Tuesday, July 21, 2009

10 Reasons Why B&B Guests Should Provide Arrival Time

As an innkeeper, I appreciate knowing what time guests plan to arrive and always request this information a week prior to arrival. Approximate time means early afternoon, late afternoon, suppertime, evening. Why do I request this information?

1.) I have a life and schedule activities, like everyone else.
2.) Errands require planning in summer, since there’s traffic on Route 6. Some errands can only be accomplished in Orleans. I prefer to run my errands when my presence at the B&B is not required.
3.) Sometimes innkeepers, too, like to go to the beach.
4.) Exercise is good for the health. We have no space for an exercise bike, so I need to be able to venture out for daily walks.
5.) Registration takes at least 15 minutes. There’s nothing worse than cooking an elaborate dinner, sitting down with a glass of chilled rosé, and having the doorbell ring. Some meals cannot be microwaved. As a gourmet cook, I prefer not to reheat my food.
6.) Wait! I thought of something worse than arrivals during dinner: arrivals after our cut-off time of 9:30, late for those of us who get up early and make breakfast.
7.) I have friends, who invite me to do things. I cannot do anything but sit here and wait if I do not know what time guests plan to arrive.
8.) How about putting a note on the door, BACK SOON, YOU BABOON and making the GUESTS wait? Not an option. We are in the business of hospitality here.
9.) A B&B is not a hotel. It is a small family business, without staff. And, currently Sven is in Sweden.
10.) I reject the idea that guests do not know when they plan to arrive as total hogwash. Everyone has a vague concept of how long the trip should take and possible departure times.

Yes, guests have kept me waiting again. Often this behavior accompanies a last-minute booking, and each year I swear to myself that I will refuse these requests. Such people confuse B&Bs with motels. Anyone who does not have the decency to inform me of arrival time will get minimal breakfast. I may even haul out the lumpy old mattress from the shed. I need to know approximate time of arrival. Most folks oblige me with a response, a few do not. I have learned to beware of those guests who do not. They are usually the ones an innkeeper does not want back.

PS. Not this time. It turned out these guests simply had B&B phobia. Yes, it does exist! While checking in, they regaled me with horror stories of former B&B stays, including a place with unwashed sheets and cockroaches. They said a simple piece of toast would do for breakfast. Wait until the see the spread set out on the kitchen table! I think they were pleasantly surprised by Liberty Coin Suite last night and will plan to return for a longer visit, informing me of approximate arrival time after booking the room ….