Miscellaneous Since we started using Flipkey to invite reviews on our cottage rentals, we’ve had a great response and mostly they show our owners are doing a really good job. It’s been quite a learning curve though as we appreciate it often only takes a minor action (or inaction) on the part of an owner, to generate what can be seen as a major upset by rental clients. Of course, human nature had us taking a voyeuristic journey into reviews of other properties on Flipkey and it was interesting to note what led some renters to write negative reviews. This led us to compile the following list of actions for attracting 3 or less stars. Tongue in cheek, naturally, but these little nuggets were all found amongst the reviews. 1. Advertise that you provide linens, and then amuse your guests by forgetting to do so. 2. Provide linens but don’t make the beds up. 3. Don’t have any outside lights on so finding the lockbox in the dark is nearly impossible. Take this one stage further by hiding the spare key in an unused outhouse. 4. Ask your renters to locate the breakers and switch for the water pump before they access the property. Do not label the breakers. 5. Advertise you have a TV but don’t mention that its only for watching videos since there is no satellite or local TV stations to watch 6. Make sure the kitchen cabinets are so full of your own half-used packets and jars they have no room for their own provisions. Ramp this one up by leaving some mouldy cheese and mildewed fruit in the refrigerator. 7. Cover most of the walls with yellow post-it notes instructing renters what not to do. The bathroom notice should encourage them to respect your septic system with a bad taste verse rhyming yellow with mellow and brown with flushing down. 8. Don’t tell them what happens if the power goes out. Let them find out that the toilet won’t flush after it’s been used. Oh, how they will laugh! 9. Make sure your cottage directions omit an important turn so they’ll drive an additional hour in the wrong direction before realizing they are on the wrong road 10. Don’t provide any form of seating around the fire pit then complain if the renters use the chairs from the deck 11. Remove any items that will make the renters arrival easier, such as toilet paper 12. Make some promises about things you are going to provide, then forget what you promised. 13. Remove bulbs from various light fittings and neglect to leave replacements 14. Avoid vacuuming under beds or behind furniture until there are dust bunnies the size of tumbleweed. 15. Leave detailed instructions on how you want the property to be left on departure, but don’t supply any cleaning materials. 16. Give your guests the rustic cottage experience by providing 20 year old sagging mattresses and stained pillows. Add value with comforters covered in dog hair. 17. If you live near the property, call the renters frequently to point out that they are breaking your ‘rules’, and drop by occasionally on some pretence to comment on how you hope the place will look after they have left 18. Leave a nearly empty tank of propane on the barbecue, with no spare. This works best when renters arrive after the local propane supplier has closed. 19. Provide 3 incomplete packs of tattered playing cards; a Scrabble set with letters missing and make sure most of your ‘Extensive DVD collection’ are gratuitously violent or sexually explicit. 20. Set the keyless entry/lockbox code to a different one than you give the renters, then leave the country 21. Neglect to supply any information on the local area, such as where the nearest store or gas station is. 22. Decide immediately before a major sporting event that you don’t need to subscribe to sports channels any longer. Don’t let anyone know 23. Let friends and family use the property immediately before your guests are due to arrive and believe they will clean it before they leave. Trust me – they won’t – at least not to your standards. Each and every one of these items could be enough to garner a negative review. Most are easy to rectify and resolve with a little forethought and over the next few days I’ll be taking each of them and showing how easy it would have been to prevent them from happening at all.