The landlady is back! In the seventh part of the series, she tells us what happens when guests sometimes do not know exactly what they have booked and for when.
I can proudly report that all our guests have arrived safely so far, nobody got lost or stranded. If you think that this is obvious and not that difficult, you are wrong. Because here is the second part of the news: Not every guest reaches or leaves their destination at the right time.
For example, the family with two small children who a few years ago got out of the car all sweaty on a hot Whitsun Saturday and introduced themselves as the new guests. It’s just a shame that we weren’t expecting anyone that day. You have a double booking, I heard the exasperated voice of my assistant on the phone. Shock horror. Let me show you the booking confirmation, I tried to buy some time. And sure enough, there it was, in black and white: Arrival on Whit Sunday. Tomorrow, then. The parents slumped in disbelief; the children went on bouncing around the courtyard without a care in the world. What now? In retrospect a funny story – fortunately one with a happy ending. We found room for them elsewhere for one night and out of gratitude they became loyal regulars. Each time they were about to book a holiday, we confirmed with them that the day they had booked and the day they had planned to arrive were the same.
It is not quite as funny when guests don’t leave on the day of departure but leave the farm on their bicycles, waving happily. For a brief moment my assistant wondered why, then chaos broke out. The guests could not be reached by mobile phone and the next ones were already on their way. We immediately set up a crisis team, looked for reasons for the current guests not to move out and made emergency plans. Fortunately, in the afternoon there was a rather unspectacular turn of events. The current guests had simply got the day wrong and had to leave for home with sand between their toes, while the new guests waited patiently with their suitcases in the garden.
As a landlady, I always try to optimise my communication and maintain a balance between useful information and friendly instructions. What information does the guest need at what time? I mustn’t forget anything, but if I write too much, then will the most important information perhaps get lost? And then it can happen, for example, that guests drive up to the farm and for the first time ask themselves : Now where do we actually get the key? We are not a hotel with a 24/7 reception. On a mild summer afternoon, that’s not a problem, but in winter evenings when it’s dark, it can be a bit more uncomfortable.
On such occasions, I would preach “Reading helps!” to my children. Not funny, they would then reply in a huff. For our guests, on the other hand, we try to solve the problems invisibly and elegantly, like little elves. We call guests who have not arrived on the day of arrival and tell them that we were already looking forward to seeing them that day, while they are still packing their suitcases for the next day. To guests who had assumed that they had booked a ground floor apartment, we willingly explain the advantages of the sunny balcony they had booked. So far, we have found a solution for every problem – and a bed for every guest.
Published: March 2023
Coverphoto: Claudia Love / Unsplash