Need feedback on late check-ins

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Kay Nein's picture
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 Our policy is that check-in is at 3pm, but we'll accomodate late check-ins with notice.  

How do you handle a guest who says they're not sure when they'll make it into town?  Do you make late arrivers agree to a specific time for their check-in appointment or do you just wait around for a phone call?  We don't live on property and although I spoke to this gentleman at 12pm to tell him I'd be unavailable until about 2pm, he didn't show up until 1030pm - just when I figured he was a no-show and was getting into bed.  This has happened a few times.  I don't like to call the guests to ask them when they'll be arriving, but it is helpful information.

I'd appreciate your insight into what has worked or not worked for you.  Suggestions on how to word our policy or what I should say/do to minimize this issue.

 

THANKS!
Dena

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Birdwatcher just reminded me you don't live there. We've stayed at several places now with no one on site after x time at night. One such place actually leaves check-in info on the door for walk-ins. They have a note that says, 'Please use the phone on the porch to call us.' You call and they tell you to open the mailbox and pick any envelope in there. You pick the envelope and that's your room! (This is for walk-ins!) They take your info over the phone so they have a cc # in case you leave before they come in in the morning.

If you have a rez, the envelope has your name on it.

They set this up everyday before they leave (whenever they're done cleaning) and you're on your own. It's a little too casual for me, but it works for them.

We've had innkeepers go on vacation and leave the inn open and the cook comes in to make breakfast and clean the rooms. No one on site at night.

These are extremes in casual. Somewhere between no one there and up all night generally works!

Our second weekend here a guest called from the road to say they were running late. They never arrived. We held the room for them the whole weekend because we didn't know any better. No cc on file for them. We slowly learn all the ins and outs and then find something new pops up down the road.

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Again, I need to reiterate, in the beginning the tech savvy bought the GPS units, and arrived at 6:32pm exactly. They said 6:32 and were here at 6:32. Now people buy them who cannot even read a map, and don't bring a map, don't even consult a map, and arrive hours and hours past the time they say. HOURS AND HOURS! It is worse than ever.  

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Nearing completion of 13 years in this business, we have done our rounds on this issue.   Stating for the record - 5 rooms/live on site.

During the early years we stayed up, front door had regular key lock.  We had the 'window' but many, many times it was ignored.  THAT quickly became old, so then when bedtime came calling & guests had not arrived, we put a note on the door to ring bell and wait.  That too became old. (getting up, becoming 1/2way presentable....)

Then the age of key pad entry made life much easier.  We first made it where if they were later than when we went to bed a note would be placed on the door to call.  We provided the code and had all other info on the entry table. 

Both of these methods disturbed our sleep and we found that guests were bothered that they had to distrub us...  (As JB's last post, guests want to take it easy, they want to get here when they get here, and not feel they are putting anyone out while doing so.)

 

So now we have this as part of our confirmation email: "If you have not done so, please provide your approx. time of arrival (3-7, or late self check in) at least 24 hours prior to your reservation, as this allows us time to prepare for your arrival, which may include a trip away from the inn.  If your arrival plans change, please provide us with a courtesy call as alternate plans are in place for self check-in if needed and we will provide you with the access code and instructions. "

We like to be here and Welcome our guests, but this provides flexibility not only for us, but for our arrivals.  They know there is no need to hurry if they see something they do not have to for-go it because they have an appointment to meet, just give me a heads up is all I ask.   For those that want that special welcoming touch, they know when they will get it, for others, they can just slip in. 

The unsaid reason why I like to meet our guests is to actually put a face to the person(s) staying under my roof.  I don't know why it really makes that much difference, but it does.  It makes me feel safer somehow.  The ones I have real problems with are the ones that I never see... those that slip in late and leave early.    I prefer not to have the John/Jane Does of the world, let the hotels have 'em.

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But see there IS a welcoming touch. I had flowers in their room and a welcome note next to them.

If there was a note and "here are your keys" it is a different welcome.  

Even my note for late check ins is welcoming. "WELCOME LINDA AND JOHN! We're so glad you made it safely..." and help yourself to this, help yourself to that...restaurant list with hours is in your room, we recommend walking to... and then lastly SLEEP TIGHT AND WE WILL SEE YOU OVER A HOME COOKED BREAKFAST IN THE MORNING!"

it's all in the wording, the entire FEEL, we are real, we are here, if you need anything...(also those instructions). But that is just me, people are in MY home I want them to feel comfortable, not stuffy and icky and cold. 

I have arrived at a couple places with a note on the door, it was a "photostat" I have to use that word, because I think it had to be originally typed on a typewriter, with a line for the guest name_________, and room name____________.  Fill in the blanks, nothing personal.

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After we stayed at the place I mentioned where no one lives on site and their note to us had our names on the 'welcome' line, I added that to ours. It IS just a printed copy of a form where I fill in the name of the guest. It has directions to the room (I have 7 different forms) and info about what's open late and what time breakfast and check-out happen. (We've had those late arrivals who 'didn't know' what time they had to leave. Yes, the info is in 4 different places in the room!)

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The Inn we are working in does allow for self check-ins and it seems to be ok with the guests although hubbie tends to wait till 10 cause he's up anyway, myself by 8PM Im done-and upstairs in our apt. sometimes we take turns, but if we so want to we put an envelope in front of the door with directions to their room with a note (in bold) please be aware that our other guests are sleeping or something to that effect.

But if you do not live there why wait? Like everyone said-they can check themselves in if you need to go by 6. Our check in times are 3-7PM-just because 6 just sounds too early if you are going to leave right after work etc...

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Had guests who were supposed arrived at 7pm arrive past 9pm last night. He specifically pulled me aside this morning to tell me how great it was that they could get here and not stress (as they got lost!) and how when they called you told us about the self check in note and come on in and make yourself at home.  He had never experienced this before and was blown away by it.

I think they thought about it all night after that. He commented that B&B guests are such a higher quality than the average hotel guest, and that it meant a lot to them to be treated so nicely.

This encouraged me, every time we try to cover all basis and can't this is something to consider. People actually appreciate it.

I wanted to share this as this topic was hot last week or so. Self check ins can actually be an amenity to some people. Just like booking online is an amenity (imo!)

Madeleine's picture
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Good points. Your guests appreciated not being run ragged when they were lost.

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We have had the same reaction with guests who want to stay at a B&B but have late arrivals. They sometimes ask about late arrivals and procedures before booking and as soon as we tell them of the procedures, we often see the booking the next day.

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quick, hide! 

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Kay Nein's picture
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 Great feedback... Thanks!  I'm so grateful to have my own personal team of consultants 

Madeleine's picture
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Dena wrote:

 Great feedback... Thanks!  I'm so grateful to have my own personal team of consultants 

And the price we charge is so small! Just particpate, that's it. Join in with all the fun.

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 Remember too, that even though you give the earliest check in time clearly, people will arrive early as well as late. This week alone we had three check ins arrive at 3pm when our check in is at 4pm.

"We know check in is at 4 but we don't know what to do...."

Fortunately, the rooms were ready!

Riki

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Kay Nein's picture
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Great ideas and insights - thanks a million!

When I started this string, I went to our website to see exactly how check-in was detailed there.  SURPRISE - it's NOT there... Ok, strike one!  (in fairness, we inherited the website from the previous owners and have been tweaking it since taking over in February.  One more thing on my list to fix.)

In saying "Check-in is at 3pm" my feeling was that 3pm is the earliest you can check-in, but after that is fine.  It was not my intent to convey that everyone must be here at exactly 3pm or else.  I see that the wording of that needs to be changed.

I REALLY like the check-in window - 3pm-6pm.  That's ideal and gives us a cut off to go home and be real people.  I'm not entirely sure we'll ever allow self check-ins.  I think that personal service is important and, though you're right about burning out, I'm not sure that aspect of customer service is something I'm ready to let slide.

And a call to the guest the day before would be another great step to add to the process.  We have called in the past, but it was always late in the afternoon of their arrival when we were already wondering where they were.  I fear being perceived as an impatient person tapping my toe and rushing them.  So, to avoid that I'll just call the day before.

I also like an additional "Late Check-in Fee" if it's after 10pm (for instance).

I just started adding "Check-in is at 3pm" in our confirmation emails.  I'm going to reword it to "Check-in starts at 3pm.  If arriving later than 6pm, prior arrangements need to be made" or something to that effect.  That will probably help out tremendously.

 

 

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I wait up, mainly because I have a 100 year old door and thre is not way to make it self chek-in AND I ONLY have 3 rooms. The room count is a dignificant factor. Because I am in Podunk and started with 3 with shared bath, I gave Service to make up for what I did not have. Now I have horse travelers so I still offer the 4 AM breakfast time - a window of 4 AM to 10 AM the guest chooses the time. Again, you can do things with 3 rooms that you cannot if you ha 5 or more. Also I live on-site. Oh, I have had horse people who had problems withthe rig enroute who arived at 3 AM and I do escort from the Interstate to the stable! THAT gropu wanted a 7 AM breakfast - I did not bother going to bed that morning until after they left.

Living off-site and having to be there to make breakfast, do yourself a favor and seriously consider the self check-in. I do not call guests. My online reservation system sends a reminder e-mail 3 days before. My people who are having problems on the road are usually considerate enough to call me to appraise me of the situation they are encountering not all but most.

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Dena wrote:

I REALLY like the check-in window - 3pm-6pm.  That's ideal and gives us a cut off to go home and be real people.  I'm not entirely sure we'll ever allow self check-ins.  I think that personal service is important and, though you're right about burning out, I'm not sure that aspect of customer service is something I'm ready to let slide.

You are new.

Customer service for 8 rooms with personal check in say arriving at 10pm? Consider this... A guest arriving late with a note can quietly check themselves in and go to bed, a personal check in is LOUD and disrupts other guests. 

As a guest, I don't want you waiting for me if I have to arrive late, which I may have to do. Flights, drive times, etc. I don't think that is service, imo. I love the fact that I can get there when I get there, and not be stressed. It is my time.

You don't live on site, and are willing to check in every guest and be there all day every day til midnight (or could be later as is the case) then what is the issue? You certainly can't think every guest will be there when they say they will be there. That is pretty funny actually.

Do it, make the check in window extremely clear, and see what happens. It is the first step.   Remember it is not our first rodeo, many of us have been at this a long time and you are getting "real" advice here.

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If I saw on a web site check in is at 3pm I would assume I had to be there on the step at 3pm its that simple and will (and I am sure the others will back me up) put people off booking if they feel they cannot make it for the 3pm time. A window works best as you can balance guests with having a life. Self check in is a two way split with me for example we have a regular who was staying with us monday to friday for 5 months often left the key out in the lock box for him as he knew the place and where all the rooms were and was very low maintenance. I don't like to do it for guests who havn't been before as we have two staircases and sometimes can't find the other rooms. I would also say it depends on the layout of your place - ie would all the rooms be easy to find? For myself it is rare that people book specific rooms so I try and put late check in people in room 1 as its the first up the stairs on the first stair case ie not tromping past other rooms and the easiest to find. However I am a bit paranoid about this so in some ways would rather get up though it does make me cranky. I would say however that for any late check in's we run the card at last check in time or when they arrange for the late check in so we are guaranteed the money - no money - no key.

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Madeleine's picture
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Be prepared for push back on the late check in fee. We're always hearing this and sometimes it's true- try to not to make it harder to stay at a B&B than a hotel.

We went back and forth on the 'do we, don't we' allow self-check-ins? At first we did. It was awkward because we were newbies but we do get a fair amount of guests coming in from NYC and they leave after work. They arrive here around midnight, if they're lucky! So, consider, they've worked all day (as have we), they have fought traffic to get out of the city and driven 5-6 hours to crash at their B&B. Do they want me in my bunny slippers whispering to them and tiptoeing thru the house with them to show them their room or would they rather let themselves in and find their own room?

It is not really intuitive, but they DO like letting themselves in rather than seeing me in my bunny slippers. Who knew!

We decided a few years into this that it wasn't hospitable or safe to let guests check themselves in. Also, they made a lot of noise. 15 trips to the car, slamming all 16 doors on the car each time. Banging suitcases up the stairs and yelling to each other. No, it would be better to see a show of force from the innkeeper, even at 2 AM. (And I live here! You have to either stay or come back to let the guests in!)

If you read other innkeeping forums you will find a LOT of innkeepers who revile you if you let the guests check themselves in. They think it's not right that I am not on call 24x7. Well, guess what, a lot of those innkeepers don't have as many rooms as I have OR have fulltime help during the day so they can go out and have meals, visit family & friends, go to yoga classes and have 'a life'.

Where are we now? Self check-in is back. At my advanced age I need my beauty sleep. We don't charge extra for it because no one is put out by the late arrivals. The bunny slippers have been retired. I get my beauty sleep. Guests don't feel rushed to arrive at a certain time. (I do charge the balance at 7 PM when I put the info out for the guests. We've had late arrivals who were early departers with bad cc info. Live and learn. And, if the cc is bad, the note says, 'Please ring doorbell to alert the innkeeper you have arrived,' otherwise it has the door code and directions to the room.)

I don't think I would call guests the day before. How about a quick text msg or email that says how 'you're looking forward to their arrival between 3-6 PM tomorrow. Safe travels!' A gentle reminder of the time span and perhaps that will force a phone call from them saying they'll be later.

I think what most of us here push is the 'happy innkeeper' approach to innkeeping. If  we're waiting up until 2 AM or uncomfortably dozing in an anxious semi-sleep-state waiting to answer the door, we are not at our best at 7 AM when guests (not the same 2 AM guests) are looking for coffee and the paper.

It's all about balance. You have to decide what works best in your situation.

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Madeleine wrote:
It's all about balance. You have to decide what works best in your situation.

Amen sister!

=)
Kk.

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YellowSocks wrote:

Madeleine wrote:
It's all about balance. You have to decide what works best in your situation.

Amen sister!

=)
Kk.

I like the new profile pic!  Yellow Socks,  you have a face!   And a nice one it is too.   

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YellowSocks wrote:

Madeleine wrote:
It's all about balance. You have to decide what works best in your situation.

Amen sister!

=)
Kk.

I like the new profile pic!  Yellow Socks,  you have a face!   And a nice one it is too.   

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We have a checkin time of 3PM to 6PM and our confirmation as well as the reminder tell them that outside of those times they must communicate to us ahead of time. After 6PM we tell them that they will receive self-check-in instructions and those include a numeric key to let themselves in the door in the unlikely hood that we go out. Those before 3PM are told that the room won't be ready until 3PM and they can leave their luggage as long as they have made prearrangements with me. But I only guarantee that I'm around for the hours they have arranged, give or take 30 minutes. 

I appreciate my keypad greatly. It has freed me from much.

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Haha, Charge them a late check in fee. If they arrive after a certain time. That will get them there on time. Just an idea!!! Smiling

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 Dena, where does it say check in time on your website? Start there. Put the check in time on the website under your policies and info page. 

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Dena, are you talking about folks that phone you for a rez?  Is your check-in 3pm, period?  Or do you actually have a time range for check-ins?  Do you have online booking which offers the guest a selection of check-in times?  Do you send reminders?  See, I would need more info to really answer your question. 

We had most of our reservations through our on-line booking system which required guests to select a check-in time during our range & agree to policies.  Their confirmation email reminded them of their time and clearly stated what to do if arriving late, & restated the policies.  I sent reminder emails for folks booking way out and had their selected check-in in bold

I would ask callers about what time they thought they'd be arriving and told them the check-in window & explained what we did if they arrived outside of that.  If they balked at the check-in window, I'd explore that with them because we had lots of folks flying in to a major metro airport 90 minutes away and I'd try to guide them to something within our window, if possible.  That being said, stuff happens...especially when people are relying on flights, rental cars, or shuttles, etc.   Late arrivals were asked to call us!!  I'd rather know than be sitting around waiting.  I had quite a few people who arrived after midnight due to flight delays or accidents on the Interstate.

ETA:  Dur...I just realized that your website is here & that you're not anonymous.  You're about the same distance away from ATL that we were, so I can see where folks flying in might experience delays.  And, I've driven up to your area to stay at B&Bs and know how the traffic can be!!  I also don't see anything on your website about check-in times or early/late check-ins, so putting that info on the site would definitely help. 

I would say to do the best that you can to define what's going to work for both you and your guest.  If you can arrange a late check-in system where the guest can pick up a key & instructions, that's the best.  Otherwise, JB has hit the nail on the head...you'll get tired of waiting around. 

 

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I don't know how many rooms you have. I have four, and I live onsite.

When they make the reservation I ask them what time they plan to arrive. The farther in advance the reservation is made, the less likely the time they pick is accurate.

Most of the time, though, people are pretty close, within an hour or so.

I've learned to call people who are late... just a "hi, it's Kathy from College House. I need to run out to the grocery store. What time does it look like you'll be arriving?" When I haven't called, I've regretted it. People never seem to mind. 

People are very willing to work with me on their check in times.  I have several regular evening commitments (Community Band, for example), and I go to church on Saturday nights instead of Sunday mornings.  On the few occasions that their arrival time conflicts, I tell them what I have planned and that I'll skip it to meet them... they usually say not to miss but they'll arrive sooner or later. Which, really, doesn't happen often.

In the case where someone is coming very late (after bedtime), or at a time I have a conflict, I give them the code and directions how to get in. This is especially the case with repeat guests.  This weekend a guest called and said they would like to get in about an hour and a half earlier than planned. I wasn't home, but gave them the codes and did a quickie phone check in... I didn't have to rush home and they were able to get in and settled with no fuss.  Hooray for keypad locks!!!

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Kk.

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 8 rooms.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:
 8 rooms.

Oh.

That's a totally different animal.

Good luck!

=)
Kk.

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Dena wrote:

 Our policy is that check-in is at 3pm, but we'll accomodate late check-ins with notice.  

THANKS!

Dena

Is that the policy verbatim? How then do guests know what 'late' is? Is late 4 PM?

Just last week I called at the last minute to make a rez. I was asked what time did I think I would be arriving? I was not given a deadline, did not know there was NO ONE on site after a certain time (which varied because they use VOLUNTEERS! to watch the desk) and had no idea where, exactly, the place was.

I knew from previous experience in the area it would take us about 7 hours to get there. But I didn't know what time we'd be getting started.

I guessed we'd get there around 5. We actually arrived at 4. The whole next DAY there was no one at the desk at all, all day and night. Luckily, we're pretty self-sufficient.

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 8 rooms is different to 2 rooms though, 8 rooms, imo the innkeeper needs to be on the premises for check ins until said time, which to me, again imvho s/b 7 to 8 pm.  3 or 4 rooms and living on site are totally different to 8 rooms and not living onsite.

See we are all different, so what works for me might not work foryou and so on.  But get it sorted out for the less stress oneveryone

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 Dena,

Our check in window is 4-7 pm. If people don't know when they are going to arrive, or say they will be arriving late, we ask them to call us about an hour out so that we are not running out for a bite to eat, or running errands and will be there to greet them.

So far this has worked for us - they call us and we know when they will arrive. Guests cannot always know what the traffic situation is going to be coming down from DC and this makes it easier for them to know that they don't have to rush and we know if we can run out for a bite or not.

Riki

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 Another thing, as mentioned about reminders, some guests make a booking a year in advance. 6 months in advance. Doesn't hurt to have a reminder email letting them know we are excited about their upcoming visit!  That is a feature of Reservationkey. You can set it for any numbers of days you wish, some times I think 3 days in advance may not be adequate if they are booking 6 mo's in advance, you can set two of them if you want!  On this email I have basic check in instructions reminding them of the check in times and note if they are here after reg check in hours. Also directions and parking info.  ie Come around to the front door and ring bell...

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In our confirmation, we advise guests who would like to take their time arriving that they will find a note on the door with their information in it after 7 PM. We run their card for the full balance at 7 PM and go about our evening.

I have been scolded by guests who did not arrive at all that I should have called them to remind them they had a rez. No. Adults need to act as such.

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Madeleine wrote:

I have been scolded by guests who did not arrive at all that I should have called them to remind them they had a rez. No. Adults need to act as such.

Holiday Inn doesn't call me. Neither does Ritz Carlton. If you start calling them, you only train them to forget about their rez because the ball's now in the innkeeper's court to always call and remind them. If you don't start it, you won't later regret it.

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I let RezKey do the reminding - Your reservation is in 3 days, We look forward to greeting you.

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gillumhouse wrote:

I let RezKey do the reminding - Your reservation is in 3 days, We look forward to greeting you.

 I've been trying to figure out how to do this on the Email Schedule.   How do you set it up to be sent automatically 3 days before arrival?   You're given a choice to have emails sent when the reservation is made, reservation 1st day, reservation last day  or when there are additional payments,  but not for a set number of days prior to arrival.

 

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Email Templates

ADD TEMPLATE

CLICK Here for a screen print http://twitpic.com/9c2skw/full

 

You can also add a thank you email so many days after their stay, automatic.

After you add this template then follow the steps Copperhead listed, as you will then see the choice of this IN THE DROP DOWN MENU to select it.

 

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Proud Texan wrote:

gillumhouse wrote:

I let RezKey do the reminding - Your reservation is in 3 days, We look forward to greeting you.

 I've been trying to figure out how to do this on the Email Schedule.   How do you set it up to be sent automatically 3 days before arrival?   You're given a choice to have emails sent when the reservation is made, reservation 1st day, reservation last day  or when there are additional payments,  but not for a set number of days prior to arrival.

 

go under email schedule and then default schedule, and if you have not altered it, there will be a triggering event that says "reservation first day" with a message line, then TO, CC, BCC and a drop down menu 'Send' with #'s in drop down for the number of days before the stay. 

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copperhead wrote:

Proud Texan wrote:

gillumhouse wrote:

I let RezKey do the reminding - Your reservation is in 3 days, We look forward to greeting you.

 I've been trying to figure out how to do this on the Email Schedule.   How do you set it up to be sent automatically 3 days before arrival?   You're given a choice to have emails sent when the reservation is made, reservation 1st day, reservation last day  or when there are additional payments,  but not for a set number of days prior to arrival.

 

go under email schedule and then default schedule, and if you have not altered it, there will be a triggering event that says "reservation first day" with a message line, then TO, CC, BCC and a drop down menu 'Send' with #'s in drop down for the number of days before the stay. 

 Got it!  Thanks!

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05/22/2008

And with the thank you for staying or any of the letters you set up to send, if you click on Correspondence you can personalize the standard letter you set up then save in queue and set the when to send - NOW or LATER.

I try to personalize the Thank you which also includes the link for should you wish to review us. The lady that came in while I was gone got a customized in 3-days e-mail that apologized for not getting to see her and thanking her for her pre-pay. The Thank you expressed the hope DH took care of things to her satisfaction and referred to the classes she was coming here for.

Proud Texan's picture
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05/30/2008

gillumhouse wrote:

And with the thank you for staying or any of the letters you set up to send, if you click on Correspondence you can personalize the standard letter you set up then save in queue and set the when to send - NOW or LATER.

I try to personalize the Thank you which also includes the link for should you wish to review us. The lady that came in while I was gone got a customized in 3-days e-mail that apologized for not getting to see her and thanking her for her pre-pay. The Thank you expressed the hope DH took care of things to her satisfaction and referred to the classes she was coming here for.

 I have a canned Thank You letter,  that I customize before sending manually.   I also include a link for review and discount code good for their next stay.   10 times out of 10,  I get a review and have never had anyone (even return guests) use the discount code.

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

As JB says, you need a method to allow self-checkin after a certain time of your chosing. I'm using keyless entry (keypad door lock). Guest is e-mailed the 4-digit code they'll enter to unlock the door when they arrive. You go by the next day to take their payment.

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10/07/2008

First of all check in AT 3pm is ridiculous. I don't think I personally could ever make it, from anywhere to there by 3pm. I will say that right off the bat. Many people don't even leave work til 5pm. It is their prerogative to arrive when they arrive, as long as it is not past midnight!  

You MUST set up a better method, ie self check in. Esp if you don't live there, I live RIGHT HERE and it drives me batty every week. 

Our policy states the check in "WINDOW" we allow, ie 3pm-6pm, and we used to say "after regular check in times by appt" and people never called, people just got here when they got here.  So now we have them select their best estimation of a check in time, and then tell them after or later checkins there will be a note on the front door with instructions.

Now for some, they sigh relief and think good, no stress to get there. Others this may prompt to get here at a decent hour. We have guests every week, year in and year out who arrive past 8 or 9pm. It is what it is, they drive a long way to get here, there is traffic from major cities, interstate backups, they follow GPS and go the wrong way etc.

So the best method is to get it all in place and not be waiting on them. You will burn out quicker than ever imagined doing that Dena. You will resent your guests and not be a happy innkeeper. Don't make it added stress on you and on the guest. Remember for most of them, they are on vacation, to you it is a job, but they are on island time...

Joey Camb's picture
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Joined:
04/02/2010

We have more of a check in window - 2pm-9.30 however we state very forcefully if you are going to be later than that you have to ring ahead as otherwise you may be locked out. We live there and its rubbish but they don't know that. One of my other friends puts something like there are only 2 of us and sometimes we have to pop out for shopping etc. If you don't let us know an approximate arrival time we may not be there to greet you.

Silverspoon's picture
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10/16/2011

 Yup, that's pretty much what we do.  Check in any time after 3 pm BUT we ask guests to contact us with arrival time so we can be available to greet them.  We mention that they are not held to this time, as long as they give us a quick call so we can rearrange our schedule if their arrival time changes.  If they know they will be very late we arrange to leave a note for self check-in, but we do this on an individual basis...sometimes DH will wait up for them.  We also state that we can not accommodate arrivals before 3:00 pm.  A few years ago we changed the wording around to "arrivals" from "check-in" because some people figured that it would be OK to stop by at noon to say hi and talk our ear off about things to do in the area and then come back at 3:00 to get the key and check in.  Nope...not OK.  When we talk to them during the reservation process we explain in detail about check in and stress it again in the written confirmation.  

This system works well 90% of the time.  Most folks let us know well in advance and arrive here within 30 mionutes of the time they said they would.  A few call us from the road when they are about 2 hours out, and very few call to change their original estimate.  Also, we do not check-in or out on Saturdays during the busy summer season so that gives us one day where we can make plans and go out to dinner.

Keep in mind that we only have 3 rooms...this probably would be too labor intensive if you had a bigger place.

__________________

Gardens are not made by singing "Oh, how beautiful" and sitting in the shade.
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

 

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