This month our regular columnist Sally Chilton, shares with us her thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of one night bookings.
One night bookings always seem to come thick and fast during the quieter months and they can take their toll, especially on the launderette and concierge departments.
Some weeks bring a constant flow of one night stays. Obviously, it’s great to have bookings coming in, after all ‘work is work’. Personally, I’d rather be busy than not, but I’ve learned a lot over the years about how best to manage one night guests so I don’t become quickly overwhelmed!
The weeks where you have lots of single night bookings are tiring. The cleaning feels like it takes much longer than usual, and having to ‘perform’ for each set of new guests coming through the door can be tough. Especially when I always make sure each set of new guests is given the same warm welcome and individual attention as the last.
The washing machine and tumble dryer is non stop except at night and I try not to think too hard about the effect on my energy bills.
All this said, one night bookings are an essential source of income. There are also some great benefits and I have listed below the pluses.
- One night guests have the potential to turn into repeat guests
- They are another word of mouth ambassador for your business
- They are usually business travellers, which means they’ll be out of the house early and may not even want breakfast
- They can give you a chance to gather lots of all important reviews in a short space of time
- Some of the most interesting people I have met have been one nighters!
- The cleaning
- The ironing
- Waiting to let people in (that needs another article of the excuses why they are late or didn’t ring!)
I have a policy of a minimum of a two-night stay at the weekend. I put this in place a couple of years ago as I found that lots of people were ringing months in advance to book one night on a Saturday, which then blocked me for the rest of the weekend! This tended to be couples coming to visit family in the local area.
By restricting the weekend to a two-night booking, except in special circumstances, I have found that I can maximize the busiest parts of my week and not lose out on more lucrative bookings.
As much as I may prefer bigger and better bookings, one night guests are an interesting bunch, here are a few of my fondest memories…
An editor of Reuters had left his house keys in the office. He rang from a Police Station, they had given him my number, as he was wanting a few hours’ sleep before returning to his desk. It was such a delight to accommodate this lovely man, – even fed him supper at 1am as I was waiting for my sons to come home who had forgotten their house keys!
Another gentleman had travelled from the USA and was in the UK reclaiming land in Derbyshire on behalf of the people. He travelled the world reclaiming land and had written books on the subject.
On another occasion, a guest arrived on a dark winter’s night drenched from the rain. He was not only a computer genius and concert pianist, but spoke 12 languages fluently! He returned eight years later to reclaim a shirt he had left behind!
Most recently, we had an artist who was exhibiting at the Affordable Art Fair in Chelsea, who told us how some of his most recent paintings were all purchased simply because they matched the curtains, carpets or colour scheme of the room.
Of course, there will always be times when you just don’t want to take a one-night booking, regardless of whether or not you can do it, and that’s perfectly fine. You need to do what feels right for you, your household and your energy levels at the time.
And you know what – it’s OK to turn away the work and NOT feel guilty about it.