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Don Draper

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Something that hasn't happened in a LONG time...ended up having a double booking for this weekend. DH took a Webervations that he forgot to write in the book, then two months later I took a phone reservation for the same room (still haven't figured out why it wasn't blocked out on the Webervations calendar, but it wasn't). Folks show up, we are red-faced, apologetic, etc. Explain what happened and pull out laptop to help find them a room for the weekend. They are understandably upset, and for whatever reason our apologies are only serving to make them more angry. They booked first, and they showed up first and they feel they should get the room.
I explain that unfortunately we made a mistake that was not in their favor, and the guests who are scheduled to be in "their" room for the weekend are getting in late, we already have arrangements made with them and I won't be able to get ahold of them before they leave. Also, will not be able to find a room for them at 10 o'clock at night (it was 2 pm at this point, and the "unlucky" couple was coming from a town about 30 miles away). Luckily several other area inns have comparable rooms for the weekend, they look at the websites/rooms and I tell them to choose whichever one they like, we will gladly pay any cost differential if they choose a room that is more than the one they had booked with us.
I personally call and make the reservation for the room of their choice (at a cost to us of $60), give them a map and directions and apologize (profusely!) again...it was a simple human error and I"m so sorry it happened, it is definitely NOT a regular occurrence for us. They will not budge, they are angry and leave as such. I feel like a heel but don't know what else I could have done to make it any better. NOT a good Friday!
This gives us a lot of food for thought as with the recent Webervations sale we are evaluating whether to change booking services, and I would dearly love to take this opportunity to totally get RID of the book and make it all electronic...will eliminate a step when taking a reservation. Lots to think about!
 

EmptyNest

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This could have happened with any reservation software. It is not the software's fault. You just missed updating the information. You did all you can do for those folks. I know you feel really bad..but what is done is done and you did your best. Move on. and lesson learned.
 

seashanty

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poor thing!
i understand. i did it myself this past summer. one online and one booking by phone ... unlike you, i know what i did wrong. i was making the reservation using the good old spiral notebook. when someone books through webervations, i would process the deposit and, at the same time, write the reservation in the notebook. well ..... one time i did not get the name written in the notebook so ... guest called ... yup, room is available. i glance at the computer schedule and don't know why i didn't see something amiss (like a booked room!). i take the info, write their name in the book and go to webervations, am interrupted, return to webervations where i see it blocked and think i just blocked the room right then.
sometimes i have looked at the wrong room or wrong date but have been able to make a 'save' before the arrival date.
when the guests showed up i luckily had another room for them but it was on the third floor, shared bath, etc. the 2nd nite, i had to MOVE them to another room. i gave them a free stay because the woman (young wife) actually started crying that she could not have 'her' room. so i started crying, too. felt a fool ... they ended up happy but i felt awful. they were actually the first to book but the other guests were already checked in.
now, another guest was able to hear all this and later told me she worked for a hotel where it was her job to find rooms for guests who ended up with no room. she said the hotel deliberately overbooked all the time based on the average number of no shows they get on a particular night or weekend. and that, for the most part, it worked out. can you imagine? that is NOT A JOB i would want. the place was in boston, massachusetts, and she would have to bring people and luggage to another hotel in the city. yuck!
just a thought, but it is POSSIBLE that these guests of yours had been deliberately overbooked by some hotel in the past ... hence their anger. this is why our policies mention 'we are a small place, cancellations affect us greatly ... etc.' because guests may think that a b&b is like a hotel that routinely does things this way.
 

Don Draper

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double post!.
SS, I think maybe I did the same thing...I took the phone reservation, got busy doing something else, then when I went to block out that room on the Webervations calendar maybe it was already checked and I thought I had done it. Definitely not Webervations fault. The three times this has happened to us it's been the same mistake on our part, not writing the Webervations request in the book.
Thanks for the feedback gang, I am past it now but yesterday I was just so upset that I couldn't seem to do ANYTHING to make them lighten up. I sincerely hope they are having a good weekend!
 

Morticia

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We do not take reservations if we are not sitting at the computer logged into the booking software. I DO have a paper book with guest names and that is just for reference if the power is out. If someone calls while I am out, I ask if they can go online to book. If they can't, I take their name and phone number and say I will call back when I am at home.
We have had one double booking that happened while we were booking someone on the phone while another guest was booking the same room online. Needless to say, the person on the phone started yelling that they should have first choice. We agreed and asked if they would like to upgrade for free or keep the room they had chosen. I don't remember how it turned out but everyone was happy.
We had a second double booking when I took the info after hours (ie- I was in bed and the computer was off) and someone else booked the room online. She, however, sent me an email saying she didn't think the booking went thru and could I check it. Gave me an out for giving her a different room.
Since then, NO bookings if I am not at the computer. It's too easy for it to go very wrong, very quickly. And it's not like we don't take these things personally, we do, and it bothers all of us to have this happen.
 

gillumhouse

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As an innkeeper I have been fortunate to so far, not have this happen - came close but did not happen. As a night auditor at a Holiday Inn, it was my job to fill those rooms. I missed a double book once by the guaranteed guest arriving as I was reaching for the last room tag. I do not know the policies of other hotels, but that HI was (if a double book occurred) required to:
#1 find another room
#2 PAY for 1 night at that hotel
#3 pay for 1 phone call so the guest could notify whomever of the new location
 

Don Draper

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As an innkeeper I have been fortunate to so far, not have this happen - came close but did not happen. As a night auditor at a Holiday Inn, it was my job to fill those rooms. I missed a double book once by the guaranteed guest arriving as I was reaching for the last room tag. I do not know the policies of other hotels, but that HI was (if a double book occurred) required to:
#1 find another room
#2 PAY for 1 night at that hotel
#3 pay for 1 phone call so the guest could notify whomever of the new location.
The first time this happened to us it was for a guest using one of our gift certificates. I let them re-use the GC at another weekend, AND we paid for that weekend at any area hotel. They were not great guests while they were here, a bit difficult and overall very hard on us and the house. After that I just didn't feel obligated to pay for the stay elsewhere...they were not out any money and in fact stayed at an upgraded room at no cost to them. The one time we were overbooked at a hotel on vacation, they found us another room and gave us a ride there, no extra compensation and I did not expect any.
 

gillumhouse

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As an innkeeper I have been fortunate to so far, not have this happen - came close but did not happen. As a night auditor at a Holiday Inn, it was my job to fill those rooms. I missed a double book once by the guaranteed guest arriving as I was reaching for the last room tag. I do not know the policies of other hotels, but that HI was (if a double book occurred) required to:
#1 find another room
#2 PAY for 1 night at that hotel
#3 pay for 1 phone call so the guest could notify whomever of the new location.
The first time this happened to us it was for a guest using one of our gift certificates. I let them re-use the GC at another weekend, AND we paid for that weekend at any area hotel. They were not great guests while they were here, a bit difficult and overall very hard on us and the house. After that I just didn't feel obligated to pay for the stay elsewhere...they were not out any money and in fact stayed at an upgraded room at no cost to them. The one time we were overbooked at a hotel on vacation, they found us another room and gave us a ride there, no extra compensation and I did not expect any.
.
that is why I said, at that property. I have no clue as to if it was an industry standard.
 

Copperhead

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Innsider, I had this happen onece, can't remember the details but it sure taugth me a lesson. I do think it is typical for the hotel industry to double book based on a certain % of cancellations. One of my friends was the assist. mgr of a HI in our town and many times called me for a room for a guest. For the most part we are the hotels first choice when it comes to this problem. It has worked out well so far. The guests (mostly) arrive here a little steamed but after a good nights sleep and a nice breakfast, they usually leave saying that they were happy they got bumped.
Glad you are feeling better about it. Just remember we are all human.
 

Samster

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We do not take reservations if we are not sitting at the computer logged into the booking software. I DO have a paper book with guest names and that is just for reference if the power is out. If someone calls while I am out, I ask if they can go online to book. If they can't, I take their name and phone number and say I will call back when I am at home.
We have had one double booking that happened while we were booking someone on the phone while another guest was booking the same room online. Needless to say, the person on the phone started yelling that they should have first choice. We agreed and asked if they would like to upgrade for free or keep the room they had chosen. I don't remember how it turned out but everyone was happy.
We had a second double booking when I took the info after hours (ie- I was in bed and the computer was off) and someone else booked the room online. She, however, sent me an email saying she didn't think the booking went thru and could I check it. Gave me an out for giving her a different room.
Since then, NO bookings if I am not at the computer. It's too easy for it to go very wrong, very quickly. And it's not like we don't take these things personally, we do, and it bothers all of us to have this happen..
We just had a double booking online with SI - 2 folks in the same party booking rooms at the same time booked a room that is part of one of the double suites & the other person booked just the one room. Oops. I have to go in the system & manually take whatever part of that double suite that's not booked out of service. First time this has happened in 9 months. Since the rez isn't accepted until I look at it, I just emailed the person who took the single room and asked him to pick any other room & I would offer it at the same price as the same room that he had booked. He actually ended up booking a room that was the exact same price. Whew! I couldn't move the other party to the other double suite because it was booked.
Stuff happens...no system is really perfect when you have these configurations unless it's programmed to take the other room out of service. There's no system out there that will do that, to my knowledge.
Most people are very understanding when you're a small lodging property, I think. It's a shame InnsiderInfo's guests were upset. Oh, well....
 

Samster

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Innsider, I had this happen onece, can't remember the details but it sure taugth me a lesson. I do think it is typical for the hotel industry to double book based on a certain % of cancellations. One of my friends was the assist. mgr of a HI in our town and many times called me for a room for a guest. For the most part we are the hotels first choice when it comes to this problem. It has worked out well so far. The guests (mostly) arrive here a little steamed but after a good nights sleep and a nice breakfast, they usually leave saying that they were happy they got bumped.
Glad you are feeling better about it. Just remember we are all human..
I think you're right about hotels. I have gotten a few rooms because the hotel closest to us has overbooked. It's like the airlines...they do rely on a percentage of cancellations. Not a good idea when certain things are going on in town & there are no rooms!
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Innsider how are you feeling now? It does happen and you do what you can do. I know that horrible gut feeling.
The only double booking I had was simply the guests in the room were here 3 nights and I had marked them down for two. The new guests - still makes me ill to think about it, was a travel writer for a motorcycle magazine. boo hoo hoo. When the orig guests talked about their day I realized they were NOT checking in. So I ran in here, looked at it all, saw my error, then called the motorcyclists who were still dining at the prev night's lodging.
They were totally nice, I told them LET ME PAY FOR YOU HOTEL TONIGHT, they declined, and said that was way more than necessary. I mailed them a free stay GC anyway which they never used but appreciated and said they still plan to stay with us in the future.
I WAS SICK. BLEW IT!
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Rule of innkeeping: "A room is never overbooked unless the whole house is booked"
 

Don Draper

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As an innkeeper I have been fortunate to so far, not have this happen - came close but did not happen. As a night auditor at a Holiday Inn, it was my job to fill those rooms. I missed a double book once by the guaranteed guest arriving as I was reaching for the last room tag. I do not know the policies of other hotels, but that HI was (if a double book occurred) required to:
#1 find another room
#2 PAY for 1 night at that hotel
#3 pay for 1 phone call so the guest could notify whomever of the new location.
The first time this happened to us it was for a guest using one of our gift certificates. I let them re-use the GC at another weekend, AND we paid for that weekend at any area hotel. They were not great guests while they were here, a bit difficult and overall very hard on us and the house. After that I just didn't feel obligated to pay for the stay elsewhere...they were not out any money and in fact stayed at an upgraded room at no cost to them. The one time we were overbooked at a hotel on vacation, they found us another room and gave us a ride there, no extra compensation and I did not expect any.
.
that is why I said, at that property. I have no clue as to if it was an industry standard.
.
I wonder what the industry standard IS? I guess it varies from property to property, and probably if they routinely overbook they are used to having to deal with it.
This is the part I'm struggling with...I would probably personally feel better to pay for the mistake. I like to be generous and I have an extraordinary need for everyone to be happy (this is why I was so upset in the first place, someone was MAD at me...oh the horror!). That is my own issue, I know. But the hard reality in this business for us has been that the nicer we are, the more we get taken advantage of...like if you show any softness or vulnerability it will eventually get shoved back down your throat. It disappoints me, and it's definitely been the biggest downer of being an innkeeper.
 

Don Draper

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Innsider how are you feeling now? It does happen and you do what you can do. I know that horrible gut feeling.
The only double booking I had was simply the guests in the room were here 3 nights and I had marked them down for two. The new guests - still makes me ill to think about it, was a travel writer for a motorcycle magazine. boo hoo hoo. When the orig guests talked about their day I realized they were NOT checking in. So I ran in here, looked at it all, saw my error, then called the motorcyclists who were still dining at the prev night's lodging.
They were totally nice, I told them LET ME PAY FOR YOU HOTEL TONIGHT, they declined, and said that was way more than necessary. I mailed them a free stay GC anyway which they never used but appreciated and said they still plan to stay with us in the future.
I WAS SICK. BLEW IT!.
I am doing MUCH better this morning, Junie, and thanks so much for asking. Basically I got over it, we've gone through the reservation book and compared all the rest of the year bookings with Webervations and tried to find any other potential mistakes, it didn't look like there was anything awry so here' s hoping!
Amplifying the whole drama of this situation for me has been that we are entering the "scary" time of the season...weekends only for the most part. Mostly I am so happy to have some down time (TWO WHOLE DAYS OFF IN A ROW STARTING TODAY!!!) but then the fear of paying the bills for the winter kicks in. I am working on it, we've been through this in several seasons so far, and already have some strong bookings for 2009...but the fear is there, "What if no one travels next year?". Trying to ignore that, at least for the next 48 hours!!!
 

seashanty

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see now, the little hotel across the road (only ten guest rooms) had been at an advantage for a long time. he rented the use of the rooms over here on the second floor from the past owner when this building was, to put it kindly, a 'wreck' .... a couple bought it as their summer place and then divorced leaving it empty and neglected. anyway, he does not promise his reservations a particular room ... just like the big hotels ... he only notes sleeping needs ... unless very rarely someone presses him for a certain room. he has a store room with additional beds and does a lot of moving things around last minute if need be. well, the first year i was here, he would call in a panic asking if i had a room, ANY room, because he had got in the habit of thinking he had five extra rooms to depend on. and could always wing it. a guest would arrive and he would say 'oh ... you are staying in our 'annex' across the road.'
 

gillumhouse

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Innsider how are you feeling now? It does happen and you do what you can do. I know that horrible gut feeling.
The only double booking I had was simply the guests in the room were here 3 nights and I had marked them down for two. The new guests - still makes me ill to think about it, was a travel writer for a motorcycle magazine. boo hoo hoo. When the orig guests talked about their day I realized they were NOT checking in. So I ran in here, looked at it all, saw my error, then called the motorcyclists who were still dining at the prev night's lodging.
They were totally nice, I told them LET ME PAY FOR YOU HOTEL TONIGHT, they declined, and said that was way more than necessary. I mailed them a free stay GC anyway which they never used but appreciated and said they still plan to stay with us in the future.
I WAS SICK. BLEW IT!.
I am doing MUCH better this morning, Junie, and thanks so much for asking. Basically I got over it, we've gone through the reservation book and compared all the rest of the year bookings with Webervations and tried to find any other potential mistakes, it didn't look like there was anything awry so here' s hoping!
Amplifying the whole drama of this situation for me has been that we are entering the "scary" time of the season...weekends only for the most part. Mostly I am so happy to have some down time (TWO WHOLE DAYS OFF IN A ROW STARTING TODAY!!!) but then the fear of paying the bills for the winter kicks in. I am working on it, we've been through this in several seasons so far, and already have some strong bookings for 2009...but the fear is there, "What if no one travels next year?". Trying to ignore that, at least for the next 48 hours!!!
.
Do you have a Kelly Services in your area? For years, I got through the winter (and the early years - spring through fall) by doing short term temporary jobs. The beauty of being a Kelly is that if you are busy, you decline and there is no black mark on your "permanent record". If the job lasted 3 days it was a long term for me. I got my start with them by being willing to get the "cover thy butt with clothes and get to the job" call - IF I did not have guests or a commitment with one of my volunteer things. I did one job for about 17 months because they (the employer) worked around MY schedule (RARE - but she wanted me). They still call if they have a job that involves lawyers or very professional types or if they (Kelly) are between a rock and a hard place and IF I can fit it in, I do it.
 

Morticia

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We do not take reservations if we are not sitting at the computer logged into the booking software. I DO have a paper book with guest names and that is just for reference if the power is out. If someone calls while I am out, I ask if they can go online to book. If they can't, I take their name and phone number and say I will call back when I am at home.
We have had one double booking that happened while we were booking someone on the phone while another guest was booking the same room online. Needless to say, the person on the phone started yelling that they should have first choice. We agreed and asked if they would like to upgrade for free or keep the room they had chosen. I don't remember how it turned out but everyone was happy.
We had a second double booking when I took the info after hours (ie- I was in bed and the computer was off) and someone else booked the room online. She, however, sent me an email saying she didn't think the booking went thru and could I check it. Gave me an out for giving her a different room.
Since then, NO bookings if I am not at the computer. It's too easy for it to go very wrong, very quickly. And it's not like we don't take these things personally, we do, and it bothers all of us to have this happen..
We just had a double booking online with SI - 2 folks in the same party booking rooms at the same time booked a room that is part of one of the double suites & the other person booked just the one room. Oops. I have to go in the system & manually take whatever part of that double suite that's not booked out of service. First time this has happened in 9 months. Since the rez isn't accepted until I look at it, I just emailed the person who took the single room and asked him to pick any other room & I would offer it at the same price as the same room that he had booked. He actually ended up booking a room that was the exact same price. Whew! I couldn't move the other party to the other double suite because it was booked.
Stuff happens...no system is really perfect when you have these configurations unless it's programmed to take the other room out of service. There's no system out there that will do that, to my knowledge.
Most people are very understanding when you're a small lodging property, I think. It's a shame InnsiderInfo's guests were upset. Oh, well....
.
Samster said:
We just had a double booking online with SI - 2 folks in the same party booking rooms at the same time booked a room that is part of one of the double suites & the other person booked just the one room. Oops. I have to go in the system & manually take whatever part of that double suite that's not booked out of service. First time this has happened in 9 months. Since the rez isn't accepted until I look at it, I just emailed the person who took the single room and asked him to pick any other room & I would offer it at the same price as the same room that he had booked. He actually ended up booking a room that was the exact same price. Whew! I couldn't move the other party to the other double suite because it was booked.
Stuff happens...no system is really perfect when you have these configurations unless it's programmed to take the other room out of service. There's no system out there that will do that, to my knowledge.
Most people are very understanding when you're a small lodging property, I think. It's a shame InnsiderInfo's guests were upset. Oh, well....
Can you list the double suite as separate rooms online? If I'm reading this right, it is possible to book each room of the suite individually and also as one big suite? If so, can you split them out so you cannot book the suite in one shot, but have to book each room separately? Makes for more work for the guest, but may stop this from happening in the future.
In your example, did they book room 5 and room 6 at the same time? (Not using room names to protect the guilty.
)
 

Samster

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We do not take reservations if we are not sitting at the computer logged into the booking software. I DO have a paper book with guest names and that is just for reference if the power is out. If someone calls while I am out, I ask if they can go online to book. If they can't, I take their name and phone number and say I will call back when I am at home.
We have had one double booking that happened while we were booking someone on the phone while another guest was booking the same room online. Needless to say, the person on the phone started yelling that they should have first choice. We agreed and asked if they would like to upgrade for free or keep the room they had chosen. I don't remember how it turned out but everyone was happy.
We had a second double booking when I took the info after hours (ie- I was in bed and the computer was off) and someone else booked the room online. She, however, sent me an email saying she didn't think the booking went thru and could I check it. Gave me an out for giving her a different room.
Since then, NO bookings if I am not at the computer. It's too easy for it to go very wrong, very quickly. And it's not like we don't take these things personally, we do, and it bothers all of us to have this happen..
We just had a double booking online with SI - 2 folks in the same party booking rooms at the same time booked a room that is part of one of the double suites & the other person booked just the one room. Oops. I have to go in the system & manually take whatever part of that double suite that's not booked out of service. First time this has happened in 9 months. Since the rez isn't accepted until I look at it, I just emailed the person who took the single room and asked him to pick any other room & I would offer it at the same price as the same room that he had booked. He actually ended up booking a room that was the exact same price. Whew! I couldn't move the other party to the other double suite because it was booked.
Stuff happens...no system is really perfect when you have these configurations unless it's programmed to take the other room out of service. There's no system out there that will do that, to my knowledge.
Most people are very understanding when you're a small lodging property, I think. It's a shame InnsiderInfo's guests were upset. Oh, well....
.
Samster said:
We just had a double booking online with SI - 2 folks in the same party booking rooms at the same time booked a room that is part of one of the double suites & the other person booked just the one room. Oops. I have to go in the system & manually take whatever part of that double suite that's not booked out of service. First time this has happened in 9 months. Since the rez isn't accepted until I look at it, I just emailed the person who took the single room and asked him to pick any other room & I would offer it at the same price as the same room that he had booked. He actually ended up booking a room that was the exact same price. Whew! I couldn't move the other party to the other double suite because it was booked.
Stuff happens...no system is really perfect when you have these configurations unless it's programmed to take the other room out of service. There's no system out there that will do that, to my knowledge.
Most people are very understanding when you're a small lodging property, I think. It's a shame InnsiderInfo's guests were upset. Oh, well....
Can you list the double suite as separate rooms online? If I'm reading this right, it is possible to book each room of the suite individually and also as one big suite? If so, can you split them out so you cannot book the suite in one shot, but have to book each room separately? Makes for more work for the guest, but may stop this from happening in the future.
In your example, did they book room 5 and room 6 at the same time? (Not using room names to protect the guilty.
)
.
I could list them separately BUT then, people would try to book a room that cannot be booked on it's own! That would create a BIG snaful!! This is much less of a headache with the way I have it set up. It was Room #2 & Room #3 that were booked simultaneously. I don't think that it will happen that often.
 
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