Friday, April 29, 2011

B&B Etiquette: Email or Phone Contact?

Check out the wisteria from last year! As soon as the sun returns full-time, our wisteria will bloom. Seagull Cottage looks so marvelous covered with lavender blossoms. The cottage is already booked from the beginning of June to the last week of August. Our reservations are way up this year. Strangely enough, almost three-fourths of the guests will travel here from Europe.

Some innkeepers prefer to be contacted by phone. Others prefer email. On the Chez Sven Web site, our preference is mentioned. It should be clear that we prefer email.

I multi-task and tend to be very busy. Answering the phone is not always convenient, like earlier in the week, for example, in the middle of dinner, when I was rushing to get ready for the second night of Town Meeting. Now, I could have not answered, true. But, perhaps someone important was calling? So I picked up the receiver and sat back down at the computer clicking open the online availability calendar.

CALLER: “I want to reserve for August.”

ME: “For what dates?”

CALLER: “August 4, 5, 6, 7. Do you have availability?”

ME: “Yes, those dates are free. We do prefer contact by email. I’m running out, going to town meeting. Sorry, I’m really in a rush. Could you email me your request? Oh, wait a second. I was looking at April. Nope, I’m sorry, we are fully booked August 4, 5, 6, 7.”

The man hangs up on me. Now I realize I was a bit short with him, but still. This phone call was a stark reminder of why innkeepers burn out so fast. Some strangers have no respect.