late arrivals?

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ceecee

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Hello All,
I have been reading for a couple yrs, finally decided to join tonight and post a question. I did read last years answers to this late arrival issue and wondered if there were any new and improved suggestions?
I am just the innkeeper's wife and gardener, and have a fulltime job away from the inn, including on call. Husband needs to be in bed by 8pm to get up between 4 and 5 to start the breakfast. So, if someone is late, I get the shift. But I have to be up by 5:45 to get to work. Our arrival time is 3pm to 7pm, clearly stated in the welcome letter, the confirmation letter, at the time of the reservation if made by phone, and on the website. The last 2 months we have had late arrivals 4 to 5 nights a week. Tonight I am still waiting......last night was waiting until 12:30 am. The night before until 11:30pm. If they are not here by 8pm I call the number we have, but more often than not, there is no answer.
The lockboxes are a good idea, but only if they can manage to plan ahead. Do you think they would read it if it was in bold? Larger font? Maybe just lock the doors, turn off the phone and ignore if and when they arrive? Hmmm, not a nice option either! Maybe we could ask if they are punctual just before asking for the credit card info?
Suggestions?
And thank you for all the previous advice, recipes, laughs and reassurance.
Ceecee
 

scrambled_eggs

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Most guests are good about calling me but I have had a couple who did not call and I had no idea what happened to them. I did my part...It was 6pm so I called them and no answer, called them again at 7pm and no answer, callled again at 8pm no answer and finally called at 9pm no answer. I left messages each time. They were supposed to be here for 4 nights and they just simply forgot to come the first time but never bothered to tell me. I charged them for the first night. If they don't bother to call you and it is 9pm then I would lock the door, turn off the light and go to bed. I tell everyone that check-in is from 3-6pm. If you are checking in later than 6pm you need to call and make arrangements with the innkeeper. If there is no call by 6pm. we will wait until 7pm and at that time the room will be released. ( I do this to scare them into calling) most do call because of that. I've had thousands stay with me and that majority have been good about calling. I have never actually given someones room away like that.
 

ceecee

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Most guests are good about calling me but I have had a couple who did not call and I had no idea what happened to them. I did my part...It was 6pm so I called them and no answer, called them again at 7pm and no answer, callled again at 8pm no answer and finally called at 9pm no answer. I left messages each time. They were supposed to be here for 4 nights and they just simply forgot to come the first time but never bothered to tell me. I charged them for the first night. If they don't bother to call you and it is 9pm then I would lock the door, turn off the light and go to bed. I tell everyone that check-in is from 3-6pm. If you are checking in later than 6pm you need to call and make arrangements with the innkeeper. If there is no call by 6pm. we will wait until 7pm and at that time the room will be released. ( I do this to scare them into calling) most do call because of that. I've had thousands stay with me and that majority have been good about calling. I have never actually given someones room away like that..
Thank you Oceans for a great idea! It would be good to tell them the room will be released. What about if they prepaid on the net? The people just forgot to come?
People tonight just arrived. Rang the bell, I answered. He said "Hi, we are the X's and have a reservation". I answered "Yes, we have been expecting you. Come in please." "Oh, we are late, but that is ok. I had coffee at dinner and am not tired at all." Duhhhhhhh. I showed them the room, reviewed breakfast, coffee, etc., bid them a goodnight. No tour, no snacks/juice/wine offerings, no game/movie areas, no nothing. But they will likely not get it unless others at breakfast are talking.
 

Morticia

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We've gone to leaving a note on the door with the access code to get in. It really depends on your area how well that would work. You could have the keypad lock and give the code when they call to say they're going to be late, IF they call.
We did this last night and it works for us. We go to bed, guest lets self in, everyone happy.
We run the credit card at 9 PM if they are not here yet. Card works, they get the code; card doesn't work, they have to ring the bell and I run the card when I let them in. Either way, I go to bed. I can hear the bell ringing, or, they can call me.
No one reads the confirmation. No one reads the website. No one hears what you say when you tell them on the phone.
 

Breakfast Diva

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I just had this same conversation with a friend of mine yesterday. She will NOT stay up, leave a key or use a lockbox. She is a solo innkeeper and goes to bed at 8:30. She has made it clear on her website, webervations policy that must be agreed to when making a reservation and over the phone. The guest must get their keys by 8:00 or they no longer have a reservation. She doesn't take a deposit up front, so if a new guest calls from the road saying they are going to be significantly later than 8:00pm, she tells them politely that they will need to find another place to stay.
She goes to bed at 8:30pm. If it's a return guest, she'll leave a key for them. This definitely won't work for everybody (like me), but she's as busy as she wants to be and it works for her.
We live in a safe rural area, so we leave an envelope with directions to their room, breakfast time, etc at the front door with the key and they can let themselves in. I wouldn't do this in an urban area, but it works for us.
by the way...
ceecee!!!
 

JBloggs

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Welcome Cee Cee!! Glad you jumped on in, the water's fine...really it is!
How long have you been doing this? I mean, have you been waiting up to midnight or 2am for guests for years? If so, then you would have a solution already or have no hair after pulling it all out.
Solution - tell them check in time 3 to 7pm. After that there will be a note for them. Do you have keys for the front door? Do you have an access key pad? If so, give them the code and bob's yer uncle. Do not wait up for guests like this, it is insane and you will hate the guests due to their inconsiderate behavior. Travel is travel, sometimes it stinks and you get way laid, it happens. But if they know the set boundaries and if not here then there will be NO ONE TO MEET THEM, SOL, then they will make sure they have arrangements made in advance.
So...obv you need to reword your confirmation, maybe you are softly reminding them about check in time and need to firmer approach. Check in is between 3 and 7pm. If you are arriving after that time, you must make prior arrangements with the innkeepers. or something, I can't recall all the groovy wording I have seen that was clever yet very firm.
Please I implore you, don't let guests ruin your life...you have a life too! You are not a robot with endless supplies of energy and stamina, you need your sleep!
One more question - why is your husband preparing breakfast at 4 or 5am? Is this near a military base or something? Why so early?
 

JBloggs

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I also have a note in the rooms that we have family time in the evenings. Yes, that's right, many guests are first timers and just don't know the protocol or how and what to do at a B&B...giving some simple info like this helps them to relax and understand the boundaries that are in place here. We are humans, we have pets, kids and work to do behind the scenes to make this B&B what it is. We also have LIFE that happens...
If we let a few of the guests suck the life out of us then we have nothing left for the rest. Esp for those we love and cherish and deserve more.
PS We arrived at the cottage we rented for a week and there was our name on an envelope. Our rez # was the door code and instructions were inside. Simple. Easy peasy. We did not feel begrudged by not having a personal welcome, it was fine...just fine. We were hot sweaty and stinky from travelling, we didn't want to make small talk, we can READ, so we can figure stuff out quite easily. Sometimes as innkeepers we take on roles of Mommy Dearest or baby sitters needlessly.
 

Joey Camb

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I have a lock box system for late arrivals and ring them to give them a code if they are later than 8pm I put a letter with it with explicit instructions about their room etc so they are not banging around looking for it. If when I get a booking through with a home phone and not a mobile I ring for the mobile as a home phone is bog all use if they are on the road it is the one place they aint going to be.
 

Copperhead

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If you keep going like this you will BURN OUT very quickly! Stop the madness now!
This is what I do, it is not 100%, nothing is! As Mort said people don't read, people don't listen. They are on their vacation it is all about them!
My website & conformation say: check in is between 3-7pm by APPOINTMENT - please provide your approx time of arrival (we give hour segments to choose) and call us if your plans change. "We plan our day to be here for your arrival but we, on occasion, have the need to be away from the inn."
I also have on it stated that we request their cell phone # as well.
Most are good about arriving around the time they state, again not fool proof but nothing will be.
 

Copperhead

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Welcome Cee Cee!! Glad you jumped on in, the water's fine...really it is!
How long have you been doing this? I mean, have you been waiting up to midnight or 2am for guests for years? If so, then you would have a solution already or have no hair after pulling it all out.
Solution - tell them check in time 3 to 7pm. After that there will be a note for them. Do you have keys for the front door? Do you have an access key pad? If so, give them the code and bob's yer uncle. Do not wait up for guests like this, it is insane and you will hate the guests due to their inconsiderate behavior. Travel is travel, sometimes it stinks and you get way laid, it happens. But if they know the set boundaries and if not here then there will be NO ONE TO MEET THEM, SOL, then they will make sure they have arrangements made in advance.
So...obv you need to reword your confirmation, maybe you are softly reminding them about check in time and need to firmer approach. Check in is between 3 and 7pm. If you are arriving after that time, you must make prior arrangements with the innkeepers. or something, I can't recall all the groovy wording I have seen that was clever yet very firm.
Please I implore you, don't let guests ruin your life...you have a life too! You are not a robot with endless supplies of energy and stamina, you need your sleep!
One more question - why is your husband preparing breakfast at 4 or 5am? Is this near a military base or something? Why so early?
.
"and bob's yer uncle."
Man, haven't heard that phrase in years! Thanks for the cuckle.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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If you keep going like this you will BURN OUT very quickly! Stop the madness now!
This is what I do, it is not 100%, nothing is! As Mort said people don't read, people don't listen. They are on their vacation it is all about them!
My website & conformation say: check in is between 3-7pm by APPOINTMENT - please provide your approx time of arrival (we give hour segments to choose) and call us if your plans change. "We plan our day to be here for your arrival but we, on occasion, have the need to be away from the inn."
I also have on it stated that we request their cell phone # as well.
Most are good about arriving around the time they state, again not fool proof but nothing will be..
copperhead said:
If you keep going like this you will BURN OUT very quickly! Stop the madness now!
Ditto.
 

Don Draper

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I also have a note in the rooms that we have family time in the evenings. Yes, that's right, many guests are first timers and just don't know the protocol or how and what to do at a B&B...giving some simple info like this helps them to relax and understand the boundaries that are in place here. We are humans, we have pets, kids and work to do behind the scenes to make this B&B what it is. We also have LIFE that happens...
If we let a few of the guests suck the life out of us then we have nothing left for the rest. Esp for those we love and cherish and deserve more.
PS We arrived at the cottage we rented for a week and there was our name on an envelope. Our rez # was the door code and instructions were inside. Simple. Easy peasy. We did not feel begrudged by not having a personal welcome, it was fine...just fine. We were hot sweaty and stinky from travelling, we didn't want to make small talk, we can READ, so we can figure stuff out quite easily. Sometimes as innkeepers we take on roles of Mommy Dearest or baby sitters needlessly..
You are making me smile from ear to ear hearing you describe your new attitude and policies...go back and read your posts on this topic from last year, what a difference! We each have to find what policies/practices feel good to us and I'm so glad you have, the fact that you are more relaxed and happy is evident HERE, can't imagine how much it must come through to your guests. Good on ya!
 

Don Draper

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If you keep going like this you will BURN OUT very quickly! Stop the madness now!
This is what I do, it is not 100%, nothing is! As Mort said people don't read, people don't listen. They are on their vacation it is all about them!
My website & conformation say: check in is between 3-7pm by APPOINTMENT - please provide your approx time of arrival (we give hour segments to choose) and call us if your plans change. "We plan our day to be here for your arrival but we, on occasion, have the need to be away from the inn."
I also have on it stated that we request their cell phone # as well.
Most are good about arriving around the time they state, again not fool proof but nothing will be..
copperhead said:
"We plan our day to be here for your arrival but we, on occasion, have the need to be away from the inn."
I also have on it stated that we request their cell phone # as well.
I really like the wording on this, might steal it!
 

Copperhead

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If you keep going like this you will BURN OUT very quickly! Stop the madness now!
This is what I do, it is not 100%, nothing is! As Mort said people don't read, people don't listen. They are on their vacation it is all about them!
My website & conformation say: check in is between 3-7pm by APPOINTMENT - please provide your approx time of arrival (we give hour segments to choose) and call us if your plans change. "We plan our day to be here for your arrival but we, on occasion, have the need to be away from the inn."
I also have on it stated that we request their cell phone # as well.
Most are good about arriving around the time they state, again not fool proof but nothing will be..
copperhead said:
"We plan our day to be here for your arrival but we, on occasion, have the need to be away from the inn."
I also have on it stated that we request their cell phone # as well.
I really like the wording on this, might steal it!
.
Steal away!
 

ceecee

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Thank you all.
We have been doing this 5 yrs, but for whatever reason, this year the late arrivals are multiplying like guinea pigs. In the past it was once or twice a week. Tolerable for the 8 mo busy season we have. But it is out of control this year. Maybe global warming heating the brain?
Great ideas! Will speak with husband about changing the wording regarding check in. Ours simply states 'We receive guests from 3pm to 7pm or by appointment'. Needs to be more explicit. And need to specify that they are giving us cell phone number, not home.
I do still have hair, but now it is streaking gray! In the summer husband is up very early as many guests are doing a boat charter. Boat at 7am, leave here by 6:45. We are trialing a 'to go' breakfast this summer. So far, no complaints about coffee, biscuits and fritattas wrapped up on a paper plate.
A keypad will not work for us, but running the card and leaving an envelope with a key and directions to room might work ok. If they can read. How can they read at self check-in but not on confirmation?!
Thanks again, ceecee
 

Don Draper

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Thank you all.
We have been doing this 5 yrs, but for whatever reason, this year the late arrivals are multiplying like guinea pigs. In the past it was once or twice a week. Tolerable for the 8 mo busy season we have. But it is out of control this year. Maybe global warming heating the brain?
Great ideas! Will speak with husband about changing the wording regarding check in. Ours simply states 'We receive guests from 3pm to 7pm or by appointment'. Needs to be more explicit. And need to specify that they are giving us cell phone number, not home.
I do still have hair, but now it is streaking gray! In the summer husband is up very early as many guests are doing a boat charter. Boat at 7am, leave here by 6:45. We are trialing a 'to go' breakfast this summer. So far, no complaints about coffee, biscuits and fritattas wrapped up on a paper plate.
A keypad will not work for us, but running the card and leaving an envelope with a key and directions to room might work ok. If they can read. How can they read at self check-in but not on confirmation?!
Thanks again, ceecee.
ceecee said:
How can they read at self check-in but not on confirmation?!
They can read fine when they decide they want to, or realize they have to! They will be able to read and get themselves checked in just fine when there is no alternative to get in to the inn!
 

JBloggs

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Cee Cee...I have the answer. Not to the dilemma you face, but the answer to WHY they are arriving late.
GPS for Dummies is what it is called. In the early days of the GPS you have, ahem, the technogadgety people buy them and understand them. NOW you have those WHO CANNOT READ A FLIPPIN' MAP who think a GPS will solve all their problems. Having just been on the road with one that preferred the "as a crow flies" to any given road or highway I can attest to the fact it is a GPS issue. Or shall we call it SNAFU. Look that up if you don't know that term...it will all make sense.
So ALL of us are facing these later and later lost GPS meatheads arriving after check in time. It is elementary my dear watson, I am not suggesting this is the case, I know it is the case, this case is solved.
 

Morticia

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Thank you all.
We have been doing this 5 yrs, but for whatever reason, this year the late arrivals are multiplying like guinea pigs. In the past it was once or twice a week. Tolerable for the 8 mo busy season we have. But it is out of control this year. Maybe global warming heating the brain?
Great ideas! Will speak with husband about changing the wording regarding check in. Ours simply states 'We receive guests from 3pm to 7pm or by appointment'. Needs to be more explicit. And need to specify that they are giving us cell phone number, not home.
I do still have hair, but now it is streaking gray! In the summer husband is up very early as many guests are doing a boat charter. Boat at 7am, leave here by 6:45. We are trialing a 'to go' breakfast this summer. So far, no complaints about coffee, biscuits and fritattas wrapped up on a paper plate.
A keypad will not work for us, but running the card and leaving an envelope with a key and directions to room might work ok. If they can read. How can they read at self check-in but not on confirmation?!
Thanks again, ceecee.
Amazingly, they CAN read the self check-in because they have to pee. In the comfort of their own home, there is no need. But standing on the doorstep, having to get in, a wonderous thing happens- 1st grade comes back to them and they figure out what the printed letters mean.
OK, being a bit sarcastic here but I think we've had maybe one person ring the bell to get in the house when we left the note for them. And that was because he never called so he didn't know the drill. Never saw the note because he wasn't looking for it.
The big problem we had with guests and keys is they rarely locked the door behind them. So you'll have to be clear what the procedure is for that.
 

Morticia

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Cee Cee...I have the answer. Not to the dilemma you face, but the answer to WHY they are arriving late.
GPS for Dummies is what it is called. In the early days of the GPS you have, ahem, the technogadgety people buy them and understand them. NOW you have those WHO CANNOT READ A FLIPPIN' MAP who think a GPS will solve all their problems. Having just been on the road with one that preferred the "as a crow flies" to any given road or highway I can attest to the fact it is a GPS issue. Or shall we call it SNAFU. Look that up if you don't know that term...it will all make sense.
So ALL of us are facing these later and later lost GPS meatheads arriving after check in time. It is elementary my dear watson, I am not suggesting this is the case, I know it is the case, this case is solved..
We have guests here from one of those really large states who looked at a map (a real map) and thought all of New England was probably a 2 hour drive in any direction. They were coming from a place I can drive to in 4 hours. It took them 10. I'm still not sure why. But there was a lot of commenting on how nothing is a straight line here. Having never really driven in one of those big, square states I guess it is a bit different here.
 

ceecee

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If you keep going like this you will BURN OUT very quickly! Stop the madness now!
This is what I do, it is not 100%, nothing is! As Mort said people don't read, people don't listen. They are on their vacation it is all about them!
My website & conformation say: check in is between 3-7pm by APPOINTMENT - please provide your approx time of arrival (we give hour segments to choose) and call us if your plans change. "We plan our day to be here for your arrival but we, on occasion, have the need to be away from the inn."
I also have on it stated that we request their cell phone # as well.
Most are good about arriving around the time they state, again not fool proof but nothing will be..
Ahhh, you knew I glared at them while serving that sorbet! I was smiling outside but not such nicities inside.
 
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