Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mixup over holiday booking dates led to a stressful day

Lounge and TV area in our Brittany Holiday Home
If you believe in Karma or destiny, then it was bound to happen one day and there was nothing I could do about it to avoid a mixup over rental bookings for our holiday Gite.

I'm slightly less fatalistic and do believe (despite what my wife thinks) in being methodical and organised when it comes to administering the Gite booking process.

But regardless of all my care, and maybe Karma took a hand, but the other week I had a rather concerned phone call from Shirley our agent in Brittany to tell me that something had gone wrong. She'd been to the Gite to do the changeover between two sets of guests and the prior guest family were clearly still in occupancy, but were nowhere around, and it looked like they'd gone out for the day!

I checked and double checked the original Gite booking request and confirmation emails for the two sets of families and confirmed that yes the bookings were sequential with one group due to leave at 10am on the Tuesday and the second group due to arrive at 4pm the same day, but these back-to-back bookings are quite normal in peak periods, so there wasn't a mistake there. Unfortunately I didn't have mobile phone numbers for either set of guests so I couldn't phone them to try to resolve the issue, and I knew that the incoming family were already on their way down to the Gite from the Calais ports so would be arriving later that afternoon.

Fortunately Shirley had the solution, one of her neighbours also had a holiday Gite that Shirley was sure was empty that week, so Shirley went off to ask her neighbour if she could open up her Gite for the night and we'd at least have somewhere for the incoming guests to stay when they arrived if the outgoing guests were still there.

And that's in the end what happened. Shirley and her husband went over to our Gite in the afternoon to wait for the incoming guests to arrive, which they eventually did, and whilst Shirley was explaining what the problem was the guests that were still occupying the Gite arrived back and the problem was explained to all parties.
It turned out that the first family had booked their return ferry for the Wednesday and had booked the Gite up to the Tuesday - not realising the difference in date - and then hadn't even read the booking confirmation that stated that their booking was up to 10am on the Tuesday departure day. If only they had read it then the error would have been realised and avoided much earlier. The outgoing guests were very apologetic about the problem and the incoming guests were quite understanding as well; they stayed one night in Shirley's neighbour's Gite and then moved in to ours 24 hours later.

We've been renting out our holiday Gite for over the 7 years now and in that time have had over 100 different sets of guests staying with us, so it was kind of inevitable that one day we'd have a problem like this. I'm pleased we managed to sort it out in the end but it was a bit stressful at the time.

Moral of the story is please please do read the booking confirmation, that's what its there for!



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