Most people in the world are friendly, law-abiding folk. who just want to get on with their lives. And yet if you were to read comments on, for instance, a forum for short-term-rental ghosts, you might get the idea that as soon as a normal, average person turns into a ‘guest’ they grow horns and a tail and they breathe brimstone and fire.
I strongly suspect that a great part of this is that the hosts have high expectations. It’s as though the current popularity of services such as Airbnb has suddenly created a race of superguests who are perfect in every way. Well, they’re not. They are human.
But there are simple ways to avoid the check out problems that hosts complain about the most. They are:
- The guests don’t leave on time
- The guests don’t leave the rental in good condition
These issues can be resolved by one simple message sent to the guest the day before checkout. Yes, I’m sure that there truly are a few diabolic guests out there who won’t respond well to this but 999 times out of 1000, it works.
The first thing you should do is advertise your check out time to be an hour earlier than you actually need. For example, you need four hours to turn the rental over for the next guest so make sure that your published time gives a five-hour interval.
I love guests who take the time and trouble to ensure that they are leaving their rental apartment in great shape. They wash the dishes and put them away, they clean the bathroom, they take out the garbage … etc. There’s still plenty to do to prepare for the next guests but starting with a clean (-ish) slate is so good.
But when I’m away from home, whether it’s a vacation or a business trip – I really need a while to do all the things that I know that my host would appreciate. If they want me to check out at 10 am then I have to start at eight or nine o’clock in the morning to get the place spotless and pack my belongings.
So give your guests an extra hour. You don’t need that hour but they might. So your message so far reads:
Checkout day already tomorrow! I hope you’ve enjoyed your stay here. As you know, our usual check out time is 10 am but if you’d like to extend that to 11 am that will be fine…
More to follow…
This is the day before they leave. They had already mentally prepared for getting out of your place at about 10 am (and wishing it could be later, no doubt) and now you’re giving them ‘official’ permission to stay a further hour. Phew!
How can you help to make sure that the guests spend that additional time cleaning? Well, one thing is for sure – they are not going to clean if cleaning materials are not provided. It sounds simple but it’s true. There’s a dishwasher but no detergent for use in it? No dishwasher but no dish soap?
Make sure that there are plenty of cleaning materials and items such as spare garbage bags. I would be wonderful too to equip your rental with a vacuum cleaner (at least, a hand-held) but I don’t have room for a full sized one and a decent hand-held can be expensive.
However, as part of my message, I also say:
If there’s anything I can do to make sure that your check pout runs smoothly, just let me know. If you need anything such as spare trash bags, or need to borrow the vacuum, just let me know – I’m happy to help.
I then reiterate the ‘thank you for staying’ thing and wish them safe travels. It’s very rare that guests ask for anything at all when they are cleaning up after themselves but they know that the offer is there. And they are usually delighted that they’ve been given an extra hour in the rental.
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.