Guest never set foot in the door

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Joined:
03/28/2016

We are one of the top ranked B&B's in New Orleans.  We had a guest show up on Friday night at 9:30PM.  She texted on arrival and we stepped out front to greet her and help with baggage.  She was clearly agitated and immediately said she did not feel safe in our neighborhood.  We are just outside the French Quarter and they had indeed driven through a rough part of town to get here, but that's pretty much all of New Orleans. Her friend never exited the car.  I tried to assure her that this was our home and we have had thousands of guests with no problems whatsoever.  She was not consolable.  I offered to help her find alternative lodging in the high rise hotel district on Canal Street.  She said, "how rude"!  I then told her to do what she needed to do and she said they were going to find somewhere else to stay.  I explained that due to our cancellation policy, we would be charging the full amount of her two night stay which I did, using card on file.  

Her reservation was through Booking.com and sure enough, I got the email from them this morning.  Not only did it say that she was not comfortable with the neighborhood but that I was aggressive and intoxicated.  The wife and I had exactly one glass of wine a piece following our 8:30 check-in and were most definitely not intoxicated.  Booking.com asked for a response and we replied that we were standing firm that this is a cancellation/no show.

We struggled with whether to just eat this one to avoid a bad review but on principle, we decided to take a stance.  I am expecting Booking.com to refund her money and stick it to us.  (Have you read their policies?  It's vague but says they reserve the right to refund based on complaints and at cost to the accomodation).  I am also expecting a very negative review based on a five minute interaction.

I'd be interested in knowing what you would do under the circumstances.

 

Bob

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Joined:
06/24/2008

If you charged the card Bookingdotcom will not be able to provide the refund.  They will need to file a chargeback with their card company.  

Booking WILL contact you and beg you to refund the guest but it is up to you.  

notAgrandma's picture
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07/07/2017

In April, I had what could have been a horrible experience with a guest that placed a reservation through Exped for 3 nights. Every OTA booking receives an email confirming their reservation. First paragraph says “thanks for your reservation arriving on X & departing on Y. Our check in time is 4-6pm. Please call if you need to check in later than 6pm.” Our email system shows date stamps that the guest opened this email 4 times, most recently 3 days before their arrival.

At 5:30pm on the day of their arrival, I call their # & leave a VM asking for an ETA. I text their # at 7:30pm. I emailed them at 9:30pm thinking maybe the # is their home land line. No response. I put on my pjs and went to bed. The doorbell rings to my cell phone so if they actually show up I would wake up. At 12:21AM, guest calls to say they’re on a shuttle from the airport & will arrive shortly. The wife explains that their flight left California at 4pm so that’s why they didn’t call. A flight from CA to my city doesn’t take 8 hrs, so they obviously had a layover somewhere but didn't bother to call. Additionally, our check-in times are on our Expedia listing and in that email!

I sat by the front door for over an hour. They arrive at almost 2am. The wife comes to the door, says husband isn't sure if they're in the right place bc it looks like someone's house. I explain we're a bed and breakfast. They've never stayed at one and apparently wife booked it without really understanding. This couple is in their 60's. Husband was **mad**. He's coming into the door, grumbling about our front steps. Looks at the stairs he has to climb to get to his room and says he can't do it bc he has bad ankles. (our Exped listing says "must climb 1 flight of stairs".) Husband starts saying that he wants to stay closer to the airport and wants to cancel their reservation. I'm starting to get angry now bc it's 2am and I'm trying my best to keep calm & be polite. I was minutes away from handing them their $$ and sending them on their way. Instead, I explain that their reservation is nonrefundable. He begrudgingly agrees to stay. I am dreading the next 3 days but I couldn't afford to lose their reservation.

In the morning, both husband and wife are complimenting me on the B&B, breakfast, the beautiful neighborhood, their lovely room. By the 2nd morning, they're taking pictures of their room & their breakfasts & texting them to family. On their 3rd & last morning, they take several of our business cards and brochures, and husband is asking about our availability in August bc he wants to spend his birthday with us. Both guests hug me goodbye.

This was, by far, the biggest 180 turn I've ever experienced with any guests! surprise

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robline's picture
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08/07/2018

That's a great story!  Good take home message too, to be patient with late night arrivals.

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Highlands John's picture
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04/16/2010

Us and friends call this the "Jekyll  And Hyde" effect. People arrive tired, long day, lots of traveling, etc. 

It seems like different people come down to breakfast to the ones I showed up to their room the night before.

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Silverspoon's picture
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10/16/2011

Exhausted guests are really grumpy but you are obviously a gracious, seasoned host.  We always figure that if we can't "soften" them up after 3 days they just can't be softened and let it go at that.  Good job!

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Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

Wow! Good turn around!

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notAgrandma's picture
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07/07/2017

Thank you, Morticia & Silverspoon! I fully expected them to not enjoy their stay no matter how hard I tried. It was very unexpected that they "softened up". I'm not sure if I was the key component to their change in attitude. I think it was a combination of a comfortable room, good food, and a wonderful neighborhood. Plus, their visit to my city was a trip down memory lane bc hubby grew up here. He shared some great stories about the good ol' days!

Anon Inn's picture
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Joined:
09/26/2011

Oh my.  I had a couple of late check ins last week and was feeling pretty run down.  What a turnaround you pulled off.

one of our late ladies later gave us a nice review and said I reminded her of her grandma.  New one for me.  

Glad they enjoyed their stay and were able to connect with the community.  Love it when that happens!

gillumhouse's picture
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Joined:
05/22/2008

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. If they can find a few things to point to and say "I remember when...." they get the warm & fuzzy. Good job in keeping your cool that first night.

Tom
Tom's picture
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Joined:
10/11/2009

Similar experience.  Couple booked 3 nights by phone and I discussed room options while they were looking at web site.  Top of home page is photo of the inn sitting at the edge of the floodplain, 200 yards from the river.  Afternoon arrival, they pull up, I went out to greet as is my custom.  The gentleman is scowling.  "This isn't country.  Why aren't you right on the river?" I think we are pretty much country on 5 acres surrounded by woods, but I learned that he arrived driving through the mill district: fiber board, lumber, charcoal briquets - all 6 miles away. I mentioned the floodplain and that he had seen a photo of where we were when he booked.

He says he doesn't want to stay.  His wife, a pretty, wispy blond also in her 50's was remarkably detached from the issue, neither requested to offer nor volunteering an opinion, drifting in what I interpreted as a benzodiazepine haze.

My wife having arrived says, you should at least look at the inside, see the view from the room.  He goes in reluctantly, his wife stays walking around their car in circles.  My wife is trying to be persuasive,  a saleswoman.  Behind the guest's back I am making a big X with my hands mouthing No, No, No.  I phone another inn to see if they have room and send the guest onward, cancellation ok, no charge.  My wife was annoyed at losing the booking, but I swore to her I would have paid double to keep that couple out of my house.

I suspect same with you.  They owed the revenue, but they were not going to be happy.  Urban anxiety isn't easy to dispel.  And truthfully, nowhere is safe -- you can't guarantee their safety.

JimBoone's picture
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12/18/2014

ElysianFields wrote:

Her reservation was through Booking.com and sure enough, I got the email from them this morning.  Not only did it say that she was not comfortable with the neighborhood but that I was aggressive 

Sorry this happened, I'd probably seem aggressive as well to someone putting down my home and expecting to cancel on arrival and not be charged, this is why I've yet to sign up with any of the OTA's

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Generic's picture
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Joined:
02/24/2011

Who processes your charges with BK? We process, so they would have to go via CB. Or was this virtual card?

We recently had a guest that was problematic. They booked 2 rooms for 2 people and instead of 4, showed up 6. They argued with me over the fact that they were 6. When I relented (only because the rooms were allowed to accommodate 6, they didn't want to pay for the 2 extra. Then they accused me of trying to double bill them. I had to call BK to get them to intervene. It got worse.

The next morning I submitted the entire story to BK, what they had said, done, the violation of our terms of service, their terms of service, etc. BK was quite gracious about it. 

That being said, in all our 20+ years, we have had the "don't feel safe" story once. And it is entirely nonsense. 

If I get a review about it, nothing much that I can do other than point out that the attitude that I had about the entire situation was their own creation. I had a reservation for 4 and that was all that I had to admit, that was our agreed upon contract. They agreed to it on BK and I agreed to it. It's a two-way contract and I upheld my part.

In your case, it is safe and the person's feelings or perception doesn't change the fact. The room was there, ready and paid for, regardless of their personal decision. Part of contract is that you have the room reserved at a fixed price, you don't resell the room at a higher price because there is a contract in place. Likewise, they reserved a room and to pay for it, occupancy, no-show or cancellation, you fulfilled your part of the contract.

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