The owners of the Prescott Pines Inn started receiving the type of calls that every innkeeper dreads. Guests were wondering if they should cancel their reservations. The reason? A forest fire burning just eight miles away from the inn. And of course, it was right in the middle of peak season.
These kinds of unpredictable events are bound to happen at some point to every innkeeper. They may not be as dramatic as a forest fire, but even something as mundane as the air conditioner breaking down in the middle of summer could jeopardize bookings.
While you can’t predict them, you can react to bad events so that you minimize their impact on your bookings. Here are three tips to help you respond to the unexpected:
- First, don’t panic. Assess the situation and determine the impact on your ability to serve guests in the manner that you want and that they expect. If that’s not possible, determine if there are concessions or amenities that you can offer that would give guests the ability to overlook the inconvenience.
- Second, be proactive in communicating with guests. The owner of the Prescott Pines decided to call all of the guests who had upcoming reservations and assure them that the inn was open, the roads were fine, and activities were going on as planned in town.
- Finally, if some guests do cancel, look for opportunities to fill those spots. Hopefully you keep a waiting list of people who you couldn’t accommodate because your inn was fully booked. Reach out to those people, especially the ones who are within driving distance as they may be able to make a trip on short notice. Also don’t overlook the locals. Some of them may have been impacted by the event and may be looking for a short term stay.
With a little bit of brainstorming, you may find that an unpredictable event could bring you even more guests.