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Room with no window?

Hey guys,

I think this is the biggest issue in me sometimes getting 4 stars in overall experience and 3-4 stars in accuracy (90% overall are still 5 stars).

My guest room is small and does not have an actual window. (it has one of the glass wall things that look into the kitchen) Since it looks into the kitchen, I just built a blind that blocked the view to add privacy.

My picture doesn’t show that, the picture just shows a bed in the room. People can clearly see it’s small.

I personally don’t think it is a big deal (esp for travelers 20-30) because we aren’t in the room 90% of the time. The place is just for sleeping/showering/relax a bit on the couch. But I guess for some people, their expectation is different.

Question: what I can do to properly set up the expectation so it is not a instant negative shock to them? which may lead to a 4 star review despite a super awesome experience otherwise.

I think expectation setting is huge because I work full time and can’t always clean the room when they check in. I usually tell them that they can check in but be ready that the room won’t be prepared until the evening. Not a single issue, 100% 5 star on cleaniness and I feel this can also be addressed head on. I just don’t know how to address it yet.

Hi Billy_Bob_Merkowitz,

Unfortunately, I am sometimes unable to clean the bedroom prior to the new guest arriving. This is always because the guest wants to check in prior to our check in time of 3:00 P.M. I tell the guest that they are welcome to come early, drop off their luggage, freshen up, hang out, etc., but that we may need some time after they arrive to clean the bedroom. I believe that it is better to be flexible about the check in time than to not let guests arrive until the room is clean. If we were inflexible about the check in time, people would have to find someplace to hang out with their luggage. As many of our guests are using public transportation this would be quite a burden for them.

I have that issue on occasion too billy bob. I live alone and work full time 4 days a week. In season I’m absolutely slammed with back to back requests. I always make clear to incoming guests that they should only book with me if they don’t mind waiting for me to flip the room after I get home. People are so happy to get a place for under $250 in season that I have had zero issue with this. I’ve considered having a maid come in on the days I’m working but I don’t charge enough for that. As I work on my old beater of a house and add amenities I’ll feel more justified in charging more. But in the meantime it seems to work for people.

As to the room impression euphoria, I suspect you just answered your own question about your diminished reviews from the over 50 crowd. They are coming in to your place not understanding they’ll be in a closet-like cramped space. I suggest you take 3 or 4 pictures of the space from all angles, and mention in your description there is no window. We aren’t limited as to the number of photos we can upload. And of course billy bob has a very valid point about the fire codes.

Thanks Steph. I think Billy Bob has a point from an old school stand point, I always make sure the room is spotless - after I get home from work. People have no issues with it. I don’t think there is a firecode issue as it is a high floor condo, folks won’t climb out of the window if there is fire anyway…

Do you think making it super clear would limit my appeal/potential income (price per night and occupancy %) OR it will just automatically filter out folks who are more picky?

You said it yourself: you need to disclose it. Just write down: the room is small and has no windows. At times your room will not be ready for you until evening, but you can check in early and leave your luggage.
Just reading your post I am again amazed what people rent out: tents on their backyards, hammocks in their living rooms, rooms without windows. I guess for the right pri e anything goes.

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May be it will cut off some of the potential guests, but I would disclose it anyway. I also think you were very lucky to get all these good reviews without disclosing these facts

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that’s the judgement call that comes into play. only you can make that judgement. are diminished ratings interfering with your business and bookings? if not then just go with it.

Are you letting the guests know before or after you accept the reservation, that the room may not be cleaned till evening? If it is afterwards then I am guessing that is the reason for the 3-4 star accuracy rating. Let’s say your check in times states 4 p.m. Guests expect that the room is 100% ready by 4 p.m.

If the room is just basic then the 4 stars may have nothing to do with no window to the outdoors. It may just be that it is not exceeding their expectations. There is nothing wrong with that. If it doesn’t affect your bookings, and the majority just want a place to crash at the end of a long day, then lookers don’t really care if it is 4 stars, if it meets their budget. I would show an angle with the window and show the view to the kitchen. Let them know the blinds pull down for complete privacy. No need to say NO window. They will know from the pic caption that it is an indoor window.

You must have a clean room upon check in. Don’t let them come in and put their stuff down and tell them you will clean it later! They will remember getting to a place that wasn’t clean!! If you absolutely cannot get to cleaning it, you can change the check in time to later… or you can ask the guest (as I did recently) to come a bit later, and in return, you could extend the check out time! You simply can’t allow a guest to check into a dirty room. That’s really not acceptable and you will continue to get marked down on cleanliness. Although… you never can tell with guests. I do a damned escrow clean (ceiling fan tops, slider door tracks, etc) and still get marked down on it… So who knows what they are expecting…

Bottom line: Do not release the room to guests until it is CLEAN. That’s a basic expectation.

As for the window thing, it’s possible maybe you are in another part of the world or wherever, a place that does not have the same strict fire codes as the US. ?? (Which I would imagine could be 75% of all AirBnBs, maybe more…are not up to code!)… but I WOULD describe that window thing very very clearly in your description. Even show a photo of it… Say exactly what your place is and what it isn’t…Then play UP some of the good things you have to offer.

I am a fan of using the good old-fashioned euphemism… Instead of saying I have a basement apartment, I describe it as a fully outfitted, self-catering studio apartment on the garden level of a single-family home. Garden level sounds much more appealing than BASEMENT or downstairs basement! Yet it is still accurate! Constantly my guests write in reviews that the apartment was exactly as described.

But the cleaning thing… you have to figure out. Maybe you will need to block time between bookings so you can clean. You have two jobs here, think of it that way. You can’t do one of them half a**ed.

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There is no place in Canada I know of, or abroad where putting anyone in a windowless room to sleep is legal. Earlier you stated 90% of the time a guest spends their time elsewhere and really this sounds like you are fooling yourself. At least a third of people’s time will be spent in that room and if you really want to make money this way, you should consider moving yourself into it and offering your own room with a window to your guests. If you wouldn’t consider it, then morally you need to reconsider hosting.

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You are getting 4 stars because of the first impression. First impressions are Critically Important. Dont let a guest into a space that is not ready.

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I cold never understand why people would hide the obvious facts only for people to discover it anyway from the first glance. It doesn’t matter how picky or not picky your guest is , he/ she will discover the weirdness of the situation : room without window!!
Basically, what OP is asking: should I keep on not disclosing this fact, because if I don’t I can still get bookings because the guest don’t know. But if do disclose it, now equipped with knowledge prospective guests will think twice.
I am totally bewildered on a the amount of humble guests you get that give you only 4*. Also , the glass door that separates this room from a window covered by blinds, how weird is that? What was it originally, a dining room?

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Lynn has a good point. It may not be legal anywhere in the world to rent something like this.

Can you post a pic of it here so we can see what it looks like? And also tell us generally where you are located.

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Yeah… You´re lucky I did not rent your place. Offering people a windowless room without telling so in your ad is absolutely unacceptable.

Also. I would rather close down shop than offer people my flat uncleaned. This factor is so important.

Lol wow didn’t expect this level of flame. But some really good feedback

  1. you guys all made some valid points. However most of which I cannot change. So we ll have to just go with the cards we are dealt with and make the best experience out of it. But let’s not throw flames here.

  2. fire code. I’m no expert. But I assume a brand new condo by one of the industry s best developer is meeting fire code safety regulations.

  3. no window, it sucks. I will get better pictures to show the unit in its full transparency. I still believe a lot of people don’t care but I get how it will be a shocker based on many of your shocking reactions. It’s a 20 floor condo with a great view of the skyline. Not some basement dungeon many may have imagined.

  4. cleaning, I scored 5 star on every single 20 reviews.how the unit is spotless is often part of my review. No one has issues with my process. What you guys are saying aren’t wrong but the timely cleaning service is not what I can provide.

In an ideal world, I’d want everything you recommended and charge $200 a night. But that’s not my value proposition.

Most hosts have bedrooms with windows and cleaned room without charging 200$ .
If it’s magically works for you when people have no objection to arriving to dirty room then I am guessing that’s how it will be. I don’t get away with anything, had 2 dead tiny termites on my floor and a guy gave me 1* for every category even location . My house is spotless, that’s how I like it , I still get 4* for cleanliness sometimes.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with building code, I think the room that you turned into bedroom is not actually a bedroom but a dining room if its looking into the kitchen. That’s what makes it unussual. And that’s why you get lower score on accuracy. I got lower score on accuracy also, but couldn’t understand why. Then I figured. I have 2 bedrooms that I rent out. One has king size bed, one full. I sometimes mix them up. What I don’t get why not one guest said anything. I would gladly put them in a right room.

i just did a google search and found this article. from what i can tell the universal building code allows windowless bedrooms as of 2006. http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2010/06/03/are-bedrooms-with-no-windows-a-new-trend/

Wow, who could have thought!! Still apart from fire code it’s still very unusual and a bit claustrophobic for me an I think it needs disclosure.

Just for a ridiculous comparison…folks do rent windowless rooms on cruise ships all the time. May I suggest a visual trick here? Create a “fake window” illusion for emotional impact. Hang curtains as though a windown exists. Behind the curtains either have artwork depicting a view, as if there were actually a window, or perhaps a mirror with frames within to mimic the sensation of looking out a window. Just a thought.

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