@Carmen, those are excellent lessons! I especially agree with you on #3 – being there to greet a guest. We insist on that. And we’re convinced that’s a big part of the reason we get such great reviews (usually)! Sometimes we want to take a little trip that would fall on a day when a new guest is arriving, but we’ll forego the trip just so we can welcome them – that’s how important we think it is. If we really want to take a trip we’ll just block off some days.
Funny you mentioned toilet paper. When we first started hosting I insisted on doing things better than hotels. And one thing that always annoyed me was the cheap-o toilet paper at all hotels. So we put our nice toilet paper in the guest bathroom – and no one ever said anything about it. But we know how things like that are… they may not say anything but it’s just one more little detail that adds up to a good impression in the end.
So, we kept it up for about a year. But we were starting to get annoyed at how fast it was disappearing. It seemed to be getting worse over time. Then, one afternoon we had a guest checking in – these two women. We checked the bathroom before check-in and there were 4 brand new rolls available – which is how we like it when new guests check in. An hour after they checked in, there were 2 rolls left! We couldn’t believe it. They had just taken two rolls into their room and kept them!
Over time we started to sense that almost every time a foreign guest left, they’d grab a roll and take it with them! There would be 3 rolls in there one minute… a few minutes later a guest leaves and we go look and suddenly only 2 rolls!
Reluctantly I went back to the cheap toilet paper. And four rolls last a week now for four guests! The cheap toilet paper isn’t that much cheaper, but it becomes a lot less expensive when you only have to buy it new once a month instead of once every two weeks! It was really eating into our profits. No complaints to us in person or in the reviews, but I still have a haunting feeling it contributes to a less than stellar impression.