How late is too late to accept callers from the road?

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Madeleine's picture
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It's never too late!
10% (2 votes)
Check in ends at 7, that's it
10% (2 votes)
Once I'm in bed I don't answer the phone
38% (8 votes)
Sundown
10% (2 votes)
We have a specific time (mention it in the comments)
33% (7 votes)
Total votes: 21

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We took off for a family funeral that was 24 hours drive-time away. We thought we could make it straight through (it was going to be a stretch, but we were really trying to do it). Figured out we weren't going to be able to make it and had to start making calls. After 21 hours in the car, we were so relieved to be pulling up to an inn in the Northern Maine woods that was willing to take us. I offered everything to her over the phone: cc number, DL number, phone number...anything it would take to assure her we would be there and that we weren't crazy. Just tired. And sad. And out of sorts. And thirsty. And NOT bad news... She was a gem. And her coffee that next morning? 5 days later and we are STILL talking about how great it was!

Kay Nein's picture
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We love our walk-ins!  We get probably 3-4 a weekend.  We count on it, actually.  When planning for breakfast we take into account that we'll probably have a few extra mouths to feed.  

We get alot of people who just get in their cars and start driving with no destination in particular - just needed to get out of town.  They end up here & now need to find a place to stay.  I'm such a planner, that it's hard for me to imagine doing that!

We also tell the small local bars (which are the only things open at night in our lil' town) that we are walking distance if they have someone who can't drive home.  We've only had 2 calls along these lines so far, but I'd rather be inconvenienced than have them driving around our town potentially killing themselves or someone else.

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 oh my lord! You want drunks????? Those are the last people I would want to take in!  I hope you dont get any. Just wait till you have to clean up one of their messes. you wont want them again!

Joey Camb's picture
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Totally agree with you! last thing you ruddy want! the ones that arn't drunk to start with are bad enough!

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Kay Nein's picture
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 haha - I figured that would be the response I'd get.  Yes, I agree that I'll probably change my mind once I get that first person who makes a nasty mess.  It hasn't been an important part of our marketing campaign, that's for sure.  But they know we're here if they need us.  

Madeleine's picture
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I misread that at first. I thought you were telling registered guests that there were small, local bars in walking distance. Please be careful.

We used to get a lot of phone calls from bars back when we first started. They all asked for the female PO by name and then started saying very foul things to me on the phone. I am not sure if once upon a time someone called looking for a room, got rebuffed and then posted the phone number and her name on a wall somewhere or what but it was ugly. I no longer answer the phone after 9 PM unless I'm waiting for a guest.

We stayed at a place back in Nov where the owner told us she was waiting for a couple who had called from a bar. (Not sure why she shared that other than to let us know she had filled up in the middle of the week in Nov.) Well, you know the lyrics to the song...the couple in the next room are bound to win a prize, they've been going at it all night long... They broke the bed. We heard that happen. It didn't even slow them down. We heard the whole thing.

BTW, another reason to NOT have the headboards of the beds on the same wall.

seashanty's picture
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i sometimes wonder, as my eyes age, if there are lots of tourist people driving around with really bad night vision!! 

 

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Silverspoon's picture
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 In the off season we will entertain the idea of accepting walk-ins up until 6 pm.  We rarely get them anyway, since we are off the beaten track, but occasionally they find most places closed so they are happy to pay our rate.

In season....the no vacancy sign goes up and that ends that!

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Highlands John's picture
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Silverspoon wrote:

In season....the no vacancy sign goes up and that ends that!

Doesn't seem to stop them here. No Vacancy sign is up today, still got people knocking on the door looking for a room.

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Madeleine's picture
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Hijack alert...I am getting really tired of answering the door at 10 PM (I think it's my guests who can't work the lock) only to find out it is guests who are looking for another place. Hello! READ THE DANG SIGN!

Last week there was a family unloading their car at 9:30 when I came home. I asked if I could help them and the guy growled at me that they didn't need any help. So I said something about not seeing their car earlier and he said, 'Of course you didn't we're checking in now.' So I mentioned we didn't have any availabilty and his wife asked, 'Um, where are we?'

Again, read the signs. They found the driveway. There's a sign there telling you whose parking lot this is.

Last night it was 10 PM and then they put on a show in ANOTHER inn's driveway (right next to my bedroom window) trying to turn around a pickup truck with a Uhaul attached to it that they drove down the wrong driveway. Again, that inn also has a sign.

I'm going to have to put a sign on the door now with the inn name. Maybe have it etched into the glass. Or get a window cling with the name.

Joey Camb's picture
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I have 4 signs with our name on - on the front of our building (count them 4!)

1- large one quite high up but handy to see from the road it is about 2 foot high

2- one on the canopy

3- one on the sign that also says car park at the rear ( which doesn't stop them asking if there is any parking)

4- one on my light box with prices and pictures

Any still had a girl try and barge past me - im working here  - don't think so! was trying to get to next door which has a completely different name.

 

Arks's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

Hijack alert...I am getting really tired of answering the door at 10 PM (I think it's my guests who can't work the lock) only to find out it is guests who are looking for another place.

Hijacking your hijack, I think I've mentioned this before, but this reminds of the time we arrived, with no reservation, after dark, in the rain, at a B&B at the edge of a little Irish town. The old lady turned on the porch light, opened the door, looked us over, and said, with a disapproving expression, "You're not Germans, are you?"

She snarled as she said the word German. When we said we're American we were welcomed with open arms!

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 We never took last minute or walk in guests. I would rather be empty than bow to the last minute wishes of someone who doesn't plan in advance. I made plans if we didn't have guests and I was not about to change them. If someone called, I just said we have no availablity.

Highlands John's picture
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To be honest at the time of year when people are likely to call at the house we're booked anyway, my next empty room is 27th.

I would take people off the street up to around 10.30 but as others have suggested it just tends to be weirdos after that time. Once had a girl knock at the door at 1.30am, on the one hand I felt sorry for her on the other my spidey-sense kicked in. Didn't take her in the end. 

I'm not very good at ignoring the phone after hours, partly because it will wake the whole house but mostly because I'm always concerned it might be family or a friend in crisis.

seashanty's picture
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do hotels take walk ins at 2 in the morning? 

gillumhouse's picture
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Absolutely. Once had a couple come to the desk at 5 AM and while I was taking a room card off the rack, he was in suck-face mode to her tonsils. I charged FULL RACK Rate and he slapped the money down and grabbed the key. And yes, I DID tell him check out was 11.

Proud Texan's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:

Absolutely. Once had a couple come to the desk at 5 AM and while I was taking a room card off the rack, he was in suck-face mode to her tonsils. I charged FULL RACK Rate and he slapped the money down and grabbed the key. And yes, I DID tell him check out was 11.

They only needed 20 minutes.

gillumhouse's picture
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I doubt it - unless you were counting from leaving the desk.

Proud Texan's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:

I doubt it - unless you were counting from leaving the desk.

Well see,  that was your first mistake.  You should have rented them the desk and you wouldn't have had to clean the room.

Generic's picture
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 That's EXACTLY the time to get full rack rate. Too self interested to care Smiling

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Ice
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gillumhouse wrote:

he was in suck-face mode to her tonsils.

  (OMG that is way too funny)

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Madeleine's picture
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seashanty wrote:

do hotels take walk ins at 2 in the morning? 

Yes.

Joey Camb's picture
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technically yes they do but no night porter I ever knew ever did - couldn't be bothered with the hassel

gillumhouse's picture
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I was expected to fill rooms. Once in the wee hours as I was reaching for the last room in the house - a guaranteed that had not yet arrived - that person DID arrive, saving me a LOT of aggro.

birdwatcher's picture
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We have decided that 9PM is our cut off for walk or phone in guests, we have broken the rules but also have gotten calls at 2AM-sometimes waking up with a start cause you know we're half asleep and we don't normally even turn on the light and dont have glasses to see the phone and its this idiot that thinks they will get a f   room at 2AM-but then we think if its 2AM it may be a family emergency or a guest in a room with an emergency. We however  have decided that if its important or is an emergency womever will call back and if there is no call shortly after it stops ringing-then we know it wasnt an emergency.

Its just frustrating cause then you're awake and trying to get back to sleep and angry at the same time-GRRRRR!

Arks's picture
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Speaking of types of people, do you find that people who make their reservations online, use GPS, etc., are easier guests, more able to fend for themselves without bothing you a lot?

Regarding people who don't use computers and can only make reservations by phone, do these people require more handholding and assistance once they get to the inn?

gillumhouse's picture
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Most of my reservations are by phone. We are off-the-path and they want a better idea of what (translate that to who) they are getting I guess. My repeats also usually call because they want an update on us or want to tell us if they are coming for something special. I don't know - they just call. I rarely have a bummer guest either way or should that be in any way to include the "from the roads".

Madeleine's picture
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Arkansawyer wrote:

Speaking of types of people, do you find that people who make their reservations online, use GPS, etc., are easier guests, more able to fend for themselves without bothing you a lot?

Regarding people who don't use computers and can only make reservations by phone, do these people require more handholding and assistance once they get to the inn?

It's really hard for me to pin that down. Some people just want to know what they're getting into so they call. Probably 50% of our repeats call and do not book online.

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Arkansawyer wrote:

only make reservations by phone, do these people require more handholding and assistance once they get to the inn?

Speaking for our B&B and my experience, 100% of the time.

The rest who are online have done all the research and have a list of things to see and do, or go. The others require much more of your time.

The other phone calls I would get might be for a funeral, obv they are in a hurry to book a place to stay, and out of sorts. 

Calls = special needs.

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Country Girl's picture
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 We typically do not take walk-ins. However, I agree with JB that some of the nicest guests have called while on the road when they discovered us while using their GPS. We definitely wouldn't take anyone after 6 though.

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seashanty's picture
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ps 10 pm or later! with children in tow!  i would feel bad .. and i sometimes would break my own rules. 

 

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 Don't answer the phone when I am in bed, and ends at 7pm. Because from the road requires a walk thru, unlike a reservation who has checked out the website and knows what to expect here. Calls from the road require two or three more calls before they arrive, and arrive late and are loud. Vs a late check in on a reservation.

Joey Camb's picture
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I turn the sign round to no-vacancy as to be blunt you only get weirdo's after then. Have had people ring much later but I don't take them sorry - not worth the trouble and usually they want when we are full anyway.

Arks's picture
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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

I turn the sign round to no-vacancy as to be blunt you only get weirdo's after then.

You make an interesting point, that being that the type people who plan and reserve ahead of time make better guests than the type flying by the seat of their pants, with no planning, just assuming they'll find a bed somewhere.

Don't know if anybody has studied that, but it may be valid.

Madeleine's picture
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Some of our nicest guests have been the walk-ins. I really can't say that rez vs walk-in results in better guest vs not so good guest. Some of walk-ins have then come back every year and never make a rez. And that 'fly by the seat and hope for the best' crowd is almost 100% Euro.

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Arkansawyer wrote:

camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

I turn the sign round to no-vacancy as to be blunt you only get weirdo's after then.

You make an interesting point, that being that the type people who plan and reserve ahead of time make better guests than the type flying by the seat of their pants, with no planning, just assuming they'll find a bed somewhere.

Don't know if anybody has studied that, but it may be valid.

Speaking for this part of the USA:  Used to be, moreso, not today, everyone has a GPS and isn't afraid to use it! Some of our nicest guests have been from the call on the road, just bought a new car, or went out for a drive and kept on going!

Used to be the late calls would be from a bar lounge or something. Not that long ago, really. Now people use technology and know they can find lodging anywhere any time (vs a highway hotel).

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This time of year I get a lot of last minute walk-ins and calls.   Check-in is over at 7pm.  It stays light out until 9pm and I am here anyways so I will usually still take people if it is convenient.   I have made it a rule to not accept anyone after 9pm unless they have reservations made in advance and are running late.  When I am in bed the phone is turned off and the No Vacancy sign on the front door put up.  I sleep with my cell phone and if a guest who is already here needs something they call that but that is pretty rare.

Proud Texan's picture
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 We don't accept walk-ins.   If they don't have a reservation,  they ain't staying here.   I'll answer the phone up until 7 p.m. unless we are expecting late arrivals.  If they're arriving after dark,  they get a welcome letter in their cabin.

Willowpondgj's picture
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Don't usually take them after 10...

Generic's picture
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Usually, bedtime is 10PM and that's it. But I forgot that I had a room open and left same-day reservations open mistakenly because of that weekend with cancellations and I got a call at 10:30PM that they had reserved and were on their way. I was stuck, it was prepaid. But normally. 10PM if I have a room is about my limit. In the winter, it's 6PM and it's done for the day. Heck, sometimes I just need the rest and same-day reservations aren't taken, even at the door.

gillumhouse's picture
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Since it is rare that I get to bed before 11 PM, once it hit the sheets, it is all over for the night - whatever time that may be.

seashanty's picture
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i didn't know quite how to answer the poll. i said i had a specific time ... but my specific time varied. usually 8 PM ... 9 PM was disruptive to other guests (and me!) settling in for the night.

it really depended on how i felt and how busy the place was.  if i really needed a few more rooms filled for $$, i was more flexible.  if i was beat, regardless of finances, then it was time for me to go 'off duty' and we were full.

i did not have one of those vacancy signs out front, i ended up making a board sign on hooks so i could hang the no vacancy on our big sign at the drive entrance.   i printed up a SORRY - NO VACANCY sign on the computer and put it on the window glass of the front (and back) doors.

it goes further than just being tired tonight ... too tired to get a family settled in the room and all that goes with that ... it's knowing i'd have to flip that room tomorrow instead of it being ready for the 3 nighter checking in tomorrow.  and, of course, the breakfast supply. 

if i actually had staff, it might be a different story.  available room? night clerk can go right ahead and check them in, get the payment, see them to the room, make note that we've got another flip in the morning, reconfigure breakfast , ETC.  nah, that's a big place, isn't it?

no staff?

sometimes, you have to take care of YOU first.

 

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

It's that time of year when walk-ins with 3 little kids are calling and ringing the doorbell at 9 PM. I'm tired. I'm not 'happy innkeeper' at this time of night. I'm 'sitting in my jammies with my feet up, finally, innkeeper' at 9 PM!

I hate to turn away the guests but we're not prepared to cook for 5 extra people in the morning or handle the check-ins of tired children at 10 PM or later when they finally arrive if calling from the road.

 

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