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swirt

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I think there is a period of time when innkeepers are quite new that they want to attract every single possible guest. Part for financial reasons and part for just wanting to be the most hospitable innkeeper ever. Then over time I think we wise up and start listening to the little warning signs that indicate something is not right with potential guest. Gradually our PITA Radar improves.
Here's a bit of a case study on how to spot a PITA before you even let them in the door. The names have been changed to protect whatever. ;)
Background to the case study: We are in a touristy area and have more potential guests than we can handle, as well as day jobs, and we have some health and family related issues at the moment. For this set of reasons we made the decision to have a two night minimum all the time. Our website clearly states that we have a two night minimum and our booking engine rejects any attempt to make a single night reservation and informs the person of the 2 night minimum requirement.
Email arrives -
Subject: PLEASE ADVISE! <-- all caps and exclamation point on a first contact ought to trigger PITA Radar from the start
Body: Good morning.
I am writing you from MD in hopes of reserving "XYZ room" for July 20th. Your site said I am unable to reserve because of a 2-night minimium BUT both nights on either side (19 and 21) are BOTH already reserved. If possible, please hold this cabin for me for that Sunday night.
Either way, I would appreciate a reply back so that I can make further arrangements.
Thanks so much.
Cheers,
John Doe
Person indicates they read the policy but still wants to circumvent the policy. As many innkeepers on this forum will already attest, trouble lies ahead when you go against your own policy. But the person seems nice enough so far.
Innkeeper replies -
Subject: RE PLEASE ADVISE!
Body: Hi John,
I'm afraid our two night minimum applies regardless of whether a full two nights is available or not. We simply are not available for single night stays. You may wish to try some of the other places listed on www. [local directory] .com

Sincerely,
[innkeeper signature]
Potential Guest replies -
Body: Wow...what a shame that you would rather have your room sit empty than rent to us. I would think that someone who understood what it actually means to be an "innkeeper" would want to adapt and conform to such a modest request. <- PITA Radar: potential guest launches right in to how we suck because we won't break our policy and then goes on to inform me of what a real innkeeper would do. What's next, break my no pets policy, or my couples only policy?
We got married in [your town] (at historical society building) seven years ago and had our reception in [local reception hall] and simply wanted to revisit the area as we were passing through from MD. It is very disappointing (to my wife especially) that you could not extend us the courtesy of renting us a vacant room. In the service/hospitality industry I would think that it would be critical to oblige but maybe those things are no longer as important in [your town] as they were seven years ago. <-PITA Radar: Informs me again of what we ought to do to accommodate them because we have an obligation to make sure everyone in our town is happy. Note: I have an obligation to keep my guests happy. I have no obligation to keep everyone in town or every potential guest happy and in the process making ourselves miserable.
Now [your town] just does not seem to hold the "charm" it used to for me. <-PITA Radar: the person will blame not being able to stay here on the whole town losing its charm? If they will blame me for that, why would I want them in my house...what else will they blame me for? If they have such fond memories, why don't they go stay at the place they stayed seven years ago?
-John Doe
PS Fortunately my entire family still lives throughout the [your region] (my father actually captains the Tour Boat on [nearby lake]) and I am well aware of the other options out there -- but for obvious reasons we wanted [your town] and your "we would rather have an empty room than accomodate you policy" will remain a mystery to me. <- PITA Radar: For cryin out loud, I am not the only B&B in this town...go find another.
Innkeeper replies - <- PITA Radar screamed that I should let it go and just call it done .... but it kept eating at me and I had a need to solve the mystery for the person so they could have an understanding of why we have the policy.
Body: John,
Thank you for taking the moral high ground and telling us how to run our business and in the process condemning all of [my town]. As in most cases in life the back story is always more complicated than what appears on the surface. We don't usually share the back story but you seem to need to understand this more than anyone else has so far. My wife, the innkeeper, is [story of both happiness and extreme sadness that I don't want shared with the search engines], we are not taking any chances with this one by overloading her with flipping rooms for one night stays. It is not that I would rather have our rooms sit empty than rent to you, it is that I would rather not blame myself for overworking my wife [and having a bad result]. I do hope you can understand this and can forgive [my town]. There are plenty of great places to stay and [my town] is a wonderful area. As I suggested the first time, there are plenty of places on www. [local directory] .com that will be able to accommodate you.

-[innkeeper signature]
PITA replies -
Body: OK, [innkeeper's name]....I see you are prone to exaggeration. <- PITA Radar: ahhh a judgement slinger, that's exactly what I want in my house. Being shocked by your amazing inflexibility (having a policy becomes "amazing inflexibility"?) has nothing to do with moral high ground....just commom sense. You have chosen an industry where people who succeed tend to accomodate whenever possible. (this is a false assumption on his part) Additionally, observing that [your town] lost a bit of its charm is far from a total condemnation. I will be revisiting the folks that treated us well. I still plan on spending most of a day enjoying the food, wine and beer that [local winery] cheerfully serves up. I was merely commenting that your uncompromising rigidness (redundant whiny PITA) had left a bad taste in my mouth. (right, and I am prone to exageration).
In reality, you are the one feigning for the "moral high ground" here by shamelessly inserting your [sad story] into this. But your flimsy stance is that it is some how "safer" for your wife to flip rooms after people have slept in them for two nights and somehow more dangerous after just one. Come on Steve...as we BOTH knew all along (which is why I felt the need to comment at all) bottom line....this is all about money. (errr...if it was all about money, wouldn't I have said, sure please come stay the one night?) Soooooo for another $160 it is worth risking [sad story repeat]??!! I sincerely doubt it. Your attempted guilt trip was terribly transparent and again....this probably is not the best way to win return business (makes it sound as though he stayed here 7 years ago...there was no B&B here 7 years ago, we hadn't built it yet) ---but I digress....I do not want to be accused of telling you how to run your business. (errr...he already did that 3 times and presumed to believe he knew the REAL reason behind everything)
[He concluded with a wish for good luck on our part that included way too many details about his family to put here.]
-John.
Innkeeper shakes head in disbelief -
I chose to not respond to this email as no good could come from it. I of course steamed over this for a few days, writing imaginary responses in my head but really just wanting to drag him around by his ear and tell him what a whiny little snot he is .... but like I said, no good can come from that.
My point is not so much the specifics of this exchange, but the notion that there will always be people who expect/demand more than you are willing to offer. There is a difference between treating your guests well and accommodating every single potential guest out there. You can't be all things to all people....not and maintain your sanity and longevity anyway.
 

Morticia

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I am sitting here shaking. I don't mean head shaking, physically shaking.
 

EmptyNest

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GOOD GRIEF!!! That really happened????? I would have never dealt with it past the first Sorry we have no rooms available. A REAL PITA!!!!
 

Samster

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All I can say is "ouch"! There is an awful lot of meanness in those communications from that person.
I think you were right to finally let it go. This person would have just gone on & on about how you don't know how to run a business, etc. Interesting to me that someone could be so ugly & expect you to offer up your accommodations with a great big smile.
I have much to learn....
 

Morticia

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Also meant to say thanks for posting this in the format that you did...a good post mortem and dissection! Others can learn. And prepare for the eventual arrival of a similar email or call.
Most of the time I think we are blindsided by these people because we just don't expect anyone would act that way.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Thank you for sharing. I know it was difficult and irritating and you want the guy to stay there now so you can whoop his butt! You have the date he will be in the area put it on your online reminder because he will probably show up there. You have already thought of this I am sure.
Another lesson to be learned - you cannot please everyone. (We know this but we still try and stuff our family around, those we care most about. We need to always put our loved ones first. KUDOS Swirt.) This guy had issues well before he contacted you. He will be an awful guest regardless of acommodating him or not. Like you said PITA alerts - aka hair on the back of your neck alerts.
I am sorry that someone so crude interferred with your day(s) and life. Ducks we should be, but ducks we ain't.
 

swirt

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GOOD GRIEF!!! That really happened????? I would have never dealt with it past the first Sorry we have no rooms available. A REAL PITA!!!!.
Really happened...all within the past few days. In hindsight I wish I didn't respond past the first "sorry we can't accommodate you" email. It gained me nothing but this seed of annoyance as I replay it in my head.
 

swirt

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All I can say is "ouch"! There is an awful lot of meanness in those communications from that person.
I think you were right to finally let it go. This person would have just gone on & on about how you don't know how to run a business, etc. Interesting to me that someone could be so ugly & expect you to offer up your accommodations with a great big smile.
I have much to learn.....
Fortunately these kind of things are relatively few and far between. Most guest are great and most potential guests are too ... but man there are some annoying personalities in the World and when they cross your path it sucks (for a lack of any more eloquent way of saying it).
 

swirt

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Also meant to say thanks for posting this in the format that you did...a good post mortem and dissection! Others can learn. And prepare for the eventual arrival of a similar email or call.
Most of the time I think we are blindsided by these people because we just don't expect anyone would act that way..
I think blindsided is the perfect way to describe it. I guess I'd prefer it that way though...I'd rather not go around expecting that all people are like this.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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GOOD GRIEF!!! That really happened????? I would have never dealt with it past the first Sorry we have no rooms available. A REAL PITA!!!!.
Really happened...all within the past few days. In hindsight I wish I didn't respond past the first "sorry we can't accommodate you" email. It gained me nothing but this seed of annoyance as I replay it in my head.
.
swirt said:
Really happened...all within the past few days. In hindsight I wish I didn't respond past the first "sorry we can't accommodate you" email. It gained me nothing but this seed of annoyance as I replay it in my head.
If you are like me, that is what is bugging you now. That you were not a reply coming from an internet source, but you were a "person" and that loser grabbed onto that with all his might.
People are in our home all the time, hard to disconnect sometimes. The couple from Netherlands were at the table and said to me point blank "why do your children have dark hair?" Usually, I am thoroughly pleased to dismiss myths about adoption any chance I can. But it was the boldness that bothered me. I had about 4 humorous lines I was about to say, about running around with a motorcycle gang etc, but I didn't. They would not understand my joke.
When the girls are asked this they respond "Because God gave us dark hair" and walk away.
People are rude. Always will be. When we share something of ourselved we cannot take it back, and that is what bugs us, when it is treated like trash.
 

Morticia

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All I can say is "ouch"! There is an awful lot of meanness in those communications from that person.
I think you were right to finally let it go. This person would have just gone on & on about how you don't know how to run a business, etc. Interesting to me that someone could be so ugly & expect you to offer up your accommodations with a great big smile.
I have much to learn.....
Fortunately these kind of things are relatively few and far between. Most guest are great and most potential guests are too ... but man there are some annoying personalities in the World and when they cross your path it sucks (for a lack of any more eloquent way of saying it).
.
swirt said:
it sucks (for a lack of any more eloquent way of saying it).
"It casts a pall on the day."
"It causes great pain and considerable annoyance."
"It causes the birds to be silent and the sun to fade."
"It causes dogs to howl at midday."
Should I stop now?
 

swirt

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Thank you for sharing. I know it was difficult and irritating and you want the guy to stay there now so you can whoop his butt! You have the date he will be in the area put it on your online reminder because he will probably show up there. You have already thought of this I am sure.
Another lesson to be learned - you cannot please everyone. (We know this but we still try and stuff our family around, those we care most about. We need to always put our loved ones first. KUDOS Swirt.) This guy had issues well before he contacted you. He will be an awful guest regardless of acommodating him or not. Like you said PITA alerts - aka hair on the back of your neck alerts.
I am sorry that someone so crude interferred with your day(s) and life. Ducks we should be, but ducks we ain't..
JunieBJones (JBJ) said:
Another lesson to be learned - you cannot please everyone.
This is absolutely right. If only it were easier to know where to draw the line (the line gets pretty fuzzy sometimes). Which I think is why we have always said in the past, "stick to your policies". You create your policies when you have time to think things through...when you can shift things to favor self-preservation for your specific needs. The policies help make it so you don't have to hem & haw each time the situation comes up. You may change your policies over time, but altering them on a guest by guest basis leads to nothing but headaches in my experience.
 

swirt

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All I can say is "ouch"! There is an awful lot of meanness in those communications from that person.
I think you were right to finally let it go. This person would have just gone on & on about how you don't know how to run a business, etc. Interesting to me that someone could be so ugly & expect you to offer up your accommodations with a great big smile.
I have much to learn.....
Fortunately these kind of things are relatively few and far between. Most guest are great and most potential guests are too ... but man there are some annoying personalities in the World and when they cross your path it sucks (for a lack of any more eloquent way of saying it).
.
swirt said:
it sucks (for a lack of any more eloquent way of saying it).
"It casts a pall on the day."
"It causes great pain and considerable annoyance."
"It causes the birds to be silent and the sun to fade."
"It causes dogs to howl at midday."
Should I stop now?
.
Now that made my day. Thank you. :)
 

swirt

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GOOD GRIEF!!! That really happened????? I would have never dealt with it past the first Sorry we have no rooms available. A REAL PITA!!!!.
Really happened...all within the past few days. In hindsight I wish I didn't respond past the first "sorry we can't accommodate you" email. It gained me nothing but this seed of annoyance as I replay it in my head.
.
swirt said:
Really happened...all within the past few days. In hindsight I wish I didn't respond past the first "sorry we can't accommodate you" email. It gained me nothing but this seed of annoyance as I replay it in my head.
If you are like me, that is what is bugging you now. That you were not a reply coming from an internet source, but you were a "person" and that loser grabbed onto that with all his might.
People are in our home all the time, hard to disconnect sometimes. The couple from Netherlands were at the table and said to me point blank "why do your children have dark hair?" Usually, I am thoroughly pleased to dismiss myths about adoption any chance I can. But it was the boldness that bothered me. I had about 4 humorous lines I was about to say, about running around with a motorcycle gang etc, but I didn't. They would not understand my joke.
When the girls are asked this they respond "Because God gave us dark hair" and walk away.
People are rude. Always will be. When we share something of ourselved we cannot take it back, and that is what bugs us, when it is treated like trash.
.
JunieBJones (JBJ) said:
... I had about 4 humorous lines I was about to say, about running around with a motorcycle gang etc, but I didn't. ....
Ooh I definitely have that sarcastic voice in my head that runs through several sarcastic responses before latching on to the more measured one that is allowed to come out of my lips.
JunieBJones (JBJ) said:
When we share something of ourselved we cannot take it back, and that is what bugs us, when it is treated like trash.
You are correct on that one for sure. :)
 

winewitch

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If you are using an online system, maybe you should just block the one nighters out, so it appears that you don't have them.
HA!
look at how popular you are, booked solid with a two night minimum 7 days a week!!
 

swirt

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If you are using an online system, maybe you should just block the one nighters out, so it appears that you don't have them.
HA!
look at how popular you are, booked solid with a two night minimum 7 days a week!!.
That's a good suggestion. I thought about it, but when we have a cancellation that borders one of those open one-night slots there is no way I would remember to re-open it so that someone else could grab the entire opening. The other reason is that if I block off all the one nighters so they aren't visible, then the availability calendar becomes one solid color and people think we are wide open (the color key requires them to read a few words, which of course they don't read), so they start calling saying that the reservations system is broken.
On occaison we might allow a 1 nighter in, if it happens to fall on day where the other rooms don't need to be flipped or something like that. When we decide to allow a one nighter, it will be on our terms when it suits us and when the person seems like a nice person. Definitely not to someone who jumps right in with caps and exclamation points blazing

As we get closer to the end of the season I'll post a financial breakdown of how many nights we lost compared to other years as a result of the full-time 2-night minimum. I know it has already made a difference in my DW's workload and attitude.
 

EmptyNest

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If you are using an online system, maybe you should just block the one nighters out, so it appears that you don't have them.
HA!
look at how popular you are, booked solid with a two night minimum 7 days a week!!.
That's a good suggestion. I thought about it, but when we have a cancellation that borders one of those open one-night slots there is no way I would remember to re-open it so that someone else could grab the entire opening. The other reason is that if I block off all the one nighters so they aren't visible, then the availability calendar becomes one solid color and people think we are wide open (the color key requires them to read a few words, which of course they don't read), so they start calling saying that the reservations system is broken.
On occaison we might allow a 1 nighter in, if it happens to fall on day where the other rooms don't need to be flipped or something like that. When we decide to allow a one nighter, it will be on our terms when it suits us and when the person seems like a nice person. Definitely not to someone who jumps right in with caps and exclamation points blazing

As we get closer to the end of the season I'll post a financial breakdown of how many nights we lost compared to other years as a result of the full-time 2-night minimum. I know it has already made a difference in my DW's workload and attitude.
.
The 2 night min. makes all the difference. My attitude was also much better knowing I didn't have an extra day of work

 

cbenson21210

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If you are using an online system, maybe you should just block the one nighters out, so it appears that you don't have them.
HA!
look at how popular you are, booked solid with a two night minimum 7 days a week!!.
winewitch said:
If you are using an online system, maybe you should just block the one nighters out, so it appears that you don't have them.
From a guest's perspective, I would go ahead and block out those not really available one nighters that are showing as available on your calendar like WW suggests. Since one nighters are all you have left for the remainder of July and into about the middle of August (I didn't even look further than that), I'd take them down.
As a guest, I would have asked if you would have allowed a one night stay in that situation. I would have never pushed it like your PITA did. That is just crazy, rude and a thousand other adjectives. By way of example, over the past several days, I've been trying to find a place to stay for one night on our way up to our New England vacation and because of the area we need to stay in is very touristy and summer is the high season, most of the places won't do a one night stay on a Friday night. However, most of them have taken my name and offered to call if they end up with someone wanting the Saturday/Sunday night combo because then they will do a one nighter on Friday night.
Just something to think about...And take solace in the fact that while the PITA was just that, your business plan (and I suspect your SEO and website) is really working for you! With our limited availability for our business, high search engine ranking and high demand, we have some of the same problems you do in terms of having far more demand than we can accomodate. As a result, I have no patience for PITAs and I stick to my policies. First year out I wanted to be nice to everyone...not so much anymore...polite and firm but won't bend over backwards to accomodate because it only gets me in trouble down the road.
 

Morticia

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If you are using an online system, maybe you should just block the one nighters out, so it appears that you don't have them.
HA!
look at how popular you are, booked solid with a two night minimum 7 days a week!!.
That's a good suggestion. I thought about it, but when we have a cancellation that borders one of those open one-night slots there is no way I would remember to re-open it so that someone else could grab the entire opening. The other reason is that if I block off all the one nighters so they aren't visible, then the availability calendar becomes one solid color and people think we are wide open (the color key requires them to read a few words, which of course they don't read), so they start calling saying that the reservations system is broken.
On occaison we might allow a 1 nighter in, if it happens to fall on day where the other rooms don't need to be flipped or something like that. When we decide to allow a one nighter, it will be on our terms when it suits us and when the person seems like a nice person. Definitely not to someone who jumps right in with caps and exclamation points blazing

As we get closer to the end of the season I'll post a financial breakdown of how many nights we lost compared to other years as a result of the full-time 2-night minimum. I know it has already made a difference in my DW's workload and attitude.
.
swirt said:
That's a good suggestion. I thought about it, but when we have a cancellation that borders one of those open one-night slots there is no way I would remember to re-open it so that someone else could grab the entire opening. The other reason is that if I block off all the one nighters so they aren't visible, then the availability calendar becomes one solid color and people think we are wide open (the color key requires them to read a few words, which of course they don't read), so they start calling saying that the reservations system is broken.
Just had that this morning. Went over it on the phone with the guest...'What do YOU see? Do you see prices or that the date is blocked?' (I specifically used the word 'blocked'.)
Guest- Oh, yes, my mistake.
I am calling SI today to see if they will make my booked rooms show red, like you said...'Red means stop.'
On the other point...the money isn't the issue right now (you may even find there is NO loss of revenue), the issue is dw's happiness.
 
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