Hi all - every time I host another guest, it seems they do something that requires me to think about adding yet another note and/or House Rule. Guests quite often fail to read the House Rules, and the notes too, so I'd really appreciate any advice you can give me on how you handle this issue. Where-oh-where does it end??!
I know that having too many House Rules causes guests to go into some sort of zoned-out state, where no information can or will be absorbed. I get it. So, what to do?
Our last guests shut the furnace switch off! - no self-respecting Canadian would shut a furnace off in October, but they did & yes, they are Canadians. No harm done, the inside temp. only went down to 12C by the time I got there, but what if this had been January? Burst pipes are not a cheap fix. Now there's yet another note added, above the furnace control - "Please do not shut the furnace off, adjust heating using the thermostat (up or down)". Srsly? Should I really have to tell people this?
I have a 4 point Check-out list beside the front door. My instructions are simple but guests rarely score 4/4:
1. Close all windows and lock all doors (windows are left open all the time, including by the guests who also shut the furnace off!)
2. Ensure lights and fans are shut off (50/50 on this one)
3. Collect all your garbage & recycling & take it with you or leave it in the garage (most just leave their trash in the bins, both in the kitchen and bathrooms. I hate emptying other people's bathroom trash.)
4. Set the alarm (believe it or not, most also miss this one) and lock the door when you leave (1 set of guests missed this one).
Am I asking too much??
There's a tremendous level of trust involved when we leave our property in the hands of others. Most of our guests have understood this, have been appreciative and respectful of our belongings, but I don't understand why some don't take it seriously. We live about 45 minutes away from our property & try to get out to check the day of check-out, but I had stomach flu & Brian's working so didn't get out until the next day in this case. I'll make sure one of us gets out there on the day guests leave during the winter, in case we have another shut off furnace switch, water left running or who knows what else.
Maybe I just answered my own question - no note or new House Rule needed, just go out and save the place from disaster on check-out day. Thanks for listening to me vent - Karen
It is a very high risk business and managing the risk is not easy. Helps to have someone local for this sort of thing.
I am of the view with ruless you highlight the non obvious and otherwise they are there to rpotect you - I told you about so and so, in my rules.
I have so many notes around, @Karen-and-Brian0, that I asked my last guest whether it was all too much. She said no, but she was very nice 🙂
Every note was generated by someone doing something I never imagined anyone would ever do. I do try to keep them light-hearted. (But firm, I hope.)
My list of house rules is huge now compared to when I started, but there is no point in putting everything there, as you said. Readers' eyes will glaze over. The notes seem to be working fairly well. One guest did burn up my note about firewood use, so not 100% yet...
Look in getting a Nest (or similar) thermostat, so you can monitor it remotely. You can even set up a password to prevent people from being able to change the temperature outside if your stated temperatures. Getting a digital door lock would also alleviate people leaving the doors unlocked. You could lock it remotely and monitor their coming and goings.
Unfortunately none of these helps with people leaving the windows open or not taking their trash, but at least some of your problems are fixed?
@Cynthia-and-Chris1 Those are great suggestions, thank you for that, but sadly unfeasible for us - wifi out there is very spotty due to lack of infrastructure. The best we could do for wifi is a hotspot and it's not at all reliable. We're installing a security camera but expect that will be more of a "it's there but our wifi isn't good enough for us to actually monitor you" thing. We're only 45 minutes away so it's easy to go out soon after check out & catch anything over-looked, I just wish there wasn't always so many things over-looked!
Here are my house rules from my listing, complete:
''Smoking outside is fine. Older children are great, but the house is unsuitable/unsafe for young children. Best for around 7 and over, depends on the child though! There are lots of things which are unsafe and/or breakable.''
Short, right! I live around the corner which helps, and I check in EVERY guest and talk to them as we go through the house, pointing out how things work and what needs to happen. I often make them operate the heater etc to make sure they have got it. For me, smoking and children are the big ones. I think my location brings a certain kind of traveller coming for different reason than maybe a city apartment, or a big potential party house. Each listing has their own needs as we are all so very different.
Re turning the furnace off, we don't have your extreme cold but I have actually stickytaped one button on my gas heating so it cannot be pressed. It goes into a different mode and accesses programming and it didn't matter if I told guests not to touch it, they did half the time anyway as they don't always remember and press every button repeatedly. So I taped it down and wrote DO NOT PRESS THIS BUTTON on top and in the last year nobody has.
@Sandra126 haha! There have to be a few people out there who view "DO NOT PRESS THIS BUTTON" as a challenge & will want to see what will happen. In my fantasy, they press it, get hit with knock-out gas & an automated machine comes along & sweeps them out the front door, then locks it. (Losing faith in humankind here & I was a nurse for crying out loud, you'd think my opinion had already sunk as low as it could go).
BTW, as an added bonus, these guests also got married at our place on Saturday - and we have a No Events rule. They booked in June, told us this plan 3 days before the check-in, Sept. 30. At least they told us, right? That was considerate. It was a very small wedding, so o.k., we have a heart & aren't going to cancel on them last minute - but seriously, dishonesty and deceit anyone?? Then they left the check-out to their irresponsible "friends" who missed 2 out of 4 of the check-out instructions & shut the furnace off. They did leave the place as neat as a pin though, and nothing was damaged, so although it doesn't cancel out the negatives, they didn't tip over into thumbs down category.
Sure hope our place doesn't hold any sentimental value for them because if they want to come back for their anniversary or something - that will not be happening.
@Karen-and-Brian0, in my own bathroom at home (no guest will ever go there ) I have a lightswitch I consider unsafe, and there is no light there anyway. Yet because of the position, every friend who enters the bathroom presses it because it is what you do, right? So I stickytaped a bottle lid covering the button and now you can press it as much as you like, nothing will happen. Success! Not so suitable for public spaces maybe...
I only have 3 rules, the most important is drive 5km on the driveway and watch for children. If this is broken then my neighbours will most certainly ask me to stop hosting. So yesterday I put into my rules "i appreciate guests who take the time to read my rules. It shows the sort of respect I love from guests. If you have read these please work the word "Winnebago " into your booking request and I will happily approve your request!
This morning I woke to a message that said "....we are travelling in a small camper, don't worry it's no where near as big as a Winnebago! It totally made my day!!!! If you can add a sense of humour to it you are surely winning!
@Roz4 Good to see you taking my helpful advice....and I KNOW it made your day! haha. I only wish you had given me credit in your post.....hahahaha. (thank god I saw it anyway).....LOL......because I had just posted my own reply in this thread to the host who wrote "Rules, Rules and More Rules." (hope you read it)
Yesterday I got a request that started out with the required Willie Wonka "movie quote " (written in my House Rules requirement) as you know, and I immediately wrote back to the guests saying I was doing "My Happy Dance"....and that she is only the 12th person to do so after 315 individuals who have contacted me since July 2015. And I let her know that she would be receiving a prize at check in for being the 12th person to do so. She was thrilled and said she couldn't wait. The prize is awesome I have to say.....come and find out soon. Maybe you will be the 13th person....hahahahaha. Taking my Superhost service to another level.... 😉
by the way, did you get my "THANK YOU" reply posted I wrote a few days ago ? Just checking because I found out recently that 3 hosts did not receive my posted reply to them. That's a bummer.
Great way to contact Airbnb or via Twitter at AirbnbHelp / Facebook
wow, that's terrible odds- the number who read the rules! I had a guy earlier in the week request a booking and I asked him to be sure to read my rules before he booked. Then AFTER he booked he asked about off street parking. My most important rule is about the driveway- why would be he on the driveway if there wasn't off street parking??
You really have some gems of wisdom Momi. I am certainly thinking of a "Winnebago " prize! I've also been giving a LOT of thought to your statements about manners. I had a lady instant book this morning for a room tonight. I responded within 10 min thanking her for the booking and asking if she had an ETA and wishing her a great day. After 7 hours (bearing in mind she is coming today) she hadn't responded so I sent another message an hour ago saying " just wondering if you had an ETA?" And still no replying? It's 8.38pm here now. I'm very casual about people arriving late or leaving early and I make a point of saying in my listing that guests shouldn't feel they are on my schedule. BUT I still have to plan to some degree. If you are arriving at midnight and can't be sure if your plane will be delayed, tell me that much please!!! Does this guest intend to just let them self in, or will they ring me on arrival at some ungodly hour?? Hmmmmmm I'm already planning my review! What would you say??
@Roz4 I want you to go to the search bar, click on how to contact Airbnb phone number for all New Zealand hosts. I have the Australian number for the friends of mine in Melbourne who became hosts through my referral program. I am fairly sure that's the same number for you....try this first....+61 28520 3333 - you can call them and they will call your guests for you. I have had to do this a few times when the guests didn't respond to my urgent message (they didn't have data or wifi). Airbnb was great....they called my guests...and then called me back to give me the helpful arrival time of said guests. This has only happened with guests traveling to Hawaii from a foreign country. But now, as you can see, its in my house rules that the guests NEED to give me arrival and departure times at the time of booking. Some have even needed reminders when it was just days before their arrival, and all were apologetic for forgetting to inform me of this important information since it clearly states I have to be here to greet them and check them in. I normally make a joke, and say...wow...Strike 1 and you haven't even arrived yet....lets not go for Strike 2 any time soon. (YES I AM A HUGE BASEBALL FAN). hahahaha. The guests with a sense of humor laugh back in their reply.
hey are you by any chance on Instagram or FB or Twitter? Would love to hook up with you outside the CC. I tried ot send you a private message on the CC forum, but something is wrong, it wouldn't let me send it to you. Which is odd because that's how so many of us communicate with each other, or on Instagram direct messages or Skype. Maybe you have Skype?
Definitely keep having an ongoing conversation with the guy who wrote about the off street parking....I chat with my guests via Airbnb message board alot throughout the time before they check in. Its important for all parties to feel comfortable and it helps me alot to get to know the guest really well prior to arriving...and they love the communication. Quite a few of them will ask my opinion on what's best luau, or best surf lesson company....etc...and I am happy to help. But if he is already asking you about that, its a red flag. I want to encourage you to ask him what prompted that question since you are so clear about the driveway. Be open and direct with him and put it back on him to explain why he did and hopefully he apologizes for the goof up.
Don't worry, you can always just write @ Momi and it will search my name.....or just write "Thanks Momi".....hahaha. Both work.
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@Karen-and-Brian0 I thought I would share with you what I send to any POTENTIAL guests at the time I receive their first booking request or Inquiry. (especially the ones who don't comply with the House Rule necessary to even write me in the firt place) If you read my ENTIRE HOUSE RULES, you will understand. 🙂
This is how I flush out the people who will come here being demanding, asking questions that were already answered in my listing, and testing to see how respectful they really are. *(Check out my House Rules...it gets updated every 7-8 months after experiencing what we think is common sense, but isn't for those who come to OUR HOME. Some people will treat your home as if its theirs, and that's not always a good thing...especially if they dont' clean their own toilet for months!) Yuck right? haha
FIRST REPLY MESSAGE SENT TO TRAVELERS:
" Thank you for your initial message and for choosing our home for your potential stay. We are super excited to host you both and share our Aloha Spirit. Airbnb has been a blessing and a joy for our family. To help you and your traveling partner be one of our many awesome guests, we ask that you both take the time to go through and read my entire listing, profile and guidebook.
As a Superhost, I have taken such great care and time in filling out MY listing, MY profile and MY GUIDEBOOK with elaborate information that can answer just about any question you may have and offer up fantastic suggestions. Please read everything before you send me any further questions. If you have truly read my ENTIRE LISTING , PROFILE and GUIDEBOOK, and still have a legimate question, then by all means, please ask away. You will receive a response within a few minutes. My goal is to help you have a fantastic memorable vacation. Also, if you have a photo in your profile that only includes you, and not your traveling companion, please be sure to use the email provided in your confirmed booking to send me a beautiful photo of both you and your accompanied guests (along with their full name) because we really love to see who we are hosting just as I have posted a beautiful smiling photo of my entire family for you to see. Smiles are the best.
More importanly, there was a crucial part in my listing that you have missed. I'm willing to give you a second chance to see what you have missed, as there was a requirement clearly written about in my House Rules when first approaching me to book our home.
I am sure after spending a few more minutes on my listing, you will slap your face silly immediately wanting to write me an apology. And I will gladly accept it. Its important to approach any host with respect, and this first step is how my previous 5 Star guests have all shown it.
Mahalo Nui Loa for choosing our home to enjoy the island of O'ahu. And welcome to Airbnb! "
SIDE NOTE TO HOSTS: How many people get this message? 9 out of every 10 requests. Has everyone appreciated this direct message? Sadly nope. But do I care...Nope! Because I am not willing to host anyone that doesn't care enough to show me respect the first chance they have when wanting to book our home. I have to say, this message has helped me alot and so has the requirement within my House Rules. Many hosts are now using it. Feel free to do so, but just choose your own movie quote or song....etc. And the ones who write back laughing saying they slapped theirselves and ask me to forgive them, find themselves getting approved. Best guests are the ones with a sense of Humor. And they love mine. Some just need to be reminded to read.....read......read. What I won't do, is lower my standards.
I'm hosting one of these guests right now who wrote me saying he had slapped himself silly for missing that VERY IMPORTANT HOUSE RULE during the initial booking request. And now we are all having a FANTASTIC TIME hosting him.......he even had dinner tonight with my family, and he said..."Momi, you are making it so hard to go back to Seattle!!" Best compliment ever.....
Hope I have helped you in some way....
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