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?
When I see mindless destructive children running wild and totally unconscious of the value of things or how much effort it takes to have them, I wonder if the parents see it as good 'training' for their future 'career' - that of an Anarchist. LoL
@Fred13 The parents I've known who let their kids run wild aren't "thinking" about that or much of anything at all regarding child-rearing. They're either just lazy and self-absorbed, i.e. they'd rather yak on the phone with their friend than pay attention to what the kids are doing, or they have some faulty notion that they are meant to be their child's "friend" rather than their teacher and civilizer. And they seem to think that having even their own stuff wrecked is just part and parcel of having children.
Any parent who can't say "No, that's not allowed" and mean it and apply consequences, or who can't bear their child saying "I hate you! You're mean!" should never have had kids in the first place.
@Sarah977 Yes, Yes, I understand you! If there are small children at home, then of course a comfortable space is created for this. But @Huma0 has shared accommodation with guests, and I live separately in another place, so we have different situations in terms of rent.
I don't have any grandchildren yet, and the kids aren't toddlers, but when friends with small children come to visit and they throw any object in their hand at the big TV (I can't put it away), ufff, Yes, I'm relieved after they leave))
Small children and dogs are the curse of every hosts life. Parents always see their kids and their dogs through rose colored glasses, and they have one of two umbrella statements that are supposed to make their behaviour okay!...."
1/......."Oh I am so sorry, he/she has never done that before"! as though that excuses that bloody little 'bladder with 4 legs' from cocking its leg and pissing on my trouser cuffs, or tearing a chunk out of the screen door trying to get back out to the vehicle!!!!
2/......"Children will be children, you know what it's like"! Really.....If that Venetian glass vase mini Karen just dropped on the concrete floor had been your jar of heart medication tablets, would that have somehow been different, would that have just been 'children being children'? I bet there would be a clamber for the clean-up utensils and a few words coming mini Karen's way!
Parents just expect that others are going to put up with childrens and pets behaviour.
I stopped hosting pets the moment a pair of Burnese mountain dogs showed up here. Our garden looked like the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami when they left. I thought, that's it, I don't care if it's a goldfish in a bowl......it's not welcome!
In Korea there's a popular saying that people like to say under your breath about parents who don't seem to get why other people (strangers) aren't more understanding about bad behavior from children in public.
"나한테만 내새끼, 남한테는 애새끼"
Literal translation - One's children are "my precious babies" only to oneself, to others they are simply " a nuisance (a brat)".
Then there's the version for pets (dogs). "나한테만 내새끼, 남한테는 개새끼"
My technique for dealing with lazy & cowardly parents is the "Oh, dear, he/she might get hurt, poor darling" where you leap to your feet and tightly enfold the little one's hand in your own and bestow a melting glance at the parent. The fierce grip lets the kid know you are not playing and the melting glance of pity is the opening for your sympathetic ushering out of the parent & poor frazzled child who is clearly crying out for a nap or at least a less overwhelming environment as they must be dangerously over stimulated. This is the preschool version of " Bless your heart" for parents are temporarily or permanently snow blind to their responsibility to raise their children to be able to self regulate when they can and be gracefully removed from society when they can't. (melt downs in grocery store are sometimes unavoidable and should be charitably overlooked, melt downs whilst visiting ought to mark the end of the visit)
@Sally221 Well said, so smart. When my kids were little and we occasionally went out to eat (always a challenge with little ones unless you go to McDonalds or Chuckie Cheeze, which we didn't), if one of them started to throw a fit about something, they got picked up, and I walked outside the restaurant with them until they calmed down.
Then there are the parents who let their kids wander around and disturb other diners, or throw a tantrum and the parents just sit there calmly and keep solicitously and sweetly offering the child things to try to make them shut up, while everyone else in the place wants to kill them.
The thing is with hosting, that you can't market to everyone. If a host decides they have a place that would be good for families with kids, they need to make that their focus , paint the walls with scrubbable paint, have easy to whip off and wash furniture covers, and not invest in expensive anything. Towel hooks high up on the walls, not towel racks the kids can swing from like monkeys.
Not only will that cause the host less stress, but even responsible parents will be relieved that the place is basically child-proofed, so they don't have to spend their entire holiday running around making sure the kids don't touch something they shouldn't.
IMO you just can't reasonably outfit an Airbnb to be appealing and suitable for business travelers or quiet middle aged couples and also have it be appealing and suitable for families with young children. A host has to decide which it's going to be.
I didn't strictly address the question in my other posts on this thread but, this is an answer I gave to another question some time ago but I think it is also an appropriate answer to your question Laura!
Just over a year ago a guest came to me all apologetic, she had broken the bowl I keep in the fridge with eggs for each guest. I said to her ….”Roxy, don’t worry about it, it was of no value, I have plenty more here to replace it”….but she said she felt bad and wanted to replace it. I once again told her not to bother, it was fine!
A week after she left, out of the blue, a parcel arrived…….
A new bowl with a $50 note in it. I had a little cry when I saw it, it was so nice but so unexpected.
I could see from the parcel that the postage cost her $15, the bowl must have cost around the same. A bowl that had no value to me, I can’t even remember where it came from and I am sure I could have replaced from the local op shop for a couple of dollars, cost that guest $80.
I felt terrible, I wish the incident had never happened, the last thing I ever want to do is take advantage of someone else. But in retrospect for the week that she was here we had the occasional cheese plate and a wine or two, she felt she wanted to offer something just a bit extra for the hospitality we had offered her!
At the time I guess I could not believe that a guest would be so generous!
Roxy was one of those guests you file away in the 'love to have return' folder!
Your story reminds me of a lovely Korean gentleman that stayed with me ages ago. There were no breakages involved, but he gave me a really lovely present. He did not give it to me straight away when he arrived. Rather, he waited until we had had a very pleasant chat about all sorts of random things on day two or three. I guess I passed the test, as he disappeared for a few minutes and then reappeared with a very beautiful (and no doubt very expensive) hand crafted, limited edition Korean tea set. It also went so well with my décor that I was sure he must have thought about that too.
Really, I would never expect those kinds of expensive gifts from my guests, but I have to say I was quite touched at the thought he had put into it.
Anna, I could fill a substantial book with lovely guest stories!
I had a couple from another state book to stay here for one evening. They belonged to an international service club, Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary....one of those, I can't remember which one. They had a 67 year old Japanese woman with them who had come out to Australia as part of an exchange program, they had taken her into the Aussie outback and wanted to break their trip home with a night here.
It was a lovely warm evening outside we all sat and had a few drinks and a few cheeses as is the custom around this place, and the conversation got around to the fact that I had a piano in my mancave!
A mancave is men's domain.....it is a shed at the back of the house block 30 metres away from the main house, strictly my world with all my things in it. Women don't just 'come' in here....they get an invite!!
Back to the Piano........
My wife Ade has never particularly taken to it! She was a classical pianist and got her 'letters' from the conservatorium ....she says this instrument is 'plastic music' because it doesn't have hammers and strings. But it has properly weighted keys, is digitally recorded from a concert grand and it has exactly the same touch, feel and sound as a Steinway concert grand.
On hearing this the Japanese woman, (whose English was poor) asked to see the 'piano'......she came in here sat down at this thing and was 'hands down' the best jazz pianist I have ever heard. God, she played all the great jazz classics, we ordered Indian take away, drank long into the night and had one of the best nights I can ever remember!
How good is that?
@Robin4 Robin, if I understand correctly, you're on shared territory with a guest. The area is really big, and if you don't want to, you don't have to communicate, but sometimes such meetings become the best memories for many years. Your soulfulness attracts similar people)
Speaking of wild children (aka tomorrow's anarchists), then there was 'Regalito' ('The Gift' in English). We are staying in this nice RV park, and a family arrives with this 'creature' (aka their adorable child). He single-highhandedly terrorized the entire park; yelling, crying, causing every 'Fifi' dog to start barking, pulling electrical plugs from every neighbor, cut two water lines, etc, while their parents sat in total fat happiness under their awning while the neighborhood served as the unofficial baby-sitter. I am still looking for Regalito in one of those news clips of today's riots where he will definitely be, causing chaos to his heart's content.
@Fred13 When you read the next topic on the forum about a terrible family, where the child spoiled everything that is possible, you will understand that it was them.)) Sorry for the evil humor, I do not wish such guests to anyone.