Archive for the ‘Bookings’ Category

Wastage vs theft in hotels

In big hotels towels and whatnot go “missing” and it’s classed as wastage basically because it would be pretty difficult to identify who’d made off with things as so many different people are involved.

However, in our place which is very much at the smaller end of the scale, there are very few people involved so it’s easy enough to identify the culprits. For example, just this morning a family checked out and made off with four of our towels. Sometimes you wonder why people do that but in this case it’s pretty clear: they had ordered four breakfasts but only ate one. Therefore in lieu of the three breakfasts which we’d charged them for they thought that they’d take two little towels and two big ones.

Net effect? Well, they’ve been charged EUR 40 and received an e-mail letting them know we’ll refund it if we get the towels back next week.

Now, what they’re going to say is that they didn’t do it and obviously it must have been our cleaning person. Well, as it happens I’m the person who both puts the towels into the rooms and takes them out again. I put six in and took two out therefore they took the other four.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

They didn’t speak French to us…

That’s one of the negative comments that we received recently. Slightly ironic though in that the comment was from a German family of which only one of the four could speak any French and he couldn’t speak much.

However, we’ve now reached the point where we expect that French guests will criticize us for not being French. At least that is if they come from the Dordogne where we can understand their opposition to English as it’s often treated by the English as though it were the far south of England. Somewhat more peculiar though are those from Alsace who are historically German of course but who are, by now, more French than the French with a lot more depth to their French ancestry.

What’s also been a feature this year is that we’ve had a LOT more Germans, Dutch and Spanish than normal and have around 90% non-French for quite extended periods sometimes. That’s given rise to criticisms from some of the French guests that French isn’t being spoken in the dining room or rather that English is being used by everyone else but them.

That’s something that we’d never thought about before. After all, in the majority of hotels around the world, it’s English that’s used between guests of different nationalities and, on the whole, it’s the language you’d most commonly hear during breakfast. Yet, in France the French expect the most common language to be French. Weird.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Filling the place from last minute bookings

We’ve had quite a peculiar pattern of bookings right through the whole of the summer this year and it looks like it’ll finish on an odd note too.

Normally at this point in the year we’d be finding we finished the day with a number of empty rooms as the French holiday season draws to a close but we’ve had next to no French staying this year so their influence on the overall booking pattern has been negligible. What has been more noticeable is a very significant rise in Spanish and German bookings and separately in the massive number of last minute bookings that we’ve been getting.

We’re finding that if we put a room back on the system due to a cancellation then often it’s filled within 30 minutes. A year ago that happened now and again but this year it’s been a large feature of the bookings.

Now, we’re not complaining about last minute bookings per se but it does mean that our planning is totally thrown as even a full week of empty rooms can fill pretty quickly.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

What language does your B&B use?

If you’re living outside your home country then the answer isn’t an obvious one.

Say you’re living in France and you’re from the UK. In that case, the language you use within the family will be English whilst the language you use outside the home will usually be French, won’t it?

Well, not necessarily. For example, in our case for a variety of reasons this year less than 10% of our guests were French. Thus, in practical terms in 90% of the time we ended up using English with the guests. That’s not because they were British mind you because under 10% were; it’s because of that 90% non-French clientele, almost all of them had a preference to communicate in English rather than French (they were largely German and Dutch).

Which has resulted in a series of odd complaints, mainly from the French guests. We weren’t greeting everyone in French, nobody spoke French, etc. Seeing as we can see where the various cars come from as people arrive we actually greet them in the most appropriate language we can muster whether that be English, French or Spanish. If it’s a German number plate then we kick off in English because we know that 99% of them speak it better than we do.

What we can’t obviously do is insist that all the guests speak French as one French couple seemed to want going by their complaint. In fact, they were the only French couple staying that day and were surrounded by Germans, Dutch and Spanish who all chose to speak English to each other whilst having breakfast.

The peculiar common thread behind these complaints is that the French seemingly assume that in a French hotel all the staff will be French and so will all the guests which seems pretty weird in these days of widespread international travel.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Very busy then a sharp drop in holiday trade

What’s very striking is the sharp cut-off in guests at the end of the main European holiday season over here.

You can find that you’re completely full one day and then there’s next to nobody for the following week. That’s reflected in the strategies that the various tourist related businesses follow over here with pretty much everything closing down by the second week in September even though there are still quite a reasonable number of tourists still around by that time. Some hotels take the close down even more seriously and don’t reopen until June the following year which, of course, is reflected in the very sharp price increases that you find once you’re in the main holiday season: in some cases hotels double their prices.

We’re still in the completely full stage at the moment and it’s not until well into next week that we get a bit of a rest before the photojournalism festival in Perpignan fills us up again.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.