Advice taken ...

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Cathy's picture
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06/18/2008

This past weekend we turned away one of our repeat families.  They have 2 children and we already had booked guests.  A doctor and his g/f from Mexico City, and a young couple from the US coming to stay here on their last weekend together for 6 weeks as she is staying in our city to do a homestay school program to learn Spanish.

Our family of course called last minute and we in turn suggested 3 alternative weekends where we have no bookings "yet".  We have decided to accept children but only if they are the first to book so we can then advise other booking guests that there will be children on the property.

We also have 2 confirmed bookings for over New Years (this one I also read about but hoping that since they are both here for 6 nights that they may not be the party types :s ).  We had someone looking for lodgings for her family and her sisters family for the same time, we said we could only accomodate them the one week before the other guests.  Not sure if they will accept that, but, this will be our new policies.

I think we will eventually try and phase out our returning families, and possibly not take any children in the future. 

I just wanted to let those of you who commented on my previous questions about children as the advice was much appreciated.   We do not want to have any negative reviews on TA and after this weekend we know we made the right choice.

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06/24/2008

As other posters have stated you really need to look at your market and follow what type of visitors you are really attracting.  Mostly Romantic getaways, family vacations, business travelers... then make them your priority.  If the vast majority are coming to you for romance then I would rule out children alltogether.  Just having a phrase about the possibility of accepting children may distract many couples from your place. 

We take childern 10 and over, but have a clause that children under ten may be accepted with prior approval, with very attentive parents.  (not quoting)  We have tried many phrases, and this one seems to get our our point through the best - so far. 

Another thought about accepting children:  Are there certain times of year when you get the majority of families?  i.e. Holidays, summer months??  Maybe you can go to only accepting children during certain time periods.  This just came to mind, no previous thought about this...Others please provide your thoughts...I may be interested in going with this idea myself. 

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06/24/2008

Bree wrote: "We've gotten a few, 'We couldn't get a sitter, hope this isn't a problem.' Luckily, almost every time a guest has shown up with more than the booked number, they have also booked a room that allows for more than 2. Not always, but almost always."

I would think when this happens and the had booked a room for more than 2, that this was their plan in the first place.  Gee the nerve.... 

I have had a few instances: Grandparents that get a large room then ask "Oh, there IS another bed so It will be OK for my grand to come stay the night...?" At least they did not just show up with them, expecting a yes..BUT do I think it was preplanned,,,YES!

 

 

 

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

We had one grandmother make us insane before she cancelled. Booked the room for 3 nights along with multiple other rooms for other family members. Called about 2 weeks before arrival and wanted to put a cot in the room for her g-son. I told her I was sorry, we don't allow cots. Well she certainly wasn't going to have him sleep on the floor! And he couldn't sleep in the bed with her! We had to put in a cot.

Again, sorry we cannot do that. Hang up. A week later she called and cancelled. She took just long enough to find another room and get in under the cancellation period here. Potty Mouth (auto filter).

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swirt's picture
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05/17/2008

I think your plan is smart about only taking kids if they are the first to book.  However it seems that it would cause a lot of anguish on your part to remember and then relay to others that there will be children on the property during their stay.    If you get a lot of repeat business I think you may actually be setting up a situtation where you may get TA complaints. 

Example:  Family comes and has a great time.  No problem (Other guests that are there were fine, but in recommendations to their friends they mention that kids were there).  Family calls to come back again but suddenly you can't take kids because they were not the first to book.  Other guests there at that time think it is a great place for couples so they recommend it.  But on return trips, suddenly there are kids.  It doesn't establish a stable identity for your place, which sets up the situation where both people with kids and people without kids are going to end up put off.   You also can't really get the benefit of advertising yourself as kid friendly and you don't get the benefit of advertiseing the place as couples only.  You are kind of in limbo. 

As always, you have to do what the market will support, but it seems like it would be easier to pick one side of the fence or the other.  I'm not sure their is much to be gained by flip-flopping.

Cathy's picture
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06/18/2008

Yet another good point.  I think though we will try it.  We have explained that we are not set up for kids and unless our suite is available there is no room in our other guest rooms for all the stuff the parents tote for kids.  This is what we have explained. 

The family that we had turned away said they would take a smaller room, but they are toting 2 small kids = 2 play and packs, and tons more stuff.  The other rooms just do not have the space for all their stuff (they almost bring a mini van full).  One maybe, but not for two.  Same as the other families at New Years, first family has two 5 year olds and the second family has two 2 year olds ... the suite is booked and the only other room that has the futon is already booked.  Which was explained. 

I am now thinking that we will change everything saying that we are not set up for children.  We will take the families that have been our repeat guests but only if the suite is available.  Other than that, no more kids.   I just need to discuss this with my PIC as this is our business and we don't decide on anything without discussing it first.  Will let you know when we change our ruling Eye-wink

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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05/22/2008

Cathy wrote:

Yet another good point.  I think though we will try it.  We have explained that we are not set up for kids and unless our suite is available there is no room in our other guest rooms for all the stuff the parents tote for kids.  This is what we have explained. 

The family that we had turned away said they would take a smaller room, but they are toting 2 small kids = 2 play and packs, and tons more stuff.  The other rooms just do not have the space for all their stuff (they almost bring a mini van full).  One maybe, but not for two.  Same as the other families at New Years, first family has two 5 year olds and the second family has two 2 year olds ... the suite is booked and the only other room that has the futon is already booked.  Which was explained. 

I am now thinking that we will change everything saying that we are not set up for children.  We will take the families that have been our repeat guests but only if the suite is available.  Other than that, no more kids.   I just need to discuss this with my PIC as this is our business and we don't decide on anything without discussing it first.  Will let you know when we change our ruling Eye-wink

An innkeeper (who I can't recall right now) has something about the B&B not be set up for kids and they CAN be accepted case by case, determined by the discretion of the innkeeper.  Someone might pipe and say "hey that is me".  Perhaps it is to accept one child versus 2 plus pack and plays etc.

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05/30/2008

That could be me ..... Our policy states: Please inform us if you are traveling with children under 12. We will try to accommodate.  Effectively what this means is that the majority of our rooms are not child friendly, however:

  • Most area B&Bs will not take children under any circumstances
  • We have one room that is PERFECT for children - at the top of the house, very large, set up with one queen bed, but can accommodate up to 5 people (sofa bed & comfortable single fold out).

It is entirely at my discretion and a lot of factors play into the decision, including:

  • Are they repeats - do I know the kids. 
  • Is it a holiday. 
  • Do I know the other guests coming in. 
  • Are they the first to book.  Can they eat earlier / later ..... etc etc etc
  • Are they part of a large wedding / full house booking

I keep "kid friendly" DVDs, turn-down treats, outside games, books etc and I always keep in mind that these are the B&B guests of the future  

egoodell's picture
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06/01/2008

 I would think that you're in a popular enough location that you can just say "no kids". That's what we do and it's working fine for us. We are in wine country in Virginia. 

Riki

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Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

egoodell wrote:

 I would think that you're in a popular enough location that you can just say "no kids". That's what we do and it's working fine for us. We are in wine country in Virginia. 

Riki

That helps when they mention they are bringing kids. Some people don't think kids count as 'guests' so never mention them. Maybe they assume if they don't tell me in advance I won't charge them. Wrong-o. I count noses when guests come in the door. And if you have more in your party than you mentioned, I pull out the calculator.

We've gotten a few, 'We couldn't get a sitter, hope this isn't a problem.' Luckily, almost every time a guest has shown up with more than the booked number, they have also booked a room that allows for more than 2. Not always, but almost always.

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

swirt wrote:

I think your plan is smart about only taking kids if they are the first to book.  However it seems that it would cause a lot of anguish on your part to remember and then relay to others that there will be children on the property during their stay.    If you get a lot of repeat business I think you may actually be setting up a situtation where you may get TA complaints. 

Example:  Family comes and has a great time.  No problem (Other guests that are there were fine, but in recommendations to their friends they mention that kids were there).  Family calls to come back again but suddenly you can't take kids because they were not the first to book.  Other guests there at that time think it is a great place for couples so they recommend it.  But on return trips, suddenly there are kids.  It doesn't establish a stable identity for your place, which sets up the situation where both people with kids and people without kids are going to end up put off.   You also can't really get the benefit of advertising yourself as kid friendly and you don't get the benefit of advertiseing the place as couples only.  You are kind of in limbo. 

As always, you have to do what the market will support, but it seems like it would be easier to pick one side of the fence or the other.  I'm not sure their is much to be gained by flip-flopping.

All good points and a situation we find ourselves in frequently. We don't advertise ourselves as 'kid friendly' and almost go in the opposite direction with our lack of 'kid amenities'. But, we do take kids and we do have romance couples (another market I don't advertise to) and often on the same days. Mostly we're an older adult kind of place. And the more guests who put that sort of thing on TA, the more we will get that crowd. I think we have 3-4 reviews that mention the guests' children being present (and somewhat catered to). The other 40 or so do not mention children.

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

As long as you are feeling reilef now over your choice, then it's a good one! You can't control the TA reviews, tho.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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05/22/2008

You will know if you have a ton of calls from families with kids versus not, that should help you determine the best route.  If we had so many with kids, we would accept them.  But we are not set up for kids and it would be very costly to redo the rooms.  Keep us posted on the outcome.

Gotta pay bills, the rest is just gravy. 

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