NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10
1,509 Views

Do other hosts seem to get a mixed bag of either lovely or ungrateful, overly demanding guests on the holidays? I am beginning to wonder if I am cursed with terrible, impossible-to-please guests on the holidays. I have awful New Years guests and today I feel sad and uncomfortable in my home... I worked an entire year to recover from last years entitled, winter holiday nasties. Dreading that my excellent rating will again be destroyed by another awful couple that should have stayed in a hotel or at home.

 

I don't want to sound ungreatful myself: Most of my guests are wonderful! Most follow basic etiquette (or are fair/apologetic when they do not). Most are extremely positive about the accommodation and the extra care they get,  on top of a great deal of an entire, temporary home for the price of a single hotel room.

 

My last years New Years guests were snotty and entitled, but this years guests have topped them! There have been mishaps. (It’s a lot to maintain.) It’s tough for everyone on major holidays. The property is beautiful and beautifully furnished, but it is FAR from perfect. It is not a hotel (and not a hotel price either). Mishaps happen – especially at busy times. We are all human. Cannot get my head around ungracious people like this.

 

Unfortunately this year there was a last minute problem with the fridge thermostat not keeping a good enough temperature over the winter holidays…

 

These people were so rude and unthankful for my efforts to fix the problem. Nothing was enough. Not one ‘thank you’ or show of understanding. Even though I offered money off, as well as immediately working to provide a replacement fridge the same night (which I fully acknowledged was not ideal and apologies profusely for).

 

Even though I am a relatively small-framed female, it was too much to ask the husband for help bringing the replacement fridge inside. Even though the problem occurred over the Christmas/New Years season there was no allowances made. Even though I dealt with the matter that night, when I arrived (giving them my own fridge/freezer) I was snapped at that ‘it was a terrible time to come!’. Even though I had lugged such a heavy thing 3/4 of the way by myself and the husband is 30’something, again I was snapped at that the husband was busy and I should have found someone else to help me carry the heavy thing over the fence – yes at night in the countryside, just before New Years.

 

Maybe it’s shark mentality. You know, ‘blood in the water’? I have found that while some people will be satisfied when they are shown respect and remorse for a mistake (especially if they are given a monetary discount as well) others go for the throat.

 

QUESTIONS PLEASE:

1) Does anyone have any advice on how much money I should give off? I refunded the full cleaning fee to the people before.

2) I don’t feel comfortable leaving a neutral review for these ‘guests’. They were pretty awful about the fridge (And they were just generally charmless before the incident – not responding to my repeat messages requesting their ETA. Then being unfriendly when I arrived 20 minutes after they came. I had no idea when they would come and they had written instructions that they were free to enter the property and make themselves comfortable.)

 

 

STORY FOR THOSE WHO FEEL LIKE READING:

 

Guests before Christmas left the fridge it full of stuff and the door slightly open. With the heating on, after a week I guess it broke the thermostat. True, my fault for not noticing. We are all human. I wasn’t sure if it was broken, because I only found out 2 hours before the Christmas guests arrived. It is no surprise that I could neither get the fridge fixed, nor a new one delivered during this time… The Christmas guests said it wasn’t bad and left writing a lovely note thanking me for a “special and perfect Christmas”. The fridge unfortunately did stink of fish/meat after. So, I offered money-off to the pre-New Years back-to-back guests who came in between. They also said the issue wasn’t that bad… Regardless, I couldn’t get anything delivered, but was convinced the fridge was at an acceptable level (a part from it being freezing outside just in case.

 

So the New Years Guests…

It started with them not answering my repeated requests to give their arrival time. It’s not a big deal to me if people don’t answer straight away, but by 2pm they still hadn’t responded at all (check in is flexible after 3pm). They’ve booked 6 weeks before and I haven’t heard a thing from them since. In my limited 1.5 years experience people like this tend to show up between 8 and10 pm, but at this point I am not even sure if they are coming at all because there has been no contact.

 

Like most of us over the holidays I have back-to-backs. Like most of us, my interest is to make the property clean and comfortable. time is extremely tight – unless I didn’t actually clean everything thoroughly or maybe had a team of people. If I know guests are coming after 3pm, it gives me time to spend some extra effort doing extra nice things for them (flowers etc). This time I was spending extra time cleaning and deodorising the faulty fridge.

 

If I know they are coming at 3pm I stop at 2:30 so I can tidy up to be there to greet them, but I still hadn’t heard anything. At 2:50pm I finished cleaning, left the door unlocked, raced back to the main house to have a quick shower and dress. At 3pm I leave a final text saying I am occupied for the next 20 min, by the off chance they arrive, but say I will be over shortly. (It also says to go into the house and my listing and my more detailed instructions.) Simultaneously they text for the first time to say they will be there in 10 minutes.

 

I arrive at 3:20 as promised to stony faces from both of them. ???

 

I explain about the fridge, apologise, offer money off… It sounds like it isn’t really okay with them. The fridge is’t cold enough. So I say give me some time, that I have an old fridge but I’ll need to clean it and think where to put the thing so as not to inconvenience them further. They seem to accept the compromise.

 

I have a beautiful old Smeg fridge, and yet another, but both were really dirty and I wasn’t sure how well they worked. From their attitude, it was pretty obvious these were going to be difficult to please guests. Long story short: to avoid further problems I decided to give them my fridge. Large and kind of ugly, but at least I am sure it works.

 

I return to explain what’s happening and confirm if it is okay to come back a lot later - 2 hours maybe. I suggest to put the replacement fridge in the front room/dining room in an unused area. Okay, not ideal and it spoils the prettiness of the place, but this way they don’t need to go outside. Husband says fine.

 

Spend next 2 hours thoroughly cleaning and sanitising my fridge. Dismantle part of my kitchen and my old conservatory to get the thing out! Haul it through the sodden, Suffolk soil on my own in the dark… I am 5’6” – not tiny anymore, but not at all a big woman. It’s a BIG fridge. At the little fence that divides the two properties (about 3/4 of the way) I go to the guests’ entrance. Knock on the door. Nothing… Knock again. Wife comes out and snaps at me in a nasty tone =>

 

Wife: “Yes?!…

Me: “Please can Husband[name withheld] came and help me get the fridge in?”

Wife: “He’s putting the baby to bed!…You’ve come at a bad time! This is in fact the worst time you could have come!” (Still snapping in a very rude tone and I am just standing there totally gobsmacked by her attitude and tone of voice, which is close to yelling.)

Me: “Uhhhm, uhh, uhh. I am not sure what to do. Do you mean I should leave and come back later? Or… do you not want me to come back at all” (Not in a nasty tone, just bewildered and worried this is turning out as it has.)

Her: “Don’t you have someone to help you?!”

Me: (I’m thinking:…’Yes, sure I’ll just get that groundsman that works 24/7, for free and doesn’t take holidays off,’ but don’t say this.)

 

At this point I am so totally shocked by this woman’s lack of humanity, I mutter something about dealing with it myself (with no idea of how) and just walk away without continuing the conversation or trying to ameliorate the situation as I would normally.

 

Husband comes out a bit later to find me unsuccessfully trying to lever the fridge over the fence into a wheelbarrow in the dark. I am almost in  tears at this point and mutter something like: “I just don’t understand [your attitude]. Sorry, I just don’t understand. Your stay is important to me. Don’t you see it is important to me? What else do you want me to do? I’m trying to fix the problem. I said I’d give you money off. I am sorry.”

 

Husband: shrugs and mutters something off-handedly like “It will be alright.”

 

We get the fridge in. Again I say I hope it is good enough and apologise yet again reminding him I will still take the money off. Again he kind of off-handedly just acknowledges that he has heard my words and at least they have a colder fridge now for their child’s food.

 

AND FINALLY

It’s a 175 year old house in the countryside. Things happen. You cannot just snap you fingers in the countryside – especially not on the busiest days of the year! If there ever is a problem, I always make amends by showing remorse and trying to fix it immediately. I always make it clear that I take their holiday seriously. I usually offer monetary compensation. From my experience this is above what a hotel might do in the same situation.

 

Most people know what they are getting with a B&B and even when things don’t go perfectly, the trade off of having a whole home for less than one room with bathroom in a hotel, plus amenities, plus personal service etc is more than enough. Honestly, I host because I NEED the money. But it is definitely not just the money; if it were I wouldn’t have the ‘cutsy’ type of accomodation that I have. (I definitely wouldn’t spend £200 per bed on sheets, when I know I could get the same rent on polycotton). It is so, so important to me that people have a lovely experience staying here.

 

I know I probably take it too seriously… Opffh it just really, really gets me down.

 

Really makes me want to stop hosting.

29 Replies

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
Sydney, Australia
Level 10

Hi @Tatyana5 

I'm really sorry you have to suffer from this... I blocked my listing for these days as I have family visiting, but I've also heard some horrible stories from my friends who are hosting in the holiday season. Here are some.

 

- One group of guests was definitely familiar with those tricks of getting free stays. They arrived and dumped some rubbish on the carpet then started filming... Fortunately their behavior was caught by a strata camera set inside of a lift (they did that with the door open and the unit was just opposite a lift). Their request of refund was declined as ABB checked the footage and sided with the host. However, when they left, they maliciously changed the code of the lockbox and cost the host another $300 to find a locksmith in the holiday season.

 

- Another group checked in, then said there's no Netflix which "destroyed their holiday". However the host never lists Netflix in the description from the first day... The guests refused to cancel but requested a 50% refund. This case has now been escalated to ABB.

 

- The guests claimed the window glass was exploded by itself and requested it to be repaired at once. However the handyman soon found something like a bullet hole which was obviously the cause of the damage.

WechatIMG1547.jpeg

 

 

Of course bad things are happening all year round. However these 3 cases just happened in one single day. It seemed like there are higher chances you'll get bad guests in the holiday season.

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

Aww, thank you Joy :D. Yes, I hope it is jus the higher chance over the holiday season... Every one of my bad guests has been a holiday stay. Oppfh. Just gives me such a bad feeling.

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Tatyana5 ghost hugs. 

 

I am a built-like-a-prop-forward 5"8' and I wouldn't try to shift a 'fridge on my own.

 

It sounds like she was stroppy and he was mortified. Have a rest (hope you can?) and rejoice when they leave.

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

Thank you thank you for my ghosty hugs Mike & Helen. I need them!

 

Yes, I just found it unreal when she was angry I asked the husband to help lift the fridge just a little part of the way and expected me to have someone to help. They have continued with less than nice behaviour and their poor little baby (quiet and then big smiles when he was greeted) has been crying pretty much non-stop since last night.

 

I know I am too sensitive; needless to say, I have had head-ache and stomach ache all day... I don't think some guests realise letting a stranger into one's home is kind of a big thing – not to mention the costs and effort involved being a host, versus the reward back.

 

Just being nice goes such a long way and is not a lot to ask.

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

Level 10

@Tatyana5    Personally, I would not give them any further refunds past the cleaning fee you have already given. There was a problem you fixed it.  At most a hotel may give someone a free cocktail.

Review: Low stars on communication. Don't recommend. You can ask people on this forum to help re: wording. Make sure you put your version on hosts circle:

https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Host-Circle/bd-p/host-circle

that is a private section unlike this section which is viewable to the public. 

If they write a negative review respond by selling yourself as a proactive host who fixed the problem etc.  Again people on this forum are very willing to help with wording if you have doubts.

Here's to a bright 2020 for you filled with nice guests!

 

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

Thank you Ange! That helps a lot. And thanks for the well wishes for 2020. Same for you... Big hug!

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

@Tatyana5 Stand tall, chin up! Do NOT let people like this keep you down or get in your way. No refund beyond what you've given already. You more than stepped up to fix a problem. Done. Give the straight goods on these guests in your review, in a succinct and non emotional fashion. Ding them accordingly in all categories that apply, and hit 'would not recommend'. Better suited to hotels, and not community minded home stays. They just don't get it. They will be leaving you a nasty review no doubt, respond with a short, to the point rebuttal. 

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

Thank you Colleen. That helps. :"]... Have been reading so many people in other forums saying a host should never leave an unfavourable review – that it reflects badly on the hosts etc.. I have been feeling very conflicted about it.

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Tatyana5 someone wiser than me on this forum says that reviews are neither good nor bad but simply honest.

It may help you to think of it that way.

See if you can get the word graceless in!

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

😄

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
Whitehaven, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Tatyana5 I feel for you! - And I thought this was an American problem & we in Britain only had nice, polite, demure "never mind, it's quite alright" guests!

- Maybe put a bit in the private message part of the review that explains how Airbnb is different from a hotel? Tell them about the original ethos of Airbnb back in the day, it's 'sharing economy' origins, with overtones of a travel club, & a culture of give & take... I've quoted before something I got from another contributor on this forum, don't know who, but it's this: "When a host opens the door to an airbnb guest, they expect to welcome a gracious friend, not an entitled customer!" - Tell 'em that!

- And let other hosts know in the public review that this couple did not understand Airbnb culture.

 

- Can't believe the fridge incident... the image of you struggling in the depths of winter to manhandle a fridge singlehandedly.. whilst the guests just said "Chop, chop!"

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

Awww thank you so much Helen. Your reply cheered me up! Oh my gosh, even imagining myself lugging that fridge through the mud and darkness (and then her nasty response)...Oppfh!  It just makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time – and I was there!

 

You hit the nail on the head about them not understanding Airbnb culture and the original ethos. Thanks, I am going to add that in my review. :))

 

My best friend, who has a B&B in New York called to check on the progress with the nasty guests this morning. I was explaining their continued antics and noted just what you sited to explain my disbelief... Generally, British people will just 'keep calm and carry on' with stuff (ok they might whinge behind your back LOL, but GENERALLY I find it is rare for people to make a fuss here) *ESPECIALLY* if they are offered a significant discount! Usually, one doesn't even have to get to the point of grovelling and apologising profusely like I do.  (*We have both grown up partly in America and partly on the other side of the Atlantic – in my case Britain, in her case Europe and have mixed heritage from both, so can joke about these things lightheartedly. And I hope anyone else reading also does get that.)   

 

I freely admit I am a bleeding heart and the majority of guests could wrap me around their little finger by just saying "ouch", but boorishness and entitlement just pushes the wrong button with me.

 

I think this harsh me-me-me mindset is down to the developing SELFIE CULTURE and something that now goes beyond nationalities.

 

I also think a large proportion of people do just see what we hosts offer as a hotel... Somehow they selectively don't want to see our B&B's as a hotel when figuring the price they paid versus what they should pay if we were hotels! Suddenly it is not a hotel when logic demands that apples be compared to apples: massively more square footage overall, kitchen, extra bedroom(s) and living spaces, private parking, personal service, often cable, often loads of little extra amenities they wouldn't get for free in a regular hotel or would have paid big bucks for at an exclusive country hotel with similar quality fixtures and furnishings,  on top of paying much, much more for a suite in such a place  – without a fridge!

 

Certainly, hosts ask to be compensated for providing accommodation, but guests are getting a lot. It is give and take. I am sad to say it, but I think Airbnb has bred and fostered this attitude which so heavily favours the guest.

 

Most people are lovely and totally decent, good guests, but it is very difficult with the general pervading attitude alive that B&B's should be cheap and we should be thrilled with whatever guests want to dish out. So when the rotten guests show up so many of us are so worried even just of our rights to give a bad rating.

 

thanks again xx

 

(PS: already had your accommodation favourited from a previous conversation, but just favourited the other one.)

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Tatyana5  What an awful story and I'm so sorry they ruined your own holidays. Going forward, here's my humble advice- do not ever go on such a song and dance to try to remedy a situation- as soon as you seem to be overcome with guilt and stressed out about the situation, for guests who had already proven themselves to be unpleasant from the get-go, you were just giving them more fodder for complaints and a bad attitude. They were "kick her while she's down" people. If you ever have a situation again which is not of your own making, try to just be straightforward and matter-of-fact about it, and look for a temporary solution which doesn't involve something like you dragging a fridge across the property. 

"I'm so sorry, but we've had an unforeseen circumstance- the previous guests left the fridge door open and with the heat on in here, by the time I realized it after they checked out, it broke the thermostat. Of course, Murphy's law, this would happen on Christmas, when I can't get a technician in, it's such a pain, but I've been calling around and hopefully I can get someone out here to look at it in the next day or two. In the meantime, here are a couple of coolers with ice blocks in them, and I'm going to get some some more ice for you so all your food will stay fine until this can be dealt with. Have a great Christmas!"

Now there is no assurance that guests like this will take it in stride, even if you approach it like that, but at least you aren't busting your ass to accommodate someone who doesn't even appreciate it, or giving them the opportunity to make you feel even worse about the problem than you already do. 

Re: NASTY NEW YEARS GUESTS

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

Sarah, you are so right. You always give such good advice. Thank you. Trying to follow that path. xx

Join the conversation