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April 7, 2014 - Why You Can’t Check in at 10 a.m. and Other Requests

Attempting to check into a B&B in the morning, or lunchtime in order to “get your money’s worth” is not a good plan.
Hint:  Check out for the previous night is usually 11 a.m.
Hint #2:  Rooms must be cleaned and public spaces maintained, generally between 11 a.m. and check in time (usually 3 or 4 pm). That’s a mere 4-5 hours.  It’s a scientific fact two objects can’t occupy the same space at the same time.

Innkeepers Hate to Say “No.”

We hate to say ‘no’ to early check in requests. However,  when it comes to letting guests check into rooms many hours early, or staying many hours later (before and after the standard times which are 3 pm and 11 a.m. at my inn), we may have to decline.  It’s not that we don’t want guests to make full use the facility. And it’s not that we want to “take as much and give as little” as we can.

There’s a practical reason why super early check in and foot-dragging check out simply isn’t practical.  You are intruding into the time when we make our magic with a tiny staff and a limited time frame.  Please understand, this explanation is the same as pulling the curtain off of the Wizard of Oz in his Emerald City. We don’t really want to do it and we never would if it weren’t for your own good. Just ask Dorothy!

This isn’t a blog about Oz cakes. But, this blog topic is illustrated with a photo of “Oz,” I couldn’t resist the cake photo, too!

Guest viewpoint:  Well, it was not used last night so why can’t I use it early?
Assumption:  You are assuming you KNOW it wasn’t used. Some rooms go to walk-ins and never make it to the online listing until after the fact. Other rooms sit dirty until the cleaner can get to them. (Smaller inns often use part-time cleaners who don’t work every day.)

And then there’s the WORK which goes on in the inn between the end of breakfast and the start of check in. Innkeepers like to make you think their houses are self-healing and the work is self-doing. It isn’t. Work must get done, often in a very small window of late morning and early afternoon.
Maybe that room still needs cleaning, scheduled during the exact time you want to get in early.  Or maybe the heat/air guy is scheduled to replace the thermostat or the plumber to tighten the faucets.   Or the window washers are going to be doing that side of the house in the morning.

Maintenance is necessary to keep the delightful, seamless, restful atmosphere guests enjoy as “the perfect experience” at a BB.  Truth be told, some tasks make loud noises, bad smells or disrupt the halls with workers or piles of “stuff.”  If you show up early any and everything I planned to do in the vicinity of your room has to stop. It can also mean work throughout about 75% of the inn has to come to a halt.  (Noise travels in old houses).  We innkeepers feel that IF you are present your enjoyment is tantamount. So, we put away all the tools, banish or silence the staff and turn the place back into the peaceful, clean and perfect place the inn becomes at 3 pm check in time.  It’s good for the guest experience; it is bad for my schedule because tradesmen have to be rescheduled and maintenance deferred.

What is Your Anticipated Arrival Time?

This leads to WHY I ask your arrival time when hotels don’t.   IF I know you couldn’t possibly get here before 6 pm it may mean I have 1-2 hours longer to work on that “guests can’t see it” project.  I also might get in a shower, a nap or a trip to the grocery store without rushing.  I’m not being nosy. I’m just planning my day.  You don’t need to tell me although I wish you would. And you don’t need to stick to the what you estimate is arrival time. On my reservation program, it is a real pity I cannot offer a range of time periods for check in. It makes more sense. (I hope my booking service will change that item in the future!)

You also don’t need to tell me if you are running late although I’d really like to know it if you are running 4, 6 or 8 hours later than the initial estimate.  Maybe my husband and I can sneak in dinner downtown or watch a movie…..

Because we have individual thermostats in our guest rooms having an estimated arrival time means we don’t crank up the heat or down the a/c unnecessarily. We believe in energy conservation as well as having the room at the perfect temperature for your arrival.
As to late check out–we will accommodate you when we can. IF the room must be “turned” (readied for the next guest) when the regular check out time comes, guests must go. If there is no urgency (no rental or we know there is a late check-in coming), we can accommodate you. This is not known until the very last minute, sorry to say.

Long ago I started doing one thing many inns don’t. We will accept luggage early.  When we had our business-oriented inn near downtown Atlanta this was a must. People who arrive via plane and without a car really do need to “check” their luggage. That’s OK with me.  If you want to “just see where you are going to stay” (find our location) or put lunch leftovers in the guest refrigerator, we can do that. But keep in mind, I will NOT instruct the cleaners to vanish and the central vacuum to quit humming.  IF the key is available, I’ll check you in but please do not expect silence and no activity in the halls or on the property.  This service begins at 12 noon.

So, now you’ve seen behind the curtain. We do OUR work when YOU aren’t present so you can enjoy a perfectly wonderful house with no sign of work or worry. Isn’t that what a great vacation is all about?

One more thing:  If you really want to get into the room at 8 or 9 a.m. offer to pay for another night. You’ll have all the time you want–and more.