Right to refuse service list?

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MoosewoodInn

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Hello,



This is a long one. Tell me your “I will never host these people again” stories!

Only three months in and I already have what I call a “right to refuse service” list. We just debuted two fully renovated “Deluxe King Rooms”. This place we took over had sat vacant for three years. It needed lots of work. It had these two “family rooms” that were a significantly larger than the standard room, but had a weird wall that came out 3/4 of the way and had one queen bed on each side. Each side had its own door into the same bathroom.

we tore everything out and totally rebuilt the room. Floor to ceiling. Our THIRD guest in there was a total nightmare before even arriving. We have a 3 day cancellation policy. So, three days before they arrive we charge their card for the room. She had booked a standard queen room for 8 days. On the phone I could hear her going back and forth with her husband, who obviously didn’t want to pay our rates. She was booking into an event weekend, in which we were already full. So we started renovating two queen rooms that were not open yet. We didn’t plan on that until the winter, but wanted to accommodate her without her having to leave and stay somewhere else for one night just to come back the next night.

A week before her reservation she calls to take it from 8 days to 4. Frustrating but okay. She also tells me the room can’t smell like anything. No cleaners. No air fresheners. It can’t have any scent. ??!! So what do I do trying to accommodate? I shut the room down the day before they are scheduled to arrive so no cleaners will be lingering.

3 day cancellation policy time comes and I charge the card. A few days before her scheduled arrival she shows up and wants to see the room. Weird so she cancelled with us to stay somewhere else in town. She wanted to see the room because she wanted to see how it smelled. Now this is a 60 year old log cabin. 60 year old wood inside the rooms. It holds smells. We had a lavender glade plug in set in there two months ago and you can still get a hint of it. She said her husband probably won’t stay then but she is still staying. Coming up to see her new grand-baby.

The day before her reservation she calls and wants to change to the king room. We just opened them to guests and she saw the photos online. I told her because it’s the day before her stay I could not control how the room smells. So I refund her the queen reservation and change to the king. Then she tells me her husband is bringing in two computer monitors and an extension cord. Is there a table in the room? I said yes but I don’t think large enough for two monitors!!!! UGH!

So they her here and stay I think three nights. Needing extra pillows, extra garbage bags (they went through three large garbage bags in three days!) she kept coming in saying “I hope I’m your worst guest” while laughing. Her creepy husband only left the room once in three days. Otherwise he was planted on his computer in front of the window. So any work I had to do on that side of the building (I’m a 34 year old woman) he was just staring at me with that creepy angry look.

THEN came time to check out. They called to see if I would be available in the office. I said yes. My husband went with me because he knew they were trouble. They had “feedback on how to make the room more comfortable”
The room they were in is actually my photo on here. They told us they had to bend down to get into the mini fridge. I should have it set on top of the table. Our lights are bright and should be on a dimmer. There’s many options for lighting in the room. The recess ceiling lights were too bright. The dim string lights in the raised ceiling were too bright. He left them on all night and they should be on a dimmer because it was just too bright. They didn’t like the toilet paper holder. We should change our lighting so the recess light above the mini fridge area turns on separate from all the other ceiling lights.

They talked about her having a reason to come back but I will never take her again. I will remember her name forever. She also told her sister to stay here and I got the whole “what kind of discounts can you give me”crap.

Sorry so long but maybe you can relate!!
 

JimBoone

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@MoosewoodInn don't let folks discourage you, most are nice, but there are "those", it comes with the job. She wanted to see the kids, he didn't want to go, unhappy at the get go. My kids have said I had an unhappy look, maybe he couldn't help it. One guests complains a room is too bright, the next that you don't supply night lights, some of those help our education and can be changed in time and some guests just wanted to stay home. Our mini fridges are low also and it kills my back to bend to be sure that they are clean and empty after guests depart, I can understand yet I don't have a convenient "up high" place for them. Too many businesses today play the "discount" game, guess it is natural for folks to ask, I just tell folks I don't play. Had one of those who wanted to see the room they reserved months ago recently, makes me wonder if we need a better way to explain that a reservations is a contract to rent, I'm not holding the room "in case" you want it. People are fun.
 

seashanty

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I won’t tell you my guest horrors … just want to lend my support about those with helpful suggestions

I used to pull out an old fashioned note pad and write down the suggestions … and thanked them. Some were not happening like installing a hot tub, a mini bar or pay per view movies in the room. Or installing an elevator in my 1800s inn so they could get up to cupola more easily. Some actually made sense like adding lighting to one area of a room.

Some people consider themselves ‘professional reviewers’ … flattered by ta‘s request to submit more and be a top reviewer or whatever.

We used to see a mantra here in the forum a lot
They pay, they stay, they go away. Repeat repeat repeat

🙂
 

TheBeachHouse

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I had a guest offer “decorating suggestions.” I agreed to be nice. 20 minutes later, after hearing how my art was hung in all the wrong places and I should use dishtowels as placemats and add more doilies, I finally remembered that I had muffins in the oven and broke it off. On the other hand, I also heard that it would be nice to have napkins by the coffee station. I agreed and added napkins by the coffee station. Sometimes you hear a good idea.
 

Morticia

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Perfectly ok to have a ‘DNB’ (do not book) list. My list included people who smoked in the room and then cheerfully stood in the hallway and listened to another guest yelling at me about the smoke smell in their room.

Another one was a guest who wrote multiple bad reviews because I wouldn’t let him use the front door (ancient, no keys, and had to be slammed to get it closed).

People I should have turned away included a doctor who said these few words in the entire five times he stayed, ‘of course YOU wouldn’t have hot sauce’ and ‘I better get a discount!’ A family in which the only person who acknowledged my existence was the dad. If I spoke to any other member of the family they never responded. They also left the room with trash on the floors and one time the curtains were torn down and trampled.

I’m sure there were others I’m just not remembering at the moment.

As for the folks who want to tell you what to do and how to do it—let them talk. You might get an idea or two. Maybe those lights are too bright. Try spending time in the room at night to see what they mean. Don’t be overly wedded to the idea you just spent all that time and money so it must be perfect. Maybe some tweaks are needed.

As for the way the guests behaved in making and canceling and changing their reservation—think about limiting guests to one change before you start charging for changes.

Lots of guests have sensory reactions to smells, try to limit using products with scents. Especially those fake scents in the plug in air fresheners. You saw how long that lingered. Whenever we had a request for a ‘scent free’ room I explained I had no control over what perfumes or scented products other guests might use and this could not control what the room might smell like if the previous guests sprayed perfume all over. I put the onus on the guest to understand they would be responsible for paying even if they decided to leave early. Most of them opted not to book.

Good luck with your new adventure!
 

CSMaine

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We all have a list! LOL. I remember in our first season, other innkeepers in town warned us about a couple who visited every year and had a reputation wherever they stayed. Our res system even allows us to mark them "banned" (harsh but it something). If they use the same email address online, it won't allow the reservation, they have to call. The "list" is not long, so we will recognize the name if they call and we will advise they may be better suited somewhere else.
 
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MoosewoodInn

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@MoosewoodInn don't let folks discourage you, most are nice, but there are "those", it comes with the job. She wanted to see the kids, he didn't want to go, unhappy at the get go. My kids have said I had an unhappy look, maybe he couldn't help it. One guests complains a room is too bright, the next that you don't supply night lights, some of those help our education and can be changed in time and some guests just wanted to stay home. Our mini fridges are low also and it kills my back to bend to be sure that they are clean and empty after guests depart, I can understand yet I don't have a convenient "up high" place for them. Too many businesses today play the "discount" game, guess it is natural for folks to ask, I just tell folks I don't play. Had one of those who wanted to see the room they reserved months ago recently, makes me wonder if we need a better way to explain that a reservations is a contract to rent, I'm not holding the room "in case" you want it. People are fun.
I’m open to reasonable requests, just not from people who keep telling me they hope they are my worst guests yet! Lol!! I’m not a monster! And he didn’t have just the angry look he had the “I’m judging everything you’re doing” kind of look! We all know “the look”. It’s hard to specify through text!
 

MoosewoodInn

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We all have a list! LOL. I remember in our first season, other innkeepers in town warned us about a couple who visited every year and had a reputation wherever they stayed. Our res system even allows us to mark them "banned" (harsh but it something). If they use the same email address online, it won't allow the reservation, they have to call. The "list" is not long, so we will recognize the name if they call and we will advise they may be better suited somewhere else.
It’s great that you are connected with the other innkeepers in your area in a way that can benefit all of you! I’m hoping to get there one day. My husband keeps saying “I want to be partners not competitors” regarding the other places in our town. You’re lucky!
 

MoosewoodInn

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Perfectly ok to have a ‘DNB’ (do not book) list. My list included people who smoked in the room and then cheerfully stood in the hallway and listened to another guest yelling at me about the smoke smell in their room.

Another one was a guest who wrote multiple bad reviews because I wouldn’t let him use the front door (ancient, no keys, and had to be slammed to get it closed).

People I should have turned away included a doctor who said these few words in the entire five times he stayed, ‘of course YOU wouldn’t have hot sauce’ and ‘I better get a discount!’ A family in which the only person who acknowledged my existence was the dad. If I spoke to any other member of the family they never responded. They also left the room with trash on the floors and one time the curtains were torn down and trampled.

I’m sure there were others I’m just not remembering at the moment.

As for the folks who want to tell you what to do and how to do it—let them talk. You might get an idea or two. Maybe those lights are too bright. Try spending time in the room at night to see what they mean. Don’t be overly wedded to the idea you just spent all that time and money so it must be perfect. Maybe some tweaks are needed.

As for the way the guests behaved in making and canceling and changing their reservation—think about limiting guests to one change before you start charging for changes.

Lots of guests have sensory reactions to smells, try to limit using products with scents. Especially those fake scents in the plug in air fresheners. You saw how long that lingered. Whenever we had a request for a ‘scent free’ room I explained I had no control over what perfumes or scented products other guests might use and this could not control what the room might smell like if the previous guests sprayed perfume all over. I put the onus on the guest to understand they would be responsible for paying even if they decided to leave early. Most of them opted not to book.

Good luck with your new adventure!
Oh yeah! I get it! They said we should hang a hook on the back of the door, and we did. We understand reasonable feedback but not rebuilding custom made kitchenette furniture or pulling out the electrical! There are many sources of lighting in our rooms. We have the typical recess lighting which provides like…normal light? I’m not expert on the terminology! Then we have headboard lighting, dim string lights hidden in the raised ceiling that provide a glow effect. The headboard lighting actually have sleep aid lightbulbs which are more amber in color meant to help aid in sleeping. They wanted us to change our ceiling lights so the one above the kitchenette area was separate from all the other ceiling lights. Not gunna happen! We just put that drywall up lol!
But the more reasonable requests like larger trash bins or the hook on the door, of course! That’s more reasonable and achievable!
 

MoosewoodInn

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Oh yeah! I get it! They said we should hang a hook on the back of the door, and we did. We understand reasonable feedback but not rebuilding custom made kitchenette furniture or pulling out the electrical! There are many sources of lighting in our rooms. We have the typical recess lighting which provides like…normal light? I’m not expert on the terminology! Then we have headboard lighting, dim string lights hidden in the raised ceiling that provide a glow effect. The headboard lighting actually have sleep aid lightbulbs which are more amber in color meant to help aid in sleeping. They wanted us to change our ceiling lights so the one above the kitchenette area was separate from all the other ceiling lights. Not gunna happen! We just put that drywall up lol!
But the more reasonable requests like larger trash bins or the hook on the door, of course! That’s more reasonable and achievable!
**the headboard lighting is separate from the dim raised ceiling string lights. I made it sound like they were one in the same. So there’s three options for lighting in the room all providing different levels and kelvins.
 

MoosewoodInn

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I had a guest offer “decorating suggestions.” I agreed to be nice. 20 minutes later, after hearing how my art was hung in all the wrong places and I should use dishtowels as placemats and add more doilies, I finally remembered that I had muffins in the oven and broke it off. On the other hand, I also heard that it would be nice to have napkins by the coffee station. I agreed and added napkins by the coffee station. Sometimes you hear a good idea.
I need to learn how to break it off. I end up talking to people for too long. I never know how to slip away lol I think I would have been more open to their suggestions if it hadn’t started with them saying they hope they are our worst guests yet lol!!
 

MoosewoodInn

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I won’t tell you my guest horrors … just want to lend my support about those with helpful suggestions

I used to pull out an old fashioned note pad and write down the suggestions … and thanked them. Some were not happening like installing a hot tub, a mini bar or pay per view movies in the room. Or installing an elevator in my 1800s inn so they could get up to cupola more easily. Some actually made sense like adding lighting to one area of a room.

Some people consider themselves ‘professional reviewers’ … flattered by ta‘s request to submit more and be a top reviewer or whatever.

We used to see a mantra here in the forum a lot
They pay, they stay, they go away. Repeat repeat repeat

🙂
I love that mantra and will think of it often now!
 

GoodScout

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I need to learn how to break it off. I end up talking to people for too long. I never know how to slip away ...
I was rewatching the wonderful "I Claudius" and stumbled upon a wonderful device the character Augustus used when he wanted to end a conversation:
"We'll talk again later."
Cut off the conversation with a promise to continue it. How much more polite can you be?
 

Morticia

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I need to learn how to break it off. I end up talking to people for too long. I never know how to slip away lol I think I would have been more open to their suggestions if it hadn’t started with them saying they hope they are our worst guests yet lol!!
Gomez used to look at his watch and gasp, ‘I have to leap into action!’ then he walked away. You could be in the middle of a conversation, didn’t matter, off he went.
 

gillumhouse

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My husband keeps saying “I want to be partners not competitors” regarding the other places in our town.

Exactly. They are not competition because they do not have YOU! You do not have THEM. Making friends and working together is best - share marketing costs,, pass on over-flow. the members of my State Association help each other all the time. I want people in B & Bs instead of hotels or (shudder) AIR.
 

SarahC

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It’s great that you are connected with the other innkeepers in your area in a way that can benefit all of you! I’m hoping to get there one day. My husband keeps saying “I want to be partners not competitors” regarding the other places in our town. You’re lucky!
If you have a local lodging association, I'd definitely recommend joining it! Mine has been a godsend, especially as I'm a bit newer to the job and they're always happy to share the benefit of their wisdom. And if you haven't yet(particularly with COVID), make an appointment to tour some of the other inns in the area and meet the innkeepers. When you're full or unavailable it's always good to know where you can send people.
 

Generic

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Without having a long list, I'll give you the top of my DNB reasons.. the client is difficult.

Now, that being said, there are few that are difficult who have a reason and are extremely pleasant... those, you want. They will stay with you through thick and thin. They will come back because you are reliable, you take care of them and they will send you clients.

Now, the ones who start making your life miserable on the phone and in email? Who make demands that can't be kept... they, you don't want. The lady who wanted an omelet with kale each morning... nope. Not the right place for you. The lady on the cyclical diet that means she can't have the same food for 3 days... nope. The ones who ask you 3000 questions about the room and give you 3000 rules... nope. I'm sorry, I don't think this is the right place for you.

Oh and the ones where my price is a stretch... that's not going to work. They will nickel and dime you to get the most "value" out of it. Nope.
 

Tom

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most important thing I tell new Innsitters: be friendly, but keep moving or you'll be there all day, don't chat at breakfast or they usually won't eat and the food will get cold. With some extremely talkative quests, I'll set the kitchen timer and go serve ... beep, beep -- oops must go back to kitchen!
 

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