I have been thinking about this a lot. We have hosted almost 100 guest stays now and a few of them really stand out as being awesome guests.
In addition to leaving our place clean, following rules and communicating well, the "super guests" do things like wash their towels and fold them with a little note that says "we did these in the laundry so you don't have to." We always leave a treat (food or wine) for our guests and some have left us something in return or a nice note thanking us for the stay. A few have even taken their trash with them rather than leaving it for us to pick up.
Beyond that, great guests don't lock themselves out because they didn't follow basic instructions (especially more than once) or over-communicate about things that aren't issues ("I don't know what all your light switches turn on. I went around and counted and I can't figure out what one does" ). Great guests have read and understood the house rules and are respectful and courteous.
We talk a lot about things guests do that are difficult to manage on this board. What have guests done that you really have appreciated or have made them stand out as fantastic guests?
What makes my ideal great guest?
One that doesn't want a discount, pays for his stay, doesn't turn up and doesn't want a refund!
I have had a couple of those, just like that. The boss was paying, communicated well but at the last minute wanted the guest elsewhere!
* To be serious about the question though.
1/.......A guest who IB's, sends a nice message fully introducing themselves and looking forward to stay.
I like the message to be short but descriptive without questions!
That's all I need to know!....The guest has provided an identifiable image......there are 2 of them coming.....their reason for coming.....where they have come from.......they will need both beds, and, additional towels for the daughter.
Hostings like this always go well when the guest gets off to a good informative start!
2/......A guest who promptly answers my approximate arrival time request on the day.
Some guests consider we run a 24 hour front desk and communication is something they will get around to when it suits them! A great guest always responds promptly!
3/.......A guest who understands that this is our property offered for their enjoyment, not a paid for article they have the right to abuse.
Hosting is possibly a bit easier for me because I live on the property and have the capacity to by-pass the problem areas of parties, un-invited individual, property damage.
Also I do to a certain extent make sure I am comfortable with the guest before I take them in here.
But what makes a guest great? A guest who will look me in the eye with a smile when they arrive, will shake my hand and listen to what I say....who will treat me as an acquaintance/friend rather than a landlord!
For me, great guests:
@Debra300 "Are respectful that they are as the place is called, a guest in my house, and don't treat it like a "motel, hotel, Holiday Inn". "
This is a major one, and really, if a guest understands this concept, most of the other things we hosts appreciate will follow suit. Whether someone is a family or friend house guest who is staying for free, or whether they are a paying guest, the operative word is "guest".
It would be a good idea if Airbnb gave a definition of "guest" to users when they first sign up, for those who seem to be unclear on the concept.
Oh, I'm a mother of four myself, and I understand how cute and adorable children can be! But I refused to accept children, and since then my life has improved. Their parents want to sit on the terrace and drink Spanish cava or sangria, "baby, parents want to relax" and they don't care what the child does with my apartment. The walls are covered in felt-tip pens, all the Windows are covered in some kind of fat and sugar mixture, this cute M&Ms sticks to bed linen and floats in the toilet...😫
After a family with children, I had to close the apartment for a day and all this time do General cleaning, and sometimes even call for help, the toilet is clogged, the curtain rod is broken.
No company of brutale Ukrainian men who came with their gorilka (it's like vodka))) did not make my apartment as much problems as a nices couples with a charming babies. 😬
I've never hosted families with children but my mother has a couple of long-term rental apartments and she's had a lot of issues with this. She had one family who were constantly calling her to fix this thing or the other. The towel rails would be ripped out of the wall, for example, but it turns out the kid was swinging from it. Same thing with the wardrobe doors. The washing machine was apparently constantly breaking down. My mother spent who knows how much money sending out repair people who always reported that it was not broken. Then she was over there one time and noticed that when the machine was on, the child would start pushing every single button he could until it malfunctioned. The walls needed constant repainting, etc. etc.
Now, I understand that families with small children also need somewhere to live. What I don't understand is why the parents don't think that they should take responsibility for the stuff their kids damage. It's like they don't even see it.
I like kids, but I don't want to host them, thanks very much!
@Huma0 I've never understood why parents just let their kids run wild and destroy things. Destroying things isn't something children intend to do, they're just curious about everything and it isn't part of their consciousness that if they use the towel bar as a jungle gym, it will likely pull out of the wall, and the cost to repair it isn't something they understand.
But it's the job of parents to civilize their children, teach them the ways of the world and what's okay and what's not. And if they are too young to understand, they obviously require supervision. Shirking that responsibility is pure laziness.
I raised 3 kids and have 6 grandkids. They don't wreck stuff, they don't draw on the walls, none of that stuff. Sure, they may drop a bowl and break it, but not anymore often than adults do, and if they are too young to handle something breakable carefully, they simply don't have access to those things.
I can certainly understand hosts not wanting to accept children, because you have no idea if the parents are responsible and will make good on repairs if their children destroy something. And that especially holds true for a home-share host who doesn't have kids themselves. There's no reason why a childless host should have to rearrange their home or not have fragile things around that they love, to accommodate what might very well be a family with negligent parents.
Yes, that's exactly my point. You can't blame the kids. It's the parents who are shirking their responsibilities.
My niece is now 11, but has been coming over to my house (which is full of fragile stuff) her whole life and has never broken nor damaged anything because she's just not been brought up that way. I've never seen her break anything at home, nor at my mother's house. That's not to say she never does accidentally break something - of course, all kids do - but she doesn't run rampage while her parents turn a blind eye.
I do wonder though that with tenants like my mother's, or Airbnb guests that don't bat an eyelid when their children cause havoc, would they have they same attitude if the kids were damaging stuff that they owned, that they had paid for? My mother's tenants seemed to be under the impression that whatever their son broke, it was not their responsibility to fix or replace it.
This is a similar attitude to a lot of guests that break stuff in my home but don't breathe a word about it or even deny it when it obviously couldn't have been anyone else. I do wonder if that's how they would act if they broke something at a friend's house.
So, on the topic in question, a great guest is one who tells you they have broken something and offers to pay for it. Accidents happen. That's okay, but lying about it or acting like it's not your problem is not okay.
@Huma0 In my experience, yes, people who let their kids run wild and damage stuff, walk around with food and smear their jammy hands all over the walls, themselves have households which are a mess with damaged stuff. Oh, they might yell at the kid for playing with daddy's powersander and breaking it, but by and large they think having kids means you can't have a nice house with nice things.
I have a dear friend who had 2 daughters a year and a half apart. She also had a chronic illness and was mostly in pain, so she was just overwhelmed. I remember going to her house once and found the front door wide open, with no one home. I had to make a phone call, and as we were the sort of close friends who did that sort of thing, I just walked in and went to use the kitchen desk phone. I picked up the receiver to find it entirely smeared with butter. There were toys and clothes scattered throughout every room, piles of dirty dishes, food on the furniture, etc. etc. You could never find any cutlery in her drawers because she let the kids take it all out in the backyard to play with in the sandbox. Her oldest daughter discovered a bunch of it when she was 20 years old, and had decided to dig up that old sandbox area to make a nice flower garden for her mom.
Then at one point a few years later, she called me up to say "I finally got it! I realized that I keep house like a 10 year old. To me, cleaning the house means scooping up the kid's clothes and toys and throwing it all in their room, rearranging the furniture, and vacuuming the visible parts of the room. I'm turning over a new leaf and I'm going to start cleaning like a adult and not let the kids just do whatever they want anymore."
And she did. But many parents never do.
And as you say, childless guests are also quite capable of absolving themselves of responsibility- it really has to do with mostly with character and upbringing, rather than that the damage was caused by their child.
Although there is a type of person who will defend anything their child or their pet does, whereas if they themselves broke something, they might offer recompense. If Fido scratches the doors, it'll won't be "Oh, I'm so sorry. That will obviously need sanding down and refinishing and of course I'll pay for that", but "Well, he doesn't do that at home, but he always gets a bit stressed out in a new place", end of story.
Intersting story. Did your friend manage to get her house in order in the end?
I don't have kids and can understand that it can be super stressful and you may have to let standards slip a little, especially if you have several children of a young age. I know it's not the same, but having three cats means my house will never be as clean as if I had no cats, but I do try to stay on top of things.
So, it's not like I don't have any sympathy, but I would be mortified if my kids or pets trashed someone else's place and things so it amazes me when people turn a blind eye to it as if everyone else should just cough up for their little darlings' mistakes.
@Huma0 Oh yes, she finally "got it" and keeps a tidy house now, and that happened back when her girls were still pre-teens. Although, poor thing, she now has a significant other who is the sweetest guy but he's dyslexic and never puts anything back where it goes. He puts things away when he's done with them, but one cupboard is interchangeable with any other, as long as there's space, as far as he's concerned. 🙂
Yes, it's hard to understand people who won't take responsibility for damaging something, whether they, their child, or their pet caused it. But there sure seem to be a lot of those people out there. I'm not sure how they justify it to themselves.
@Sarah977 The problem is that we are not talking about fragile things that can be broken by anyone. But torn out towel rails, broken washing machine, damaged walls. it's not realistic to have a headache and expenses after each stay of a family with children, I just closed this option. In Spain, it is very expensive for a technical specialist to come, starting from 50 euros, and it's just that he will come and see, and it will definitely not be on this day, mañana, mañana...)
Love for children is not a problem and what does it matter if the host has children or not? I still do business and work to pay for my life.
I absolutely agree that the problem is parents who are too lazy to watch what their children are doing, but I care about the result, the state of my apartment when they left. I'm not Mahatma Gandhi, to educate them, let the good hosts of other apartments do it)
@Anna9170 What I meant by it making a difference if the host has children themselves was referring to home-share hosts, like Huma. If you already have young children in the home, the house is likely to be set up for that situation, in other words more or less child-proofed, I know mine was when my kids were young. Breakable things out of their reach, furniture that can handle a lot of wear and tear, etc.
But even in those circumstances, if a negligent parent lets their child draw all over the walls in the guest room with magic marker, or punch at buttons on the washing machine, or hang off a towel rack, it's still an issue accepting children.
I'm not in the least advocating for hosts accepting children if they don't want to. I'm 70 now, and while I love it when my daughters and grandchildren come to visit, and the kids aren't at all destructive, I do breathe a sigh of relief when they're gone and I can put things I've moved out of reach back where I normally keep them :-).
Oh, how I heartily agree with you! I'm not sure that I will say this correctly in English, but I hope you will understand me) there is a social phenomenon "I'mthemom", when a child can do anything, and others should pretend that everything is OK, as it should be. So, I'm so tired of it that I don't have any decent words, and I don't want to see it in my apartment.😆
Well this is the thing. Parents can be very touchy about other people telling off or criticising their kids and when someone who is almost a stranger (e.g. a host) does it, that's even worse. Whenever a potential guest wants to persuade me to waive my no children policy they try to convince me that their child is 'different', 'special', 'so mature' etc. But they all say that!!
So, what does one do when children are behaving badly in your home but the parents don't do anything about it? It's a lose, lose situation.
Of course, there are many responsible parents who teach their children to respect other people's things, not scream at the top of their voices etc. but you just won't know until they arrive.