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Just need to vent a bit and hopefully pick up some pearls of wisdom along the way.
Over the last six months or so I’ve noticed two emerging problems that are getting worse:
Firstly that guests simply refuse to read house rules - and then get really shitty when they arrive and discover the house rules prevent whatever it is they assumed - usually parties or fireplace use at the height of summer. What can you do to make people understand just because we have expansive grounds you are not to hold parties, wedding receptions and family reunions for hundreds of guests at our property? So don’t ask! Or that yes there are rules around fireplace use and firewood supply!! Seriously… I’m soooo over it. I’ve politely put it all in the beginning of the listing, in the welcome pack, in the house rules, in the check-in information 2-3 times and still people do the wrong thing.
Secondly, that guests are expecting to rent our whole upmarket 4 bedroom estate home for 8 people, with 2000 sq metres of landscaped manicured grounds in a premium location for less than price of a good hotel room and then complain that we don’t provide enough services - when what we provide and don’t provide is in the listing and rules. I mean really!??!! And their expectations are escalating to the point of ridiculousness and their behaviour is correspondingly deteriorating. And its clear they not only don’t read the listing but they don’t read the house rules and then get shitty and leave poor reviews when something that is in the rules is not to their liking.
I’m seriously thinking of giving it away. This was supposed to be fun and some supplementary income - not the miserable burden its becoming. Rant over.
@anon33287864 Sorry to hear you are getting such crappy, entitled guests to the point that you want to quit.
The only advice I have is that while it’s important to make mention of all your rules and amenities multiple times, if the guests just don’t bother to read it, or somehow think it doesn’t pertain to them, it’s obviously doing no good. What you need is a way to make the guests communicate to you that they have indeed read all the information you list and state in other places and confirm that they are aware of and agree to everything.
Thanks all - if it wasn’t for forward bookings I’d take a break. But yes I’ve certainly noticed a slowdown in bookings over the last couple of weeks and international bookings have almost completely dried up - so it looks like I’ll get a slow down anyway.
Yes I’ve considered putting the rates up - and I’ll certainly look at that again when I have time. And yes re-looking at our included photos (and their captions) is a good idea. Thanks I’ll do that. And muddy thank you - yes I’ll review the house rules again and see if I can simplify them and maybe get people to acknowledge them through the check-in process. Thanks :). And yes, they are becoming an ‘entitled’ bunch - they don’t see to understand this is a fairly priced residential home and not the InterContinental with 24/7 room service!
Putting rates up can compensate for extra work in hosting that one didn’t anticipate when they started out, and somewhat make it less painful to deal with clueless guests (“Think about the money I’m making, smile sweetly all the way to the bank”) but I think even commanding higher prices doesn’t always compensate for feeling burned out by guests who ignore everything and seem to think they’re special, especially if you get a lot of them.
Thanks very much Norman - that’s very helpful as it confirms what I’ve been trying to do but need to do better. I need to review my listings and the information I send to guests on booking and check-in.
One of the things I have done to cut down on complaints about amenities that I don’t provide and are clearly listed is when I send the check in instructions I have a few paragraphs that say things such as “As is mentioned in our listing and photos we do not have a sink in the kitchenette so we provide disposable products.” As mentioned in the listing, we do not have a thermostat in the suite but are happy to raise or lower the heat setting (within reason). As mentioned in the listing and photos , the second room is either a den or a twin bedroom. This has greatly reduced the complaints about these amenities that we do not provide.
Cath, I promise you, it’s the same for every host. Every human really, none of us read terms & conditions or rules very much these days.
If a guest is booking your place for parties, take a look at your listing and see if you can figure out why. For example, I’ve rarely had a problem with noise because I stress several times ‘quiet’, peaceful’, ‘relaxing’ and other words that are definitely non-party.
If it’s too late and you have partiers in your place, get in there and insist that the people who have not booked leave at once. You mention the listing, the welcome pack and so on but do you actually explain during the house tour the sort of behaviour you find acceptable?
Remember that this is completely within your control and it’s up to you how much you charge. A house that sleeps 8 for the price of a hotel room? It sounds way too cheap. It means that people are paying, per night, one eighth of what they’d pay for a hotel room. Some people (not all) just don’t value something that they don’t pay a reasonable price for.
Sadly, the short term rental business is demanding work. And even though some hosts think it’s going to be fun, it’s still a business. Just have your business head on and you’ll be fine.
Just had SIX messages on the app with my guest coming in 2 weeks. In each of them, he responded to only one line of the HR. So I finally broke down and said “You NEED to answer this ONE question I’ve asked 5 times before I can book you.” He said “Oh, I figured I had 2 weeks before I needed to pay attention to that.” After he’d been informed I have a real job, I need to be here to let him in, and that I needed his ETA.
Make sure one of your house rules is no visitors or guests at any time other than those listed on the reservation.
I rent out a room in my house so my house rules are extremely important to me to minimize any impact on my life. Therefore, before I even accept a booking I send a message asking guests to confirm that they have read and agree to the rules and full listing details, are not smokers, and don’t mind living with a cat. I’ve had very few problem guests since I started doing this. Better to emphasize your most important rules in your welcome message or even before you accept the booking if you don’t have instant book on, to give them a chance to cancel if it doesn’t suit their needs.