What's your solution to groups?

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Madeleine's picture
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How do you handle groups that you don't know are groups until they arrive?

I had the idea we had 3 rooms here for a wedding. It turned into 5. They all have previously untold dietary restrictions. I know there is a brunch tomorrow. I have asked repeatedly who is having breakfast here. We are trying to prep food for how many? We don't know!

There was a lot of misunderstanding with this group from the start. Guests were calling asking for the rooms being held for them. No rooms were held. They kept referring to this as a 'hotel' and most of them were completely surprised to find themselves in a HOUSE when they got here. Correct, not a single one of them looked up any info about where they were staying. They merely called the phone number they were given and that was that. My guess is not a single one read the confirmations either given when they rolled in (10:30 AM this morning).

Some insisted they had booked more rooms. That they couldn't fit all of them in the rooms they had. They needed air mattresses if we couldn't give them more rooms.

It's been non-stop managing of expectations.

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There is no one size fits all when it comes to groups.  Each one different from the next.  Some are just as you mentioned or worse while others seem to be far better than individual guests. 

I still get baffled when people (group or no) show up thinking we were a hotel when we have 'Bed and Breakfast' clearly in our name and they show up confirmation in hand with those words in bold in front of their faces. 

In my case I would prefer knowing that there is a group than have everyone book separately so I don't charge extra for groups which only makes them book individually.  

Silverspoon's picture
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10/16/2011

We simply do not do groups.  Even with only 3 rooms (6 people, MAX), we find that groups take too many liberties so we end up feeling like slaves.....that is NOT why we are in business.  So when the calls come in for wedding-guest accommodations we will take 2 couples.  Some times we will increase our minimum stay requirements for the weekends from 3-4 night minimums to discourage the typical 1-2 nights stays of wedding guests.  

But of course, once they all arrive it requires a different  tact.  I usually play bad guy and let them know what we do and what we don't do.  I guess it helps that we speak to each person before they book.

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Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

I spoke to all of them. It was when I got several reservations with the same last name that I got concerned. All the rooms with a different last name but the same group were the ones that threw me.

And, yes, I spoke with them and they still thought they were at a hotel. Clueless best describes it.

Silverspoon's picture
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10/16/2011

Not much you can do about that...sometimes you just have to suck it up and wait until they are gone.  I've practically quit because of groups with no manners.  But then they leave and all I end up with is a tiny scar where the knife went in!  No amount of $$  can make up for the frustration you have experienced with this crew. crying

 I wish I could send up our guests that checked out today.  They were folks you would PAY to stay here.  Just lovely.  Here for 7 nights and we loved every minute.  There's just no accounting for it is there?   

Madeleine's picture
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This would have sat heavy on my heart for a week or so years ago. Water off a duck's back now. I grouse but it doesn't stick. It bothers DH more than me because I don't take the arrogant people seriously any more. (And, we're charging more so it is easier to take than at $100/night.)

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

I don't have a solution short of shaking and slapping someone, but if they think it's a hotel, be sure to charge them $14 a head for the breakfast!

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09/26/2011

Our breakfast charge for friends not staying but just wanting to come to breakfast is $15

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We are not allowed to serve to anyone other than paying guests. health dept rule...great excuse to keep out unwanted extras.

Arks's picture
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Anon Inn wrote:
Our breakfast charge for friends not staying but just wanting to come to breakfast is $15

yes And, I'm sure, well worth it!

And you've kind of got 'em. If they want to have breakfast with their friends, you get the $15/extra person, or the guests forego the free breakfast at your place and have to pay somewhere else.

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

No one was in charge. I spoke to at least one person in each room. In one case I spoke to all 6 people and not a one of them could remember anything this morning and they all wandered in for coffee and went outside to chat. Which was nice for the non-group guests but left me herding them in to eat at 9:15. Which was WAY too late to feed 10 people who kept coming up with changes. No sugar. No eggs. No meat of any kind.

And, as with every group we've ever had, they wander in one at a time. I get DH started cooking for 3 and I turn around and there are 4 more. And then they disappear again!

Constant questions asking for things we either don't have or were already pointed out to them where to find them.

In several cases they walked into the kitchen assuming they had to make their own breakfast. Yeesh people.

One person scheduled breakfast at 7:45. She showed up at 8 and asked, 'Is my breakfast ready yet?' WHAT? DH doesn't start cooking until you've been seated! She then said she'd come back when it was ready. Changed her mind, sat down and kept up this jack-in-the-box thing popping over to the kitchen to ask if it was ready yet.

 

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

The answer to Miss 7:45 is that food is freshly cooked and served to guests who are seated. Once you are seated the order will be put in to the kitchen and when ready we will bring it to your seat. 

As for those coming in to the kitchen, say to them kindly. "We appreciate that you want to be helpful. Unfortunately only staff is allowed in the kitchen, please have a seat. If you do want to be helpful later, I'm sure that the housekeeper needs someone to help he scrub toilets." You'll never have them try to be helpful ever again!

Method 2. "I'm use that the housekeeper needs some help, unfortunately the only uniform that we have left is a French maid outfit. Would you like to try it on?" Skimpy uniform, the cure for any middle-aged woman's helpfulness.

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Madeleine's picture
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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Method 2. "I'm use that the housekeeper needs some help, unfortunately the only uniform that we have left is a French maid outfit. Would you like to try it on?" Skimpy uniform, the cure for any middle-aged woman's helpfulness.

College boys. I bet their families would have laughed...

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

Yup. And would have CURED them forever!

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

When this happens, I ask to speak to the person who is supposedly in charge. Then explain the system to them, what you need and what they need and the limitations. This isn't a hotel, it's a B&B, it's the unHotel. You need to keep things running smoothly and for everyone to be happy and for that to happen you need some help from them. Explain that you have licences, inspectors, taxes and insurance companies to deal with that hotels don't. For this reason we need to do x and y and please get me the following information so that I can be ready for z.

As for breakfast... are the dietary restrictions allergies or just fad diets. For the dietary allergies, accommodate. For the fad diets, they will manage based on what's offered (or violate their own rules anyway.)

In future, tell people who call about booking a group that there is an extra $20 per room charge for any group occupying 3 or more rooms. It's the cost of all the extra coordination that is involved in group reservations. If they want you, they will pay it, if they don't, they will go elsewhere and you can have other lovely guests instead.

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