Smarter mouse wins again

31 replies [Last post]
Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

Have decided to take the advice here of sending a reminder email a few days before arrival just in case someone forgot they had a rez here. It includes things to do, restaurants and little chatty bits. The date and time of arrival (time the guest selected) is included along with a little reminder that we are not available for check-in before 3.

I've been doing this for a few weeks now. The results are in:

  • one bounced email (worked fine a month ago when the rez was made)
  • one guest who emailed back that they were confused because it said check-in was at 3 (no, it says no check-in before 3) and then it said THEIR check-in was at 6 (right, that's the time they picked) but they were going to arrive around 4. So now they don't know what to do. Do they have to arrive at either 3 or 6?
  • one guest who promptly responded to the orig email and the reminder. When responding to the reminder email (which shows the date and time) he requested info on restaurants. Day of arrival? No guest. I called him because he had reservations for something else and they called me to say he never showed. Not coming until a different weekend. He responded to both and never read either.
  • one cancellation

__________________

Everyday, for good or ill, we intersect with some else's story and become a part of it.

 

Offline
Joined:
06/24/2008

I have also been trying to be less controlling (as I see it) on arrival times.  I still ask, 1hr window, but state in the confirmation (and call if booking by phone) that if they decide to change their arrival, just give us a call as there is always self check in if they want to stop along the way, but that I would need to provide the code by phone.   I do not leave notes outside other than a phone number to contact us. 

Given that DH is one of those that runs on a schedule and after so many years with this man, I too run on a schedule, it was difficult to believe that ALL people don't!   lol    But over the last couple years, even HE likes to wander off the scheduled path. 

 

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

copperhead wrote:

I have also been trying to be less controlling (as I see it) on arrival times.  I still ask, 1hr window, but state in the confirmation (and call if booking by phone) that if they decide to change their arrival, just give us a call as there is always self check in if they want to stop along the way, but that I would need to provide the code by phone.   I do not leave notes outside other than a phone number to contact us. 

Given that DH is one of those that runs on a schedule and after so many years with this man, I too run on a schedule, it was difficult to believe that ALL people don't!   lol    But over the last couple years, even HE likes to wander off the scheduled path. 

 

Those are good points.

 

__________________

Gluten free is never free. - Joey Bloggs

 

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

I will have to say we need to cut the cord.

You are either there waiting or set it up to have a self check in. A self check in because I WANT TO GO TO SLEEP is the best reason I can think of! Or because I want a shower and get in my pj's.

I don't think the guests even THINK ABOUT IT. That is where it is. They are on vacation, or on a business trip, or just were at a hospital with a relative. I think if people read this thread they would opt for a hotel. I don't like anyone controlling my schedule, so give me a check in time frame. Don't ask specifically, there is no way someone can say 4pm specifically and maintain that every time.

 

Innkeep's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/04/2008

I did self check-in for the first time this month.  Was out at a concert and the folks were happy that they could dilly dally along the way and arrive when they wanted.  My welcome note (both emailed and left near the door) included photos of how the keypad works and also a photo of thermostat and light switch (my rooms have one funky light switch that controls overhead light and fan).  I worried just a little bit but it worked out fine.

Repeat guests already know how everything works and sometimes I just email them the door code.  Seems to work here.

Joey Camb's picture
Offline
Joined:
04/02/2010

its like my DH -when we only have one or two rooms in, he is always on at me to find out what time they are comming for breakfast - i don't bother cos they never ruddy come when they say they will anyway! so its a waist of everyone's time

__________________

Don't mess with me today or I will kill you!!!!

 

Offline
Joined:
06/24/2008

Of course the thing I dread the worst is the last one, depending on what time of the year it can make it difficult to rebook.

Since going with ResKey, I use auto sent reminder emails, and now know I will not know if the email bounces (your 1st bullet)

I send one 2 weeks before arrival stating I would take their deposit within 24hrs -  as well as interesting things to do, some restaurants in the area.  etc. 

I also send one 3 days before to provide directions, arrival time, etc.  This is their last chance to cancel without paying in full. 

Each of these also have our cancelation policies in full, as per their reservation. 

As Eric stated, I take care of business 1st, then give filler...

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

And what if their plans change while they are there and they decide to leave early? Full refund? Pay for all dates booked?

Breakfast Diva's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/26/2009

Midwest Madam wrote:

And what if their plans change while they are there and they decide to leave early? Full refund? Pay for all dates booked?

Our policy is that they pay for all nights reserved. It's clearly stated on website and confirmation letter. It's then up to us depending on the circumstanced whether we will be flexible or not.

Offline
Joined:
06/24/2008

Midwest Madam wrote:

And what if their plans change while they are there and they decide to leave early? Full refund? Pay for all dates booked?

My policy is they pay in full...  If I choose to waive it when they are here, then it hopefully is regarded as a spur of the moment act of kindness! 

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

Midwest Madam wrote:

And what if their plans change while they are there and they decide to leave early? Full refund? Pay for all dates booked?

This we handle on an individual basis. We have had some guests who have had emergencies at home (unless they are colossally good actors) and have left crying and not even concerned about the money. Then we've had the ones who just say, 'We're leaving.' I tell them we'll refund if someone else takes the room nights.

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

Just moved the date of arrival near the top. I have to get an intro in first! But, the very first thing after 'Dear Guest' is: Looking forward to your arrival this week. (Not 10 days from now. THIS week.) Sent on a Wed, that SHOULD imply THIS weekend, not the week after.)

After the greeting I let them know check-in time is not before 3. I don't care if they don't show up until 10 PM, just not before 3.

The section where I mention their arrival date, departure date, balance due also states arrival time as 'The time you selected for your arrival is...' Making the point that THEY picked 9 PM, not me.

So they get to the part about the arrival time because they get confused about why they are supposed to arrive at 9 PM. So, I added the part about 'the time you selected to arrive...'

I know it's just another reason to beat my head against the wall but at least I got the ONE response back, 3 days before arrival, that they weren't coming. Good, I slept in that day.

OnTheShore's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/28/2011

Does it matter (to you) whether the guest arrives at their stated arrival time (as long as they don't come before 3:00)?

IF not, then I see no point in bothering to remind them what they had stated arrival time would be. In other words, could you just leave that part out of the e-mail in order to avoid whatever confusion it might cause?

And if in reality the information is not particularly useful, either because you don't actually use if it, or because the guests never actually come at the time they said they would, then why even collect that information? I turned that field off on our reservation system...

 

__________________

"where even time relaxes...."

 

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

I use the info to plan our day. It doesn't always work out. Guests will insist on checking in early and then show up at 9 PM and we've wasted our day waiting for them. I won't turn it off because it is the ONLY time the guest is forced to understand check-in is between 3-7 PM. (I say that, but it defaults to 3 PM, so they probably just skip it.) MANY put a note after the time selection stating they are arriving earlier or later. I correct those who state earlier and give directions to those who say later.

But, I see your point. No sense in putting it in the reminder. They'll get here when they get here. As long as I state no check-ins before 3 then it may work out.

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Irritation point: guests who say they will be here 5PM,and show up 7 or 8 PM.

I think to myself... "If I knew you were running late, I would have gone to my meeting, etc."

"Oh we stopped to have dinner and lost track of time."  yeah....

Aussie Innkeeper's picture
Offline
Joined:
01/16/2010

Midwest Madam wrote:

Irritation point: guests who say they will be here 5PM,and show up 7 or 8 PM.

I think to myself... "If I knew you were running late, I would have gone to my meeting, etc."

"Oh we stopped to have dinner and lost track of time."  yeah....

OMG!!! THIS IS MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE!!! "Oh, well we just stopped to ...blah blah blah whatever"!! Well, while you were just doing this or that, I was WAITING HER FOR YOU!! I couldn't get to my kid's sports event, I couldn't go out to dinner, I couldn't run to the market. Heck, I was even reluctant to spend too long in the john! All because I was waiting for YOU! And you obviously didn't read that little paragraph in the confirmation letter that asks if you're going to be earlier or later that YOUR STATED check-in time to CALL US!! 

One sure way to get tardy guests to show up....sit down to eat dinner.angry

__________________

Lynne
Queen of Everything!

 

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

Aussie Innkeeper wrote:

OMG!!! THIS IS MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE!!! "Oh, well we just stopped to ...blah blah blah whatever"!! Well, while you were just doing this or that, I was WAITING HER FOR YOU!! I couldn't get to my kid's sports event, I couldn't go out to dinner, I couldn't run to the market. Heck, I was even reluctant to spend too long in the john! All because I was waiting for YOU! And you obviously didn't read that little paragraph in the confirmation letter that asks if you're going to be earlier or later that YOUR STATED check-in time to CALL US!!

I know you didn't ask for advice, but if I were in your position I'd set up a self-checkin system and tell EVERYBODY who makes a reservation: If we're not able to be there when you arrive, and you find a note on the door saying we'll be back soon, just follow these self-checkin procedures to let yourself in:....

Come up with your own, better, wording and stop sitting around waiting for guests to arrive when you have something you'd rather be doing!

Yes, I know you'll all say your guests are helpless and you MUST be there the minute they arrive or they'll hurt themselves, but at our river cabins we've used self-checkin for years with zero problems. People arrive, let themselves in, and we stop by later, at OUR convenience, to greet them and take care of business. I know plenty of you use self-checkin for people arriving after bedtime. If it works then, it can work anytime!

Amen.

__________________

All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep hotel. ~ Mark Twain

 

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

I don't like doing this, but I have. Sometimes we have made plans based on everyone saying they would be here at 3. Rather than call them and hustle them along, we have left a note on the door telling them the room book has a lot of info and here is our cell phone number if they can't get in.

No one has ever called and most of them have asked in the morning, 'How was dinner?' Don't know and don't care if that comment was meant by the guest to be sarcastic.

Our very first year a guest called to say they were running late. We had already waited over an hour to go out and I was cranky. It came thru in the phone conversation. As the guest was still over an hour away and not planning on getting in the car right then we went out for dinner. Halfway thru dinner we get a call that they are standing in the dining room and where are we??? I scared her. She thought if they didn't bust butt I was going to give away their room. The 7 year relationship with that guest went downhill from there.

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

Madeleine wrote:

I don't like doing this, but I have...We had already waited over an hour to go out and I was cranky. It came thru in the phone conversation...The 7 year relationship with that guest went downhill from there.

There you go. You don't like to leave the note, so you don't, and end up getting cranky when they run late. Much better to just automatically tell EVERYBODY you'll try to be there for them, but if you have to run out for a while, here are the self-checkin instructions. Then go if you want to go, or need to go, and don't worry about it. They'll be fine.

Think of the relief for your guests, who don't have to feel like they must show up when they said they would, even if it's THEIR vacation and they really want to stop for a meal or shopping or other sightseeing they hadn't anticipated earlier. I've been there myself, feeling pressured to arrive at a certain time when I'd really rather stop and see some sight I saw advertised on a billboard.

Think of it (a promised arrival time) as a reason people might rather stay at a hotel, because they know the hotel has their credit card info and will charge the room regardless, so they can arrive late and the hotel couldn't care less, and the room will be available. Take this arrival time pressure off your guest, and yourself.

I won't argue the point. I know you want to be there. But you also must keep yourself content and avoid frustration if you want to live long and prosper!

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

My door is 100 years old. Not going to change the lock on it. But then again, it is rarely a problem for me because the 2-legged animals are long gone. The few times I needed covered with an early arrival (City person let them in for me) and if I have a concert they are told arrive before or after - period. Otherwise, since I live here it does not matter - DH does not go to my meetings usually.

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

gillumhouse wrote:

My door is 100 years old. Not going to change the lock on it.

There are those lock boxes where you put the key in the box and give the guest the combination to the lock box, but certainly if things are working fine for you now, don't change.

I'm just looking for a way to help innkeepers frustrated by guests not arriving on time and them having to sit around waiting when they could be out on the town. And of course, to help guests who feel obligated to keep to an arrival time they gave you weeks ago, before they were on vacation and wanting to enjoy a leisurely time getting to your inn.

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Arkie, I totally understood that. WE do not even use the lock on my front door - meaning I do not ever use a key in it. It has a skeleton key and when I discovered that a lovely frequent guest was being helpful and "locking up", we removed the key from the door and put it away. We use the "button in the lock because the door is then locked from the outside but the turning knob opens the door from the inside. We use the lock in the kitchen to come and go. Guests get room key and kitchen door key when they are "stay overs".

I am one of the "bad" guests. I tend to see that interesting place and stop so I understand when guests do it. That is why I pointed out here that I do not have kid or grandkid functions to attend - no one is closer than 600 miles. And I would have no problem telling a guest in an e-mail, IF you arrive between x and x, I will be "blowing my brains out" in a concert. The door is open and your room is up the stairs and _______. My late arrivals tend to be horse people with truck problems crossing the mountains or Beltway people who leave after work and decide to ignore my directions and use US Rte 50 - a 2- lane highway over the mountains with KYA turns, bears, and deer - oh and logging trucks going 10 miles per hour up the mountain and barreling past you on a curve coming down as you go up.

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

It will take a little work but I will try to refine my elevator speech to simply state check-in is after 3. And forget the rest of it.

I don't think it gives people warm fuzzies to read or hear, 'In case we're not here...' I think some people are skittish enough choosing a B&B.

So, if I'm not here, a note on the door with a little, 'Sorry we had to run out for a bit...' should cover it.

 

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

Madeleine wrote:

It will take a little work but I will try to refine my elevator speech... 

Then my day was a successful one and I can sleep soundly tonight...I wish.

I always wake up 2 or 3 times a night and think through problems. I recently spent 2 weeks on vacation far enough from home that all my troubles were left behind, and I slept through the whole night, without waking up once, for the first time in 10 years. Vacation is a good thing! Worrying about arriving at a certain time while on vacation is NOT a good thing.

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

Arkansawyer wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

It will take a little work but I will try to refine my elevator speech... 

Then my day was a successful one and I can sleep soundly tonight...I wish.

I always wake up 2 or 3 times a night and think through problems. I recently spent 2 weeks on vacation far enough from home that all my troubles were left behind, and I slept through the whole night, without waking up once, for the first time in 10 years. Vacation is a good thing! Worrying about arriving at a certain time while on vacation is NOT a good thing.

Gave it a whirl today...just stated the range of check-in times and went on to the next item. I got back, 'Oh. Can't we check in at noon, we're only an hour away?'

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

I have a friend who was totally shocked when I arrived before Midnight to a new location with only an address. The shock was I had not found something interesting to stop and see along the way. Unfortunately, between Dallas/Ft Worth and Abilene there was nothing to stop to see.

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Hahaha...true enough, once you get past Fort Worth there's nothing along that route!  But Sweetwater is a nice little town West of Abilene. 

__________________

People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
~ Anton Chekhov

 

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

I was going to a wedding at a church camp near Abilene. The wedding was at dawn so everything was done by Noon. So the groom's family (my best friends who were living in Ohio) and I went exploring and found a small town named Buffalo something I think where we had lunch and explored a bit.

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Think of it (a promised arrival time) as a reason people might rather stay at a hotel, because they know the hotel has their credit card info and will charge the room regardless, so they can arrive late and the hotel couldn't care less, and the room will be available. 

do not count on that either. Hotels overbook. The job of the front desk is to put heads in those beds.Yes, they will be charging for those rooms but if they can get another revenue for that night - YES!! I once was reaching for  the last room available in the hotel to rent to the person in front of me when one of the guaranteed rooms walked in and gave his name. I dodged the bullet on that one. In 10 years, I only had to "walk" 2 people and it was very difficult finding a hotel to "walk" them to.

ALSO - I find the way to make guests arrive is to either go to the store (a 5 minute deal) or go to the bathroom. Works just about every time.

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

gillumhouse wrote:

do not count on that either. Hotels overbook.

OK then, call it the guest's PERCEPTION of how it is. People know, or think they know, that the hotel room is guaranteed by their credit card and they don't have to arrive at a certain time. That perception may very well cause them to prefer booking at a hotel vs. a B&B that expects them to arrive when they say they will arrive.

My point is that this arrival time deal, and the innkeeper feeling a need to be there, is causing stress for both the guest and the innkeeper, and offering self-checkin, if the innkeeper needs to leave for a while, may be a good thing to consider, for the benefit of all.

I know this requires a change in thinking, just as we recently had an innkeeper here who had trouble allowing online booking because she felt a need to talk to every guest personally before accepting a reservation. That's thinking that doesn't really work well with many 2013 guests under the age of 70. People like to book online in real time and know the room is theirs immediately. Likewise, people don't like to have to arrive at the time they gave you six weeks ago, before they were on vacation.

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Yes, we have let folks let themselves in, especially after bed time, but when they say 5:00, I'd rather be there if possible. I have an exercise/social engagement twice a week, but tend to forego it when guests are arriving. I even called this particular couple, and got their voice mail. He called me an hour before check in and not a word about having dinner first.

Generic's picture
Offline
Joined:
02/24/2011

Just a suggestion, based on our experience.

The blah blah blah should be at the end, they never get there anyway.

If you have limited arrival hours, put them in reverse if you can, large letters (if you are sending HTML email) in red. So basically we have them across the email in red letters with a black background saying that registration is from 3PM to 5:59PM. Don't put 6PM because they then assume it's until 6:59PM. Putting a specific number in that way brings the point across, much clearer.

The next part says in point form all the reasons that they may need to contact us in email (so they know that can simply not reply, otherwise.) Arrival time missing or changes, asking to leave luggage, checking in early, arriving late or desire self-check-in instructions in case they are late, need parking, food allergies or intolerances, changes.

After that. We do the blah blah blah part. Our software sends them out automatically. We do it just a few days before arrival, so they can cancel, but not so far out that they can cancel without penalty.

__________________

Permission to quote in whole or in part, other than usage on this forum, is entirely forbidden.

 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.