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Cancellations .... please remind me AGAIN

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ukmaineiac

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Just had a guest cancel a room for tomorrow night.
He knows the policy and didn't argue when I told him I would have to charge him for the entire stay.
The room was booked by his BIL who (JUST within the valid cancellation policy time) changed his stay from 4 nights to one night - so no penalty.
BIL is still staying for that one night.
The BIL did the same thing to me last year - turned a four room stay into a one night stay
At this time of year it's not as if I've had to turn people away because the room was already booked - so I haven't "lost" business
So WHY the heck do I feel so bad about charging him. Honestly, it's so much easier when they whine and moan and try and get out of it. Yes, I'm pretty sure they would be back (they're having a boat built). No, I'm not sure whether this will "sour" them to us (I feel like it must). Yes, this time of the year the money counts most.
I guess I know the answer but I feel like a heel. I've never gone the GC route before but maybe that's the way to go?
 

JBloggs

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No! Stick to your policies!!
STICK TO THEM!!!!
You feel like a heel? WHat are you kidding me? YOU DO? Come on this is a business, you are not their mommies, charge their butts! CHARGE EM DANNO!
(I just got of the phone with that prev cancellee and now he is coming inspite of it, so I feel a charge about this topic right now!
 

ukmaineiac

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No! Stick to your policies!!
STICK TO THEM!!!!
You feel like a heel? WHat are you kidding me? YOU DO? Come on this is a business, you are not their mommies, charge their butts! CHARGE EM DANNO!
(I just got of the phone with that prev cancellee and now he is coming inspite of it, so I feel a charge about this topic right now!.
Yup - posted first and then read your thread. It really covers everything. Everything everybody is saying is right. I just hate, hate, hate doing it. It's my weakness.
 

JBloggs

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I am with you. I don't like any of this either, but you will be angry with yourself if you let them walk all over you! YOUR BUSINESS YOUR RULES!
My policies page is becoming a novel!
Changing dates falls within the cancellation policy.
Because we are a small bed and breakfast, cancellations greatly affect us. When you reserve a room, we agree to turn away all other requests for that room and YOU AGREE TO PAY FOR THE RATE QUOTED AND THE NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HAVE RESERVED IT.
How hard is this, YOU BOOK IT YOU PAY FOR IT PEOPLE! Be firm now, this won't be the last time this happens!
 

Alibi Ike

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It's tough when you know you're going to see them again. We have one couple who do this all the time...book a week's stay and then whittle away at it until they're here for 2 nights. For me it's fine, he's rude as the day is long.
In your case it has nothing to do with how many guests you didn't turn away (and they do try to use that one me...'You don't have anyone else, why are you charging ME???') it has to do with planning for their stay.
 

Paradise

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The areas where I personally have difficulty are when things are not spelled out. HOWEVER, re: cancellations, where the policy is CRYSTAL CLEAR I DO NOT BUDGE.
Charge them AND without guilt. Otherwise, when they come my way they'll be shocked that they can't just cancel last minute & get away with it!!!
 

JBloggs

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Innkeepers UNITE!
When you wishy washy then they try it everywhere they go, think about us, think about these guests trying this with everyone. Why do Innkeepers need to NOT HAVE RULES? STICK TO EM!
 

Penelope

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The areas where I personally have difficulty are when things are not spelled out. HOWEVER, re: cancellations, where the policy is CRYSTAL CLEAR I DO NOT BUDGE.
Charge them AND without guilt. Otherwise, when they come my way they'll be shocked that they can't just cancel last minute & get away with it!!!.
Paradise said:
Charge them AND without guilt.
They don't feel guilty when they back out, why feel guilty when you follow thru? I would think you would feel guilty for NOT following thru on what you say you will do.
Don't think for a minute that they feel bad about making you feel bad. They don't.
 

ukmaineiac

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The areas where I personally have difficulty are when things are not spelled out. HOWEVER, re: cancellations, where the policy is CRYSTAL CLEAR I DO NOT BUDGE.
Charge them AND without guilt. Otherwise, when they come my way they'll be shocked that they can't just cancel last minute & get away with it!!!.
Paradise said:
Otherwise, when they come my way they'll be shocked that they can't just cancel last minute & get away with it!!!
OK - perfect comment. It isn't just me that is affected. It's the whole community needing to stand up for themselves and their policies. I like it - thanks.
 

ukmaineiac

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I am with you. I don't like any of this either, but you will be angry with yourself if you let them walk all over you! YOUR BUSINESS YOUR RULES!
My policies page is becoming a novel!
Changing dates falls within the cancellation policy.
Because we are a small bed and breakfast, cancellations greatly affect us. When you reserve a room, we agree to turn away all other requests for that room and YOU AGREE TO PAY FOR THE RATE QUOTED AND THE NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HAVE RESERVED IT.
How hard is this, YOU BOOK IT YOU PAY FOR IT PEOPLE! Be firm now, this won't be the last time this happens!.
Joey Bloggs said:
but you will be angry with yourself if you let them walk all over you!
Yes - I will.
 

gillumhouse

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At this time of year it's not as if I've had to turn people away because the room was already booked - so I haven't "lost" business
So WHY the heck do I feel so bad about charging him. Honestly, it's so much easier when they whine and moan and try and get out of it. Yes, I'm pretty sure they would be back (they're having a boat built). No, I'm not sure whether this will "sour" them to us (I feel like it must). Yes, this time of the year the money counts most.
I guess I know the answer but I feel like a heel. I've never gone the GC route before but maybe that's the way to go?
How do you KNOW you have not lost business? You have an availability calendar and have no way to know how many looked but you were booked either the date they wanted or the room so they went elsewhere.
OK, nice guy, give a GC and give away your future revenue. He knows the policy and did not whine - that means he is a man, not a whiny baby so probably a businessman who knows the score. Poor people do not have boats built so do not cry for him Argentina.
 

Tom

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We didn't address " I've never gone the GC route before but maybe that's the way to go?"
While I agree with the group (mob?) that you need to stick hard to policy, you have the luxury - or is it a burden? - of dealing with each customer, one at a time. If the guest is a decent fellow and you think they may be returning, take the money per policy and give them a voucher for ... $100 towards a future free night. Odds are they won't use it unless they are really planning to come back. Make it a voucher with an expiration date, not a gift card with a dollar value. This is an important legal issue in many states, as a gift card can't expire. The business deal is this: they cancel and forfeit the room cost; you as a courtesey, not in exchange for money, offer them a coupon for a future stay.
Sound complicated, but it can be a way to walk the fine line in guest relations.
 

Generic

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We didn't address " I've never gone the GC route before but maybe that's the way to go?"
While I agree with the group (mob?) that you need to stick hard to policy, you have the luxury - or is it a burden? - of dealing with each customer, one at a time. If the guest is a decent fellow and you think they may be returning, take the money per policy and give them a voucher for ... $100 towards a future free night. Odds are they won't use it unless they are really planning to come back. Make it a voucher with an expiration date, not a gift card with a dollar value. This is an important legal issue in many states, as a gift card can't expire. The business deal is this: they cancel and forfeit the room cost; you as a courtesey, not in exchange for money, offer them a coupon for a future stay.
Sound complicated, but it can be a way to walk the fine line in guest relations..
The fee is a cancellation fee and is not related to the GC at all. The easiest way to make this clear is to send a receipt for the cancellation fee, seperately.
You can make a GC in an amount as long as it is seperately offered and you mark the cost as $0. Then you can attach conditions to it as you please including an expiration date. In our case we clearly state "For accomodations only. Cannot be used to pay fees, including cancellation fees." We give them a year. You can also make it valued only in low season for example and exclude holidays.
I have yet to ever cash even one of them. But they are ever so grateful that we have given it to them out of the goodness of our heart.
 

Alibi Ike

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At this time of year it's not as if I've had to turn people away because the room was already booked - so I haven't "lost" business
So WHY the heck do I feel so bad about charging him. Honestly, it's so much easier when they whine and moan and try and get out of it. Yes, I'm pretty sure they would be back (they're having a boat built). No, I'm not sure whether this will "sour" them to us (I feel like it must). Yes, this time of the year the money counts most.
I guess I know the answer but I feel like a heel. I've never gone the GC route before but maybe that's the way to go?
How do you KNOW you have not lost business? You have an availability calendar and have no way to know how many looked but you were booked either the date they wanted or the room so they went elsewhere.
OK, nice guy, give a GC and give away your future revenue. He knows the policy and did not whine - that means he is a man, not a whiny baby so probably a businessman who knows the score. Poor people do not have boats built so do not cry for him Argentina..
gillumhouse said:
... so do not cry for him Argentina.
Oh this is awful. I can SO see UKManiac belting out that tune! My guess is there's probably a dress to go with it, too!
 

gillumhouse

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At this time of year it's not as if I've had to turn people away because the room was already booked - so I haven't "lost" business
So WHY the heck do I feel so bad about charging him. Honestly, it's so much easier when they whine and moan and try and get out of it. Yes, I'm pretty sure they would be back (they're having a boat built). No, I'm not sure whether this will "sour" them to us (I feel like it must). Yes, this time of the year the money counts most.
I guess I know the answer but I feel like a heel. I've never gone the GC route before but maybe that's the way to go?
How do you KNOW you have not lost business? You have an availability calendar and have no way to know how many looked but you were booked either the date they wanted or the room so they went elsewhere.
OK, nice guy, give a GC and give away your future revenue. He knows the policy and did not whine - that means he is a man, not a whiny baby so probably a businessman who knows the score. Poor people do not have boats built so do not cry for him Argentina..
gillumhouse said:
... so do not cry for him Argentina.
Oh this is awful. I can SO see UKManiac belting out that tune! My guess is there's probably a dress to go with it, too!
.
That is what I figured.
 

Alibi Ike

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We didn't address " I've never gone the GC route before but maybe that's the way to go?"
While I agree with the group (mob?) that you need to stick hard to policy, you have the luxury - or is it a burden? - of dealing with each customer, one at a time. If the guest is a decent fellow and you think they may be returning, take the money per policy and give them a voucher for ... $100 towards a future free night. Odds are they won't use it unless they are really planning to come back. Make it a voucher with an expiration date, not a gift card with a dollar value. This is an important legal issue in many states, as a gift card can't expire. The business deal is this: they cancel and forfeit the room cost; you as a courtesey, not in exchange for money, offer them a coupon for a future stay.
Sound complicated, but it can be a way to walk the fine line in guest relations..
I've tried the voucher once. The guests were miserable about having to leave early. But, hey, why did they plan to go to 2 weddings in the same weekend? Not my problem that they 'found out' about the second wedding while at the first. But, they were really nice, very apologetic, etc, etc. The voucher expires next month. I could have rebooked their room as they were telling me they couldn't stay but I didn't want to deal with drunken wedding pick-ups so I offered this couple a voucher and left the room empty.
 

muirford

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When a guest doesn't give me a hard time, I often send a gc for a two-for-one; pay for one night, the second night free, along with the receipt, and with a quick expiration date and non-transferrable. Some use it, and they've turned out to be fine guests. Some go unused. I have had people change their minds and come after all when they find we're going to charge them - that happened recently and they were perfectly fine when they got here. But I was dreading their arrival the whole time.
 

seashanty

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UKMaineiac said:
So WHY the heck do I feel so bad about charging him.
i think it's because you are reacting emotionally and personally ... instead of as a business owner. i think it's because you love your guests to love you and wonder if they will still love you if you enforce your policies.
my advice ... no gc. no refund. IF there is a complaint, then you might come to some kind of other arrangement. (i hope not) let it stand.
let me remind you, i think i have shared this here before. a few years back ... i had made a reservation with jet blue to fly from florida to boston. bought and paid for in advance, that's how i got the 'deal' price. some time went by and i got a call that my dad was in the hospital ... but no rush, come back to mass. in a few weeks as planned the family told me. got off the phone and suddenly i knew he was dying even though no one said so and i changed my flight ... moved it up a couple weeks instead of keeping with my original plans. good thing i did because he passed away before i would have been back. and i was able to see him, talk to him, before he died.
long story short ... jet blue would not let me change my flight even though this was an extreme situation to me ... i had to buy the new ticket at a much higher price. after the funeral and all, i contacted them and kept at them (for months) and they finally gave me a $50 dollar voucher towards a future flight which i have yet to use ... but no way would they refund my original ticket price or the difference between the original ticket and the new one. would i stop flying with them? no. i knew the policy when i booked but i was hoping for a break.
i realize that with b&b's it's a small, very personal business that is often the owner's home and it feels so personal to charge for these things, we often develop relationships with our guests ... but i also realize how hard last minute cancellations are on you.
 

Tom

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UKMaineiac said:
So WHY the heck do I feel so bad about charging him.
i think it's because you are reacting emotionally and personally ... instead of as a business owner. i think it's because you love your guests to love you and wonder if they will still love you if you enforce your policies.
my advice ... no gc. no refund. IF there is a complaint, then you might come to some kind of other arrangement. (i hope not) let it stand.
let me remind you, i think i have shared this here before. a few years back ... i had made a reservation with jet blue to fly from florida to boston. bought and paid for in advance, that's how i got the 'deal' price. some time went by and i got a call that my dad was in the hospital ... but no rush, come back to mass. in a few weeks as planned the family told me. got off the phone and suddenly i knew he was dying even though no one said so and i changed my flight ... moved it up a couple weeks instead of keeping with my original plans. good thing i did because he passed away before i would have been back. and i was able to see him, talk to him, before he died.
long story short ... jet blue would not let me change my flight even though this was an extreme situation to me ... i had to buy the new ticket at a much higher price. after the funeral and all, i contacted them and kept at them (for months) and they finally gave me a $50 dollar voucher towards a future flight which i have yet to use ... but no way would they refund my original ticket price or the difference between the original ticket and the new one. would i stop flying with them? no. i knew the policy when i booked but i was hoping for a break.
i realize that with b&b's it's a small, very personal business that is often the owner's home and it feels so personal to charge for these things, we often develop relationships with our guests ... but i also realize how hard last minute cancellations are on you..
seashanty is right about how badly airlines treat the customer ... not something for a B&B to aspire to. Just saying.
Cancellations are a big dollar and policy problem for all of us. Nearing our second year in the Inn, we have learned to be firm to avoid getting jerked around. But when the policy becomes too hard and too authoritarian, it adds a little more to the small pile of reasons why people don't want to choose B&B. We have to balance. I do the breakfast here. Personally, I'd love to have a 7 night minimum and 6-month cancellation policy; if I did, I'd get to sleep late every morning ...
 

Alibi Ike

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UKMaineiac said:
So WHY the heck do I feel so bad about charging him.
i think it's because you are reacting emotionally and personally ... instead of as a business owner. i think it's because you love your guests to love you and wonder if they will still love you if you enforce your policies.
my advice ... no gc. no refund. IF there is a complaint, then you might come to some kind of other arrangement. (i hope not) let it stand.
let me remind you, i think i have shared this here before. a few years back ... i had made a reservation with jet blue to fly from florida to boston. bought and paid for in advance, that's how i got the 'deal' price. some time went by and i got a call that my dad was in the hospital ... but no rush, come back to mass. in a few weeks as planned the family told me. got off the phone and suddenly i knew he was dying even though no one said so and i changed my flight ... moved it up a couple weeks instead of keeping with my original plans. good thing i did because he passed away before i would have been back. and i was able to see him, talk to him, before he died.
long story short ... jet blue would not let me change my flight even though this was an extreme situation to me ... i had to buy the new ticket at a much higher price. after the funeral and all, i contacted them and kept at them (for months) and they finally gave me a $50 dollar voucher towards a future flight which i have yet to use ... but no way would they refund my original ticket price or the difference between the original ticket and the new one. would i stop flying with them? no. i knew the policy when i booked but i was hoping for a break.
i realize that with b&b's it's a small, very personal business that is often the owner's home and it feels so personal to charge for these things, we often develop relationships with our guests ... but i also realize how hard last minute cancellations are on you..
seashanty is right about how badly airlines treat the customer ... not something for a B&B to aspire to. Just saying.
Cancellations are a big dollar and policy problem for all of us. Nearing our second year in the Inn, we have learned to be firm to avoid getting jerked around. But when the policy becomes too hard and too authoritarian, it adds a little more to the small pile of reasons why people don't want to choose B&B. We have to balance. I do the breakfast here. Personally, I'd love to have a 7 night minimum and 6-month cancellation policy; if I did, I'd get to sleep late every morning ...
.
Interestingly, there is a place near me that DOES have a 6- or 7-night min during July & August. May and June it's 3 nights. Unless they are filling in holes you cannot stay there for less than 2 nights at anytime of the year. I looked for their cancellation policy but didn't find it. and it's 21 days.
You also have to fill out a form to make a rez, no online booking. Right now the rates are running from $265-$425/night.
Now I could never get away with this because I don't have the draw this place does- ocean frontage in a quintessential summer beach town.
 
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