Be Patient! (How to handle a late arrival)

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  • Avatar
    Leandri Klopper

    Hi!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Getting to our property can be challenging. In the sense of the length of the journey and the state of the road. By the time our guests arrive at our reception, they have been sitting in a car, rattling up and down for hours. We constantly remind everyone who comes into contact with the guests to be patient and remember what they had to go through to make it to us. 

    It's a great gesture, running out with an umbrella in the pouring rain. I'm sure the guests appreciated it! I'm sure you were also stressed when you couldn't get a hold of them. 

    We do arrival checks before the guests travel to our property, just to ensure they have everything they need and that they know where they are going. So far, only only guest got a bit lost this year. I was making her laugh and kept her on the phone all the way up the passes. It was bound to happen though, it was the most misty night I hear. 

    Keep up the good service!

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    Torrdarach

    Haha, that is all well and good when your establishment is a hotel with a 24 hour reception desk.

    For us at Torrdarach House, this is our home and we go to bed at 10pm at the latest.

    Our check-in is between 4pm- 7pm only, unless they have contacted us prior to the arrival date and then we can do up to 9pm.

    There would be no way on earth that I would open the door at midnight.

    If our guests do not turn up before 9pm then they are marked as a no-show, their card is charged for the full amount and they have to find alternative accommodation.

    Isn't it amazing that we are all in the same business but our policies are so different!

    In all of the years that we have provided accommodation, we have only had 1 couple turn up late.

     

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    Martin

    Hi!

    First of all, congratulations! I have just put myself into that guest's shoes and I felt you are amazing, caring and concerned about comfort, and peace while at your property. Keep it up!

    Remember the guest is King - thats business. But for us in hospitality, accomodation goes beyond financial relationship. It is also about friendship, family atmosphere and the experience of happinness which every guest sets out to pursue.

    Policies are good but should be measured gainst reality. There are times when, as policy makers, we are called be more pragmatic - to embrace that which works - in order to overcome hurdles. I am glad you welcomed your guest in this way, regardless of the rain and the time.

    I am conviced you will receive more guests at your facility, for he/she who can be trusted in small matters can be trusted even in bigger ones.

    Martin.

     

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    Leandri Klopper

    Hey Torrdarach 

    It's crazy right? So many different people, so many different ways of doing things. 

    Every property owner handles it differently and are successful in their own ways. 

    Have a stunning day!

     

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    I think I'm taking a middle of the road approach. Guests who do not communicate with me even after reapeated messages are treated strictly as per conditions. Those who communicate and give me flight numbers, I'm ready to stay up an hour or two but I will never wait 5 hours last time i did did this i ended up with a bad review for my troubles/ I suppose because I was so drowsy that I was not my friendly self). So bend the rules just a little but beyond a certain point enforce the rules. 

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    Thomas (Austria)

    I waited until 11 pm for a reserved family a few days ago.our  check in is from 4pm to 8pm.

    Then i left a note at the entrance door: Dear family xy please call me 0043xxxxxx.
    At 1am whilst my deepest sleep my mobile rang and i found out not the awaited family but an idiot with a bike (!) standing in front of the house is calling me. He saw my mobile number on that tiny sticky note. Although a big sign outside said, that we are fully booked up. I didnt answer the phone but had to wait until he moved on. Conclusio: the family was a no show, and the biker tore me out of my deepest sleep for nothing.

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    Reception  BDC gives me the option to demand a telephone number and even an address with every booking. I chose to ask for only a telephone. In your case you probably accept guests without a telephone. Perhaps you should consider changing your settings. Moreover I consider it common courtesy for a guest to call or send a message if they are going to be very late. I just tell myself that I am here to serve guests but I am not their servant.

  • Avatar
    CML

    Hi Joey, I relate so to your thinking ...

    Thomas, we have had a few of these and I guess it is all down to experience at the end of the day.

    It is good to treat the guests with the utmost respect, but Joey you are so right, we should value ourselves as much as we value the next "man"...

    We are all in this game because we like people, and like to serve yet not be anyone's SERVANT!

    After time with so many people, we realise that every situation is different, and every person is different ... it's about judgement balance and common sense, at the end of the day.

    Good luck to all you amazing Hospitality Gurus and Best Regards 

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    Martin

    Hi Thomas!

    You sting! I feel it - if I were this family, I would never repeat this behavour, never keep a facility waiting without having the courtesy to inform about the itinerary. And for the bike man, you are very kind to him - those words are very kind but he learnt his lesson anyway. At 1 am, you were right to ignore him - we love guests but we also have some lines which guide our work.

    I just thought of something. Supposing the bike man wanted to alert you not to leave your number out for late guests? - that you may get disturbance from strangers? Just stick to the rules of your property and let guests feel they are most welcome. You treat them to the best of your ability just as much as you would like to be treated. Have a fruitful week!

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    When I read about hosts complianing because you stayed up till 11 pm or so I must repeat that I once had to stay up till 5 am as the flight kept getting delayed and I could not go to bed. I even fetched the two young guests from the airport - and the first sign of what kind of people they were (this is usually a very telling sign for me) is when they both squeezed in the back seat and none sat near me - showing me that I was being treated as a driver.They spent 5 hours at my place, did not leave a security deposit and wrote a negative review because they did not sleep well, etc. BTW they escaped without checking out. 

  • Avatar
    CML

    Have you heard of Guestchek (dot com) ... it is upcoming and growing in popularity ... this may ease the tensions a bit!

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    Thanks for this CML. I already like that their slogan is ' Restoring The Balance'. 

  • Avatar
    CML

    Great, thanks Joey : )

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    CML Signed up and I am already using it. Can we spread the word?

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    Makombatzel1

    We just offer a free drink to guests that are checking in on time....

    Tal

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    Enidrichmond

    I’m just a small rural B andB . I only ask that guests let me know if they will be later than 18:30. Unfortunately many guests do not read my welcome email or chose to ignore it. I try and remain calm and wait until 22:00 if I have had no communication. I then send a text and email explaining that unless they arrive by 22:30 I will mark them as no show. However I do not charge them.

  • Avatar
    Ayu

    Hi,

     

    Just joining this conversation.

    We did had that experience long time ago, but very good now.

    Before we got their arrival time in Airport, we will keep sending them emails or contact them through their phone number etc. Once we are in contact, it will be easier for them to update their times. We also informed them that they can get free wifi in Airport so they can send us a text while the are in Airport. We can estimate how long they will arrive, so we never wait so long for them again. And we love to do 24hrs check in for our villa. 

    .

  • Avatar
    Clairelouiseduplessis

    I also live at my B&B.  I have had so many instances of guests informing me of their arrival time only to arrive hours later.  I I received one bad review (like Joey) for "not being friendly" given they checked in at 1:30am and I was woken up (I was informed they would arrive at 11pm!).

    I struggle with this quite a lot during high season especially.  I am based in South Africa and flights from Europe land late usually around 10.30pm so after car hire etc they always arrive late.

    I do try and be accommodating but it does get exhausting after a few months!

  • Avatar
    Boss of the Hotel ;-)

    and when you did stay up late, and force yourself into a big smile and a warm welcome and you bring up the luggage to the room.  Seems they brought enough clothes to stay till then end of the year, but you manage and everyone is happy that all ended well.

    And then comes the inevitable question from the guests : you still do serve food, do you ?

  • Avatar
    Clairelouiseduplessis

    I have also signed up for Guestchek.  Thanks CML!

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    Judy Keuning

    I found this so interesting to read everyones different take on late arrivals. We have a strict check in time between 14:00 and 19:00 and I message the guest a couple of days before to confirm their arrival time (and where they are coming from as this often help you guess the time better than they can) I don't like late arrivals after 21:00 and only bend my rules if I really have to. 

  • Avatar
    Craigmoniecottage

    Have to agree with Joey and Torrdarach 100%.  The worst time of course is High Season and although you make allowances for late arrivals - anyone arriving outwith your advertised times without prior arrangement has absolutely no respect for the other guests that are going to be disturbed by their very noisy, late arrival let alone the host.  I allow a 1 hour window after my cut off time (7pm) and after that there is no furthr check in option and the guest is recorded as a 'no show' and charged.  At the end of the day if the guest turns up late for his flight/train/bus does it wait for him - no does he get his money back - no why should the bed and breakfast industry be expected to operate any differenty.  I have often gone to a shop door and found it locked and the staff do not re-open the doors.

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    Ricbuxlaw

    Just joining in from the Languedoc.I recently had a Dutch couple arrive at 9.50 pm.They had not bothered to call me or email beforehand.I had not heart to show them the door.They were polite and "no problem" guests just for one night.

    Its my first season and I think if I did not allow them to stay I would get castigated with a bad review.Guests can be very defamatory and get away with it so unless I have gone to bed I would always welcome guests up to say midnite.Guests may have had a meal but I do much prefer for guests to advise if they are going to be late.Its rarely intentional.In reverse I welcome giuests who like to book in early.Its not great but I have had 2 sets of English guests coming abiout 3 pm when after a good linch in the heat wanting to book in early.Again I accommodate them.

    I have had no guests fail to turn up but one of my first( family man on his own!) booked in and took off again after 2 hrs never to be seem again .Friends tell me he must have spent night with a woman!!

    Nice to have this Forum to share.Its not an easy business but its rewarding to ensure people usually on holiday are well looked after!

    Good luck

    Richard

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    Craigmoniecottage

    Hi Richard good luck with your first season

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    Maria Eugenia

    Hi

    And how do you manage when for example the guest wants to arrive much earlier than the check in time which is  2pm (sometimes 8 hours prior to it!) and they pretend you to give them the bungalow at 6am for the same price just because they have a kid of 2 years old and their flight arrives at 5:30 am?

    ...Even when i explain prior they arrival it might be a check out of a previous guest of the bungalow at 11am on the day of their arrival and it would be better to pay for an extra pre-night for avoiding it, they keep insisting and then of course when i say it is not possible to enter that early i get a big bad score afterwards and all my rating comes down

    ....They forget all the great things we offered them during their stay such as private pool with an amazing ocean view, their own full equipped kitchen, daily cleaning of their bungalow, buying their shopping list in the market for them not to move from the relax  mode of their bungalow,etc,etc) and they only remember they could not enter into the Bungalow 8 hours prior the check in time for free!!

    As somebody said before in the chat..."cheap" guests are the most demanding and they are never happy.

  • Avatar
    Reception

    Wow ... I've been amazed at the comments following on from my initial post 2 months ago. And so many valid and worthwhile points have been made.

    I should explain a little more about us.

    We own and operate our accommodation business in southern Tasmania, the island state of Australia. We operate at two separate locations ... our mainland site has a 2 bedroom apartment and a one bed studio cottage. Our other site ( a self contained cottage) is on an island called Bruny Island off the coast near Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania. I manage, clean and maintain both sites. The Bruny Island cottage is basically a 5 hour round trip. I do this full time for a living and have no staff. My partner, Sue, works in her own career full time and assists when she can.

    We've been doing this for 8 years! 14 hour days are common and during the peak season (which is getting longer each year) I work non-stop ... and I'm 62 years old.

    We have a really broad range of guests, with travelers from the UK, Europe, USA, South America, India, China, Singapore and mainland Australia as well as a strong local market.

    99% of our guests are amazing and the other 1% aren't really a problem ... they just have their own peculiar issues.

    Our investment in our business is huge and our return is average, despite really healthy occupancy rates.

    There has been a huge upsurge of competition in the short term rental market in our region especially with platforms such as AirBnB and HomeAway.

    We use a channel manager/reservation system and Booking.com has been an outstanding channel for us. Our own web site is also proving to be a solid performer and we spend a lot of time working on our social media presence as well as our Google presence. We can't stress strongly enough how important social media/blogging and small Adwords campaigns are. These contribute to market presence and brand awareness.

    Even if you don't have the interest to spend money on Adwords at least think about blogging. It works well for us not only in bookings but also in our visibility.

    I wish Booking.com would permit video to be added to our pages ... maybe one day!

    As far as treating our guests patiently goes we still believe strongly in this. We will always treat our guests the way we want to be treated.

    In short the hospitality industry is hard work but the rewards are massive. We love the industry and we love being able to share our part of the world. But please don't feel we let ourselves be treated as door mats. We will stand up to those extremely rare guests who are just plain difficult ... with a smile of course!

  • Avatar
    Leandri Klopper

    Hey Reception (Remember you can change your name on your profile),

    Thanks for initiating this thread!

    Ricbuxlaw  (Richard),  thanks for sharing! Your point makes 100% sense to me.

    Thing is, our managing director has now put down the Hammer. No confirmation letter = No check in. I don't want to spark the "I'm not receiving correspondence from my guest what do I do" conversation again, but I'm finding this a massive problem with check ins. 

    This puts me at odds with Booking.com because the guests who use Booking.com tend to forget their paperwork at home. I issue a Unit allocation confirmation letter and send it through to the properties but some guests show up so late that Reception is closed. So far the receptionists will send the confirmation letters to the Security guards at the gate so that our clients can still check in, but what happens the day when that process slips up somehow and the guest is asked to leave?

    Technically our check-in times are stated very clearly everywhere on the website and Booking.com confirmation letter, so I shouldn't get into trouble for showing them away. But I feel bad, you know? They have paid, they drove super far, it's dangerous to turn back and go find alternative accommodation. 

    We urge our guests to let us know if they are going to be late, but as I said. In through the eyes when they read it and out through the hair when they drive to the resort. 

    What do you all do when someone pitches up without paperwork? Check Pulse?

    Keep well!

  • Avatar
    Boss of the Hotel ;-)

    I dont need the paperwork really, when they booked via bookingdotcom, they are in the extranet, mails and so on.  Only for prepaid rooms, i am somewhat more carefull, and i would need their pasport or ID card

     

  • Avatar
    Craigmoniecottage

    Hi all - well that is the 'Public' for you. Unfortunately, the websites (all websites but especially the Booking.Com, Expedia, Airbnb etc.) and the way we live our lives (shopping, visiting theatres etc) encourage the Public to be vocal on every issue of our lives and to plaster our thoughts whether ( well informed, ill or just downright nasty) all over the internet.. Genuine issues are very rarely commented on but those that arrise through lack of preparation (from the guest point of view) prior to booking always command the most negative of reviews with the responsibility of guest actions being conveniently put to one side thereby justifying their placing the blame for all shortcomings at the door of the host.  The websites should take much more responsibility in removing reviews that are based soley on the shortcomings of the guests inability to ensure that the services and facilities provided meet their requirements prior to booking and reviews that reflect this should not be allowed and removed. I am 100% behind valid reviews of a business provided they are an accurate refelection of a guests visit and not because they were too arrogant to take the time to ensure what they were booking was right for them.

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    Enidrichmond  You are too good. You don't charge them?! I am relatively new to this game. Before this I ran a business which involved only one guest staying for a long time on full board earning me thousands - I'll tell you about it some other time). Please  charge no shows - for your own sake (they are practically stealing money from you) and for the sake of other hosts as you are giving the impression that we can be abused without any repercussions and you are also telling BDC that hosts are OK with being abused. Some time ago a relative of mine , my own flesh and blood, booked a hotel and at the last moment decided not to turn up. Not because of some emergency but because she didn't feel like it. I was furious. With her. 

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