want to cancel reservation.... what should I do??

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Sunshine

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Hello my wonderful friends!
I found out that my old school on the west coast where I was director, is celebrating their 40th anniversary and they are 'honoring me.' Nice right?.
The problem is I already have rooms reserved for the dates I would need to be there! I have absolutely no one who could step in for me and run the B&B! The gal I had available, no longer is!
Should I call the future guests (a famiy that reserved two rooms for three nights), that I need to cancel their reservation and tell them why?
I know the B&B reputation in on the line here! It could be the future guests may not understand and be really upset if their reservation has to cancel! BUT I don't know that.
Or should I stay here and keep the reservation and tell the school I am unavailable! :( Not the choice I want, because I really want to go! Besides this, I would get to see my son, and my sister and in laws and special friends while I am there!
What should I do?
Thanks so much for your input!
 

bbinnsitters

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Sunshine,
Where are you located? I am an Inn-sitter in MI and will travel anywhere, but check out my website to see my availability as I don't know when you need someone...
 

Alibi Ike

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If you have gathered innkeeping associates in town, I would see if they have availability for those nights and let the guests know you have to leave town but you have found accommodations for them with another fine B&B. You could offer to cover any difference in the price or offer to pay one night of their stay.
Yes, it's an honor for you, but it is not an emergency situation. You are asking the guests to understand that you want to go away to a high school reunion in lieu of honoring their reservation.
Sure, guests do it to us all the time and hotels routinely book in more than they can handle and then send guests away, but it looks bad for the whole industry when a B&B does it.
Maybe one of the innsitters on here will have an opening and contact you.
 

Generic

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I agree with Ike. Find them something comparable, pay the difference if need be. Then call and explain. Explain the new accomodations and the fine B&B you are sending them to. And give them a gift of a free night good for up to one year to make up for the inconvenience. Then go and enjoy with a clear conscience.
 

Sunshine

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If you have gathered innkeeping associates in town, I would see if they have availability for those nights and let the guests know you have to leave town but you have found accommodations for them with another fine B&B. You could offer to cover any difference in the price or offer to pay one night of their stay.
Yes, it's an honor for you, but it is not an emergency situation. You are asking the guests to understand that you want to go away to a high school reunion in lieu of honoring their reservation.
Sure, guests do it to us all the time and hotels routinely book in more than they can handle and then send guests away, but it looks bad for the whole industry when a B&B does it.
Maybe one of the innsitters on here will have an opening and contact you..
Alibi Ike said:
You are asking the guests to understand that you want to go away to a high school reunion in lieu of honoring their reservation.
It's not a high school reunion (haven't ever gone to one of those). It is a school - preschool - 8th grade and I worked there as a Director for 20 years.
 

Don Draper

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Hmmm...I would really try to get someone to fill in for you. As a guest, I think no matter what the reason I would feel snubbed if you had to cancel my reservation (even if you helped me find alternative arrangements, etc.).
Does the school have any flexibility? It's nice that they want to honor you but kind of a pain that they expect you to drop everything and run...I would think at least a year's notice would have been appropriate, given that they know when the anniversary is! Don't be afraid to ask them if that's an option.
 

egoodell

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Sunshine,
Where are you located? I am an Inn-sitter in MI and will travel anywhere, but check out my website to see my availability as I don't know when you need someone....
To me not a good enough reason to cancel on guests. I would check everywhere for someone to hire to fill in no matter the cost.
RIki
 

Bommelhoeve

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"future guests (a famiy that reserved two rooms for three nights)"
Are you a destination? If they only come to enjoy your B&B you need a good innsitter or maybe they can reschedule if you offer a free night?
If they have things to do in town I would find them another place to stay, with some incentive.....
Just call your guest to find out why they are coming. In any case if you want to go to yr old school find a way! These social events do not come often, life is more then innkeeping.......
 

gillumhouse

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As one who has been given unexpected honors (and I am flabbergasted to be able to say several such honors) it is important to actually be there for it. such things do NOT happen often in one's life. We are not talking about a "Volunteer of the Year" with one in each State (I did not travel to Arkansas to pick up that one) - we are talking about a former Director thought of well enough AFTER DEPARTING to be honored.
Let me tell you, there is nothing I can think of that will ever, for me, equal standing there in Charleston,SC at the PAII Conference. It was from my peers, just as this will be for Sunshine. Either get an innsitter, call the guests with a suggested alternate, but whatever you do explain thesituation and TELL them about the honor. If they do not understand - there will be other guests during your innkeeping years, but this will only happen once.
GO, do not look back, do not reconsider, do not think twice - allow yourformer peers the priviledge of honoring you. That night will never happen again.
 

Joey Camb

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its a bit different as where I am as I have 3 back ups and have a multitude of B&Bs to book out to. do you know the guests? ie if you explained ? also do you have suitable equivalents to book out to as I know some of the innmates on here are literally in the middle of no where so there isn't anyone close by to co-ordinate with.
 

seashanty

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i vote get an innsitter.
suellen comes highly recommended by at least one of our inn-mates.
you obviously want to go ... totally understandable ... but you don't want your guests disappointed and this is your income, etc. at least talk to an innsitter.
 

Tom

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I agree with all the advice:
1. try not to cancel. You didn't say how far in the future this event is or how far the guest may be travelling and have already set other aspects of the trip (nights, tickets,etc.).
2. contact sister inns in your local of comparable amenity for their availability.
3. contact an innsitter for just the booked nights and block the other affected nights. Innsitting works and is affordable, and all-in-all can make the difference between B&B being a lifestyle profession and a prison sentence.
 

Penelope

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I'd try the innsitting route first. SueEllen is a very nice lady. I've met her.
 

Breakfast Diva

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Get an innsitter! If Sue Ellen can't do it, maybe she can refer someone. Also, try your state association and The Interim Innkeepers Network.
I think you should definitely go, but I think an innsitter would be the best way, and then you'll have someone trained for your property as a backup.
 

happyjacks

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I'm involved in a similar situation right now -- but not as the canceller or cancellee. I'm the referred B&B.
If you don't get an innsitter and you refer your guests elsewhere, I strongly feel it's up to you to do some leg work for the guests. After all, they've already searched, chosen and booked their accommodations and it's not their fault they have to do it again.
Is there a local B&B you trust which offers a similar level of service? One you regularly cross-refer guests to?
Call them (call a few if possible) find out availability and approximate rates. Send the info to your guests, along with links to the B&B websites. Make it easy for them.
If it helps, here's the email that the B&B sent to the guests. I don't know what the guests made of it, but they've booked with me:
"Hello Guest,
... We have had a family situation arise that is going to make it necessary for us to be away from home for [that week] and having to cancel your reservation.
I have spoken to [me] at [My Inn] who has availability for the time that you planned to be with us. [My Inn] is a lovely, country B&B with ...... The owners are amazing people who love what they do. We have absolutely no hesitation in recommending [My Inn] and have done so on numerous occasions. I checked out the price and it will be $XXX.
Please check out their website and if you think it will work for you contact them as soon as you can. I gave [me] your name so she would know that you are the folks I spoke to her about.

I am so sorry to have to spring this on you and we are disappointed that we won't have the opportunity to meet you but sometimes family responsibilities force these situations on us. If your travel plans are flexible we plan to be home again on [date].

Please write and let us know you received this email and if there is anything we can do to help we are happy to do so.
Kindest regards,"
 
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