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Hillbilly

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Just thought I would start the conversation. Just checking to see if this is affecting anyone yet? I live in a tourist town and business is really slow. A lot slower than it should be. People are saying tourism is going to be hit hard in our area. What will you all do if someone calls to cancel because of the virus? Give deposits back? Will this be a new way out for some? Just thought it would be a good discussion to get started so we are all prepared.
 

Morticia

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Total tourist area here as well. If my area suddenly makes the news as a hot spot for germs, of course I’ll refund and allow cancellations.
I don’t think there’s much prep work we can do in advance. It is not clear to me if trip insurance covers this, it appears not. And I’m still treating this, personally, the way I would if it was cold and flu season.
I’m guessing places that will be hit hard are big event venues where a lot of people are jammed together. (Conventions, arenas, things like that.) Obviously, media hype will not help. I feel really badly right now for the family of the ‘first person to die!!!’

If a guest is the kind of person who would use this as a reason to cancel something they changed their mind about, they’d find something else if this wasn’t going on. If they are really sick, I’d appreciate them staying home. If it’s my location that’s an issue I’ll have to deal with it.
BTW, booking has already sent an email saying the virus should be taken into consideration if a guest wants to cancel. They know it’s a thing already. And not every part of the vacation chain is refunding. Friends cannot get several thousand dollars back from their planned vacation because the airline is still flying to their destination even tho much of the city is closed. (Hotels all refunded, airline refuses.)
 

JimBoone

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Guess I’m just an old grump, but if there wasn’t bad news of some sort, the news media would be out of business, they like pushing the bad things in life.
i figure people are still going out to work and buy food so why is travel different other than media hype? Most of us here aren’t the large convention type properties that expose masses of people.
Put the other way, are we ready to close up and hide so as not to be exposed to our visitors? I hope most people are logical
 

gillumhouse

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B.con has been gettting a LOT of discussion on BedPosts on this. These are from 2 innkeepers but the general thought is no refunds unless their location becomes a hotspot.
https://partner.booking.com/en-gb/help/legal-security/important-information-regarding-coronavirus
Forced Circumstances declared by B.com This MAY get complicated.
As someone said, travel insurance firms will not pay unless the government of the country has advised against travel to a location, however I would question the legal right of booking.com (and others eg agoda) to unilaterally overrule advice from national governments.
If anyone knows the legality of BDC statement(s) we'd be very interested to hear it - seems awfully like a charter for all those lovely people who booked through BDC 2 years ago thanks to their "Free Cancellation" (small print) "on most bookings" advertising, to re-raise their unwanted bookings.
 

Arks

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It's just getting started and nobody knows where we'll end up. I spent the weekend in the New Orleans French Quarter and business was booming. But that will start to change for everybody as things develop. It's just too early to say, but people are likely to start staying home and avoiding travels for a while. I think they'll take those trips eventually, but might postpone for a while.
 

Morticia

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I have been reading some travel blogs this morning and it seems airlines are allowing flight changes without penalty IF the destination airport or the destination country has closed its borders to flights or major events have been canceled.
Obviously we do not have that kind of money. However, what options do we have? I think that’s what you were asking at the outset.
  • Allowing guests to reschedule without penalty
  • Refusing to allow any changes
  • Keeping deposits but not charging the balance for last minute cancellations
  • Stating we are taking the lead of our local government
On another front we could also be sure to have sanitizing hand cleaners at the door, be sure to wash our own hands immediately after check in, clean rooms thoroughly because the last thing we want is to help the virus get stronger.
I don’t shake hands, but if you do, stop. No one should expect hand shaking if this gets crazy.
I hate to use this as a way to push smaller properties, but... you can open the windows here, it’s not recycled air blowing on you while you sleep; it’s not a buffet where a hundred other unhygienic guests have handled everything before you got there; we actually clean the rooms with clean cloths and disinfectant, not the same rag from room to room.
 

Hillbilly

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I have been reading some travel blogs this morning and it seems airlines are allowing flight changes without penalty IF the destination airport or the destination country has closed its borders to flights or major events have been canceled.
Obviously we do not have that kind of money. However, what options do we have? I think that’s what you were asking at the outset.
  • Allowing guests to reschedule without penalty
  • Refusing to allow any changes
  • Keeping deposits but not charging the balance for last minute cancellations
  • Stating we are taking the lead of our local government
On another front we could also be sure to have sanitizing hand cleaners at the door, be sure to wash our own hands immediately after check in, clean rooms thoroughly because the last thing we want is to help the virus get stronger.
I don’t shake hands, but if you do, stop. No one should expect hand shaking if this gets crazy.
I hate to use this as a way to push smaller properties, but... you can open the windows here, it’s not recycled air blowing on you while you sleep; it’s not a buffet where a hundred other unhygienic guests have handled everything before you got there; we actually clean the rooms with clean cloths and disinfectant, not the same rag from room to room..
You have some great points and ideas!
 

Innkeep

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Not Covid19 but my brother and SIL decided this year’s school vacation was the time to take a Disney cruise. By the time they flew from VT to FtLauderdale the 3yo granddaughter had a fever. The ship’s doctor came down and with a test kit diagnosed influenza. So the 3 yr old was banned, but the others were “welcomed” to go aboard. Long and short, not even their trip cancellation insurance will pay since only one was sick. They ended up renting a car and driving to Kissimmee and going to Disney World.

So the moral of the story is to read the fine print.
 

Arks

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I have been reading some travel blogs this morning and it seems airlines are allowing flight changes without penalty IF the destination airport or the destination country has closed its borders to flights or major events have been canceled.
Obviously we do not have that kind of money. However, what options do we have? I think that’s what you were asking at the outset.
  • Allowing guests to reschedule without penalty
  • Refusing to allow any changes
  • Keeping deposits but not charging the balance for last minute cancellations
  • Stating we are taking the lead of our local government
On another front we could also be sure to have sanitizing hand cleaners at the door, be sure to wash our own hands immediately after check in, clean rooms thoroughly because the last thing we want is to help the virus get stronger.
I don’t shake hands, but if you do, stop. No one should expect hand shaking if this gets crazy.
I hate to use this as a way to push smaller properties, but... you can open the windows here, it’s not recycled air blowing on you while you sleep; it’s not a buffet where a hundred other unhygienic guests have handled everything before you got there; we actually clean the rooms with clean cloths and disinfectant, not the same rag from room to room..
Morticia said:
I don’t shake hands, but if you do, stop.
Yes! George Washington reportedly so disdained physical contact with crowds that, rather than a handshake, he used a formal bow to keep visitors at arm’s length. I generally use a smile and a nod. And if a hand is held out to you, there's nothing wrong with saying, I've given up handshaking for the duration of Corona. People should appreciate it!
 

Silverspoon

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I have been reading some travel blogs this morning and it seems airlines are allowing flight changes without penalty IF the destination airport or the destination country has closed its borders to flights or major events have been canceled.
Obviously we do not have that kind of money. However, what options do we have? I think that’s what you were asking at the outset.
  • Allowing guests to reschedule without penalty
  • Refusing to allow any changes
  • Keeping deposits but not charging the balance for last minute cancellations
  • Stating we are taking the lead of our local government
On another front we could also be sure to have sanitizing hand cleaners at the door, be sure to wash our own hands immediately after check in, clean rooms thoroughly because the last thing we want is to help the virus get stronger.
I don’t shake hands, but if you do, stop. No one should expect hand shaking if this gets crazy.
I hate to use this as a way to push smaller properties, but... you can open the windows here, it’s not recycled air blowing on you while you sleep; it’s not a buffet where a hundred other unhygienic guests have handled everything before you got there; we actually clean the rooms with clean cloths and disinfectant, not the same rag from room to room..
We just got our first cancellation for a week in the cottage at the end of March from a returning guest from the UK. Our agreement was for full, non-refundable payment 30 days in advance and she canceled before the deposit was due. We are happy she canceled since she travels internationally regularly for work and, although we miss the revenue, we all agree that she would be better off coming again once the landscape for this virus is more understood.
I think she will book again at a later date simply because she has returned a couple of times over the last two years and loves it here. And so it goes.
We are in a different situation than most of you here...winding down and both in our 70's with a few health issues that would definitely pose a problem with any kind of respiratory infection whether it be flu or Covid-19.
 

Tom

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If a major event, such as Olympic team trials, cancels and eliminates a reason someone booked here, I'd be inclined to cancel or to rebate most of fees. I take a "do unto others" approach, DW, not so much. Hopefully it will shake out by May and become yet another flu bug we'll be dealing with.
That said, if someone wants to cancel because they have the flu, I'm all for it. When we planned to open, I was concerned that guest traffic would increase our own risk of colds and flu -- it hasn't -- neither of us in 10 years. Partly as pointed out, we are trained to clean, wash hands, disinfect. Partly, the space and privacy of a high-end B&B naturally prevent a lot of contact that is unavoidable in a chain motel.
 

GoodScout

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We had a brief meeting with our team to remind them that our current practices should keep them and our guests safe (hand-washing, cleaning every table after a party leaves, using the sterilize setting on the washers, not touching their faces). I agree if it gets dire, we'll be like Mort, pushing the fact that we're not where it's crowded, there's no fingers-in-the-buffet breakfasts, etc.
Some of the cleanliness details we emphasized:
  • Don't just wipe down tables, wipe down the chairs, especially the backs of them that people pull out when they get up or down. Most places ignore these.
  • If there's someone in the party sneezing or coughing, discretely do a detailed clean with a bleach solution of the area.
  • ABC - Always Be Cleaning.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more. Many people say to sing "Happy Birthday" twice to time yourself. As a Southerner, I tell them to sing the refrain from "Jolene."
  • Wear gloves at all times when doing rooms, whether you like them or not.
  • Don't touch your face. If you do, re-wash your hands.
  • Open the windows to air out the rooms when cleaning, even if it's 30 degrees out. Close them when you're done.
As of now, our cancellation/refund policy has not been altered. Should the situation get worse, we'll reevaluate.
On a person note, my SO and I are scheduled to fly to Europe in late April to drive around in an RV for three weeks. We're watching the airline situation and country alerts very carefully.
 

Morticia

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We had a brief meeting with our team to remind them that our current practices should keep them and our guests safe (hand-washing, cleaning every table after a party leaves, using the sterilize setting on the washers, not touching their faces). I agree if it gets dire, we'll be like Mort, pushing the fact that we're not where it's crowded, there's no fingers-in-the-buffet breakfasts, etc.
Some of the cleanliness details we emphasized:
  • Don't just wipe down tables, wipe down the chairs, especially the backs of them that people pull out when they get up or down. Most places ignore these.
  • If there's someone in the party sneezing or coughing, discretely do a detailed clean with a bleach solution of the area.
  • ABC - Always Be Cleaning.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more. Many people say to sing "Happy Birthday" twice to time yourself. As a Southerner, I tell them to sing the refrain from "Jolene."
  • Wear gloves at all times when doing rooms, whether you like them or not.
  • Don't touch your face. If you do, re-wash your hands.
  • Open the windows to air out the rooms when cleaning, even if it's 30 degrees out. Close them when you're done.
As of now, our cancellation/refund policy has not been altered. Should the situation get worse, we'll reevaluate.
On a person note, my SO and I are scheduled to fly to Europe in late April to drive around in an RV for three weeks. We're watching the airline situation and country alerts very carefully..
Damn! I am now going to hum ‘Jolene’ all day!
 

Arks

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We had a brief meeting with our team to remind them that our current practices should keep them and our guests safe (hand-washing, cleaning every table after a party leaves, using the sterilize setting on the washers, not touching their faces). I agree if it gets dire, we'll be like Mort, pushing the fact that we're not where it's crowded, there's no fingers-in-the-buffet breakfasts, etc.
Some of the cleanliness details we emphasized:
  • Don't just wipe down tables, wipe down the chairs, especially the backs of them that people pull out when they get up or down. Most places ignore these.
  • If there's someone in the party sneezing or coughing, discretely do a detailed clean with a bleach solution of the area.
  • ABC - Always Be Cleaning.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more. Many people say to sing "Happy Birthday" twice to time yourself. As a Southerner, I tell them to sing the refrain from "Jolene."
  • Wear gloves at all times when doing rooms, whether you like them or not.
  • Don't touch your face. If you do, re-wash your hands.
  • Open the windows to air out the rooms when cleaning, even if it's 30 degrees out. Close them when you're done.
As of now, our cancellation/refund policy has not been altered. Should the situation get worse, we'll reevaluate.
On a person note, my SO and I are scheduled to fly to Europe in late April to drive around in an RV for three weeks. We're watching the airline situation and country alerts very carefully..
PhineasSwann said:
  • Don't touch your face.
Yes! They say that's the main way it spreads, by people picking up the virus on their hands then touching eyes, nose, or mouth. Unbroken skin is amazingly impenetrable, but eyes, nose, and mouth are how viruses can get in.
Those cheap masks people are wearing won't do much to stop something as tiny as a virus, but they can serve as an excellent reminder to keep your hands away from your face!
 

2cat_lady

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Lost my first reservation. Just two rooms/one night but they were travelling healthcare workers coming in from out of province. Thankfully, they called back to say that their assignments have just moved back two months so they rebooked for the beginning of May. Here's to a shot of optimism!
 

Morticia

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The view from the road - I have not seen any extra precautions being taken anywhere since we left home. We are traveling with a sanitizing kit in the car. Washing hands somewhat obsessively.

But, even tho we heard that some national coffee shops are not allowing you to bring your own mug, and are supposedly cleaning every high-contact surface every 8 minutes, we have not seen even simple cleaning taking place in fast food joints.
We’re avoiding crowds. Kind of easy given we don’t like crowds! I should have brought make up wipes with me. Hotels don’t have them.
 

Morticia

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The view from the road - I have not seen any extra precautions being taken anywhere since we left home. We are traveling with a sanitizing kit in the car. Washing hands somewhat obsessively.

But, even tho we heard that some national coffee shops are not allowing you to bring your own mug, and are supposedly cleaning every high-contact surface every 8 minutes, we have not seen even simple cleaning taking place in fast food joints.
We’re avoiding crowds. Kind of easy given we don’t like crowds! I should have brought make up wipes with me. Hotels don’t have them..
Day 5 on the road and we’ve seen zero cleaning of public spaces. Most hotel parking lots are 50-75% full so people are traveling. (Old people mostly! Or maybe we go to old people places. Ha ha.)
We’re traveling along I-81 for those wondering. We are still washing every time we exit the car and whenever we get back in. Also after going outside and coming back in as we have to touch all those door knobs! (Am definitely using my sleeve to open doors.)
If I do see any cleaning I’ll let you know. I’ve heard maybe 2 people actually mention the virus out in public.
 

Arks

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I found a little pen-shaped pump bottle (clips on my shirt pocket) of hand sanitizer I picked up at the county fair a few years ago. I never used it, of course. Now I've poured out the old sanitizer and filled it from my bottle of 90% rubbing alcohol. So I'm now carrying it to spay down those door knobs, salt shakers, coins, etc. I run across when I'm out around town.
Still haven't decided if I'm going to spray the currency I receive back as change. Oh, why not!
I'm kind of making this a challenge game. If I end up avoiding getting sick, that's a bonus!
I also looked up how much alcohol you'd have to drink for your blood alcohol level to kill germs. Sadly, it seems if you drink enough to kill the germs, it will also kill you. Life is hard :-(
 

Silverspoon

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The view from the road - I have not seen any extra precautions being taken anywhere since we left home. We are traveling with a sanitizing kit in the car. Washing hands somewhat obsessively.

But, even tho we heard that some national coffee shops are not allowing you to bring your own mug, and are supposedly cleaning every high-contact surface every 8 minutes, we have not seen even simple cleaning taking place in fast food joints.
We’re avoiding crowds. Kind of easy given we don’t like crowds! I should have brought make up wipes with me. Hotels don’t have them..
Day 5 on the road and we’ve seen zero cleaning of public spaces. Most hotel parking lots are 50-75% full so people are traveling. (Old people mostly! Or maybe we go to old people places. Ha ha.)
We’re traveling along I-81 for those wondering. We are still washing every time we exit the car and whenever we get back in. Also after going outside and coming back in as we have to touch all those door knobs! (Am definitely using my sleeve to open doors.)
If I do see any cleaning I’ll let you know. I’ve heard maybe 2 people actually mention the virus out in public.
.
Smart moves on your part which hopefully will enable you to have fun and be safe at the same time! I think awareness has a lot to do with whether or not the virus has been detected at all in the areas you are visiting. Realistically, there may be undetected or unreported virus present. It's really difficult trying to get updated numbers of those tested/confirmed from the CDC so local authorities may not have data to report to their citizens, especially in those states without an established plan.
Keep us posted! I am remaining optimistic that our guests scheduled for June will come! Really, what better place to visit than a National Park when you are trying to get outside and enjoy life!
 

gaelstorm

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I found a little pen-shaped pump bottle (clips on my shirt pocket) of hand sanitizer I picked up at the county fair a few years ago. I never used it, of course. Now I've poured out the old sanitizer and filled it from my bottle of 90% rubbing alcohol. So I'm now carrying it to spay down those door knobs, salt shakers, coins, etc. I run across when I'm out around town.
Still haven't decided if I'm going to spray the currency I receive back as change. Oh, why not!
I'm kind of making this a challenge game. If I end up avoiding getting sick, that's a bonus!
I also looked up how much alcohol you'd have to drink for your blood alcohol level to kill germs. Sadly, it seems if you drink enough to kill the germs, it will also kill you. Life is hard :-(.
Dambed it. I recommended cheap vodka to a man at the pharmacy. He said moonshine is too expensive.

Experts are saying 60% alcohol hand sanitizers. Does that mean you could dilute the vodka and still work.
I have long read that vodka is excellent as a cleaner as well. Well, not for the housekeeper though.

 
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