So.....I had an IB booking by a guest with 15- 5 star reviews. I knew immediately upon booking that he had not read my property details thoroughly, because I have the following message in there:
**Potential guest- please introduce yourself briefly in your booking message and let me know who will be joining you on your reservation.
Please also confirm that you have reviewed all property details, and acknowledge house rules.
I look forward to hosting you and simply want to make sure that the cabin suits your needs.
IB bookings are required to write a message. His was one short sentence not related to the above. I wrote him back shortly after the booking and asked him nicely if he had reviewed everything. His response was that he had kind of skimmed over it- was there something he needed to know? What followed was a lot of back and forth messaging in which I basically spoon-fed all the property details to him. I'm very upfront in the listing about potential noise, how close the neighbors are, etc. LOTS of back and forth ensued. Mind you, this was well within the 48 hour cancellation window, so he had the opportunity to cancel if something didn't sit right.
My concern was that in HIS reviews of other hosts, it seemed that he always has something critical to say. Given his lack of attention to my listing, I had the feeling I was going to suffer the same fate.
He was pleasant during our messaging, but the whole situation made me nervous. He continued to ask questions until the day before arrival, about things clearly detailed in the listing. Whatever.
I was not on the property during his stay. He was there with his wife. I checked in and he said, "everything is nice- thanks". On checkout day he messaged and thanked me for a wonderful stay. He also asked about turning off a heater. I responded and told him what to do and said thanks. (The instructions are in the house binder, FYI.)
I came back to find the heater not totally off, the outside lights turned completely off (they are labeled "please keep on") and a couple of windows left open. (also in the binder to close windows and lock doors.)
How do I review this guy? Honestly, his lack of attention to the details that are abundantly clear in the listing was pretty annoying. His lack of attention to the very simple check-out instructions was annoying as well.
I obviously haven't gotten to read his review but I'm sure he's found fault with something. I just want to let other hosts know that he's kind of a PIA, and that some sort of criticism (fair or unfair) is likely to follow his stay.
Let me put it this way @Branka-and-Silvia0 ; I (or an employee) would never not be present when guests leave the place, regardless of what type of dwelling I was renting . If there is something missing or broken (meaning needs fixing) I would want to know about it immediately.
It is not a matter of money, though I could somewhat see that point, but of peace of mind.
@Fred13unfortunately, that's impossible. I always ask my guests about their planned check-out time and they usually have no idea in advance. Except those who have a flight to catch. Others give me some estimate +- 2 hours but it doesn't mean they will stick to it.
Today, my guests had an early flight and left at 4:30 AM, no way I would wake up and drive there for inspection in the middle of the night!
Your guests are stuck on the island and have to wait for you or swim to the shore. They have to behave hehe 😄
@Angelica-Y-Jorge0 I don't agree with you on this. When we agree to let strangers into our homes, they agree to abide by our rules, and they also agree to respect our property.
These folks did not do their best. He did not bother to read the listing, booked anyway, and definitely did not bother to read my very simple check-out procedures. FYI, they are totally common-sense, and are only written down precisely because of this situation- strangers in our homes.
I do like to be reasonable and kind, and the kindness extends to my fellow hosts. That's the only reason I'm on the forum trying to figure this out. This is a business we are all involved in, and here is a guy who can carelessly disregard all of your effort in providing good and accurate information, and sting you as he leaves.
** Leaving my property unsecured and in the complete dark in a rural area is.....not that great. Those light switches just stay in the "on" position. They have dawn to dusk sensor bulbs in them (greatest things ever!) so it was simply a matter of not touching them- or reading the label that says "outside lights- please leave on." Which is reiterated in my house manual.
@Kia272 I gave my opinion because you posted on the form. You do not have to agree with me and can host the way you want.
Here would be my suggestions to make your home more guest-friendly (you do not have to agree just suggestions).
If the lights are that important I would suggest disabling the switch and just leave it up to the sensor to do the work (we do the same on our property we have no switch and the sensor turns on/off). If you want your heater off buy a WIFI-enabled thermometer you can control from your phone. This way you control it with fewer rules and expectations for the guests.
The step of turning lights OFF without staring at a switch plate is a natural act, the step to have to read each switch plate for different instructions or remember something in a manual is not, since then becomes a 'test' that some guests are bound to fail.
Example: I got the not-so-bright idea of adding a 'master' switch to a whole dwelling upon entry, but as time went by and bedside reading lights and hurricane fans where added, sure enough two guests asked why these cool features weren't working; that is one guest too many. I cover this in the manual and during the walkthrough, still they forgot to turn the stupid master switch ON. Needless to say that switch is history.
In my way of thinking, anything that is not intuitive or can cause the slightest 'problem' unnecessarily between guest & host is eliminated - immediately.
@Fred13 So I'd be better off relying on the guest to turn ON the lights at dusk? That requires an instruction too- more disruptive to the guest rather than just not touching the (clearly labeled) light switch.
Yes, and in an ideal world I'd be controlling all of this via app, with a house full of smart features. Unfortunately, this is a very old log cabin. We had trouble just running new electric when it was renovated. There is no central HVAC system. The appliances work perfectly, but are older.
As I replace things I'll move to "smarter" items, but in the mean time, I don't feel that I am imposing on guests when I've supplied very simple instructions, and a simple, short list of things to do while staying. Everything is clearly labeled.
I have very few rules- the house is not full of signs saying do or don't. There is a binder for reference if they need it, or I'm available to ask questions of.
I expect guests to engage in simple courtesy, the same as you'd do if you were staying at your aunt's house.
In my book, being a good guest involves the fundamentals of common decency, along with the ability to read or ask questions. That's it. I'm not going to feel bad for asking a guest to pay enough attention to leave a light switch untouched.
@Kia272 tangential to your post, but fwiw I would probably turn exterior lights off while staying if they were at all observable from the house. Gratuitous artificial lighting is really disturbing to many people, not to mention wildlife-- light pollution is a thing. But I hope I would remember to turn them back on at departure if that was directed.
@Lisa723 the lighting is on the house and projects away from the house. It does not shine in the windows or any part of the interior at all. What it does do is illuminate a small portion of the property, which is pitch black otherwise. There are no road or street lights here- it is absolutely a safety issue. I feel completely unsafe without the outside lights on, let alone that you can't see your hand in front of your face outside the house. I'm aware that light pollution is a thing. In this particular situation, it is perfectly appropriate. My house, my (and guests') safety= lights on.
@Kia272 OK, then this rule could be prominently featured in your listing and you could require guests to acknowledge it before booking. I'm aware of lighting situations in rural locations; my home and my listings are also rural and one of the lovely things about them is you can see the stars at night and sleep in real darkness. Some of our neighbors have all-night "security lights" and I absolutely hate them. You don't want guests like me, and providing this detail could help you avoid them.
@Lisa723 Mine are not "security" lights. They are actually pretty mellow as far as illumination goes. They are bright enough to assist in navigating closely around the house, but not obnoxious at all. I have other outside lights that are solar and motion-sensor, so they go on and off as needed. I feel fine about my set-up as long as the lights are left on.
Not one guest has ever mentioned or complained about the lights.
@Branka-and-Silvia0 I love your idea about the tape, and will try it pronto.
I DO have solar lights around the property, but the charge is only as reliable as the sunny weather, so that can be hit or miss.
I have respect for the environment as well as my fellow human beings, so I always try to find a balance between what I feel I need to do and how it affects others. It's always a work in progress. Thanks for your input! Kia
@Lisa723 My place was like that- pitch black at night aside from moonlight. I loved it- that's why I like living in a rural area, yes, I want to see the stars.
Then one day while I was out, the municipality put a streetlight on the electric pole across from my house. Didn't even realize it until nightfall when my place was suddenly lit up like a stage set. Super bright light, too. Not only that, it glared right in my guest room window. And buzzed.
I was so upset. I had to make black-out curtains for the guest room. Then, because things are funky in Mexico, at some point that light went on the fritz. It would come on sporatically, so it wasn't burnt out, it must have had a loose wire or something. Then it went off entirely for months.
Then, again one day while I was out, they replaced the light, grrr. However, they replaced it with a much softer light, so it's not so bad now, but I still hate it.
**[Content removed in line with - Community Center Guidelines]
@Sarah977 uh, I understand your feelings about it.... the same thing where I live. A few years ago they replaced old street lights, with new, much brighter lamps and now it's shining directly into my windows and onto my pillow. I have to pull down my PVC blinds and even then the light sip through the holes.
I am also happy when the light bulbs die :D.... and angry when they replace it