How strong are your boundaries?

boundariesThere’s a long thread going on over on Facebook in our private group for B&B owners

What’s it all about?  Boundaries and the abuse of them.

One of the reasons we started in this business, I believe, is because we love people and we love entertaining and taking care of them.

But not every minute of every day

It’s just exhausting and we know it

But maybe guests don’t

So we have to lay it out for them

And it’s hard to do, isn’t it?

It might feel selfish

It might feel a little weird letting them know when they can (and can’t) check in and check out

When they can (and can’t) have breakfast

What we will and won’t do for them, no matter how much they insist

It can feel awkward

But it needs to be said, clearly, professionally and with love.

And if necessary, it needs to be said several times – during the booking process, during the pre-arrival process (you do have a pre-arrival process I hope!) and even sometimes when they arrive and during their stay.

We can’t be at the mercy of other peoples’ poor planning.

So here’s my take on this – do leave a comment below and let me know what you think…

For the guests who start to become demanding during the pre-booking process – say no and let them go find somewhere else

For the guests who arrive early when you have clearly stated your check in times – don’t answer the door

For the guests who begin to complain on arrival – kindly suggest that you find them somewhere else (this takes courage, I’ll admit, but it works – you’re letting them know that you’re not taking any nonsense right from the get go)

For the guests with special dietary requirements – insist that they let you know ahead of time so you can prepare, and if they don’t – it’s not your fault so don’t let it become your problem.

And for the guests who trash your place – charge them

Your sanity and serenity are far more important than the money you think you may lose.

Keep in mind that there are 7 billion people in the world and more people than ever are travelling – more lovely guests are waiting to book with you.

You don’t have to take this kind of thing – ever.

You are worth so much more

Do leave a comment below on your thoughts, or come over to our Facebook group by CLICKING HERE and join the conversation.

Dedicated to your success

Yvonne x







Yvonne Halling helps bed and breakfast owners, guest house owners and small hotel owners to dramatically increase their income, pay less commissions to online travel agents and have a whole lot more fun.  CLICK HERE to book a free no-obligation Profit Makeover session where she’ll give you a specific plan to solve whatever challenges you’ve got going on right now.





Also published on Medium.

12 Responses to “How strong are your boundaries?”

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  1. Donna Hardin says:

    Well said…it does take courage…and because we generally enjoy giving to people, it makes it even harder at times. But…I love what you said, we cannot take responsibility for other people’s poor planning. I feel empowered with the boundaries you have set….thanks for sharing!

  2. Glenn Payne says:

    well written piece as usual from Yvonne, we should not ne at the beck and call of our guests all the time,

  3. I totally agree with your Yvonne. I would rather not have the people staying with me at all, whether I need the income or not (and usually I do need it!) but I often tell people that we are not really suited to their needs. Like when a couple with 5 children want to stay in two rooms only – and I don’t have family rooms and I am not prepared to let under sixes stay in a room on their own. I have three bookings this Saturday night for parents with children coming to Disney on Ice – all no problem! But I cannot compromise!

    • Thanks for your input Lynda – you’re so right – you cannot compromise your own values and boundaries – it doesn’t do anyone any favours, least of all the guests. Well done for standing by yours 🙂

  4. You are so right. This is one of my main problems. I am too soft and should spend more time being me than worrying about bad reviews on!
    I really like the idea of being “out”. Perhaps a sign on the gates (electric) saying back at 4 pm would be a good plan.
    What are good times for breakfast? Should we have a between time or from time or what time after???
    We are trainees so it is lovely to have somewhere to ask

    • Hi Rosemary and thanks for your comment. I personally offer breakfast between 8,30am and 9.30am and guests can show up anytime between those times. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it works for YOU, and remember to be kind, polite and professional 🙂 Hope that helps you x

  5. Although I am very sad this morning after the Brexit result, I will take time to answer your little survey. I could not agree more with you. Not too many rules but those that are important to us, we should stick to them firmly. Gently, kindly, softly but firmly. Every time- fortunately not too many times- I had to re- enforced my boundaries, I actually got a positive answer and respect. After a “touchy” discussion, the relationship with guests turned out to be very good and respectful.
    To the contrary once or twice I let it go, and it got worse.
    I set strict boundaries for arrival and departure, cancellation policies, quietness and tariffs. I explain that a B&B is not an hotel , explaining the few minuses and all the many pluses. Of course people would love to get the best of both worlds, but if you explain kindly, they understand.
    And as you say, Yvonne, if they don’t, let them go somewhere else.

    • Hello Martine and thanks for your comment. Isn’t it interesting when we hold our own boundaries, how much more respect there is in the relationship 🙂 Well done for enforcing your boundaries when you needed to 🙂

  6. Fran says:

    I always email our guests at the time of booking. This email is a ‘Welcome’ email which asks them how they’d like to pay their deposit and also asks the questions of their ETA (roughly) and if they have booked online elsewhere and put in an earlier arrival time, I gently remind them check-in is AFTER 2pm. I also ask for dietary requirements. I have previously gone to the trouble of making GF bread for a guest and they then ate their partners (NON G.F) scone at afternoon tea because the GF status was a health whim and not a genuine medical need and my scones looked good!!
    I have had the occasion where a guest chose to cut short their stay (due to severe weather issues and they wanted to return home to check their house) and wanted a refund. I politely refused pointing out our Ts & Cs. They became quite angry and threatening (Tripadvisor) but I stuck to my guns. I did offer them a discount voucher to stay another time but they weren’t happy with that.