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Directions and odd comments

 
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Frenchlady



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 179
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:19 am    Post subject: Directions and odd comments Reply with quote

We recently had a guest who e-mailed us saying they wanted to write a review but not sure how to. They said they were going to give us 10 points but were reducing that to 9 points because we were hard to find. When they arrived they told us that they had left our directions in a restaurant in a village en-route. Hence they had no directions, no phone number. They called into our village shop and asked where we were, but even got our name wrong. A quick thinking local drove up to show them where we are. Hence, after I replied pointing this out, they did not bother to review us!

Now we have a guest who has said we were difficult to find even though she had step by step directions like very guest and the GPS co-ordinates are on the directions (and our contact no's). We are so easy to find from the village just a minute away and signs lead you straight to us. She has also private messaged us to say that the hill we are on is steep (which is why we have a lovely view) and the village is long and has no centre. Shame she failed to mention it has a lovely lake with beach, cycle path, river location with canoe hire, restaurants in walking distance (down and up the hill!!) and a village gourmet night. Sorry that we have bought the wrong house in the wrong location!!!!!!!!!!
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Joanna



Joined: 23 Aug 2007
Posts: 931
Location: Chester, North West England & Sidmouth, East Devon

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your place looks lovely and in a beautiful area which I can tell from your photos is obviously quite hilly.

Maybe you could add a sub heading with some notes about your location - make a virtue of being on a hill with glorious views, and being in a peaceful spot - not in a lively town centre but with the town just 15 mins walk down the hill. Then, hopefully, anyone who objects to hills would get the message that this isn't the place for them Very Happy
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Joint owner of Baker's Cottage in Chester & Chandler's Cottage in Sidmouth
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Frenchlady



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 179
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Joanna for your kind words about our B&B. We don't make a big thing of the hill because although quite steep it is only a small hill and you are down on the main road within a few mins walk and then it is flat to the restaurants etc. If we made a big thing about being on a hill people can get the impression we are half way up a mountain and be put off. The fit and able have no problem walking to the village for a meal and enjoy the fact that they can drink. Anyone who does not like walking or is unable just drives down, never been a problem before. I just find it incredible that people will find odd negatives to write about. Having thought about her comment that the village is long without a centre, all the main villages around here are the same with a main road passing through them. I suspect that this was because in the old days the roads were used to get to the market town in the Lot and Sarlat where they used to sell their goods at the market. Therefore the villages grew up around the roads. Whatever, we love it here!!
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CircÚ



Joined: 13 Aug 2010
Posts: 399

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Always assume the person you're directing is an idiot.
I have direction sheets for several houses which I can send out in a choice of languages and they include PHOTOS of key points, which I check every year work OK.
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FelicityA



Joined: 05 Nov 2010
Posts: 2809
Location: Cotswolds

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lost one bubble on the detailed TA review for 'directions'. When I asked the man how could I make them easier to follow he said it was difficult to find as he left the directions at home! You just can't win with some people.
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Frenchlady



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 179
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our directions are definitely step by step and people often comment on how good they are. The last guest was coming from Bordeaux and we told her to take the non-auto route to Bergerac from which she had very detailed directions to us, taking her past many of the lovely riverside villages. If they leave the directions at home what chance have you got. One guest complained that the school was on the wrong side of the road on our directions - he had come into the village from the opposite direction (it does also explain if they arrive from that direction) but he did not have the sense to work it out!!! He got the owner of the village shop to phone us and was in a right old mood when my OH went down to meet him.
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gh



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 739
Location: Poitou Charente/Moraira/UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We gave up in sending written directions as guests sometimes:-

1 can't follow them correctly, 1km out of our village
2 forget to take them

Now we send a 'whats app' video to our guests. They all take their mobiles on holiday if not their brains Rolling Eyes
Taken from the center of our village up to our door. No further lost frazzled guests. They also have our address and contact numbers in the WA message.
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Dusty



Joined: 19 Dec 2012
Posts: 351
Location: St Cernin de Labarde, Dordogne

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frenchlady, I'm with you. It sounds like you have done everything possible to help people find you (apart from picking them up from their home and delivering them to your doorstep). There is nothing you can do to avoid their 'lack of understanding'. Some people enter 'holiday brain' environment and have left common their common sense at home. It hurts when their 'lack of understanding' hits your review but I am not sure what you can do about it that you you haven't already done, it sounds as if you also have got the neighbourhood on your side!

gh, I am interested in your 'Whats app' idea, have you videoed the trip from the village centre to your house and the idea is they follow that from the village centre? Sounds great as its language insensitive, but does it work for everyone? Do they use it as a last resort only?
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AngloDutch



Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 715
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frenchlady, with all the B&B series from UK tv (and copies on other European channels) where owners have to stay in each other's accommodations and overly criticize each other, it seems that many guests these days are actively looking for mistakes in the way we run our businesses and present our accommodations, even though most guests have no experience of running a holiday home, B&B or hotel.

Though it doesn't help when some of the review platforms ask the question 'Was there anything you didn't like?', often forcing guests to think of anything that could have been better. Only last month we had a group stand in a ring in front of me just before leaving, whereupon out came some suggestions on how we could improve things, including replacing our curtains as they thought they were too thin. Sometimes you feel as though you are being cross-examined in court...

On the subject of directions, we only give directions from the point of entering our village, and from one side only. We expect guests these days to have a GPS or if they don't use these, to be able to navigate by map up to the point of entering our village, and then get guided from there.
Some people though can't follow directions even when they receive clear instructions. Several years ago we had an Irish lady get utterly lost after leaving our arrival and contact details behind. She banged on several doors in the nearby streets and explained that she was from Ireland and completely lost and that she was looking for a family that runs a holiday home. She remembered the name of our farmhouse, though unfortunately she was directed to a restaurant with the same name in the next village.
At midnight, we were woken by banging on our front door. On opening the door, a very frantic lady embraced me and shouted, 'Thank God I found you. I thought we would have to sleep on a bench!' She had a large entourage with her, all locals who were following her around trying to find the elusive holiday home owner... Shocked Laughing
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Martha



Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 2244
Location: Chamonix

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have very rarely had problems with directions and we are quite tucked away. Ours are a 2 page PDF (P1 is Geneva to Chamonix, P 2 is Chamonix to the house) with a map on each page and photos of key points.

I agree that the photos are crucial - also I think it makes people actually remember to print and take them because the photos are nice, so they have a positive association with the directions. And I remind them in the "one week before' email.

"Now we send a 'whats app' video to our guests. They all take their mobiles on holiday if not their brains"

That's a brilliant idea. I send an assortment of info to the phone by text but I'd never thought of that. It's fun for families too. And if they get lost they can show someone the video. I'm going to do this - thank you!

Your place looks wonderful FrenchLady - I agree it's very difficult striking the right balance with some of these things and also some people do like to criticise for apparently no reason at all. I get this too sometimes as I'm sure we all do.
(EG Not happy with the hot tub - no use as it was cold outside. On a ski holiday in January.)

With situations like yours, I think really people know they're being a bit silly, and get defensive. They want it to be your fault instead of their own daft mistake.

But I guess avoiding these situations is always a good learning experience and I really think the video idea is a great one.

You just can't win with some people though. I fielded a call from a guest once who had arrived separately from the main party with no directions. "I didn't bother bringing them, [the booker] said it was easy to find and now he's not answering his phone. I thought all chalets would be signed from the village, why isn't it signed?"
Me: This town sleeps nearly 100,000 at this time of year. They would need to be big signposts! Where are you?
Him: I don't know, I'm lost.
Me: What can you see?
Him: Trees, mountains...umm.... I'm near some wooden houses.
Me: Rolling Eyes
I gave up in the end and told him to ask someone where he could get a coffee and call me again when he was there.
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Pirou



Joined: 30 Jan 2017
Posts: 55
Location: A bit north of Pirou, Normandy (50)

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CircÚ wrote:
Always assume the person you're directing is an idiot.
I have direction sheets for several houses which I can send out in a choice of languages and they include PHOTOS of key points, which I check every year work OK.

I have learnt this over the years because when I've been buying of leboncoin or similar, the directions I am given are awful - and it's not just a British thing, I've had bad directions from British, French, Dutch, Belgian. I ask the person I need to find for the road number (don't know it, sorry) the distance from the turn-off to the house (about half a km or "two minutes" when it turns out to be 5kms or 10 minutes) any distinguishing features or landmarks (no - completely forgetting to mention the enormous grain silo at the gates) and the best, of course, is "turn left at X" (when they really meant to say turn right). Laughing

I provide orientation (east, west, etc), road numbers, distances and I triple check lefts and rights. I also do an infallible .pdf sheet with photos from the nearest village so they get a picture of the right turn, etc. They often don't bother to print that off. Rolling Eyes
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kg1



Joined: 05 Jan 2010
Posts: 2347

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry you've had guest prblems but I think that in "not making a big thing about the hill" you are wrong. Having read this thread and then looked at your pics I can see you are not at village level, but I don't think it is obvious to others. There is no mention of the small but steep hill, as you describe it. As someone with dicky knees I would want to know about it. I really think you need to find some wording that describes it in the right light - maybe add a picture.
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gh



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 739
Location: Poitou Charente/Moraira/UK

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The whats app direction works for everyone as had no complaints in the years we have been doing it this way.
I took a video from our cafe/resto in the village to our house just less than 1km. As mentioned I also give our house and all contact name & numbers on the same whats app.

We as a family always send little vids to each other while on holiday this way. Light bulb moment was to do the same for house directions Laughing Also email guests a route to the house via Mappy

Don't know if its last resort or combination of above but no further guest has gotten lost since we started the whats app direction video.
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