Saturday, August 18, 2007

Reflection on Different Types of Guests

I have been doing more thinking about what makes happy "green" guests like these folks on their way back from a perfect day at Lecount Hollow beach: an excellent bed, soft organic sheets, a fine breakfast, great weather, two friendly and knowledgeable innkeepers, lots of fun activities in the vicinity of the b & b...

Yesterday I received a packet of postcards in the mail from This popular booking company expects me to hand out their postcards requesting reviews from my guests. Why in the world would I do that? I much prefer to have guests write in our guestbook and post their comments. It occurred to me that, being a service company for bed and breakfast owners – who pay to be listed – might do better to distribute postcards so innkeepers can warn other innkeepers about problem guests. For instance, the scammers from abroad who write, “Hello, Sir. I have four couples, who plan a honeymoon in your area this December and seek accommodation. Can you communicate immediate vacancies …” I press delete without hesitation, but some innocent newcomers get ripped off.

On these innkeeper-preference dream forms, there could be a Never-Satisfied category. One look at the list and it would be possible to know that spotless organic linens would not be nice enough, giving the innkeeper time to hang out a No Vacancy sign.

Another category would be Super-sized. These guests can ruin antique furniture in one sitting. We have never had a Super-sized guest, but my friend Sheri, out in Wisconsin, has them all the time.

Condescending guests are also folks to avoid. Such people look down their noses at the innkeeper and ask for pointers on local sightseeing options around the breakfast table. What makes these folks feel so superior? They are a major cause of early burnout in the industry. Fortunately, here at Chez Sven, our green guests tend to have a more sensible attitude. Condescending guests seem to confuse innkeepers with wait staff - not the same thing. Most innkeepers enjoy serving breakfast or they would be in another profession. Such guests will not get Sven to discourse on any history topic imaginable or find me around much. I prefer to spend time with the vegetables in my garden.

The three categories above are not to be confused with guests who have been having a bad day, or a bad week, or a bad year. It is a pleasure to see the lines vanish from their faces after a few days here at Chez Sven!