A Tale of Night & Day - First Two Reservations Ever

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I never post my opinions or negative experiences on social media (I don't know when someone is just having a bad day for reasons I can't appreciate but would likely empathize with), so I'm coming here where 1) I have received so much valuable insight from everyone's experiences and 2) I hope you'll at least feel a little sorry for me just to make me feel better Smiling.

After ten years dreaming, my Chef husband and myself (an accountant and healthcare finance manager) left our stateside lives and opened a B&B in the Caribbean.  After all of the hard work, stress and late nights, we had our first guest.  He was the guest B&B owners dream of!  He was here for work, and loved our place so much that his coworkers transferred from their hotels to stay with us as well.  Of course we worked hard to give them the personalized service they expected and we aspire to, and it was totally worth it!  He'll be coming back with his wife later this year and we can't wait to see him again.

And then our second reservation showed up late yesterday, a day late after missing their flight because the husband just didn't feel like driving to the airport yet (with his pregnant wife).  She's furious with him and he's looking for a party.  We had dinner ready for them last night since they missed breakfast and everything was closed.  They barely ate, and after all the signs and explaining the no smoking policy, he's been smoking nonstop on the back deck.  Neither booked a car rental on an island with no rentals available without a reservation (which I'd told them ahead of time).  We've given them a ride to the store, called all the rental agencies on island, given them the information for all of the taxi services, and even offered them transportation to several places to enjoy their day. They have left their breakfast uneaten, and have been yelling at each other all morning in their room (and last night, they wouldn't even shut their door - I had to do it for them 3 times).  They told me through a text to leave breakfast out for them that's been sitting there for over an hour.  We are carefully navigating our way through this as we don't want the situation to escalate.

I've read other posts that 80% of guests are good to great, 10% are harder, 9% are extremely difficult and 1% make the "never again" list.  I pray that's true, and that my second-ever reservation means I've rounded that particular 1% corner and great times are ahead (like my forever-favorite first reservation!)

Iris's picture
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Hello all, I haven't checked in here for a very long time. 

 

Ha,  I have a story for you that a fellow innkeeper here in our tiny, sleepy town experienced.
On the first day of taking over this small motel, they had someone commit suicide in one of their rooms. How'bout that to start one's innkeeping career ?

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"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..."
Mark Twain

 

Lee2014's picture
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  I was also "baptized by fire" as an innkeeper.  It makes you enjoy every guests you have that is wonderful and they enjoy you!  May you have wonderful guests the rest of the year!   And happy leap day tomorrow!

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Have a great day!

 

Tom
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Oh My! A terrible start.  We innkeepers all have a few of these stories, they come out when the cream sherry is poured -- or for you, the rum punch.  Good luck and be cheerful, most people are fun to host.

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With regard to damages ... it’s a good idea to take pictures, however gross ... to substantiate your claim. I had a group of party animals stay for a wedding that got drunk, were noisy etc. when they all went to bed I was relieved .... until we saw the state of their rooms.

Two chambermaids threatened to quit if i insisted they clean the worst room so I did it. They ((two brothers)) had vomited in several places, and damaged walls with it that’s how bad it was. They smoked cigars, probably blunts, and cut a hole in the screen to blow it out the window. Broke a chair, who knows how. The room looked like there had been a cheesy wrestling match in there.

They bugged out early rather than face me. I took pictures of it all. Bundled them all up in an email with a receipt for the damages I charged them for. They did not contest it.

 

PhineasSwann's picture
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09/25/2012

We actually have some verbiage about damage in our policies, and on some occasions have charged customers' credit cards for damages after departure. 

Of maybe a half-dozen such cases, only once did someone call to question and dispute it -- and gave up after we let him know that if he wanted to challenge it we'd be happy to bring the local sheriff into the case. That was the end of it. 

They can always file a chargeback against you, but to date none of ours have. Most sheepishly accept that they damaged our rooms and move on. 

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Darren
Innkeeper & Owner

 

seashanty's picture
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Glad to see you're already smiling again.

My take on the unhappy guests is that it had nothing to do with your place. Love on the rocks. It's a shame. But there's nothing you could do to fix it. 

 

 

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07/22/2019

Thank you seashanty!smiley

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09/26/2011

Hugs.

You sure started off with a roller coaster!

You know the troubled guests have deep problems of their own, nothing to do with you.  Reading between the lines, you seemed to have navigated over and above service with just enough hands off for minimal harm to you or the property.  

These two are perfect examples of the 1%. All you can do is your best.  It is clear you did very well.  

heart

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07/22/2019

I'm with you Anon!  Quite the ride indeed!  And thankfully through this post I've learned more about anonymity as well!  I appreciate the feedback and wish you the best....

PhineasSwann's picture
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After 7 years at this, I think your percentages are about right. 

Reminded me of the guy who called us Christmas morning to order a gift certificate for his wife. And wanted permission to tell her that he'd ordered it two weeks ago and "we forgot to send it to him." 

Fast-forward eight month later and his wife shows up and uses her gift certificate ... without her now-ex-husband. 

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Hahahahaha - thank you for an awesome laugh!

Our guests checked out this morning and the room was an absolute wreck.  I definitely lost financially on this one, but I gained a ton of new knowledge!! Smiling

Morticia's picture
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CoralKeeper wrote:

Hahahahaha - thank you for an awesome laugh!

Our guests checked out this morning and the room was an absolute wreck.  I definitely lost financially on this one, but I gained a ton of new knowledge!! Smiling

 Do you clean while the guests are in residence? We find a daily check keeps the ruination to a minimum.

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What a long, strange trip it’s been.

 

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Oh yes indeed we do.  While we saw the lack of respect for the space evolving, at first it wasn't anything completely unexpected (open doors and windows (even when they left the property) to let critters in and air condition the Caribbean Sea (because you know, it gets toasty outside! Smiling) and "hiding" smoking on our seaside balcony.  But we didn't expect to have to shut the room down for several days upon their departure to air out the smoke cell (and it wasn't cigarette smoke - they chose to bring other odiferous festivities inside during their last night), a new luxury robe damaged beyond repair (stains and burns), an entire container of makeup dumped on a rug (that's now in the trash) and tracked through the bedroom and bathroom, various food stains here and there (where did they find bright orange hot sauce???) and a milk carton turned sideways that drained all through the inside of a new mini-fridge.  And those are just the worst parts.

It's actually quite impressive how much they "accomplished" given their late arrival - they were only here a total of 41 hours!  I see the makings of a new reality TV show....heehee.  The other side of the coin, though - when talking with them face to face, they were just about the nicest couple you could meet with the happiest smiles.  It was quite bizarre.

Thankfully, I'm already (almost) over it and am smiling while I type this, have adjusted our policies and signage accordingly, and am looking forward to the next guest!

JimBoone's picture
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Julie, unfortunately some folks just ain’t happy, fortunately we don’t see many of them. We’re old timers, both age and been doing this a while, I think that it gets easier with time, perhaps knowing how to attract the folks you like or dealing with the ones that don’t fit and I suppose even nice folks sometimes forget their manners from time to time.

You can try to help, but can’t really fix the other fellows happiness, now if their unhappiness (or smoking) is a cause of your being unhappy maybe time to read them the riot act, call them a cab and send them down the road.

__________________

Jim & Maxine

 

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07/22/2019

Thank you for your insight!  I thankfully have learned myself that I can't make anyone else happy if they refuse to choose the positive path Smiling

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Very thankful you had the good first - would hate to have you turned off innkeeping by a nasty soul. He could just be a nasty piece to start with OR he could be angry with himself for missing the flight and having to pay more but will blame everyone else. They exist and we just have to do what we do.The ONLY one that can make him happy is him.

You will have more of the first than the second reservation. Enjoy and have many good years as innkeepers.

BTW:This IS a good place to get the "poor baby" we all need from time to time. As Mort pointed out, you do not want to reveal who you are to the world. I do be me because I am too old to remember my anon ID.

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07/22/2019

Glad to hear the affirmation that the best is yet to come! Smiling  (And I appreciate the anon feedback...)

Morticia's picture
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PS - it may be easier to share here if you don’t also post all of your info. You’ll be amazed how quickly a search for your place turns up this site, too.

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07/22/2019

Hi Mort!  Thank you so much for the insight and I couldn't agree more!

So my apologies for bothering you with this question:  This was my first post out here and I actually didn't realize that all my info was associated with this post.  How do I post anonymously, and is it too late to change this one?

Shame on me for breaking my own internet rule Sad  I just needed an Innkeeper friend and confidant Smiling

Morticia's picture
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If you edit your profile and remove the info there, then it disappears. 
 

Looks like you already figured it out.

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07/22/2019

I looked around a little but wasn't sure it was actually that easy Smiling

Thanks again!

Morticia's picture
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Welcome to innkeeping! Good to get those cranky ones out of the way right off the bat. It’s harder once you’ve gotten used to the regular people!

 hopefully the guy who is unhappy is not there too much longer. Imagine how the pregnant spouse is feeling knowing she’ll soon have two kids to handle.

i know some think it’s our responsibility to turn those frowns upside down, but not me. You get my pleasant self, but you need to make the effort to also be pleasant.

 My take on guests who don’t follow our advice and proceed to do what they want is they have to live with those choices. No car? Then walk. Have to smoke? Perhaps you need to stay somewhere that allows that, let me help you carry your bags to the street. Afraid you’ll have to change your party lifestyle now that there’s a baby on the way? Aw, gee, sucks to be you.

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