Why being nice is a pain

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Madeleine's picture
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We've had a guest call and email that they HAD to be in at noon today. We asked them to call us as we would not hear the doorbell while cleaning rooms. They called again yesterday to verify coming early to drop off the luggage and we restated that they should call us to let us know they were here.

Well, you got it. No call. No arrival.

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Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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So, we get some 'drive-bys' check in last night just for a last-minute one night. Question me over and over about breakfast details. It's almost 9pm by this time, so I have breakfast already planned, but now I have to make two more servings. Tell them what's for breakfast. "Oh, that sounds wonderful, we're really looking forward to it." 

Guess who's NOT at the breakfast table!! angry

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Honeymooners requested breakfast in their room.  I have it on the website, but it is rarely requested, so I've left it on there.

I don't charge extra because people might read it and think that's a nice extra but usually don't ask for it (don't tell me to charge extra). 

So between the two of them maybe 3 mouthfulls of all that food were eaten.

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I have a feeling they were otherwise occupied Smiling

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Aussie Innkeeper wrote:

So, we get some 'drive-bys' check in last night just for a last-minute one night. Question me over and over about breakfast details. It's almost 9pm by this time, so I have breakfast already planned, but now I have to make two more servings. Tell them what's for breakfast. "Oh, that sounds wonderful, we're really looking forward to it." 

Guess who's NOT at the breakfast table!! angry

no

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Redbirds's picture
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It appears to be an epidemic!  Yesterday guests arrived 2+ hours early, said they didn't know we were on "that other time zone"(?!).  DW hadn't yet prepared their fresh fruit add-on, since we like to have that as fresh as possible.

I was cutting the grass and told them I would be done in an hour, or "I could check you in now if you would finish the lawn?"  Meant to be a joke, they looked at me with blank stares.

Turns out they were delightful guests, and apologized for not researching the time zone where they were staying.

Silverspoon's picture
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Oh My, I am guilty of forgetting to adjust for the time zone on one occasion.  Last spring DH and I took a trip to New Orleans, but I totally forgot to adjust our arrival time when I notified the innkeeper that we would be there at 3:30.  When we landed and realized that we would be arriving at 2:30 instead of 3:30 I must say that the innkeeper was very gracious and said "No problem, come along".  We tried to repay the favor when we arrived.  It just so happened that a rep from Fodor's arrived at the door at the exact same moment that we did so we had a chance, as returning guests to this lovely B+B, to highly recommend all the wonderful things that we love about it.

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Madeleine's picture
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They would have been at least an hour early if they had figured out the time zone thing.

We get this every once in awhile when someone from the Maritimes doesn't change their watch. They think they're late or they show up for breakfast at 7.

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We occasionally have an early arrival. So far, only like an hour. Since we just have 2 rooms, unlike a lot of you, we don't have a problem. At least not yet. Now that we are starting to do elopements, that could be an issue in the future.  Our plan (when we have $), is to put in a keypad gate. We are off the road a quarter mile. It may be that we can set up their code to start at 3:00 only. Wouldn't that be nice? They would probably call wanting in, but we could say they are early and we aren't ready.  We shall see.....

Madeleine's picture
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There is a very pricey place in VT that has a gate that they will not open before 3 PM. You can buzz all you want, they tell everyone the same thing...they're making everything pretty. You can have a small note by the keypad...'Code allows entry at 3 PM, no earlier.' On the other side it should say...'Code deactivates at noon' (or whenever check out is) so you don't get the random returners!

We tell guests the codes go in at 3 PM and come out at 11 AM. That has kept a few out. I've had to answer the door to folks who left something in the fridge, but at least they didn't just waltz in.

Flower's picture
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Try charging a fee for late and early check ins. You might be surprised how that stops your problems. The B&Bs  in this area charge for early check in as they need some one to be there to let these people in. All check in are not allowed in before 1:00 even our motels and hotels are later check ins.

Phone around and see when your hotels allow check in. My hotel doesnot   allow in before 3:00 . That is our Ramada . One of our guests tried to tell us they allowed check in at 11:00 We phoned them and they told us No they do not allow early check in.

Here they  charge for late check outs. We don't yet!

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Silverspoon's picture
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This summer I resorted to posting a note on the front door that basically says, "We are either away from the inn or preparing for guests arriving at their scheduled check-in time."  We post a list of things to do to keep them occupied and ask them to return at 3:00 PM.  This worked like a charm this summer and also kept a few tire-kickers from ringing the bell to nose around the place.

Since I speak to each and every guest there is the opportunity to explain our check-in  time guidelines.  They know that we do not have a staff and that we do it all ourselves, not leaving a lot of time for sitting around before 3 PM.

Madeleine's picture
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Silverspoon wrote:

Since I speak to each and every guest there is the opportunity to explain our check-in  time guidelines.  They know that we do not have a staff and that we do it all ourselves, not leaving a lot of time for sitting around before 3 PM.

We have a note for the door as well. Dang if they don't arrive before I hang it up at 11 AM!

This is a typical phone reservation:

Me- Check-in is from 3 - 7 PM, do you know about what time you will be arriving?

Guest- We'll be there around 11 AM.

Me- You are more than welcome to park your car and go out for lunch in town and we'll see you around 3.

Guest- We'll be there at 11. We'll check in then.

Me- Check-in starts at 3 PM but you may leave your car here and walk 2 blocks down to the restaurants to have lunch and maybe do a little shopping and we'll see you at 3 PM when check-in starts.

Guest- If we get there at 11 can we leave our car, unpack the luggage and use the restroom?

Me- Guests from the previous night will not be out of the house yet. We cannot hold luggage while we are cleaning. It's ok to leave it in the trunk and leave your car here.

They show up at 11. I don't answer the door as I've got the sign out. They complain when they get back at 6 PM that no one was here to let them in at 11.

Silverspoon's picture
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Oh yea, it's tough when they arrive that early.  I usually get the sign out by noon since our early arrivals are generally around 1:00-2:00 PM.  We highlight the "Regrettably, we can not accommodate arrivals before 3:00 PM."  on every confirmation, but occasionally they just don't care and they want IN when they want IN.  

 

Joey Camb's picture
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I don't mind early arrivals if they book them ie I know they are coming and have the rooms done - its the ones that just turn up at 9am on a saturday morning in the middle of breakfast wanting in that drive me mad!

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Generic's picture
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As someone on here suggested, we put up a voluntary option for $25 for early arrival. It's cut down on the number of requests infinitely and made us a few bucks as well.

We still get those who want to leave luggage, as we realize that many people get into the city early, but they don't ask for the room early anymore.

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Madeleine's picture
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And when they did arrive, 6 hours later? No time to listen to the inn introduction because they had a dinner rez. So, they do not know where anything is. And it was a problem for them that the breakfast time was 'only' 1 1/2 hours long. They wanted to eat at 6AM. So they were expecting breakfast hours to run for 3+ hours. (Yes, it's in the confirmation.)

Arks's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

So, they do not know where anything is.

And you'll get the blame for this.

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Madeleine's picture
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Arkansawyer wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

So, they do not know where anything is.

And you'll get the blame for this.

Bingo! Got it this morning...where is this, where is that, how come you don't provide guests with...

Highlands John's picture
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Don't get me started, today of all days.

Was a beautiful autumnal day here so DH and I went out into the garden to cut some of the trees back that are blocking our view of the Loch. We're in the middle of this with DH on a steep slope holding a rope around the tree to make sure it doesn't fall on the village hall and me with a chainsaw fighting my way through the stinging nettles and what happens....a guest arrives. 2 1/2 hours before check-in time.  I was furious, and pretty short with her, pointing out she was early.

And then later on she came down and said could she have the heating on because her room was chilly. I told her the room was chilly because she'd arrived so early before the heating comes on.

One nighter, single occupancy!!   Sheeeeesh.

 

Anyway, I've been meaning to re-word my confirmations for some time, this has prompted me do it tonight. It now contains the following, to strong or not strong enough.??

 

Check In Times:
Check in is from 4.30 onwards, this is to allow us time to clean the rooms as well as run any errands such as shopping. If you would like to check in earlier than this please let us know in advance and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Please be aware that if you arrive early without prior notification we may be out.
 

 

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Joey Camb's picture
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instead of out I would put "we may not be available to check you in"

Madeleine's picture
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I think your wording is appropriate and polite. I might change it up a bit by leaving out the 'without prior notification' if you don't WANT to have early arrivals. Those who want it will ask anyway.

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I opted for THE INN OPENS AT 4PM, in other words, GET A CLUE PEOPLE!

**Hey I have to tell you about STINGEZE if you don't have it there, when you come to the states go to any chemist and you will find it, even walmart. It works immediately on stinging nettles (and ALL bee stings!). I was speaking to a herpetologist re herp biolblitz they do and they ALWAYS GET STUNG numerous times, as they lift rocks and tear apart old stumps etc.  One bottle lasts for years, looks like a little super glue bottle. Here is a link.

Tom
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Stingeze contains phenol and camphor which are good germicides - I use it on minor cuts and scratches as when clearing brambles.

Highlands John's picture
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Thanks. I'll look out for that. All up my left arm is tingling with nettle stings this evening.

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Early arrivals just throw me off and from then on it is a spiral.

Recently a call came in (at 8am) for 2 rooms for the same day.  Rushed to take the reservation while making breakfast.  Told them that check in began at 3 and gave them some ideas to keep them busy once they hit town until the 3 o'clock hr. 

You guessed it, they arrive at 11:10 to 'do the paperwork and drop off their luggage'.  Here I was up cleaning rooms and had a couple of laundry piles which I had to clear before opening the door.  We handled the paperwork, they plopped their luggage in the entry and we gave them their keys so they could come back when ever. 

What was missed was all the info - breakfast, wifi, this & that.  We missed them when they came in and later one comes down asking about where the ice machine is, which we don't have but gave them some for their drinks.  (obviously wanting much more than that) We told him about breakfast.  Next morning another one complained as she could not access the internet.  It is on the t-pee in the room but since I did not show them to the room, it was not pointed out.  And another complaint as they did not know how to use the AC.  Instructions are on the remote (stored clearly by the lamp) but again not pointed out.  And the list went on the first day of the stay.

So while I complain that people do not listen when I do tell them things, it is obvious that at least some does get through and it is worth the effort. 

I have decided that any one that wants to drop off early will from now on receive our late arrival letter which fills in for my personal reception speech.  Unfortunately the word may get out and I will have either all early or all late arrivals to avoid my personal touch!crying

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Early checkins never check in early. Late checkins check in early. I am sure this is a Mother Murphy's Law of Innkeeping rule.

Madeleine's picture
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Yesterday we had guests due to arrive at 7 PM so with them as the only check-in I was noodling around  writing my newsletter and editing some pix. Doorbell rings at 3 PM and there they stand. Their anniversary surprise from us was not set up yet so they didn't get it. I wasn't going to give it to them at breakfast.

If I don't have every last little thing done by 11 AM, someone comes along and messes up my day.

And, we had 3 walk-ins after that so no chance to even sneak into their room later on. I never saw them leave for dinner.

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05/30/2008

I still remember the guy that checked on the online form that he wouldn't be here until past check-in (like 9 PM or something).  And, he even called the day before to verify that it would be OK.  Same deal, he was the only check-in and everyone else was out and all the rooms were freshened, treats in the rooms, etc., etc., and I leave to run a couple of errands.  Didn't hear the cell phone ring the first 2 times for some reason.  Finally checked and saw I had voicemail - very, very upset guest who said that he decided to stop by first before he headed to his appointment and NO ONE was there and door was locked.  ugh.  Had to call him back, apologize profusely and tell him that I could be back in 10, his room was ready.  Took awhile to calm him down and I was sure that it was going to show up in a review.  After 2 days, he apologized to me for being so cranky about the check-in process after he saw that I was always running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  Sometimes the guests do finally get it...

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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Just out of spite (I know, horrible innkeeper me) if they show up early or tell us they will arrive late and show up at 3:00, I will not go out of my way to do the extra cupcake setup we do for birthday and anniversaries. If they purchase an add-on, then sure, I'll get it done, but when it's just our own special extra item, forgetabouit.

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

Just out of spite (I know, horrible innkeeper me) if they show up early or tell us they will arrive late and show up at 3:00, I will not go out of my way to do the extra cupcake setup we do for birthday and anniversaries. If they purchase an add-on, then sure, I'll get it done, but when it's just our own special extra item, forgetabouit.

Right there with you, sister!

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