People who want to rent all your rooms

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04/12/2016

Morning.. Looking for suggestions on how to respond to people who want to rent all your rooms for a family reunion, wedding group, etc.  We cringe when we get an email asking about renting our whole place out.   There's nothing worse to us than when all 8 rooms know each other.  We'd like to discourage it, but not sure how.  I have created a contract stating that the house is ONLY for guests staying here and some other key factors, plus I've added a $500 refundable security deposit.   It has discouraged some or at least have made people accountable if they do end up renting all the rooms.  

I'd love to say we don't rent out to groups, but not sure how to do that.  They could all make a reservation separately and we would have no control over it, especially if they did the reservation online.   

Would love to hear how you handle this situation.  

Lee2014's picture
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12/11/2014

   At the NE Inn...  One person pays for everything and it up to them to get the money back.  It has became the place to have girl parties for brides, mothers & daughters, family reunions, sailors staying while in port for events, etc.  We send wedding parties elsewhere but will take guests going to the wedding.  Due to the lack of parking downtown we let guests of guests meet here and leave their vehicles when they go downtown.  Two full parking lots looks good!

  

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Tom
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Whole house bookings have become profitable and fun market.  Maybe more personal work, more communications, but good on the whole.  Key is to have one person identified as the point of contact, and get (her) cell number.  Start off with "if you have any problems, please come to me right away, and (beat) if I have any problems, I'll contact you".

Tom
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Wedding here a few weeks ago, total 28 people.  Dad paid for whole weekend room and facility fee.  Early arrivals paid own room night.  Outside caterer for food and table service came by earlier to get access plan (DW guards kitchen with nearly lethal force).  All went well.  Ceremony was sweet and mostly there was a big family reunion (midwest, Oregon) spanning 4 generations.

I enjoyed hosting and helping them meet their expectations for a special day.  It worked because they were pretty laid back, and in my opinion, small, family weddings are more likely to be that way.  And, ... I live here, I am around, I have staple guns, blue tape, folding tables, extension cords, and a lot of patience. 

I can do two or three a year weddings or other types of whole house parties at the most.

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

I think part of the nomenclature of 'whole house' is that guests think it means the whole house. They assume the kitchen is included and they can bring in food and cook. So, there needs to be a better way to phrase it.

We used to host a group of writers, but they weren't 'together'. They didn't even sit together at breakfast or talk to each other. They were some of the easiest guest groups ever. Until one of them showed up with his whole family. Each room was booked, by the college, for one person. We were not set up for a family group to stay.

Then, he left and never came back to finish out the week. Left all of his class materials, including MS's from all the student writers in the class. I thought he was an arrogant ass before finding that, was convinced afterwards.

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Baygirl's picture
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05/26/2009

I agree, once people book the house they think they've rented the entire house and forget we live here.  Like Seashanty explained it's different with some groups.  Cyclists are totally different as are some of the yoga retreats or writing retreats.  When a family wants to book a whole weekend the vibe totally changes.   

Once I sent the person inquiring our policies and explained that we take children over the age of 13, that was the end of the full house booking.  She couldn't understand why we had a child policy.  I didn't elaborate and she just said that it wasn't going to work.  My response- Yippeeee!!!

We will be full in the summer on a weekend anyway.. I'll take 8 separate rooms where no one knows each other any day over a group.  

Thanks for all the feedback.. 

Silverspoon's picture
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We say "Sorry, we do not rent the house to a group, but ..." and then we proceed to recommend someone who does.  Period.  End of discussion.

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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05/26/2009

In the next 2 weeks I have 3 whole house wedding bookings. The key is to set limits and controls early on, especially at the time of booking. They pay a lot extra for the whole house and so far, my only complaints have been the amount of trash they leave and there is more clean up as far as crumbs, etc. 

We don't do receptions or anything catered. We're fortunately to have our own separate house on the property so I don't care how late they want to stay up and socialize. We've had great luck with groups, but the key is to tell them your expectations and stick by them. I walk through the house every couple of hours so they can see me, know I'm there (in the guise of helping) and either myself or DH is here all the time. 

The thing I learned early on is that we (innkeepers) have to give up some control. Don't worry about having everything in it's place if it's been moved, or cups and throwaway plates are in places they "shouldn't" be. Relax, it's their place during that time and you're just guiding them through. 

Typically, the wedding couple are not real young and having a 'party' is not what they're here for, so it works out great.

 

seashanty's picture
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06/02/2008

 I want to clarify something 

 Wedding groups, family get togethers - as a whole house rental. These are PARTIES. They can go great or horribly wrong depending on how responsible the group is, how much alcohol is involved, etc. Their focus is on partying. celebrating. Not my ideal guests because they often brought back more people with them. These groups were better suited to literally renting out a whole house (kitchen especially), not staying at a b&b. They didn't want to be confined to their rooms at a certain hour. 

 But I had GREAT success with whole house rentals of a very different kind. Bicycling groups - an annual thing - they bicycle from inn to inn, with the tour bus following in case of mishaps. Stayed two nights and then were on there way. Biggest challenge was all showering at the same time so the demand for hot water all at once was huge.

 Boaters - couples and friends - another annual thing - all rooms taken. Late middle agers and seniors. Stayed two nights MID WEEK which was fabulous for the bottom line. They motor from harbor to harbor together. Used the library as their bar/social room. No problems with these people at all. I went down to the harbor to wave goodbye. Sad to see them go, actually.

 Art classes, workshops, yoga groups, photography groups, focus groups - all rooms taken. Some were two nights, some were a week. I was happy to amend my schedule to suit these groups. There were a few hiccups but these whole house rentals were not there to take advantage of me or the place or to bring in friends and unregistered guests. They all pretty much went off together on a schedule, they each presented their challenges. Like where to store bikes safely, what to do with wet paintings and all their equipment, how to give all the quilters enough room to spread out. Since it was just them, the breakfast room became a quilting paradise after 11 am.

I just don't want to lump these whole house rentals with the party house rentals. 

Their focus was on their art or their craft or whatever. And they often booked for the next outing months in advance. Great for the bottom line.

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notAgrandma's picture
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07/07/2017

I cringe at whole house rentals, too. Agree w Generic. They are always more work than 4 rooms that don't know each other. Always. An innkeeper down the street from us charges a 15% gratuity for bookings of 3 rooms or more.

Last year, I was traveling to FL and looking at B&Bs for my stay. I stumbled across one that flat out stated on their website that they do not permit more than 2 couples traveling together to stay at their B&B. I can't remember the name of the B&B or I would share the phrasing of their multi-roon policy.

I wouldn't worry too much about folks surprising you by booking multiple rooms online. #1 - many of the people visiting my website apparently can't figure out that you can book more than 1 room at a time and #2 if someone is reserving more than 2 rooms for a weekend, they will call you and ask about getting a discount. Every single wedding party I've ever spoken with asks for a discount via email or phone. I even get whole-house bookings for graduation weekends & they want discounts, too.

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Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

We have guests who read or call about the fine print on multi room stays. Then I get 4 reservations in 3 days for guests from Colorado. Not a common occurrence. Yup, they bypassed the 30 day cancellation period and the 50% deposit and the 50% balance due on day 30.

A few weeks ago everyone was here for the same wedding. We didn't know until they showed up. 

OnTheShore's picture
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08/28/2011

We do whole-compound rentals, so far wedding groups have been the only ones to do so. We charge them an event facility fee plus a security deposit, in addition to the cottage rents, and everything is covered by a negotiated contract. 

We would have no problem with a family reunion group wanting to rent all the cottages, so long as they were not planning an event that involved lots of outside guests coming in, tent set ups or other vendors (caterer, etc...) coming on to the property, and infrastructure expectations (electricity, porta-potties, etc...) -- if all the latter, we would treat it similar to a wedding...

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JimBoone's picture
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12/18/2014

I prefer not to rent more than a couple of rooms to the same group/party at least on a weekend or period when the last minute loss of that business would hurt me.

Sounds like you have covered it fairly well. My response is usually along the lines of "I'm probably not the best choice for your event because" and list some points to sound friendly yet still discourage the group.

Difficult to know if individuals are part of the same group, I do say something in policies along the line of about groups, individual members of the same group/party/event being subject to different terms, but I couldn't tell you anyone really reads or cares.

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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06/24/2013

It can be a problem.   We don't like it either.  Having friends to breakfast, messing up the common areas.   We had one group that had most of the house.  Not all.   They kept leaving pictures all over the living room and I kept tidying them up.  They left a bad review saying we were unfriendly.   

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PhineasSwann's picture
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09/25/2012

Not sure why this is a problem. We require people getting married here to rent out the entire place. 

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Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

We understand it. People feel more entitled when they rent the whole place. 

I would simply add an extra cleaning fee to reservations over 3 rooms and require a separate contract that stipulates things like breakfast, usage of common spaces and their responsibilities versus yours.

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