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Questions to Ask and Consider Before Booking: pt 2 – Check-in

December 3, 2010

In part 1 of our multi-part series about questions to ask and consider, we discussed the topic of breakfast. This week, we’d like to take a few minutes to continue to help you become a more proactive and educated bed and breakfast / inn guest by tackling the topic of check-in.

Just as there are a wide variety of ways to organize breakfast, there is just as many different ways to organize guest check-in. The way check-in is organized typically is designed based on the availability of staff, personal preference, and business model.

Below is a set of questions to ask when making a reservation or doing your research about where to stay. Consider the answers you are given to these questions before booking your stay.

What time is check-in?

Some B&Bs or inns dictate a specific arrival time window. This window is intended to balance the needs of the staff and the guest. The start of the arrival window is intended to be late enough to permit all housekeeping work to be completed before the guest arrives. The length of the window allows guests some flexibility in what time they get there. The end of the arrival window is designed so that the innkeepers and staff can still have evening plans. Other B&Bs and inns operate on a more fluid arrival schedule. Be aware of what schedule your intended accommodations have.

At the Catherine Ward House Inn, our goal is to always be here to greet you upon arrival. We are happy to greet guests at whatever time is best for their traveling needs. Our staffing and time away from the inn are scheduled around your expected arrival time. That being said, just as you would phone a friend to let them know you’ll be arriving to their house late, we will happily accommodate changes in your arrival time – as long as we know when to expect you.

Do you have a dedicated front desk staff?

Unlike hotels, most B&Bs and inns do not have a dedicated front desk staff. Staff members wear a full assortment of hats – cook, housekeeper, bookkeeper, errand runner, gardener, repairer, travel guide/concierge, and front desk clerk. The chosen check-in arrangements at a particular B&B or inn are designed to help the staff juggle each hat as seamlessly as possible.

What if I arrive later/earlier then my check-in time?

Each B&B or inn has its own set of “rules” about how early or late arrivals are handled. Just ask.

At the Catherine Ward House Inn, we understand that plans change – flights get delayed, the kids don’t want to see you leave, or you get stuck in a freak snowstorm. All we ask is that you keep us up-to-date as for your estimated arrival time. Letting us know what time to expect you lets us amend our staffing schedule or trips away from the inn while still ensuring that someone will be on the premises to greet you when you do arrive. If your plans change (for the better) and you get on an earlier flight, your kids are happy to play at the sitter’s, or you avoid all the traffic near Atlanta – we’re more than happy to get you on your way to seeing Savannah early. If you are only a little bit “early” (45 min or less) – someone should be here to greet you. If you’re much earlier, give us a call and let us know, we’ll handle the rest.

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