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Early Check-In This Morning

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So this morning, just as we were shaking hands goodbye to Room #4, the new Room #4 stepped up right behind them ready to check in. We almost started laughing because it was like "Old Room 4, meet New Room 4. But New Room 4 didn't like that their room wasn't ready for them. (It was 10 a.m.) So they left their bags with us and said they would be back. We let them know that normal check-in is 3 p.m. They came back at 12:30 p.m. and practically forced themselves into their room early. We have never had a guest be so demanding about checking in early. How would you have handled this? Does anyone charge an early check-in for pushy guests? If so, what do you charge?
 

oldcharm

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Wow. That's crazy. When I make a reservation I tell my guests that check-in is from 3-6pm. I find out if that's okay and go from there. 85% of the time that works for people. If that time doesn't work I try to get an idea of when they expect to arrive and make a note in my book.
If people are looking for an early check-in, I ask them to call the day before or morning of to find out if it's available. This way I set the standard right away. ...they know what to expect an what not to expect. If the room is available they can have it as early as noon with no additional charge. If people are looking for a room earlier than that. I would consider an extra charge. Maybe $10?
Hope that helps!
 

Morticia

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It's a little late to charge them for checking in early. That would have had to have been done when they paid at check-in. And they definitely should have paid at check-in. There's an old Far Side cartoon that shows a doe talking to the game warden over her dead husband's body with 2 hunters standing in the background. The game warden is saying to her, 'Just because they rang the bell doesn't mean you had to let them in.'
 

wendydk

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I have never charged for an early checkin. My reservation confirmations and website policies state that checkin is anytime after 3pm.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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Did they fly or drive? Not that it matters much, but if they flew, you can bet your next dollar that there were several flight choices that would have put them in closer to the actual check in time. If they drove, you can Google the distance from their house to you and odds are they left at the crack of dawn or earlier. These aren't accidents, there are no accidents.
Now you'll be stuck watching them making phone call after phone call on their cell phone for dinner plans, checking in at home, etc. but THE most important call they should have made never got made.
So no call, and they even ignored the stated time that would work for them to come back at ?
My condolences and total empathy.
For the type that does this as a regular routine and I think most do, they just know that things will be "open" because of your other guests checking out, breakfast just being finished, current guests planning their day, its a delicate and tough situation to do much about.
Its not like one can roll down all the blinds, lock the doors and pretend nto to be home at 10 frickin' AM.
I would have been friendly but firm about restating the check in time with the emphasis on that their room AND the whole house need to be cleaned and it is isn't ready to be shared with new guests yet. We clean the entire house nearly every day, even when we have NO guests, so the logic behind that rationale to someone should hit home.
I keep waiting for one of these types to at least call first. They rarely do because they know they are in the wrong, but have mentally superimposed the word "doormat" on their innkeeper du jour's forehead.
Its a no win situation. If you stand firm they cop attitude the whole stay, if you cave your nerves are shot to hell all day and they probably still cop attitude.
 

EmptyNest

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It is awkward that they were right at your door as the others were checking out. We have discussed this at length if you do a search for it. Keep your doors locked and do not answer for anyone! PUt a sign up that says No early check ins or one of those clock signs that points to the hour you will be open / back.
Do whatever it takes..make sure they do know in advance you mean business. Afterall, it is your business...you have things you must do. I would not even let them in or their bags. Tell them to go wherever and come back at the right time.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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It is awkward that they were right at your door as the others were checking out. We have discussed this at length if you do a search for it. Keep your doors locked and do not answer for anyone! PUt a sign up that says No early check ins or one of those clock signs that points to the hour you will be open / back.
Do whatever it takes..make sure they do know in advance you mean business. Afterall, it is your business...you have things you must do. I would not even let them in or their bags. Tell them to go wherever and come back at the right time..
I wholeheartedly agree with your general premise and advocation for firmness but with qualifications.
These type guests probably do this every time they travel and know that we can't simply lock our doors, roll down the blinds and put a sign on the door at that time of day.
Its strategic on their part and they are counting on a couple of things. One is that other guests will be around and we're less likely to be really firm with them in front of others, that we're all a little hungry due to the times and less likely to push back and the misapplied notion that the customer is always right.
In this day and age of Facebook, TA, MySpace, Twitter, B&B.com, you name it for venues where inconsiderate people like this can get on their soapbox and trash us, it makes asserting the level of firmness you are describing as difficult to pull off without consequences.
I personally don't fear the rare bad review coming from someone like this, its an opportunity to scare off others like them, but I don't want to speak for mountaininnkeeper on what might not be a widely held perspective.
Aside from all that, these are the most fragile economic times most of us under 70 have ever witnessed, survived under, worked in, not worked in, endured, etc.
Leisure travel is one of the first things that gets sacrificed when times are this tough and many of us don't have the luxury of risking alienating even one guest that could go dump on us and potentially cost us any business coming from a much smaller pie.
I'm not advocating rolling over and letting the guests steamroll us, but the times require flexibility and tact when encountering difficult or troublesome guest relation situations.
Everybody is feeling the pinch, is feeling stressed and while its a shame these guests don't "get it" that they are putting mountaininnkeeper in a tough spot with their inconsideration, the deed is done in this case.
 

MooseTrax

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It is awkward that they were right at your door as the others were checking out. We have discussed this at length if you do a search for it. Keep your doors locked and do not answer for anyone! PUt a sign up that says No early check ins or one of those clock signs that points to the hour you will be open / back.
Do whatever it takes..make sure they do know in advance you mean business. Afterall, it is your business...you have things you must do. I would not even let them in or their bags. Tell them to go wherever and come back at the right time..
I wholeheartedly agree with your general premise and advocation for firmness but with qualifications.
These type guests probably do this every time they travel and know that we can't simply lock our doors, roll down the blinds and put a sign on the door at that time of day.
Its strategic on their part and they are counting on a couple of things. One is that other guests will be around and we're less likely to be really firm with them in front of others, that we're all a little hungry due to the times and less likely to push back and the misapplied notion that the customer is always right.
In this day and age of Facebook, TA, MySpace, Twitter, B&B.com, you name it for venues where inconsiderate people like this can get on their soapbox and trash us, it makes asserting the level of firmness you are describing as difficult to pull off without consequences.
I personally don't fear the rare bad review coming from someone like this, its an opportunity to scare off others like them, but I don't want to speak for mountaininnkeeper on what might not be a widely held perspective.
Aside from all that, these are the most fragile economic times most of us under 70 have ever witnessed, survived under, worked in, not worked in, endured, etc.
Leisure travel is one of the first things that gets sacrificed when times are this tough and many of us don't have the luxury of risking alienating even one guest that could go dump on us and potentially cost us any business coming from a much smaller pie.
I'm not advocating rolling over and letting the guests steamroll us, but the times require flexibility and tact when encountering difficult or troublesome guest relation situations.
Everybody is feeling the pinch, is feeling stressed and while its a shame these guests don't "get it" that they are putting mountaininnkeeper in a tough spot with their inconsideration, the deed is done in this case.
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Basic response to irresponsible people showing up here is to hell with them. We run this place on our terms, with the wife being a little lax on holding things up on her end, but that's where I can step in and firmly close the door with a polite, 'Excuse me, we are not ready for you to check-in. We were just stepping out for a bite to eat and encourage you to do the same.' We have had the talk together and we have decided that early guests will be let in on our say so and not on theirs. If they left at 6 AM to drive here knowing it would take 4 hours, that is entirely their problem and will not become ours. Crabby for the rest of the stay because they didn't get their way right off? Not a chance. There has never been a guest here I couldn't sway to my point of view. It's a personal challenge to me to ensure that every single guest leaves here smiling and wishing for a return visit. With 60% repeat business my guess is that it is working. You just have to know how to talk to people. There's no hand holding here. The guests take us as they find us. And if they find us at 12:30 ready to let them leave their bags as we I did today, good for them.
Given the sad state of the airline system most guests would be foolish to leave just in time to arrive for their checkin, they should all leave their home airport at 6 AM to be sure they get here before midnight. Poor fellas arriving tonight are coming in by boat. They won't dock until almost midnight but I'll be waiting for them.
 

Copperhead

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As stated, what is done is done, so end of story for this guest.
Now on to rush out there and add a new policy regarding early check ins. What ever it may be, only you know what works best for your business. NO early check-in, Early check-in may be available with prior notice, or early check-ins can be arranged with prior notice at the rate of $. Some even say early check-ins can be arranged but no earlier than ---- NOTE: If you charge, consider the extra effort you (or staff) will be going through to make sure it is ready on time as well as the Value you place on the extra hour(s) you are allowing the guest to occupy the space.
 

Copperhead

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I mentioned on another thread of a knock at the door at 7:30 in the morning. I left the kitchen, breakfast in the oven, and opened the door to a bright shining face "Hi, I am Sally Mae and I just wanted to say 'We're here'!!!" I think she wanted me to do the Woohoo cheer! I of course smiled real big and commented on them making real good time, then provided her with a map of the area including some places to go for breakfast. I told her that if they wanted she could call me at 1 to see if the room would be ready early. She called at noon, I told her to come check in at 1 the room would be ready...Two o'clock came and went. At 3 I called her - oh, we decided to take a drive and have a nice lunch...
 

SweetiePie

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So if we put the patterns together - late check-in or extremely early check-in - it seems that guests are either wanting to pay as little as possible by checking around for the best last-minute deal; or if paying full price, want to get the most for their money by coming as early as possible.
Neither of which are particularly good for us as innkeepers. If they come extremely early they are going to be using extra resources, water, electricity running either heat or air-conditioning, food as in cookies or other snacks they may have access to. That translates into higher expenses for us.
So just because the guest population is becoming more budget and value-conscious doesn't mean we need to drop our standards and guidelines.
I think as Tim said, it requires flexibility. Perhaps we charge the late arrival less because they will be here less time and make up for it by charging the early arrival more for longer occupancy. It's just a thought.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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So if we put the patterns together - late check-in or extremely early check-in - it seems that guests are either wanting to pay as little as possible by checking around for the best last-minute deal; or if paying full price, want to get the most for their money by coming as early as possible.
Neither of which are particularly good for us as innkeepers. If they come extremely early they are going to be using extra resources, water, electricity running either heat or air-conditioning, food as in cookies or other snacks they may have access to. That translates into higher expenses for us.
So just because the guest population is becoming more budget and value-conscious doesn't mean we need to drop our standards and guidelines.
I think as Tim said, it requires flexibility. Perhaps we charge the late arrival less because they will be here less time and make up for it by charging the early arrival more for longer occupancy. It's just a thought..
"So if we put the patterns together - late check-in or extremely early check-in - it seems that guests are either wanting to pay as little as possible by checking around for the best last-minute deal; or if paying full price, want to get the most for their money by coming as early as possible."
Wow! When I brought this phenonema up as a topic, all I got for my effort to explore solutions to it was being called a "bad guest magnet", so now that its obvious this happens to more than a handful of us, we finally are getting somewhere on how to deal with it.
"Neither of which are particularly good for us as innkeepers. If they come extremely early they are going to be using extra resources, water, electricity running either heat or air-conditioning, food as in cookies or other snacks they may have access to. That translates into higher expenses for us."
Case in point, our ultra orthodox Jewish guest last week, who also seemed to be suffering from a few mental disorders. Considering he didn't want to be in the same room with any guests and made several fairly paranoid accusations towards us about some missing items of HIS.
This despite him arriving at exactly 3 of the first day, pulling an entire truck full of his life's belongings in and barricading himself in his room for the better part of five days. Out of the total 120+ hours of his stay, he probably left his room for about 10 hours. And had the A/C running at 68 degrees 24/7 for five days. At a 15% discount.
The food costs were minimized considering how little he ate, but the general weirdness of his stay put us and the other guests on edge the whole time. It took him over three hours to repack his truck exactly how he wanted it and he didn't start hauling all his stuff out until 9:30am on his last day, so you can do the math on when he left. I'd say he got his money's worth.
"So just because the guest population is becoming more budget and value-conscious doesn't mean we need to drop our standards and guidelines."
No, we just have to keep in mind these are extraordinary times and unless one is independently wealthy and doesn't need the income from one's guests to survive, we have to weigh the potential consequences of taking too firm of an approach with folks.
"I think as Tim said, it requires flexibility. Perhaps we charge the late arrival less because they will be here less time and make up for it by charging the early arrival more for longer occupancy. It's just a thought."
FWIW, and there could no causal relationship to explain this but since the economy started going south last fall, our cancellations, ultra early and ultra late arrivals and late check outs have really dropped drastically. We're noticing that while business is way down for us, those who do book are honoring their reservations, mostly showing up in our 3-6pm window and generally checking out at areasonable time. We'll take it, just hope it continues once the economy picks up again.
Another factor that has to be considered is people's locations and level of competition, when choosing how hard a line to take with guests. Maybe Moosetrax is the only B&B in his area, or one of very few lodging options and attracts a type of guest who can accept frank language.
With over 125 hotels/motels, 75 B&Bs, and easily over 3,500 short term vacation rental units. condos, timeshares, etc.. within a 20 mile radius of us, every guest that is even remotely offended by finding a locked door, closed blinds, inflexible or stern refusal of entry by us is one who undoubtedly is going elsewhere the next time they come to our area.
Maybe thats good and as our business grows and is even more visible and established, we can adopt a tougher approach, but for now, we're in the building up phase and have to work with what we have.
 

GeorgiaGirl

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Ok, everytime I speak of this I get flack, don't email me and tell me I'm wrong, I'm just speaking my mind.......BUT I'm sure 90% of your guests think the same way I used to think. You are running a business so what's the big deal if I stop and ask if my room is ready, no matter what time it is? We don't stop to think to ourselves what's convienant for YOU or if you are ready for us or not.....If I'm staying at a hotel and I'm in the area earlier than stated check in I will stop in and ask if a room is ready for me. If not I will go about my way but more than likely they do have one ready and let me check in. Gives me a chance to get my things in my room and freshen up, go the bathroom, etc. Why should a b&b be any different?
My first B&B stay was on Cape Cod. We drove from Georgia up. We got to the area several hours before check in. As we pulled into the parking lot there was a guy taking the trash out (later found out he was the owner) He approached me and asked if he could help. I told him I was there to check in. He said he would check to see if the room was ready. Wife said it was and they checked us in. I NEVER thought there could be a problem with checking in early.......shoot me, but that's the way it was!
I don't know what to say to help solve the problem, and certainly there are people who will take no for an answer, but I think you need to realize that the person booking a room may have never stayed at a b&b before or maybe this is only their 2nd time..... It took me probably 4 stays before I realized that I was staying in your HOME. I have learned so much by you guys letting me be on here
 

Samster

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Good grief! I'm always amazed by this! That people have no clue that rooms need to be cleaned?! I just got an email from a guest asking for early check-in before our normal check-in beginning at 3 PM. I replied and asked what time frame they need? Noon, since they are checking out of another local place at 11 am. Huh? OK...you realize that they have to clean their rooms which is why you have to check out before noon. I answered that would be fine as long as no one was in the room the night before as OUR check-out time is 11 AM also and this room is large and would take quite awhile to clean.
Thank goodness we rarely get these requests. Give me strength....
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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Good grief! I'm always amazed by this! That people have no clue that rooms need to be cleaned?! I just got an email from a guest asking for early check-in before our normal check-in beginning at 3 PM. I replied and asked what time frame they need? Noon, since they are checking out of another local place at 11 am. Huh? OK...you realize that they have to clean their rooms which is why you have to check out before noon. I answered that would be fine as long as no one was in the room the night before as OUR check-out time is 11 AM also and this room is large and would take quite awhile to clean.
Thank goodness we rarely get these requests. Give me strength.....
"Huh? OK...you realize that they have to clean their rooms which is why you have to check out before noon."
Oh, they realize it plenty, its that they don't care what it does to your schedule or day.
We have some regulars who stay 20 minutes away in Santa Fe their first night every year and then come the next three nights by us. Every stinkin' year they show up at our door at 11:25am like clockwork.
Even after being politely spoken to about it each year. This year, that morning is already scheduled for an errand run into town and I won't be back until oh, I don't know 2:58pm.
Then on their last morning every year, they make sure they have an early flight home but just won't quietly leave. They insist on getting in the dining room at the crack of dawn to eat the "to-go" breakfast we offer all early departures. Its all packaged up and meant to be taken with and eaten in the car during the 1.5 hour drive to Albuquerque, but they insist on waking everybody else in the house up and leaving us a mess to deal with before we can serve anybody else.
What kills me is that they'll hang around the competitors place until 11:01 to check out, but our place isn't quite good enough for all four of their nights in the area and we get the dawn patrol routine on their last morning every year with the car doors slamming 20 times for four suitcases, the above mentioned dining room exercise, etc.
The only reason we keep taking them back is they book in early January for mid-August and we are always more forgiving in January when we're dead in the water.
Who knows, maybe this year they'll figure it out.
"I answered that would be fine as long as no one was in the room the night before as OUR check-out time is 11 AM also and this room is large and would take quite awhile to clean."
As long as we ourselves keep condoning the behavior, the traveling public will take our good natured offer and run with it to the extreme. The old give 'em and inch routine.
 

Samster

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Good grief! I'm always amazed by this! That people have no clue that rooms need to be cleaned?! I just got an email from a guest asking for early check-in before our normal check-in beginning at 3 PM. I replied and asked what time frame they need? Noon, since they are checking out of another local place at 11 am. Huh? OK...you realize that they have to clean their rooms which is why you have to check out before noon. I answered that would be fine as long as no one was in the room the night before as OUR check-out time is 11 AM also and this room is large and would take quite awhile to clean.
Thank goodness we rarely get these requests. Give me strength.....
"Huh? OK...you realize that they have to clean their rooms which is why you have to check out before noon."
Oh, they realize it plenty, its that they don't care what it does to your schedule or day.
We have some regulars who stay 20 minutes away in Santa Fe their first night every year and then come the next three nights by us. Every stinkin' year they show up at our door at 11:25am like clockwork.
Even after being politely spoken to about it each year. This year, that morning is already scheduled for an errand run into town and I won't be back until oh, I don't know 2:58pm.
Then on their last morning every year, they make sure they have an early flight home but just won't quietly leave. They insist on getting in the dining room at the crack of dawn to eat the "to-go" breakfast we offer all early departures. Its all packaged up and meant to be taken with and eaten in the car during the 1.5 hour drive to Albuquerque, but they insist on waking everybody else in the house up and leaving us a mess to deal with before we can serve anybody else.
What kills me is that they'll hang around the competitors place until 11:01 to check out, but our place isn't quite good enough for all four of their nights in the area and we get the dawn patrol routine on their last morning every year with the car doors slamming 20 times for four suitcases, the above mentioned dining room exercise, etc.
The only reason we keep taking them back is they book in early January for mid-August and we are always more forgiving in January when we're dead in the water.
Who knows, maybe this year they'll figure it out.
"I answered that would be fine as long as no one was in the room the night before as OUR check-out time is 11 AM also and this room is large and would take quite awhile to clean."
As long as we ourselves keep condoning the behavior, the traveling public will take our good natured offer and run with it to the extreme. The old give 'em and inch routine.
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Well, they asked ahead of time, which makes a big difference to me, rather than just showing up 3 hours early. So as long as we don't have someone in the room the night before, it really is not a big deal. What does amaze me is that some people somehow think rooms are cleaned magically between guests. This really happens rarely here.
They also mentioned that they'll be leaving super early on their day of departure. So, maybe they think that justifies checking in early. lol! Not!
 

Proud Texan

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mountaininnkeeper said:
They came back at 12:30 p.m. and practically forced themselves into their room early.
If you allowed them to check-in at 12:30 after you had stated that the normal check-in is as 3:00, then you basically let them man-handle you. If you don't want them to check in earlier than 3 (without prior arrangement) then LOCK THE DOOR and stick to your guns.
When they made a reservation with you, they have essentially entered into a business contract with you. You are in no way obligated to change your policy just because someone is being a pushy a-hole.
 
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mountaininnkeeper said:
They came back at 12:30 p.m. and practically forced themselves into their room early.
If you allowed them to check-in at 12:30 after you had stated that the normal check-in is as 3:00, then you basically let them man-handle you. If you don't want them to check in earlier than 3 (without prior arrangement) then LOCK THE DOOR and stick to your guns.
When they made a reservation with you, they have essentially entered into a business contract with you. You are in no way obligated to change your policy just because someone is being a pushy a-hole.
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This is a good point. I really felt like we had explained to them the check-in time policy. Unfortunately, we can't lock the door because other guests were coming and going to start their day. When the early arrivals came back, I was in the laundry room and found them walking down the hallway as they were taking their bags towards their room. We then said no, your room is not ready. His reply was well, the bed's made so I don't see why I can't go ahead and put my stuff in here. I said, well it's not ready and it's going to be at least another 30 minutes. Then they just kept putting their stuff in there and hovered around the door of the room while I finished cleaning (Mind you, this is going on while my husband is vacuuming the hallway right by where they are standing. They never budged!) I have never seen anything like this!
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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mountaininnkeeper said:
They came back at 12:30 p.m. and practically forced themselves into their room early.
If you allowed them to check-in at 12:30 after you had stated that the normal check-in is as 3:00, then you basically let them man-handle you. If you don't want them to check in earlier than 3 (without prior arrangement) then LOCK THE DOOR and stick to your guns.
When they made a reservation with you, they have essentially entered into a business contract with you. You are in no way obligated to change your policy just because someone is being a pushy a-hole.
.
This is a good point. I really felt like we had explained to them the check-in time policy. Unfortunately, we can't lock the door because other guests were coming and going to start their day. When the early arrivals came back, I was in the laundry room and found them walking down the hallway as they were taking their bags towards their room. We then said no, your room is not ready. His reply was well, the bed's made so I don't see why I can't go ahead and put my stuff in here. I said, well it's not ready and it's going to be at least another 30 minutes. Then they just kept putting their stuff in there and hovered around the door of the room while I finished cleaning (Mind you, this is going on while my husband is vacuuming the hallway right by where they are standing. They never budged!) I have never seen anything like this!
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I know we all have the luxury of this being after the fact and we all get to play monday morning innkeeper somewhat at your expense, but I really want to thank you for being so cooperative with sharing this issue with us.
Now for a couple really tough questions.
Did the thought ever cross your mind at some point during all this to just bluntly ask them "Are you sure this is the right B&B for you? Because we seem to not be communicating very well and we'd rather help you find somewhere more suitable for your unique set of needs than have you not feel comfortable here with our arrangements and policies?"
Or something to that effect?
That way, you're throwing it back on them, that they need to fly right or you're liable to rescind your offer of accommodations. You have every right to do so as long as you're ready for whatever comes next and can do without the revenue.
How bad do you need the dough from this particular booking?
What if they don't get any better tomorrow?
Do you have other guests whose experience might be negatively impacted by these two?
 

EmptyNest

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mountaininnkeeper said:
They came back at 12:30 p.m. and practically forced themselves into their room early.
If you allowed them to check-in at 12:30 after you had stated that the normal check-in is as 3:00, then you basically let them man-handle you. If you don't want them to check in earlier than 3 (without prior arrangement) then LOCK THE DOOR and stick to your guns.
When they made a reservation with you, they have essentially entered into a business contract with you. You are in no way obligated to change your policy just because someone is being a pushy a-hole.
.
This is a good point. I really felt like we had explained to them the check-in time policy. Unfortunately, we can't lock the door because other guests were coming and going to start their day. When the early arrivals came back, I was in the laundry room and found them walking down the hallway as they were taking their bags towards their room. We then said no, your room is not ready. His reply was well, the bed's made so I don't see why I can't go ahead and put my stuff in here. I said, well it's not ready and it's going to be at least another 30 minutes. Then they just kept putting their stuff in there and hovered around the door of the room while I finished cleaning (Mind you, this is going on while my husband is vacuuming the hallway right by where they are standing. They never budged!) I have never seen anything like this!
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Give your guests a key to the front door or put in a keypad entry lock. You should always keep your doors locked!! PERIOD. NO one you do not want in your home should be able to get in. It is your home, you make the rules. If they can't abide by them...you don't want them.
 
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