Sunday, December 23, 2007

On Being a Good Guest

We don't have house rules. Our guests, with very few exceptions, have been lovely people who are respectful of our property, enjoy interacting with our other guests and chatting with me and my husband. Usually people arrive during our regular check-in times and as innkeepers we are committed to being on the property during those hours to greet you. We make ourselves available for late check-ins when required or we give our guests the information they need to do a self-check-in when we know they're going to be late. If we find we are going to be out during some part of our check-in period or if we have dinner plans for the evening we try to get in touch with our guests to make sure they're going to arrive while we're here or tell them to look for a note if they're not. In our opinion, that is a courteous way to conduct business.

Unfortunately there is an occasional guest who does not feel that courtesy runs both ways. I am waiting for one such guest this afternoon. This guest called to make the reservation just two days ago and I specifically asked for an estimated time of arrival because a) I had tentative plans for this afternoon and b) I had no other arriving guests so having an arrival time means I can plan errands, etc. around it. This guest was planning to arrive about an hour before our the beginning of our usual check-in time (2 - 6 p.m.), but that was fine with me since I knew the room would be ready and my tentative plans were for the hours of 2 - 4. I'm pretty certain I even mentioned to this guest that I had plans for the afternoon and to please call me if there was going to be a change in arrival time.

When the guest had not arrived by 2 I called the cell phone number I had. No answer. I left a message, then called again at 3:30. Still no answer. As I write this, it's nearly 5 p.m. and I have heard nothing. My plans for this afternoon are obviously shot and I am a bit frustrated. It is going to be a bit difficult for me to greet this guest with my usual enthusiasm, although I will do my best to hide my irritation.

I certainly understand that plans change, departure times shift, road conditions can be unpredictable - especially at this time of year - and that emergencies can come up. Weather is not the issue today so perhaps there was an emergency but unless the guests is physically incapacitated it would be appropriate to call and let me know what's going on. I may not be a relative, but my life is impacted by the events in my guests' lives just the same, especially on the day of arrival.

So I guess the point is this: if the innkeeper asks you for an arrival time and you are able to give one, please call if something changes. And if the innkeeper asks you for the cell phone number you use when you travel, please either keep it on or check it periodically; your innkeeper may be trying to reach you.

Lastly, a word of apology for my long silence. I've been shaking off a bit of this year's burnout by getting out of town for a few days and trying to work on winter maintenance projects when I'm not traveling.

I hope everyone has happy & healthy holidays. I hope to see you in the new year!

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