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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

2
Apartments

I have already had a few transactions called "stolen" and we had to pay back the money. Regardless having copy of the ID and signature on the check in card. Doesn't matter. For the Bank it is stolen card.

95% of my transaction is made before arrival. it's a risk but on the other hand I will not charge anything, Guest doesn't show up and I loose.

1 year ago
2
Apartments

there is an option on b.com that the Guest can only make the booking with one day delay. One can only make the booking today for tomorrow. I manage two properties and it was the only way for me to avoid night trips to one of my Apt.

1 year ago
1
Hamilton Guesthouse

We're also a small business, and I generally close out our availability to stop same-day reservations. I don't generally have a problem with late check-ins (so long as I know in advance to expect them), but I don't like surprises.

1 year ago
1
Siandav Lill

Self Check-In is the way to go.

1. Follow up every booking immediately with the info you think they need and you need for the booking.

2. Install a key box and advise guests that if they would like to arrive outside of your check-in times (or likely to be delayed) then they can do a self check-in but we do not do night check-ins. I have had one cancellation due to this in 4 years. I advise that the is left for the hour they are due so they must tell us if they are going to be delayed.

3. Put a restriction on booking.com that allows bookings for x number of hours on the day of arrival or put 1day so they cant book for the arrival day. Also check you have the right check-in times allowed.

4. Label the rooms and write up a list of things you need the guest to know.

5. Send an email the day before with the information they need, the key code, directions and the times that the key will be available in the key box. I also ask them to cross off anything they dont want on the breakfast list or if there are any special diatery requirements.

So far it works well. I prefer to meet guests but it is important to have some down time when we start early every 7 days a week.

Good luck.

Avril

1 year ago
1
Sue Scheepers

I also block off the rooms one hour before my latest check-in time. I have also had last minute bookings that keep me up until all hours and then sometimes the guest does not arrive. Best just to do that to avoid the frustration. Unfortunately last minute bookings as stated in previous comments usually happen at the 11th hour.

1 year ago
1
Innkeeper

With late arrivals, after 8 PM, we leave a note on the office door with directions for the guest to find their cabins that is lit and has a porch light on and the message they need to come to the office the next morning (before check out if they stay one night). This has been working well over the years. We do make sure not to provide a key when it's a one night stay until everything is taken care off i.e.full payment is made.

1 year ago
1
Office

Very interesting comments, we have a cut off time with Booking.com at 6.00 pm and never have a booking after that hour , plus we also do not take cash only credit card if a card is declined and the guest arrives and once to pay in cash, no thanks.We had a problem with late arrivals, so now I send a confirmation letter to the guest and tell them no check-in's after 7.00 they are improving

We are also abused by guests, that is a South African problem as they are not accustomed to Guest House etiquette and house rules

1 year ago
2
Hoodytwoshoes

We are all beating around the bush here. The issue is that Booking.com could easily write an algorithm to block bookings being made after our pre-set time.

I had two men arrive at 11.15pm, when my last check-in is 9pm. Long story short, it transpired they had just been released from prison.

Now I have a diary note, and block all my rooms manually at 9pm. It's a pain in the neck.

I won't do the self-check in as I want to see who is coming into my house to protect my family and other guests, so if a guest wants a late check in, they can have it any time, as long as it has been pre-arranged. This personal service is the difference between a B&B and a big chain. It happens so infrequently that I am happy to do it and catch up with sleep next day.

1 year ago
1
Enquiries

I've had bookings where the guest has used the drop down menu and chosen 2-3am. All i have done is phone them up and ask them if it's correct. In all instances they have never realised the drop down is 24 your based. They see 2-3 and think that is In the afternoon. To be honest I wish this drop down menu was taken off, it may help us and the guest!!!

1 year ago
1
Cherie

Great topic!

I wish the site would be able to have a compulsory drop down box with time of arrival (above the hotel/motel/b & b's last checkin time). When people ,make their booking and see that there is no opportunity for them to put a later arrival time, this may encourage them to phone the property to discuss other arrangements - which would be so much better.

There have been a few great comments from contributors - I often lock off rooms just as I'm about to leave for the night but will gather more info and work out what would be the best fit for both ourselves and our guests.

1 year ago
1
Arrowmontreser…

Hi There,

We are out in the country and often have late arrivals to our 200 acre farm with rental cabins/units along a mile long gravel road inside the farm with a manual entry gate.

We solved this problem by putting Instructions with their name on them inside a zip lock bag taped to the front gate of the farm. The Welcome instruction bag contains 3 pages

  1. The first page has our logo with a "Welcomes the ___________ Family" and "Please Open, Important Information Inside" at the bottom
  2. The second page contains directions to their cabin and instructions about the farm plus info about their cabin being unlocked with the key inside on the coffee table.
  3. The third page has a map of the farm notating where they are located on the map "You Are Here" and where their cabin is located "Your Cabin Is Here".
  4. Then I print out a Fourth Page to put on their cabin front door "Arrowmont Welcomes the _____ Family" with the porch light on and a light on in the entry.

This system has totally solved the late check-in issue.

I also call the guests while they are enroute sometime during the day to make sure they have gone to our website to download the PDF of directions from their location/city to our farm to their cell phone because people will loose cell signal and GPS in the mountains where we are located.

People seem to feel safer and more welcomed with this system than before we initiated it years ago.

1 year ago
1
Book

We rarely have customers arrive outside normal hours but we do use the messaging service to communicate on their day of arrival to establish ETA A call to their mobile often gets results, unfortunately there's nothing we can do about late arrivals, smile and don't let on you've got out of bed to let them in at 2am!!

1 year ago
1
Kerry Mitchell…

Just the other day, I noticed that there is a 'Report Guest Misconduct' selection, near the report as 'no show' selection.

I have used it approx 3 times in the last few days, so try to find it & give it a go!

1 year ago
1
Info

We simply have set our booking and check-in times to suit our office hours and we don't have a problem.

1 year ago
1
Kbezuidenhout

I have had such a situation, I left the keys for the apartment in the safe and sent the guest the safe unlock code.

1 year ago
1
Saldanha7395

Or even better, last minute booking, that will check-in between 11pm and 12am and you receive calls at 3am and the guest advised that they locked there car keys in the car with cellphone, smelling like alcohol and looking like they had a great party. What would you do in that case? Ignore the call, put your phone off, ignore the knocking on the door or just let them in the accommodation?

1 year ago
2
Apartments

Saldanha, you just let them in and go to sleep. In my apt you will not enter if you loose the keys. I inform all the Guests that in that case they would have to wait for me at least an hour. I don't tell them that I leave 10 minutes away:-)

1 year ago
1
Laraine

We are a small B & B as well. We have not had anyone want to check in at that hour. We would probably go to bed and set an alarm if we accepted the booking.

We want to meet all of our guests so we do not have self check in either.

We find most people do not arrive at the time they state anyway.

2.00am to 3.00am is not a check in time that you would expect to have to deal with.

It is great to read all of the comments above, gives me more information as to what happens in this world of accommodation supplier!

Laraine

1 year ago
1
Debbie

We have a boutique Motel in the City of Lake Worth and an Extended stay. We find when reservations are made, either last minute or prior to. As we are a pre paid facility. Once we receive the reservation

we secure the first night only, in the note field of our PMS system we provide information needed to check in after hours..and to call the front desk with time frame. Letting them know an email will be sent for after hours check in..

You generate an email using their registered email. You will include specific information, You are located at _________ lock box code ________ parking space if specific. Wi-Fi code and any special instructions you might have. Also if paper work is needed to be signed don't forget to add that tid- bit on the bottom of guest registration form. Please come in and sign before vacation the property.

Its a great tool.. Best of Luck...

1 year ago
1
Dsudding

We have a key safe at the top of our property with a code which one can leave for guests who arrive late.

I once experienced a very dodgy guest who had obviously had a false Facebook profile - my way of checking on guests before they arrive. When I met the person, he was totally unsavory and "dirty". The person with him was the same. I immediately phoned Booking. Com and they basically backed off and offered no help at all. They said that I would have to accommodate the person. The two of them left the place in a disgusting state the next day and once again when I phoned Booing. Com to follow up, they said tat there was nothing they could do to "blacklist" this person. I do not understand the logic here. One can sometimes get a bad review from a guest who is in a bad mood, yet one cannot do anything when the opposite is apparent. Come on Booking,. Com - please take a stand here.

1 year ago
1
Des

Guests know that I have strict checkin/checkout times where I personally see the guests in/out. As I have two guest houses where people are coming and going all the time, I cannot afford to be late as somebody else may be waiting to come or go and I simply cannot be in two places at a time. If they are late then they need to meet me at an alternative venue. Some guests also insist on leaving at 3am or 4am at checkout and then I ask them to drop the keys off where I stay. I used to stay up late and wake up early for late checkins or early checkouts but guests don't bother mentioning in the review so I have stopped bothering to do it.

I know that at most places where we book to go on holiday there is a late charge: R400 for 2 hours late, R500 for 3 hours late, R600 for 4 hours late.

When I have contacted Booking.com customer services to advise that a guest requested checkin time of 15h00 and is still not here by 18h00, then Booking.com has advised me that the guest has until midnight to checkin as that is the only time I can mark guest as a no show. I reckon that if a guest has not checked in by the time they have agreed to then you should mark them as a no show and not have to wait til midnight. Someone else could be looking for accommodation.

I have thought about leaving keys at a local petrol station for the late checkins or they could possibly leave keys there too for early checkouts.

I have also had several inquiries from my gate sign at 2am orr 3am but nobody can make sense out of what I am saying at that time of the morning!

1 year ago
1
Info

As a small B & B we have blocks on the availability so 24 hours is the minimum window to book. We Always take first night payments. We have set it up so that they HAVE to give their full name and address and a contact telephone number, and if they don't, we cancel booking. No ifs, buts or maybe's. We have had a few people who don't confirmation their time of arrival, and then just turn up when they feel like it, ie our check in time is from 7-10pm Monday-Sunday. If they turn up without contacting us before then we open the door and explain check in is from 7pm. End of. If they request a late booking, after 10pm, it depends on their circumstances, ie are they travelling from afield etc. I recently had a couple who said they were arriving at 4pm, and we were able to check them in at that time, but then they rang the door at 1pm and said they had arrived early, and I turned them away, saying to come back at 4pm. We as business people have to lay our boundaries down clearly, and it is not our responsibility if they choose not to check details such as check in time, contact etc. In terms of breakfast, we state clearly on the site times of breakfasts, and some will say they are checking out at 5am or 6am for example and can we do breakfast for them then. We say no. We offer them a bacon or ham sandwich which will be left for them on the breakfast table when they leave in the morning, and to put the key through the letterbox (sometimes, you have a gut feeling that you can't do that, but most of the time, so far we have not had a problem.)

1 year ago
1
Agedeonova

Clear Communication with guests is a key.

As the all season cottage house I rent out is 2 hours from my primary residence, 99% of my bookings are self check ins (very rarely would I meet guests) ... No-one ever complained. I send an email with detailed instructions and key is always inside the lock box located on the property.

Good luck!

1 year ago
1
Bev

This happened to me literally last night. A booking came through at 8:30pm so I tried to call the guest to find out their arrival time. I am flexible with arrival times as long as I know when to expect them. I to have a small B&B and it's check in by appointment. It got to 10:45pm and I just thought, this is the reason we have these policies in place so stick to it and don't worry about. I called Booking.com and asked them to email the guest which they did. I also text the guest and advised that chekc in closed at 9pm and that I was unable to get hold him. I went on to advise after 11pm he would not be able to access the property, would need to find alternative accommodation and advised that he call Booking.com. The guest arrived this morning and he was absolutly fine about it. He respected the policy and politely waited till 7am this morning before contacting me to gain access.

1 year ago
1
Ruresta

I did connect my gate to my phone. For very late arrivals I arrange before hand that I will only open the gate for them and tel them then also where to find the keys. The next morning I go and met the guest and sort out the payment.

1 year ago
1
Ndb Eastwood

we have the same problem and had to wait up to let them in

1 year ago
2
Ranthambore Ba…

It is not easy to reach out to the guest since it a last minute booking and they must be traveling to your property. I would recommend you to keep the room for them if you are running full and explain them on arrival about it with charging addition convince fee to them.

1 year ago
1
Catherine

We run a pub with rooms and state quite clearly that last check-in is at 11pm however, it does seem to happen quite reguarly that someone comes much later than that. I do almost everything myself here when the pub is not open and so waiting up for a guest until 2am can be exhausting.

I do not want to lose business or get negative reviews but guests seem to forget that they have not booked a large hotel with a 24hr reception.

It would be helpful if booking.com would give us the option to add an extra charge on for those last minute guests that want an especially late check in. It's particularly painful because quite often last minute guests are getting one of our lowest rates here anyway!

1 year ago
1
chilly

well im confused? our check in time is 4pm to 6.30pm and we never get bookings after this cut off time as BDC shows us as having no availabilty after 6.30pm therefore people cant book... how come some of you seem to have a different experience?

agree about people not letting us have an arival time its downright rude particularly for a small B&B such as ours!!

1 year ago
1
chilly

well im confused? our check in time is 4pm to 6.30pm and we never get bookings after this cut off time as BDC shows us as having no availabilty after 6.30pm therefore people cant book... how come some of you seem to have a different experience?

1 year ago
5
Le Balcon des Jasses

Hi

You need to change your extranet settings, go to rate and Availability / set Restrictions...

Or call Booking.com service center for help; always very kind and helpful.....

All the best

Lucy

Le Balcon des Jasses

1 year ago
1
I G Okorji

My policy states clearly the check-in time 14:00 - 16:30 Hours, guest who intend to arrive outside this time usually notify me for an adjustment. Failing any notification, I simply treat the booking as a no-show with the applicable penalty.

1 year ago
1
Wolfendenster

Hi all.
Just joined partner help and these comments have all been interesting and helpful.
As some else commented there is now a place (only on extranet and not app near payment and cancel area) where you can report negative guest experiences - I'm sure it's only a new feature. But only for a limited time after check out.
We are also small B&B with 4 non identical rooms / units. We are located 5 hours from our main guests home location at a ski town so lots of our guests leave sometime after work and usually arrive midnight to 3am. I'm getting used to it. I get them to call or text from a town about 45 kms away so if I've fallen asleep that wakes me.
Due to odd locations of doors and some shared walls i don't do self check in - so i can say 'keep quiet' and explain a few things like heating.
Some of these ideas you've all had I'm going to try implement for next year.
(Better guest communication before they arrive - blocking off last minute bookings after certain times and having more written information ready and ringing booking.com for guests that don't respond to me)
I also wish that when you get the dodgg sounding guest or they've booked at some cheap last minute rate and then requested the world or worse I've made a mistake with pricing or availability, that I , as owner, could cancel them the same way they can cancel in first hours without penalty. Afterall it's my place.

11 months ago
1
Michele Jackson

Hi Peter

Can I suggest you instal a security lock at the front door for this late check in. That is what I do. I don't know how this is going to work for a B&B though as you would need to instruct which room they will reside in. May be a few more instructions where to go into the house I guess. But if this isn't workable may be you should place a strict check in of no later than 9pm otherwise suggest they book a motel.

Michele

10 months ago
1
Iansalter57

Last night I was asleep at about 11pm when there was a loud banging on my door. My wife was very disturbed.

It was a guest that had manged to get a last minute booking just 15 minutes before. We are not a hotel or B&B and our last check in time is posted as 8pm. The guests had already paid through booking.com when making the reservation.

So we told the guests that there was no-where for them to stay.

This raises several questions for us.

1) How is a guest able to book for the same night after the published check in time?

2) Should they be marked as a No show?

3) What if it had been 3 or 4 am?

4)Should we offer a refund?

8 months ago
2
Diana Foster

I had this problem some years ago - people booking about 11pm and the arriving 5 minutes later, totally unexpectedly. I was in bed and as booking was not prepaid sent them away.

Now I have policy that guests must book minimum 2 days before arrival. Seems to work okay.

8 months ago
1
Siandav Lill

Hi Ian,

That must have been scary. You can stop it happening for booking.com bookings. This is how I would deal with the answers to your questions.

1) How is a guest able to book for the same night after the published check in time? - Your check in time doesnt even have to be filled in and they can still book regardless of it (caught me out the first time).

2) Should they be marked as a No show? - They are not a no show. The booking will have to be cancelled. If you select cancel the booking it will ask you to agree that the guests get a full refund.

3) What if it had been 3 or 4 am? - Make sure you have set up the availability restrictions correctly, as I will show you below, and it wont happen

4)Should we offer a refund? - Sorry, it is really annoying, but I would give a full refund and stop it happening again. If the guests can book it and can pay for it, then they will need a full refund.

To prevent this. For every day on your calendar there is an option that says "minimum advance registration". If this is set to 1 day the guests cannot book on the day of arrival. Or you can set the number of hours. I often set it to 12H which means guests can book up to 12 hours before midnight being up to 12pm on the day of arrival. If I change my mind on the day I change it back to 1D.

Good luck. Avril

8 months ago
1
Iansalter57

Thanks for your comments everyone, very helpful. I had a response for B.com and they advised me to change a setting in the "Property" tab, which I had set as having 24hour reception desk availability. Apparently un-ticking that will prevent guests booking late at night or after last check in time, which is very helpful I must say.

Avril, thanks for your in depth comment, especially ---

To prevent this. For every day on your calendar there is an option that says "minimum advance registration". If this is set to 1 day the guests cannot book on the day of arrival. Or you can set the number of hours. I often set it to 12H which means guests can book up to 12 hours before midnight being up to 12pm on the day of arrival. If I change my mind on the day I change it back to 1D..

I have searched for this option in the calender but cant find it, perhaps you could direct me to it please?

Thanks again everyone

Ian

8 months ago
1
Siandav Lill

Hi Ian,

If you cannot see the option for minimum advance registration on your calendar you may need to ask booking.com to make it visible. I use list view instead of yearly and have had to ask for a number of things that I couldnt see. There is a little drop down inidicater which expands more info lines and it is on there.

I also have a self check-in for after 5pm but still regularly have the problem that guests dont want to give an arrival time, thinking they can turn up any time. Also asking for an early check in which I really like to do, but ask them to text on the day as they dont turn up and I have put in extra effort to only have to wait for extra hours. Once I had to abandon a seal that I was watching to make sure it wasnt injured, that had taken shelter from storm doris, to get back for a check-in and they didnt turn up for another hour (The seal was OK by the way).

So self-check-in is the way to go which many people have verified: -

- When a booking comes thru, message then straight away with more info, get their direct email address make sure they know they have asked for a late check in and they will reply to an email sent the day before on how to pick up the key

- The day or 2 before email with the key info, directions, extra info for them, parking info and breakfast info.

- Leave check-in notes on the table and put the key in the key box by the front door.

- Leave the breakfast list so that they can cross off anything they dont want as I cook to orders from the day before

So far this has worked well and noone has had any problems.

Good luck

Regards

Avril

8 months ago