Dissatisfied guests

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I posted last week about the guests who had 3 rooms on a busy weekend that had a 2 night minimum and they called and canceled one night.  I let them do it because I hadn't properly confirmed with her that it was a 2 night minimum weekend. 

Well they showed up yesterday, left almost immedately to go to their event.  Got back late and left before breakfast, without telling me so I had tons of extra food. 

She called me later and said that the rooms were dirty and she had a list of things that were wrong and she wants a %50 return.  Her list of things that were wrong were the porch hadn't been swept, and there was a "bullet hole" in the window (it's a big curved glass window and the hole is a bubble from, I'm assuming, when it was made and was too expensive to re-do), she found a rasin? in the tub and there were crumbs on the bed, oh and the carpets were dirty and there was "an inch of dust on (something)". 

I'll give her that my carpets are dingy and I would LOVE to replace them but everything else is just crap.  I literally broke down in tears after I got off the phone.  How do you handle these types of people who look for every little tiny thing that could be wrong? 

Meanwhile my other guests couldn't have been more thrilled.  They loved everything and left me a $20 tip. 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Dry the tears, calm the anger and see what part of what just happened you can fix. If there is construction in your area, then the day of arrival, dust again right before check-in time. Sorry, but keep those small kids out of the guest rooms. When they get a little bit older, they will be helpful, but right now they're only making more work for you.

Fix the things you can. There are always going to be people who think their opinion is the only one that's important and they must tell you about it. Sometimes there's merit in there, sometimes not. I had a woman write me a letter after her stay and told me that I needed to hang a picture over a wall that was damaged. For the life of me I couldn't figure out what she ment....then it dawned on me, she wanted me to cover up an area of wood that was part of the historic part of the house...a 116 year old piece of timber. Some people just don't 'get it'.

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Miss O' I don't know you, I don't think I know you with your pseudonym, and I feel bad for you with this guest situation.  I am going to step over the line here and ask "If any of this could be perceived as true from the guest perspective?" I ask, only as all customer service training teaches that the guest sees what they see, and no matter what we see we cannot change their perspective. Was there a raisin in the tub and crumbs on the bed?

I specifically address these points, as I stayed at the uncomfort inn here and had a raisin, and as I tell the story either 1) a raisin, or 2) a bloated cochroach, in the room.  I never said a word, and I wouldn't try to get my money back after the fact, that would be absurd. But I did see it, and I didn't like it.

So if this were true, would you refund 50% of their room rate?

I have to ask, as I know many of us will do these things to get the annoying guest out of our hair and be done with them, but othertimes dang it, it is worth the fight! When you know they are trumping up things.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Miss O' I don't know you, I don't think I know you with your pseudonym, and I feel bad for you with this guest situation.  I am going to step over the line here and ask "If any of this could be perceived as true from the guest perspective?" I ask, only as all customer service training teaches that the guest sees what they see, and no matter what we see we cannot change their perspective. Was there a raisin in the tub and crumbs on the bed?

I specifically address these points, as I stayed at the uncomfort inn here and had a raisin, and as I tell the story either 1) a raisin, or 2) a bloated cochroach, in the room.  I never said a word, and I wouldn't try to get my money back after the fact, that would be absurd. But I did see it, and I didn't like it.

So if this were true, would you refund 50% of their room rate?

I have to ask, as I know many of us will do these things to get the annoying guest out of our hair and be done with them, but othertimes dang it, it is worth the fight! When you know they are trumping up things.

Joey,  my name is Scarlett and my Inn is in Kansas.  I've been on this forum for awhile mainly lurking.  We've owned our inn for just over a year.  The inn isn't very busy, except on weekends like this with special events, but I also have a full time job outside of the Inn and we own a resturant that I spend 15ish hours a week at. 

To answer your question.  I may be a bit over worked, lol, and rooms may not be quite as clean as I'd like them to be all the time.  I'm sure you're going to find some dust, not an inch of dust like she claims but sure some dust.  It doesn't help that the bank across the street is underconstruction.  I'd have to dust every 12 hours to keep it away right now. 

One thing I am anal about is checking the tubs and bathrooms for hair, it's almost impossible to get it all but I highly doubt that I'd have missed a rasin in the bathtub.  Had it been anywhere else in the room I'd have believed her but I triple check my bathtubs. 

I do have 2 children who "help" clean the rooms.  With a 5 and 3 year old that means me chasing them off the beds after they're made.  I had thought it was possible that the crumbs on the bed came from them but they weren't with me that day.  The guests did not sleep in the room with the crumbs on the bed and when I went afterwards I did not see any crumbs, maybe they brushed them off but I again find it highly unlikely. 

Some of her other complaints that I did not post were valid, but seemed very nit picky.  One of the rooms has a broken window, there is a very small chip out of one of the top corners.  I don't know where it came from and just noticed it myself last week.  I'm in the process of getting it fixed.  Two of the beds are "broken", the canopy on one has been bent a little bit and I can't get it to straighten the other one has some pieces that need to be welded back on.  The linoleum in one room has stains that I can't get out and so they look a little dirty.  She claimed they hadn't been scrubbed, it had it just doesn't look it in places.  Unfortunately our first year wasn't extremely profitable and we haven't had a chance to make the improvements that I want. 

I did give her %50 back.  I was very upset and had never dealt with anyone like this.  I didn't know what to do so I gave it back to her.  I work so very hard and to have someone come in and rip me apart...I was very flustered. 

So hopefully this book I've written, lol,  will help give you a better picture of who I am and what I have to work with. I feel like I'm still very inexpeirenced at this and any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

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We are far from wise and the only wisdom we have came from correcting our mistakes and movin' forward.

It has been rare for us to have a situation go south. So the question is, "What is different in your situation that sent this over the edge?"

Here's a few gems

Head 'em off at the pass! When we see (or feel) a guest is slipping into the valley of despair, we head 'em off at the pass with a niceness stampede.

An ounce of prevention! When something starts out on the wrong trail and we get the feeling the guest feels they might be getting lost, we pull out a map full of choices, including other inns or alternatives. If they end up choosing a different path, great! If they end up sticking with you, even better, because the decision was theirs to make.

Penny wise... Don't sweat the short term loss. No amount of money is worth an unhappy guest. 

Oh boy.. the wisdom just keeps flowin'

 

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Madeleine's picture
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I don't want to seem picky but it sounds like you have a lot on your plate and that things may not be up to the standards you would like them to be. Is there a way to consolidate all of the 'good' parts into one room and just rent that one until you get the others fixed up? Or maybe 2 rooms?

I realize that with no money coming in from the rentals that you're never going to make enough to do the repairs you're talking about but do you really want to keep giving money back to people like this? Any one or two of the things you listed would probably be overlooked. But these guests had 3-4 rooms (I don't remember) and so the list got very long very fast. Maybe the secret is to not rent the whole place to one party so they're not compiling the issues into one big list.

We know where all the bodies are buried here and we always hope that the things that we really want to fix don't bother guests too much. But I know there are those out there that no matter what the price point is they think everything should be gold-plated and absolutely new out of the box. (I always hope they stay elsewhere!)

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Madeleine wrote:

I don't want to seem picky but it sounds like you have a lot on your plate and that things may not be up to the standards you would like them to be. Is there a way to consolidate all of the 'good' parts into one room and just rent that one until you get the others fixed up? Or maybe 2 rooms?

I realize that with no money coming in from the rentals that you're never going to make enough to do the repairs you're talking about but do you really want to keep giving money back to people like this? Any one or two of the things you listed would probably be overlooked. But these guests had 3-4 rooms (I don't remember) and so the list got very long very fast. Maybe the secret is to not rent the whole place to one party so they're not compiling the issues into one big list.

We know where all the bodies are buried here and we always hope that the things that we really want to fix don't bother guests too much. But I know there are those out there that no matter what the price point is they think everything should be gold-plated and absolutely new out of the box. (I always hope they stay elsewhere!)

I've rented out the whole house several times and never had this happen before.  In fact my whole house rentals are usually more satisfied than any of my other guests.  The room that they didn't end up using is my least favorite and the one I rent out last.  It is also scheled for a remodel this fall when we slow down (I've got a few whole house rentals and don't want to start tearing into it quite yet). 

I think I've just got to try and put her comments out of my mind.  Focus on doing the best that I can and know that we still offer something better than any of the hotels in town.  Occasionally you run into these people who are only happy if they have something to complain about.  Most guests just want to enjoy the experience and not look for something to be unhappy about. 

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I have found over the years that couples and groups traveling together can be great!  They can also be a big pain in the........  If one person mentions something is wrong, they all feed off of it lika a pack of Dogs.  All you seasoned innkeepers know what im talking about.  You do have to get control of it fast or it will end up really bad.  My wife always says "  Get back out there and KILL them with kindness!"  Its hard for people to keep being upset when you are being over friendly to them.  It can almost be funny at times how you can turn guests around.. 

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I donated a night to a "Cause" in DC. the lady who bought it booked the night after we were having a fundraising cooking class & dinner by a well-known WV chef. She booked the extra night so she could do the class & dinner. Since she was a guest, she got an extra "lesson" as we helped prep for the class and made everything except the meat (the class was making a chicken with cranberry sauce with everyone making their own).

When she left, I found a 3-page letter on the bed detailing al my deficiencies. First reading was WHAT??? and second reading was you have to be kidding and third readig was now I know why she is single and lives alone.

There were cobwebs on my porch - yes, it is an outside porch and the spiders live outside and eat flies and mosquitoes. My soap in the dispensers was not up to a decent quality - it was a liquid castile soap. My robes looked "tired" - they were less than a year old and were NOT used every day (I wish). These are just the high points that I remember.

Mentally flip her the bird and move on. Do NOT let her get into your head. You know where you need to improve - give her those points as yes, you are correct - and fix what you can when you can. I do not care what was not to her liking - she screwed you once and should have been on your DNR list. If she stayed even one night before this, she knew what your place was like - she BOOKED it, she stayed, she should have paid - in full!

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gillumhouse wrote:

I donated a night to a "Cause" in DC. the lady who bought it booked the night after we were having a fundraising cooking class & dinner by a well-known WV chef. She booked the extra night so she could do the class & dinner. Since she was a guest, she got an extra "lesson" as we helped prep for the class and made everything except the meat (the class was making a chicken with cranberry sauce with everyone making their own).

When she left, I found a 3-page letter on the bed detailing al my deficiencies. First reading was WHAT??? and second reading was you have to be kidding and third readig was now I know why she is single and lives alone.

There were cobwebs on my porch - yes, it is an outside porch and the spiders live outside and eat flies and mosquitoes. My soap in the dispensers was not up to a decent quality - it was a liquid castile soap. My robes looked "tired" - they were less than a year old and were NOT used every day (I wish). These are just the high points that I remember.

Mentally flip her the bird and move on. Do NOT let her get into your head. You know where you need to improve - give her those points as yes, you are correct - and fix what you can when you can. I do not care what was not to her liking - she screwed you once and should have been on your DNR list. If she stayed even one night before this, she knew what your place was like - she BOOKED it, she stayed, she should have paid - in full!

She hadn't stayed here before.  She called and canceled for one night of this stay and then these were all the issues that she had with this stay. 

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That makes it even MORE of a scam - first she diddles you out of one night of revenue and then she wants the night she actually stays to be free. Right! Re dust - you could spend every minute of every hour dusting and there would still be dust - it is one of those things in life that is just there. I feel sorry for people who have so little in their life that they notice a bit of dust.

I do agree with get the kids out of the roon UNLESS the 3 yo is running the vac (mine was so proud of himself to have vac the living room as HIS chore) and the 5 yo helping to make the bed or dusting.

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The 5 yo is acutally really helpful.  Give him a rag and he'll dust or wipe down baseboards, he loves being helpful.  The 3yo just doesn't want to be left out, I'll just make sure I pay closer attention to what she's doing.  Since we don't live inside the Inn I prefer to have them with me instead of alone in our house.  I know the houses are only a few feet away but it makes me feel better knowing  a) they're safe and b) they're not destroying my house. lol 

 

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Yellow Socks went into this to bring her then 4 yo twins up knowing hard work. She had them as helpers from day one. You are correct - you do not want to ever leave them alone for their safety AND so no one reports you as neglect.

 

 

 

 

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we have brick work in our basement and they love it! (spiders and slugs) have to do a quick swipe of the slug trails and spider webs every day! wish I was that industrious!

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i am so sorry!

i like madeline's answer.  that you already gave her a deal. i hate this kind of sneak attack ... leaving and compiling a complaint list and that asking for a partial refund.

you don't say how you responded to her comments on the phone. 

 

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Hotelogix's picture
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I believe she had to come up with a reason to get her 50% back. its sad how people look at things.

i guess we just dont have to bother about such guest and just forget what about them.

Miss O'Hara wrote:

I posted last week about the guests who had 3 rooms on a busy weekend that had a 2 night minimum and they called and canceled one night.  I let them do it because I hadn't properly confirmed with her that it was a 2 night minimum weekend. 

Well they showed up yesterday, left almost immedately to go to their event.  Got back late and left before breakfast, without telling me so I had tons of extra food. 

She called me later and said that the rooms were dirty and she had a list of things that were wrong and she wants a %50 return.  Her list of things that were wrong were the porch hadn't been swept, and there was a "bullet hole" in the window (it's a big curved glass window and the hole is a bubble from, I'm assuming, when it was made and was too expensive to re-do), she found a rasin? in the tub and there were crumbs on the bed, oh and the carpets were dirty and there was "an inch of dust on (something)". 

I'll give her that my carpets are dingy and I would LOVE to replace them but everything else is just crap.  I literally broke down in tears after I got off the phone.  How do you handle these types of people who look for every little tiny thing that could be wrong? 

Meanwhile my other guests couldn't have been more thrilled.  They loved everything and left me a $20 tip. 

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And we've all seen movies where a store's private security rent-a-cop can handcuff and detain suspected shoplifters. We property owners may have more power over these people staying in our places than we realize! But many guests seem to think THEY are the ones in charge.

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Madeleine's picture
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We've also seen the outrage when those same security people ban 4 year olds from ever returning to the mall. It's always a good idea to know the rules in your own town/county/state because it is different when it is lodging.

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I'm so sorry you're going through this.    I agree, no refunds. Believe me, if she's of the mind to give you a bad review, she'll do it even if you refund money. Then how will you feel?!

Follow Maddie's innsiteful suggestion and just be done with her.

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Well since she is in the industry she knows there is no way for you to confirm all of her complaints.  And she knows that this is the cowards way to handle any complaint.   I like what Maddie said to tell her.  And I would be if I would give ANY refund as she already got one.  

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 Oh Gosh,  I feel for you.  You try so hard to please and get kick instead of thanked.

 There is not much you can do about this one, who is GONE, thank goodness.  My only advice is to try to figure out how to avoid this type in the future. We raised our prices, made a few key improvements and found that with the higher $$$ we got a better class of guest.  Mind you, if your rates go too high then expectations may be too high and guests will not be happy.  So there is a fine line where rates and expectations are matched.  

 

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Madeleine's picture
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Oh boy. We had a hotel manager really give us the run around. NOTHING was to her standards. DEMANDED we refund her money. DEMANDED we provide a cot for one of the party. We told her sure thing, we'll refund it all to you and help you find other accommodations. Went to her website and they categorically refuse to give refunds for any reason. Tons of complaints on TA that things were not as advertised, couldn't get a refund when our 'mountain view room' overlooked nothing but the parking lot, blah blah blah.

When we told her to leave she wouldn't. We told her we'd help her find somewhere else to stay that we did not want unhappy people. So, they stayed one night and left after breakfast. I called the big hotel in town and asked for her by name. Sure enough, that's where she was. Paying double what it was here. I wanted to call later to see if she gave them grief, too.

Other hotel people snuck extra guests into the room. Others trashed the room.

Now we know. When people show up with that kind of attitude it is now out the door, no looking back. The worry is not worth it.

 

Arks's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

When we told her to leave she wouldn't. 

I hope I can find an Arkansas innkeepers' jurisprudence class someday. There are so many things I'd like to know. For instance, I've heard that stores, bars, etc. really can physically remove you and your possessions from their property, but I'd like to know that I can toss somebody and their stuff out of my place without being guilty of assault. And I need to know at what point you have to go through eviction proceedings before you can get them out.

And I've heard that a hotel/inn can legally impound (and eventually auction off, if need be) your luggage & contents, lock the room, etc. if you come up without enough money to pay the bill at checkout time.

I'm sure every state and city has different laws on this stuff, but I really hope some day to learn the real answers, and, for a change, not have to learn the answers the hard way!

Sounds like I need to talk to the state B&B or Hospitality Assn...add that to the long to-do list!

Madeleine's picture
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We didn't force the issue and wish we had after we read how she treats her own guests.

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You know we have wind, yeah yeah make your jokes...but really we are on a hill and we get wind, we have two VERY LARGE hickory trees that just finished their annual ritual and let me tell you those things are everywhere!  Then we get a dash of rain and everything is blown everywhere, sticks to everything and is a mess. There is no way in the world we can keep it clear, no way, impossible. We burn out leaf blowers around here, rfom this spot I can see mounds of these hickory seeds all over the neighbors roof, clinging to anything and everything.

So this means it happens, every day is something new blooming or dying, and debris is a fact of life. We have birds nesting like maniacs right now and with nesting comes pooping!

The person obv just wants money. I am sorry you had this happen, your GUT told you this was going to be a PITA! 

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I've been worried about this reservation since I took it.  Her email is hername@phillipshotel.com. 

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Is your new best friend from MD or KS?

 

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Weaver wrote:

Is your new best friend from MD or KS?

 

KS

Joey Camb's picture
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Im of the same opinion - they are a breed of customer who thinks its their right to have you on its that simple. I wouldn't be held hostage to a bad review they can get (bleep)  on!

gillumhouse's picture
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You handle it by putting her on the DNR list. She took advantage of you last time and figured she could do it again. She is of the hotel - complain and we get it free mentality. Handle her as a person who would complain about something if you offered her a pot full of gold. IGNORE her other than repeating to yourself - take advantage of me once, shame on you BUT take advantage of me twice, shame on ME.

Whatever, do not do any refund, discount, or any other gimmee to this person. She will continue to try to take advantage of you and every other innkeeper.

PLUS this - she was AT YOUR INN once already. IF it was as bad as she says, why did she come back????

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gillumhouse wrote:

You handle it by putting her on the DNR list. 

...AND you 'casually' mention her name to every other B&B you know, local or otherwise! These people should not be able to take advantage of anyone else, either. And really, did the fact that the porch needed swept really effect her stay? come on!

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Madeleine's picture
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Say you're sorry they didn't enjoy their stay but they already got a 50% discount by cancelling the one night on a two-night min weekend without penalty and there's nothing else you can do for them. If you're afraid of a bad review give them the 50% off. Otherwise, unless it's something other than the carpet, they can buzz off. If any of the other things besides the porch (unless it was really bad and created the wrong impression) and the window glass (gorgeous stuff that original glass) really were problems then you have a lot more to take care of than worrying about refunding.

You can thank her for her comments if you'd rather be nice about it. 'Thank you for letting us know the things you found wrong. I'll agree with you that the carpet needs a little looking after and we have called the carpet cleaners to come see to it. The 'bullet hole' in the glass is because this is glass is over 150 years old and is original to the house, that's the way it was made in the 1800's.  We wish you had brought all of these to our attention when you were here so they could have been corrected or, as with the window, explained. As it is, we are unable to verify that any of these other issues existed.'

Just read in one of those book club books going around how this is a pretty common occurence at restaurants where people have overspent their budget. They come back in a few hours, say they were violently ill, that they got food poisoning and that they want their whole bill (for everyone in the party) refunded.

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