Check in time

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We have discussed this before, we are not robots. I understand guests do not get this, they think we are 24/7 fully staffed (and we are) but they show up at midnight or later, they show up at 2pm or sooner.  They just need to check in at check in time. I wish we could get that through, but they battle it.

A lady called "Check in time begins at 4pm, but we will be there at 1pm."  Okay, and? Our inn opens at 4pm. 

It's 225pm and dude from midwest already told me we will be checking in early, so when we get there hope you are ready for us. ...I want a nap, that is what I want to do! Since he is here 5 nights I will allow this, just today, but chances are and mother murphy's law of innkeeping dictates that he will end up being here at 6pm or 7pm anyway! It is the way it is...

goodnight gracie

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Let me share my thoughts.

Early check in from 1-3pm I feel people would say that is close to the normal check in time, and think we are being greedy. I know many of you do have a 3pm check in. Ours begins at 4pm.

Any comments re this?

Last night a room got here at 11pm. No calls, no requesting late checkin or anything...I have not seen them yet, they signed up for 915am breakfast, we will see if they show!

Yeah location location for the late check in lock box or note or code - I don't like emailing a code to anyone... what works for one would never be acceptable at another inn. I feel like we are so secure here as the old po's never even LOCKED THE FRONT DOOR, there was NO KEY! Figure that one. Uh stupid perhaps...

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Had one of these passive aggressive idiots on today am absolutely furious! rang this evening to ask if he could check in tomorro at 11 as thats when he'd booked his train tickets for - yes thats fine but your room may not be ready - oh no 11 at night - he has stayed at least twice before and knows full well we have to wait up for him! and its a fricking cheek to book the tickets first then ask isn't it? id be ringing first as he would be in a right mess if Id said no we cant! am soo angry. Trouble is this group organise a highly lucrative conference twice a year in our town and the organising committee stays with us. It makes me a lot of money (full house 3 nights twice a year) but I also have the weight on my shoulders of the whole town if I really hack them off. means i have to bite my tounge at these loony requests.

Last time they came in march it was on arrival actually out of all of us only 2 will be having breakfast each day so we had bought in a ton of food for nothing

Time before chap was booked in to come on the sunday night 11pm not arrived, me ringing him, all group ringing him didn't turn up till next day! the other group members messages were "kim is sat up here waiting for you please ring and let us know so she can go to bed" SO it wasn't like he didn't know

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For guests you know, like this one, is there a way to set up a locked box somewhere with a code that you send to them so they open the box and take out their keys and let themselves in? Not for everyone, especially when you don't know them in a city as you are, but for these loonies you already know?

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If it was just him left I wouldl do it (we have a lock box) however they are a group of about 18 and I guarantee there will be more than just him on that particular train. If it does turn out to be just him then I'm lock boxing it but like I said these are people who require careful handling so as not to loose our town about 5 million in revenue.

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I have solved the early arrival problem. A few months ago I decided I had enough of the early arrivals. Every other guests was arriving early and I had to stop cleaning or doing what I needed to do before normal check in time. When we switched to reskey I decided to make early check in a bookable package. So I allow early check in from 1-4. Regular check in is from 4-5:30. When making a reservation they click on the package and reserve their time. Problem solved! It has worked out great! We started at $20 fee for this. I had so many people like this I upped it to $35. I no longer have people arriving early unless they are willing to pay for it! Our time is worth $. They are also told of they have booked the early check in pkg and they arrive during normal check in times, they are still charged the fee. We made almost $1200 last month just on early check ins! If you place a charge in front of a customer they tend to listen a little more! You should try it!

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Very good idea Bob.  Last year I had a rash of early arrivals never thought of having it as a package.  If some one ASKed for an early check in, I had a set price of $50.  But my biggest problem are the ones that do not ask, just show up.  Maybe having this as an optional package, it may be the trick.  I want my time, I need my time, but as you stated in a later post it could allow freedom for the rest of the day.  I have thought of that before and kicked myself for not just saying OK to those that show early, as then they do not come back until o'dark thirty as payback!

 

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 Bob, what a great idea!!   Hmmm, I wonder if I could mimick the airlines and start charging per bag?  Whaddya think?

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Let me know how that works for you!?!?!

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Wow, that's a great idea Bob! DH and I will discuss this and see if it's something we might do. We may not get a lot of people taking advantage of it, but it will definitely show people when they are making their bookings that they can't just show up early.

Thanks for the idea!

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Bob wrote:
I have solved the early arrival problem. A few months ago I decided I had enough of the early arrivals. Every other guests was arriving early and I had to stop cleaning or doing what I needed to do before normal check in time. When we switched to reskey I decided to make early check in a bookable package. So I allow early check in from 1-4. Regular check in is from 4-5:30. When making a reservation they click on the package and reserve their time. Problem solved! It has worked out great! We started at $20 fee for this. I had so many people like this I upped it to $35. I no longer have people arriving early unless they are willing to pay for it! Our time is worth $. They are also told of they have booked the early check in pkg and they arrive during normal check in times, they are still charged the fee. We made almost $1200 last month just on early check ins! If you place a charge in front of a customer they tend to listen a little more! You should try it!

But I can't. Unless the rooms are done and noone is here, see this is the difference, to a one-man-show-innkeeper who has assistance from a kid now and again. There is no way I could have breakfast broo haha and check out at 11am and have ANY ROOM READY BY 1pm.

Could this possibly be something I could offer only a weekend when the family is home to help, perhaps that is the only time. And in reality those who need to get here early to go to a wedding or event are more likely to be on a weekend, and more likely to take us up on it.  So maybe I can... 

I will consider your words oh-so-wise-Bob...

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Bob- What a brilliant idea.  That extra cash can almost pay for extra help if needed to get the rooms done early.  And if not extra help it will pay for some spa time to help overcome the tired body parts from working so fast to get things done.

You are right your extra efforts and time spent changing your routine is worth something.  If people want it bad enough they will pay for it.  Otherwise they will find something to occupy their time.

I will implement this from the get go!

 

Madeleine's picture
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Try it out and see if it works. There are areas where it is essential to be able to check-in early and others where most of the guests arrive around 7. I know I wouldn't make a dime doing this. And, if, by chance I could make money, I would not have the time to do it anyway. I need that break between 1-3 to relax.

What you need to keep in mind is allowing the early check-in, even for a fee, means you are tied down to the property for those early check-ins. If you promise it, you have to deliver it. Now, if you have staff to take over those responsibilities you're good to go.

I do know a lot (really, a LOT) of innkeepers who have decided early on that they are wedded to this business 24x7x365. If you can do that, go for it. If you can't then don't start allowing something you can't keep up with forever.

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2 things going on here! If you are a innkeeper that Has the extra help or can ready a room from 11am - 1pm there is a way to make extra money. If you have an early check in you jus make sure and clean that first. It has to be cleaned anyway. You just prioritize your cleaning for that day. Same amount of work, just making extra money. What if you only have 1 turn over that day? They do an early check in and your finished at 1 for your check ins because they show up when they say they are when $ id involved. ( %90 of the time) you have the whole rest of the day to do what you want. Plus you made extra money doing it. If you are tired of people arriving early and you do not want them to, charge $? where they won't arrive early. If they choose to pay $? Then it would be worth it. This system can work for what ever your needs might be. I know if you say early check in is $80 you won't have very many people arriving before normal check in time. Then you can take a long shower or nap. Or a nap in the shower! You can control what people do with the prices you charge for extra services.

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 Right you think "If the room is ready and I am here..." but then you think that NAP that BATH or NICE LONG SHOWER...things when we are in the thick of it that are more valuable than gold.

But on the other hand would it deter those early birds who try to check in early? Yes I believe it would. I believe majority (other than for a wedding, as mentioned and need to change etc) would not be willing to pay it, here.

and I have to ask this required question: Do you add it to the room rate and is it subject to all taxes? Or how do you handle that. 

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

 Right you think "If the room is ready and I am here..." but then you think that NAP that BATH or NICE LONG SHOWER...things when we are in the thick of it that are more valuable than gold.

But on the other hand would it deter those early birds who try to check in early? Yes I believe it would. I believe majority (other than for a wedding, as mentioned and need to change etc) would not be willing to pay it, here.

and I have to ask this required question: Do you add it to the room rate and is it subject to all taxes? Or how do you handle that. 

It might be worth a try IF they state in advance they want to arrive early. Otherwise they know what time check in is as they either had to select a time or we asked them and told them when we would be ready. If they just show up at the door what then? I know someone else mentioned this last year that they have a 'policy statement' that goes something like, 'No problem. We do this all the time for guests and they really appreciate being able to settle into the room earlier. Our charge for that is $50. I'll just go add it to your bill right now.'

And, there are times when you really do want to do something else besides sit around from 1-3 waiting for someone who doesn't show up. So what that you have $35? You also didn't get to do something you wanted.

As someone who just spent a half hour in the middle of cleaning dealing with guests who are checked in but who skipped brekkie and decided to help themselves to cereal and coffee and dirty the dining room again, I really don't want guests here early! And, the guests yesterday who waited around until 12:30 to vacate their rooms because they had to wait for a teenager. They were all over the house. I couldn't go anywhere without running into them.

I guess this more says something about me than anything else. In my head I have that time span blocked off to finish the laundry so I'm not still folding sheets and towels when the guests DO arrive at 3. I have had my lunch. I have had a sit down. I've done my puzzle page for the day. I've made the cookies. Gotten the breakfast starter baked, etc. Otherwise these things spread into the evening. I hate making breakfast bread at 9 PM. Or trying to iron at 10 PM.

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JB this would work perfect for you! I do add the rate as a pkg. It does get charged taxes. You can price it to make money or make the guests think twice before arriving before check in time! If you want, call me and I can tell you more. You have my number!

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For me this will be great, I will be tied to the place most of the day anyway with the farm part of the business (should nothing blow up between now and then - fingers crossed!!!)  But to pull away from a farm activity to check someone in early it would have to make sense as in dollars and cents. 

Because I will be in this totally on my own, no DH in the future I will have a chambermaid to do the cleaning.  That will make it easier for the interuptions, however with cottages and not rooms the cleaning time will be longer.  However if I can throw her a few extra bucks, charge enough to make it worth the aggravation, I am all over it.  If they don't want to pay then it wasn't that important to them in the first place.

I agree with Bob, you can either charge enough to make a few extra bucks, or charge enough to deter all but the most serious needs for early check in.  Sounds like a win win to me.  And I think you are right Bob, people will tend to be there on time, as in early when there are dollars associated with the early arrival.

At times you may have an early arrival at 1 or 2 and the rest checking in at 3 or 4 but that extra cash may compensate for missing that sale on strawberries or having to pay a little extra for eggs because your coupon expired.  To me it sends a message to the guest, we are more flexible and friendly and personal than a hotel, but it is a business and we are not their personal servants waiting around for their grand entrance.

If you don't want the early arrivals then price it so it eliminates or severely reduces them to a tollerable level.

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My confirmation says "if you would like to check in early please let us know in advance and we will do our best to accommodate you. If you arrive early without prior notification we may be out". That means when we get home from the shops and people are sitting in their car waiting for us there's no excuse.

Our new guest management system sends a re-confirmation 7 days prior to arrival for people who book more than 60 days in advance, the re-confirmation contains the same check-in text and this does seem to be making a difference. 

One German gentleman got really stroppy becuase they'd been at the house for an hour waiting. I printed off a copy of his confirmation email, drew a big red circle around the appropriate paragraph and left it in his room, never mentioned it again.

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Highlands John wrote:

Our new guest management system sends a re-confirmation 7 days prior to arrival for people who book more than 60 days in advance, the re-confirmation contains the same check-in text and this does seem to be making a difference. 

Looks like I spoke too soon on this point. Guests arrived at 9.40 this morning all smiles and ready to check in!!!!  Told them that the people who had their room last night hadn't even checked out yet and they should come back after 2pm. It just beggars belief, what goes through these peoples heads (if anything).

That is a record for us, previous record was 10:10.

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Oh, that's easy to beat. 7AM in the morning and expecting to see the room immediately. 

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Oh, that's easy to beat. 7AM in the morning and expecting to see the room immediately. 

Good grief, did you tell them they could see the room as long as they didn't wake the previous occupants.

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We told them to come back after 1PM. To make a long story short, we knew they were PITAs to start with. The reservation was for one and two people showed up. They ended up paying us, but not staying here. Much to our glee. We sold the room again about an hour later, so we got paid twice.

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

We told them to come back after 1PM. To make a long story short, we knew they were PITAs to start with. The reservation was for one and two people showed up. They ended up paying us, but not staying here. Much to our glee. We sold the room again about an hour later, so we got paid twice.

Ha-Ha. Result. When our two came back she started moaning cos they don't have a room with a view. I told them that's the room they booked and all the others are booked. Much more and they'll be out on their ears and I'd like to see them get somewhere else this weekend.  Double bank holiday weekend for the Jubilee!!! 

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Im in the same boat! trouble is something has gone wrong with the bed in the room above ours and if you sit on it in the wrong place it makes a sort of HE HAW noise like a donkey! I can here it in our bedroom trouble is because of the double  bank holiday and because it is a zip and link bed and needs a special base I can't get a new one till thursday at the earliest! and they are in for 2 nights! no one has complained as yet so fingers crossed till wednesday morning!

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Highlands John wrote:

Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Oh, that's easy to beat. 7AM in the morning and expecting to see the room immediately. 

Good grief, did you tell them they could see the room as long as they didn't wake the previous current occupants.

Fixed that for you

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Ive got a bunch of golfers comming in at 11.30 then they are straight out to play golf which starts at 12 so I know I can get them in and out. Just booked early check in for 1 of their rooms (they have 8 booked) so that they can put all the bags in and get the keys for later. Am happy with that as it clears out all those rooms for the day!

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We'll see how my own scheme works. Current plan is this...

  • The code to unlock your door will become active at 3:00 p.m. (15:00) on your arrival day. Before that time your code will not unlock the door.
  • The code to unlock your door will become inactive at 11:00 a.m. on the day of your departure. After that time your code will not unlock the door.

I won't really inactivate their code until noon, but I'll never tell them that.

The joys, I hope, of having a "no staff on site" operation.

I'm sure I'll discover many drawbacks to the plan.

I'm sure I'll enjoy a few benefits.

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My bet is IF they must be in early, you schedule your whole bloody day around them, like I did today, and voila they show up let's see, what was it? 3 hours past the time they DEMANDED to be allowed in.

Okay now I am going to step over the line.

There are people, (guests) who like to assume the control, they like to tell YOU how things will be done. These are bad guests. These are guests who push or break all boundaries in the orbit where everything is circling around them.

For those of you who do not have a partner in this business, I feel for you. For those who do not have a full time partner I feel for you. In some innstances we have that, let's call it suspicion or sixth sense or intuition, and we know it is better if the other partner made his or her presence evident. If at all possible by checking in said guest.

We have this, the two very needy, very overbearing guests this past week giggled like school girls when I sent in the snaker charmer. He was mad, "Don't make me go in there I have to get to work!" I made him anyway.  After that, boy what a difference. It is what it is.

I have the effect on others where the other half seems brash (and he is not at all) and they find me delightful.

A man's touch, a woman's touch, whatever the heck is needed, it is needed sometimes.

For those who don't operate an inn - ignore this post it will make little sense to you. Just call us part time lion tamers. 

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

 Just call us part time lion tamers. 

You had it right the first time- snake charmers.

Yes, you are absolutely right that sometimes you just need the other person to step in and handle a 'situation'. For whatever reason. That person needs to see there is a man around. Or a woman. Or another person period.

If I get a yeller on the phone I do not check that person in. They need to understand they will be dealing with someone else if they have an attitude problem.

I can be doing a song and dance in the dining room for 2 hours and it isn't until 'the cook' steps away from the kitchen that the conversation gets going.

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We have found that almost every single guest who books online recently puts down on the reservation request that they will be checking in early, even though we clearly state that 3 p.m. is check-in time. They don't ask, they tell us. I used to allow it but not anymore unless they are the only guests and we don't have anyone in that room the night before. Even with that though it still is mentally hard. I need that down time to do whatever needs to be done, or nothing at all. Take a nap and/or a shower? Never happens once they step through the door. We had a guest who wanted to check-in at 9 a.m. I said sure, just pay for the night prior and you can check-in at 9. She was appalled that I would charge her and then realized she really didn't need to check in before 3. Yup, thought so.

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 Yep! You are going to forego your nap, then he won't show til later like you said!

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Mtatoc wrote:

 Yep! You are going to forego your nap, then he won't show til later like you said!

YOU ARE 100% CORRECT. That is exactly what happened... And as BD said, It always ends up biting us when we try to be nice ahead of schedule. When they are here, we are on, 100%, until they check in, well let's just wait and see...

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I am very firm about it. I have the sign on the door, they are told from the moment they book when they are asked what time to expect them and the lines says "OUR INN OPENS AT 4PM, YOU MAY CHECK IN..."

It is not how I word it, they know and again on the confirmation LINE 1 - CHECK IN TIME...

Reminder email LINE 1 - CHECK IN TIME...

But they still ask. Or some even pout, yet pout "Well we could have been in the room earlier instead of outside running around for 2 hours"

Issue with me - there is no open toilet to use, and once they are in they are in. You all know that. And...those who say they want early are never here when they say. Case in point: Mr 2-230pm from the midwest, well golly gee willickers it is now 3:40pm and approaching our regular check in time! SHOCK HORROR!

So here I am ready for them, where are they? You know, the difference between a cat nap and a shower or not is HUGE in an innkeeper's life. 

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

So here I am ready for them, where are they? You know, the difference between a cat nap and a shower or not is HUGE in an innkeeper's life. 

I fall asleep everyday doing my crossword puzzles. I wake up when the doorbell buzzes. NOT a pretty sight!

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As long as they tell me ahead of time, I'm glad to let them leave their luggage. But we won't guarantee that your room is available until 3PM.

You want the room at 9AM? Oh, we do that all the time, just reserve the preceeding night and it will be available at 9AM. Otherwise, the guest that is currently in there, will have to leave first and the cleaning crew must get in. Unless, of course, you want to forgo the cleaning of the room, the clean sheets, the fresh towels, etc.

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

 But we won't guarantee that your room is available until 3PM.

 

That's our stand. However, that makes not a bit of diff to the person standing at the door wanting their room NOW. So, our new 'Plan B' is you get whatever room is open if you insist on checking in NOW. And that is your room for your stay. No switching later. If the guest agrees, we reprint the check-in sheet with the new info that they sign and we're good to go.

This is only for those people who insist. For those who are ok with coming back at the standard check-in time, nothing changes for them.

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I have hooks for the keys. And for their door code. I sometimes put away the keys if I know someone is checking in early, so that they see it's not there. I tell them that it will be there, after the room is cleaned, when they come back after 3PM.

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

As long as they tell me ahead of time, I'm glad to let them leave their luggage. But we won't guarantee that your room is available until 3PM.

Letting them leave their luggage is never that quick and easy. It interrupts the work being done and eats up my time. Our guests can't arrive via public transportation, so they have to have a car. Let them leave their stuff in the trunk, take a walk on the beach or have a nice late lunch. And it never fails, every time I go against our policy and am a softie, and have rushed around to get their room done, they never show up early.

I'll cater to them all night and day once they've checked in, but not before or after. At least that's what I say right now...

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I have guests that someone are thrown off of a cruise ship at 8AM in the morning with their luggage. Red-Eyes from the west coast. Etc. We tell them the earlier the better to drop of luggage. We had them a map, an electronic code for the door, show them where the key will be, after 3 PM. Point them at a bathroom and tell them to have a nice day.

And if I'm really harried, at noon, I put up a sign "Will return at 3PM." But I usually don't have to. And if their arrival time is 6PM or after, we send them the self-checkin instructions. It's made things much simplier and we have managed to go out to eat a few times in the last two weeks, like normal people.

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 I just took a reservation (remember, I speak to every guest before booking) and said 3 different times "We can check you in any time AFTER 3 but not before. We can not accommodate arrivals before 3: PM  Please let us know when to expect you when your plans firm up." "We do not have a staff and can not extend an early arrival.  You may arrive anytime after 3 pm as long as you give us some idea of when to expect you so we can be prepared to greet you."  yadda yadda yadda.  So after telling her umpteen times she finally says  "We would like to get there early.  Do you mean that our room will not be ready until 3:00?"   DUHHHHH!  So one more time......Right!!! " There is someone in your room the night before and we need to clean the room and do the laundry.  We also need to have lunch and shop for breakfast foods.  Do not arrive before 3:00 PM."  They are arriving on Sunday...we'll see if they finally got the message.

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Silverspoon wrote:

 I just took a reservation (remember, I speak to every guest before booking) and said 3 different times "We can check you in any time AFTER 3 but not before. We can not accommodate arrivals before 3: PM  Please let us know when to expect you when your plans firm up." "We do not have a staff and can not extend an early arrival.  You may arrive anytime after 3 pm as long as you give us some idea of when to expect you so we can be prepared to greet you."  yadda yadda yadda.  So after telling her umpteen times she finally says  "We would like to get there early.  Do you mean that our room will not be ready until 3:00?"   DUHHHHH!  So one more time......Right!!! " There is someone in your room the night before and we need to clean the room and do the laundry.  We also need to have lunch and shop for breakfast foods.  Do not arrive before 3:00 PM."  They are arriving on Sunday...we'll see if they finally got the message.

"You hear but you don't listen!"

Shall we place bets on arrival time? This can be the new innkeeper past time, like in an office when you bet on the delivery date of a coworker...

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We had an expected early arrival followed in the door by someone we did not expect early. 12:30 or so.

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05/26/2009

JUST SAY NO! (repeat over and over to yourself). You must protect yourself because they sure won't. The crazy time of the year is starting for most of us. Now's the time we all need to reinforce in our brain that we are not robots like you said in your post. We have created rules for a reason and they are not unreasonable!

I got an e-mail last night from guests that will be checking in tomorrow.  "We look forward to our romantic 1st anniversary get away weekend to your bed and breakfast. We were wondering if early check in and/or late check out was possible? We can't wait to meet you on Saturday!"

Thank goodness these folks actually asked! I wrote back a polite response saying no. I have my door sign ready that I'll put out after check-outs each day saying we're readying the inn for guest arrival and check-ins are not possible until 3:00.

I'm putting on my seatbelt, because it's going to be a bumpy ride this summer...it's already started. I've got a whopper of a story I'll tell in a few days. The crazies are coming, the crazies are coming!!!

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