When guests become friends it gets sticky

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Baygirl's picture
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I'm sure we're not the only ones to become friends with guests that have been returning over the years.  Well,  our friends booked this weekend and it is college graduation.  They got the last room we had available about 3 weeks ago and of course we didn't get a credit card.  She called last night and cancels (via voicemail) saying the weather is going to be bad so they decided they're not coming down to the area.  In the meantime we've turned away numerous people and now we're left with an open room for two nights.  I answered her voicemail message via email, saying I will cancel and sorry they couldn't make it, but didn't mention that this won't be able to happen again.  I'm waiting to see her in person to confront the issue.  Had they booked anywhere else they would not have been able to cancel like  that because of weather of all things.  Had it been our slow season, which we've had months of, it wouldn't have been as big of an issue, but this was our kickoff to our season after a very slow winter/spring.  

It's a slippery slope and I feel a little taken advantage of.  It will be addressed when I see them, since they've booked 3 other weekend dates throughout the summer.  Just wanted to vent!!!

 

 

 

Skamokawa's picture
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Friend coming to visit in June.  One of her friends booked for two days.  Happy for the booking.  Kinda of sad I'll have to 'share' my friend while she's here.sad

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I have a friend coming to stay with us, the first time in 11 years. Her son and new wife are driving her here and I sent them a GC for a two night stay, as a nice gesture. Even though I never got a wedding invite. I called it a wedding gift.

He "chat'd" me on FB to see if they can bring their new puppy to stay in the room. REALLY DUDE?

Family and friends can be quite ignorant about B&B's... all that to say, I said no. I have other rooms here the same time, so they better tow the line!

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Joey Camb's picture
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my problem is people who know you slightly who feel its perfectly ok to "pop round" you wouldn't pop round to someone's office or Dog grooming parlour? would you?

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Silverspoon's picture
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We don't get many people we know dropping by but we get a fair number of "tire kickers".  Yesterday I was in my grubbiest clothes, hair tied in a knot, hot and sweaty in the garden planting potatoes.  DH is rototilling the other veggie beds...also obviously busy at 1:00 pm before guests arrive at 3.

A nervy woman walks off the street, through the picket fence that leads to the back yard (we had hopped that the picket fence would deter the "lookers")  and saunters down to the fenced in veggie garden waiting for us to stop.  DH greeted her warmly...me , not so much.  Could she see our accommodations?  DH says SURE....DW will show you through.   UGHHHHHH

So I pulled off the gloves, apologized for the attire, heaved myself out of the dirt and showed her one suite.  What does she say?  "Oh it looks just like your web site!"   Well yeah...sighl

And so it begins...another season....will I make it?  Keeping my fingers crossed.

 

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How about a sign on the gate: "PRIVATE - Tours must be scheduled in advance."  Or train your hubby better Smiling

Silverspoon's picture
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Well I have thought of both of those but our cottage is on the other side of the gate, and guests are allowed to go into the area and down to the veggie garden so the private sign would not work.  As for training hubby...well good luck with that one...he's been in training 30 years and is still just a big gentle giant when it comes to any kind of confrontation.

But thanks for the ear...I hope all that steam I let off didn't burn you!  laugh

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

And 10 to 1 she did not book!

Madeleine's picture
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All of my townie friends are in some sort of biz so they know. It's the sales people ringing the bell without making an appt.

No, I can't talk to you while guests are here. No, I can't talk to you when I'm in my jammies because no guests are here.

Even my mother asks if she's interrupting when she calls. Mom? Only if there is someone standing right there. Otherwise mom is first on the list.

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gillumhouse's picture
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Joey Camb wrote:

my problem is people who know you slightly who feel its perfectly ok to "pop round" you wouldn't pop round to someone's office or Dog grooming parlour? would you?

That is EXACTLY the problem I have.  I used to say to my neighbor in Illinois BEFORE I even walked in the door, "Are you home?" We established at the onset (me) that just because you are in your house does not mean you are "home". I have 3 people here who never think about dropping in. And it would NOT be polite to not welcome them.

Country Girl's picture
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02/20/2009

Depending on when they cancel, busy season or off season, determines whether or not we'll charge them. No matter what though, it leaves me feeling a bit perturbed that they feel they can cancel at the last minute. Once we started charging though, we had fewer last minute cancelations.

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Innkeep's picture
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06/04/2008

Just this week I had an email from a guest turned friend asking about a specific week.  When I did not have availability for 2 of the days, they changed their vacation plans to fit my schedule.  That's a first for me!

Madeleine's picture
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Smiling

Silverspoon's picture
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Most folks don't consider how uncomfortable it is for the innkeeper to have this dilemma.  Damned if you do and damned if you don't.  

We had regulars cancel a 6 night reservation with fairly short notice due to an issue with a pet. Our cancellation period is 30 days....50% deposit...refunded if accommodation is fully booked.  We were able to fill all but two of the 6 nights so we refunded one night and kept one night.  The fact that we refunded anything at all amazed these fine people...they have been coming back, with no issues for the last 10 years, with no hard feelings.  And we do not resent them as it was not a capricious cancellation.

I do not believe in being resentful toward guests.  My suggestion is to do what ever you have to do to feel OK about the situation.  Charge them whatever the policy is to avoid any angst you may have.  Or don't charge them if you want them to keep their future reservations.  Or charge them a portion of the deposit to ride some middle ground and make them somewhat responsible for their cancellation.

Good luck...it's a sticky wicket!

happykeeper's picture
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12/11/2008

Had this happen once, on a fourth repeat stay. We followed our normal procedure and let them know that they would be charged and could use it for a future credit. Never heard from them again. It accomplished a very important thing. We felt MUCH better knowing we weeded out a guest who had acquired a sense of entitlement that did not belong to them. Follow your policy and if they understand, you won't have to worry about them canceling in the future. If they don't understand, you will be happier in the long run to have them gone. It's brave of you to wait until you see them. Seems like it will be too late to make your case. Of course, every situation has those nuances you can't cover on a forum. Best wishes on sorting it out.

 

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Highlands John's picture
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04/16/2010

Had almost exactly the same thing a couple of summers ago.

People who stay with us every year, booked 5 nights in June. Emailed a couple of days before they were due to arrive to say that as the weather had been bad they'd decided to spend their week off at home so they could work on the garden as it was behind. 

5 nights in peak season with an empty room. Sorry, not having that, regulars or not. Wrote back and told them how much of an inconvenience it was and that we would be accepting bookings from them again in the future.

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Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

don't you mean NOT accepting bookings.

Highlands John's picture
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Yes, serves me right for typing responses whilst prepping breakfast.

Joey Camb's picture
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I hate people who I know staying - which sounds stupid but they don't get you are busy and can't sit with them and that you are actually running a business.

Just for example had 2 old friends of my parents stay - not very close more aquantances so they didn't like to presume to stay with them at their house. Despite my telling them to use the contact phone they wouldn't and decided wandering about looking for me was best - had to keep all the doors locked all the time! grrr

Had a person I know slightly stay with her friend - and its 11.30 and they are still not checked out 

They feel normal guest rules don't apply to them as they are your "friend"

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So sorry. They may have thought you would charge since, after all you do have a business to run. You are in a tough spot.

Baygirl's picture
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She did say in the voicemail that if this was a problem then let them know.  To me, It's just to uncomfortable.  In my eyes, they knew they got the last room when they reserved and knew it was a busy weekend for us.  We actually tried to discourage them on coming that weekend because the town would be so busy.  This just goes under the live and learn category.. Like I said I will make it perfectly clear that a last minute cancellation in our peak time is not going to work.  

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Baygirl wrote:

She did say in the voicemail that if this was a problem then let them know.  To me, It's just to uncomfortable.  

 

Don't beat yourself up about it. She actually gave you the perfect opportunity to let them know how it affected you. Guests, even if they're friends really have no idea how these things affect us. Next time something like this happens, call them back and tell them. Especially if it's just that they aren't coming because of a little bit of weather.

I have found that being up front to family/friends is the best way to keep a good relationship.

Baygirl's picture
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05/26/2009

I know she did, but I didn't feel like getting into it over the telephone.  I'll address it when I see them, but if I don't get a chance before the next time they're scheduled to stay, I will email her a few weeks out and let her know that I'm going to have to hold her to our 14 day cancellation policy.  I'm sure she'll understand, her husband is in business for himself.  It's just awkward that I even have to address it, but I do!  Thanks for all the input.  The kicker is that the weather this weekend ended up being beautiful and in the 70's.  Rain only happened in the middle of the night.  

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Totally agree. We've had the friend-guests cancel but have never charged them. MOST of them have said to charge them anyway as they know this is my business. Even had one call to say the spouse was in the hospital, no idea what's wrong, we can't make it, charge the card. (They made the booking online. You might want to consider that as an option.)

Glad you are going to take it up with them in person. If it backfires and they go elsewhere, they weren't friends. And then they are someone else's not friends.

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