It’s something that short-term-rental hosts and owners complain about all the time. ‘Guests don’t read’. Actually, guests do read. They read all the time. But they read what they want to read. They just don’t read your long and boring list of rules and regulations.
They also don’t want to spend their valuable vacation time reading your long, long, long online listing.
Most internet reading today is done on the phone. That’s a pretty small screen and can mean a lot of scrolling. But I see all the time:
- My guests didn’t take the garbage out. Didn’t they read my rules?
- My listing doesn’t show internet as an amenity. But the guests complained. Didn’t they read my listing?
- My guests called me because they couldn’t find the place. Why didn’t they read their itinerary?
- My guests arrived at 2pm. My listing states check-in is at 3. Why don’t guests read?
And so on and so on and so on.
It’s got to the point now when hosts regularly say ‘I know that guests don’t read but…’ Sorry, but we are using that as an excuse to not communicate properly with our guests. Let’s take the peeves written in the bulleted list above.
- Why are you stressing that your guests didn’t take out the garbage? I come across this a lot. When Airbnb suggests to its guests that they’leave the place as they found it’ they don’t mean laundering the sheets, polishing the furniture and taking out the garbage. you can put it in your ‘rules’ until the cows come home but sometimes you’re going to be disappointed
- If your rental deviates from the norm in any way (and internet is definitely the norm) then yes, it should be in your listing. But you also need to reiterate it to your guests. In writing. Have a paper trail. ‘Please confirm that you understand that the apartment has no internet and that this will be fine for you. I look forward to meeting you!’ Be friendly but firm
- The day before your guests arrive send them a message if they have any concerns regarding their arrival. Explain your check-in procedure. Give them brief location details and ask if they need further information
- At the same time add the information ‘as you know, our check-in time is 3pm. Will you be arriving at that time? Please let me know and keep me updated if you’re delayed. Thanks so much!’ Again, friendly but firm
It seems that today there are some hosts who believe that the less contact they have with their guests, the better. That as long as everything is written down somewhere in the listing – or on a long sheet of ‘rules’ – then guests should read every word and comply accordingly.
Yes, that would be lovely, but life isn’t like that.
Do you read everything you’re confronted with? When you take your car in for servicing do you read all the small print on the back of the work order? When you’re installing new software or joining a website, do you read every word of the terms and conditions or just press the ‘I agree’ button?
I often see hosts who are complaining about certain aspects of Airbnb (Homeaway, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, whatever) but it turns out that they haven’t read the terms and conditions of the very service they are complaining about!
In our everyday lives, we come across terms and conditions, small print et al but we have to admit that we rarely study every word if indeed we read it at all.
You see, guests are simply being human.
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.