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four at four forty four

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I know this may be a broad question, but I suppose that's what this is for...
Anyway, what do you do when someone wants to book your entire bed and breakfast?
Do you change your cancellation policy? Make it longer?
Do you require a deposit? Do you offer a discount?
Do you need to know the names of whos in each room?
Do you allow one person to 'hold the rooms' and then have others in the party call to hold they particular room?
Anything else?
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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Anyway, what do you do when someone wants to book your entire bed and breakfast?
We consider the booking and start asking questions. Is it a family? What appealed to folks about your place? Have any of the group stayed in a B&B before? Is it all couples, or are there some children included? What are the average ages if all couples? How old are any of the kids if kids will be coming also?
A group of 20-30 somethings will be radically harder than if everyone is in their 50-60s. Take my word for it. Younger people are usually the biggest pigs, are noisier, sleep later, won't let you know much about late arrival or early departure changes, will gang up on you if you try to enforce any behavioral or alcohol limiting polcies, etc.
The list is endless but just a few targeted questions should tell you what kind of people you can expect.
Do you change your cancellation policy?
We haven't up to this point, but after multiple headaches with whole house bookings, we are now ready to toughen up everything about these kind of stays.
Make it longer?
If its during our typically busy season, we're now prepared to make it at least double our usual.
Do you require a deposit?
Our usual policy has been in place up to this point, but that will be changing.
Do you offer a discount?
We used to and really have regretted it nearly every single time.
Do you need to know the names of whos in each room?
Not really. Its nice to know for greeting folks as they arrive, but if they all arrive en masse it hardly matters. We actually think it would be better to treat each room's guests as independent of the others. This might better insure that all parties staying in our home receive a confirmation packet, directions & map, have a clear understanding of B&B etiquette, what kind of behavior is acceptable and what is not, etc. Way too many of these type guests have either never stayed in a B&B, think once they all are here, its their place to do and act as they please, etc..
Do you allow one person to 'hold the rooms' and then have others in the party call to hold they particular room?
If there is one party acting as the organizer, we've done our best to convey all of the above to them and have trusted them to pass along all the important information. Huge mistake on our part making that assumption. At the very least that one person must pay the deposit.
Anything else?
Don't let a group "take over" your house. If you are in a busy destination and its a time when you typically can book all the rooms to different parties at full price, you'll smart to turn down anyone except a group you get the utmost of good vibes from in the planning process.
Groups act like groups, they will do whatever they want unless you are really clear on everything and you'll be gritting your teeth the whole time.
A big thing we've experienced is that a group immediately forgets that WE are part of the household also and their late night antics, louder than normal noise levels, more than normal trash levels, etc.. have an effect on our quality of life also.
For families, our experience has been that whatever dysfunction or family dynamics are in place at home, they all will be on display also in our home.
Our experience has been that it is even more work than normal and at least part of the group will throw you lots of behavioral issues to deal with.
Groups as a whole in our experience are not that grateful or appreciative of any discount we've offered the "organizer" or aren't told by the organizer that everyone should be really cool and considerate because they are getting a discount.
We've now even gone as far as to consider informing any group inquirers that any group discount offered will not be assured until the end of the stay.
 

scrambled_eggs

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I don't change the policy. Everyone who books goes by the policy we have always had.
I require a deposit just like any other reservation made.
I need to know everyones name and how many people will be in the room.
Usually one person calls to reserve the block of rooms. The people who plan to actually be in those rooms need to call and provide all of their information. There is a cut off date where if there are still rooms open that have not been called in for they are returned to the online inventory for anyone to book.
Often times when having a group such as a family renting the whole place they do take over. The innkeeper is the "outsider" since they already know everyone else. I don't dislike groups but I am usually glad when they are gone. It is so much more interesting and fun to have people here meeting each other who don't know each other.
 

JBloggs

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30 day cancellation policy. If they book more than 3 rooms. Of course if they go online and book each one from webervations then I don't even know it is a group, this happened recently. Fortunately there were no issues. But one person paid for all the rooms.
Worse are when each pay separately.
They always expect a discount, and I will if it is off season. I do require who is in each room and that always changes before they end up checking in.
I don't like groups AT ALL. No boundaries is the term I would give them. I remember a group going through all my drawers. I could hear it and walked out and said "What are you doing?"
This group who was just here tried to go into the kitchen like 5 times, I have a chain across the double doors and could hear it from here popping each time. No worried, I kept it locked, and they couldn't get in. I was around, so if they needed something I was here, but they were being sticky-beaks.
 

gillumhouse

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So far my "whole house" have been great experiences but other than the "Biker Boys" have been families. But then again, I only have 3 rooms.
 

happykeeper

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four at four forty four said:
I know this may be a broad question, but I suppose that's what this is for...
Anyway, what do you do when someone wants to book your entire bed and breakfast?
Do you change your cancellation policy? Make it longer?
No
Do you require a deposit?
No
Do you offer a discount?
No
Do you need to know the names of whos in each room?
YES
Do you allow one person to 'hold the rooms' and then have others in the party call to hold they particular room?
If they want us to, YES
Anything else?
Keep on keeping
 

gillumhouse

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Knk is correct, I did not answer the questions asked either:
Do you change your cancellation policy? Make it longer?
Only if it is a Holiday such as Thanksgiving where I am going to buy a ton of supplies in advance or event such as the motorcycle rally - I then make it 3 weeks.
Do you require a deposit? Do you offer a discount?
No deposit and no discount - but my cancellation states a full reservation charge if cancelled after hitting the 3 weeks date.
Do you need to know the names of whos in each room?
Yes
Do you allow one person to 'hold the rooms' and then have others in the party call to hold they particular room?
I have allowed the one party to hold all but state in the cancellation policy of the Confirmation letter AND on the phone when they make the rez the if there is a cancellation or no-show, a full reservation charge for ALL rooms will be posted to the card number given.
 

Breakfast Diva

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Do you change your cancellation policy? Make it longer?
Yes, it goes from a 10 day cancellation period to 30 day.
Do you require a deposit?
Yes, 50% the day they make the reservation. Balance paid 30 days prior to stay
Do you offer a discount?
No. Most often they want a weekend when we would be full anyway. Also, more cleaning is needed after they leave. Groups are much messier than single rooms because they tend to "use" the common rooms more.
Do you need to know the names of whos in each room?
No, only when they check-in
Do you allow one person to 'hold the rooms' and then have others in the party call to hold they particular room?
There is no such thing as a hold. The person making the group reservation is responsible. Payment up front. If they want separate invoices that's fine.
Anything else?
I make it very clear that there are no kitchen priviledges or laundry priviledges.
If it's a group, they must take the whole place. I don't mix regular guests with the group.
Edited to add: I encourage these groups to rent a vacation rental home. It's much cheaper for them and less of a headache for me.
 

Samster

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four at four forty four said:
I know this may be a broad question, but I suppose that's what this is for...
Anyway, what do you do when someone wants to book your entire bed and breakfast?
Do you change your cancellation policy? Make it longer?
Do you require a deposit? Do you offer a discount?
Do you need to know the names of whos in each room?
Do you allow one person to 'hold the rooms' and then have others in the party call to hold they particular room?
Anything else?
I have only had good luck with one whole house booking. I am not a fan of the groups because they somehow get a totally different mentality.
Cancellation policy is 30 days.
I haven't taken a deposit but if it's booked thru one person in the future, I'll take 50% which is non-refundable.
I offered a discount & it was too much. In the future, only 10%.
Yes, we need the names of all the parties here in case of emergency. A gentleman was found dead in one of the other B&Bs here. JBJ knows the story.
I had one person hold the rooms, but I didn't have the 30 day cancellation policy. Also, I should have adhered to the policy I do have which is that the other parties have to book within 48 hours of the hold, or the rooms are released.
I had a whole house booking with the bride's attendants and bride & groom parents. A special package for the bridal attendants. She canceled it when another B&B undercut my price. I was left with an empty house on a good weekend and only 1 room ended up being booked. Since it was within the cancellation policy, I was out of luck. Then, I changed it to 30 days.
Needless to say, I was ticked all around despite the sob story from the bride & the other B&B owner didn't own up to selling their rooms cheaper. I am way too nice. Live and learn....
 

JBloggs

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So far my "whole house" have been great experiences but other than the "Biker Boys" have been families. But then again, I only have 3 rooms..
Yeah 6 people vs 13 or 14 make a huge difference in the mob mentality. Here is my take on this whole thing - whole house bookings have never been (in my experience) BnB goers to begin with. MOST if not ALL have never been to a BnB. They are graduations, or groups for weddings. Therein lies the problem...
 

seashanty

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four at four forty four said:
Do you change your cancellation policy? Make it longer?
make it longer
Do you require a deposit?
yes
Do you offer a discount?
NO!
Do you need to know the names of whos in each room?
yes - on the names -- they can switch rooms once they are here, and i make notes
Do you allow one person to 'hold the rooms' and then have others in the party call to hold they particular room?
yes
Anything else?
i took my standard deposit to hold the rooms .... depending on length of stay ... it might be $800 or $1500 .... then as each person in the group booked their room and paid their own deposit, i refunded that deposit back to the 'booker'
you have to be able to 'go with it' .... groups tend to take over a place.
and let's say you have eight rooms, it's sooo much easier if all eight rooms are booked by one group then only six of them ... those in the other two guestrooms can have their visit spoiled by the loudness and the schedule of the group. so i wanted a 'whole house booking', not just a most of the house booking.
 

Samster

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So far my "whole house" have been great experiences but other than the "Biker Boys" have been families. But then again, I only have 3 rooms..
Yeah 6 people vs 13 or 14 make a huge difference in the mob mentality. Here is my take on this whole thing - whole house bookings have never been (in my experience) BnB goers to begin with. MOST if not ALL have never been to a BnB. They are graduations, or groups for weddings. Therein lies the problem...
.
My limited experience is the same. And yes, 6 folks vs our max of 15 is a HUGE difference. ugh.
 

rrh

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Well, this is a timely topic! We just had an "event" and are really thinking our whole group policy over. We are thinking of crafting a contract to be mailed to the organizer. We'll ask for names and e-mails of all guests - the "coordinator" usually does not do a good job of communicating to the family about poliices and even dates! We'll require an up front deposit, NO discounts. Deposit to be returned one week after said event - less any damages. If damages are incurred, damage deposit balance retuned after repairs are completed. If they are taking more than half the house, they have to take it all. Specified prices for appetizers snacks and other "extras" up front. Groups are a lot of fun but also a lot of work work work. I'll get DW in here to read this and we'll keep you updated on how our group "contract" evolves.
 

egoodell

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We have only two rooms so don't have experience with groups in the B&B, but can tell you about our wine tours when we get calls for groups. A group on our wine tour is 10-12 people
I know this may be a broad question, but I suppose that's what this is for...
Anyway, what do you do when someone wants to book your entire bed and breakfast?
If someone wants to book all 10-12 seats of the van we get information about what kind of group it is. If it is a bachelorette group I refer them to the limos. I don't have to deal with the immature and crass behavior. They are self centered and not fun to deal with. They make the tour a job and not fun.
If it's a company outing or a family we will take it only if it's in a slow season . Again, I find groups are not fun and we have fun touring couples that book in twos and are meeting for the first time. They are so enjoyable, why bother with groups?
Do you change your cancellation policy? Make it longer? Yes
Do you require a deposit? Do you offer a discount? I always require a deposit. And I will require it by check. Asking me for a discount is a joke. Groups are always more money and more work.
Do you need to know the names of whos in each room? It helps once they are here to know their names. And if I had a group in a B&B I would require every room to fill out a webervations form complete with cc info.
Do you allow one person to 'hold the rooms' and then have others in the party call to hold they particular room?
We understand the requirement to have one person as organizer. However, we discouraqe our tour groups from doing this unless it's a company designated organizer. Groups are so inconsiderate they always have a number that will stiff their own friends with the deposit and not come at the last minute. I make all in the group send in their depsit check no matter who is orgainzing. We tour with a minimum of three for a group, and often what the organizer thinks will be 10 turns out to be 3.
Riki
Anything else?
 

EmptyNest

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Discount??? Heck no! A whole house group is more work and effort than is normally required. I would charge them MORE!!!!
 

Copperhead

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Good topic. You will find that no matter what policy you start with regarding groups, you will change it over time. I do not think I have ever been 100% satisfied with my policies on groups. I have already made notes on some things posted here.
Here is my current answers:
Do you change your cancellation policy? Make it longer?
Yes, 30 days prior to stay.
Do you require a deposit?
Yes, 1 nights stay, the day they make the reservation. Balance paid 30 days prior to stay - no refunds, strictly inforced!
Do you offer a discount?
Yes, 10% for 3 or more rooms (have 5 total - 13 people max), for 3 nights or more, unless booking is during a holiday or event period, which there is no discount & may be higher rates.
Do you need to know the names of whos in each room?
Yes! This way I can be sure of the TOTAL number of guests. I have had someone slip in extra people in their room thinking I would not catch it - they were slapped with additional charges and now my policy is better written to prevent this. As stated by others, some of these people have never stayed at a B&B before and think they can get away with things like they can at a hotel. It is very important to have firm policies that are detailed and provided to all members of the group. (I have emplimented a requirement that all of the group sign my policies at checkin)
Do you allow one person to 'hold the rooms' and then have others in the party call to hold they particular room?
To get the discount, they must have one 'contact' person. This person is responsible for the deposit and final payment and is my contact for all information. If there are cancellations within the group, that is that persons burden, not mine.
Anything else?
Make sure they are under the understanding that this is not a vacation rental, meaning they can not use the kitchen or laundry or hold parties on the property. Since we do have party facilities, it was very important that I state that those facilites are not included but I will be happy to provide a quote for that rental if they would like.
 

gillumhouse

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Good topic. You will find that no matter what policy you start with regarding groups, you will change it over time. I do not think I have ever been 100% satisfied with my policies on groups. I have already made notes on some things posted here.
Here is my current answers:
Do you change your cancellation policy? Make it longer?
Yes, 30 days prior to stay.
Do you require a deposit?
Yes, 1 nights stay, the day they make the reservation. Balance paid 30 days prior to stay - no refunds, strictly inforced!
Do you offer a discount?
Yes, 10% for 3 or more rooms (have 5 total - 13 people max), for 3 nights or more, unless booking is during a holiday or event period, which there is no discount & may be higher rates.
Do you need to know the names of whos in each room?
Yes! This way I can be sure of the TOTAL number of guests. I have had someone slip in extra people in their room thinking I would not catch it - they were slapped with additional charges and now my policy is better written to prevent this. As stated by others, some of these people have never stayed at a B&B before and think they can get away with things like they can at a hotel. It is very important to have firm policies that are detailed and provided to all members of the group. (I have emplimented a requirement that all of the group sign my policies at checkin)
Do you allow one person to 'hold the rooms' and then have others in the party call to hold they particular room?
To get the discount, they must have one 'contact' person. This person is responsible for the deposit and final payment and is my contact for all information. If there are cancellations within the group, that is that persons burden, not mine.
Anything else?
Make sure they are under the understanding that this is not a vacation rental, meaning they can not use the kitchen or laundry or hold parties on the property. Since we do have party facilities, it was very important that I state that those facilites are not included but I will be happy to provide a quote for that rental if they would like..
How was the trip?
 

Copperhead

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Good topic. You will find that no matter what policy you start with regarding groups, you will change it over time. I do not think I have ever been 100% satisfied with my policies on groups. I have already made notes on some things posted here.
Here is my current answers:
Do you change your cancellation policy? Make it longer?
Yes, 30 days prior to stay.
Do you require a deposit?
Yes, 1 nights stay, the day they make the reservation. Balance paid 30 days prior to stay - no refunds, strictly inforced!
Do you offer a discount?
Yes, 10% for 3 or more rooms (have 5 total - 13 people max), for 3 nights or more, unless booking is during a holiday or event period, which there is no discount & may be higher rates.
Do you need to know the names of whos in each room?
Yes! This way I can be sure of the TOTAL number of guests. I have had someone slip in extra people in their room thinking I would not catch it - they were slapped with additional charges and now my policy is better written to prevent this. As stated by others, some of these people have never stayed at a B&B before and think they can get away with things like they can at a hotel. It is very important to have firm policies that are detailed and provided to all members of the group. (I have emplimented a requirement that all of the group sign my policies at checkin)
Do you allow one person to 'hold the rooms' and then have others in the party call to hold they particular room?
To get the discount, they must have one 'contact' person. This person is responsible for the deposit and final payment and is my contact for all information. If there are cancellations within the group, that is that persons burden, not mine.
Anything else?
Make sure they are under the understanding that this is not a vacation rental, meaning they can not use the kitchen or laundry or hold parties on the property. Since we do have party facilities, it was very important that I state that those facilites are not included but I will be happy to provide a quote for that rental if they would like..
How was the trip?
.
Hi GH! It was great, thanks for asking! Very relaxing, good weather, wonderful beaches and clear blue water. We roamed around Nasau for 1/2 the day scouting out places we went on our honeymoon 32 years ago. We had my Dad with us so we did take things slow but that was what we wanted. Came back and had to jump back into the swing with guests coming in that night.
Our real vacation will be next month to Hawaii. (can't wait)
 

gillumhouse

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Good topic. You will find that no matter what policy you start with regarding groups, you will change it over time. I do not think I have ever been 100% satisfied with my policies on groups. I have already made notes on some things posted here.
Here is my current answers:
Do you change your cancellation policy? Make it longer?
Yes, 30 days prior to stay.
Do you require a deposit?
Yes, 1 nights stay, the day they make the reservation. Balance paid 30 days prior to stay - no refunds, strictly inforced!
Do you offer a discount?
Yes, 10% for 3 or more rooms (have 5 total - 13 people max), for 3 nights or more, unless booking is during a holiday or event period, which there is no discount & may be higher rates.
Do you need to know the names of whos in each room?
Yes! This way I can be sure of the TOTAL number of guests. I have had someone slip in extra people in their room thinking I would not catch it - they were slapped with additional charges and now my policy is better written to prevent this. As stated by others, some of these people have never stayed at a B&B before and think they can get away with things like they can at a hotel. It is very important to have firm policies that are detailed and provided to all members of the group. (I have emplimented a requirement that all of the group sign my policies at checkin)
Do you allow one person to 'hold the rooms' and then have others in the party call to hold they particular room?
To get the discount, they must have one 'contact' person. This person is responsible for the deposit and final payment and is my contact for all information. If there are cancellations within the group, that is that persons burden, not mine.
Anything else?
Make sure they are under the understanding that this is not a vacation rental, meaning they can not use the kitchen or laundry or hold parties on the property. Since we do have party facilities, it was very important that I state that those facilites are not included but I will be happy to provide a quote for that rental if they would like..
How was the trip?
.
Hi GH! It was great, thanks for asking! Very relaxing, good weather, wonderful beaches and clear blue water. We roamed around Nasau for 1/2 the day scouting out places we went on our honeymoon 32 years ago. We had my Dad with us so we did take things slow but that was what we wanted. Came back and had to jump back into the swing with guests coming in that night.
Our real vacation will be next month to Hawaii. (can't wait)
.
Go ahead! Make me jealous! Going away with DH is more stressful than staying home. I will get a day and a half this month with the Governor's Conference (would have been 2 and a half but our daughter will be here so it is rush there and rush back) So I will have to settle for the Mid-Atlantic in January.
To explain - Since he on crutches I get to be the pack horse, open doors, look for restaurants with food that HE will eat and try to find something worth eating for me, walking at his pace is excruciating for my knees, and the constant worry about him putting a crutch on a slick surface, a stone or any other whatever so that he falls (and hearing him constantly carping about whatever) sort of takes the fun out of things. He absolutely refuses to do a wheelchair when we go places - would make it so much easier for me. He would rather be angry at the world because he had polio than be happy to be alive and grateful for what he does have - an artistic talent many would give their eyeteeth to have and it does not require legs or 2 hands to do it. Can you tell I am very tired today?
 

birdwatcher

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Do you change your cancellation policy? Make it longer?
No we keep the same policy.
Do you require a deposit?
yes 50%
Do you offer a discount?
If staying for 5 or more days they get one free night
Do you need to know the names of whos in each room?
Yes! Its nice to know everyone that is staying at the guest house and we do take a head count which is no more than the original reservation, if there seem to be more we add charges. We've never had a problem with guests sneaking inn extra people
Do you allow one person to 'hold the rooms' and then have others in the party call to hold they particular room?
YES of course letting them know if there should be a cancellation accrding to the guest house policy they would be responsible for the charges. We do offer a breakdown of how much it will be per guest when they arrive and they can pay as they want to.
Anything else?
We actually like groups, the whole guest house is rented next weekend, the nice thing about our B & B is that we have two houses and we only rent one room in the main house. The guest house is about 1,000 feet from the main house, but you can't really see it and they have a whole house with all amenities. We've had groups up to 20 people (mostly families).
 

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