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Guest expectations
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eoinm



Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 40
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, just realised they booked directly and our website makes no mention of WiFi at all. Our Airbnb ad does but they did not book through them.

I think I'll need to send the new SIM and then just make sure we are prepared for this type of thing next time.

25gb is small but it's actually much better than the 15gb we had last year!
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6007
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sympathies - they are being difficult. If itís any use, Visit England specify 6 hangers per guest so if youíve supplied that or more you could point that out - but FFS how many do they genuinely need and why?

The broadband cap is an issue, I know. If you didnít make them aware of it pre-booking, then I guess you might have to do as you suggest and send them an extra SIM.

As for towels, what do you provide? If itís say a bath sheet and hand towel each then thatís as much as they can reasonably expect at any level of self-catering accommodation; you donít get more in a typical hotel. I can see that it might be simpler to get some extra towels delivered (useful spares for the future anyway) than to counter their request, but how many more things are they going to ask for?

They certainly sound like hard work, and I hope it gets better for you. It highlights the potential gap between what we as experienced owners believe is right for the majority of our guests, and the expectations/entitlement of a few. It also reinforces the need to manage guestsí expectations by supplying the detail in advance - and keeping an eye on that as reasonable expectations shift; broadband use has to be a prime example. Off to check and probably update what we say on our website about broadband availability (weíre beyond the reach of the local superfast that was installed last year.... great).
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eoinm



Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 40
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hangers - we provided 6 each i think and when he asked we got him 12 extra within 30 mins.

Towels - each guest is given a bath and hand towel. When he asked he got 6 extra sets. (there are 5 guests)

It's really come at a bad time as well. I know there's never a good time but at the moment this is the last thing we need.

Anyway, he's gone from ~6GB usage yesterday to over 11GB today so the cap will be probably gone by tomorrow, which is crazy usage given that this is a Wifi 3G dongle. That takes some dedication, especially on holiday.

The activity monitor shows usage throughout the night so it is likely something updating or downloading without them knowing.

I'll have a fight on my hands with this one when I email to advise him about the impending cap shut off.

He booked directly through our site which does not advertise internet access at all, and when you're in the house we've notices up in two places telling people that the service is capped and to not use it heavily.

The impression I get from him is that he's eager for something to argue about.

Worst case scenario and say the internet stops working from tomorrow and I can't renew it - would a refund of some kind be in order do people think?
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russellt



Joined: 09 Dec 2014
Posts: 350
Location: Ivybridge, Devon, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zebedee wrote:
I think it depends upon the standard and price of your accommodation.


+1

We provide a handful of dishwasher tabs, some toilet rolls, etc among the usual range of consumables, to help guests get settled in. After all, it is 'self-catering', so we wouldn't get into the practice of supplying all consumables due to cost, unless we moved our prices upwards. (In 10 years, we have only ever been asked once for more toilet rolls. International guests - we politely explained how s/c works in the UK. Not a problem.)

Internet - I sympathise. We moved to unlimited a couple of years ago - but the change was not cost-prohibitive. An easy decision which removed the stress of monthly cap-watching, especially in summer. Even if it is cost-prohibitive for you, maybe you have to bite the bullet. Take it from me, you will enjoy not having to worry about data caps.

This thread also touches upon a wider industry debate. The OTAs are blurring the edges between hotel and self-catering expectations. Travellers are confused but are being persuaded to raise their expectations to hotel standard. So, for self-catering providers, I fear managing expectations will become a more detailed and challenging task.
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Zingara



Joined: 09 Apr 2013
Posts: 606
Location: Antibes, PACA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grrrr...I really feel for you....After 4 days of this type of behaviour (and worse, running the manager ragged) with a guest last year I told him that, as he was clearly so unhappy with the villa, that I was happy that he leave and I would refund him the balance of his rental....didn't hear another peep...not that I'm suggesting you do that, but I felt a weight lift off my shoulders once I'd sent him the e-mail!

At home, we have rural snail-band (even though we can see Canary Wharf)...when it works it's so slow that going over 1mb / sec gets a round of applause. Son needed to update his computer for his course, so used his phone as a hot-spot...all his 15gB allowance gone overnight...I have had to add the second lot of 1gB add-on this morning...

Which made me think...why don't your clients use their mobiles as hot-spots and use their own data if they have that great a need of it on a daily basis...?

I'm sure you could find a polite way of phrasing it...

Shocked
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6007
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eoinm wrote:

I'll have a fight on my hands with this one when I email to advise him about the impending cap shut off.

He booked directly through our site which does not advertise internet access at all, and when you're in the house we've notices up in two places telling people that the service is capped and to not use it heavily.

The impression I get from him is that he's eager for something to argue about.

Worst case scenario and say the internet stops working from tomorrow and I can't renew it - would a refund of some kind be in order do people think?


He obviously assumed thereíd be all the internet access he required, but didnít check - and his usage is an unreasonable expectation. You have notices stating the service is capped.
I think Iíd just let it hit the cap; itís a no-win but if you alert him that the cap is rapidly approaching, is he the sort thatís going to get arsey because youíre monitoring usage (perfectly legitimately) and of course you donít normally monitor usage as guests donít abuse it... so why would you know?

If the internet stops working - you donít advertise it as a service, so you definitely donít guarantee its availability (nobody can guarantee that - itís beyond our control), so no refund is due.

His other demands are excessive - you provided plenty of hangers and towels and then provided more; youíve gone the extra mile and a half already.

Itís very easy from here to say that you need to get tough with him, but we all know the reality of the situation face to face with a guest whom youíd really like to have a good holiday and you donít want to make even grumpier.
I donít know the solution, other than praying for him to spontaneously combust and never book another self-catering holiday.
Good luck.
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NeatandPicky



Joined: 30 Aug 2007
Posts: 362
Location: Pissouri Bay, Cyprus

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with Greenbarn! Smile

Good luck!
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 879
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We started out with a capped monthly provision for the internet as we didn't want a phone line going to the cottage (and associated costs).
It worked well for a couple of years, but then we found some guests were using the monthly supply up before the renewal date. I found this forum very helpful at that point, as I realised from reading various posts that nowadays people's phones and tablets are using more and more data just on regular updates which the guest is unaware of. Social media sites can be the worse, and your guest may be unaware of what is happening (I know, I know, but you will feel better if you can give him the benefit of the doubt)
My last phone came loaded with all kinds of game apps which I would never use, and which I could not delete, but they were updated automatically every week. I will never have that make of phone again.

Investing in unlimited high speed wifi proved to be a very good move for us, including getting the phone line fitted. Are you able to do this at all? It might be worth it in the long run.

In the meantime, the great thing about holiday let's is that any difficult guests are gone in a week or two! Try and not let it get you down.
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PW in Polemi



Joined: 21 Oct 2012
Posts: 1765
Location: A village in Paphos, Cyprus

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

greenbarn wrote:
.... praying for him to spontaneously combust and never book another self-catering holiday.
Good luck.

I agree with greenbarn - with the proviso that the guest spontaneously combusts AWAY from the holiday let! Laughing Laughing
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Pirou



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

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eoinm wrote:
Actually, just realised they booked directly and our website makes no mention of WiFi at all. Our Airbnb ad does but they did not book through them.

I think wifi in a property is now the assumed norm for many people (town and city dwellers anyway) and as a guest (ie, if I wasn't an owner) I might not even think to query internet / wifi if I didn't notice it explicitly referred to on a property website. Which means that the cap may have come as a nasty surprise and may have contributed (or even led to) his grumpy attitude and other demands.

More and more I'm realising (particularly reading L H H) that as owners we can never assume that guests will just "know" something - we have to spell everything out in advance (as briefly as possible Wink ). If something reasonably expected (like unlimited wifi) hasn't been addressed by either party, and that seems to be the case in this instance, I'd expect to have to go some way to meeting expectations.

In this case, that way would be to supply him with one extra SIM (how much does it cost?) plus instructions as to what to do but explain that this is a goodwill gesture and there won't be further SIMs forthcoming.

Something we have problems with is people thinking they will download the latest episode or box set of whatever from Amazon or Netflix when they get here and our internet isn't sufficient to enable that. I spell that out in terms & conditions of booking but I think it's wrong for me to think they shouldn't expect to do that if an opportunity to binge on a box set is what gives them pleasure while they are away. Its just that if they want to download 3 series of Games of Thrones to watch on the beach, they need to know to do that before they leave home - or book somewhere that has an illimitť contract. Wink
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gh



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 738
Location: Poitou Charente/Moraira/UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to hear you seem to have a difficult guest. Puts you on edge as to their next request or complaint.

Wifi is a given nowadays. Would suggest you update your www with the cap information. Your addressing this issue of his.

His unreasonable request for more towels, you have given him more, though in my opinion I would not have given him additional towels if you advertise his original supply.
I would like more than 6 hangers, perhaps a woman thing Smile or just me.

Years ago we had a complaint that our laundry tabs had brought them out in a rash and demanded a considerable refund. We didn't give them their demand. Reason being if you require to use a specific laundry product why would you deliberately use one you have not tried and trusted. It was very stressful at the time, still gives me shivers.

With that in mind I tell guests in advance we do not supply that due to possible allergies, they accept this.
We also state what we will leave them to get started regarding basic supplies, t.rolls x 6 each loo, washing up liquid, liquid hand soap all wash basins, cling film, tin foil, coffee, tea, sugar, milk, salt & pepper, tea towels, hand towels, wash cloths, paper napkins, 1 set of personal towels each guest, bath mats, we give a dish washer tab per day plus a couple more for their stay.

Sounds quite anal to list these items, however, they can't come back and say they were not informed. All part of our guest information package we mail to them on booking.

I hope it calms down for you Eoinm and there are no further unreasonable requests.
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
Posts: 402
Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gh wrote:
I would like more than 6 hangers, perhaps a woman thing Smile or just me.


+1

Not just you gh - I'd be miffed at just 6 hangers for a 2 week stay. Quality hangers are so cheap to buy, why stint on them? Just because some beurocrat at VE states 6 that doesn't make it acceptable to visitors.

eoinm - do you think your visitor first found you on Airbnb and then, like many savvy guests, searched and found you directly? Does your Airbnb advert make it plain there is limited wifi? His expectations may have been set by Airbnb rather than your own website.
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NeatandPicky



Joined: 30 Aug 2007
Posts: 362
Location: Pissouri Bay, Cyprus

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing that I don't think has been mentioned so far...

After these guests there will still be 2 weeks of the month remaining, meaning no Internet for the next guests. I think this would be worth a mention to these tricky guests at some point.

When making requests (e.g. noting breakages, cleaning BBQ) we mention 'the next guests' because we hate the idea that guests staying later in the season have a lesser experience than earlier ones.

And in the case of things not working we say 'Even if it's something that doesn't bother you too much, the next guests may feel differently'. This is because some people don't like to make a fuss not realising we would rather know in good time so that we can organise a fix during their stay or for the changeover.
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Moonshine



Joined: 30 Jun 2016
Posts: 34
Location: South Devon, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your last suggestion, NeatandPicky, is a good one and I've already added it my guest info - thank you!
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Pirou



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

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeatandPicky wrote:
One thing that I don't think has been mentioned so far...

After these guests there will still be 2 weeks of the month remaining, meaning no Internet for the next guests. I think this would be worth a mention to these tricky guests at some point.

I think the problem with that is it invites the greedy guest to say making the internet available for the next guest is not his problem especially as it appears he was not aware till he got to the cottage that he was rationed to 6.25GB per week. I would not mention future guests usage to a guest already over-using because it would be likely to inflame the situation.

Just my opinion though.

Giraffe said:
eoinm - do you think your visitor first found you on Airbnb and then, like many savvy guests, searched and found you directly? Does your Airbnb advert make it plain there is limited wifi? His expectations may have been set by Airbnb rather than your own website.

But how do you prove a guest "knew" about a restriction in advance and then get them to accept it cheerfully? With this guest, I don't think you can without becoming inquisitorial and petty and no matter how frustrating I think we have to give the benefit of the doubt. We can't "lower" ourselves to a difficult guests level. It's our responsibility as owners to ensure that our homes facilities are listed exactly the same way on all the places we advertise. When we discover a loophole it's for us to learn from it and close it.
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