Guests coming in, innkeeper needs to be elsewhere- how to handle?

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Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Would you have someone innsit for a few hours to do check-ins if you needed to be out of the area in an emergency or would you just call the guest and ask them to stay elsewhere? We may return before the guest arrives (as the guest has already rather grumpily informed us she has no idea when she will be arriving and why does she have to pick a time anyway?) but we may not. If the weather is bad we could be delayed for hours.

(If it helps decide the answer, we have to travel out of state to a funeral 6 hours away.)

The other option is the non-family member stays home to watch the inn.

I have some innkeeping friends who could help out, the housekeeper could help out (she's never done anything like this before so I'm guessing she'd panic if asked) but most of my friend-friends are out of town for NYE so the options for who to get are limited.

More than likely we would beat the guests here by hours but planning that way does not make it so. Usually it makes it the opposite! And it would be very stressful if we were held up anywhere. If this were a repeat guest I would handle it differently, just give them my phone number and leave the keys for them and tell them to keep it down to a dull roar.

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Tom
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I don't hesitate to give someone the door code if I may not be there, but I feel odd about a guest arriving to a cold, dark inn, and us not there until late. 

If we have a self-check-in, I always want to talk to them to make sure they actually got the code as a traveler may not get email, and sometimes as if they we driving when I call, I text them the code so they don't lose it.  In the winter (dark after 4:30!), I'll turn on lots of lights before I leave: outside, in hall, and in guest rooms, even if they will be on for many hours before guest shows (figure it contributes to heating).

Call them, explain, tell them you will see them for breakfast, leave them a plate of cookies, and the lights on.  Best of luck, and my sympathy.

 

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Thanks Tom. We decided to let one stay home and the other innkeeper make the drive to the funeral. Then we got more reservations and we definitely wouldn't leave multiple rooms on their own. Plus, it's a 6 hour drive and we would have been up and out at 6 AM, driving 6 hours, border crossings, snow and more and fretting the whole way. As it is, now DH can spend time in the morning with his family. It's good he went. The family asked him to be a pallbearer and he was honored to be asked.

By now they should be having the reception and all chatting away in French, so I'd just be slowing down the conversations!

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Madeleine wrote:

By now they should be having the reception and all chatting away in French, so I'd just be slowing down the conversations!

When that happens with my in-laws, I just listen for my name- that's the only way I could possibly know they are talking about me Eye-wink

egoodell's picture
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06/01/2008

 We use innsiiters or pay someone reliable to baby sit the inn. 

RIki

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Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

We have a numeric keypad, so we would set up self-check-in for the guest. Call/Email them the instructions or leave a note on the door. (http://www.resortlock.com/ which will help you find a solution and even get a die cutter to make parts if need be.)

If I didn't have the numeric keypad. I would make arrangements with a friend close by and leave a note explaining the emergency. (Anyone lacking sympathy about having to go to a funeral, has never been to one and has no family.)

As for the guest not knowing their arrival time, we treat all of those as if they are self-check-in. We are here to greet guests from 3PM to 6PM, outside of those hours, we may or may not be here. We explain that we need time to run errands and shop for breakfast items as well as time to relax as well. (Anyone who doesn't understand that, doesn't work for a living.)

Generally, most guests are sympathetic about such things. Every once in a while, they aren't. For those guests, simply apologize and offer them the chance to back out of the deal with no costs to them. If you have to, sweeten the deal. (I realize that X is a little more expensive, so we will pay the difference for you.) Sometimes it's just good business to go out of your way and let them realize they are being a heel about it, subtly.

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Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

I would ask the housekeeper as it will be worth it for future to train her how for other just in case scenarios. I am currently trying to train my housekeeper to help with breakfast and check people in just in case say one of us was sick, or emergency or whatever her trouble is english isn't her first language and she gets flustered.

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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05/26/2009

In our situation, I would contact the guest and have them do a self check-in. If she squawks about it, then help her find another place to stay.

If you are going to a funeral, you don't need the stress and worry about this guest. Funerals are emotionally/mentally exhausting and you need to put yourself first this time. Weather is fickle this time of year and anything can happen, so if you do a self check-in, you can arrive any time you want/need.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

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10/07/2008

Only one room or are others checked in? That makes a difference.

One room I would send them an email letting them know "we are not sure what time you are arriving, but not to worry if we are not back yet there will be a note with your name on it..."  If you think you will be back in a timely manner and not get held up. But Mother Murphy says you will be stressed over it, race back worrying more about the guest who is out shopping or dining and arrives late anyway.

I have had similar situations and the guests showed up after we did, and I got all sick about it. Is it for one night only? Don't worry so much about it, give them a note and do what you need to do.

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gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

If that is the ONLY guest - either farm her out or treat her like a late check-in with the note like you do your late arrivals. Do NOT stress yourself over one guest. it is not worth it. IF the housekeeper can/will do it fine, but otherwise go to the funeral and do what you have to do. It is important to you if you are going to drive 6 hours to go. Put her out of your mind.

muirford's picture
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05/22/2008

 I'd get someone to hang out (housekeeper or friend) for the few hours or ask the innkeeping friends to be 'on call'  with a phone number on the door for the guest if she happens to arrive while you're gone (if the innkeeper can be there in a few minutes).  Although, the guest sounds like a bit of a pill, and maybe you don't want the added stress - in which case, help her make arrangements to stay somewhere else and tell her you have to close unexpectedly for a family issue.  Then forget about her and do what you need to do.

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