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What do you do when guests are about to arrive and your space is not quite ready?

I just listed or rather added an extra room to my apartment. But made this a separate room bookable as one. It wasn't actually quite ready and opened by mistake instead of my original rooms. However with some speedy and ingenuity I made the lighting work last minute to cater. My guests arrived and totally loved it. What do you do when the crunch is hours away from arrival and your space not quite ready?

43 Replies

7
Thuild - Your …

Dear Liz,

What I get from your post is that the room was not ready to be booked and not because of cleaning, but rather missing things or unfinished work.

If you normally receive a guest into an unfinished space, that can end up being very bad afterwards.

However, as most of us have a place that is fully functional, the only thing that would be a "ready" issue would be the room cleaning and preparation for another guest.

This is why you have the check-in time, to be sure that you have those rooms ready, regardless of the situation and if the guest arrives earlier, you simply tell them to wait until the check-in time as the room is not ready.

After the check-in time, the guest will really see it as an issue and in most cases it will be unacceptable for them.

That's what I believe is the case for such things.

Zsolt - www.thuild.com

10 months ago
1
Stephenandrichard

Hello there, yes this has happened to me also a few times despite the fact i have an arrival time and departure time, that i have to stick to,especially in Summer. Im fortunate enough to have a summer kitchen where i can allow guests to rest after a long journey and i always offer a wee nibble and a glass of something chilled, guests usually are aware that they have arrived early and are usually quite relaxed about it.

Happy hosting and all the best.

Richard.

10 months ago
1
Mzsingitana Te…

I am currently building a place where guests could wait, because on several occasions I have had guests arrive way before the check-in time.
So before that i would just offer them activities whilsts their room is still being prepared.
Furthermore, pulse has a template to send guests a text to notify them that they room is ready for check-in.

10 months ago
2
Liz M Lockwood

Thanks all. It definitely was all ready but I haven't yet installed the power switches that made sense. The electrician is coming next Monday so I did some fancy lighting and which worked out beautifully. The guests left this morning and said it was all perfect. Sensor lights are amazing

10 months ago
2
wendy crews

Hi Liz

I had trouble with my light switches and the electrician couldn't come until the next day so like you I put some lamps around the room and everyone was happy. We have a big communal lounge where people can relax if they check in early. They usually choose to drop of their luggage and go site seeing

10 months ago
7
fluff

For us this is only a problem when we are full. Otherwise we just allocate the guest another room.
When we have no other availability, this has only occurred when the guest who checked out the same day had damaged something in the room, we will offer the guests chill out by the pool with complimentary drinks and/or suggest we store their luggage so that they can go out and start their holiday. Obviously after the usual apologies and explanation.
Only once we had to relocate the guest for one night while we arranged a new window! We also gave this particular couple a free slap-up meal. They were really stoked and couldn't thank us enough.

10 months ago
4
k2u

For us the only problem would be if we had no vacancies. Otherwise we could just allocate the guest to another room. However, if there are no rooms available due to other guests that had occupied the other rooms the night before and are staying, then we otherwise allow the guest to check in. And explain to them this is why we have check in times and check out times. Example, The guest arriving that day came at 9am way before check in time and before check out time for the previous guest.. our check in times are from 1-9:30pm (we do however make special arrangements for guests unable to check in by 9:30pm). With that being said, we did not have anywhere for the guest to go. So I suggested they leave their luggage with us here in the office, go to breakfast at the diner just up about a mile. However they were not happy. In a case like this, it is on the guest that did not abide by check in times and assumed they could just check in. She had stated she did not see where it stated check in times (I do know as we all do there is a portion on the where the guest sees "Important info you should read") and to it to be known that she was leaving a nasty review... oh she did and lied about the room. She was here for a 2 day stay. So, point is, maybe these check in/check out times should be listed somewhere the guest must check off a box stating they read this

10 months ago
2
wendy crews

It is quite rude of the guests to say they have not read the check in time. Through out the world guest houses all have check in times and if you know you are going to be somewhere early you should ring and inquire if you are able to do so. We all like our places to look their best when guests arrive and this takes time

10 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

I have only one Studio so the day before the Studio is cleaned and ready to have my guests. Only once I had a last minute booking from guests on the road and I had just one hour to prepare the Studio. That was a run out procedure but everything was in order when the guests arrived.

10 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

Wendy you are so right but like my current guests ......a mature couple ....all the booking had been done by their children as they were not able to use the internet.It never pays to let a guest see the room before it’s ready, Just politely explain that as hotels do they can not go in until check in and send them away.....my couple had read no rules ...didn’t know there were any.

10 months ago
8
Leandri Klopper

Hey everyone,

Much like Stephenandrichard , we have have check in times but should the guest arrive sooner than they should we normally send them to the restaurant on-site. We find Food/Drinks normally make people happy.

We have had a pipe burst in a unit right before check-in time... but luckily we had another unit open. This is where I admire those with smaller properties such you as, Liz M Lockwood . Thinking of a quick lighting fix in a jiffy! Really brings out the creativity in a person, doesn't it?

Well done all!

I really think I'm missing out sometimes because we have very large properties.

10 months ago
1
Lennfaith

Hello to you all. Thinking outside the box helps if the challenge is not a very big issue. And like someone has commented above, having the visitor enjoy a light snack, drink or coffee as you tidy up is helpful. Thanks for the discussion and highlights. Immaculate

10 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

I have persuaded my local cafe to create gift cards so that I can send early guest there they can have coffee and cake or pay more and have a meal

10 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Sara always very creative. Very nice and hospitable idea.

10 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Very good idea, Sara. Do you have to pay for these cards? Or it's a discount card?

I didn't do that intentionally, but that what happened. My guest was a student of architecture. She saw my paintings and we started to talk about art. I gave her my advices where to go to art exhibits for free. I had discount cards for 20% from top art gallery (they give just few to chosen people). I am not sure, if she actually went there, but I could see that she was really happy to see the discount!

That's it! It's woman nature. Women Love discounts! It works like magic.

I am planning to make a tour on local establishments and ask for more discounts cards. It's the easiest thing for me to negotiate good deals, normally people give me discounts without even printing the card ("just mention my name" scheme)

10 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Katerinka12 very good idea the discount cards. Maybe I could do the same especially in low season. Thanks for mentioning it.

10 months ago
7
Katerinka12

I am not sure if it will improve your performance during low season. May be can just improve the score.

I see the problem with advertising
First, it creates confusion if one establishment promotes other establishments. Second, people might think that your place is doing very well so bad that you have to attract people with those discounts.

As for me, it's just a sweet add on. Except for massage. Maybe its a good idea to get into contact with local masseuse and make massage services available on call. As for me I would like to stay in such villa, that offers professional massage

10 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

I do have massage services on call and is very professional but in the summer guests prefer message in the beach.

10 months ago
3
Jessie & Jay (…

This being our first year of operation we only had one guest show up early. Our check-in time is from 3 PM to 10 PM unless arranged otherwise ahead of time. They arrived at 11:30 AM. Thankfully the room was ready as we had just finished it. Guests, if they book the room on BDC themselves the check-in time is clearly stated. After they have booked their room we email them our Guest Policies which states the check-in time. The day they are due to arrive I typically send a text message re-iterating the check-in time but stating the room is ready and they can check in any time. Another guest really appreciated it is they had flown into town really early and had not had much sleep. So they checked in and were able to catch a few hours of sleep before starting their vacation. They mentioned it in their 10/10 review.

When we recommend restaurants we ask our guests to say we recommended them just to get our name out there. We have not yet set up any formal agreements with any other businesses.

10 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Jessie & Jay guests really appreciate early check-in. When travelling myself I really appreciate it when check-in is flexible if needed. Μy place is always ready early in the morning of the day my guests are expected. Sometimes recommending restaurants might be tricky. Guests might not like the recommendations thus making them unhappy.

10 months ago
4
k2u

Jessica & Jay,

I do the same. Each time a guest books on BDC, I immediately send them a "Thank you" in that states check in times and a reminder to check our cancellation policy. Because we are not a 24 hr. Motel, I also extend to the guest that we will make special arrangements with them in case they need to check in past our hours... they appreciate that very much. However, again, as stated in my above comment, if we have no vacancies due to guests booking 2 or more days with us and we have no other rooms to allow the guest that has decided to check in early prior to Check out times, unfortunately we cannot give them another room.

We do not have a restaurant on property, there is a place they can go for breakfast/coffee less then a mile from here.

Generally, especially On Season we always have No Vacancies. So this makes it hard for us to be able to allow a guest to check in to a room that is not ready due to the present guest has not checked out yet.

Now our biggest issue is, more so than checking in early, is a guest that does not read nor respond to us trying to reach out to them regarding check in times. Meaning, if after our check in times and we have now closed. It becomes a No Show on their part. I have attempt to call the guest if they are not here by a certain time to let them know that check in times are almost past and if that is the case, as stated above, I would make arrangements with them for a late check in (arranging room entry and payment). We do this so the guest does not have rush in. Now if the guest still does not respond to this, then I reach out to BDC and if they are unsuccessful, Then again considered a No Show. At that point. The guest could be subject to room entry.

10 months ago
1
Chameleonhotel

if the room is not ready , I offer them to have a coffee or even a beer in the restaurant on our expense. Most of the guest are taking the offer , ones in a while we get one who can not be pleased with anything. I am offering to this one to leave at no charge . :) Don't like negative in the house. Chance to sell the room is quite high. But even I don't sell it, still happy to get rid of the trouble/:)

10 months ago
2
wendy crews

Early check in can also be difficult if guests want to checkout late. We only have a small lodge, 30 beds, but I need the hours between 10am and 2pm to get the cleaning done to the standard that I want.

The bathrooms and kitchen are communal so I can not do anything until the guests check out. If they want to stay until 11am and the next lot want to check in at 1pm that does not leave a lot of time.

We also have guests check out and go and do their activities for the day. Then they come back to use the toilets and showers before going to their next destination. Really that is going too far.

10 months ago
4
k2u

Wendy Crews,

I completely understand this issue you are having. Can I make a suggestion ? You say you need the hours 10am - 2pm to the get the cleaning done. And a guest wants to stay past your check out times. However, like me, I may not have another room to offer the guest that would be assigned to that room type. Then why not change your check in times ? Why not let your guests know in advance if they plan on a Late Check Out it is only if availability allows & same as Early Check In. Or putting in place a Early Check in/Late check out fee (I am presently putting this in place). I have seen this in many Hotels/Motels and B & B's. I understand that not all guests read everything.

I also understand, None of us want to loose a booking. But, If we do not have the rooms available then we are unable to allow the guests to check in early or check out late.

Now I also see that you saying guests check out and then come back to use the room ? If the guest has checked out, then why allow them to come back after they have gone out for the day ? I am sure you are just trying to be accommodating to all of your guests, but once they check out and want to reuse the room then charge them for another day (if availability allows) Or unfortunately say you are sorry but they have checked out and you have another guest coming in the room.

We here have only 16 rooms &1 housekeeper (I help out with cleaning of the rooms when necessary if I am able too.) I cannot allow a early check in late check out if we do not the availability.

10 months ago
2
wendy crews

Hi K2u

We have a late checkout fee of $10. If guests are stuck here for some reason we accommodate them but when we say we will have to charge them they usually pack up and leave quite happily. If we do not do this we will have guests cooking lunch at 1pm when they should not be here. People can pay $32 a night and that covers a lot but they can not carry on using electricity when they should of checked out. As for the guests who come back in the evening to use the facilities we do not allow it, would they do that at a motel where they are paying three times the price as here? I do whatever I can to keep guests happy which is generally easy as I love people and I really want them to feel at home, it is only a few guests that want more and more and you can not make them happy

10 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

So agree with Wendy, a couple with a car (we don’t have free parking it’s pay and display by the city) checked out last week , left their car and went all over London sightseeing then marked me down on location, a location They chose!!!!!!!!!They did not mention I had to go and buy diabetic jam etc as he never told me in advance medical needs.

Another guest packed up to leave Sunday by 11 am but wanted to lie in his room till 1...using my electricity and WiFi data playing games on his new computer.And a new guest was expected.

No hotel would allow that then we get lousy reviews.

10 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

Forgot to add car couple had been told in 6 emails the listing was unsuitable for cars.

10 months ago
4
k2u

Wendy,

I completely understand, we all want to make ours guests happy. We thrive on making our guests comfortable and feeling like family. With that being said, we here have such a huge turn a round. That is why we had to put a policy in place that if availability allows we can accommodate them for a late check out. Most guests understand this. We would love to be able to let our guests check in early and check out late, again we are majority of the time completely full. And because we are a small country Motel we have to take the time to clean (I mean spotless clean) we have very high standards here. After the housekeeper is finished in the rooms, I check each room to be 100 % sure the rooms are clean. As we all know how long it takes to clean a room, so if the guest does not check out on time and we have another guest coming into the room, we need to have the time to clean it.

10 months ago
4
k2u

Hi Sara,

Well that's not your fault then if the guest failed to let you know about his/her medical needs. I am sure you have it posted somewhere to let you know that they must let you know of food allergies, ect.

Do you have somewhere else for a guest to stay around your property ? We do not, otherwise we would be able have a guest wants to stay a bit longer but not in the room.

You are correct, we (Motel/Hotel) generally cannot allow a guest to do what your guest did.

Unfortunately, although we can do our most very best to make a guest very happy, it just does not work out that way sometimes. There are guests out there that no matter what you do its not good enough for them.

10 months ago
4
k2u

Hello Antoniodipino,

That's sounds like a beautiful place.

Go to your rates & availability page as you would to adjust your inventory. Click on "standard" (that's on mine, we are a Motel), there you can edit a restriction of how many nights you require on a specific date. Hope this helps you.

10 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

K2U no ;mine is a small London apartment and the other bedroom is mine, the French couple who left their car here after check out then went around town all day unhappy they had to pay parking and he also was the same diabetic who didn’t thank me for the trouble I went to are the ones that gave me 7.5 on location and facilities, and refused to answer any email prior to arrival ;when they demanded free parking and were big trouble makers....the guy said he can only eat omelettes for breakfast but I clearly advertise no cooked breakfast......there are 3 cafes in my street that do hot breakfast.

The biggest error is that I forsaw all these problems and offered a free cancellation from their side but they did not read my emails or answer their phone......so we do not on BDC have the right to cancel them without penalties. I find ABB far easier to deal with when these problems arise.

10 months ago
2
Homestay in Cairns

My checkout time is 10am. If I can see the guest isn't making an effort to be out on time I ask if it's OK to take the towels and sheets for washing so I can start to prepare for the arriving guest at 1pm. I offer the guest space to leave their luggage and/or wait in the garden area if they need more time but I must start to clean the room in a few minutes. This usually gets them moving. I have found you can't be too lenient as the guest will take advantage of your kind nature and leave you in a desperate situation. Charging a late fee might work for some but when you don't have a room to spare that's not going to help the situation.

10 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

When my guests check out I always give them a small gift.

A day before checking out I usually ask politely my guests whtat time they are planning to leave so I could give them a small present. That way I am informed about their checking out time.

10 months ago
2
Homestay in Cairns

I don't offer a gift but I do ask what time their flight is tomorrow and do they need my Airport drop off service or would they like me to book them a taxi. That way I know exactly what time they will depart and the check out time can be mentioned if need be.

10 months ago
2
Post

I agree with Sara Jarvis that one should stick to a clear rule about check In time ..we get young Americans and adult Indians who turn up at 10:30 knowing full well that Check In is from 14:00 ..we take care of their luggage and send them off with a smile and a hiking map.

We do give "early morning " incoming guests access to a toilet and to the garden of course, but never to unfinished rooms or to our breakfast dining areas .. that is just a hassle..

10 months ago
4
k2u

Post,

Our guests here (mind you this is a Motel) are of all different nationalities. We are in America, it seems not to matter what nationality they are. No one reads House rules, check in and check out times, although posted on BDC, here in the office and in each room.

We have a guest today that needed to check out late (because we do availability which is not often at all), Her flight is leaving 5pm so checking out at 2:30 which is 31/2 late. In this case, again because of the availability, I did not charge her the late check out fee. However, the housekeeper will be gone for the day. So now it may be a loss of money. If I did not have availability, she would not be able to check out late. I could hold her luggage here in our office, and she could go somewhere while waiting to leave.

It is very cold here now. Otherwise, she could enjoy the property where the sitting areas are.

10 months ago
2
Jonathan

We are very lucky to be located a few minutes walk away from Montville Village. Fortunately, this has never happened to us, but if it did, I would recommend a little stroll to the village.

10 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Hi Homestay-in-Cairns and welcome to the forum. I fully agree with you. Having a friendly chat with guests it’s possible to find out what their plans are thus making your life easier.

10 months ago
3
Akwador

We had a toilet break and flood the room. The plumber arrived and only managed half the job because of waiting for cement to dry and re-tiling around the toilet. We were forced to tell a lovely couple who arrived that we could not accommodate them. We had spent the entire morning attempting to find somewhere else in peak season and eventually we booked them into the last remaining room at a hotel 2 miles away. We paid the full price which was €200 above what they had paid us and gave them a copy of the bill so they had a proof of payment at the hotel - they could therefore see we had paid well over what they had given us in re accommodating them. Further we drove them to their new hotel and left them in the hands of the receptionist having confirmed all was paid for. That was all 'paid back' in a 10/10 review from them saying how kind we were and thanking us for all we had done - they never actually stayed 1 day in our establishment.

10 months ago
5
Moira

Only happened to me once thank goodness!!! Guest arrived at 12H00 and my check-in time is 14H00.

I was very polite and told them to go and have a coffee and give me an hour. They had no problem and at the end, I even received a 10/10 review.........its all about reading your client and treating them special......but yes you will get the ones that will just give you hell no matter what you do. I believe in killing them with kindness and respect and being genuine about it.

10 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

It never has happened to me. The opposite I would say. Most of my guests are so late that I start worrying.
Moira killing guests with kindness and respect really works. I had a very rude guest once but treating him as you said with kindness and respect turned out to be a very appreciative guest.
Take care.

10 months ago
2
Mcdanielhugh

We get guest that arrive early, mostly at weekends, I send them off to meet the animals, we are a farm, and that's usually why they come early. When the room is ready I let them in. Its my opinion that guests should never see the room until its been serviced and looks its best, first impressions are what drives great reviews. Even if it is raining, no one gets in until the room is pristine,.

9 months ago
1
Joseph Attard …

Hi, we seldom have this issue but sometimes it happens mostly when guests arrive earlier than check in time. We offer them to sit in the lounge, show them the room and give them the key and inform them that they can go in the room in about 30 mins. Usually instead of sitting in the hall they go to the nearby St George Square for a drink or a coffee.

9 months ago