Having a lot of rental guests go through our agency reservation system each year means we can see patterns and trends and often identify different types of people who stay in our properties. Mostly they are wonderful groups who book, pay promptly, have a wonderful time and write great reviews, however over the course of a summer season there are a few who stand out. In a busy and occasionally stressful environment, a little light relief often helps and we spent a few happy hours devising this list of the different types of guests we often encounter.
Mr Fix –It
You’ll either love or hate this guy. He will check out all your light bulbs and change any that need replacing; will fix the dripping tap you meant to get around to on the last changeover but didn’t have the time; and adjust the sticking drawer in the kitchen cabinet. You may continue to notice all he’s done weeks after he left the property and this type of Mr Fix-It is the one to love. The other is the one you would prefer had left his tool bag at home as he constantly calls to let you know what he has done; what is next on his busy agenda, and how he’s improved your property while he’s been on vacation.
Questions that may give you a clue you have a Mr Fix-It
- Where’s the nearest hardware store?
- Do you have an axe?
- I see you have a ride-on mower, do you need the lawn to be mowed during our stay?
The Drama Queen
Most guests will accept that the odd things will go wrong; an appliance may inexplicably break down, and every vacation region has it’s share of wildlife small and large. It’s all part of the vacation rental experience. The drama queen will take each one as ‘the worst thing that could possibly happen’ as it ‘ruins her vacation entirely’. If the dishwasher goes AWOL it’s a major catastrophe even if it gets fixed the next day, and sighting of an ant on a counter top can result in demands for immediate response from a pest controller.
The law of attraction says that something will break down while a drama queen is in residence so make sure you have a handyman/appliance repairman/ fairy godmother available at a moments notice. You can bet she is not married to Mr Fix It.
Questions that may give you a clued you have a Drama Queen
- When was the dishwasher last serviced?
- Who do we call if we have a complaint?
- How quickly will someone be able to come to the property if there is a problem?
We all want our vacation home to be the perfect choice for our guests and will lavish care and attention on making it so, but when faced with this guest you will fight a losing battle. Nothing escapes their eagle eyes from the dust bunny hiding in an obscure corner, to the ‘unsafe’ speaker wires behind the entertainment centre, and the lack of a pineapple corer. They’ll notice a spelling error in the Welcome Book and make sure they bring it to your attention, and will probably offer their handy tips on how to improve it (which may not be a bad thing after you get over the initial irritation).
Just hope you don’t have bad weather or ‘The Nitpicker' will be on her hands and knees for the duration checking under the beds and around the baseboards for dust.
How you will know the a Nitpicker?
This type is detail-oriented and will ask a ton of questions before finally making a reservation. Payment will be on time and if you leave it more than a day or so before sending a confirmation, she (usually a female) will be on the phone checking where it is. You can identify a Nitpicker when they share this with you:
“We are clean – freaks and will leave your place cleaner than we find it”
The Serial Complainer
This is a more serious phenomena as these guests do not make their type known until after they have departed, when they will send a lengthy laundry list of complaints followed by a demand for a refund.
However they can be recognized by the detailed questions they may ask after booking as they pave the way for complaining, usually prefaced with “Can you confirm”? For example:
- Can you confirm the hot tub is operational and usable?
- Can you confirm the property is child friendly?
- Can you confirm everything is as described in the listing?
The Surprise Partiers
The party is no surprise to your guests but it may be to you when you find out their intentions – hopefully before the event occurs. There is a popular misconception fuelled by some media articles that vacation rentals are great for large groups, reunions, celebrations etc, and there are some big properties that do lend themselves to that type of get-together. After all, if we could afford Richard Branson’s Necker Island property wouldn’t we want to invite a few friends? Being clear on occupancy limits and incorporating draconian clauses into the Terms and Conditions may not be sufficient to put off the determined party planner and it’s worth recognizing the clues in their questions.
- How many cars can you park at the property?
- Is there room for a large tent in the garden?
- Can we have some day guests – they won’t be staying the night?
This is the type that should never leave the city, or at least venture away from a hotel or resort where the concierge or night manager is always at hand . They call at midnight to ask how the microwave works; text and email with a barrage of questions that could be answered by a quick look at the Property Book, and will panic if the property doesn’t show on their GPS because it’s in a rural area.
If the power goes out Dependents cannot function as they need to be connected at all times and you may find they hotfoot it back to the comforts of the urban environment within an hour or so. They are not resourceful or self-sufficient in any way and self-catering is clearly not for them.
I’d love to hear if you’ve had any of these stereotypes to stay and how you managed their demands and expectations. Have I missed out on any?