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We have a backpackers lodge and a holiday home on the same grounds. We live at the front of the lodge and share the kitchen with the guests. Doing this allows us to be available without being intrusive. Generally the guests think this is amazing and often join us for meals.
When we first bought the property five years ago I had no idea how to run it. Some friends said I should have themes for the rooms but that is not me. In the end, time went by and I found being myself was the answer. I love to make people happy I love to remember every guests name and also I know to step back when people want their own space. I had a cleaning business before the lodge so our motto is clean and friendly. This has given us a 9.3 score when we are not in a tourist area.
I think you have to work within your own personality then it will be real and the guests know that
We are a backpackers so we are the low end of the price scale. It does not make any difference here whether guests are young or older or what country they come from as to how they act. It is certainly wonderful when guests pay the room rate and any extras with no complaining. My favorite guests are vibrant people who engage with everyone including me. As I live at the lodge and share the kitchen I love being a part of the guests amazing lives. I like to help them plan what they will do in our area so when they ask for advice I love it. It is even better when they come back in the evening and share their wonderful day with me. There are also quiet people who will still have a chat over a cuppa but just want to relax and read a book. I am not a traveler so I am lucky to have the world coming to me. It is great when guests comment on how clean the lodge is
We have a late checkout fee of $10. If guests are stuck here for some reason we accommodate them but when we say we will have to charge them they usually pack up and leave quite happily. If we do not do this we will have guests cooking lunch at 1pm when they should not be here. People can pay $32 a night and that covers a lot but they can not carry on using electricity when they should of checked out. As for the guests who come back in the evening to use the facilities we do not allow it, would they do that at a motel where they are paying three times the price as here? I do whatever I can to keep guests happy which is generally easy as I love people and I really want them to feel at home, it is only a few guests that want more and more and you can not make them happy
Early check in can also be difficult if guests want to checkout late. We only have a small lodge, 30 beds, but I need the hours between 10am and 2pm to get the cleaning done to the standard that I want.
The bathrooms and kitchen are communal so I can not do anything until the guests check out. If they want to stay until 11am and the next lot want to check in at 1pm that does not leave a lot of time.
We also have guests check out and go and do their activities for the day. Then they come back to use the toilets and showers before going to their next destination. Really that is going too far.
It is quite rude of the guests to say they have not read the check in time. Through out the world guest houses all have check in times and if you know you are going to be somewhere early you should ring and inquire if you are able to do so. We all like our places to look their best when guests arrive and this takes time
In our small hostel we only speak English. Most visitors coming to New Zealand have at least basic understanding of the language. In the winter we have a large group of South Koreans stay for 2 months. There is usually one of them who speaks English well. With the others I usually get them to show me what they need. We have had no problems.
We have a log fire in our cottage for guests to use. In New Zealand it can be cold at any time of the year so we have to always have it available. We have seen people using it with the door open and sparks going on the carpet. We constantly check on it now as most guests do not know how to use it.
It adds a lot of atmosphere to the lounge and the guests love it. On really cold days I will have it going when the guests arrive. They really appreciate it but then leave the outside doors open and let all the heat out.
I had trouble with my light switches and the electrician couldn't come until the next day so like you I put some lamps around the room and everyone was happy. We have a big communal lounge where people can relax if they check in early. They usually choose to drop of their luggage and go site seeing