the farm.  LOL  Give free stays to tweens (as this thread says), etc.  We are nice, we all know that. We shouldn't be, we have businesses to run. 

 

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

 There are those who cut out breakfast or serve cornflakes for corporate guests since they get a cut rate. Not sure i need to rehash it twenty times, YES when you get a huge discount there are cuts that are made, in most instances.  Not here, people give away the farm.  LOL  Give free stays to tweens (as this thread says), etc.  We are nice, we all know that. We shouldn't be, we have businesses to run. 

I may be hosting some med students. I gave a rate stating that I will have juice & coffee out every morning but that is all unless I have other guests I am fixing breakfast for and then they are welcome to join them. I am not going to get up and cook breakfast ($$) for the rate I have given.

My rates are not seasonal and if I have given a discount (rare) I still do the same as usual. I guess I want to impress them with what we do so they will tell others and/or want to come back.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

 There are those who cut out breakfast or serve cornflakes for corporate guests since they get a cut rate. Not sure i need to rehash it twenty times, YES when you get a huge discount there are cuts that are made, in most instances.  Not here, people give away the farm.  LOL  Give free stays to tweens (as this thread says), etc.  We are nice, we all know that. We shouldn't be, we have businesses to run. 

 

If we had a stated corporate rate/policy then yes, I would definitely make sure they knew that if they are getting the room for $79/night they are not getting a full, sit down breakfast. Most of our corporate guests get a limited discount so they get the same breakfast/amenities as everyone else.

 

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Something that has not been covered on this thread, yet, but is covered on some others is price point. How far are you willing to go for a guest who gets a huge discount or pays much lower rates than the next inn? Who stays only one night? Do they get to call the shots? 

I ask as I DO BELIEVE this is a factor and should be considered. At times we all fall into one group on this forum, as we have the common denominator of innkeeping, and yet as was mentioned, we are all different, styles, inns, menus, etc. We are all unique. Each and every one here.

So, if you are paying $125 per night can you be as picky as someone who is paying $250+ per night and staying a minimum of two nights? Should you indeed bend over backwards for that guest?

What say you? Does it make a difference in the least? 

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 I rarely give discounts but last weekend was an exception and it worked out well.  We had family in the house for the holiday so the only available accommodation was our ocean-view cottage, which we normally get $300/night for with breakfast, housekeeping and all the usual extras like snacks, water, hospitality (that would be us).  This fellow called at the last minute requesting the cottage for 2 nights at $200/night for a romantic getaway. Since I have been toying with the idea of offering the cottage as a guesthouse accommodation, this seemed like to perfect opportunity to try it out.  Worked out great....for everyone.  They figured out their own breakfast, I didn't have to fluff and straighten; in fact, I never met the young lady and only had a brief but pleasant discussion with the young man about dinner choices.

So in answer to your question JB, I would say that for us price point determines amenities and services, especially if the "deal" is not offered but asked for.  In the case I mentioned, we negotiated the conditions before the reservation was made on my terms. At one point in the discussion this fellow asked, "How much would it be with breakfast?"  My answer: "$300/night"  'cause I really did not want to interrupt a family holiday weekend by catering to guests.

Over the years I have found that I resent feeling pressured into giving more for less.  We may lose a few guests because we do not offer deep discounts and deals, but at the end of the day I feel that my time and energy were amply rewarded.  We are in this for the long haul....I suppose if we were trying to maximize the bottom line for resale we might feel differently.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

What say you? Does it make a difference in the least? 

Because we have more opportunity with guests staying longer, we do tend to cater to them more. If someone is here for one night while the other guests are on their 3rd or 4th night, it's hard to cater to the one-nighter (unless they are repeats). Especially because a lot of the one-nighters have told us they are on their way to a week-long stay at  beachfront cottage. And they've asked for a discount because the week is costing them so much!

I do have friends who are in the higher-priced realm (over $250/night) and they do get the 'cater to me' crowd. I think a lot of it is location as well. Certain locations/towns/areas seem to draw the 'cater to me' crowd.

As for what we do if the guest has asked for and gotten a nice discount? They get the same service as the full price guest. But I'm less likely to expend a lot of money buying specialty food. A for instance is tonight. On the menu for tomorrow is a french toast. There will not be berries on the FT tomorrow because they are too expensive at this time of year, they will go to waste and these guests paid less than the going rate. Why would I fork over an additional $15 for berries?

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 Oh Mary….sorry to hear that you are getting agita over these guests!  They will be gone soon enough and it will be their loss to have missed your freshly prepared delights.  Why didn’t you charge them for the 3rd person? At least you would have a few extra $ to pay for the Tums you’ll need until they are gone.

  We learned early on that no good deed goes unpunished when you have demanding guests. Setting limits and boundaries was not a difficult thing for me to do (I taught 16-18 year olds for 30 years…and survived!) but DH needs to be constantly reminded.  There is a certain kind of person who will make us all jump through hoops to win the smallest smile….and even then they will write a less than perfect TA review.  So we try to be kind, consistent but firm in doing only those things that work for us and hope that the worst of the PIAs has never heard of TA!

We do a 3 course, served breakfast in the dining room at 8:30.  Chef’s (That would be me) choice.  The entrée is served between 8:30-9:00 to accommodate the late arrivals and muffins, fruit, cereal etc are available at the table until 9:30.  We adjust this time by 1/2 hour when we have folks who are attending a seminar for the week but we know that in advance and can plan for it. Whenever I take a reservation (We insist on speaking to the guest as a part of the reservation process and this is essential to us), I ask them if they have any dietary allergies: gluten, nuts, dairy or eggs or health conditions like diabetes that we should be aware of as we prepare their breakfast. That’s it.  We do not cater to preferences (“I don’t like melon.”  “I don’t eat eggs that look like eggs.” “I want pineapple, waffles, eggs benedict”  You have GOT to be kidding me!)   but we do make an effort make sure that everyone finds something on the table that suites them, whether it is granola and yogurt, home-baked bread and jam, fresh fruit or the hot entrée. Even so, we recently had a vegetarian who never told us that she would not eat meat and then complained on TA that she didn't get an alternative non-meat protein with her pancakes. (At least she owned up to the fact in the review that she never told us that she was a vegetarian....duh...we are good but we are not mind readers!)

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Madeleine's picture
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An 'alternative, non-meat protein'? Oh, dear guest, go straight to hell. That is ridiculous. Like Joey says, 'The choices are take it or leave it.'

 

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Madeleine wrote:

An 'alternative, non-meat protein'? Oh, dear guest, go straight to hell. That is ridiculous. Like Joey says, 'The choices are take it or leave it.'

 

Love it! "oh, dear guest, go straight to hell"

Ever seen the show "Six feet Under?" Sometimes they show these scenes & you think it's real & then they flash to the person just sitting there & it's what they would LIKE to be saying/doing. Hehe. I like to imagine those "say/do" scenes sometimes...

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Why aren't you charging them for the 11 year old? Do you normally charge?

I can promise that they weren't here, because it's chef's choice around here. And if I had pineapple, it's used up by day two.

Sorry you have these PITAs.

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Yes I normaly charge for children but they booked 11/23 @9pm for 11/25 the only room opened for Thanksgiving wknd.2 other rooms were booked long ago.Funny when they checked out(after I wrote the above comments)they were very nice.Came into the hot tub room(all 3 of them) and were changed guest,just very nice

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I had a chap like that arrived on tuesday for 4 nights insisted we put up a curtain in his bathroom as he was sure people could see in. (they can't) thought great he is going to be a PITA for 4 days but no was fine very polite and well behaved and insisted on taking a card as he wanted to come back with his family! was not happy about trying to find a curtain at 9pm on tuesday night when he came to me mind steam comming out of my ears! luckily we have a 24 hour walmart 10 mins walk away and managed to get a very pretty shower curtain in the right size! LOL

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So sorry these people are trying to manipulate you. Forget about a possible TA. As others said this would be an easy response even if they did.

I agree with you. Shame on those innkeepers who create such entitled guests. Years ago, I used to get the PITA who tried to cancel last minute saying that all the other b&bs on their trip didn't charge them. Guess what, EVERYONE in my region now seems to stand up to these people. The tides will turn on this breakfast nonsense too. Stick to your guns and tell them that one of the great things about b&bs is that they're all different....including breakfast. It gives them a choice of what kind of b&b they choose for themselves.

Hopefully, they'll never choose you again!

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 A simple "every innkeeper runs their place differently, this is how I run mine.  You didn't read your reservation confirmation so you never read our policies. 

Hey if they brought their own food, then let them eat it.  All their problem!  I know...you are too nice to do anything but your best Smiling

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There are innkeepers who ask, they phrase the allergy food aversion question into a way to becoming the personal cook and dietition for the guests.  We all know this, we cannot deny it. 

On other forums they call this customer service and hospitality and shame on all of you (me included) for not bowing down to every guest need and request and whim.  This is why they don't come to our forum for long.

Sorry Mary, we know you provide outstanding service and you, like all of us, encounter the PITA from time to time.

Ice
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My guest never know what I'm fixin for breakfast till it is served!  That is because I may not make my mind till that morning.  If they do have a special diet then that is different.  Bless you Mary, don't let them get you downand if they do do a review on T A don't worry you could turn it around and make it a positive!

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Madeleine's picture
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We don't ask what guests want for breakfast. We tell them what we're serving and will adapt slightly if there is an issue. If they don't tell us in advance, there's not much we can do.

So, they're talking thru their hats if they say 'all' innkeepers ask what they want to eat. I do know a couple of places that put out a menu, but that's what you get- what's on the menu. If eggs are not on the menu, you don't get them.

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Madeleine wrote:

We don't ask what guests want for breakfast. We tell them what we're serving and will adapt slightly if there is an issue. If they don't tell us in advance, there's not much we can do.

So, they're talking thru their hats if they say 'all' innkeepers ask what they want to eat. I do know a couple of places that put out a menu, but that's what you get- what's on the menu. If eggs are not on the menu, you don't get them.

Yep, even in a restaurant, if it is not on the menu it is not going to be served.

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gillumhouse wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

We don't ask what guests want for breakfast. We tell them what we're serving and will adapt slightly if there is an issue. If they don't tell us in advance, there's not much we can do.

So, they're talking thru their hats if they say 'all' innkeepers ask what they want to eat. I do know a couple of places that put out a menu, but that's what you get- what's on the menu. If eggs are not on the menu, you don't get them.

Yep, even in a restaurant, if it is not on the menu it is not going to be served.

that is so funny and so true, we are a little kitchen, they assume we have a grocery store and food delivery truck every week here? When people have said "I'll just have whole wheat toast ..." what toast? who said I have whole wheat bread to toast for you? It is humorous as I don't serve guests toast, I have three times in 8 years. Did I offer you toast?

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what makes me laugh is we do self service toast as we find it is less wastful and when they come down I say help yourself to everything on the buffet, would you like tea or coffee and when i bring it I will take the order for your cooked breakfast. There is a huge basket full of bread and a 4 slice toaster all in plain view from all angles. I bring the hot drinks and they say can I have toast "yes feel free to help yourself" and they look at me like im bonkers so I turn round and point - DUH!!!

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06/24/2008

Mary, so very sorry you have such PITAs this weekend.  Catering to the likes of these people will only encourage future outrages at other b&b's.  Answering their statement would be that we all do things differently and this is how this innkeeper does it.

We can not be hog tied to doing things due to the possibility of a negative review.  If you receive a TA from this guest, answer it in the professional manor you handle your business, MOST people can read through these. 

Good luck and hopefully they will be leaving today!!

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

sorry you got them. My web site says COOKS CHOICE and always will.

Thank goodness most guests (I hope) know the B & B experience means NOT having the same thing every morning. How boring that would be!!

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