I’m a new host and had a booking inquiry for a 25-day stay next spring. Checked out the guest: Middle-aged couple, tons of positive reviews of them, and they’ve left consistently great reviews for their hosts.
They live in Missouri but are actually visiting the PNW this week, in the small town where we’re renovating our backyard cottage. It’s pre-booking for October, but we’re still a mess – subcontractors in and out, dusty, stacks of appliances in the living room, etc. They ask if they can come check it out, and we make an appointment for them to come by – sure, I say, with the caveat that it’s very much still under construction.
The night before, I tidy up what can be tidied and then … am up all night with our dog, who has to go to the emergency animal hospital (he’s fine, but extremely expensive, it turns out). The next morning, my husband, sweetly but unaware of my tour appointment, turns off my alarm. So I wake up 40 minutes after our appointed time in a total panic, message them about what’s happened. They’re nice about it – they came by, the plumber let them in, they looked around, thanks. I cover myself in apologies. Don’t worry, they write. It’s going to be amazing when it’s finished. (I am mortified about the mistake, but they seem fine about it.)
Then I talk to my plumber.
It turns out that these people are not, in fact, strangers to the house. They used to hang out with the previous homeowners here and, in fact, are the source of two charming, carved doors that are one of my favorite pieces of architectural salvage in the space. While they were there, they told my plumber about the doors, mentioned that they used to hang out with the former owners (who moved overseas, and were … well, one of them literally screamed at me during the closing process when I had to come on site for the home inspection, so we haven’t kept in touch, although all of their former neighbors loved them, so I assume they were just massively stressed out when the guy yelled at me).
“Did they take pictures?” I asked the plumber. Oh, yes. Lots.
So I sent a quick follow-up message:
Hi, [name], Ron (our plumber) caught me up on your family history with those gorgeous doors and mentioned that you know [former owner and former owner’s spouse]! If you’re in touch with them, I hope you’ll let them know how much we are treasuring the house and garden (and how often we think of the work they clearly poured into the whole space).
Let me know if you’re still wanting to book if the offer expires — I’ve set up an automated pricing system that adjusts prices automatically but would, of course, happily honor the original rate for folks from the neighborhood.
Zero reply, of course.
I am, honestly, a little … unsettled. I don’t think there’s anything terrible in the offing, but it feels like they lied by omission in an oddly personal way, but I might just be ridiculous.
And the worst part is, of course, that I screwed up with the tour, so now I don’t know whether they were REALLY going to book, but didn’t because I seemed flaky, or if they were just gathering stuff to send along to the former owners (who were REALLY attached to the house).
That said? NEVER going to let anyone pre-tour EVER again.