Making sure I am being reasonable here.
We had someone contact us wanting to book our cottage on behalf of her daughter, who is a honeymooning guest. I said we couldn't accept 3rd party bookings but I was happy to host her daughter and invited her or the groom to book directly. Apparently they did, because this person contacted me again to again ask for access to our space on an upcoming stay to "set up" for the couple. I explained that we leave snacks and champagne for honeymooners, but if she had something special for them I can let her know when the stay prior leaves and she can leave her supplies on the porch. I explained that we can't have people who are not guests accessing our space or getting our key codes due to insurance reasons.
This appears not to be the ideal solution for the person in question who still wants access. Beyond the reasons above, we don't want our cleaned and disinfected place disturbed before check in as it could affect our ratings. Its pretty much a hard "no" that I am trying to be as polite as possible about. I am even a little hesitant to give this stranger (no reviews) our address to leave things on our porch but that is my compromise. Any thoughts?
I think you went above and beyond - I wouldn’t have given her the address! What is it that she wants to “set up”? Perhaps this isn’t the best fit. It sounds like she should have rented a banquet hall for the couple.
Stick with your hard “no”, and just be your normal, congratulatory, hospitable self while you deal with the actual guests only. They’ll love you, and they’ll love their stay, I’m sure.
I’m confused about something - you said the couple “must have” booked direct....don’t you know?
@Pat271 we did have a honeymoon couple book for the date in question but they never mentioned Mom. I didn't put two and two together until she contacted me today. We get a fair number of honeymooners so I didn't place that these were the "set up beforehand" people I had gotten an inquiry about months ago.
@Laura2592 Mom does not need to be setting up a cottage for a honeymooning daughter; she needs to leave it alone. In 15 years and lots of honeymooners, I have never had this request, nor would I honor it. Most honeymooners want to be left alone; family members need not visit!
If it's not a good fit, they are welcome to stay somewhere else. Your contract is with the guest and just as she wouldn't want you letting one of their ex-boyfriends to have access to the cottage, you need to respect their privacy & safety. You have no way to confirm their relationship and it's none of your business anyway. Your terms are your terms. Period.
"This appears not to be the ideal solution for the person in question who still wants access."
She sounds rather pushy and it sounds like she wants to decorate the place somehow. Which isn't okay, of course, as you want the place presented as you present it, not after someone else has walked through, possibly tracking dirt over the floors, dropping bits of things around, not to mention maybe having to use the bathroom while there and leaving water slopped around the sink and drying their hands on clean, fresh towels, etc. all of which you would be blamed for.
I would impress on her that what you rent is accommodation, not an event venue. I would also be really clear about no unregistered guests. I can see Mom assuming that she and others can come by and hang out.
@Laura2592 Sounds like an overbearing parent who can't accept that her daughter is a grownup now. A newlywed does not want to arrive at her honeymoon destination only to find that her mom has been inside of there messing around with it. What could be less romantic than reminders of mom? You owe it to your actual paying guest to be firm and make sure this doesn't happen.
I don't know why you feel you owe this person any kind of "compromise" on your rules, but if you do decide to supply the address, it's imperative that you first obtain your actual guests' explicit consent for that. You can't be 100% sure that this person is who she claims to be, and your guests' right to privacy is vastly more important than politeness to a meddling momma.
@Andrew0very good point. I will contact the actual guest and let her know that someone else had requested to access the space/for her safety I wanted to know if it was okay with her that this person left some things for us to put out. There is no way I can verify this relationship otherwise. I suspect mom will be upset that her "surprise" was ruined but yes, seems very much like a helicopter parent and a strange thing to push for.
The plot thickens but I think we have a solution.
Mother of the bride is transporting the bride and groom to the honeymoon location because they won't have a vehicle (?) She wanted an inventory of our amenities so it would be "perfect." I patiently told her that our cottage is fully stocked with everything from coffee filters and sheets to a first aid kit. She insists that the couple have a cooler of food though I let her know that there is a general store with take out sandwiches (cheap and tasty) less than a half mile away and walkable. This is a 2 day stay. It looks like mom really wants to have a say in what the couple does and whether or not they go anywhere.
She now is satisfied that we may in fact have a fully stocked home so she does not need to come early and check it out. I have let the booked guests know she has contacted me with questions and what I shared with her/that further questions can come from them though I know they must be busy with wedding plans.
@Colleen253its a fine line. I have no idea what the relationship is with mom. I used to do makeup professionally years ago and had many a bridal client. They were unpredictable to say the least. If mom is paying or pulling strings offending her is sure to get a bad review. But I also can't have her playing host in my space. Its a little insulting if you think about it. These are not our first guests nor our first honeymooners. We have a good reputation and the feedback to show we know what we are doing. To be second guessed and essentially told we need help (do we have soap? Towels?) is annoying.
Emotional labor is labor. Maybe one day I will write a book about all of my most interesting encounters with the public.
@Laura2592 I really don't think this is all that surprising. How old are this bride and groom? I bet the bride expects this of her mother. Remember we have generations now where the kids don't go to college, their parents basically go for them. So what's so odd about parents getting married basically alongside their kids? 😀
From a hosting perspective, I'm not saying I would agree to any of this. I wouldn't. But the thought process of the mother and daughter really seems normal to me.
@Emilia42yes that is why I am threading the needle with mom. I don't know if the bride is okay with this or expects her mother to handle these things. As a host, I am not giving anyone who hasn't paid access to my space. But as for their relationship? Who knows.
Ultimately that is their business. I know what I would tolerate with my own parent but hey, different strokes. What I object to is being "mom'ed" by a stranger on how I set up my space, especially if that stranger has no skin in the game (ie., is not staying with me.)