What do you do when guests show up (11am!) with a small child or infant when your policy clearly states: Children over 10...

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Last weekend a couple who booked with us through Booking.com (more about that later) not only showed up at 11am, but with a darling, energy-filled bouncing and shouting six-year-old.  Now our booking.com confirmation and reservation letters clearly state that children over 10 are welcome, as does our website and our Webervations letters. Their reservation form showed only two people.  A booking for two

After the slightest intake of breath I greeted them warmly and showed them their room, which was in vast disarray as the previous guests had just departed.  I explained that we clean between 11 and 3pm - our check out and check in times, and that they were welcome to leave their bags and wander the grounds, to in to town, etc.  I said nothing about the kid, but I did leave a copy of their confirmation letter showing our policies, along with their bill.

The darling girl was rambunctious at breakfast, but thankfully the rest of the guests took it in stride.

Was I churlish?  What's an innkeeper to do?

PS.  We tried Booking.com for a few months, but it got complicated during our high season, and we finally dropped our account.  We liked the web exposure, but it wasn't worth the fees and navigating their anti-intuitive booking system!  Booking.com is really meant for larger establishments.  This Is How We Learn...

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Hey, beloved innkeepers all, enjoyed our rousing discussion.  Thank you.  Now, back to work with me.  Inn-joy the day!

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I'm on your side and if I can help by playing Devil's Advocate, I'm in.  Use what you can and leave the rest.

 

As a guest, I am paying good and often big money to stay at a B&B, inn and I look for child-free properties.  If I booked expecting quiet, romance, leisure, unwind, I'd have been ticked to see a kiddo on premises.  No, I don't hate kids but I live next door to the neighborhood playground (or it could be) and want to be as far from kids as east is from west when I vaca.

 

I would've offered the guests a lists of hotels that take kids.  Let them call and book there.  Or not to be rude (but they were, pulling this over on you and your other guests) let them stay one night 'til they found another place.  Maybe.  Also, how about stating a reminder when peeps book rooms that yours is a child-free property.  That will be music to many guests' ears.  Try raising acceptable age from 10 to 15, this way parents of six year olds will have to be idiots to think they can pull that one off.  A sign on check in desk might help.

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TinaC wrote:

I'm on your side and if I can help by playing Devil's Advocate, I'm in.  Use what you can and leave the rest.

As a guest, I am paying good and often big money to stay at a B&B, inn and I look for child-free properties.  If I booked expecting quiet, romance, leisure, unwind, I'd have been ticked to see a kiddo on premises.  No, I don't hate kids but I live next door to the neighborhood playground (or it could be) and want to be as far from kids as east is from west when I vaca.

I would've offered the guests a lists of hotels that take kids.  Let them call and book there.  Or not to be rude (but they were, pulling this over on you and your other guests) let them stay one night 'til they found another place.  Maybe.  Also, how about stating a reminder when peeps book rooms that yours is a child-free property.  That will be music to many guests' ears.  Try raising acceptable age from 10 to 15, this way parents of six year olds will have to be idiots to think they can pull that one off.  A sign on check in desk might help.

I agree with you wholeheartedly regarding adult only facilities.  Once we add any age children to the mix it opens the door for those that must bend the system.    Yes, there are those that will be idiots and WILL pull it off by requesting self check in to avoid the host.  Has happened here twice and why I always hesitate about allowing late self check ins... 

And some B&B's are unable to make an age restriction as the state laws forbid it.   There is no 100% fix for handling this.  You just have to have your policies in place and deal with those that choose to think they are special.   And the reason we have more and more of those is because they have learned that if they cry fowl (a review) too many will give in. 

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copperhead wrote:

   And the reason we have more and more of those is because they have learned that if they cry fowl (a review) too many will give in. 

Good grief, not chickens, too! (Sorry, had to do it.)

We are in one of those states where kids cannot be excluded. We have tried our darndest to keep them on one side of the house in case they are criers. You know what they are for sure? Jumpers! One room is right over the kitchen and we can hear them bouncing bouncing bouncing around the room. Imagine if you had a room underneath this!

Next year, we are removing another twin bed to reduce the number of options for parents with kids. And we're pretty strict on number of guests in room has to comply with availability of sleeping space. ie- 2 beds? 3 guests. 1 bed? 2 guests. Don't care if you pig pile in the bed at home. Here there has to be enough space for all the people.

No one thinks about it but if you put a pack n play in the room and you block your egress how do you get out in an emergency? Sorry, it's my job to make sure that sort of thing doesn't happen.

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No one thinks about it but if you put a pack n play in the room and you block your egress how do you get out in an emergency? Sorry, it's my job to make sure that sort of thing doesn't happen.

You bet ya! 

We have tried our darndest to keep them on one side of the house in case they are criers. You know what they are for sure? Jumpers! One room is right over the kitchen and we can hear them bouncing bouncing bouncing around the room. Imagine if you had a room underneath this!

OR above.  The innkeeper's twins mentioned in another post... we could hear them in our room with is ABOVE them.  Since we had not expected them (late self check in) and were in a room designated for 2 (there were 4) we thought they were just a very active coupleblush.  And I am sure the people in the room next to them thought the same....  Well that is until they made their way into the dining room and surprised us all.  And of course I had to apologize to everyone once they departed.  All the other guests said they could tell we were just as surprised to see the kids as they were.  

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TinaC wrote:

As a guest, I am paying good and often big money to stay at a B&B, inn and I look for child-free properties.  If I booked expecting quiet, romance, leisure, unwind, I'd have been ticked to see a kiddo on premises.  No, I don't hate kids but I live next door to the neighborhood playground (or it could be) and want to be as far from kids as east is from west when I vaca.

Agree totally, people who booked a place that doesn't take young children doesn't expect to have kids running up and down the corridor or some child crying all night.

My biggest concern, and I realise this a UK B&B specific thing ( see UK vs US B&B thread), I'm only insured to take 6 guests, if someone turns up with a child in tow that invalidates my insurance.

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Hey, Highlands John.  Thanks for the note!    As for the insurance thing, it's a blessing as you can use that when guests try to bend your rules.  When applicable, you can always can say your insurance won't cover that.

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I take Dogs and well behaved children.

I did have a case a few weeks ago when I had spoken to the wife at 9am and told her 4 pm check in then the Husband turns up at 11am wanting to know if the room is ready.

I am now firm but fair, I set out my terms very clearly and am more than happy to remind. 

I can always break my own rules if I want to.

 

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I'm getting nervous! Strike that. I was already nervous. Imagine the pressure of having 4 innkeepers in their prime coming. But surely people tired from traveling can't trash a place. Surely.

I did have one couple leave and it took the place 3 days to stop smelling like perfume. I liked the smell but I know many women are "allergic", or claim to be.

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For the perfume, you have two choices... get a spray like Magiczymes or cheap vodka. Yes, I said vodka and the cheaper the better. Just spray it in the air, when it dries, it takes the scent with it.

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Are you sugar bear from the Elton John song? I always thought he sang "Shouldabeen" but it was sugar bear... Your Vodka tip let me know who you are. Smiling I remember you shared that before. Good tip!

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Are you sugar bear from the Elton John song? I always thought he sang "Shouldabeen" but it was sugar bear... Your Vodka tip let me know who you are. Smiling I remember you shared that before. Good tip!

SEE???!!! JB is like Sherlock! She knows all and REMEMBERS!

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Don't you remember the cereal Sugar Crisp, then Super Sugar Crisp, then Super Golden Crisp and I think now it's called Golden Crisp? Remember the song? http://youtu.be/7aXLyZIfDAE

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Oh yeah I know that Sugar Bear. I saw the avatar.

I was referring to this one, a favorite song of mine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJSeDujoC4c

Butterflies are free to fly...fly away...high away...

Sorry I need some tunes to sing to today. .. now I have Sir Elton playing while I work...

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Arkansawyer wrote:

I'm getting nervous! Strike that. I was already nervous. Imagine the pressure of having 4 innkeepers in their prime coming. But surely people tired from traveling can't trash a place. Surely.

I did have one couple leave and it took the place 3 days to stop smelling like perfume. I liked the smell but I know many women are "allergic", or claim to be.

Relax, Babe! This one is WAYYYyyyy over the Hill. Prime left me long ago. Ahhhh, but I have memories.....

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Yeah, well that's not what I've heard.  wink

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Just was reminded of what is worse than them popping up with an unexpected child at 11am to check in. 

Them popping up at breakfast with 2x8yo (that means 8 year old twins) after a late self check in with a res for 2 in a room that sleeps only 2.  Happened here!  And on top of that....they were INNKEEPERS!  angry

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copperhead wrote:

And on top of that....they were INNKEEPERS!  angry

I've heard that innkeepers are the worst!

Uh oh...real PITAs coming in December?

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Arkansawyer wrote:

copperhead wrote:

And on top of that....they were INNKEEPERS!  angry

I've heard that innkeepers are the worst!

Uh oh...real PITAs coming in December?

You better believe it. We will have additional kids we will sneak in after hours, oh wait you have a self check in, then we will throw a rave at your place. cool  (BYO of course, since you're a dry county)  Where did I put that black light and disco ball? I bet the General Store has some glow sticks etc for the dance floor. Don't worry we will only scratch and dent some of the place when we move all the furniture out.

I will have a bag with only our all time favorites - let me see Talcum powder to bomb the place in dust, super strong oh I know TABOO perfume - possibly one of the strongest, and make sure I atomize it near the window coverings and carpet. Red wine? That doesn't stain does it? All white duvet you say, not a problem... blush

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Arkansawyer wrote:

copperhead wrote:

And on top of that....they were INNKEEPERS!  angry

I've heard that innkeepers are the worst!

Uh oh...real PITAs coming in December?

You better believe it. We will have additional kids we will sneak in after hours, oh wait you have a self check in, then we will throw a rave at your place. cool  (BYO of course, since you're a dry county)  Where did I put that black light and disco ball? I bet the General Store has some glow sticks etc for the dance floor. Don't worry we will only scratch and dent some of the place when we move all the furniture out.

I will have a bag with only our all time favorites - let me see Talcum powder to bomb the place in dust, super strong oh I know TABOO perfume - possibly one of the strongest, and make sure I atomize it near the window coverings and carpet. Red wine? That doesn't stain does it? All white duvet you say, not a problem... blush

 

if i was joining the gang, i'd be sure to bring a box of cigars, candles, self-tanner, red lipstick and an infant.  enjoy!  devil

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Don't forget the dog! You have to bring the dog! And don't check out until 1 PM. Sure the door lock changes but you'll still be on the innside!

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And we will NOT forget to bring the dance pole!

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Oh, boy!  The dance pole!  Can't wait... gotta make sure my camera batteries are charged up!

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We don't allow anyone under the age of 18 and only two to a room.  Our policies clearly state that if you show up with a child, pet or extra person, that they will be turned away and charged for the full amount.   And, by God, I've done it.  I don't like to do it but I'm running a business.  When they made their reservation, they entered into a contract to arrive at a set time and under specified conditions.   

As for early arrivals, I'm renting my cottages from 3 p.m. until 11 a.m.   If they arrive at 11 a.m.  I have no problem sending them away.  The fact that they can't read is not my problem.

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Had the same experience as you some weeks ago, only ours turned up at 7pm. Luckily in our case the child was very well behaved and I'd be happy to have them back, but that's not the point, especially as guests have to enter the number or adults and children when they book, so they basically lied.

I emailed both my account manager and the customer services team to complain about it, neither even bothered replying. I guess I'm just a small fish in their very large pond and they couldn't really care if I'm happy or not.

innerpeace wrote:

PS.  We tried Booking.com for a few months, but it got complicated during our high season, and we finally dropped our account.  We liked the web exposure, but it wasn't worth the fees and navigating their anti-intuitive booking system!  Booking.com is really meant for larger establishments.  This Is How We Learn...

Been with them since early July, fast coming to that conclusion myself.

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Highlands John wrote:

Had the same experience as you some weeks ago, only ours turned up at 7pm. Luckily in our case the child was very well behaved and I'd be happy to have them back, but that's not the point, especially as guests have to enter the number or adults and children when they book, so they basically lied.

I emailed both my account manager and the customer services team to complain about it, neither even bothered replying. I guess I'm just a small fish in their very large pond and they couldn't really care if I'm happy or not.

innerpeace wrote:

PS.  We tried Booking.com for a few months, but it got complicated during our high season, and we finally dropped our account.  We liked the web exposure, but it wasn't worth the fees and navigating their anti-intuitive booking system!  Booking.com is really meant for larger establishments.  This Is How We Learn...

Been with them since early July, fast coming to that conclusion myself.

We must all look at these booking systems individually. For those of you in destination areas or areas well traveled you may not need the additional exposure these systems provide. They may be more of a headache to keep up than what it is worth.  

My area is not a destination, near one but off the radar.  Booking systems such as booking.com (the best of the bunch) work for me.  They are not magical and not the icing on the cake as there are issues, but I get a good bit of traffic through them and overall they bring good guests to my door.  I get a good number of guests that see us on one of these systems and then book direct, so it is a good marketing tool for me - at present.  I do reserve the right to change my mind at some point down the road!  wink

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The best way to handle the situation?  The way you feel you best can live with the outcome!  Each of us handle things differently, and some of us (ME) handle things differently depending on how it will affect me, or how the guest acts. 

Personally, I would never take a guest up to a dirty room.  It is my feeling that although it is obvious that someone else had the room before, I want the guest to see the room fresh and clean with no signs of previous abuse use. 

We had the same experience once with a baby in tow.  I believe an Ex pedia booking.  The room was not designed for or would accommodate a 3rd person.  We do not keep cribs or other items for babies either.  The guy said 'he tried' to put the baby in the reservation but it kept bumping it off.  DUH!!!  In this case we also allowed the couple to stay.  They realized they had made a bad decision but we both knew the area was totally booked and if I had turned them away it would have been more than a black eye for my business.  Luckily the baby was a quiet one and there were no other repercussions with other guests.  

I now have all online booking systems with a 2 person MAX.  Adults only.  

The booking systems are not the culprit its the people that use and think they can hide behind that middle man.  But the problem can also happen with direct bookings.  I had one booking about 2 yrs ago for a room for 2.  It was a mother/daughter getaway and they had booked our smallest room with 1 qn.  In this case they asked for a self-check in.  LUCKILY we were still up.  There were 3 of them.  A grown son, mentally challenged, waving plastic (long) swords around the entry and making loud noises.  This was a very challenging situation but I ultimately had to turn them away, basing everything on the 2 person limit in the room.  The grand-mother pitched a fit, the daughter who had made the reservation was a little more understanding.  But I think they both thought they would 'get away with it' by checking in late.  They were only 40 minutes from home so it was not like I was turning them away to sleep in their car.  And I had no other rooms to offer, not that they would have paid for the change anyway. 

With each challenge we learn from the experience. 

 

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copperhead wrote:

 

With each challenge we learn from the experience. 

 

And we sometime have to keep learning!

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11am they show up, that is more doable than 11pm showing up with a child in tow!

What is an innkeeper to do, first of all make any additional person $50 per night, that will hold back those "Innstant" kids that keep cropping up here and there as non-people.

Money talks, as the saying goes.

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Arriving at 11:00 is much easier to deal with than if they arrived late in the evening. More options open to you.

I agree with Maddie, you should have been upfront with these folks. Passive aggressive never works. I would have told them that they made the reservation for 2 adults and we were not able to accommodate the child.

I don't know how b oo king.com deals with these problems, but I would have contacted them immediately and see what the guest options were. I would also stress to the booking service that I also needed to be paid for that room.

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Breakfast Divo wrote:

I don't know how b oo king.com deals with these problems, but I would have contacted them immediately and see what the guest options were. I would also stress to the booking service that I also needed to be paid for that room.

Booking doesn't handle the money and they side with the property owner (in my experience) unless you double book. Then they side with the guest and you have to find YOUR guests other accommodations and THEIR guest gets the room.

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Madeleine wrote:

Breakfast Divo wrote:

I don't know how b oo king.com deals with these problems, but I would have contacted them immediately and see what the guest options were. I would also stress to the booking service that I also needed to be paid for that room.

Booking doesn't handle the money and they side with the property owner (in my experience) unless you double book. Then they side with the guest and you have to find YOUR guests other accommodations and THEIR guest gets the room.

My experience with booking.com as well.

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Booking.com would definitely not pay you for the room - that would never happen! however they would side with you that the reservation is against your policies and would cancel it - however it would be up to the innkeeper as regards what to do about the money

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Not churlish but passive aggressive. You left information for them that they already knew but you didn't approach the problem head on with, 'I'm sorry, but it appears your child is younger than our minimum age. Let me get you some local information about other accommodations. I will contact Booking to let them know you are not staying here so they will cancel your reservation.'

Depending on how many other guests were subjected to the kid's antics you may have lost them as repeat biz. So, how many rooms lost just to take the people you don't even want back again?

Yes, hard to do. Same as me having trouble getting guests to leave already. No matter what I say, possession of the room is pretty much going to win over me telling them to vacate.

(PS - we are also having second thoughts about booking and will be canceling after our year trial is up.)

 

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did you read Jay's blog posting with TA? problems with some booking places. be sure you get that taken care of before you jump ship

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Can you send a link to me, I didn't see that. Thx.

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http://www.innkeepingblog.com/2013/09/three-hours-with-tripadvisor-2/

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Thanks!

Not sure why the thinking is that a small property like mine wants to pay $700/year for a TA live website link. If restaurants were getting their link for free why am I being told it's $700 to get a link. (And that it's 'cheap at that price' according to the TA rep who called.)

 

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$700 per year? -they want over $1000 from me!

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Madeleine wrote:

Thanks!

Not sure why the thinking is that a small property like mine wants to pay $700/year for a TA live website link. If restaurants were getting their link for free why am I being told it's $700 to get a link. (And that it's 'cheap at that price' according to the TA rep who called.)

$700 ?!!?? surprise Who is paying $700 for their TA business listing??? Not me!

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Aussie Innkeeper wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

Thanks!

Not sure why the thinking is that a small property like mine wants to pay $700/year for a TA live website link. If restaurants were getting their link for free why am I being told it's $700 to get a link. (And that it's 'cheap at that price' according to the TA rep who called.)

$700 ?!!?? surprise Who is paying $700 for their TA business listing??? Not me!

That's what I was told it costs to list with them this year. If you are getting it for less and you have reupped this year, what did you pay? The gal told me they raised their rates because the traffic to the website is in the millions and they're worth it. Then she asked if I don't double MY rates when the season is really strong. Yeah right.

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