What should we do?

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Hillbilly's picture
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Well this is a first for us... We are getting slammed by snow right now. We have current guests that are unable to leave because of the snow. We have 3 check ins today and they all say they are coming. So if they arrive the current guest have no place to go. I have one empty room, so one guest can stay. I am also going to have to cook dinner for all these people. What should we do? Should we charge for dinner? Should we charge them for their room. What should we do with the people who do not have a room to go to? This is all new to us and Im at a loss... Thanks for your help!

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It absolutely is a food cost! I agree.

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You should listen to your innmates

Baddie Bob wrote "I just can't believe we did not get one single tip for preparing a really nice full 3 course meal for them. We spent over $100 on this meal and it kinda left a bad taste in my mouth to offer this again."

Why did you go to all that trouble? So you GAVE them a free meal? Bob do we need to come back there and harass you some more! We can you know... 

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Live and learn.  I've gotten a bit calloused over the years, sometimes feeling like a real patsy....going WAY out of my way for guests and barely getting a thank you.  Now I don't do more than I feel like doing, knowing that extra kindness to guests is like loaning money to family....it should be given with the expectation that it is a gift that will not be repaid.  If I start to feel put-upon, I stop giving with a smile.

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Silverspoon wrote:

Live and learn.  I've gotten a bit calloused over the years, sometimes feeling like a real patsy....going WAY out of my way for guests and barely getting a thank you.  Now I don't do more than I feel like doing, knowing that extra kindness to guests is like loaning money to family....it should be given with the expectation that it is a gift that will not be repaid.  If I start to feel put-upon, I stop giving with a smile.

You know when I feel real bad Silvers, is when people think we did so much and we did less than we normally do, then I feel bad, real bad. Then those who take never stop taking...and never appreciate. it is a conundrum that I suppose is there to make us better people, if we had it all worked out then we could easily give to the ones we adore and hold back from the fiesty bratty pitas... indecision

but in the end we really don't know their hearts, we think we can tell, but maybe we can't. Like I have said about the royal pitas we have had (on this forum)... Perhaps that was THEM BEING HAPPY! Maybe they are actually 10 times worse normally! Ya never know!

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Silverspoon wrote:

Live and learn.  I've gotten a bit calloused over the years, sometimes feeling like a real patsy....going WAY out of my way for guests and barely getting a thank you.  Now I don't do more than I feel like doing, knowing that extra kindness to guests is like loaning money to family....it should be given with the expectation that it is a gift that will not be repaid.  If I start to feel put-upon, I stop giving with a smile.

Sadly this is true. I could NOT have said it better myself. 

Bob, all I can say is that you will be repaid in some way down the road.  You did a very nice deed when it was not expected, this will be returned when you least expect it! 

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Silverspoon wrote:

Live and learn.  I've gotten a bit calloused over the years, sometimes feeling like a real patsy....going WAY out of my way for guests and barely getting a thank you.  Now I don't do more than I feel like doing, knowing that extra kindness to guests is like loaning money to family....it should be given with the expectation that it is a gift that will not be repaid.  If I start to feel put-upon, I stop giving with a smile.

Very wise words!

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Can you use it as a "business meal" deduction?  Sounds viable to meSmiling

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He should just include that in the regular operating food expenses.  He fed guests, no reason they should question him over the legitimacy of that expense.

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Exactly - it was a cost of doing business. No 'splanation of the deduction required.

Hillbilly's picture
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All your suggestions were great! Thank you all for your help. We did prepare a nice meal for everyone. It was a really long day but all was great and everyone was happy. I just can't believe we did not get one single tip for preparing a really nice full 3 course meal for them. We spent over $100 on this meal and it kinda left a bad taste in my mouth to offer this again. I think I might just suggest people bring some extra supplies before the weather gets bad. Or maybe we should just offer a pot of soup like GH suggested. Oh well.... all I can say is this.

JB.... I was glad they came by so I could get a "Hot Meal!" Smiling

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Bob wrote:
I just can't believe we did not get one single tip for preparing a really nice full 3 course meal for them. We spent over $100 on this meal and it kinda left a bad taste in my mouth to offer this again.

Today's post by Jim Connolly is right down this alley. (Thanks Joey Bloggs for putting us on to him.)

Excerpt:

Now, sometimes you will help someone and they will ignore it. They won’t even say thanks. That’s all about them… not you. You cannot allow people with no class, to stop you from shining. You can’t allow the ignorant minority to knock you off route. You need to understand that some people are just like that, then when it happens, accept it and move on. You can’t use the mindset of that thankless minority as an excuse not to lead the way, through your contribution.

Think of it like this:

  • The process of giving and receiving starts with the giving part.
  • The process of sowing and reaping, starts with the sowing part.
  • The process of cause and effect, starts with the cause part.

By consistently looking for opportunities to help your clients and your prospective clients, you put a series of processes into play, which improves how people feel about you.

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Bob wrote:
All your suggestions were great! Thank you all for your help. We did prepare a nice meal for everyone. It was a really long day but all was great and everyone was happy. I just can't believe we did not get one single tip for preparing a really nice full 3 course meal for them. We spent over $100 on this meal and it kinda left a bad taste in my mouth to offer this again. I think I might just suggest people bring some extra supplies before the weather gets bad. Or maybe we should just offer a pot of soup like GH suggested. Oh well.... all I can say is this. JB.... I was glad they came by so I could get a "Hot Meal!" Smiling

Some people don't 'get' the idea that you provided something for them out of pocket. They assumed that of course you would feed them, where else would they get food. That was partly why I recommended letting them know this was not SOP.

We've had guests offer to pay for extras.

This is also why 'pot luck' should be just that. Chili or baked ziti or something that runs in the $10-$20 range for a herd of people.

 

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I just can't believe we did not get one single tip for preparing a really nice full 3 course meal for them. We spent over $100 on this meal and it kinda left a bad taste in my mouth to offer this again.

It was great, but you did too much.  The soup and bread or biscuits would have felt like a thrown together, "we are all in this together" meal. In my NVHO the full 3-course probably made them feel like "if he could get out to get these supplies, we should have been able to leave". And to leave $5 for a meal like that would be embarrassingly cheap. There is also the possibility (and I HAVE been there to be able to say this - the smallest bill they had was $100 and more than once my smallest was a $20 but in this case I WOULD have left the $20 unless it was my last getting home money (which has also happened to me more than once). Did you remember to "seed the basket" with a $10 or $5? Did you put the basket in an obvious place?

I am so sorry you were stiffed. Perhaps they forgot to tip and were embarrassed to go back to do it. Regardless of the gauche behavior of the guests, YOU did the right thing and THAT is what really counts. YOU and your family can look yourselves in the mirror and know you did the tight thing. THAT should count for a lot.

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cool

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No real experience with this as I live in a big city and our airport hasn't closed because of snow in a long time. What I would do is make dinner, tell that that it's because of the emergency, there is no charge but they may leave appreciation if they so choose, verbally, in kind of if they so choose in an envelope, anonymously.

As for the extra guests, that's hard. The new guests have the rooms and that's guaranteed. I would be on the phone to see if I could find them something, a couch, a spare bed, even floor and sleeping bag. I would do the best that I could, but I realize that they would be understanding as well. I would also ask the new guests if they would be accommodating if there were extra beds, even if that meant that we moved the mattresses into a common room, so they still had their private room. I wouldn't charge, again suggesting appreciation. 

Leave an envelope in a public location, so anyone can use it and there is no way to tell who left and how much. Seed it with a few buck, approximate how much you think the meal is worth for two people. That will give them a guideline for the appreciation gesture.

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Ice
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All I can say it they are some lucky people to be snowed in there!  yes

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Oh my...I just got here.  Sounds like all the suggestions are spot on.  The only experience we had was early on, with 2 women catching the last ferry from Long Island to CT at the start of a Nor'easter.  I called them first thing in the morning to tell them not to come but they had already left. We didn't have a room crunch as they were the only guests.  But we did have to feed them for a couple of days because the road was totally snowed in.  There were only 2 of them and I was cooking anyway so I didn't charge them extra for the food.  

Funny thing is, these guests have returned several times and we still get cards from them as they remember the great time they had and their arrival in a blizzard white-out with all our lights blazing and a fire in the fireplace.  We made a snow man and named her Hattie....they still ask about her.  So I bet your guests will all go away smiling, remembering the adventure they had and your warm hospitality.  

Let us know how it all turns out.  

Side bar:  As I read this thread I am really glad that we have decided to close for the first winter in 25 years.  I'm down with the flu and having guests during this recent storm would have put me over the edge.

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Silverspoon wrote:

 

Side bar:  As I read this thread I am really glad that we have decided to close for the first winter in 25 years.  I'm down with the flu and having guests during this recent storm would have put me over the edge.

Looking at the weather for the next 10 days I am glad I do not have to worry about anyone else! Closing for Jan is one of the sanest things we've ever done.

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No experience with having guests coming in with guests who can't get out.

As for feeding them, a simple chili or lasagne or soup would be good. I wouldn't charge them for it but I would definitely let them know this is above and beyond.

The new guests should get the room they reserved. The guests who can't leave should get whatever accommodations can be made for them. I would approach them ASAP to let them know.

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Bob, maybe those coming in are doing so because of your cancel fee.  Maybe they would choose to stay home if they knew they were not going to loose $. 

Having been in a stranded situation once (southerners learned they were not the only ones that can't drive in a blizzard), we were lucky enough to find a hotel.  The only thing, the hotel claimed they had no rooms avail.  With NOTHING else around and a 2yo we said we were going to sit in the lobby until it was safe to drive.  After they learned we meant what we said, they finally gave us a room that had a broken AC unit sitting on the floor. 
 

Think of the safety of your current guests, if they can't leave make the best of it.  If the others come in after being told 'there is no room' do the best you can by letting them camp out on the sofa etc. 

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copperhead wrote:

Bob, maybe those coming in are doing so because of your cancel fee.  Maybe they would choose to stay home if they knew they were not going to loose $. 

Having been in a stranded situation once (southerners learned they were not the only ones that can't drive in a blizzard), we were lucky enough to find a hotel.  The only thing, the hotel claimed they had no rooms avail.  With NOTHING else around and a 2yo we said we were going to sit in the lobby until it was safe to drive.  After they learned we meant what we said, they finally gave us a room that had a broken AC unit sitting on the floor. 
 

Think of the safety of your current guests, if they can't leave make the best of it.  If the others come in after being told 'there is no room' do the best you can by letting them camp out on the sofa etc. 

 

I tried to get the guest  coming in today to wait.  They are still wanting to come in.  Even after I told them we could move them to a different date.  People are crazy sometimes!

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Thanks for all your suggestions. While I was away, I was able to pull one guests up our street and on their way. The trouble with the current guests are they do not have four wheel drive or front wheel drive so they are stuck. The guests arriving said they all have four wheel drive. This is a first for us and is kinda a mess. The guests are being appreciative. GH I like your idea of soup. I do have the fiixins for Spaghetti, salad and bread. I like the idea of the basket for donations JB. Empty Nest I think half is fair. At least it pays for electric, gas and so on. Looks like we will be cooking and doing dishes all day... Im in a good mood, so I will try and make it extra special for everyone. In return it will just show how great Bed and Breakfast are and how we truly appreciate our guest and how we will bend over back words for them. Hope everyone is warm...

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You are a very kind and loving person.  You are the reason people come to us. Good Luck.

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Bob wrote:
Thanks for all your suggestions. While I was away, I was able to pull one guests up our street and on their way. The trouble with the current guests are they do not have four wheel drive or front wheel drive so they are stuck. The guests arriving said they all have four wheel drive. This is a first for us and is kinda a mess. The guests are being appreciative. GH I like your idea of soup. I do have the fiixins for Spaghetti, salad and bread. I like the idea of the basket for donations JB. Empty Nest I think half is fair. At least it pays for electric, gas and so on. Looks like we will be cooking and doing dishes all day... Im in a good mood, so I will try and make it extra special for everyone. In return it will just show how great Bed and Breakfast are and how we truly appreciate our guest and how we will bend over back words for them. Hope everyone is warm...

Bring out the board games! Make it fun. Enlist the young whipper snapper there to be the Butler, he may make some pocket change that way too. Smiling

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Bob wrote:
Thanks for all your suggestions. While I was away, I was able to pull one guests up our street and on their way. The trouble with the current guests are they do not have four wheel drive or front wheel drive so they are stuck. The guests arriving said they all have four wheel drive. This is a first for us and is kinda a mess. The guests are being appreciative. GH I like your idea of soup. I do have the fiixins for Spaghetti, salad and bread. I like the idea of the basket for donations JB. Empty Nest I think half is fair. At least it pays for electric, gas and so on. Looks like we will be cooking and doing dishes all day... Im in a good mood, so I will try and make it extra special for everyone. In return it will just show how great Bed and Breakfast are and how we truly appreciate our guest and how we will bend over back words for them. Hope everyone is warm...

Great ideas.  Wonderful place to be stuck in.  Arks has innkeeper friends who were snowed in themselves.  Main complaint, they ran out of TP.  Wishing you the best and all the TP you need. smiley

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With your roads like they are I would be shocked to have people show up to stay! Did they call, did you reach them? Did you tell them the roads are too icy and you can't except any new guests? You may be doing them a favor. That is what I would do.

Then for the remainder, let them stay, pay reg rates. If you want to offer some tea then make up something and let them eat. Put a basket on the table for a meal donation, if they want to donate to it. I would do that, if I were a guest, and think it was mighty kind of you to do it in the first place Bob.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

With your roads like they are I would be shocked to have people show up to stay! Did they call, did you reach them? Did you tell them the roads are too icy and you can't except any new guests? You may be doing them a favor. That is what I would do.

Then for the remainder, let them stay, pay reg rates. If you want to offer some tea then make up something and let them eat. Put a basket on the table for a meal donation, if they want to donate to it. I would do that, if I were a guest, and think it was mighty kind of you to do it in the first place Bob.

We at least have a guard rail in West Virginia!! We do not encourage sliding over the hillside - I guess it is because ours are more of a drop than a slide. Wih ours it is Helloooooooooooo

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weve only had people stuck once - got our people out but lots of people stranded who ended up staying with us ie they came out of the conference 3 hours later so snow was much deeper.

We did a heavily discounted rate, cranked the heating etc - its a bit different here as all the restaurants are within 5 mins walking so feeding them wasn't an issue.

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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I agree with Kathleen. Make a big 'ol pot of something and don't charge for dinner. As K pointed out, how are people getting to you if your folks can't get out? Is it that they can't get out of your town, or they just can't get all the way back home? If it's the latter, then I would have them leave and travel as far as they are comfortable and will have to get a place along the way...not fair to the folks coming in.

If everyone is indeed stuck, then hunker down and have fun! Oh, and if they're indeed stuck at your place, I would offer a big discount (50%?), but you still should charge them something because you're paying for the heat, water, food, etc.

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Make dinner a cauldron of veggie soup and bread/biscuits or something similar that costs little and goes far (or spaghetti). I would make this a "free-will donation" or free. Turn it around from a We are stuck here to a "We are happy to be stuck HERE!" Have any party hats left over from New Years? Have the boys make party hats out of newspaper.

As for the rooms - if others cannot get out, how the heck do the new arrivals expect to get IN? I truly believe I would contact them and tell them flat out - DO NOT COME! If the conditions are so bad people cannot leave then you do not want people coming in. Waive the cancel fee if that is what is driving them to come. You may need that empty room to accommodate a stuck on the road traveler.

As for charging the ones who cannot get out, I leave that to those who are more experienced in that happening. I have never had that happen yet so cannot voice a policy. 

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gillumhouse wrote:

- if others cannot get out, how the heck do the new arrivals expect to get IN? 

I can easily see a case where current guests in a regular sedan, who aren't used to driving in snow, would be unable/unwilling to leave, and I can see where incoming guests with a 4-wheel drive vehicle and winter driving experience would be able to get there with no problem.

Someone might have to sleep on the floor or on couches in public areas, assuming you can come up with enough pillows and blankets. Maybe someone will volunteer to do that, rather than having to draw straws for the beds!

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The one time we had someone stuck with us, we did charge them but gave them a half off discount. We also fed them but did not charge. Just chalked it up to good will.

I too would call the people coming and tell them NOT to take a chance. Pour it on how bad it is. And don't charge a cancellation fee. Issue them a gift certificate to use within a year.

Good luck!

 

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