How to handle?

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Madeleine's picture
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Guests out all day after check-in, return late in the evening and want to leave now. Day 1 of 2-nighter. Will not tell me why.

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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In June, I had 2 similar occurances. The couple that pulled into the driveway, then pulled out and called me the next day saying we were a "scam". Still don't know what that was about, but no chargeback and no negative review. Then we had a couple who did come in, but even before I opened the front door I could tell they were unhappy. I think they didn't like the area, our location, and had set their expectations so high, that there was no way we could make them happy. They refused to stay, but I got both nights payment and no negative review (at least not yet).

By the way, both of these instances were with couple that were not young. They seemed to both of had expectations that they created themselves and probably did not read the website. As bad as I felt and still feel, I can't make it my problem. The thousands of people we have hosted over the years with rave reviews and personal comments to us are our proof that we are doing something right.

Madeline, it wasn't you. It was them. It still hits us in the gut...but just try to let it go.

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

Madeline, it wasn't you. It was them. It still hits us in the gut...but just try to let it go.

I agree wholeheartedly. It has nothing to do with you. I hate ketchup. It isn't about Heinz or ketchup at all. And if served a dish with ketchup, my choice to not eat it says nothing about the cook at all, just about the fact that I hate ketchup.

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Like the guest who accused me of lying because they saw a cat out on the street as they were coming around the porch and blazenly approached me and spewed "You said there were no cats!" and I corrected them and said "No, there are no cats in the guest areas, I cannot be responsible for neighbors cats." Then they left after demanding their money back (which I had not even charged yet) but the demanding part spoke VOLUMES about them. They were in late 50's early 60's and he was a doctor in NC. They drove a luxury sports car. RUDE 

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Highlands John's picture
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We once had a couple booked in for two night, paid in advance.

First morning they came down had breakfast, seemed happy enough,  went back upstairs and then went out. We went up to tidy the room and all their stuff is gone and the key is on the side. Never came back and I never knew what happened.

Maybe they didn't like the idea of being in someones home (some Americans don't realise UK B&Bs are usually like that)? Did they change their plans? Did we do something wrong? Did they not like the idea of us being a gay couple?

We'll never know...........and maybe it's better that way.  

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Joey Camb's picture
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Hate to break it to you but some people are just fricking weird, its that simple.

Had two women (I never actually met them which was part of the weird) arrived at 12 lunch time while I was out at the butchers as they had not rung and asked for early check in. My chamber maid greeted them and to be fair English is not her first language and when she is flustered can be a bit gruff. The women had put on their form they would be arriving at 2pm so I had no reason to believe they would be earlier despite the fact they had come on the train so they blatently knew they would be earlier and would want to leave cases.

Later that evening I found their key in reception and thought - the idiots I don't want them leaving their key as I then have to let them in and out (ie chamber maid has not explained properly) so popped up to the room to make sure that was locked as they had left their key about for anyone to pick up - room was empty. Immediately ran the card which frankly to my surprise worked! Rang the contact number and got her husband who knew nothing about it. I had assumed there had been some kind of emergency. He offered to ring them and find out what was going on.

He very kindly did ring me back and said they didn't like their room and decided not to stay but he was ashamed that they had not let me know this and just disapeared or given me the opportunity to show them another room etc.

Feel they had confused us with the 4 star hotel up the street of very similar name and identicle address apart from number and obviously they were a bit odd to start with, It always naggs at me as i feel if i had ever got into contact with them directly it could have been different but there is nothing I can do about it now.

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Highlands John's picture
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Acually had the opposite today. Went up to clean a room after guest checked out. Theres an envelope on the side with my name on it. Inside is £20 and a note saying that in the night he'd got up, tripped over his bag and fallen into the cupboard door. The £20 was to pay for the broken lock and the damage to the varnish and that we should contact him if the repairs cost any more. The note said they were too embarassed to tell us at breakfast.

Warmed my heart and restores my faith.

I've actually refunded £15 back to his card because the damage to the varnish was already there and the lock will only cost a fiver to replace.

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Ditto this AM here with guest apologizing for mashed fruit from kids all over bedspread. Still don't know if it will come out. They offered to pay and I may have to take them up on it.

Joey Camb's picture
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See people like that restore my faith! had one myself about a week ago, chap had brought his own shampoo - packed up his bag, put it on the bed and then come down for breakfast. During the packing process the bottle had burst and covered all his clothes and then started leaking through the bag taking the dye of the bag with it onto the duvet cover. It was at this point they came back up stairs and found the disaster. Wife with quick presence of mind put the bag in the shower and whipped off the duvet cover so it didn't leak onto the duvet. They came down and apologised chap with bag in hand and asked how much. I was happy to explain the duvets belong to the landry so it wasn't a problem! Felt sorry for him as all his stuff was ruined!

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

Hate to break it to you but some people are just fricking weird, its that simple.

After 8 years of B&B I'd worked that one out for myself. 

Arks's picture
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Highlands John wrote:

Did they not like the idea of us being a gay couple? 

Bingo (just my guess). Don't worry about it. It was nice that they were polite enough and slipped out without making a scene. Press on, and think about all the great guests who've loved staying at your place!

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We all know, or have had guests who are complete nightmares, they a toxic people, and everywhere they go there is drama.  Yes, sometimes these guests go to B&B's. Remember my lady who came to the kitchen for one of us to go get her makeup, as she didn't want to wake her husband...and the story goes on from there. She was an absolute nightmare, I have never been around anyone like that in my life, close, but not to that extent.

But what it does is cause everyone turmoil, and plans change like the wind to accommodate the toxic effect.

Madeleine's picture
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We've always found that trying to get the toxic people to live up to the agreement results in more anxiety than letting them walk. I've mentioned the woman who showed up here in her pj's at 10 AM, dog tucked under her arm and a heart attack waiting to happen husband who walked across the street and immediately sat down on the steps he was so tired. She wanted to cancel her 3 day stay with us. Package and everything. After arguing with myself, I decided she would be too much stress IN the house than being out the money (because she would have stayed had I told her no refund).

As it turned out they didn't like anything they were served at the other B&B, came for breakfast 30 minutes late everyday and brought the dog into the dining room because they never went anywhere without her.

After the real winner from Switzerland last year, our take on it is that if you show up with an attitude we don't want you here making everyone else miserable. I'll keep the deposit, but be gone with you for the rest of the days.

I know we say life is too short, but life is really too long to have these stressful people at your table everyday.

Generic's picture
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It happens. Better off to lose the money than to endure the torture.

Proud Texan's picture
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We had guests who barely spoke to us other than to tell us the night before that they would not be joining us for breakfast.   We thought maybe our place wasn't their cup of tea and just wanted to leave.

Turns out they left a very lengthy note telling us how much they loved the place and how they had been able to reconnect with each other without the distraction of TV and phones.  They plan on returning.

My point is, don't try to read to much into it.   Follow your cancellation policy and move on to the next guest.

Madeleine's picture
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To my face she said everything here was lovely and the room was wonderful and that they would try to come back when things were better. With them, not with us. It totally seemed like a breakdown in communication between them.

I rarely ask guests why they are cancelling but as she was here I needed to know if something we did or something with the room was not right.

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It could totally have been something personal for them not with you, so I would not press them for any explanation.  I hope you just advised them of your cancellation/early departure policy and bid them a safe journey home or to their next destination.  Nothing else really to do. 

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Joey Camb's picture
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I think partly it depends on what the situation is ie - I have a very good customer who comes to me twice a year for a trade show and spends a lot of money. He usually has 2 rooms but this year they have had 3 - however the chap in the 3rd room had to go home early - however Peter the chap in charge found me another chap who was the colleague of a friend etc to have the room and paid the extra for the changes - figure that was an excellent solution and every one was happy.

Arks's picture
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An anecdote:

A couple of years ago we booked 3 rooms for 4 nights in Siena, Italy. After 2 days there we decided 3 nights would be plenty and there were other places we wanted to move on and see. The hotel said they need 5 days notice to cancel. We didn't bat an eye, paid for the 4th night we didn't use and moved on. It was our choice to leave and we didn't hold it against the hotel one bit that they had a policy and stuck to it. I'd certainly stay there again.

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Arkansawyer wrote:

 It was our choice to leave and we didn't hold it against the hotel one bit that they had a policy and stuck to it. I'd certainly stay there again.

Most reasonable people feel that same way. The unreasonables, however.....

Arks's picture
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Penelope wrote:

Most reasonable people feel that same way. The unreasonables, however.....

I make an effort to not worry myself too much over a handful of unreasonables. It's not always easy, but when 1000 people are fine with things and 1 person complains, I do look at how to keep that 1 person happy, but try not to let it bother me if (when) I fail at that. "Unreasonable" pretty much says it all. THEY are the ones with the problem.

But it irks me that I lose sleep over one complainer, and never dwell on the multitudes who are happy with things. I have to work on that.

Madeleine's picture
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Arkansawyer wrote:

But it irks me that I lose sleep over one complainer, and never dwell on the multitudes who are happy with things. I have to work on that.

We all have to work on that.

We have a really yummy FT recipe. ONE guest made a comment prefaced with, 'I'm in the food biz...' wherein she proceeded to tell DH that her FT wasn't cooked properly and that there was a chance she would now get sick because of the uncooked eggs. (Uncooked eggs my Aunt Tillie.) He never made it again.  However I make it when he's not here and everyone loves it.

Last time I suggested he make it and he hemmed and hawed I called the guest a Potty Mouth (auto filter) and asked why he was taking the word of ONE LOUSY Potty Mouth (auto filter) over the wonderful comments by guests who love the dish???

It's now back on the rotation. Wife-1, Potty Mouth (auto filter)- 0. As it should be.

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 I had this once and it is very uncomfortable. I think that is the issue more than anything else, and a sorry mate applies here. You can be tough and stick to your guns, she is not giving a sob story, so I would say "just charge her." to the rates she agreed to pay, which was two nights. But I know how it is, I would let her go, too. 

Madeleine's picture
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Only wanted to know why to see if it was something I could 'fix'. Different room or something like that.

Silverspoon's picture
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10/16/2011

 It's their problem.  They checked-in for a 2-night stay.  They pay for a 2-night stay.  That is exactly the reason we collect the entire balance at check-in and clearly state that we do not refund for shortened stays.

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Generic's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

Guests out all day after check-in, return late in the evening and want to leave now. Day 1 of 2-nighter. Will not tell me why.

I agree, today isn't refundable and your normal policy applies as normal in regards to the 2nd night. And they don't need to explain at all. You can ask "is it something that I did?" if you want, but if it is, it won't be pretty. Better to assume that something came up and they need to leave for an emergency.

A few nights ago, sitting in a restaurant, we got an emergency phone call. We had had our soup, but the main, was just delivered. We ate some, doggie bagged and left to go home. Nothing the waiter did or didn't do would have changed anything. We knew what we had to do and we did it. It's likely the same thing. They understand the costs and they won't quibble and it likely has nothing to do with you, at all.

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Full charge for tonight (they've used the room and had it for the day whether they were in it or not) and whatever your cancellation policy is for tomorrow night. What would you normally charge if someone cancelled the day before a one-night stay?

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05/22/2008

 They don't have to tell you why. Just say good bye and No Refund!

 

Arks's picture
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catlady wrote:

 They don't have to tell you why. Just say good bye and No Refund! 

AMEN!

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04/03/2011

 Maybe they had a big fight!

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