As a host don't offer too much

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10
968 Views

As nice as most guests are, at times I feel I just can't keep ahead of what they consider is theirs and what is mine. Sometimes  I feel this is the most full-proof and foolproof way to host........

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Nothing there a guest can steal or break, plus they get the uniqueness of an 'out of body'  experience!

 

Despite the fact I point out the wine in a small 1 dozen wine rack is not complimentary...does not form a part of the hosting agreement, it's like the library of books, I don't expect guests to walk out with a bundle under their arm....... I am consistently losing a bottle or two of wine. I had one over-nighter who plowed his way through 3 bottles. When I challenged him about it, his reaction was, "I am paying for it, might as well make the most of it'!

 

A guest came into me some time ago asking for a bandaid strip, she had cut her finger. I told her there was a fully stocked medicine cabinet in the bathroom,

and she said to me, she had looked, but it was empty!

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I couldn't comprehend that, granted I don't check it every turnaround but it was well stocked and I asked to have a look for myself (after giving her a bandaid strip) and sure enough....empty, not a bloody thing left in there, even the scissors, tweezers, gone...just left with a big empty box! Why would someone do that?

They take what ever cakes of soap they can lay their hands on!

I put a block of chocolate out for each guest, I get them at a really good price from our local supermarket and I buy them in lots of 2 dozen at a time, costs me about 70c per block.....

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One guest got into the restock cupboard and.....my 2 dozen chocolate bars turned into 15, probably thought any more than 9 might be pushing the choke a bit but up to 9 wouldn't matter!

Each time this happens I learn a bit from it, tighten the security a bit and make sure I do a bit more checking each time I service the listing. But this is all time consuming, we should not have to do it, why can't we just trust people?

 

Well last review revealed yet another weakness in my checking regime! I provide as part of the library about 400 DVD's and CD's that guests can watch and listen to. Here is that last review......

B&K review.png

 

I had never even given a thought to checking every DVD and CD sleeve each turnaround but, it appears it's either that or just remove them from the listing.

I am stuck because a high percentage of my business comes from the homeliness and atmosphere of what I provide. I don't want to go back to a ' bare bones'  listing but I am being constantly reminded that trust is not the wisest of attributes for an STR host to have!

 

What are others experiences with this?

 

Cheers.......Rob

  

 

Tags (2)
35 Replies

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Robin4  As you know, I'm a home-share host and I have never had a guest take advantage like that, in fact quite the opposite. I've had guests buy and leave a pound of coffee, even though I tell guests that they are free to help themselves to coffee and tea. If I offer to share a bottle of wine with them one night, they'll come home the next night  with a bottle of wine.

 

In a whole house listing, though, I think you have to be very careful about what you leave accessible to guests. Alcohol is a big one- leaving a bottle for a guest if that's something you like you do or because you know they are celebrating their anniversary is fine, but there are people you just can't leave alcohol around- they will drink it all until it's gone. Same for chocolate and other things people can have addictions to.

 

A friend in Canada who's been hosting a private suite in her home for years, with very few issues, had a guest who stole most of her CD collection that she'd left in the suite for guests to enjoy. 

 

As far as the cds that are missing from your sleeves, it could also have been guests not purposely stealing them, but taking them to listen to in the car while they were staying with you, and just forgetting to return them before they left.

 

I just wouldn't leave extras as far as consumables beyond what you feel is reasonable for the number of guests and the length of stay. Lock that supply cupbboard or keep the stuff somewhere guests don't go. And as far as CDs and such, don't leave anything that is precious to you that you'd be upset about losing.

 

It's too bad to have to be like that- who would ever think a guest would bother  to help themselves to bars of soap- but rather than end up disappointed and dismayed at guests' bad manners, just don't give them access to anything you don't want them to take, aside from the furnishings. 

 

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

@Sarah977 

Good points Sarah, I am at the crossroads with some things like the wine, time has come to remove the rack. Maybe it's just me but I would never in a fit presume to help myself to other peoples things without asking, particularly when it has been pointed out that the wine is a private thing, but there you go!

 

As I have said to Pat further down this thread it doesn't happen often, and where I differ from you Sarah, you host on a longer term basis and in a more shared environment and you develop an empathy with your guest much more so than we do. We host an average of 10+ guests a month, September we hosted 15 stays, October we hosted 16....the guest is not here long enough to develop that close trusting relationship that you would have with your guests.

 

The good far outweighs the bad though Sarah and I don't go into each stay looking for issues, but I don't like being let down when they do happen, maybe that's a weakness on my part!

 

Cheers........Rob

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Robin4  I wouldn't call it a weakness, but lowering your expectations of people can help to not be dismayed because they  don't behave in ways that you, your family, and those you choose to be friends with do.

 

I used to trust everyone, because the people I've associated with in my life have been trustworthy. Sure some aren't trustworthy in things like actually showing up when they say they will, or remembering to email me some info I asked for, but they certainly aren't people who are going to help themselves to things which aren't theirs, or lie. 

 

But I've gotten burned enough times by people outside of my friends and family that I now no longer blindly trust those I don't know well. I don't distrust them, but I don't trust them until they prove themselves to be trustworthy.

 

I do sit around and chat and have fun with a lot of my guests, but some I actually hardly see. They're out and about all day, they eat out and don't avail themselves of the kitchen, other than to fill their water bottle or stash a beer in the fridge, and they are more private- when they're here, they are up in their room. But even though they have access to my entire house, and I may not always be home when they are, I've never had anything go missing, nor found that they helped themselves to my liquor or food. Of course, I don't leave things like cash or credit cards around, but I got into the habit of stashing that stuff away back when my kids were teenagers. They had friends over all the time, and I once did have money go missing, so I made sure not to  leave that sort of temptation around.

 

 

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 2

Sonetimes the really friendly chatty guest can be the worst and you find out afterwards

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

Ugh, that's just awful @Robin4. I'm sure the majority of your guests are wonderful and nothing to worry about with them, but it only takes a few to ruin it for everyone, doesn't it? I have not experienced anything like that, but I'm a mean host and don't leave goodies for guests. 

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
Greenville, SC
Level 10

@Colleen253  You’re not fooling me for a minute, Colleen…by your reviews I’m willing to wager a considerable sum that you are not a “mean” host. 🤗

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
Greenville, SC
Level 10

It’s nice to hear from you, Rob…I was wondering what you’d been up to!

 

I have found it to be a fine line between wanting to stand out by providing those few little “extras”, and my reticence to provide new opportunities for those items to be lost, stolen, damaged, require extra cleaning, have the potential to create safety issues, or give the guest additional items to complain about according to their tastes. 🙂 I suppose after all of these years that I’ve been hosting, I now err on the side of simplicity, easy maintenance, and durability.

 

I’d like to dig deeper into this comment you made:

 

I am stuck because a high percentage of my business comes from the homeliness and atmosphere of what I provide.”

 

Are you *sure* that this represents a high percentage of your business? How do you know? This is all very dependent on your location…are your guests coming to visit the area, using your place as a base, or is their main objective almost exclusively to come and spend time at your place? Or a little of both, and at what ratio?

 

I would venture to say that the majority of guests on vacation consider the country, city, location and surrounding attractions first, before settling on the accompanying accommodations. That is certainly true where my properties are located. I strive to provide simple, pleasurable, comfortable accommodations as a home base for guests, so that they can have a good night’s sleep before and after being out and about on adventures and explorations during the day.

 

Of course, no one knows your location better than you, but this question is worth occasional evaluation.

 

I have made the decision a couple of times to cut down on some of the extras I was providing, as an experiment to try to quantify what value the items were providing. I continued to get the same enthusiastic reviews without those items. Guests don’t miss what they don’t have. 🙂

 

I still provide enough to get the “above and beyond” reviews - fully stocked kitchen, high-quality linens and towels, boogie boards, umbrellas, beach chairs, etc.

 

Of course, you may just enjoy providing extras, regardless of how they pencil out in the cost-benefit analysis. If that is the case, I suppose you have to have somewhat of a forgiving attitude and simply let out a deep sigh and replace the items when the occasional guest gets too greedy. 🙂

 

 

 

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

@Pat271 

Yeah Pat, there are over 400 listings in my Adelaide Hills area (300+ of them on Airbnb) and I would estimate almost half our guests say they booked because of the positive reviews and the mentions of what is provided in the various reviews. They felt comfortable they were making a good decision to stay here over one of those other 300 based on what they read!

We do go out of our way to make the place homely, I can't make The Ritz out of it.....it's just an old garage so I don't emphasise what I can't control Pat, but I make the most of what I can.

 

We quite often share a meal with guests but I make a point of telling them not to mention meals in the review process, it can be seen as a negative if a meal is not forthcoming to some future guests, they could possibly feel like they are being 'short changed' if they don't get an invite.

 

To put this in perspective Pat, @Sarah977  says she has quite the opposite experience, and, 95% of the time we do too. Most guests are wonderful and many leave gifts for us. One couple walked up the drive with a bottle of wine for me and a bunch of flowers for Ade before they even checked-in!  

But when you host an average of 10 stays per month which we consistently do, there is probably one every 6 weeks or so in there that feel need to stretch the 'Value'  boundary a bit, and it doesn't matter how much I plug the holes....they seem to find ways around them.

 

Also Pat, yes I do enjoy hosting, some of my experiences have been absolutely marvelous, the money is great but so is the experience, and I do like to do that bit extra. If they ask I will go out of my way to assist and accommodate them.

One recent guest took some plants and cuttings from our garden. I was quite happy to go round with the shovel and secateurs and offer him stuff we had an abundance of......because he asked, what I don't like is being taken advantage of.

It doesn't happen often but it annoys me when it does, probably more so because of the way we do put ourselves out there for guests. 

 

Good to hear from you Pat, hope you are safe and well there in South Carolina, all the best.

 

Cheers.......Rob 

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

@Robin4 Truly great hospitality is all about making guests feel instantly at home, welcomed and comfortable. Making sure every need is attended to. That’s what your guests rave about and it’s what matters. Keep

doing that, and I guarantee you your guest reviews would not falter, nor would your bookings, were you to remove any of those little extras that are the occasional source of frustration for you. 

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

@Colleen253 

Thanks Colleen, that's a lovely comment. 

You know I have frequent conversations with support, and one of the first things they do is thank me and tell me how great a company ambassador I am by being a Superhost....you no doubt get the same thing.

I stop them at that point and I tell them that Superhost is not an Airbnb award, it is a guest award, and the reason we get it is because we have a desire to treat guests as we would want to be treated if the tables were turned.....it is a guest award!

 

You are right, the hand of friendship means as much as the dollars in the bank and the reality is I am not going to change my hosting style because of that odd bad apple in the barrel. 

 

Colleen, I had a guest book here from another state 700 Kms away. They were part of a world wide service club organisation...Kiwanis, Rotary, Toc H, something like that, and they had staying with them a 67 year old Japanese woman as part of an exchange program. They decided to show this Japanese woman what the Australian outback looked like and booked to stay a night here on their way home, back to Mt Macedon in Victoria.

It was a lovely warm summer afternoon and we all sat around a table in the garden with our wine/bubbles and a nibble plate and at one point I made mention I had a piano in my 'mancave'. The Japanese woman, (in the worst English I have ever heard) asked if she could see the piano. We went into the mancave and this woman sat down at that piano and she was.....hands down.....the best jazz pianist I have ever heard. She loved what she was doing and we loved listening to her. We ordered takeaway and ate and drank long into what was a night I will never forget.

You can't manufacture things like that Colleen, they just happen, they come out of nowhere and they are the reason I host.....it enriches my life beyond belief!  

 

Cheers........Rob

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Level 5

@Robin4 sounds to me you need a higher caliber of guest, maybe raise your price?

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Nina69  Wealth is not the determining factor in whether people are of "high caliber".

 

And Rob says 95% of his guests are great. He's just dismayed that anyone takes advantage, even though they are a small minority.

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
Clare, Australia
Level 10

@Robin4 

I love that dark seasalt caramel. 

Pleading guilty to raiding your stockpile although I haven't been to Mt Barker since May... All the best mate.

Re: As a host don't offer too much

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

@Charles224 

Your'e a bloody hoot Charles.....how is that Honda going, don't you just love it?

 

Cheers.......Rob

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