Why bother?

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Madeleine's picture
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Why bother asking about arrival times, sending out reminder emails that include the arrival time the guest selected since they all just show up whenever?

One 3pm arrival just rolled in (almost 10pm), 2 others showed up at 1 pm (and complained at 3 pm that no one answered the door at 1 pm), one with a package showed up 2 hours early so it wasn't ready for them.

Yes, the 3pm check-in sign was out. Did it stop the doorbell ringers? Nope. They also called on the phone while sitting in the car.

 

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I think this gets to those innkeepers who have a high volume season...it's just another thing to get on that last raw nerve.  angry

Sorry this happens to you, but I do agree that having guests pick a check-in time does make most of the folks adhere to it and it helps the innkeeper to plan their day (most of the time). 

Doesn't make it any less irksome when guests push the envelope....

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I have an innkeeper friend out the Lynchburg, VA way who, in her confirmation letter and her follow-up (3-days ahead of check-in date) letter mentions the 'Late check-in fee'. So, as to avoid this fee, you must call if your check-in time is going to be within 30 minutes of the check-in time you previously stated. 

She says that people are used to these late fees...you pay a fee if you're late picking up your kid from daycare or your dog from the kennel. Of course, she says with a grin, that such fee does not really exist. But it has worked wonders in cutting down on the late arrivals. 

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happykeeper's picture
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That's why we have fees for a few things. It rarely gets used, but it makes people follow a rule to avoid the fee. Makes a big difference. If you are like us (don't like to spend needlessly) it is a reminder to review the rules in advance.

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Madeleine wrote:

Yes, the 3pm check-in sign was out. Did it stop the doorbell ringers? Nope. They also called on the phone while sitting in the car.

 

My sign says "I'm running errands to get ready for your visit.  I'll see you at 3pm for check-in.  Thanks."  They never call to see if they can get in because the sign says that I'm not here!!!!! 

Madeleine's picture
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I've been in the kitchen trying to finish everything up and I've heard this from outside: Ring the bell again. Someone has to be there. Where else would they be???

And I've heard those same people tell the next car: You try. I'm sure someone is in there. They just won't answer the door! They don't even answer the phone!

It's a certain kind of person...

And that same person from yesterday then gave me grief both yesterday and again this morning that no one was here at 1pm to let them in. They 'wasted' their day waiting for us. What?!?

 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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My sign goes over the doorbell. They'll never find it that way.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Breakfast Diva wrote:

My sign goes over the doorbell. They'll never find it that way.

 

Our sign says, "Welcome to the Inn.   Check in time is at 3 PM.  We look forward to meeting you.  Please feel free to make yourself at home on the porch or by the pond while you wait.  Help yourself to coffee in the sunroom."

But we only use the sign when we are not in the house, so I can't say whether they ring the bell or not.    Smiling

We had a couple check in at noon yesterday.   They caught us running upstairs with sheets and towels in our arms.  

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Madeleine's picture
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Breakfast Diva wrote:

My sign goes over the doorbell. They'll never find it that way.

I forgot to remove the doorbell sign. No one finds the doorbell without the sign pointing to it. I was in a rush.

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… the reason people leave innkeeping - I'd never let my kids be innkeepers, they don't need the rude people in their lives.

gillumhouse's picture
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Last week I had motorcycle guests who called from an hour away to let us know all was well and where they were because it was close to the end of my check-in time and they did not want me to worry.

As it was supper time when they arrived and I had made veggie soup (cheap & a cool spell), we rewarded them by inviting them to veggie soup & biscuits (made real ones for us & DH got his "hockey pucks"). They are due back on their return trip Monday night.

Flower's picture
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I had a guest the other day . that phoned at few mins past the hours of check in. Told us where he was. I told him if that was where he was. He was well aware that it will take him 3 hours to get here and that would make it after 9. I said sorry but as,we told you in the confirmation we do not take guests after 8 . But there is rare times we will take some one in at 9Pm. Then he said well what happens when I don't arrive at your time will you refund my money and will I have a room the next day. I said you know no one has put us in that position before.

Funny he did arrive two  hours late. Not 3 hours late. People when you agree to our policy then Stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Gesh! where he lives to our house is 8 or 9 hour drive. And yes it is the long weekend and traffic is a lot. But our other guest manage to come here on time and from a farther place.

So the next day we had a chat . Why we have the hours of check in times that we do

I think the next time he will be at a B&B on time. Found out through chatting they were not caught in traffic like he said they were just dilly dallying.

.Side line: ( This one  night we were asked to go down the street for a neighbor hood gathering.) But being they  were so late we had to once again not go. Sounds harsh! But our neighbours don't understand either why we don't join in and come along.  As a result we are seldom asked any more to join in. So in 15 years we really don't know any one well.To bad so sad but that is life.

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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Flower wrote:

I think the next time he will be at a B&B on time. Found out through chatting they were not caught in traffic like he said they were just dilly dallying.

No, what will happen is that he will book a hotel. This is one of the many reasons why DH and I choose to stay in hotels when on a road trip. If there is something interesting along the way, I want to dilly dally. I will probably never be in that same area again and I just don't want to feel obligated to get to a b&b at a certain time and not enjoy the travel along the way

Late self check-ins make for happier guests as well as innkeepers.

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

Flower wrote:

I think the next time he will be at a B&B on time. Found out through chatting they were not caught in traffic like he said they were just dilly dallying.

No, what will happen is that he will book a hotel.

Late self check-ins make for happier guests as well as innkeepers.

 

Good Lord, YES!  Keep your guests happy by accommodating their schedule!  They're on vacation!  State your check in times everywhere you can - if you have to, call them on the day of their reservation and ask them for an estimated time of arrival.  Tell them as the day progresses, if they think that time will change, to please call you.  If they know that they will be past your check in time, arrange a self check in!  It's so simple! This will change your life, I promise you. No stressing like you're doing.  And no pi$$ing off the guest because you're grumpy with them.

I just can not imagine the conversation that took place with this guest and how he must have felt like a chastised child because they were enjoying their time away from the stresses of life...only to come to their "home away from home" and feel more stress.  I'm sorry if this comes across harsh, but it irks me that this person (and everyone he speaks to of this experience) will not stay at a B&B in the future because they had to follow someone else's time frame.

Flower's picture
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No Banana..... He did not feel like a bad child really !!! I am rather shocked you used that term. 

Why do you all post times of arrival?

Why not say we are open from 12oo noon till when ever?

It doesnot matter what time you wish to arrive I will be here to greet you. Or I will not be here so please do a self check in. I catch up to you later. Oh by the way breakfast is at 800 am but if you fail to arrive on time and come 3 hours later sorry no breakie!

Gosh he was so mad at me that he left a beautiful bottle of wine and booked us for the wine fest in Oct.. He did a wonderful review for us with out asking for one. What more can you expect out of a guest ?

A lot of times guest just are not sure what to do at a B&B.   We are all very  different. No one has taken the time to chat with them to explain what we are all about. They are often pleasantly surprise at what all we have for them and how big our  rooms are . They  think our rooms more like the stander  Motels or Hotels. They think we all arrive and have to walk through our homes to get too their rooms. Some feel like they have to stay in their rooms. They are  not sure what to do. They said their last place had a common room but was never sure if he could get up and change the channels on the TV.

Often I hear inn keepers say I don't want to chat I just want to get to work  not stay and chat. I think when we listen to our guest it is very enlightening.

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Flower wrote:

No Banana..... He did not feel like a bad child really !!! I am rather shocked you used that term. 

I apologize.  I misinterpreted the tone of your post.

Flower's picture
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Your apology is well received. Hope your day goes well for you.

 

happykeeper's picture
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Everyone does it differently.

In over 9 years of service, we have greeted 99% of our guests personally. Yes, there have been a few arriving on a late plane and driving an hour and a half in the dark. Guess what- when they finally arrive, turn up the long driveway and see the porch lights and someone standing there to greet them- they are filled with appreciation. From that moment on, they're ours. We have immediately exceeded their expectations.

Madeleine's picture
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Guests and innkeepers alike are different. I'd be so stressed knowing someone was waiting up knowing what I know about the hours innkeepers keep.

Most guests don't know that so they really don't get that we are working on 3 hours of sleep.

This is why I stay at hotels when my traveling hours are crazy. I don't want the person who greeted me at 2am getting up to make my breakfast 3 hours later.

 

Flower's picture
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I am the same I sleep 4 hours a night then I am up have a cup of joe then off to do ironing or dead head flowers.   dusting furniture and the list goes on till it is time to start cooking.

I hit the sack first time at 10;00pm then up at 11:00 pm then around 12 midnight I am back in bed and fall a sleep till 4 ish.

What I have notice is gesh it dark at 4am. Sure can tell fall is just around the corner. It has been so hot it has not cooled down. We were 37c today . The state of Washington is still under fire some  quarter a million acres  are burning.

Ok I have delayed long enough time to start prep for tomorrow.  Hope you have a good nite sleep Maybe you will be lucky. Maddy

happykeeper's picture
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3 hours of sleep. Oh my! I couldn't function on 3 hours of sleep. Even on the rare occasion we have a late arrival, it has rarely been past midnight. I still get 5 hours of sleep. The norm is about 7, and most of the time I try to squeeze in a nap.

Madeleine's picture
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Sleep. Glorious sleep. Once we retire I plan to try doing that again. Right now I am so out of practice I'm not sure I remember how.

Between car doors, security alarms beeping when activated, luggage rolling across the pavers, guests slamming the door under my bed, emergency vehicles, general traffic, tv blasting, etc, etc, I nap most nights, but I don't sleep.

If I also waited up, I wouldn't even get my nap in!

No idea what time last night's late arrival got in but I had to call at 9:30 this morning to ask if we should hold breakfast. We put it in the oven and served it at 10. (Long time, repeat, we don't do that for anyone other than long time repeats.)

Joey Camb's picture
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the door under your room - we used to have this problem, but put on a closer, it is now impossible to slam that door, never again its super!

We also live in a town centre location - we tend to have white noise going - keeps out the random noises. Our trouble it is actually very quiet so one particular noise really stands out ie slam a car door everyone hears it.

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gillumhouse's picture
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happykeeper wrote:

3 hours of sleep. Oh my! I couldn't function on 3 hours of sleep. Even on the rare occasion we have a late arrival, it has rarely been past midnight. I still get 5 hours of sleep. The norm is about 7, and most of the time I try to squeeze in a nap.

Wow! I am jealous!

gillumhouse's picture
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When I arrived at the bride's apartment having been given only an address and phone number, my friend greeted me with happiness and surprise. The bride's Dad, knowing I had not called for directions, asked it I had trouble finding he place. My friend looked at him and said, "Oh, I am not surprised she found us, I am surprised she is here and it is not Midnight!" She went on to explain my penchant for finding things to see. (Between Dallas/FT Worth and Abilene There is NOTHING) 

I totally understand the dilly and dally.

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Flower wrote:

I had a guest the other day . that phoned at few mins past the hours of check in. Told us where he was. I told him if that was where he was. He was well aware that it will take him 3 hours to get here and that would make it after 9. I said sorry but as,we told you in the confirmation we do not take guests after 8 . But there is rare times we will take some one in at 9Pm. Then he said well what happens when I don't arrive at your time will you refund my money and will I have a room the next day. I said you know no one has put us in that position before.

Funny he did arrive two  hours late. Not 3 hours late. People when you agree to our policy then Stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Gesh! where he lives to our house is 8 or 9 hour drive. And yes it is the long weekend and traffic is a lot. But our other guest manage to come here on time and from a farther place.

So the next day we had a chat . Why we have the hours of check in times that we do

I think the next time he will be at a B&B on time. Found out through chatting they were not caught in traffic like he said they were just dilly dallying.

.Side line: ( This one  night we were asked to go down the street for a neighbor hood gathering.) But being they  were so late we had to once again not go. Sounds harsh! But our neighbours don't understand either why we don't join in and come along.  As a result we are seldom asked any more to join in. So in 15 years we really don't know any one well.To bad so sad but that is life.

Make a change.

Get a self check-in in place so you can go and do things. We have guests arriving after 9pm from time to time, especially after DC gridlock traffic on a Friday night, or an accident on I-81.

If I had or did wait on every guest to check in I would personally detest many of them.

I know that when we travel, it affords us a better view into what happens when you travel.

When I was on the innspiring road trip we were almost constantly late and we ran a tight ship, believe me, and driving many many hours to each place. The reason is that each inn where we stopped wanted us to stay longer and it was hard to break away. Plus it was wintertime, so the driving itself was much more intense with snow and ice and cold temps. But that is what travel is all about, you can make plans, but they are just that, plans and subject to change at times. So trying to get somewhere in 4 hours may end up taking 6.   

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Flower's picture
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Sorry but self check in can not be done. It is impossible. Also late check in does not work for other guest. As it is disruptive for them. They can hear clumping of feet and chatting. Some get up set . We cannot change that either as we have had a special pad laid down to buffer the noise between floors.

He was not grump guest . I was not grump with him either so there!    He has written us a wonderful review.

Raving about our breakfast and all the comforts and extras we provide.  We have enjoyed him a lot.  So I guess it was not as bad as you all think it was!

We have a wine fest this fall and he and his wife  will be here again in Oct.   He has booked it with his son and wife joining in on our breakfast. Now last night was a win .He has really enjoyed our wee town and all that is  around .

We have enjoyed  them also they have been great guests.

Stu
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Our check in time is 2-6pm, if guests want to arrive late there is no problem we just ask them what time. Last week they emailed and said arrival between 9-10pm, they eventually arrived at 1.00am (i will repeat that 1am). Needless to say they didn't get the warm arrival or the welcome drink!

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Got a phone call while still at (other) work, 9am-ish "We're on our way from the airport.  Looks like nobody stopped over last night.  Can we come early?"

"Sorry, I wont' be there for a few hours."  I told them where a secure place is they could stash their luggage.  When I did get home, they hadn't been there, or if they had, did not leave luggage.  They came a bit after normal check in time, and were very friendly.  Fortunately no complaints.  They had checked the online calendar, and saw we had no guests last night.  It was an ask, not a demand.  Maybe in a rural area, people are more aware that many of us pay our way by wearing several hats. 

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happykeeper's picture
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Why bother? .... because it successfully manages the vast majority of guests behavior. There will always be those times that stretch our time or catch us off guard, but without prepping our guests in advance... those times would be far more frequent.

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@#$%^&*)__)(&^%#!@#^UIO!

Hillbilly's picture
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HaHa. Im sitting here in reading this in the office waiting on a check in that was suppose to arrive at 4pm. They just called and said it would be after 10:30. I'm printing out a note. Its been a long day and I'm ready for bed!

I hear your pain well!!!

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