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Be Patient! (How to handle a late arrival)

It's 12:00 midnight, pouring with rain and blowing a gale outside and the guest who had indicated that they would be arriving at 9:00pm still hasn't turned up!

Worse still is that they are traveling from overseas and have not given us a contact number. So we don't know where they are or if they need assistance.

Finally headlights in the driveway and we rush out to greet them, umbrella unfurled and wind snapping at our heels. How we deal with the guests from this point on can make or break their holiday and perhaps our reputation.

As part of our business day we constantly remind ourselves that our guests are in holiday mode ... perhaps the destination is not as important as the journey.

It's too easy for us to become annoyed at being inconvenienced but the reality is there is no harm done.

It's amazing how often when we show a little kindness, patience and consideration to our guests that it re-pays us in dividends ... great reviews and more importantly referrals.

 

88 Replies

1
Info

We used to be really flexible. If guests said they would be arriving after our check-in time we would wait up for them - often waiting many hours and into the early hours of the next morning. Then we stayed in a small hotel in the UK who did the same for their guests. The result was that we were disturbed every night by other guests checking in late - bagging luggage up the stairs, finding their way about etc.

This really made us think about how we run our property. Is it fair that guests who are already checked in and trying to sleep are disturbed by guests who are arriving late? We decided it wasn't.

So we moved our final check-in time from 22:00 to 20:00, so guests are arriving earlier in the evening. We message guests the day before arrival to confirm our check-in times and we are really strict about applying them. Since we have done this we have had no problems with late check-ins and we have happier guests who are already in-house. On the rare very occasions when guests are delayed by traffic, weather or something else unavoidable, then if they keep us informed, we will be flexible - but they are asked to be absolutely quiet when coming into our property We explain why and so far everyone has been totally understanding.

10 months ago
3
CML

Info, great sharing, thanks : )

10 months ago
2
Keba Wilson

I stay up late for few guest late..an I wouldn't do it again they leave me bad reveiw..so late night guest no.my policy is 9pm
But sometimes stay up 11pm not anymore.

9 months ago
3
CML

Yes, we all learn from our 'experiences' in hospitality. The more we bend for others, the more they seem to expect ???

We have left our check-in at 6pm and guests who are leaving Sydney (2 hours away from the Blue Mountains, Australia), usually phone me to check if there is another way around their late arrival. We like to see and settle our guests into their Suites (self-catering), but have on occasions left a key for them to see themselves in.

8 months ago
3
Akwador

Torrdarach

I was initially taken aback with your comment on going to bed and not getting up for late guests.

I put myself in the guests shoes and think: "Have you never been travelling and had flights delayed, your cell phone battery dies and the last taxi was taken by other late arrivals at the airport?"

We have Expedia guests, and many of their bookings through their subsidiaries don't have a means of communicating with the guest at all. BDC at least provide messaging for all their referrals and usually a telephone number too.

There is nothing worse than a guest who has gone past their check in time and you start to feel they are looking like a no show. Nevertheless we have never turned a guest away, usually they arrive tired, dishevelled and a victim of airline incompetence and delays. We just take them straight to their room and say that we will check them in the following morning which is appreciated no end.

As we have an entry phone that diverts to our cell phone so we can literally go to bed and if they turn up, pop down to let them in. (The downside of the entry phone is people like 'Bikeman' mentioned above ring at 2am asking for a room.) If we are not expecting anyone we just switch it off.

My concern is the turned away guest will retaliate with a review that can damage your score. I would be interested to hear from Booking.com as to how they would treat a review of a person who turned up late and contravened your arrival time - and then gives you the lowest possible score in spite because you denied them a room. Would they agree to delete it?

8 months ago
3
CML

Yes, as I mentioned above, we all learn from our experiences ...

We should all know where are guests are coming from and react accordingly ...

8 months ago
6
michael beeston

Hi Everyone...........understand the dilemma !!!!!..guests missing flights traffic delays/ accidents,,,,,.But we have been there and only live 10 minutes away from the property so.even if it is 1am in the morning I go and welcome the guests ( it has only happened once and the flight was cancelled and they caught the next LATE flight. The guests were so appreciative and left us a bottle of wine and a fabulous review..what more can we say.............We would NEVER not meet a guest. !!!

8 months ago
2
Boss of the Ho…

It would be interesting to read, related to each comment : how many rooms do you have and how long have you been running the hotel. This topic is not only about people with delayed flights, imo its mainly about guests with lack of respect for your work and life. The local bakkery closes at 7pm, and at 07.05 there is no more bread to buy, even if you are hungry. At 8.00 am the train leaves, even if you have to go to your moms funeral. Train is gone. Some days it seems like, the worst thing you can do in life, is book a room in my hotel. Chance is enormous the day of arrival your dog will die, or your best friend gets married unexpectedly. I can understand both those who are awake in bed, waiting for a late arrival and those who just close the doors and go to sleep. Those are the ones who have heard, just once too much, talk the guests the following day about how much fun the party was. Where they were expected to be in the ER comforting their lost ones ;-)

8 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Since I live down stairs there’s no problem for me to wait. Most of my guests come late in the night and sometimes ver tired driving many hours so they appreciate it when I welcome them with a big smile ready to give them any information needed.

8 months ago
2
Post

Patience is an attitude, and although we do try to give incoming guests enough information.

You can not expect the incoming Guest to memorise every detail about every place they will be staying at. One place has free access to washing machines, another has free breakfast, a third has a free shuttle from here there and everywhere, and only Germans have meticulous notes about what they have paid for (deposits).

It is our experience that guests who book through Agoda get much less information about our accommodation than those who book through BDC. Our budget accommodation is 25 -30% cheaper than our high standard rooms with ensuite bathrooms, but guests must clean up the flat before leaving or they must pay a cleaning surcharge. Agoda does not inform them of any surcharges and they even expect a free breakfast.

We do seek Authorization and do charge for all No Shows (of course), as revenue earned must be revenue paid.

6 months ago
3
Waikoninihomestead

I was having problems with guests arriving after 10pm (up to about 3am) for no reason at all so and not communicating with me. I do not mind if I am told they are going to be late. So now those who check in/out late without communicating with me they will be charged and so far so good, it is working.

4 months ago
3
Akwador

Waikoninihomestead - That sounds like a good idea. How exactly have you communicated this to the guest, do you state this in your confirmation letters?

4 months ago
3
CML

Zoinks - agree with you ... if we all stand United on such matters, people will not be so quick to take advantage : )

4 months ago
3
CML

Dear Post,

Re: Patience ...

We send all our guests the same "welcome/info email" (saved in documents), where we give them further information about our establishment, and direct them to view our website with floor plans, pictures, videos, and other useful information. This is to ensure our guests make informed decisions when choosing their Suite, and we also point out that we are not accountable for poor decisions. We also have a Guestchek.com Notification in each Suite (in front of the TV) which guests have no option to view ... this has decreased the "unfair and damaging reviews". Guestchek.com offer a Travel Score for Guests where Establishments such as ours can recommend Good Guests. The longer we practise the more information we provide, to cover all bases and to eliminate misunderstandings and disappointments.

A lot of the time Guests think they are "contributing to the Community" by writing thoughtless and lengthy Reviews in Tripadviser, Google and the like. However, as they have not been in Hospitality before (it would seem), they do not know how flippant comments could damage a Smnall Business. So we believe that Educating our Guests, is the best way. Educated Guests don't need to worry, as they are savvy and know that they are okay : )

4 months ago
3
Waikoninihomestead

I hope this information is helpful Akwado. Information regarding charges for late arrivals/check outs is on information available on booking.com. Charges differ depending on time involved ie $50NZ an hour. Recently about 6pm I had a call from a last minuite booking to say they would be arriving until midnight, I said OK but you will be charged, and guess what they arrived before 10pm. The excuse for wanting to be late is that they wanted to go for dinner! They drove from Christchurch which takes about 2 hours to get here, so God only knows what they were up to!

I have just made a list of house rules which is given to guests on arrival to read and sign. The rules are;

park in driveway not on the lawn

do not allow your children to kick shingle from drive onto lawn

do not flood bathroom

do not stand on toilet (I have had to replace a broken toilet)

do not put urine to onto toilet floor

no spitting

no smoking inside and to use ash tray for buts

supervise your children at all times

put rubbish in bins provided

excessive rubbish will be charged for (some have had enough rubbish to fill a large black bag)

kitchen not for guest use

no cooking in bedrooms

be respectful of other guests

no noise between 10pm and 7am

breakfast from 730am and 9pm (last season I found myself still doing breakfasts at midday)

please lift your suitcases so that the original floors (137 years old)are not damaged

damages will be charged for (ie damage to furniture,stains to linen) I now have a huge pile of animal towels in the cupboard of damaged guest towels! I supply face cloths if requested, as my supply disappeared when I gave them to guests routinely.

I have discussed all of the above with booking.com. The only thing they would not allow to be put with the information on their site is that 'damages will be charged for'.

I hated having to make all these rules, but it was a case of necessity.

4 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Thanks for sharing your house rules. I have created mine already, but it took me several months asking other forum members to share their house rules...

I know for sure that people do respect documents even if those documents are not of high importance. Some will laugh at "not standing on toilet seat", but I know from my experience that people from certain countries do stand on toilet and never seat!

Guestchek.com is not working for me. We had forum member, who complained that after the guest saw this Guestchek.com reminder, he got very angry thinking someone is forcing his opinion and left bad review.

Guestchek.com is completely useless for me, because it asks to enter some digits of telephone number of guest. 90% of my guests use fake numbers and it costs less than 1 dollar to buy sim card in my country without any ID provided...

4 months ago
7
Katerinka12

If your listing clearly shows that you allow check in up to 11pm and your guest arrives at 1am, are you allowed to deny guest entry? How does Booking handle such situations?

4 months ago
3
Akwador

Waikoninihomestead - Thanks for that. We don't actually have house rules, we have had about 3 guests in 5 years that have done something we did not like. Hopefully this won't change, but we did not like to provide a long list of 'house rules' if we can avoid it - most prospective guests would probably find it off putting.

4 months ago
3
Waikoninihomestead

Thank you for your comments.

As far as the house rules go,I agree some guests may be offended (but not yet). I had a university professor here recently and he advised me that I was too polite and if not direct with certain ethnic the guests creating the problems, the rules would have no effect. He has spent time in their universities so know them very well! He also said they are very racist.

I am going to double check with booking.com about the very late bookings but if I remember correctly, we can turn them away. One night when we were not expecting anybody I discovered a car at my front door tooting their car horn. They did not knock at the door or ring the bell. It was midnight. They booked half an hour before arriving. They asked for breakfast at 9am but did not come down until 12 midday and left at 3pm. I will not allow that to happen again and that is one reason I will now charge them for late book in/out.

When 3 large adults turn up to sleep in 2 single beds and are offered another room which they decline they can be asked to leave. The same applies to those cooking in their rooms.

As for dealing with a rice cooker heading for the kitchen..I put signs on the door saying staff only and shut the door. Some then say that booking.com said they could use my kitchen!!! NO....

4 months ago
3
Akwador

Waikoninihomestead - Reading between the lines it appears your problems are emanating from certain ethnic minorities. It is regrettable that countries have adopted laws which actually prevent you of your right to determine who you want in your home on the basis that it is 'racist'. I remember pubs having a sign over the door stating that the landlord reserves the right of entry - alas no more!

We had a barrage of bookings between 1 week and 10 days that completely filled our Guest House over the New Year when we first started - all were from North Africa. Not ONE arrived, costing us over four thousand Euros in lost business. It appears they were just using us to secure their visa by saying they were staying in accommodation when in reality they had no intention of turning up.

BDC would not allow us to exclude bookings from North Africa, all of which we received had been fake, for reasons of 'discrimination'. We eventually had to combat this ourselves by introducing a letter which asked for passport details up front as they were 'outside the EU' and failure to do so would result in us informing the Maltese Central Visa unit that the visa was not supported by us in terms of accomodation. After a few more bookings we did exactly that (we received a 'thank you' from the Visa Department!) - soon all such bookings dropped off, I guess it got a around by word of mouth that we would rat on them to the authorities.

4 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Hello guys to much pain here!!!
This is my first year and thankfully have excellent experiences with guests. Hope this continues...
As for rules I also gave rules in a binder with other information. Some guests read them some don’t. It doesn’t really matter I think. If guests are responsible you don’t have to tell them about simple things that they should not do. Reporting guests for misconduct may be a solution for further reservations.
Take care...

4 months ago
6
michael beeston

Akwador......Wow, what an incredible story...............and a sad one !!! as well. Even in Australia we have sometimes (not that often) a similar situation with certain guests from certain countries..............take care.

4 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Who do you think was the most happy person to read house rules? Once I saw our house rules finally outlined, printed, laminated... Once I saw them sitting perfectly on the table, I was so, so happy, they really motivated me to do business better and not as my "Partner" suggests, being deaf to majority concerns even to those where he looses money, not to mention miserable reviews system.

I wrote to Booking asking to add in Fine print or anywhere they can that we implement No ID, No Entry system. This is a way more important than house rules, but I got no reply.

I know for sure... Now I really know from my own experience, that host, who is himself serious about his own house rules irregardless if his guests read it or no, is guaranteed biggest part of success.

My staff recently told me that the best clients are not from Booking or Airbnb (though I love them both), but walk in clients. "Because they never complain" they said.

I am doing my my best to concentrate on how to become a better host irregardless on Booking mood. If something happens to them tomorrow, I will continue my journey and remember that day, when I saw my House Rules, I myself, the host, felt happy.

4 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Reading between the lines...wow,we have so understanding people on this forum! I had once a review on Airbnb from "read between the lines" :) He complained about all hosts in my country and didn't even stay in my place. Airbnb has a special team that handles racist comments and they are very serious about it. I guess that happened after some incidents with Asians in USA.

Booking should have such specialists too. I recently read a review on Booking from British who complained about Chinese and that he "can't handle the smell while riding in elevator with Chinese". Its all about your reputation, Booking. You should screen such comments before posting and not after, and not force us, hosts, to get involved into unpleasant experience. Rules are created for everyone.

4 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Late check in is not a problem for us as we do experience them due to location near airport. We have 24/7 reception, security guards and self check in, which is luxury for majority of hosts and besides they are not typical "hotel near airport".

Late check in alone is not a problem. Flights delay do happen, people become sick... However there is a sort of group of people that do love being irresponsible, unreachable, come at 5am, get rude with staff who was not falling asleep patiently waiting for the guest, and the bad review will follow.

4 months ago
6
michael beeston

100% agree but hopefully that group of people is only a SMALL percentage of the guests. !!!.I really like your idea of the scammers topic...........

4 months ago
2
Bridgewatermotel

Interesting input from all. We are a small - 37 unit motel. We do have a policy for late check-in. Our closing hours are 10 pm weekdays and 11 pm on weekends. Policy is to call guests that have not arrived by 8:30 to determine when they will be arriving. If it is after closing, we let them know we will be closing our books at 9:30 (WD) and 10:30 (WE) and we will be running their card. They are given the secure location where their key will be left with their name and Room # on it. If, we cannot reach them, we do run their cards for the stay. If the card is good, we then leave their key in a secure location - there is a posted number where they can call - and, after determining they are the valid guest, I will tell them where their key is and ask them to come by the office to sign their documentation in the morning. If the card is declined, they will be marked as a no-show. This has proven to be a workable system for us.

2 months ago
6
michael beeston

Bridgewatermotel......Well said, it's a business we run NOT a charitable organization, like you guys I very much enjoy meeting people, I go out of my way to be Kind/Hospitable/Show the guests around/A large bottle of Champagne is Free in the Fridge and whatever else is required for them to have a Spectacular enjoyable experience BUT when it comes to paying with credit cards (if the credit card is declined when the deposit is due I give them 24 hours to fix the problem ) otherwise I cancel the booking!!.Its just not worth the hassle..by the way it does not happen that much so we are lucky but with you with 37 Units.its a Business for sure...............Well said Michael.

2 months ago
1
Jcproomrentals

It is good to be flexible especially when the guest requested for late check in due to their flight schedule. We always considered their request sometime they requested midnight to 2 AM (from our check in time 11AM until 10PM). But some of these guest never show after long hours of waiting. They never think that their host is waiting for them and cannot sleep properly for we are checking the CCTV from time to time for their arrival, but they simply ignore for not informing us that they are not coming. As I read some of the comments, I have also experienced that the guest arrived 2:30 AM with out informing us, when they arrived we are sleeping and the rest of the guest when the guest arrived, they push the doorbell many times and keep banging the gate that caused a lot of noise and my other guest woke up and I also wake up. I am very furious and never control myself and lectured them but still I accommodated them and received very bad review.

As I read some of the comments, I am quite agree to implement of what we set up especially in check in and check out time for we are not like Hotel that operating 24 hours.

1 month ago
1
Ayu

We built good communication with guests and we always make sure we do know their arrival flight so we can estimate their arrival time in our property, Texting, emailing or calling them just to make sure their arrival time so we don't have to wait for so long. And it's work.

1 month ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Communication is the key to many of our worries.

Most of the times guests respond to my messages but sometimes it takes a couple of messages before they respond. Guests that might cancel a reservation are the ones that dont bother to respond to messages.

Its part of our duty to find ways to communicate with guests even though sometimes its impossible.

1 month ago
6
michael beeston

Hi everyone.some of these comments are quite stressful..unfortunately I am sure we ALL have comments about late arrivals/noisy guest/bad reviews/..that unfortunately is the name of our game..HOSPITALITY....I had a meet and greet with some Chinese last week.they messaged me at the airport on our way can we meet early (1pm),. I answered no problems see you in 40 minutes.jumped in the car off I went...40 minutes/60 minutes /3 hours later they arrived..Hello we went to the beach and had Lunch.............I was steaming BUT what can we really say....maybe 2/3% of guests have no decency/holiday mood/I am paying for this accommodation so what !!! and stuff...............lets think of the good guests because this way of (some guests) will NEVER STOP for just a few people.....................that's life I guess.

1 month ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Hi Michael, did you have lunch with or without champaign???

I prefer the good guests that are the most and the best to have. Some guests, like some friends, some relatives, some colleagues are not the best company...well I stay away from them and let them enjoy being miserable.

Cheers!!!

1 month ago
6
michael beeston

Hi "M"..a quiet easter with friends and family BUT bloody busy with guests ..ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!...Did you like the furniture pics.cool as .

1 month ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Michael I loved the pictures of your furniture. They are so exceptional. I can imagine the places you have visited and the incredible moments you have shared with your friends and family.

Hope your guests were the good ones....

1 month ago
7
Katerinka12

The old proverb says that the problem never comes alone...

Late arrivals are our routine because of flight delays and majority of our guests are flying to or from abroad.

But.... Late arrival AND no communication AND no identification is a nightmare.

Be aware of the new feature of Airbnb that all you see is the black color on your blocked date. No face, no identification. All it says "Pending" until a person will provide her ID.

We can't host ghosts because all buildings in our area require IDs. It's not our own rule, but of security office and admins. I have to file a request for authorization for every guest.

So, they book, don't communicate, don't provide any IDs and arrive late. On a day when there is no ANY place left in the area, totally overbooked. Yet, they demand 1 bedroom, cash back and the next thing I heard how he said in a rude tone to my staff: "it's not my problem".

My goodness... Should I even call him a guest? I wasn't sleeping whole night trying to get a place for him to transfer. Entertaining a ghost.

So, I told my staff to go to have some rest, they didn't sleep 2 nights and me 4 nights. Let me handle Airbnb and no guest should be that rude, when he is a ghost in a first place. And I went to my friend with 2 bottles of champagne to accompany my story 🍾🥂😂

1 month ago
6
michael beeston

Terrible Katerinka...............None of us need this nonsense, especially rude guests.............even the Champagne doesn't help much in this situation..............keep smiling babe !!!.Michael.

1 month ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Rude guests are not easy to handle...Try to avoid their bad manners...Give them your biggest smile and be cool.
Be happy!!!

1 month ago