Are High Maintenance Guests Your Best Assets?

high_maintenance It is likely that most of your vacation home rental guests will be of the low maintenance variety. They book; pay their money; arrive at the designated check-in time; leave promptly on the last day, and apart from a few lines in the guest book, you may never hear from them again.

Sounds ideal? Sure, if you don't want any feedback on your property or are not bothered about what people really think. Just remember though, the majority of your rental clients will fit with the old customer care statistic that 9 out of 10 consumers who have an issue or complaint will not let you know – they will just tell 10 of their friends instead.  And wouldn't you like to know if there was a problem before it began circulating the internet in forums, blogs, and on YouTube?

I read a book several years ago called A Complaint is a Gift, and it had a real impact on the way I conducted my business. Instead of getting irritated with minor guest queries and what you might see as niggling complaints, why not work on recovering every situation with a solution, however small. Here's a couple of examples:

If a guest has emailed on several occasions before their vacation with lists of questions, give them a call the day after they arrive at the cottage to ask if they have everything they need. This may well elicit another bunch of questions which is fine. This just shows a possible deficiency in the information you have provided prior to the rental beginning.

When you get a call about something lacking in the cottage that the guest expected, stifle the urge to be exasperated and do something instead,  to fix it immediately. We had a guest comment recently there were not enough hangers in the closets and responded by getting the caretaker to take a pack of brand new one down there on the same day. 

Going the extra mile can seem a real pain at times and may even go against your instincts in the case of a particularly picky guest. However, you may find you reap additional benefits from spending time and even a little extra money on appeasing them.

I'd be interested in hearing your comments on this one.

Photo by Cubbie_n_vegas on Flickr

Jennifer Jilks

I think it is all in your point of view: rather than ‘complaint’ I see it as constructive criticism.

There are high maintenance folks who ask 20 million questions, or do not read the information in the listing. As a retired teacher, this is a familiar story. I had parents who never read my meticulously prepared monthly newsletters!

Having spent every summer at our cottage since 1960, we take it for granted. This is how I have approached our renters. My parents refused to upgrade things, like the bathroom, but it is no longer a shrine to 1960. The upgrades have made a difference. We are renting a place in Niagara and the container of coffee, the sweetener, the tourist brochures our landlord left are much appreciated. (I am taking notes!) I hope to improve for our next renters.

The other issue, as recommended by Heather, is to be honest about the things you cannot ‘fix’ or replace this year. People understand this.

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