I had posted that I learned a lot about cleaning having an Airbnb. I hate cleaning and have a cleaning service in my primary residence. It was clear after a few rounds with them at our Airbnb we needed to be working on some of the cleaning ourselves in addition to having a cleaner come in. We collect a lot of feedback from our guests via a suggestion box. One of the biggest challenges is meeting what I call the "personal cleanliness expectation" or PCE. PCE consists of general big ticket items like clean floors and counters, non-sticky tables, no dust bunnies, scrubbed toilets, etc. But each guest has there own individual "PCE" items-- if they see one, doesn't matter for some how nice the big ticket things are. You lose a point or more as they signal "not clean enough" to the guest.
Now some of these PCEs are over the top, so bear with me. But this is what I have discovered. I am sure a lot of other hosts will chime in (at least I hope so.)
First, bugs. Our cottage is on a big rural wooded lot. So bugs get inside. Spiders when its cold, flies and mosquitoes (and fireflies!) sometimes when its warm. Crickets any time. We have a big porch and a little vestibule between the screen and main front door. Crickets especially will wait and hop in when the lights are on. Some guests will say that the place isn't clean if they see a bug, alive or dead. This is something we work very hard to manage, but nature is gonna be nature out in the country under the trees.
Anything that is supposed to look distressed. We have a very rustic reclaimed floor in one of our bathroom made of old barn wood. Personally I love it. Its got old paint and goes well with the vibe of the house. It gets mopped and cleaned with all other floor surfaces. But one guest said it looked "old and dirty." Likewise the bedside tables in one bedroom are chalk painted and shabby chic. One guest left a comment that they weren't "crisp and new" looking (they aren't, nor are they supposed to be). If you look at all the fancy "luxe" places on Airbnb they have a very specific type of look-- white, open, clean edges, new-appearing. So be careful if your place invites a different aesthetic.
Baseboards and picture frames. Yes its common sense to dust them. But one guest told us that she does the "white glove test" on those areas before giving out 5 stars. (Good to know.)
Dark furniture. Some guests see dark, heavy furniture as "dirty" even when its not. Grays, beiges and bright colors seem not to evoke this reaction. Same with dark counters. Why? No clue.
Areas behind shelves/washer dryer/pieces of furniture. I know-- who goes behind that stuff? Guests do, especially if they have small kids or pets with toys. We were appalled to discover that the area behind the washer and dryer in our laundry room was super gross. It took some effort to move the machines and clean but now we have a long swiffer type duster thing that helps.
Your personal stuff. We had a drawer in a piece of furniture in the bathroom where we left a tube of our almost brand new toothpaste by accident. Guests found it and were unhappy... it seemed like we should have cleaned better.
Stoves and fridges. Yes, they should be clean. They should be very very clean all the time. If your place is spotless otherwise, but certain guests open a stove or fridge and sees any evidence of muck, your place is not clean enough to meet their PCE. Same goes with a microwave.
Smells. We have a solid stone built cottage with 18" thick walls (about 45 cm). We can't vent to outside for a fan without paying an exorbitant amount. We can't fit a recirculating fan under the hand built hickory cabinets because they aren't a standard size. So we don't have a toaster or allow deep frying. Why? The smells. We found out the hard way that some cooking smells (really burnt toast is the worst!) really linger in a place with 18 inch thick stone walls and only ceiling fans to help move odors along. If your place does not smell fresh right upon opening the door, its not meeting someone's PCE. This is particularly true in a place that allows pets as not all of your guests have them and no one wants to smell someone else's wet dog.
Please feel free to add what you have found!
Most guests are reasonable and appreciate a spotless place. THere will always be the fusspot who focuses on some minor problem. I think most potential guests would recognize thiso with and understand that if most reviews are positive that the negative is written by a certain type of personality.
@Eilis2 I totally agree. But I had posted on another thread that I had learned to identify certain things that set guests off about cleanliness, so a couple of posters asked that I tell them what I found out.
well my personal one, as a new host, is from a guest who failed to read the listing, and decided our house wasn't clean because we have dogs, which came as a surprise to him when he arrived, despite this being very clear in the listing and other guests giving us 5 stars as "spotless".
Sometimes you can't win. We are in a rural cliff-top village near the sea, and I suspect, from one personal feedback comment, that they won't be the last to mistake "salty-windows" (as we call them round these parts, due to the airborne spray from the waves in high weather) for dirty windows.
I'm sure guests would love me to hose down their bedroom window at 8am with a pressure hose and wake them so they can have a nice sea view unimpeded by the sea salt that nature deposited there in the night....
It's only a matter of time before we get a complaint that the sound of the sea kept them awake 😉
*tip, shut the bedroom window?
We are meeting the nicest people on Airbnb. *gritted teeth*
@Kevin1322, hopefully it gets better. Most guests are lovely but you do get those who don't like to read, or don't understand the entire business model. I could TOTALLY see someone thinking a salty window was dirty, based on my experience.
I just don't understand people who are on holidays with their friends/family in another city/country... and they spend their time sniffing around with a magnifying glass looking for dust under the bed or behind the laundry machine. Don't they have any better and funnier things to do???
I spent a night in one b&b 2 weeks ago with 2 of my friends, and I don't even remember the color of bathroom tiles, towels or walls ... But I remember we had great two days on that trip and laughed a lot :)))
I had a female guest who explained to me that, in order to get the bathroomfittings perfect, You have to clean them with a toothbrush. I didn't know that, did You?
After that incident I started my "not for picky people" campaign. That was in the summer of 2017. Haven't had a problem ever since.
@Ute42eehh, Zagreb has very hard water which leaves water stains on all surfaces. So yes, toothbrush and all kind of brushes and vinegar are must-have here and I am not happy about it as you can probably immagine:)
@Branka-and-Silvia0in the 1980s and 90s my work took me all over Europe, Scandinavia, eastern and western Europe, and most of the fun of staying in different countries were the differences, as young working men we didn't pay any attention at all to a crusty tap, it was just the way things were, we enjoyed the people and the cultures and the other things we had in common. I think modern travellers expect too much sometimes, and want every country and city to be the same.
Some travelers believe they are entitled to perfection. Luckily that's a small percentage. I also think some people would love a free stay so they look for reasons they might get one.
@Laura2592 some seem to expect hotel quality for backpacker prices. I read that on another post and it totally resonated with me.
Funnily enough we have just offered a guest a free stay (extend his trip), as he's been such a pleasure to have around the place for the last few days.
It's quite liberating to be able to offer something to people who deserve it rather than those who think they are entitled to it, isn't it.
Sad to be hearing this. I thought Airbnb was for the experience of something more informal, unique, less 'standard', not pristine but 'interesting' and local.