user avatar image
1

Last minute booking with arrival outside regular hours

Here's a challenge: we have received a last minute booking with advice that guests will arrive 1.00am - 2.00am. Our hours listed on booking.com show check in up until 9.00pm. The guests did not reply to our email, so we seem to be obliged to accept the booking at such an unearthly hour. Because it is a last minute booking, we cannot request a cancellation. We are only a small B&B, not a hotel - you would have expected such a late hour arrival going to a hotel, not a B&B. Has anyone else encountered this issue and how do you deal with it?

89 Replies

7
pibomarco


I have dealth with a self check-in instructions and is quite succesfull :)

Since it is a last minutte, you either call Booking.com support that would be the fastest option to resolve your issue.

1 year ago
1
Koom

I had a similar problem. Booking.com we’re very helpful and sent the guests a cancellation notice. If you ring them I find them very helpful

1 year ago
1
Riccardo

it would really be great if booking would add an option for extra charge for late or early checkin, like they do for cleaning, towels etc

1 year ago
2
Boss of the Ho…

Its all up to you ! You can offer an automated self check in service, you can contact booking to cancel the booking. Or just go to bed and leave the guests on the parking lot and have their credit card charged. Your choice, but remember that you will have to bear the consequences too. Even if i hate it t o have guests in the hotel, that i didnt receive personally, i go for the automated check in service. It will happen more and more, weather u like it or not

1 year ago
7
pibomarco

I accept almost half of guests without even meeting them in person lol. Self check-in is great. We even have self-service bar, self-service everything.. What can I say, I'm lazy LOL.

1 year ago
2
Murciafit

I agree with charging more. I think some guests think a holiday home is just like a hotel. An issue I have a lot is a guest telling me a time then arriving up to three hours later, with no phone call or notice🤦🏼‍♀️

1 year ago
1
Melharbour

We are lucky we live in a rural area , and have self catering houses. We give them good instructions and leave the lights on and the door open of their house ....but then they write in their review at at 3 am no one was there to greet them ....Also , some of then just knock on our neighbours house, who is not too happy about it, to ask him where their house is .

Still, this is only one in 15 ....not too bad ...

1 year ago
1
John Tuck

I think most people that have commented have not read the original post 'a small B&B' maybe like us no space for check in desk, do not want to leave the front door open. Legally in the UK if your check in time is 9pm you do not have to oblige later check ins. Obviously we are all flexible, we will in exceptional circumstances wait up until midnight. But we do push people to be here before 10pm.
Also there's all the new data regulation (GPDR) to take into account coming into force on 24/25 May. Where we have to take the full name of every guest and document details of foreign guests. Surely this has to be done on arrival.

1 year ago
1
Gillian

Would a lockbox near the front door be the answer for these difficult ones? Then you don’t have to leave the door open. I use lock boxes for my holiday rentals and they work well. I do not live on the property but I meet most guests. Lock boxes take the pressure off guests rushing to arrive on time, and off me. I ask guests to sms me on arrival ‘so I can relax’ but only about half do. Usually we catch up in the morning. But also after being caught by unexpected guests who have made a booking within a couple of hours of a late check in, I have my settings at ‘24 hours notice’. I may miss some business, but I keep my sanity.

1 year ago
1
James Orourke

This is happening too often and booking.com should take full responsibility after all the last check in time is on there site there system should have a cut off time for guests to book after the check in has reached it should be cut of.come on booking .com take responsibility time to look after your side of things

1 year ago
1
John K

Self check in would be the most preferred option. But if you choose to charge the guests an extra fee for late self check in's may result with some negative reviews, which is unfair as the check in hours are clearly stated. But from my experience, inform Booking.com customer service or leave a message with the guests via Booking.com a self checkin is arranged with any other details.

1 year ago
1
Addverbaan

I had this once before, someone didnt turn up untill 2 in the night (not even said on the booking they would turn up that late). They didnt react on my phone calls, voicemails or my messages via booking.com, that I needed to be contacted if arriving any later than 9pm on the day of arrival (called them 9, 10, 11 and 12pm). He even got pissy with me as I didnt open up the door quick enough and was pressing the doorbell continuously so my son also woke up at 2 in the night. That for me was the last straw with this guest and didnt let him in as he technically was a no show any way. If guests let me know in advance I am happy to set my alarm to check them in late.

1 year ago
2
Diana Foster

I let all guests know that if I am not at the house when they arrive the key and a note will be under the front door mat. Same applies if they arrive after I have gone to bed. plus I leave some lights on.

Unfortunately some people arrive around midnight, or even later, and then ring me up without even looking for the key!!!

1 year ago
1
Richard Davis

If they don't bother to contact me I mark them as a no show after midnight and go to bed. Our check-in finishes at 10.30pm as we are a small B&B. Some people say they don't get our emails so don't know where we are etc.
I ask foreigners for their travel details so if planes are delayed I can check as they cant do anything about that, but I did have one guy who said he was arriving at 8pm at the airport and then emailed saying he had decieded to go out to dinner with a friend. He arrived at 2am and then had the cheek to write that we should have a self check in system for late arrivals!!
I would like to be able to review guests the way airbnb allows you to. We have had some horrible reviews from people who have not read the accommodation description beforehand and not been nice guests, but on the whole guests usually arrive when they say and are nice.
Booking.com have been very helpful on the odd accasion there has been a problem.

1 year ago
1
Ianmarshy

Yes I totally agree. We as partners should be able to rate the guests. Most people are lovely but it only takes one crazy person to in-do all your hard work and bring you down.
On this part I favour Airbnb.

1 year ago
1
Laketaupo

As a private boutique accommodation establishment it is certainly frustrating when guests do not arrive at a reasonable hour and then do not make any contact to advise a late arrival. We try to meet guests but in the end if we do not hear from the guests we leave an access key in a lock box so they can let themsleves in. We also have a full information compendium in each of our guest apartments so they are not left in the dark on how things work in the apartment, plus contact details etc.

But even with all this, there are still guests who arrive very late, cannot follow the instructions and information, and then ask for information which is all spelt out in the info compendium.

1 year ago
1
Escalbnb

This is really easy. I have been doing this for 20 years as of April 1st. As much as I like the personal interaction there are times when it's not possible, such as this case. What I do is leave them a note, with their room key enclosed, stating where their room is located (PLEASE be quiet-there are other guests staying), have them select breakfast time and leave it where they can find it. I also send ALL of my Reservation Guests a brief message through Bookings, upon making a Reservation, to please CALL-ME if they are going to be late. I also have last minute guests, same day, to call-to-confirm. I know it sounds like a lot but the last minute bookings have become SO less stressful. I also discourage same day Reservations as I have had guests sit in my driveway, make a Reservation, walk through the door saying I have a Reservation and if I rented the room want to guess who pays?? I am also starting "Self-Check-Ins" where I leave them a message on the door. So far people are loving it. They come when they want with no "Check-In" times. You might want to try that. I also have a 1-day (no same day) cut-off.

1 year ago
1
Harkinshouseinn

This goes back essentially, to booking.com being set up for hotels and not so much traditional B&B's. They call us and beg us to list with them but then we are limited to what we can say about our place and it does take away from our personal touch that we offer and that most people staying in a B&B want. Those booking last minute with booking.com rarely read all the information about our places and assume someone is sitting at the desk 24 hours a day. I agree with most here....leave them a message about self check-in and hope for the best. Those who will not even respond to a message sent over booking.com are actually rude and don't really deserve the extra pampering we offer. The Harkins House Inn Bed & Breakfast, Caldwell, Ohio

1 year ago
1
Bb4beaches

Lots of good suggestions made - here's what we do that seems to eliminate the late check-ins

1 - we are set up on the OTA's not to take any same day bookings after 3pm. This way we have a better chance of contacting them before evening

2 - Once a booking is received they receive a personal email from us with our welcome and other details, including a reminder our 4 - 6pm checkin time with a request to let us know when they will be arriving. We state no checkins allowed after 9:30pm

3. We have only on a couple of occasions had someone let us know they will not be arriving until late (We accept up to midnight). If it were stated on their reservation for too late arrival we would cancel it with the OTA. Every attempt is made to contact the guest, if no response to the email we will try phoning them

4. As a small B&B I am not comfortable with having a stranger enter our home without us meeting them therefore we do not offer self-checkin.

1 year ago
2
Randy

It's amazing I'm the only one to post this, but we have recently changed our allowance time for last minute bookings from same day to 2 days. The reason? A huge increase in credit card fraud. In January we had 2 right out of the gate from Booking.com (who oddly has been by far the majority OTA for this type of activity), and enough is enough.

The person books with a stolen credit card for a very last minute stay, sometimes books one night, sometimes 2 or even a week, and EVERY ONE of them wants to arrive late with a self check in (ie not to do an official check in). We get red flags for quite a few of them, and when we let them know they have to meet us for chip & pin credit card plus government issued photo ID they end up being a no show or contacting us to try to still do a very late check in. The ones that slip through, stay for free because we get a charge back from the owner of the stolen credit card.

We are set up for self check in (we have coded door locks and can generate codes which are room and date sensitive) and normally most of our guests are self check in (maybe why we get this type of fraud?), but when our spidey senses tingle, we don't provide self check in information and require them to meet us for check in. Our regular guests get door codes in advance, and can check in "anytime after 4pm", so 2 or 3am is fine with us.

1 year ago
2
Murciafit

I don’t like self check in, I wish to know who is staying in my house. I have had several dodgy guests who have done strange things, stolen things and generally caused issue, luckily most of the guests are lovely. Take a deposit, charge if a later than usual check in, this does tend to stop fandoms, as they are paying actual cash on arrival. For instance a previously guest was having issues coming up with the deposit etc, despite being warned in advance, plus late fees, these were the worst guest ever, they even stole a kettle. I think if you have strict policies in place, it sorts out the good from the bad, not always.

re booking.com, I have been on many other sites and think they are the most professional. Everyone I have spoken to have been so helpful and understanding, I a man very impressed. People who complain could list in another site.

1 year ago
1
Reservations

We have this issue on quite a regular basis being a 9-room Inn. We recently moved to a key less entry, so that when we know in advance someone will be late, they receive an email from us with the 4 digit code for that evening. However, when we are NOT contacted in advance (which is the real issue here) and the guest has not arrived before our front desk closes, we can now program a code specific to them, explaining in a note left at the front door, how the key less entry works for their self-service check-in and that their entry code will be the last 4 digits of their phone number (as an example), and we leave their room key, registration form etc., in a folder on the front desk (also explained in note left at front door). I should note.. we never leave after-hours entry instructions without 1st processing charges on their credit card for the stay, so even last minute bookings must provide a credit card.

1 year ago
1
Jude McLauchlan

We have a no check-in after 8.30pm policy and to avoid anyone actually booking late I usually go into our reservation system about an hour before this time and block off the rooms - we only have 3 rooms in total so this is easy and avoids being woken up during the middle of the night because someone has booked and taken no notice of your times.

1 year ago
1
Ros

I love some of the above and it gets down to managing expectations. I don't live at my premises and have a lock box outside and have prepared detailed arrival template letters with detailed instructions and sensor lights. Easy peasy for em and guests are great. My only problem is I need to get around to very good letters for my non english speaking chinese guests as they often don't reply to messages and turn up at weird times. I have found booking.com fantastic on those occasions.

1 year ago
1
Info

We are a small B&B with a check in time from 3-9PM. Our initial email to all guests states the rules and that they must contact us. An amazing number of guests do not read rules and info posted on booking.com, our website and our reservation letter that goes to everyone immediately upon receipt of reservation.

We often have guests arriving outside of our check in time, but, if they don't contact us in advance, they literally cannot get in. I do stress that. We have installed a coded lock on the front door, and, IF they let us know in advance that they will be late, we send them the code and directions to their room. Lights in hallways are always on.

As Ros above says, non-English speaking guests, in particular Chinese speaking guests, do not seem to understand the difference between hotels and B&Bs and often do not get in touch, and often arrive from Asia on very late flights. It is often more of an issue dealing with these guests who clearly have cultural differences that we don't understand, and visa versa.

Also in response to a post about fraudulent reservations: we take the first night on a cc. I have had multiple cards that would not process this winter. I call/email the guest and if no response (sometimes it is just honest mistake) I cancel immediately.

1 year ago
2
Randy

Info: in response to our post about fraudulent reservations...we take the payment, it processes and it's deposited. The credit cards I mention are stolen, and have not yet been called in stolen. When they are discovered stolen, they dispute the charges, when is when they are removed from our account. Taking the payment and having it approved and in your account does not guarantee you anything.

1 year ago
7
pibomarco

They can dispute charges even if the card is valid or not stolen. They just claim that they didn't authorize the transaction, and card provider will refund them the ammount from our account.

1 year ago
1
Mike

In South Africa this type of booking generates statistically a 70% no show and half of that is due to fraudulent transaction counter measures. The tell tales are clients who make last minute bookings and do not respond to messages or avoid required responses to legitimate payment methods. The typical scam as previously mentioned is card fraud which can only take place if you accept it. My rule is I do not take payment via eft or manually processed credit card for last minute bookings. No exceptions. Guests who reply to messages and payment requests can pay by card using Zapper or similar digitally authenticated payment that is irreversible or pay cash on arrival. Guest who choose cash on arrival are informed that their booking will remain open for other deposit confirmed guests first and will be informed if their booking is cancelled otherwise it remains chargeable. Guests are required to contact us as late as acceptable to us prior to arrival to confirm arrival time. If they don’t we mark them as no show at midnight and write off our losses, rather than having unappreciative or non-paying fraudsters in our establishment. We also have a huge culture of people here that think it is OK to make a few bookings and check which place they can scam first or puts up with their nonsense like arriving late with additional guests etc and then just don’t show for the other reservations. I’m not sure if this can be done under one profile on BDC or multiple profiles are used but I truly hope BDC have some method of screening this and allowing guests to query or view this data when we suspect guests making multiple bookings. I have also compiled a list of fraudsters and down right disgusting humans over the last year that we don’t want in our establishments that I share with all my hosting friends on WhatsApp and soon to be free subscribed website as I am tired of having to deal with these people that so easily seem to keep repeating their crimes without consequence. Rather keep your sanity, sleep and dignity and host your place to people who believe in fair exchange and you care about. It is a business and some times every cent counts but what you loose on the round about you gain on the swings!

1 year ago
2
Murciafit

Mike, great comments, I would love to have access to the list, worldwide should be covered. I have had a few terrible guests, who then display disgusting, as you so well put, behaviour. Then they become threatening, and I have had to back down, although I am running a business, these guests appear quite dodgy, and I would not want to receive any further negative behaviour, so I guess they are winning.

It is a shame when people are renting out as an income or side income and we have to deal with these types of unsavoury characters.

1 year ago
1
The Inn Keeper

I will often contact booking.com and tell them we won't be taking them.

Im a small property too, late check ins will disturb other guests therefore we won't do them. If they booked after your hours, you do not have to charge them... if they reserved a bit earlier where they are taking up a sellable room from walk ins.. charge them

For insurance reasons alone I won't do self check ins. You could get burned far easier if they don't need to sign anything.

1 year ago
2
Craigmoniecottage

I currently have a serious situation due to not accepting a booking outwith my check in times (thanks to the Booking.Com Special Requests Checkin Box) which totally contradicts our check in times as the guests don't understand that Request means 'Ask First' and not 'Their Right of Passage'. Anyway 2 days ago I wrote to Booking.Com about the matter and I am still awaiting a reply but in the meantime I have received an abusive call from the guest and he has also threatened to come to my property. Booking.Com should take responsiblity and remove this facility (that they introduced only a couple of years ago) as it causes far to much conflict.

1 year ago
2
Murciafit

Craig, I have had similar threats, and it seems to be a running trend, with guests thinking they can act inappropriately. Property owners must however adher to certain standards. I think booking.com needs to even out the playing field with a star rating for guests, once they leave a review. Property owners are left feeling threatened, and there needs to be a new system in place to insure guests can not act freely in this way. Hi we did you resolve the issue?

1 year ago
2
Craigmoniecottage

Hi Murciafit

No resolve yet as Booking.Com have not bothered to respond or acknowledge the severity of the matter which due to conflicting information they attach to a property (although they hide behind - 'Its a request only' that is being proven to be problematic amongst accommodation providers I am not going to contact the CMA which is the government body that investigates misleading information within the retail sector and the OTA's have all been under investigation in the last 12 months for similar issues and indeed Booking.Com's Advertising Campaign Offering Free Cancelation was pulled last year as a result of the investigations it was on the Gloria Hunniford holiday programme. It is such a shame we have to result to this when listening and acting on recommendations from Accommodation Providers would resolve the issues but their softwear marketing people who having abosolutely no idea about the hospitality business are a law onto themselves it would seem resulting is situations such as what I am experiencing at the moment

1 year ago
2
Roman Sytnyk

Either you invest in a key less entry or you simply close your rooms on b.com when you dont want to accept bookings for the same day. Also booking.com has the option to automatically close them every day at the same time. Its calles Release time and you can ask your account manager to set it up. :)

1 year ago
1
Info

We are a small 6-room guest house in South Africa and self-check-in is not an option here. Nobody gets access to the property without being welcomed by us personally.

I am therefore distinctly grumpy when having to check-in somebody late at night especially if they have not had the manners or grace to forewarn us. In my opinion, the worst aspect of this job/lifestyle is waiting for a late arrival who has not made any contact, and not knowing if they are going to show and whether to eat dinner or not, go to bed or not, etc.

Our stated arrival time is 2-6pm. We confirm this with all guests directly via email. We get far more early arrivals than late arrivals and very few later than 7pm.

We see quite a few same-day reservations especially in high season and I always validate the credit card immediately on those reservations. We do not allow any online reservations to be made without card information.

If we were to start seeing even a few very last minute reservations with late arrivals, we would definitely consider making changes to when/how we accept online reservations.

1 year ago
1
Barrowgarth

We also run a small B&B and had this problem with a guest booking at 9pm saying they would arrive after 11pm. By the time they arrived we'd been on Booking.com and changed our settings so reservations can't be made for the same day (go to the Calendar, click on 'Standard Rate' and then edit the 'Minimum Advance Notice'). This way, when people make reservations and say they will be arriving later than your check-in time, you have a day to contact them and point out the error of their ways.

1 year ago
1
Annie Fleetwood

A lot of useful comments there. I also ring booking.com if I get a late booking because they haven't read the cutoff time and get them cancelled. I also say that bookings must be within so many hours of arrival time.

I do accept bookings off a late arriving plane and do stay up for them,

I certainly do not leave keys out - why -due to a late night booker when we first started BNB . I stayed up to let them in , so was very tired and showed them straight to the bedroom. They asked for keys that night and I luckily said no . In the morning we couldn't get them out of bed , when we did they waved a credit card at us as a security even though we didn't accept credit cards. They went off to get cash and never returned. I rang the bank who asked if I had given keys - thank goodness I hadn't!!! In the end the police did catch them and deported them!!! I was not the first person they had defrauded and I think very lucky not to have been burgled !!!

A pity that the odd one puts you on your guard!

1 year ago
1
Info

Our guest lodge is based in South Africa, which puts us in quite a predicament as we cannot have people self-check in as they might self-checkout with all the rooms contents, so we always check-in the guests with that all important friendly smile. Besides that point, I believe that as a hospitality establishment we should exceed the guests expectation in most regards. But as it is also a business if they want a late check in or other services not included they should expect to pay for the service rendered. Same as one does when ordering an extra topping on a pizza or when buying nails, you cannot expect the store to provide you with a free hammer.

It is not always or hardly ever enjoyable to wait for guest till the early hours of the morning but charging a late check-in fee does provide a bit of solace and to provide that always expected smile 😊 I do understand that charging a late check-in fee does often result unfair scoring practices from the guests. But in the same light one or two bad reviews does in fact have little effect on the bigger picture.

1 year ago
1
Oak

We've had the same problem in the past as we too are only a small b&b and so many people (and I hate to say this but it's usually foreigners - ie not english) who assume every accommodation is a 24 hour hotel, they pay no attention to any check in times on booking.com or in any email sent either. Have to tried to contact the guest yourseves using the phone number they would have given on their booking? Or ring booking.com and ask them to contact the guest and tell them the closing time and they can then send a cancellation email to the guest.

Other than that, usually booking.com will automatically close out rooms if it's so close to the cut off time for check in, and I think you can select yourself how far in advance you will accept last minute bookings (ie 4 hours before check in closes), or just take the rooms offline earlier. Fair enough, you may lose out on potential bookings but that's the gamble and wouldn't you rather that than being woken up at silly o'clock? I know I would!

You're not obliged to accept any bookings if people turn up after the closing time, you can just ignore the bell and leave them, their fault anyway haha!

It's a shame there are so many idiots out there who don't read any information, yet us hoteliers have to go to such lengths to ensure our information is accurate.

1 year ago
1
Mountainjadeba…

We run a hostel/backpackers in NZ . Late arrivals are easily the most distracting thing about an otherwise exciting and fulfilling business to be involved in . It's a negative experience for all concerned

as anyone having to show someone in at midnight can attend to particularly when living off site. Unfortantly , the guest gets the last say , with an anonymous , no comment review . (. com's bad) We do arrange self check in when were contacted , but to often were not . 95% of our guests are from overseas , with poor english . Giving details over the phone is near impossible .

The facts are that many people have a disconnect with their emails while on holiday , so our pre check in emails often go unread. After querying several guests in a calm manor , it was obvious

many genuinely were not aware of our check in time . I went through the booking process and was disappointed to find that the check in details was given very little relevance by . com . In fact , they just said to check with the provider . I get the impression they are deliberately vague , rather than risk loosing a booking. Dot Com are very good at what they do , but as someone on this forum said

it seems the designers of the booking pages , have little knowledge of our industry .

1 year ago
1
Adelmaartens

We checked in once at a small hotel where you had to call the host for the pin to the save and then you had to take out your envelope with your keys in it. It worked well.

1 year ago
1
Suzy

Mike I would also like a copy of that list. We should actually have a space (either on Bookings.com or other in which we can list all these "unwanted' Guests. That way new and old establishments can avoid being caught. We recently become victim to card fraud and there was nothing that we could do. However we have switched to a virtual card payment via Nedbank that allows the guest to put in their own card details. it confirms with there cell and email about the transaction and if not complete within a given time frame we delete the booking. Simple and Safe. Stops card information from falling into the wrong hands and protects both the Hotel and the original card holder.

1 year ago
1
Adelmaartens

I love the option about "Bad Guests". There should be a way to report them, not just for Card Fraud, but also for damaging property or leaving all their dirty mess around.

1 year ago
1
Mohawk Inn & C…

At our location, we have our check-in hours until midnight. If a guest states they will be checking in later we leave the key in a lockbox attached to our front door. We contact them either via phone or email (both is best) and let them know the password to open the lockbox, as well as directions to their room and what is expected of them in the morning (coming to front desk to sign the waiver, etc.). We already have a credit card on file so we just do a pre-authorization prior to closing the lobby for the night.

1 year ago
1
Michael Hayes

We have installed a keypad deadbolt lock on the front door. This allows us to provide a special code for the late arriving guest and leave their keys in their room. It has worked extremely well for us.

1 year ago
1
Rosscourtbournemouth

We always send a confirmation email after every booking is made, it is automatic on my PMS, however, on other OTAs I go into the booking and make it clear that check in is before 7pm and only up to 10pm if they contact me. I have ticked the box on Booking.com and I do not allow bookings to be made after 4pm on the day., I show that I am full. This tends to prevent last minute. If I have a booking made at sayy 3.30pm for that night and it states a ridiculous time of 1am -2am I immediately get in touch with the guest, if they don't respond by 6pm I get Booking.com to cancel the booking. This has worked very well. I have 8 bedrooms and don't feel I want people in my home that I have not met.

1 year ago
1
Mikeyoungcpa

We rent two rooms in the Green Mountains of Vermont. I have a big easy chair by wood stove and reception door. Late night, early morning guests....I find it better to avoid confrontation. Just stay out of my kitchen.

1 year ago
2
Apartments

I send an email and text to each Guest. I have key box next to the main door. It is very rear for the Guest not to be able to find the key box or simply don't know what it is. Even though I have a check in until 8pm it is very common for the Guest to come later than that. Also not every Guest gives arrival time so my emails also get me this information.

1 year ago
1
Yves Ducommun

Hello everyone,

We're a small GH, so self check-in won't work as they'd need a key to get in in the first place. Besides I like to know who I am dealing with...

If I am not mistaken, within your Booking.com Extranet, under "policies", "other policies" & finally "Guest Information", you can set your check in times (ie: from 14h00, till 19h00).

Should you be using a Channel Manager (ie: Little Hotelier, Site Minder or NightsBridge), you can get them to set a time limit after which no one can make a same day booking.

Hoping that this will help you.

Best regards / Yves

1 year ago