Foreign (non-English speaking) guest booked three months ago for one, said she wasn’t sure if her friend would be coming. No problem - I asked her to let me know before her arrival if there were any changes to the number of guests. (Lesson 1: I should have confirmed the number of guests with her a few days before her arrival.)
She shows up Friday afternoon, could not figure out the keypad/deadbolt combination, and messaged me. We went back and forth in broken English, sending photos with circles and arrows identifying what to do; it was sorted out in 2-3 minutes, max, including letting her know where to park.
Meanwhile, I’ve fired up the Live View on my Ring doorbell and I see there are SIX people outside retrieving suitcases from a minivan. Argh. Messaged guest a photo of the scene through the Air app and said I didn’t realize she had five other people with her, we would be happy to bring more towels…oh, and you need to pay for the extra guests. She is fine with that (even said in her previous messaging she would be happy to pay for extra guests if they came), and gives cash to co-host. (Lesson 2: I should have called Air and asked them to call guest and explain extra guest situation in her native language.) Guest proceeds to introduce her bf, her parents, and his parents to co-host. Lots of nodding and smiling, as none of the extended family members speak any English. Co-host says if you need anything, please come upstairs and ask.
I get messaged the next morning at 6:40am. Guest tells me that fire alarm had gone off at 6:00. Asked my beleagured, bleary-eyed co-host to go downstairs to check. Guest says it stopped by itself very quickly - no one in the group can tell him which alarm went off. Guest does not seem particularly concerned or upset by the alarm, and thanks co-host for checking on things.
Blessedly, there were no other incidents. Co-host helped guests to plan their sightseeing, even drew them detailed maps of the area. Gave them a coupon for the good pizza place when they asked for a recommendation. He brought them extra blankets and turned the furnace up to 72 when they mentioned it was a little cold overnight. (Lesson 3: my co-host is awesome.)
They departed about an hour before check-out, and left all the towels and blankets neatly folded. Guest messaged to say thank you for stay as they left.
She submitted her review today - 3 stars overall, with 3 each for location, check-in and value - but then I realize – it’s IN MANDARIN. Woo-hoo! So her review is at the very bottom, page 8, where 99% of my potential future guests are unlikely to see it, let alone understand what it says. Oddly enough, there was no mention at all of the fire alarm; in fact, the tone of the review (I ran it through Google Translate) seemed neutral-to-positive overall.
At the end of the day, I’m still 5.0 overall, 4.92 for this listing. I can live with that. What a difference a year of hosting (and hanging out here) makes.