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MooseTrax

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Bringing this over here from a different thread. The scenario is this: a guest has a room (or more than one room) booked for an extended stay. They cancel day of arrival but will still be coming in for the remainder of the stay. When they arrive they refuse to pay for the missed night(s). What do you do?
Here's some background: we do not take deposits, our cancellation policy states one week with no charges at all, under one week full rate charged if all room nights not rebooked. It's not obvious, but we could not rebook the 3 rooms last night at 6 PM when we found out they were not coming.
There are so many variables you could look at: how many nights did we lose, are they likely to ever return, how many other guests are listening to this and what then is their perception?
So, if you have faced the guest on your doorstep refusing to pay for missed nights and you have no deposit, what do you do?
 

Proud Texan

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I don't see the problem. You have policies that they agreed to when they made their reservation. Adhere to them.
Present them with a copy of your cancellation policy with the part about last minute cancellations being charged highlighted and remind them that this has always been your policy. If you have their credit card number, make the charge.
 

happykeeper

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MT- is this a hypothetical? They arrive tomorrow or they just arrived? Did you speak with them when they called to say they were arriving a day late? Was there a reason? Have I got it right that they booked three rooms for four nights and canceled the first night?
 

Copperhead

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MT - I believe you have not informed everyone to all the details as you did in the other thread. Here is Moose Trax' original post from the thread titled Second Tim Cancellation - Post #49412
Do you ever have guests cancel only one night of an extended stay? I would be interested in how you present the total bill for them to pay and how you handle them flat out refusing to pay for the night they missed. We just do not like confrontation. Do you tell the guest to leave completely?
Our guests who canceled last night showed up today and still want to stay 3 nights. We can do that for them so it's not real loss that the 3rd night is not last night but Saturday, because if Saturday isn't booked at this point it's not gonna be. However, they were not going to pay for last night at all. So, what do I do? Tell them to leave?
If you only have to charge a card and not deal with the guest in person that's easy. I want to know how you get the guest standing in front of you to pay when they don't want to pay for something they didn't use?
As I stated under the other thread, I would accept their extention since you DO have the rooms available and by your own thoughts do not feel you could rent them any other way. You will STILL get your $$$ for all 3 rooms for 3 nights and be able to keep your guests happy. Yes, it is disappointing and under other conditions my answer could be different. But this provides you with full rooms and $$ in your pocket. If you refuse them, they could leave you with all 3 rooms empty for 3 nights and then fight your charges stating that YOU failed to provide them service when they arrived... It would be a hard case to win given the circumstances.
I have gone back to the other tread and understand more of how things are going at your location...It is a different kind of year...Hang in there!
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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Here is a line from our policy:
"Guests are responsible for all reserved dates regardless of late arrival or early departure including wether related delays."
The simple truth of it is you have to determine if they can fulfill the rest of their stay without poisoning the well for any other guests. I wouldn't be afraid to ask them directly if that is the case. Try not to have these conversations with them in front of other guests even if it means you have to take them into your personal space.
If even after you've explained your policy, tried to negotiate some reasonable compromise they can't drop it, or are going to walk around like a bunch of disgruntled louts, then I would release them from their stay and only charge them for the actual nights stayed.
If folks are going to muddy the water for your other guests, they aren't worth it and those other guests are relying on you to take control of the situation and make sure their stay isn't negatively impacted.
I know its a tough nut to swallow, but its the other guests you have to concern yourself with if these folks can't be reasonable. There's working with people and getting worked over by people. You deserve better.
Let them get out there and scramble to find other accommodations for that size group last minute. Serves them right.
I wouldn't make a call for them, let them use the yellow pages, phone, nada........
 

gillumhouse

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The biggest problem is the other guest's Big Ears listening in on what is happening. Was there some place you could have taken them that would be away from Big Ears? Always pull the we want to respect your Privacy card to get problems out of earshot.
If I had the availability on the extended night (and not much hope of filling it anyway) I think I would just do it in the name of PR/GR. I know the flight is not your problem but the mortgage is. 9 room nights will certainly help with that - and the unexpected free night, coming at 6 PM, gave you time to do something if you wished (or nothing if that was an even bigger gift).
 

Somewhere in Paradise

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I have a feeling your guests may not be telling the truth about thier flight being cancelled. The reason I say this that when a flight is cancelled the return is not automatically bumped back a day - is it?
Any way I agree with Mr. Toad. You should think about negotiating for the last day. Even something very generous like 50%, of course out of earshot of the other guests. Give the impression that you are doing them this very special favor by giving them this great deal. 50% of something is better than 0% !
If you feel uncomfortable doing this then like Gillum house said you'll have to swallow this tough nut and chock it up to lessons learned.
You should really start taking a deposit and responding with a confirmation reiterating your cancel/change policy.
 

MooseTrax

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I have a feeling your guests may not be telling the truth about thier flight being cancelled. The reason I say this that when a flight is cancelled the return is not automatically bumped back a day - is it?
Any way I agree with Mr. Toad. You should think about negotiating for the last day. Even something very generous like 50%, of course out of earshot of the other guests. Give the impression that you are doing them this very special favor by giving them this great deal. 50% of something is better than 0% !
If you feel uncomfortable doing this then like Gillum house said you'll have to swallow this tough nut and chock it up to lessons learned.
You should really start taking a deposit and responding with a confirmation reiterating your cancel/change policy..
Our confirmation is 2 pages long and states all of our policies. They emailed us that the flight was canceled. If it makes a difference I checked the IP address of the email and it was from Europe, where they were coming from. Whether or not they have subsequent reservations after here I don't know, so they may have wanted to extend their stay here because they really wanted 3 nights in this town.
Deposits, as I mentioned in the other thread are just not done here. It's always tough to be the first person to implement a new policy. We do know one place that used to do deposits but they lost so much business that they stopped. However, due to the economy and all of the cancellations, we are discussing starting this in January. We probably won't be the only ones to do so.
We have not really had this issue before. A couple of times guests missed a flight and we held them to the full bill when they showed. Not a problem. This situation was different as we were talking about a substantially larger amount of money (over $500), repeat guests and a "lobby" full of other guests listening in depending on what time this group arrived.
I was really looking for how someone has handled this who has handled it live and in front of an audience.
 

Morticia

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Why do we have policies if we are not going to stick to em?.
JunieBJones (JBJ) said:
Why do we have policies if we are not going to stick to em?
I have policies to weed out the guests who are randomly making reservations at a number of different places. I can totally sympathize with what seems to be happening with MT. Only this morning I started getting 'really bad rain forecast, we want to cancel tomorrow' emails.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Why do we have policies if we are not going to stick to em?.
JunieBJones (JBJ) said:
Why do we have policies if we are not going to stick to em?
I have policies to weed out the guests who are randomly making reservations at a number of different places. I can totally sympathize with what seems to be happening with MT. Only this morning I started getting 'really bad rain forecast, we want to cancel tomorrow' emails.
.
Bree said:
JunieBJones (JBJ) said:
Why do we have policies if we are not going to stick to em?
I have policies to weed out the guests who are randomly making reservations at a number of different places. I can totally sympathize with what seems to be happening with MT. Only this morning I started getting 'really bad rain forecast, we want to cancel tomorrow' emails.
There is one quick way to revert to your policies and not be a nice guy - have someone giv eyou the shaft and then you are back to your guns again.
 

Copperhead

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MT - I would not discuss this in front of other guests... Any guest should be happy knowing that business discussions are kept private! I would direct them to a private area to have this discussion. Having this type of discussion in front of other guests is a two sided sword - If you do not stand by your polices orthers may follow suit either this time or next, if you stand by your policy and the guest makes a stink every guest in the room will know the story and you will be the bad guy... Not good either way!
In my opinion polices are there to help you keep riffraff out and to help keep order. They are in place so you CAN use them, but they also can be altered iat your discression.
 

gillumhouse

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I have a feeling your guests may not be telling the truth about thier flight being cancelled. The reason I say this that when a flight is cancelled the return is not automatically bumped back a day - is it?
Any way I agree with Mr. Toad. You should think about negotiating for the last day. Even something very generous like 50%, of course out of earshot of the other guests. Give the impression that you are doing them this very special favor by giving them this great deal. 50% of something is better than 0% !
If you feel uncomfortable doing this then like Gillum house said you'll have to swallow this tough nut and chock it up to lessons learned.
You should really start taking a deposit and responding with a confirmation reiterating your cancel/change policy..
Our confirmation is 2 pages long and states all of our policies. They emailed us that the flight was canceled. If it makes a difference I checked the IP address of the email and it was from Europe, where they were coming from. Whether or not they have subsequent reservations after here I don't know, so they may have wanted to extend their stay here because they really wanted 3 nights in this town.
Deposits, as I mentioned in the other thread are just not done here. It's always tough to be the first person to implement a new policy. We do know one place that used to do deposits but they lost so much business that they stopped. However, due to the economy and all of the cancellations, we are discussing starting this in January. We probably won't be the only ones to do so.
We have not really had this issue before. A couple of times guests missed a flight and we held them to the full bill when they showed. Not a problem. This situation was different as we were talking about a substantially larger amount of money (over $500), repeat guests and a "lobby" full of other guests listening in depending on what time this group arrived.
I was really looking for how someone has handled this who has handled it live and in front of an audience.
.
Two things make this REALLY hard in addition to the Big Ears - Europe and REPEAT. Is it multiple repeat or is this the second visit?
It is probably too late for this one, but if it happened once ...... In anticipation of arrival next time something like this happens is there an area away from guests where you could take the guests ON ARRIVAL that would be more private? Or directly to their room(s) to talk and have a small refreshment (if in other than their room) to discuss the situation,
Just had a brain cramp - instead of not charging the missed night - give them "such a deal" for the extended night. Delay saying anything (I have to check the reservtion book for availability that extra night) then contact them saying due to the travel problems but because you are repeat guests we would like to offer you ____________ rate for your extended night as you are in luck finally, we do have availability.
I know how much it hurts, but this would possibly save face for all concerned and would eliminate the "total loss" of 3 rooms for one night. I think one reason people choose a B & B is because we are not that big bad, unfeelong corporate entity hotel. "We" have a heart.
 

muirford

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I would have allowed the extension at no additional charge - just move the three nights to the end. That seems to fly in the face of everyone else's opinion, but given all the circumstances - nine room nights, repeat customers, availability on Saturday that probably wouldn't get booked, cancelled flights - I would think that decision would be best overall for my business. Honestly, I would have not had any discussion with them about it, in private or in front of other guests.
Here's a story about the previous owner of our place: there was a long-standing relationship with a national business that had a distribution center here. The CEO stayed here, they did company meetings here, the whole nine yards. One December they had two rooms booked for five weeknights for two international employees. A big snowstorm came through and their flights were cancelled. She charged them per the cancellation policy - last minute cancellation, entire reservation charged. That business stopped completely for the rest of the time she was the owner. Let me tell you, business travelers here are few and far between who are not already committed to one of the chains under a government contract.
They came back after they heard a new owner had bought the Inn. The CEO tried us out, liked us, and we offered to work out a business policy with them. We kept their business until the owner sold it a couple of years ago and the distribution center was closed down.
Sometimes making an exception to your policy is good business, and that's why we own our own business - so WE can make those decisions.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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I would have allowed the extension at no additional charge - just move the three nights to the end. That seems to fly in the face of everyone else's opinion, but given all the circumstances - nine room nights, repeat customers, availability on Saturday that probably wouldn't get booked, cancelled flights - I would think that decision would be best overall for my business. Honestly, I would have not had any discussion with them about it, in private or in front of other guests.
Here's a story about the previous owner of our place: there was a long-standing relationship with a national business that had a distribution center here. The CEO stayed here, they did company meetings here, the whole nine yards. One December they had two rooms booked for five weeknights for two international employees. A big snowstorm came through and their flights were cancelled. She charged them per the cancellation policy - last minute cancellation, entire reservation charged. That business stopped completely for the rest of the time she was the owner. Let me tell you, business travelers here are few and far between who are not already committed to one of the chains under a government contract.
They came back after they heard a new owner had bought the Inn. The CEO tried us out, liked us, and we offered to work out a business policy with them. We kept their business until the owner sold it a couple of years ago and the distribution center was closed down.
Sometimes making an exception to your policy is good business, and that's why we own our own business - so WE can make those decisions..
muirford said:
I would have allowed the extension at no additional charge - just move the three nights to the end. That seems to fly in the face of everyone else's opinion, but given all the circumstances - nine room nights, repeat customers, availability on Saturday that probably wouldn't get booked, cancelled flights - I would think that decision would be best overall for my business. Honestly, I would have not had any discussion with them about it, in private or in front of other guests.
Sometimes making an exception to your policy is good business, and that's why we own our own business - so WE can make those decisions.
I wouldn't put me in the "everyone else's opinion" camp too quickly.
My response was qualified by the information available and by what was described as an irate gang of guests not willing to budge and purposely wanting to conduct the discussion in fornt of other guests maybe to shame MT into caving in.
Now thanks to a whole new thread on the subject and bits and pieces here, do we really even know that other guests were around and there was a scene created?
It sounded like MT had the day off for that first cancelled day, but have we been told for sure that other guests would be present on the new arrival date? Did an argument occur or was it a hypothetical?
 

MooseTrax

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I would have allowed the extension at no additional charge - just move the three nights to the end. That seems to fly in the face of everyone else's opinion, but given all the circumstances - nine room nights, repeat customers, availability on Saturday that probably wouldn't get booked, cancelled flights - I would think that decision would be best overall for my business. Honestly, I would have not had any discussion with them about it, in private or in front of other guests.
Here's a story about the previous owner of our place: there was a long-standing relationship with a national business that had a distribution center here. The CEO stayed here, they did company meetings here, the whole nine yards. One December they had two rooms booked for five weeknights for two international employees. A big snowstorm came through and their flights were cancelled. She charged them per the cancellation policy - last minute cancellation, entire reservation charged. That business stopped completely for the rest of the time she was the owner. Let me tell you, business travelers here are few and far between who are not already committed to one of the chains under a government contract.
They came back after they heard a new owner had bought the Inn. The CEO tried us out, liked us, and we offered to work out a business policy with them. We kept their business until the owner sold it a couple of years ago and the distribution center was closed down.
Sometimes making an exception to your policy is good business, and that's why we own our own business - so WE can make those decisions..
muirford said:
I would have allowed the extension at no additional charge - just move the three nights to the end. That seems to fly in the face of everyone else's opinion, but given all the circumstances - nine room nights, repeat customers, availability on Saturday that probably wouldn't get booked, cancelled flights - I would think that decision would be best overall for my business. Honestly, I would have not had any discussion with them about it, in private or in front of other guests.
Sometimes making an exception to your policy is good business, and that's why we own our own business - so WE can make those decisions.
I wouldn't put me in the "everyone else's opinion" camp too quickly.
My response was qualified by the information available and by what was described as an irate gang of guests not willing to budge and purposely wanting to conduct the discussion in fornt of other guests maybe to shame MT into caving in.
Now thanks to a whole new thread on the subject and bits and pieces here, do we really even know that other guests were around and there was a scene created?
It sounded like MT had the day off for that first cancelled day, but have we been told for sure that other guests would be present on the new arrival date? Did an argument occur or was it a hypothetical?
.
The question was how would you handle this with some possible scenarios? The possibility that there were other guests standing there? (As it turned out, they arrived well before anyone else so no witnesses.) That they are repeat guests who we know stayed at several other B&B's last year (we found the other B&B's for them) but they chose to come here and bring along more people this time. So that may happen in the future and does that make a difference?
What if they refused to pay and there was not the option to rebook them in on Saturday? Do you still force the issue or just put them down as 'no availability' next time they try to book and take what you can get this time?
Given my whinging on the other day about what guests want to pay as walkins everyone knows we are in dire straits as far as occupancy goes this year. We were looking at saving 6 room nights vs charging for all 9 and having them fight it later on. We didn't know at that point they would want to stay another night.
We're happy with our solution to the problem but we were wondering how others would handle it.
 

JBloggs

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Muirford plenty of us walk around without noses.

It helps so we can't smell the stinky socks in the closet. LOL
 

happyjacks

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I would have allowed the extension at no additional charge - just move the three nights to the end. That seems to fly in the face of everyone else's opinion, but given all the circumstances - nine room nights, repeat customers, availability on Saturday that probably wouldn't get booked, cancelled flights - I would think that decision would be best overall for my business. Honestly, I would have not had any discussion with them about it, in private or in front of other guests.
Here's a story about the previous owner of our place: there was a long-standing relationship with a national business that had a distribution center here. The CEO stayed here, they did company meetings here, the whole nine yards. One December they had two rooms booked for five weeknights for two international employees. A big snowstorm came through and their flights were cancelled. She charged them per the cancellation policy - last minute cancellation, entire reservation charged. That business stopped completely for the rest of the time she was the owner. Let me tell you, business travelers here are few and far between who are not already committed to one of the chains under a government contract.
They came back after they heard a new owner had bought the Inn. The CEO tried us out, liked us, and we offered to work out a business policy with them. We kept their business until the owner sold it a couple of years ago and the distribution center was closed down.
Sometimes making an exception to your policy is good business, and that's why we own our own business - so WE can make those decisions..
Ditto what Jeanne said.
9 nights is 9 nights. You have happy repeat guests who are demonstrably bringing you more guests. You have the same revenue you anticipated for the week. Why make it unpleasant if it doesn't have to be?
 

MooseTrax

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I think the word irate did come up somewhere. What if they are irate? How do you handle that in front of other guests? When they did arrive they were not irate because they thought staying the extra night on the other end would be good all around.
 

muirford

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I think the word irate did come up somewhere. What if they are irate? How do you handle that in front of other guests? When they did arrive they were not irate because they thought staying the extra night on the other end would be good all around..
MooseTrax said:
I think the word irate did come up somewhere.
I don't believe you ever called them irate; if someone else did, it's speculation. That's from perusing this thread and the other.
If what you want is a primer on how I would handle every iteration of every potential cancellation scenario, I don't really have that in my mind. Much of it depends on the particular circumstances, and I daresay, how I feel at that particular moment. Irate doesn't usually cut it with me - in the few cases where I've dealt with truly irate customers I tell them I am happy to have them leave. And believe me, I am.
 
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