No Dogs, No Children, No Smoking, No Singles, No Guests
A few years ago I watched in horror as an argument unfolded on a Tripadvisor forum between a guest & a B&B Landlord. The single lady guest had used the hot tub on her own, despite warnings from the B&B owner that sole occupancy of the hot tub was not allowed due to Health & Safety Reasons. To make sure nothing untoward happened to her, the owner had stood next to the hot tub whilst the lady tried to relax.
Now I can see both sides here. I wouldn’t really be able to completely partake of the whole relaxing hot tub experience with a strange man hopping from foot to foot behind me and, as a B&B owner, I need to consider the laws that bind and my guests’ safety.
The B&B Owner was obviously very hurt by the guest’s comments and went on to update the terms and conditions on his website. Unfortunately he went on to create 2 pages of terms and conditions, demanding that the guests agreed to them before booking.
I’ve been there. I ask guests to check out by 10.30 & to check in between 4 & 6 ( later OK, but by arrangement – we do occasionally go out in the evenings! )
Now in those 5.5 hours, between check out & check in, I am not swinging in a hammock with a bottle of Bud admiring my toes. If I have to turnover 3 rooms & clean the rest of the public areas it takes me 5 hours at least. And that doesn’t allow for cake making, shopping or dog walking.
So when guests do arrive early it can throw everything off kilter. One week, on consecutive days, I had guests arrive at 1.30, 12.30 &, on the last day, at 11.00, 5 minutes after the other guests had checked out. As soon as I got the chance I signed onto my content management system and updated my terms & conditions with several paragraphs explaining why guests weren’t allowed to turn up before 4.00 and the consequences if they did. Five minutes later I calmed down, saw sense & deleted them.
You see, guests turning up early is really quite a rare occurence and sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and accept that guests don’t read everything you send them. But having a huge list of Terms & Conditions that mitigate against every type of digression that guests MAY commit will probably put a whole load of potential guests off.
All B&Bs need a good, but concise, set of Terms and Conditions. If they vary significantly from the norm, it’s probably worth having them checked by a solicitor to ensure you’re not breaking any discrimination laws.
If you don’t take pets, children or smokers, all this needs to be very clear to potential guests. But when you’ve written your T&Cs reread, reread and reread again. Put yourself in the shoes of your guests and see if anything in them is potentially offputting. If you’ve had to reduce the size of your font to pt 6 and have 2 columns to get everything onto 1 page you may be overdoing it. Also be wary of red font and underlining. Are your guests coming to a relaxing rural retreat or a prison camp?