New HomeStay with detailed auto messages & onsite info yet, Guests fail to read and then leave bad rating.
As a reletively new HomeStay, for the last 7 or so weeks, it has been a learning experience to the nuansaces of Guests.
Over time I have updated the photos with latest improvements to the rooms;
Put and placed posters and house rules in multiple lanaguages (google translate);
Utilised clever symbols to represent location and info for various things from towels, to WIFI. Updated the automessages to include a copy of the house rules and policies (check-in, check-out, where things are; health & safety; cleaning info; electric shower operation etc.)
I have now had out of 20+ reservations, at least 4 that neer heard anything, then use their misinformed attitude to then make arating which leads to false information about the property, room etc.
Its infuriating, that after all the effort to cover off on all these little and big things, that Guests can get away wit this.
I avoid replying to the ratings in any negative tone and prefer instead to explain to them where they went wrong politely so that they can learn from the mistake they have made.
I literally had 2 nights ago one french person come in very late near 1am, then this morning left (anonymously) a very bad rating. Their comments are blatantly untrue. Like no towels, not clean, complained about the checkout time.
Both the auto messages, and the in room documentation clearly states where the bathroom is and towels. As well as the poster on the hall wall.
Cleaner had literally just been in and the rooms and bathroom had another coaot of paint applied. So other than some specs of paint on the carpet, and the bathroom lino. There literally was nothing dirty.
It seems people do not think at all, are inconsiderate and seem to think they should be treated the same as if they were in a hotel. A home stay is not even remotely close to a hotel.
We are on average 60%-70% cheaper than any other option nearby (hotels, hostels, B&B). I
am in a genius program, setup on promortions, mobile users... and all these stack a % discount significantly.
I have been tweaking the pricing, policies, and updating photos with lots of great info for local amenities, transport options etc. We are located in a prime location connected to 3 mjor arteries for transport (Bus, Taxi and light Rail).
It astonds me the ratings where some grumble on things like coffee rating, location, cleanliness etc.
When they blatantly are wrong and untrue. And in somecase not even relevent about the coffee, that they got for free.
They would not do it if they werein their parents homes so why should they do it here.
"you cant be all things to all people" - managing their expectations fro mthe get-go I find is very important, hence why I tweaked the automessages to to clarify :
>>What a homestay
>>What to expect
>>What is provided
>>How to get here
>>How to connect to WIFI
>>and much more.
At this point I am in two minds about being open 7 days a week for reservations.
Have had , 'touch wood' only minor incidents to deal with.
A drunk guest not able to open the door when everyone is in bed.Then found eating mint choc ice cream form the freezer in the pitch blank kitchen.
A mature couple with no english not reporting spoilage (bio-material , incontenence), despite previously sending messages to me.
They then went on to slate the property in rating, and blatantly lied about their experience.
I have since followed up with partner help with a detailed timeline of thieir stay.
Lessons learned here and with other things was to tweak the house rules and include them into the auto messages for reservation, pre arrival, arrival and checkout.
I am constantly trying to keep an eye on the condition , and access tothe propery but its not fesible to do it every day and night.
If I see something to be actioned I will clean, fix or order the product I need in order to deal with it or pay a tradesman to deal with it.
Lately I try to make a point to tlak to them when they enter and leave where feasible. Not always possible if they come in late or I am out of the house.
I candidly mention the rating and feed back , asking for fair and constructive feedback. I have recently mentioned to them the bad ratings from that olderspanish couple that lied and ask them to be true and honest in their feedback. Pointing out that everyone should be readingthe messages for the booking and the on-site posters, signs and in-room documentation for the house rules, and policies.
They were all happy to do so and even commented on how clean and orgnaised I am.
Some even commented on the clever methods I have employed to give them 27/4 access and the flexible check-in/out methods.
Like having a designated area to remove thier luggage to if early check-in/ late check-out.
I am smart wnough to know yes people will chance their arms to try complain and get a refund.
My cleaner who does alot of work for other AirBNB and homestays even commented on all of this when I owuld update her every week on the feedback.She was disgusted by their false ratings and feedback and how lazy they were.
I could noty agree more, its disgusting what some of them have tried to pull.
I have since learned to tweak the pricing to deal with those who want something for nothing.
I do have last minute bookings enabled but might now disable that, even though I can remotely ,automated their check-in , without being at home.
Yale Keyless smart lock on inside porch door, using last 4 digits of booking number.
Works with Samsung SmartThings Hub and a YALE Zwave2 module, and the Samsung Classic SmartThings app.
The rooms are all on ground floor with a poster for the room name, contact info etc.
Kitchen and bathroom are spotless and indicated in hallway.
Self Catering. No breakfast provided. However there is a second fridge/freezer, and in cupboards some basic things like tea, coffee, salt pepper, delf, cutlery, cooking equipment etc..
The photos on the listing include a clever way of providing local shops and transport options, a photo of the location along with a google map showing the location from the property with a line.
There is not anything else left to do in general. I have plans for the bathroom, but that is a much bigger job and timing for a having a few unbooked days is required to redo the coating on the old cast iron bath,
Its a very old worn bath (disocloration) with some treatment done to it, but utilimately you only stand in it to use the electric shower.
Hopefully this helps other homestay hosts starting out.
It can seem daunting at first, setting up the website options, but you dont have to do everything in one go.
Start simple. Dont feel like you have to join every promotion or enable mobile and genius offers.