Friday, September 19, 2008

What Makes a Good Bed & Breakfast Guest?

A recent comment to the blog from another innkeeper about our beloved green guests set me to thinking about what makes a good bed & breakfast guest. After five years of experience, I have decided the problem with guests from the United States is that they are not accustomed to staying in a person’s home. Rather, they behave more as one might at a hotel. Europeans have years of experience staying at B&Bs. Our guests from the UK are respectful and show real gratitude that we are sharing our house with them. Of course, one cannot generalize, but Sven and I have sometimes been faced with behavior that makes us wonder what people are thinking. Some guests act as if we were servants. (We aren’t.) And, this type of behavior is sure to draw a negative response. Innkeepers do provide a service, true. And, try to always do so with a smile. When guests book rooms, I ask for an approximate arrival time. Knowing when people plan to arrive helps me schedule other events during my day. You can bet that if someone says they will arrive at 2 and does not show up until evening like today, any innkeeper would not be pleased. Everyone has cell phones in this day and age. If one is delayed, it is simple to give a quick call. Changing an arrival time on the spur of the moment may work at a hotel, but it is not ideal for establishing the type of relationship we try to foster here at Chez Sven. Such behavior gets us off to a bad start. People who change their arrival time without warning, or arrive much earlier than expected, before we have finished preparing the room, for instance, do not win our hearts and minds. Part of the experience of staying at a bed & breakfast is the exchange of information that transpires between the hosts and the guests. I do not go the extra mile for guests who disrespect me. That being said, about 98% of our guests this summer have been wonderful, including the Americans. They have loved the experience of being here, and we have enjoyed their presence. These are the guests who know they have a home away from home here on Cape Cod and plan to return ….