You’ve heard that saying I’m sure – that there are no bad dogs, just bad owners? And I’m sure that it’s mostly true. Note the ‘mostly’. I imagine that there are some dogs that have weird brain malfunctions that make them a little odd but in most cases, a puppy starts its life being amiable and willing to learn.

Now I’m not saying that all guests are amiable and willing to learn and certainly there are some aberrations in the human brain, but the fact remains that at least where the host / guest relationship is concerned there are some hosts who seem to almost always have bad guests whereas others have 99% great guests.

Why is that?

I truly can’t think of any other reason than the common denominator. Let’s say that I have ten guests and they’re all just fine. Let’s say my next-door neighbour has ten guests and he says that they are all dreadful. What the common denominators there?

The hosts of course.

Now I’m not saying that even the best of hosts can’t have some oddity at some time or another. We’ve got to consider simple probability, percentages and straightforward odds. It’s bound to happen, that’s just the law of averages.

But if as a host you’re constantly getting bad guests, isn’t it time to look towards yourself? You don’t want to, you won’t want to. It’s your property and you can have your rules just the way you want them. Of course. But the trouble is that guests just aren’t getting it.

Can you change their behaviour?

The chances are that no, you can’t. Let’s say you only have one guest every week. That’s over 50 guests in a year. Can you change 50 people? If you’re like me, you might have hundreds of guests per year. Can I change the behaviour of hundreds of people? Probably not.
What I can change, though is myself. It’s a lot easier to change just one person than hundreds and remember that hosting is a hospitality service, it isn’t a power struggle. So let’s look at what guests do that class them as a ‘bad guest’.

  • They don’t follow the rules. But are the rules reasonable? For example, a rule such as ‘guests are not to open this cupboard’ is just begging to be broken. You really wouldn’t believe some of the rules that I’ve seen that truly, I consider totally daft. If a host has a rule that says ‘do not use the space heater and the hairdryer at the same time’ and yes, I’ve really seen this, then get your electrics fixed
  • They don’t pay attention to the signs and notes. Again, are you being unreasonable here? ‘Don’t open this window’. Why? And why can’t you (or your co-host explain about these things at the time of the home tour?
  • Do you have any rules that are simply impossible for your guests to carry out? For example, you want them to take their trash out but do you leave extra trash bags for them? Have you shown them where the outside trash is?
  • Similarly, do you have a rule that guests must clean after them? If so, you need to make sure that there are plenty of cleaning materials for them to use
  • So many hosts complain that guests don’t check out on time. Well, I’ll tell you something now – neither do I unless someone is nudging me. I don’t mean that I linger for hours, but I might not leave until quarter past check out time. If the host isn’t reminding the guests (and if necessary, getting on their case about it) then, of course, the guests are going to linger. What’s to stop them? Not the host unless they make positive moves

Just a few examples but you see what I mean…

Remember, it’s a lot easier to change your own behaviour and your own systems so that the stress you feel from ‘bad guests’ is completely minimised. Give it a try.




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.

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