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We have a communal dining area and roof terrace where our guests tend to appear now and then. If we see them there we always greet them and ask if everything is alright. Asking where they went the previous day or if they are doing anything interesting today can have two results:
1) The 'I like to be left alone' guest - body language such as smiling and returning your greeting but followed by studying their phone or moving to the furthest table away means they like their space. Don't bug them, but always smile and greet - just drop the questions.
2) The 'I want to show you my 150 photos on my phone' guest - the complete opposite to the above. This guest seeks you out and asks umpteen questions, wants to know your life history and wants you to know theirs. By all means have a long conversation, but don't blur the position by being their best friends. A friendly helpful host remains the host and they remain the guest. I generally will accept a glass of wine if pushed and then excuse myself rather than stay the night emptying a few bottles.
These of course are the extremes - most guests are in the middle somewhere. The main thing is that when a guest leaves they feel you acknowledged their presence, assisted them when they asked, found you always to be approachable but never such that they do a runner when they see you approaching.
Top tip: NEVER discuss a guest with another guest. It is bad form and the guest may wonder if you discuss them with the other guests too! We extend this to our cleaning staff too - they are never to discuss guests with each other. We had a cleaner with a booming voice who came to me in the communal kitchen to announce with disgust that Room 23 never takes a shower. The guest was seated in the kitchen but fortunately did not understand Maltese!
I would like to add that we actually live in the accommodation so we have installed a service bell with a green sign saying "We are in - please ring for service" , this can be flipped to a red sign which reads "Sorry - we are out. For emergencies phone ........". We explain this on arrival - the third is the sign removed which means we have gone to bed - always gets a laugh and no-one rings when the sign is down.
This is a useful way for us to be summoned whilst we are in to assist guests with booking tours, buying wine or water, asking for additional pillows or a blanket, to book transfer to the airport or to report a light bulb that has blown etc.
In short - we are always on hand if the guest needs us and we always come down stairs to answer their summons with a smile.
You must be advertising as pet friendly so this really should have been considered before someone turned up with a pet.
We do not accept pets, mainly because when we started our business we were naive and keen to accept anyone. A gentlemen turned up with his dog and we endured a week of yapping from his room which was even worse than a baby crying because it was almost non stop. Fortunately we had very few guests as we had just opened, but the 'No pets' box was ticked the moment he left!
You should not decline them - that would be discriminating. I would say that the fact you took the pains to warn them and they feel the accommodation will suffice you are covered. We had a gentlemen who came in a wheelchair but he could travel short distances of about 200 yards with a stick.
We also had stand up showering cubicles but we have non slip shower mats and a suction cup disabled handle to assist standing. You can also put a small plastic stool in the shower. They managed OK and we had no issues.
In the unlikely event they turn up and then complain bitterly about the facilities, you produce your emails and basically say 'tough cheese'. If they decide to go elsewhere, you are entitled to your cancellation fee if you have one.
We had some guests that took a hot pizza box into their room rather than use the designated communal kitchen area. They placed the box on a wooden table and left the hotel in the morning. When we discarded the box, the heat from the pizza had discoloured the wood varnish and we had to have it repaired.
You can't stop guests doing things like this so we have covered all bed side tables, dressing tables etc with sheet glass (which is also useful to place notices underneath) and we have not had a problem since. Judging by the number of pizza boxes we remove from rooms - this would have been an ongoing problem.
It is easy to clean and stops scratches of furniture keeping it looking brand new.
When guests return from the beach covered in sun protection and lie on the bed before showering, (at least that is how I would like to think the oily stains got there!) you wind up with oily stains that don't generally wash out. We threw away several sheets before getting this tip from one of our cleaner staff.
Soak the oily stain liberally with washing up detergent and leave overnight. Then wash as normal. Don't wash immediately as the detergent needs time to break the oil down - you will just get a washing machine full of foam! :-)
A tip on removing blood stains. Use contact lense saline solution - the saline destroys the blood cells and breaks them up making their removal easier.
Chris Gregg - we average 9.4 , only once dipping to 9.3 one year which we immediately made an effort to recover from and have been 9.4 since.
You are doing very well with your scores, but suspect that if you had you 8 to 10 rooms and therefore several guests to accommodate at once, you would also dip in points.
My wife is more gutted by lower scores than I am - as long as we are in the 9 and above, I am happy - the competition is 7.5 to 8.5.
Nevertheless - we are also annoyed as we frequently get 'great location' but a 7.5 for location score?! We do not go back to our guest and challenge them - I am convinced that scores are subjective.
Some guests say they had a great time and give us straight 10. We like that. Others rave about their stay and rate you 7.5! I am convinced that in their mind they think that no one is perfect and they seriously think that is a good score. I cannot explain it in any other way.
We have developed a diagram map with the Guest House at the centre and all shops, banks with ATMs, bus station, restaurants, takeaways and bars listed. The recommended restaurants are coloured in red (based on previous guests feedback, our personal experience and a glance at Trip Advisor).
Further, we then give them a tour of the premises and end up at the notice board where they are introduced to the above described map and encouraged to snap it on their phone so they always have it to hand.
We then advise how the buses work, where tickets can be purchased and numbers of local buses. If they are chatty and not tired after their trip, we cover places of interest and discuss trip timings plus where the swimming holes and beaches are.
If we undertook the private transfer, they are met at Airport Arrivals with a sign bearing their name and then whisked to the property. If they can speak English well, there is usually a conversation in the car (after having determined if they have been before or are first time arrivals) regarding the size of the country, the transport system and any other useful bit of information like "Is the water safe to drink?"
We firmly believe that letting the guest know they don't have to stay in their room but are welcome to roam the kitchen area and make free tea & coffee plus sit on the roof terrace 24/7 - we want the 'home from home' feeling. This gives a guest a running start and the confidence to go exploring.