Checking out of room, but not house?

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Hey there, hubby & I are on our first year as innkeepers of a 4-guest-room heritage home. We share the whole house, so personal space is very minimal. Today's question: 

We booked today as a purposeful "day off" (no one checking in tonight) after a month-and-half of nonstop bookings. Looking forward to the house to ourselves, a kind of quiet romantic afternoon & evening. Had a nice couple stay last couple of days, returning guests from last several years (with other managers). After breakfast on check-out day today, they announced that they would pack up and check out of their room, but were going to stay round the house until 4pm when they had to leave to go catch their flight. As familiar returning guests, I felt awkward insisting that check-out is at 11am (check out of HOUSE!) --- so I just smiled and said OK, grumbling on inside. Hubby is more easygoing and feels that it's worth appeasing returning guests a few hours' time. 

 

Your thoughts??

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Thank you everyone for your comments -- and welcomes! Hubby and I ended up going up the road to the coffee shop for an afternoon treat, came back just as very grateful, happy guests were leaving. Turned out OK, but will definitely be ready for next time so I don't just go "uhh...mmm... oh, no problem at all!". 

I'm very glad to have found this forum! SO MANY QUESTIONS AND RANTS I've had since April... found answers and company here! Everyone else's questions and rants are just perfect and I"ve been reading them aloud to hubby for the past few days now! Ha ha. Wish I'd discovered it earlier. 

The other day we had a couple arrive at 10:00am! I was still serving breakfast for heaven's sake, and they asked if they could check in. HELLO, did you not read the website/reservation confirmation/hear me tell you "check in is at 4:00" on the phone??? Where on earth can you check in anywhere at 10:00am without advance agreement? My goodness, what a job this can be sometimes! 

PS: LOL seashanty

PPS: I live in BC Canada, Beachhouse

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On the rare occasions that I got that request, I think that I answered them with the facts - Something like. "I'm sorry but check-out time is for the inn as well as your room as we prepare for the incoming guests.  I can recommend things to do until your (flight, event, etc.).  However, we'd be happy to keep your luggage for you if you don't want to keep it in your vehicle if you'll arrange a pick up time."  A compromise and often what is offered in hotels...
 

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seashanty's picture
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wow, does this bring back memories. like the girl who wanted to go for a run and leave her stuff. sure. past breakfast and checkout, she came back, scurried into my bathroom and suddenly i hear the shower running ... in 'my' bathroom off the kitchen and yes i often let folks use it rather than go up to their rooms at breakfast time or, flying solo, i'd have 4 rooms wanting to check in and someone needed the facilities after the long drive on a road seemingly to nowhere.  but, not for showers! what a mess she left. dirt all over the floor from her running shoes, etc.   to top it off, the charge for the balance due - i got most at reservation time thank goodness - did not go through - $10 crummy dollars!!! she had no cash (yup, no atm in the harbor) but promised to send a check. never did.

it didn't stop me from trying to be kind and helpful but i had to remember back to staying at a place with my late husband. one night. that morning, i didn't feel well. he went off to spend the day with his son and they said, yes you can stay until 3 pm - but i had to pay for another night's stay.  so i created late checkout fees by special arrangement. $50 would've made the messy shower and bathroom okay by me.  but only if i got the payment then and there.

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05/22/2008

Just keep it simple...no matter who the guests are. Check out is at XXX. You can't stay later than that...unless you want to pay an extra $50. We have to clean and have other appts and the house is locked up.

Otherwise, No luggage holding..no bathroom...no nothing..out the door you go!

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Agree Emptynest..we have tried to be accommodating over the years and it never works out to our benefit.  As difficult as it is to say no to guests, it works best to stick to your guns and get them out the door.  In the long run, you will be happy to have established a policy that is consistent and gives you the time you need.

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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A mid level answer is, I can hold your luggage for you and you are welcome to leave your car in the driveway, but I'm afraid I need to clean during these hours.

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Highlands John's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

A mid level answer is, I can hold your luggage for you and you are welcome to leave your car in the driveway, but I'm afraid I need to clean during these hours.

A nice offer, but even then it's an imposition on your day off. You always have to be on semi-alert because you never know when they're going to turn up for their luggage and you can't go out.

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Madeleine's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

A mid level answer is, I can hold your luggage for you and you are welcome to leave your car in the driveway, but I'm afraid I need to clean during these hours.

Oh, we won't get in your way! We'll be quiet as mice, you won't know we're here!

It's gotten so bad lately we don't put the coffee machine out until 3pm!

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Madeleine wrote:

Oh, we won't get in your way! We'll be quiet as mice, you won't know we're here!

We love you dearly, but unfortunately you can't stay here past check-out time, no matter how quiet you may be. There are some lovely coffee shops in town and you can meet the hipsters and share a table with them. 

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Madeleine wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

A mid level answer is, I can hold your luggage for you and you are welcome to leave your car in the driveway, but I'm afraid I need to clean during these hours.

Oh, we won't get in your way! We'll be quiet as mice, you won't know we're here!

It's gotten so bad lately we don't put the coffee machine out until 3pm!

 

yeah.   LOL

We have had success with leave your car, but often get the 'can I use a bathroom' question along with it.   BUT - big difference here - we don't share the house.  We have our own apartment.

Highlands John's picture
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Like most others I'd have told a fib to get rid of them.

They must have known they'd have a day to kill when they booked and it's a bit presumptuous to assume you can continue to use the Inns facilities after check out. As has been said before "A guests inability to plan, does not constitute a problem for me".

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Highlands John wrote:

Like most others I'd have told a fib to get rid of them.

They must have known they'd have a day to kill when they booked and it's a bit presumptuous to assume you can continue to use the Inns facilities after check out. As has been said before "A guests inability to plan, does not constitute a problem for me".

 

Of course next question is, can I use the restroom?   and then, we ordered lunch, can we eat it here?

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

Of course next question is, can I use the restroom?  

They get a firm no from me on that one and get directed to the public facility down the road.

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scribbles wrote:

Hey there, hubby & I are on our first year as innkeepers of a 4-guest-room heritage home. We share the whole house, so personal space is very minimal. Today's question: 

We booked today as a purposeful "day off" (no one checking in tonight) after a month-and-half of nonstop bookings. Looking forward to the house to ourselves, a kind of quiet romantic afternoon & evening. Had a nice couple stay last couple of days, returning guests from last several years (with other managers). After breakfast on check-out day today, they announced that they would pack up and check out of their room, but were going to stay round the house until 4pm when they had to leave to go catch their flight. As familiar returning guests, I felt awkward insisting that check-out is at 11am (check out of HOUSE!) --- so I just smiled and said OK, grumbling on inside. Hubby is more easygoing and feels that it's worth appeasing returning guests a few hours' time. 

 

Your thoughts??

 

We made the same 'rookie' mistake.  We've been doing this for almost a year and the first time someone asked for a late checkout we said, "sure!"  They said, "good, probably around 3."   We quietly said, "doh!"   

Lesson learned, when they say "late check out" we say, "what time did you have in mind?"   Or even better, "I can do it until noon, but I'm afraid I have appointments after that."   

Welcome!!  What part of the country are you in?   I am coastal New England.   

MountainMystery's picture
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We've dealt with these rookie mistakes too! What bothers me even more are the people that arrive at 9 am for their reservation.. even though check-in is not until 3!

I had a guy call yesterday and ask how early he could arrive for a reservation next week, because he works nights. I kind of frown to myself, beginning to wonder where this this headed, and explain that our check-in time is 3pm. If a guest arrives a bit early and the room is ready, we are happy to allow the guest to check-in early, but it really depends on our availability and whether the housekeepers have had sufficient time to finish the room. We can't guarantee any check-in earlier than 2 pm. He asks what he would have to do to be able to check into the room at 9 am, and I told him he would have to pay for the previous night. He starts getting upset and is like "Are you serious?? If the room is empty the night before, why can't I check-in at 9?" And I slap my head... Oh, so I guess I should just go ahead and block the room now and not take any last minute reservations (which we get a LOT of) because "Mr. Important" wants to check in at 9 am. Shesh... You can't win with some of these people...

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Madeleine's picture
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And with online booking the guests check the night before and arm themselves with, 'my room was open last night so you have no reason to not let me in right now.'

I hate those people.

I think I'm going to block all the rooms when I close the office at night.

Generic's picture
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I block at noon. I used to have it open and well, forgot to block when going to bed and someone booked at 11:59PM. Never again!

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I used your same rez system and it seems that since I didn't allow same day bookings online that the system blocked the rooms?  I know that I didn't want to mess up my reporting although now, I really think that I over thought waaaaaaaaaaaaay too many things. Hahahaha....

seashanty's picture
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maddy - i used to do that.

7 pm and i'd just block any open rooms for that night. it looked good online and it prevented the folks calling 'from their car on the road' at 8 or 9 or later who had to be at least an hour away wanting a room that night.  if i wanted to take walk-ins who appeared at the door, and they usually did every night, it was my choice.

i think the reservation system i used had an option to lock out reservations after a certain time and went immediately to the next day.

as for demanding an early check in ... seriously, demanding not asking, because they saw it was available the night before ... maybe i took the opportunity to shampoo the rug or patched a hole in the wall or didn't finish making up the room because i was tired.

do it.

Madeleine wrote:

And with online booking the guests check the night before and arm themselves with, 'my room was open last night so you have no reason to not let me in right now.'

I hate those people.

I think I'm going to block all the rooms when I close the office at night.

Madeleine's picture
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Should have done it tonight, they're still calling.

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

scribbles wrote:

Hey there, hubby & I are on our first year as innkeepers of a 4-guest-room heritage home. We share the whole house, so personal space is very minimal. Today's question: 

We booked today as a purposeful "day off" (no one checking in tonight) after a month-and-half of nonstop bookings. Looking forward to the house to ourselves, a kind of quiet romantic afternoon & evening. Had a nice couple stay last couple of days, returning guests from last several years (with other managers). After breakfast on check-out day today, they announced that they would pack up and check out of their room, but were going to stay round the house until 4pm when they had to leave to go catch their flight. As familiar returning guests, I felt awkward insisting that check-out is at 11am (check out of HOUSE!) --- so I just smiled and said OK, grumbling on inside. Hubby is more easygoing and feels that it's worth appeasing returning guests a few hours' time. 

 

Your thoughts??

 

We made the same 'rookie' mistake.  We've been doing this for almost a year and the first time someone asked for a late checkout we said, "sure!"  They said, "good, probably around 3."   We quietly said, "doh!"   

Lesson learned, when they say "late check out" we say, "what time did you have in mind?"   Or even better, "I can do it until noon, but I'm afraid I have appointments after that."   

Welcome!!  What part of the country are you in?   I am coastal New England.   

Agreed: If we check out of the room we won't be charged a late check out and will still USE the property.

We have been hosting elopements and people call and try to turn them into a wedding event (without paying for the venue). If we book all the rooms then... Uh no, you are not renting the facility for you and your family/friends. We caught onto that real fast... 

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The price we pay for being nice and being friendly. Sorry you had your time to yourself ruined Scribbles.

I say often when you reserve a room you don't reserve the innkeeper(s) and this is another such situation where they feel they can own you, your place, your time, even if they are not trying to be inconsiderate. People think innkeeping is a piece of cake, they have no idea the toll it takes to be "on" all the time. 

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we have this on a regular basis but we have a guest lounge and a yale lock so it shuts behind them - had this on sunday - large group come from 5 hour away city on a coach, most stay with us but rest at 2 other BB's as well - one lady had her husband with her not going to the conference and the coach driver - warned them it was going to be a complete zoo and got on with the full change.

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seashanty's picture
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ah, this is a tough one.  i sometimes did let folks stay.  but since you really needed the break and no place in house to have it, the fib of projects that need getting done is helpful.

but NEVER say you have to go out and then stay. i had guests/new best friend wannabe's who checked out but wanted to stay around and i told them i was sorry but i had to go out and lock up the b&b.  an hour later, still in the little harbor, they saw me and came around to the back door calling 'yoo hoo' .  i actually forced myself out the front door and into the truck and out the driveway, waving goodbye, so they would see i was leaving.  i drove off with no plan in mind, went to a farm stand, then another, then a perpetual yard sale, then came back. saw their car still in the lot and freaked out. i parked on the road instead of in my own lot and snuck back inside.  crazee. (me, not them)

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06/24/2008

Welcome. 

We have had these experiences as well.  When we can we allow the guest to make themselves comfortable and enjoy the property.  But if we have made plans, have an appointment etc. we do not feel obligated to them. 

Had these guests been up front with their intentions prior to their arrival you would have either been prepared to either agree to this or provide information of things they could do to fill their time. 

Hope you enjoyed the precious time you were able to capture.  We all need our down time, whether it is to share with a loved one or spend some quality time alone. 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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05/26/2009

I would have told them I'm so sorry, but we have plans today and have to close the inn. Offer them a few idea of where to go to relax for lunch and maybe a nice walk before they catch their flight. 

It's so important as innkeepers that we stay connected with our spouses and that means sometimes making them and our relationships a priority. If you don't, then that's when burnout will really hit you. 

Oh, and welcome to the forum!!

Madeleine's picture
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We've had this happen several times this week with guests we didn't know at all. And no announcement, they just wouldn't leave.

Very good suggestions were given to simply say, "I'm sorry, we have an appointment and we have to lock the house before we leave."

You need your time off.

In our case the stupid guests saw us running our buttss off trying to get the house cleaned up so they just settled in. I hate them more today than I did last week. It was horribly arrogant.

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Speaking as someone who has checked out but had a late afternoon plane flight, I'd say it was very nice of you to let them hang around the public areas of the house. Their only option would be to sit in an airport lounge for hours.

I can see where it would be a problem for you if you otherwise had an empty house and alone time, but they probably assumed you had other guests anyway, and they wouldn't be much trouble.

Put me down as one who will accommodate guests when I can, even if it's not what I'd really like to do.

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gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

When leaving for a certain Road Trip, to be convenient for the driver, I arranged to go to the airport after my City Council meeting and that put me at the airport at 11 PM for my 5 AM flight.. If it is good enough for me, guests can do it too.

 

As for turning away..... I have someone arriving Aug 30 who expects to arrive after 3 PM. The catch is I will be about 140 miles from here when he checks in. We will be locking all out doors since we have stay-overs on a 4-night so the front door will be unlocked and he ha been told where hi room is. Coming for his Mother's funeral and Labor Day weekend there is NOT going to be another place open. I did not have the heart to turn him away.

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Heading to the airport early is never a guests only option.  They would prefer to stay at the inn and relax but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't leave at checkout time.  They could go sit in a lovely coffee shop or restaurant or grab some to-go food/drinks and stop at a park or take a walk around the lake, etc.  There are almost always things for a guest to do outside of the property they are visiting so they should honor the checkout time.

We got a jerk one time who at checkout said that he was going to put his stuff in the car but that he had planned on staying around for the day ("until 4pm or so") and relax on the deck.  At that time we had no public restroom so where was he going to go.  That also meant that he'd be enjoying the cookies and sodas and beer that we had available for guests of course without paying for another day so I'd have to make extra just for him.  My husband told him that he was sorry that we had to clean and lots of stuff to do and that he'd have to leave.  He left us a bad review on TA saying that for $250 a night he should be able to stay until he wanted.  My reply on TA said exactly what another guest who was here later that day said "When you go to the Fenway Park and the game is over, out you go.  You don't get to stay until you want to."  Many people quoted that to us at checkin for a few months.

I'm a kind person but I hate assuming a**holes who think their happiness is more important than mine or that of my other guests.

happykeeper's picture
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12/11/2008

This is the way we do it as well.

I will say that we are clear about our check-out when asked and we don't offer this to guests, but if it is requested, we will accommodate. Notably, we have a private apartment where we can retreat. 

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01/12/2013

First off, welcome to the forum!  And congratulations on being so busy! 

A few will disagree with me on how I handle things, but I usually have to fib to people to get them to understand.  In your situation, I would have had to tell a little fib and simple say "Oh, I am SO sorry, but we've got some projects planned today in the common areas, and it just is not possible to do that with guests here.  Might I suggest you grab some lunch at........ to kill some time?" 

Your time is important, and I think they were pretty rude to just assume it would be okay to stay.  If  I were married, and this was a day I had planned with my significant other to be special for us, then I would definitely have asked them to leave.  I do this solo, so sometimes it's not a big deal to me if they hang around.  And sometimes it is.  That's my call and my decision if I want people around when they should have checked out.

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