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Guests overstaying their welcome
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AngloDutch



Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 614
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 1:40 pm    Post subject: Guests overstaying their welcome Reply with quote

I think we will have to mark down 2016 as a bad year, for bookings as well as for some rather difficult people we have had stay this year.

We currently have a group of guests staying who have been with us for a week but are due to leave tomorrow. We rarely say that we will be glad to see the back of guests, but this current lot have been very demanding and negative since they arrived last Tuesday.

It unfortunately began when they did not text us as they had promised, in order to give us an indication as to their general arrival time.

Last week we had some amazing weather here in the NL. Around 25'c, clear skies, actually perfect weather for them as they had come to do a lot of biking whilst here.

They decided to rent bikes when they arrived. I had explained via email that we could arrange this for them and if they reserved them through us then they would not have to put down around €300 security deposit as the shop staff know us (it's worth it for us, as we receive 20% commission, which is quite alot on a week's rental, and gives us quite a bit of extra income over a year).

They agreed to rent them via us. I said that I would go with them to the store so that the staff are aware that they are our guests (for the deposit waiver). The store is a few minutes' walk away and we always do this so that the shop knows that it is OK to release the bikes to them.

I met the grandfather walking outside quite early last Wednesday. I said to him to just let me know when they were ready to go up to the store (reiterated, no rush, as some of them may still be tired from the transatlantic flight). He said that 10 a.m. would be no problem. Well, 10 a.m. came and went and several hours later I saw them all arrive back at the farmhouse with the bikes!

We can understand that some guests want limited contact with the owners of a holiday home (especially if the owner is on site) but why agree to meet someone at a certain time and then decide to go and do it on your own? If they had said that they did not need (want?) me to go with them, I would have explained that the bikes would not be released to them otherwise (you're talking about several thousand Euros worth of bikes).

Actually, they were very lucky to have managed to have walked out with them, and it seems that a junior staff member made a mistake as our village store has tightened up their security procedures recently after 12 of their ATBs/electric bikes were stolen by someone using a fake ID.

We noticed them that same evening trying the locks on all our sheds as they were looking for a place to store their 7 bikes. I had pointed out that there is a storage place for the bikes in one of the car ports accessible to them, but they had parked one of their cars there, so they were now pulling at the padlocks on all the outhouses.

Deciding to assist before they managed to break a lock (we have of course already lost 1 gate this year to guests accessing our neighbour's property), they unfortunately didn't appreciate the gesture.


Me: You can store at least half of the bikes in the shed on the right that contains your dryer and BBQ. You have the key to that...



Man: No, we can just put them in the back of the carport, behind the car.



Me: There is not much room there, as the rubbish containers are in the way. I can move the containers across to the other car port to give you some room, if you want to put them there...



Man (very curtly): No, we don't need you to move them. We are OK. Just leave the garbage containers alone, they are OK there!!



Me, almost losing my cool (a very rare event): Okaaay, no problem.



Man: We don't feel happy that there is no way to lock or secure these bikes....



Me: You can store them in the sheds under lock and key instead.


No response.


So, now getting some very strange vibes from these people and feeling like these guests wanted to be left alone and that they didn't want contact, we kept away, but then the knocks on the door/window started.

First, they asked for more biodegradable bags for the food waste bin in the kitchen. We had left them an extra amount in the kitchen drawer, the location of which I had pointed out to several of the ladies when showing them around the farmhouse, but some people use them more than others.

Then came another knock on the door the next morning.


Irritated lady: Can you unlock the shed so that we can use the dryer?



Me: You have the key to the shed, it's with the black tag. But if someone else has it, no problem, I will open it for you.



Guest, now very irate: No, I need this door opened, because I saw a dryer here.



Me: No, that dryer is not in use, your dryer is over here in this shed, along with your BBQ.



Guest: I have seen that dryer. The plug was not connected
.


Me (pushing the plug of the dryer into the socket, switching it on so that the lady could see that it functioned, and still biting my lip all the time): If you go out today, I will switch it off for you when the cycle is complete, as it will beep when it's finished


No reply from guest.


We also told them when they arrived about recycling and that, as it was going to be hot for most of the week, to let us have their recycled waste during their stay. Empty plastic containers which contained minced meat and chicken tend to turn smelly fairly quickly, so better not to let it pile up, we said.

I was then confronted yesterday by several members of their party who each it seemed had something to complain about.


Same lady, still appearing irritated: Can you empty the plastic garbage. It is piling up and is beginning to smell? Also, we need more bio bags.



Me (ignoring their irritations): No problem, I will take the rubbish away. Do you have anything else to get rid of? (when I went inside the farmhouse, it appeared that they also had stockpiled around 30 empty wine/beer bottles and had a whole box full of empty pizza cartons and paper as well)


While I was taking all this rubbish off them, the grandfather chipped in (as the temperature had dropped by about 10 degrees since yesterday).


Grandfather: Several of us were freezing cold last night. We need extra comforters (duvets).



Me: We have just split the duvets in preparation for the summer season. They are currently being laundered as we store them clean, but you can put the heating on a little in the bedrooms if you find it too cold at night.



Now extremely irritated lady: Show me how to do that. How do you switch on the heating?



Me: No problem, which bedroom are you using? I will show you how to turn the radiator on. It is the same in each bedroom and throughout the farmhouse.



Me again: (while demonstrating how to turn the knob on a radiator) See, you can feel it getting warm. You won't need it turned too...



Same lady, cutting in and holding up a pillow: My daughter dyed her hair last night and it's got on the pillow. Here's €5 to cover it, which should be enough...



Me: Oh (staring at one of our new pillow cases now covered in a rash of orange), has it gone through to the protector as well
?

Both the protector and the cover were ruined.


Me: I will have to check on the replacement cost as we've just bought them. What about the bath towel and the sheets?


No reply.


After giving them back their recycling boxes, empty and washed out as well, and a whole new roll of biodegradable bags, I checked on the cost to replace the ruined pillow and it came to a total of €40.

While they were about to set off to a horse-riding school that we had arranged for them at the very beginning of their stay (the reservation which we had had to change for them later because they couldn't make up their mind who wanted to go riding), I went over and said that we would go half on the €40 cost, as the replacements are sold as sets.


Lady (with a big sigh): I have only another €10 in bills...



Daughter (she with the dyed hair): I have a couple of Euros in coins...



Me: Look, that's fine, (taking the rest off them both, of which now totalled €18 ), we appreciate your telling us about this, as not everyone does.



They have today picked up a further 3 bikes which the owner of the bike store had to come over and tell us about.
They have yet to pay for any of the 10 bikes (over €230 in total), so it looks like we will have to keep an eye on the parking lot tomorrow morning in case they leave while 'forgetting' that they hadn't settled the bike rental bill..

I said to my OH today whether we would (or should) be still doing this in 10 years' time.

We look forward to the guests coming next Sunday. They are on their 4th visit!
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1183
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my! You have the patience of a saint, AD. I know it is not PC to ask the nationality of these guests, but I can have darned good guess!
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AngloDutch



Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 614
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AndrewH wrote:
Oh my! You have the patience of a saint, AD. I know it is not PC to ask the nationality of these guests, but I can have darned good guess!


They are from the country north of there. Normally lovely people, but every now and then...
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JanB



Joined: 17 Aug 2012
Posts: 502
Location: Near Bath

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a horrible lot they sound!

May I venture to guess they were Canadian? In more than ten years of letting, I can honestly say Canadian guests fell into one of two very distinct camps:

They were either the absolute best you could possibly imagine, bearing gifts and leaving rave reviews and even extending invitations to visit them if ever we went to Canada. Or, moaning and miserable to the point where I was glad to see the back of them.

Also, they would either leave the cottages spotless or really filthy. For me, the only other nationality I could put in a category are the Dutch - always brilliant guests and clean. A booking from the Netherlands never gave me cause for concern before, during or after.....and I promise I am not just saying that, Anglo Dutch!
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AngloDutch



Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 614
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JanB wrote:
What a horrible lot they sound!

May I venture to guess they were Canadian? In more than ten years of letting, I can honestly say Canadian guests fell into one of two very distinct camps:

They were either the absolute best you could possibly imagine, bearing gifts and leaving rave reviews and even extending invitations to visit them if ever we went to Canada. Or, moaning and miserable to the point where I was glad to see the back of them.

Also, they would either leave the cottages spotless or really filthy. For me, the only other nationality I could put in a category are the Dutch - always brilliant guests and clean. A booking from the Netherlands never gave me cause for concern before, during or after.....and I promise I am not just saying that, Anglo Dutch!


Yes, Jan, they are. Your experiences with Canadians are exactly the same as ours.
Just about all our Canadian guests have roots in the NL, as the grandparents left mostly during the 1950s. Alot of our repeat guests are Canadians, with one family from Toronto having visited seven times over the past nine years. We normally have around ten people staying at one time, so our farmhouse does take a bit of a beating with so many people staying at once. Some tidy up better than others, but from experience it all depends on what time they are leaving and if they have time to vacuum and clear the dishwasher etc. before they leave.
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Bunny



Joined: 16 Oct 2013
Posts: 3387
Location: South of England

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't half get them AngloDutch. They would have severely tested my patience from such unprovoked, unnecessary rudeness and aggression. I go out of our way to provide good customer service and a good experience to mainly appreciative guests, but once a guest crosses the line of normal, acceptable, decent and respectable behaviour I see no reason to tolerate it. Oh yes, I forgot, it always harps back to the dreaded threat of a bad review. Crying or Very sad
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AngloDutch



Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 614
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bunny wrote:
You don't half get them AngloDutch. They would have severely tested my patience from such unprovoked, unnecessary rudeness and aggression. I go out of our way to provide good customer service and a good experience to mainly appreciative guests, but once a guest crosses the line of normal, acceptable, decent and respectable behaviour I see no reason to tolerate it. Oh yes, I forgot, it always harps back to the dreaded threat of a bad review. Crying or Very sad


Well, Bunny, they left yesterday and the family in the group that had been the most demanding had already gone by the time the other family and the grandparents were due to depart. Someone in their party (it looked like it had been written by one of their teenagers) wrote in our guestbook that they had enjoyed their time, so maybe the kids were a little embarassed by the behaviour of the grownups? Who knows.

It does make you, as an owner on site, feel uneasy when the only contact you have with your guests is when they have a complaint, or come to you irritated with a question about something, as though you have failed to clearly explain it to them. It gives you the idea that they are not enjoying themselves and yes, the thought that they will leave a bad review online because they are not happy with a) the property, b) us, c) the weather, d) being together in close proximity to each other for a couple of weeks Shocked
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AngloDutch



Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 614
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

About the hair dye on the pillow cases, my OH read on internet that you can try and cover the area with hairspray. We did this and then washed both covers just on 40'c (this was several days after the incident).

The thick pillow protector is now completely clear and the pillow case which was covered in orange marks is now white again, with just the faintest of markings visible.

No idea if the dye was actually non permanent or, whether the using of the hair spray contributed to the good result, but quite amazed that it has all come out. We have now ordered a couple of spare sets of both covers and protectors anyway in case something similar happens in future and the items are no longer obtainable (we learnt that long ago with the crockery!)
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Fleur



Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 402
Location: S.W. France

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hairspray for removing hair dye stains is something that I know hairdressers do.
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linda que linda



Joined: 24 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't tried it yet, but supposedly hairspray works on ink spots as well.
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7101
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gosh Anglo....what a pain they sounded!

Quote:
It does make you, as an owner on site, feel uneasy when the only contact you have with your guests is when they have a complaint, or come to you irritated with a question about something, as though you have failed to clearly explain it to them. It gives you the idea that they are not enjoying themselves


You're spot on. It has happened a few times over the years with us....and once when I had to intervene over too loud music and the group took a real dislike to me after that.
For me politeness costs nothing.
It's quite amazing though how miserable some people can be on holiday.

Best of luck for the rest of 2016

Mousie
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Sam V



Joined: 20 Nov 2009
Posts: 1610
Location: Villa in Gale, Algarve, Portugal. At home in Fetcham, Surrey, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fleur wrote:
Hairspray for removing hair dye stains is something that I know hairdressers do.


My hairdressers told me this tip when I. I pointed out she'd got some of the dye for my hair on her sleeve.

As for those guests, I'm not sure I would have held my tongue if treated like that, probably just as well I'm an off site owner.
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Lets Go To Puglia



Joined: 14 Apr 2016
Posts: 149
Location: Puglia, Italy

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bunny wrote:
You don't half get them AngloDutch. They would have severely tested my patience from such unprovoked, unnecessary rudeness and aggression. I go out of our way to provide good customer service and a good experience to mainly appreciative guests, but once a guest crosses the line of normal, acceptable, decent and respectable behaviour I see no reason to tolerate it. Oh yes, I forgot, it always harps back to the dreaded threat of a bad review. Crying or Very sad


Ditto Bunny

And similar experience to other with Canadian guests ... apparently respectable, retired couple who wanted to pay security deposit in cash on arrival. Stupidly we waived it as they seemed okay. This was back in our early days, we wouldn't do it again.

They ran through three bottles of gas in a week (having found the spares) and broke the leg off the dining room table. It had been propped up and looked fine when they left. We didn't find out until the table was moved during cleaning.

We've had exceptionally good experiences with Russians, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, French and Germans, and mostly good with Brits
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casasantoestevo



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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dividing good and bad by a county makes for poor maths. Laughing
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amandajane



Joined: 14 Jul 2014
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sam V wrote:


As for those guests, I'm not sure I would have held my tongue if treated like that, probably just as well I'm an off site owner.


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