Reposting for 2nd time as I noticed my post disappeared.
I’m a traditional home-sharing host. Been doing this for 2 years and have enjoyed opening up my home and welcoming everyone from different countries and ethnicities. Pre-COVID, my overseas guests usual stay as long as 2.5 weeks and have been fantastic. Due to the pandemic, that’s halted and I get more locals or out of staters. My current guests are here for a month from out of state, looking to purchase a home here in FL. They are an older Vietnamese couple who speaks a little English and the room was booked by their daughter. The first week was great as I was busy with work (I’m a night shift nurse) so we hardly saw each other as they were out house hunting. The second and third week as my work schedule changed, it seems my presence in my own home is an issue.
My first concern is they brought their realtor to my home and sat at my dining room table and started working as if this was their house and I was the guest. After they were done, I privately spoke to the realtor who said the coffee shop was having power issues and thought it was ok to work at my home with his clients. I told him his clients rented a room in my home and not my entire house, and he would need permission from me. Am I being too unreasonable? Because after he interpreted that to his clients (my guests), the wife didn’t want to look or talk to me again for several days!
Secondly, before booking the room, their daughter requested a discount and since I’ve never had guests stay a month, I figured why not so I heavily discounted the room. My rookie hosting self, hadn’t anticipated her parents would cook three times per day making it at times difficult for me to even cook and prep my own meals for work. Some of my pots I can’t even use as they use it every single day, multiple times per day. Is that too excessive? Or I should’ve known for a month stay that was expected? And since they don’t drive, they stay in my home all day after house hunting for about 4 hours. I have a doorbell video camera so I see the times they leave and come back.
Lastly, (I have a lot more, but I can’t write an entire book), when I come home from work the next morning and don’t have to go back to work that evening, I like to sit down on my couch and catch-up on some movies or shows I’ve DVR’d. As soon as I’m in my living room, the wife lets out a big sigh, angrily speaks to her husband in Vietnamese, and goes to her room and starts talking on her speaker phone as if I should know better than to come downstairs. The television volume is never loud and besides, their first week I wanted to show her how to operate the living room TV, but she insisted she preferred watching it on her own tablet she brought with her. One day, she stormed out of my home and her poor husband just followed, when she saw I had sat down on my living room couch to watch TV. Everyday her husband sees me (as he’s there in my kitchen cooking), he asks “Am I going into work today?” I always want to make my guests feel welcome but I can’t help but sense from the wife particularly, I should respect them by not coming home period!
@Chastity3 The app has a little count down timer to the hour to leave a review. I haven't done that yet and could see why it might seem a little sly but host can be at such a disadvantage. I would for someone likely never coming back again. In a way your story was kind of comical, although sounds like you will be happy to move on.
@Chastity3 When you complete your review, remember that it's only going to appear on the profile of the daughter. So the only relevant details are going to concern your limited interaction with the daughter, not the behavior of her parents. I would write something like:
"xxx reserved my guestroom for her parents. They would have been better suited to an entire home or hotel. As a result of this experience, I will no longer be accepting third-party bookings."
Your pre-written review might become useful as a public response if the daughter has the nerve to write a negative review on behalf of her parents, but otherwise it's warning hosts about the wrong guest.
In the future, if you're still open to longer bookings, I'd strongly suggest engaging in more direct discussion with the person(s) actually staying there before accepting the request. People staying for more than just a week or two are going to be more like housemates than guests, so as an in-home host your quality of life will depend on the guests being a good fit for your lifestyle.
And if you have any indications early in the stay that the guest is unhappy with the accommodation, and the issue isn't something you can simply fix like a broken appliance, the best course of action is usually to offer a checkout date change to end the booking early and refund the unused nights. Of course you present that as a gesture of kindness and compassion, but the subtext is "put up or shut up."
@Andrew0 My pre-written review falls along the same lines that you have mentioned!
After two weeks of my current guests, I had changed the booking window to 15 days. In the future I will definitely make sure to have a more direct conversation regarding expectations in my home. I can't assume as I did with these current guests. When I discussed parking at my home and around the community with their daughter, it was at that time she reveals her parents won't be driving and I would need to have the realtor added to the guest list to enter the neighbor as he would be the one picking them up. Unfortunately, that discussion happened a few days before their arrival and I knew they would probably be at my home more than I was anticipating.
@Chastity3 When I first set up my home share listing in late 2016, I set a 2 week maximum and have kept that all along. I figured if I got a guest I didn't feel comfortable around, I could stick it out for 2 weeks max.
The whole reason I started the str was because my guest room sat empty most of the year, unless I had friends or family visiting. I had no interest in feeling like I had a full time roommate.
@Sarah977 @I have two extra bedrooms but decided to convert one into an office and the other I rent. I’ve noticed I don’t have the patients for more than 2 weeks, especially when I get guests who decide to use my home as their “staycation.”
Lately, if I need a break, I will shut down my listing for a few weeks to just enjoy my home again all to myself.
@Chastity3 You should never ever have to be made to feel uncomfortable in your own house. But, at this point, you may as well suck it up for the final week. If you could roll back time, or for future issues, other than the great advice you've already gotten on tweaks to the listing itself, when there is the first sign of an issue, be more pro active and have a gentle, humorous if possible, conversation w/guests to reset their expectations.
@Chastity3 You have been so patient with your guests. One thing to add to all the good advice here, when I've traveled or done business with Asians, I've learned it's extremely offensive to point out a mistake. For instance, I checked into a hotel in Vietnam once, and they did not have the room I thought I had ordered. I remembered this advice and made a big deal out of how it must have been MY mistake, I was so sorry to have brought it up, etc. Their response was to upgrade me and to treat me like a queen the whole time I was there. I saw some other Americans berating the manager for something and all I can tell you is that they did not get the result they were looking for.
You have NOT done anything like that, or done anything wrong at all, but I think you've come up against this cultural difference. So it's possible you still can, through the daughter, apologize profusely for being unclear about the set-up and then tell them how you plan to use your own space in your own home for the remainder of the stay. I think you can save this situation.
@Chastity3, I like that you've been patient, especially because of the language barrier but the daughter speaks English, doesn't she? So let her know your discomfort but keep it short and factual (they are her parents, after all). Hopefully, she will help them to understand your discomfort and you may learn a thing or two about their perspective also. I see that you've already revised your listing to be more specific. Hope everything works out ok.
@Flavia202 The daughter speaks English. The daughter had asked that I speak to her directly if I need to communicate with her parents. Her daughter is also a nurse and the first time I spoke with her regarding a small inquiry it took almost 12 hours to get a response back. At that time, I had already communicated what I needed to her mom who understands and speaks better English than they let on.
What I had gathered from when speaking to her mom, she doesn’t seems to take constructive criticism well. So I had decided, the final week with a few days remaining, I would kindly say good morning or good evening and that’s it. I don’t engage in conversation with her daughter as her mom has most likely told her version of stories.
@Chastity3I feel for you as I have also gone through similar issues being a home host. Initially I was very accommodating, then as guest after guest abused their priviledges, I had to reduce access. I now explicitly state that guests have no access to my kitchen, laundry facilities or living room. The only room they have access to apart from the bedrooms + bathrooms they rent is my formal dining room which my family doesn't use much as we have a breakfast area off the kitchen where we tend to eat most meals.
On occasions, I have relaxed my rules once the guests have stayed with me a night or 2, and I have had time to assess them. Mostly this has worked out well, a couple of times I've regretted it (for example when I let a guest use my microwave and they boiled live crabs which exploded making a horrendous mess. Took days to get rid of the smell!).
It's a shame because the entitled guests who abuse hosts' hospitality ruin it for other guests.
I would definitely recommend being strict in your written rules, and then making an occasional exception for those guests that you feel you can trust not to abuse those exceptions. And certainly if a guest pushes hard to get an exception then I would say "No", as those guests are the ones you bend over backwards for and who still leave you 4 stars and a bad review.
@Fiona243 Thank you for sharing your experiences. I plan on updating my house manual with boundaries set. My family have told me that I’m allowing too much.
I had a couple last year book my room for 2 nights only (my minimum). Due to their late flight, two nights basically turned into a 1.5 night stay and in that little time, they had a full load of laundry to wash. The only reason why I had found out was I happened to be called off from work that night, so I was home and knowing they leave the next day they took the opportunity to use my washing machine. I had never set rules about who should have the privilege to use my washer and dryer. Not anymore. If I don’t set boundaries, the guests will use things freely without their conscious bothering them.