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Every now and again guests can be challenging

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Eugee

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Sorry for the longer post but it’s really a venting post, rather therapeutic..

Well, going into my 16th year here I used to always start a new season with a sense of dread as to what weird thing will happen THIS year at the B&B- usually guest related weird and yes, I’m the one that always gets to deal with it.

Well, one of my long time guests who is actually very nice brought his family entourage again this past weekend with several rooms over three days. After the first day, he evidently ate something in our little town (that I never eat in btw) that really gave his stomach a turn for the worse. After nothing else to talk about, we discussed what he may have consumed and have narrowed it to bbq venison someone brought to the bar (presumably to keep from having to throw it out after his family tired of eating it) to chicken Oscar with shrimp or hollandaise being a possible culprit. The debacle laid him out that night and all the next day and into the next Morning he finally felt better able to eat toast. But just before checking out, his girlfriend told me to consider that he, on the first night of his stomach sickness, got up and proceeded to trip/swoon/fumble (or all) into an antique child’s rocker from the 1870’s that was in the room. She mentioned I could probably glue it back. He hadn’t had that much to drink, only 6 beers and two goblets of wine- so “that can’t be it” she said.. She also added she slipped across the hall and used another bedroom presumably to escape his malaise that evening or two.

Well, up to then I really felt sorry for him and had set the room rate to zero for his room the one day he was sick out of the three days but after hearing what his girlfriend just said, I immediately grabbed my iPad at breakfast no less and reset the rate back to what it was as they were minutes from settling the bill and basically said screw it, I don’t feel sorry anymore.

As they were all checking out I scrambled upstairs armed with my titebond glue and clamps and looked at what was a nice antique rocker reduced to firewood with 2 stringers that snapped at their dowels, with one leg that had a vertical 3” chunk that cracked out and another leg in the front that popped out of the rocker part- but not before breaking the front chunk of the rocker. Nice. I love my job. Knowing full well this is one of the first antique pieces my other half bought 30 years ago I was really ticked off. Amazingly, I managed to piece it back perfectly glueing and orienting the wood splinters on the stringers so they meshed back nicely. After describing the damage to my other half I was happy to hear “it wasn’t as bad as I thought”... my god, it was literally reduced to firewood in pieces. Glad to say I didn’t have a picture. It now has a nice ribbon across which is now just to make the point to not even let a child sit in this chair let alone a big adult butt.
That, my friends, is innkeeping, prepare yourself if just starting out for the weird, the absurd because it’s not a matter of if but when. They will manage to screw up any adult child proofed environment you carefully labor to create.. trust me. Luckily though I reached solace in the fact that I just got the weird thing the guests would do out of the way for THIS season anyway... at least I hope so. Venting complete...
 

seashanty

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Wow! Here's hoping that's the worst for the year!
 

Morticia

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It’s always something! And events like these are why we ‘dumbed down’ our furnishings. Even more so this year as everything has to be sanitized. I went on a spree removing all the ‘extras’ from the rooms.
 

GoodScout

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Whenever there is significant damage, we always take a picture first thing.
Our policies stipulates guests may be charged for the costs of repairing/replacing damaged items.
Usually we make a determination on whether to do so based on if it was an accident, the item was old and fragile anyway, and whether the guest was a PITA or not.
When we do charge their credit card for the damage, we always email them a receipt and a "sorry we have to do this" email. Most say nothing, chagrined at the damage. Only had one try a chargeback, and after a detailed story (typed into our PMS at the time it happened), a copy of our policy the guest checked off on, and the photographs, we got paid.
 

Morticia

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Long time members know the story of the serial bed-wetter we had eons ago — wet the bed seven nights in a row. Even with that, we were still a bit nervous about demanding payment. For one thing, the parent denied it the first time and then avoided us completely for the next six days. (Actually snuck out of the house in the morning and did not return until after dinner.)

We did not charge for the additional daily laundry, the lost pillows, taking the room offline for two days to air it out. Just the mattress and box spring.

It was a family vacation with four generations. Everyone knew the kid was a bed wetter, but only mom refused to deal with it. Grandpa paid the bill. Great grandma backed us up saying she had also had to replace bedding after the kid stayed over.
 

InnDeep

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Long time members know the story of the serial bed-wetter we had eons ago — wet the bed seven nights in a row. Even with that, we were still a bit nervous about demanding payment. For one thing, the parent denied it the first time and then avoided us completely for the next six days. (Actually snuck out of the house in the morning and did not return until after dinner.)

We did not charge for the additional daily laundry, the lost pillows, taking the room offline for two days to air it out. Just the mattress and box spring.

It was a family vacation with four generations. Everyone knew the kid was a bed wetter, but only mom refused to deal with it. Grandpa paid the bill. Great grandma backed us up saying she had also had to replace bedding after the kid stayed over.
Wow. Just wow. I can’t wait lol.

Definitely giving us things to think about in terms of policies to put in place & how to handle issues.
 

Morticia

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Wow. Just wow. I can’t wait lol.

Definitely giving us things to think about in terms of policies to put in place & how to handle issues.
You want to have those waterproof mattress covers on the bed!
Other things that are not super obvious:
  1. Doors with locks in any area you don’t want guests in
  2. Limited number of amenities in room for those who want to stock up their own bathroom or kitchen supplies
  3. Adding a fee for doing something obnoxious (smoking, staying over the allotted time) just makes some people think it’s ok to pay to do those things rather than seeing it as a deterrent
  4. Locking empty rooms so they don’t get used
 

Eugee

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You want to have those waterproof mattress covers on the bed!
Other things that are not super obvious:
  1. Doors with locks in any area you don’t want guests in
  2. Limited number of amenities in room for those who want to stock up their own bathroom or kitchen supplies
  3. Adding a fee for doing something obnoxious (smoking, staying over the allotted time) just makes some people think it’s ok to pay to do those things rather than seeing it as a deterrent
  4. Locking empty rooms so they don’t get used
Definitely x2 on the mattress pads and I was getting ‘pillow swappers’ until I wrote the inn name with gold marker on all the pillows.. We have to deal with more than people can imagine
 

Morticia

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@InnDeep I did want to add that when you are making up your policies be aware of how they sound to someone who has never been to your property and has no idea what you’re like or what you’re trying to accomplish.

You don’t want your policies to sound like you’re going to be watching every little thing the guest does. I read the policies to figure out what kinds of guests go there. Lots of words about smoking, drinking, and noise indicate this is a party joint the owners are trying to reign in.

Lots of words about how delicate everything is indicate you can’t breathe without worrying you’ll break something.

You want basic info: check in, check out, anything you need to know about food, cancellations, whether smoking is or is not allowed on the property, if you have sports items for rent or if you have a pool you need to add those things in.

But, check to see what is already working at the place you’re buying! Don’t rush to change everything right away.
 

InnDeep

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@InnDeep I did want to add that when you are making up your policies be aware of how they sound to someone who has never been to your property and has no idea what you’re like or what you’re trying to accomplish.

You don’t want your policies to sound like you’re going to be watching every little thing the guest does. I read the policies to figure out what kinds of guests go there. Lots of words about smoking, drinking, and noise indicate this is a party joint the owners are trying to reign in.

Lots of words about how delicate everything is indicate you can’t breathe without worrying you’ll break something.

You want basic info: check in, check out, anything you need to know about food, cancellations, whether smoking is or is not allowed on the property, if you have sports items for rent or if you have a pool you need to add those things in.

But, check to see what is already working at the place you’re buying! Don’t rush to change everything right away.
Good advice - thank you. I’ve taken heed of advice elsewhere here and we don’t plan to make any major changes (beyond a required roof repair lol) until we’ve gotten the lay of the land for a good while - a year or so, most likely. The Inn is doing quite well right now, so we won’t be setting out to fix what isn’t broken :)

That said, I’ll bear all this info in mind for the future!
 

Morticia

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Good advice - thank you. I’ve taken heed of advice elsewhere here and we don’t plan to make any major changes (beyond a required roof repair lol) until we’ve gotten the lay of the land for a good while - a year or so, most likely. The Inn is doing quite well right now, so we won’t be setting out to fix what isn’t broken :)

That said, I’ll bear all this info in mind for the future!
Glad to hear your location is doing well. We’re basically next door to being on vacation this season! You’ll have plenty to do just keeping things going without new stuff!
 

InnDeep

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It’s very busy now, after being completely dead during the worst of Covid quarantine/shutdown (we’re on an island, our bridge was closed off to all mainlanders during phase 1 in VA). Should things shut down again in the fall, we will slow right down again also. But thinking positive 😊!
 

GoodScout

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If you're buying a B&B that isn't a total disaster, and has a somewhat loyal clientele (15% or more of guests are returnees) I would suggest a "Grecian Formula" approach to improvements. Do them gradually, and regulars are less likely to notice them, or feel that "their" B&B isn't "their" B&B anymore.
 

Morticia

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It’s very busy now, after being completely dead during the worst of Covid quarantine/shutdown (we’re on an island, our bridge was closed off to all mainlanders during phase 1 in VA). Should things shut down again in the fall, we will slow right down again also. But thinking positive 😊!
Ah, I think we were down your way just before everything closed!
 

JimBoone

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Good advice - thank you. I’ve taken heed of advice elsewhere here and we don’t plan to make any major changes until we’ve gotten the lay of the land
Random thoughts from the odd guy that runs a tiny motel. I probably learned most of my lessons the hard way, it takes some time to get a feel for the business and our guests. Relax, people sometimes do silly things, roll with the punches and don't sweat the small stuff. The easiest way to me to solve a problem is to eliminate the cause, I can't change people, but I can modify my routine or reaction. Find that "happy place" for you, it makes the work a pleasure. I prefer to position myself between the rough and rowdy and the ritzy folks that demand more than I can do, lots of happy everyday folks out there to choose me. Jim
 

TheBeachHouse

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Never make an exception to the room capacity. Not for a baby, not for friends who ‘don’t mind’ sharing, not for families where the ‘kids always sleep with us’ or ‘love sleeping on the floor.’ Too crowded rooms lead to messes and broken things. Just no. Blame fire regs or insurance or license.
 

Morticia

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@TheBeachHouse We had so many parents demanding a king room because they have the kids in bed with them at home that we added a king bed to our room that sleeps three. It makes the room a lot tighter with suitcases, etc, but it keeps the kids out of the main part of the house.

Parents get the big bed they want. I keep the kids away from the other adults. Win win.

But, yeah, do not make that exception. There’s a reason you had that ‘rule’ in the first place!

We always get calls in the summer (even this one!) where someone wants to put 5-6 guests in one room.
 

InnDeep

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If you're buying a B&B that isn't a total disaster, and has a somewhat loyal clientele (15% or more of guests are returnees) I would suggest a "Grecian Formula" approach to improvements. Do them gradually, and regulars are less likely to notice them, or feel that "their" B&B isn't "their" B&B anymore.
Good advice. We will definitely phase in any improvements slowly. Most of our initial planned improvements relate to infrastructure (roof/upgrading the A/C system) and improving the online marketing. Most of this to begin during our Winter off season. I’m sure we’ll both be too busy learning the ropes to do much else initially!
 

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@Eugee I had a very valuable, beautiful, and comfortable antique sofa that was in a guest room damaged by "acrobatic"? guests perhaps. From that point on, I removed anything and everything from the guest rooms that was valuable, monetary or sentimental. I went out the next day and bought two attractive chairs at a home goods store for that room that went great with the decor. I had a receipt for them and didn't care if they got destroyed. Just my very humble advice. People do silly things...
 
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