Advice?

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Guest called, Cancelled reservation 'inside' the cancellation period, so its too late to get a deposit back. Said boyfriends dad was sick and didn't know what was going to happen. Then called again and said, they didn't want to lose their deposit. I explained that if we could rebook the room, that they'd get their deposit back (not hard this time of year). Oh, ok. Then calls a few days later and says, if the room wasn't rebooked yet, they'd like to keep it. Dad died and the funeral will be the day before the reservation.

Then, emails and said the time they will arrive, and "could you do something special for my boyfriend- since his dad died." 

 

What do we do "special" in that situation??  flowers in the room?? that would remind him of the funeral?

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Silverspoon's picture
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We have had people cancel and then when they realized that we might not rebook and they would loose their deposit they try to get the reservation back.  Sooo, we now have this policy and we stick to it.

If they cancel with less than 30 days notice it must be by e-mail and acknowledged by us with a return e-mail confirming their cancellation.  All cancellations are final.  Period.  We spend the time updating calendars and contacting Chambers of commerce to try to rebook but we do not allow the original guests to change their mind about coming, or to send someone else in their place.

This has saved us a great deal of grief and tension.  Put it in writing and stick to it!  

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seashanty's picture
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  i don't know what special thing i could do in this situation.

  just a kind word maybe privately to see if he needs anything. does this girl seem very young?  it's odd. 

 as for 'let us know if you're visiting for on a birthday' or whatever --- i provided so many special little birthday cakes and never ONCE got so much as a thank you. that really hurt my feelings and i stopped doing it. plus it got expensive. i mean, not even a thank you?   i also stopped asking. 

if they told me without my asking, i'd stick a candle in a pancake, muffin or piece of toast when serving.  grumpy old innkeeper

Madeleine's picture
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Grumpy old innkeeper here, too! And guests love the candle in a pancake!

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Are you serious?  I would NEVER keep my reservation if one of my parents died. They're either liars or heartless, and in either case, don't deserve anything! Gawd!

Innkept's picture
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Simply say as you probably always do "Let us know if there is anything we can do for you."

gillumhouse's picture
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I am going to take this opinion on it - everything is from the girlfriend. SHE is out of line and since they are coming one day after the funeral - was it another "dead grandmother".

Being the realist that I am when I got a call 2 days before I was due to start a 1 month vacation that my Dad was in ICU, I packed for the entire trip. I cancelled all reservations EXCEPT the one in Boston that I knew I could not get back. It was a case of he was going to get well or he was going to die - and other than a funeral, it would change nothing for anyone other than myself and my youngest. That time, after 5 days, he was in a regular room on a regular floor (died 10 years later in my Library) and his usual non-cooperative self, so I gave him our license plate number and our itinerary, and we left for the vacation.

Another thought is that Dad was like my maternal grandfather - an SOB - and the boyfriend was there to make sure he was in the casket or hoping for an inheritance (sorry, a cynic). All Dads are not grief material even though I figure for most of us they are/were.

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I don't think anything will make him feel better, but because she asked she'll now be expecting something.  Maybe if you have any chocolate on hand you could just put that in there as a little treat - definitely no flowers.

By the way, is anyone else irritated beyond belief by the notes that guests put in their reservation that they are celebrating a special event - we all know these notes are meant to have us do something "special" i.e. "FREE" for them?  It's their anniversary, not mine.  Once they write this little note on the reservation, they are expecting that we give them something.  I'd be losing tons a month if everyone who was here for a birthday or anniversary got free champagne or chocolate truffles.  When I have my anniversary, MY WONDERFUL HUSBAND gets me something - that's who gives you something on your anniversary!!!!

But people are expecting this more and more and trying to get something free.  So I bought heart shaped pans and I make a dozen fudge brownies at a time and freeze them.  When someone is checking in who has written me a little note, than I take two out and put them on a pretty plate.  I let them thaw, draw chocolate hearts on the plate and we put them in the room when they go to dinner with a handwritten happy anniversary note.  They are thrilled and it only costs me about a buck for each room.

MountainMystery's picture
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I think it's good to do something for a guest's birthday or anniversary. It's going a bit out of the way to make a guest happy and surprise them (even if they are expecting or hoping for a freebie, it just puts a smile on their face). I consider it like a marketing expense- it's a way to keep our place in their mind and maybe get a good review or good word-of-mouth out of it. As long as it's no more than about 10% of the cost of the room rate, it's definitely something I can afford and I see it as really no different than offering a 10% discount... 

We've probably got a cheaper place than most of you (~$75-$100/ngt) and for a birthday, I'll place a nice card in the room with a $2.50 cupcake from the local bakery. For an anniversary or honeymoon, we leave a card and a single red rose. If I had a liquor license and it was ok to do so, I also wouldn't mind placing a cheap bottle of wine or champagne. And our guests always seem quite thankful and surprised and it makes me feel good too.

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Generic's picture
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That RED Rose might cost you. They put the petals on the bed...

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Madeleine's picture
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If my parent just died I doubt you could do anything for me. I'd just cry all over you if you even mentioned it.

And, yes, I also get annoyed when the notes say something about a celebration and they didn't bother to pick an add on. Especially if it's a one night stay, they're arriving late and leaving early.

But, OTOH, I do like to know these things so there's no pleasing me in this situation.

I like the heart brownie idea!

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I like the brownie idea too. I usually did a small heart shaped cake and a card...gratis. I always have some in the freezer.

But when they say something like this...good thing to reply back is "why we have a wonderful assortment of special add ons for special occasions. Check our website and let us know if you would like to order any of them.

That should quiet them up. Smiling or else get you some add ons.

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Madeleine wrote:

And, yes, I also get annoyed when the notes say something about a celebration and they didn't bother to pick an add on. Especially if it's a one night stay, they're arriving late and leaving early.

But, OTOH, I do like to know these things so there's no pleasing me in this situation.

I like the heart brownie idea!

It IS ALWAYS the one nighters who are celebrating. Always. They are not usually B&B people either, it is a first time they have 'tried' a B&B.  I agree with the add on thing, you read it and think "and you didn't buy some flowers?" Nope. I have so few flowers here, this year I can't even think of one so far! It bugs me when they order from a florist as I can save them $30-50 and they are fresher!

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

If my parent just died I doubt you could do anything for me. I'd just cry all over you if you even mentioned it.

And, yes, I also get annoyed when the notes say something about a celebration and they didn't bother to pick an add on. Especially if it's a one night stay, they're arriving late and leaving early.

But, OTOH, I do like to know these things so there's no pleasing me in this situation.

I like the heart brownie idea!

Even easier - I bought valentine cupcake paper wrappers.  I used them for muffins at Valentine's Day.  They came with heart toothpicks which I kept.  Throw a toothpick in a muffin and it's a sweetheart breakfast.   Easy.

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Generic's picture
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You spend that much? They get acknowledgement from us, happy ______. DONE! There are packages if they want something. I don't get free stuff.... they don't get free stuff. (The Vidal Sassoon Law - http://youtu.be/QonI2MWxoLY?t=25s)

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That's what my inside voice is saying … just say "Happy Anniversary" and they should be happy with it.  Which they really should be - neither of us married them!  But I decided to squish that thought and do the brownies to see what happened and I was so surprised at the outcome.  I was happy actually doing it, it only cost me a buck, and the guests were out of their mind happy.  I've done it twice this past week and both were happy, one was really happy - it felt good.  So I have some guests here who got married this week and this is their honeymoon (I didn't know until they arrived).  I'm going to do it for them and I have a returning couple coming for their anniversary this week and I'll do it again.  It's too soon to see if it shows up in a TA review, but because I'm happy and they are happy it's a win-win even if it doesn't.

Generic's picture
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Believe it or not, my insurance refused to pay for my cancelled trip after my loss. Since I hadn't purchased a "common carrier" ticket (ie a plane, train or bus ticket) they won't cover it. Heartless bastards at Allianz!

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You know grieving is something very personal. It is not something you even want to discuss with just one more person, or have them know about it.

If I knew you knew I would prob cancel or no show from that fact alone.

She is feeling powerless and is trying to be thoughtful. Don't feel too put out, we all do this, what can we do? How can we help someone who is hurting. Bring them a casserole? you know.

 

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10/07/2008

Seems to me being low key and just letting him have space is a nice gesture.

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07/23/2008

 Yeah, I was thinking of treating him like all the other guests... we have a full house this weekend. And I also was wondering if it was a 'story'. 

I can't imagine how they can be so concerned about losing the deposit. I wouldn't even remember I had reservations anywhere. (my Dad did die btw so I clearly remember the grieving). 

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05/22/2008

You don't know them from Adam..so why should you do something special???? I wonder if the dad REALLY died!!! Or just an excuse because they knew you wouldn't refund the money. If she wants to do something special..then she should. Not YOU.  Treat them as any "regular" guest.

Generic's picture
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A bottle of St-John's Wort?

Country Girl's picture
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Maybe you could write this in a little note. I've always loved this thought.

"Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy." ~ Native American Saying

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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Kind of an odd request.   Sherry or congac in the room?

Country Girl's picture
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That's an odd request, in my opinion. It's not like he's celebrating a special occasion. He's grieving. I can't image what "special" thing you could do to make him feel better. Maybe just a nice condolcence card? 

Arks's picture
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I agree flowers would remind of the death. After my dad died, I wanted to move on rather than being reminded of what we just went through.

Really, doing anything special is a reminder of it all, so I can't make any recommendation on that. Hope someone else has  a good idea.

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