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How far would you go to cater to a lucrative demanding repeat guest?

This is mainly a vent. But I’m also curious how y’all would handle this guest. I’ve always responded to her “suggestions” and either taken them or explained why they wouldn’t work. I’d really like to know, though, what y’all would do.

I’ve had a guest who has stayed with me five times since May (so approximately once a month) for an average of a week each time. She stays with me (I think) mainly because of the high end, fully equipped kitchen.

She always leaves the stove a mess, has never left without permanently staining at least one dish towel, and is just generally messy. My cleaner absolutely dreads her stays. The repeat guest also asks for special favors (such as leaving a suitcase and some personal items at the house in between stays). She always leaves five stars for her review, but the written statements are very short—usually only 2 words or less. Examples: “All good,” “Outstanding hospitality,” “Thanks,” and my favorite “See my previous reviews.” :rofl:

On the plus side, I’ve made over $2700 from her stays. On the negative side (besides the negatives mentioned above) she gives me suggestions for improving the house that are annoying (but at least they are left as private messages). Examples of some of her suggestions:

  1. Please consider putting a small patio table and chair in the backyard. (We have a table and chairs on the front porch which is well back from the street and screened by shrubbery, if she wants to sit outside and eat. The backyard has no deck or patio, just grass, so our mower would have to move the table and chairs to mow each time—or we would have to put in a deck or patio. We plan to do that someday, but there are other improvements that come first.)

  2. Please consider sharpening knives. (I did go out and buy a cheap knife sharpener and place it next to the knife block. I wrote her a private note, telling her about the knife sharpener.)

  3. Knives could be sharpened. (:rofl: Apparently, she expects me to sharpen the knives for her before she stays. She just left this comment after her most recent stay, after I left the knife sharpener for her.)

  4. Comforter better than blankets. (The beds in this house are made with quilts and blankets. Apparently she thinks I should replace them with comforters—which will never happen as comforters are too bulky for our washing machine and would have to be taken out to be laundered.)

  5. Insinkerator could be better. (For those that don’t know—since this is an International forum—InSinkErator is a brand name of a garbage disposal. It’s a mechanical device mounted underneath a sink. You put waste food in it, and blades grind up the food into tiny bits that get washed down the sink drain. Most landlords won’t put them in rental units because they can be easily jammed up—or even ruined—if used improperly. This is the only AirBnB rental we have with an InSinkErator. They range in price from about $100 up to thousands of dollars. I don’t remember how much the one is in this house…but at least it’s got one! And it’s always operated just fine for me.)

None of her suggestions have ever been mentioned even once by any of the previous guests. If I implemented all of her suggestions, it would run into thousands of dollars. The only one I am even thinking about doing—mainly out of curiosity and because it’s relatively cheap—is buying a good electric knife sharpener to see if she’ll actually sharpen the knives herself!

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I would go a little further, easy money :slight_smile:

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I’m curious…how much further? She always costs me extra money for cleaning each time, and replacing dish towels. She leaves the bathroom soaking wet. She once dyed her hair in the marble tile shower—luckily we had just resealed the tile the week before and it didn’t ruin the marble. She not an ideal guest, for certain.

So what would you do to please her? Replace the quilt and blankets with a comforter that can’t be washed without sending it out to the laundromat? Spend hundreds of dollars to buy a new, higher end InSinkErator and pay a plumber to install it? Put in a patio right now instead of waiting a few years?

I sure don’t consider her easy money. Our other guests are much more appreciative, cleaner, and tidier.

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you may not see it as easy money, and other guests may be easier…but £2700, minus a few extra hours cleaning, a six pack of tea towels… don’t pander to her though. If you don’t sharpen the knives, is there a chance she wouldn’t return? And would you regret it?

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It’s 2700 US dollars, so about 2185 pounds sterling…

And no, I don’t think I’d regret it if she didn’t return. She hasn’t said she’ll be back. She’s a specialist physician who comes here on a rotating basis. A company books her lodging and pays for it. She may have finished her rotation here. I do know she won’t find a bettered equipped kitchen in any AirBnB anywhere around here.

I’m considering buying an electric knife sharpener—which I can find for under $50—but if she returns I will leave it up to her about how sharp she wants those knives to be.

I would thank her for the wonderful suggestions and mention that you will add it to the list of improvements for the future!!! If she really annoys you just block her.

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I wouldn’t cater to her demands if I could book in someone else in the time slots she takes. It’s simple, if you can get the same money and likely a problem free guest then do it. If declining additional stays would cost you money then Barns is right $2700 is a good bit of money. I’d pay my cleaner extra and consider the rest the cost of doing business.

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It’s your personal decision to determine when her PITA-ness outweighs her payments!
But, is there any way you could mentally zen out and just decide that her comments are not going to bother you? What about deciding to not even open/read her private comments? If that drives her away, awwww, I don’t think you’ll be too upset! Or, like robin1 says, “manage” her by thanking her for her “great” suggestions. If you want to be a little bit evil, you could add “Do you think I should raise my rates so I can do some of these things immediately?”
You’ll never change her, only your response to her.

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Since her agency is paying the bill, and not her, she would probably say “Yes, do it!” :smile:

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Whoa, redecorating allowance!! Go for it!! haha

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Why don’t you sharpen them before EVERY guest? Sharpening your knives is maintenance just like cleaning the kitchen. I’m personally annoyed by dull knives and I’ve read many articles that they are a common complaint about STRs. If your “sharp” knives are dull, you might as well not provide them. I’m also annoyed by cheap sharpeners that don’t work, usually because they’re worn out. Oh, and electric sharpeners are very bad for knives since they destroy the hardening process of the steel, not to mention simply grinding the steel away by people that don’t know how to use them (which is mostly everybody).

Sorry, pet peeve of mine.

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I’m not a cook. I have NO IDEA how to sharpen knives and how sharp they should be. And I’m most assuredly NOT interested in learning so I can cater to demanding guests. If I provide a sharpener and knives, then that’s more than more hosts do. If a guest is that concerned about the sharpness of the knives and the quality of the knife sharpener which might be provided, perhaps they need to bring their own knife sharpener.

I’m not about to start sharpening knives at every one of the AirBnBs I have. It takes too long to turn them over on the quick turns as it is. And out of the approximately 75 stays in this house, she is the only guest to mention the knives.

I think this decides me to not purchase the electric sharpener since my demanding guest might have the same opinion of electric sharpeners as you.

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This host doesn’t have one because you really don’t want food (specifically, oils, grease, or fat) in a septic tank. Sure, some people do install them with septic systems, but I sure wouldn’t.

P.S. My motto is “there are more important things in life than money”, peace of mind being a big one. If a guest consistently brings you bad vibes, is that worth it for the money? Only you know the answer.

The only guest I have given a thumbs down to date cost me 6.5 hours of my cleaner’s labor, two wrecked towels, a wrecked skillet, dirty dishes, food in the fridge, a dirty crockpot, and a house that was uninhabitable for days due to malodor, all accomplished during a minimum 2 night stay. They were not worth our time. Sure, we made money but a lot less of it than normal. Even if they hadn’t cost so much, my cleaner would have been very upset with me had I not blacklisted them and it happened again. Her being upset with me isn’t worth any amount of money … she is my moneymaker, after all.

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Yeah, if we were on septic, I wouldn’t have one, but we are on city sewer.

And yes, my cleaner dreads this guest. She groans every time the woman books. The guest absolutely costs me extra for cleaning. She’s only managed to completely ruin dish towels, but she does stain other things that then require extra time and effort to get clean.

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I knew a gal who decided one day to dispose of an entire date-expired box of instant mashed potatoes by dumping it down the disposal. Her husband was very unhappy with the result. Had to take it completely out to get all the mashed potato out of it. I will say, she had a bit of a picklebrain.

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Not sure where you are but almost everywhere has someone that does knife sharpening. Most even will come by with a van and do it outside your house or pickup and drop-off. Where we live currently, we get ours done at the Farmer’s Market. My husband will also take the lawnmower blade to them in the Spring. It costs $5/knife. Also $5 for scissors. I also get my some of my leather tools and my chisels sharpened. We only do it about once a year. I really recommend it. At least do it for your knives and scissors - life is too short for dull tools!

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why don’t you replace the dish towels for EVERY guest? Sorry, pet peeve of mine

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I think that at the point I would need to post about a guest, that’s when I would probably stop booking them. I know it depends on how much you book but if you think you will book otherwise, then drop her. Who knows, maybe there’s an awesome guest out there waiting to take her place.

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Amazes me how many people just throw away blades and buy knew. We brought my dad a whole stack of zero degree mower blades saved from the trash heap. They didn’t fit his machine but they fit his friend’s and they got them sharpened for $10 apiece like new.

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