House not ready at check in

in
Burbank, CA
Level 8
1,981 Views

Sometimes my cleaners cut it really close and the house is barely ready by check-in time. It hasn’t become an issue yet, but I am thinking ahead to when it may be...if a guest shows up and the house is not ready, what do you think my response should be as a host? Of course I would apologize, but should I also compensate them monetarily? Offer a late check out? Something else?

16 Replies

Re: House not ready at check in

in
Greenville, SC
Level 10

More importantly than what you tell your guests, I’d have a real heart-to-heart with your cleaners.  It could be that back-to-backs are too hard on them, and more cleaners are needed to get it cleaned on time.  Or you may decide with them not to schedule back-to-backs at all (not a bad idea during these COVID times).

 

Communication is also important - if the housecleaners communicate with you that they might run late, you can message the guest and find out what time they are arriving, and ask them for an extra hour or 2 if they were planning to arrive right at check-in time.  This is preferable to having the guests show up at an unclean or half-cleaned place, and they may have not been planning to show up right at check-in time anyway.

 

IMO, a clean place is paramount to a good stay.  It is the very first impression your guests experience when they walk through the door.  Therefore, I would definitely offer compensation, or something fun like a discount off a good restaurant, etc. if they do indeed arrive at your place and it has not been cleaned, or is late getting cleaned.  Your idea of offering a late check-out is a good one, too.

Re: House not ready at check in

in
Gladstone, Australia
Level 10

Perhaps scheduling a spare day between guests will allow additional time for cleaning . During this time every single surface needs cleaning , its not like a quick clean can happen.

Communication with guests on the day of arrival could also help.

Re: House not ready at check in

in
Wilmington, NC
Level 10

@David-and-Annie0  As others said, if you're having a problem getting the rental turned over, that's your issue. Are your cleaners just slow? Or do you need to increase the time between check-out and check-in?

 

Prevention of this problem is really what you should focus on. A good talk with your cleaners is probably the place to start.

Re: House not ready at check in

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@David-and-Annie0  I would consider getting another set of cleaners and/or give yourself a longer window between check in/check out, unless there has been some kind of emergency where a repair had to be done or some damage was found at the last minute there is really no excuse to make guests wait.  Hosts are generally pretty hard on guests who arrive early or who fail to stick to whatever time frame for arrival has been agreed on, so, hosts have to stick to our end, and have the place ready when we say it will be.  

Re: House not ready at check in

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

@David-and-Annie0 I would move the check out time forward to 11.00 or even 10.00am. That would give 25-50% more time for cleaning

Re: House not ready at check in

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

There's nothing quite as deflating as turning up to an Airbnb (or hotel room) only to find it isn't ready, @David-and-Annie0.

I checked into a Phuket Airbnb last year only to see an unmade bed and a dirty loo. While we're in touch with reality, we don't want to see previous guest's detritus as it reminds us we're jumping into a barely-cold bed.

I won't repeat any of the advice offered, above, other that to say it's a coffee stain that'll likely remain throughout the stay and beyond.

Re: House not ready at check in

in
Burbank, CA
Level 8

Of course, guests contacted me around 9 last night, said there were used tissues in between some pillows on one of the beds. I immediately contacted our cleaning lady and she went to the house to change the sheets. 
But I am mortified that the house was not ready and seems like the cleaning was rushed. The guest was nice about it, but I’m not sure what to do now. Offer to wave some of the cleaning fee? Or all of it? Or comp her a night? Or just let it lie (and probably get a bad review)?

Re: House not ready at check in

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@David-and-Annie0  I would express your mortification to the guest and refund the whole cleaning fee, if it were me. 

It sounds to me like you need to find yourself some new cleaners. Some spot missed in cleaning is one thing, used tissues between the pillows is totally gross. 

How long do your cleaners have to do the job? Either they are lax cleaners or you are expecting them to do more than is possible in the allotted time.

Re: House not ready at check in

in
Burbank, CA
Level 8

They were running late and my head lady told me one of her girls got a flat tire. (Which I find dubious) They really didn’t have enough time to thoroughly clean before the guests checked in. 
I would like to find new cleaners and I have tried (based on other mistakes they have made), but it has proved extremely hard to find people in the area we’re in. Many are very unreliable or do not even get back to me when I inquire about their services. So far, these cleaners are the best we’ve been able to find, unfortunately. Often I drive up there and check out/fix their work, but I can’t always do that. 
If I refund the guest the cleaning fee, do I dock pay to my cleaners?

Re: House not ready at check in

in
Saskatchewan, Canada
Level 10

@David-and-Annie0 @if your cleaners are cutting it that close it’s because:

1) they’ve got this and can complete it on time but it panicked  you.

2) they are not reliable and are definitely cutting corners to get done in time.

3) you are asking them to complete the turnover without enough time. 
Do you get great review feedback on cleanliness? Do you go there to check up on their work when possible? Have you cleaned it previously and allot the right amount of hours to have the place clean after a dirty/messy guest? 

You probably know the answers to these questions and why cleaning on time is an issue. If you don’t have the place clean and turned over in time you should be very apologetic and offer something in return, but beware I assume you would be docked stars by most guests anyway. 
Used tissue between pillows means your cleaners are not even changing linens. In my experience I can pay cleaners but they will never clean or care the way I do because it is my business. 

Re: House not ready at check in

Level 2

Hi David,

 

this is my 1st reply post on Airbnb Community, I hope it helps u for my experience on handling 50 homes in Kuala Lumpur.

 

1. Set an expectation check-in time for guests to prevent guests arrive earlier.

2. Make sure our cleaner clean before check-in time.0

3. If we were unable to clean the home on time, we will inform the guest 1 hour earlier. to manage their expectation.

4. If the guest is urgent on check-in, u may let them put luggage 1st in the home.

 

My experience told me always, Cleanliness always the most important in a home. (Especially during COVID-19 pandemic).

 

Always set guest expectations, keep communicate with guests. Don't always try to think of compensation. Hope this idea helps you

 

Re: House not ready at check in

in
Burbank, CA
Level 8

I expressed how mortified we were by the situation and apologized profusely. I offered to comp another night for the guests (they had expressed interest in this before their check in day, asking me how much it would be to add a night), or, alternatively, if there was anything else we could do. I sent this message to her yesterday, late morning. I waited all day and night for her to respond but there’s been nothing. Crickets. (I sent it through Airbnb messaging, did not text her personal number—which maybe I should have?)


Their booking has them checking out today. I’m not sure if she’s going to take us up on our offer of another night or not.
My imagination is going wild, thinking that she must be furious to not even respond to my trying to make things better. So, I am getting prepared for a scathing review (and having to have a serious confrontation with my cleaning people). 
Is all hope lost at this point? Should I offer to comp her the cleaning fee? Or since she is not even communicating with me, would this end up being a useless and unappreciated gesture? If I do comp her the cleaning fee, at this point she’ll probably still leave a bad review. Sigh. I wish I could have a do-over here. 

Any advice/thoughts out there?

Re: House not ready at check in

in
Oregon City, OR
Level 10

@David-and-Annie0 this is undoubtedly occupying your mind much more than.your guest’s. I think you have done what you can for now wrt this guest and the ball is in her court.

 

Your cleaners are another matter. I would be focusing on finding a replacement.

Re: House not ready at check in

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

It's an amazing listing, @David-and-Annie0.

You've said the guests were OK about it, but I think I'd err in favour of getting in touch soon after their departure. I wouldn't dive in with an offer of compensation, more rather to gauge their mood. A killer cleanliness score could seriously dent your rating so early in your Airbnb career.
 

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