Bed and Breakfast Etiquette Guide for B&B Virgins – How To Be The Best Guest Ever!
Are you a b&b virgin contemplating a stay at 10 Fitch? Did you know there are things that you can do to be an innkeepers dream guest and make it much easier for her to create for you that spectacular experience she truly wants you to have? Because staying at a bed and breakfast is nothing like staying in a hotel you might not know what is expected of you so here are some things to consider.
Choose your suite carefully
All three suites at 10 Fitch are on the second floor of the inn, are well appointed and comfortable but each is unique in their decor and personality. Our website not only showcases many photos of each one so that you can visually see the differences, but also provides the floor plan and lists important details including the size of the bed and features unique to that particular suite. For example, English Suite is very popular in the warmer months because it is the only suit that has a private, covered porch off the bedroom complete with bistro table and chairs. Before choosing your suite you should know what you will need and select your room accordingly. If you require a tub or king size bed you will not want to book your stay in Garden View Suite.
You will be staying in someones home
One of the reasons that we keep the doors locked is because many people don’t realize that a bed and breakfast is actually someones home! Early on we found this out when the cable tv guy came to hook up a television on the 3rd floor of the inn and surprised my mother who was cleaning a room on the second floor. She walked out of the room into the hallway to find herself face to face with a strange man at the top of the stairs. Startled she cried, “Oh, I didn’t hear the doorbell!” to which he replied, “I didn’t ring it.” I share this because I know how you would feel if this happened to you in your home.
Innkeepers do what they do because they love it! They enjoy pampering people and sharing their homes with those who appreciate it’s unique character, history, location and personality. They delight in delighting their guests and go out of their way to ensure that everything is just right for everyone. They live on site or close by and their inn is their baby! Innkeepers do not work a 9-5, Mon-Fri job. They typically work much longer hours and rarely have a true day off. Even when they don’t have guests there are still many things to take care of and do in preparation for the next guests stay but sometimes they use these opportunities to spend special time with family and friends.
When you arrive please knock on the door or ring the bell
Unlike a hotel where the front entrance is open to the public all the time, a bed and breakfast is usually a private residence and as I mentioned above, the owners usually keep the door locked to prevent people from coming in when they are unaware. Occasionally guests do forget to lock the door when they come back in or as they leave so to avoid surprising the innkeeper when you arrive please just knock or ring the bell and wait a few moments for someone to come and greet you.
Be mindful of and respect the innkeepers schedule
Many b&bs have limited or no additional staff which means that there is no one manning a front desk, no designated person to take calls, no bell hop and no valet to park your car. Every job that there is to do from the marketing, shopping, gardening, repairs, cleaning rooms, laundry, and meal preparation often falls on the shoulders of just a few people. Everything the innkeeper has to do is scheduled around check-in and check-out times with little wiggle room. Check in at 10 Fitch is from 3-5PM and although we can’t accommodate early arrivals, with advance notice we can accommodate those who need a later arrival and check-in time. If something happens on the way and you are delayed please call the inn and let them know.
Know what the policies are and abide by them
Our policies are posted in several places throughout the 10 Fitch website, including on the reservation booking form and are also sent via email to you in your confirmation. It is your responsibility to know the policies and to abide by them, including the cancellation policy. When booking your reservation by phone the innkeeper will inform you of the cancelation policy and check the box on the reservation form that says you were informed of and agree to abide by the policies. If you book your reservation yourself via our website you will be required to check this agreement box yourself before your reservation is confirmed. Because we do not overbook our rooms as the airlines overbook their seats, and since we have only 3 rooms to rent out, in order to stay in business and pay our bills we must strictly observe our cancelation policy. We encourage all our guests to purchase trip insurance as a protection for themselves in case something unforeseen does occur.
Make special requests prior to your arrival
Innkeepers want you to have a fabulous stay and generally have put a lot of thought and work into ensuring that. Everything, from the smallest details of how they run their business, to when they schedule staff to come into work all are done with you in mind. It is very important that the innkeeper know of any special needs that you have such as allergies and dietary restrictions as far in advance of your check-in date as possible so that you will be delighted with your experience and the innkeeper is not caught off guard or ill prepared to meet your needs. The same is true if you have a special requests. Do you drink only decaf or prefer almond milk in your coffee? Perhaps you need additional pillows? Let the innkeeper know before you arrive and not at the moment you need those things. We have many optional enhancements available to pamper our guests and enjoy providing them but keep in mind that some things do require advance notice of at least 24-48 hrs. If you have any questions just call the inn and leave a message and the innkeeper will get back to you as soon as possible.
Take advantage of the common areas
These spaces are for your enjoyment and can greatly enhance your time at the inn. At 10 Fitch our common areas include the large back yard and gardens with Koi ponds and gazebo as well as several rooms on the main floor of the inn. Areas that are the innkeepers personal spaces and not open to our guests are the kitchen, 3rd floor innkeepers quarters, basement and garage. The only suite that you should enter is the one that you are staying in. To keep unoccupied suites clean and ready for the next guests who will be checking in, we ask that you not to use their bathrooms, living rooms or even to enter them without permission from the innkeeper. We actually had a couple stay with us once for 3 nights who used 2 of our bathrooms during their stay, the bathroom in their own suite and the bathroom in the unoccupied suite next to them. Thankfully we discovered this quite by accident shortly after they checked out and were able to clean it before our guests arrived. We never, ever want a guest to check in and find that their bathroom is dirty!
Besides the wonderful breakfast, personal attention, and beautiful, comfortable rooms, another thing that is great about staying at a bed and breakfast is that your hosts are eager to share a wealth of information with you about the area so you can get the most out of your stay. They will know all the best things to see and places to go so make sure you ask questions and tell them what you enjoy doing. The innkeeper wears many hats from chef to concierge, and is delighted to make dinner reservations for you, schedule an in suite massage, order a chauffeured winery/sight seeing tour and pack a picnic lunch. She has been working with local businesses for years, sending guests their way, and in appreciation they often treat 10 Fitch guests even more special when they know that you are staying here so take advantage of her knowledge and connections during your stay.
Be mindful of and respect the innkeepers property
We love sharing our property, home, and everything in it with our wonderful guests and want you to enjoy all of it! We ask that you treat things with the same, or better care, that you would treat your own possessions. We provide black washcloths for the removal of makeup and heavy soil and request that you not use our white towels, washcloths, robes and linens to clean your shoes, luggage or anything other than your body. If you accidentally break something or have a spill please let the innkeeper know immediately so that it can be attended to properly. Many stains become harder to get out the longer they sit so it is best to just call the innkeeper on her cell phone, the 10 Fitch innkeeper will give you her number when you check in and it is also in the binder in your room, and let her know what has happened. If you do spill something on the furniture or the rug just take a towel and blot it up and then call the innkeeper. Yes, I know I just asked you not to use the white towels for anything other than your bodies but this is an exception. Don’t worry about soiling the towel! Most times it’s less costly to replace a towel than the soiled item. Some of our furnishings have protection plans on them that require we not clean it ourselves but call a technician instead. We will need to let them know exactly what the spill is. Please do not try to clean it yourself. Accidents happen and honestly most often it is not our guests but the innkeeper or the staff who have had the accidents or broken something so we completely understand.
It’s not expected but it’s certainly appreciated
There are two things that guests do that really make us feel like we did an exceptional job and made some new friends in the process. Neither is expected but they are both very much appreciated.
- There is absolutely nothing that expresses to us that our guests have had a great experience at 10 Fitch more than when they help us promote our business by taking the time to write online reviews and share their experience with those who might be considering a stay with us. It’s meaningful for precisely the reason that it takes time to do it. Most of the people who come to stay with us have very hectic, full lives and are here for a much needed respite from family, work, stress, and everything that demands their time in a 24 hour day- seven days a week! We know that when they check out completely relaxed and rejuvenated, they are going back to all of those time demands and really won’t have time to write reviews. The ones that honor us with a review or two don’t have any extra time than those who don’t write them but they make the time and that’s why it means so much to us. Reviews on TripAdvisor, Google, Yelp, Bedandbreakfast.com and iloveinns.com and our Facebook page are critical to growing our business and are the number 1 way that you can express to us that we have made you happy during your stay.
- The second thing that always surprises and delights us is when guests leave a gratuity. Over the years this has come in the form of more than just monetary tips. We have had guests leave lovely notes with special little gifts, trinkets and treats. Innkeepers are givers by nature. We love to love on and lavish goodies on our guests so when they turn the table on us and go out of their way during their stay to love on us it makes us feel super special and appreciated. We have noticed that oftentimes those who leave a gratuity write reviews for us even before we have the chance to ask them to it! Some people aren’t sure if it’s ok to leave a gratuity at a bed and breakfast. If we exceeded your expectations and you would like to do so yes, it’s ok but you are in no way obligated to do so – we are honored delighted to serve everyone who walks through our doors.
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