Think twice before cancelling your inn stay

The scenario: Rain is in the forecast for your upcoming stay at one of the Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE). Your first inclination is to call and cancel.  Why is that a bad idea?  We’ll explore why.  Read on.

In the midst of hurricane season (yes, they do travel up the East Coast from time to time) and on the cusp of winter, we know that weather impacts plans.  It certainly impacts the bottom line for small businesses like inns and B&Bs too.  Let’s look at the effect your cancellation has on a DINE inn.

Recently, one of the DINE inns received an email from a guest who cancelled their romantic getaway to celebrate their anniversary at the last minute because rain was in the forecast.  That inn had not only taken the guests’ room off the availability list, so it could not be re-sold, but they’d also purchased the flowers and the wine that went with the package.  A special cake had been baked for the couple’s anniversary.  And the cancellation meant it all went to waste.  The room was unable to be re-sold at the last minute and the flowers and cake could not be used for other purposes.  The financial impact of this cancellation was hundreds of dollars in lost revenues and direct expenses for the inn.

Book a night at a hotel, and the property will usually secure the guests’ credit card to “hold” a room. With hundreds of rooms, the hotel does not necessarily guarantee guests a particular room in their inventory. Because every room is different and unique at inns, especially at DINE inns, once the room is booked, the innkeeper no longer markets that room.  The inn room booked might represent anywhere from one-eighth to one twentieth of their room inventory. Thus, a cancellation can have a dramatic impact on inns and B&Bs. DINE inns have high demand rooms and a limited inventory.

This is why guests are often asked to give a deposit of one night or more at an inn or B&B.  In addition, this explains why inns and B&Bs have a longer cancellation period (often two or more weeks) than hotels. If a guest cancels, the innkeeper will need time to re-sell that special room.

Buyer Beware. Its important to read the cancellation policy from DINE inns and all B&Bs carefully. Understand the ramifications of cancelling.  Of course, as independently owned small businesses, inns and B&Bs are not bound to corporate rules like hotels might be.  And innkeepers are among the most understanding people on earth.  If a situation beyond your control arises, your innkeeper has some leeway in how they will handle the cancellation.  Much of their response will depend upon the timing and the way the cancellation is delivered.  Guests who cancel should be prepared to be understanding of the situation that the innkeeper is in, and are not in a position to make demands.  You’ll attract more bees with honey and you’ll elicit much more sympathy from an innkeeper if you are understanding and accepting of anything they can do for you.

The innkeeper we mentioned above was just that – understanding enough to offer up another room night to the couple that cancelled.  However, since the flowers and cake wouldn’t keep, only the wine was saved for the return visit.

While rain or snow might impact your outdoor plans, there are plenty of wonderful things to do indoors at DINE inns.  For most, the reason for their visit to these 12 New England inns is to celebrate a romantic getaway, anniversary, special occasion or time together.  With beautifully appointed rooms – many filled with amenities like fireplaces and whirlpool tubs, not to mention wonderful breakfasts, amazingly comfortable beds, private fireplaces, afternoon tea or home baked items and fireside dinners (in the inn or nearby), isn’t your DINE inn packed with enough inside to fill a romantic getaway with great memories?

We know, sometimes cancellations are unavoidable.  Stuff happens, and innkeepers will try to be as understanding as possible. Travelers who are also realistic and understanding of the position the cancellation puts the innkeeper in, will most likely fare the best.  As with all things in life, the nice guy usually wins.  Your innkeeper will be as nice a guy as he can be. You too?

Plan your next romantic getaway at the 12 Distinctive Inns of New England by clicking on links below that will take you directly to each of their websites.

In Vermont:  Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford & Grafton Inn in Grafton

In Maine:  Captain Jefferds Inn in Kennebunkport & Camden Maine Stay Inn in Camden.

In Massachusetts:  Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Gateways Inn & Restaurant in Lenox, Deerfield Inn in Historic Deerfield and Captain’s House Inn in Chatham on Cape Cod.

In Rhode Island: Cliffside Inn in Newport

In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic

In New Hampshire:  Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness & Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield.