I’m normally blessed with the patience of a saint but a recent experience left me annoyed and upset. My integrity would never normally allow me to post such things and I’m being extremely careful not to identify the guests in question, but imagine, if you will, walking into one of your guest rooms to service it and to be faced with this:
Now don’t get me wrong, we get messy guests, it’s part and parcel of the business but it’s upsetting and annoying to see your own personal items being mistreated.
So what do I do now? I wasn’t too sure if I was over-reacting so, as usual I appealed to twitter friends for advice and was surprised at the number of replies. Most were from fellow accommodation providers and I was very surprised that many said to throw them out – they wouldn’t (and hadn’t in the past) put up with guests treating their personal belongings in this manner. Several suggested charging the guests extra for the extra cleaning too. Three members of the public said to shut the door and refuse to service it and when the guests return make sure that treating other people’s belongings in this way is unacceptable. Four other B&B owners said to service as usual but leave the guests personal mess (not photographed) which, as you will see, is what I did.
Having digested the overwhelming support and advice then partaken in a restorative cup of tea I went back to the room (armed this time with my camera should the guests argue that there was no mess) to begin the damage limitation.
Having decided that the bedspreads were obviously not required I took them away … thankfully they didn’t need laundering but I did press them and hung them in a spare room. The upside down bed was the next to tackle … I double checked the booking … two people in the double room and a single occupancy of the twin room (when they arrived they were all the same sex but we never question guests private sleeping arrangements). Problem sorted … strip the offending bed, whomever made the mess in the room could use the other bed which had been rumpled and would need changing anyway then continue servicing both rooms. Satisfied that the rooms were now as pristine as I could make them I set about cleaning windows … which had been the designated chore of the day!!
Guests complained when they returned … wondered why one of the beds was left stripped. I explained that the bed was so untidy it was not worth my while making it and whomever had used it could use the other bed tonight. “We used a bed each last night” was the reply … explains the other rumpled single bed. “Well that’s not what you booked and we do charge differently for that to reflect the extra laundry and servicing. Please check your booking confirmation … are you complaining that you have exactly what you booked? I’ve removed the bedspreads that were crumpled up in a heap and put them to one side but if you require them you’re welcome to have them that’s not a problem and there’s wine glasses out on the table in the conservatory for you”.
“We feel very uncomfortable now and will stay in our rooms.”
“There’s absolutely no need, you’re welcome to use the lounge and conservatory as you did last night.”
All was quiet for a while until one of the guests mentioned that they had no water [oh joy!]. It took beloved a while to sort (an air lock we think).
Breakfast was interesting … one guest refused to look at or even speak to beloved as he tried to take the orders, instead focussing on texting (?) on their phone. After asking three times the guest’s friend prompted a reply.
“They’re probably filling in a Trip Advisor report” he said when he came back to the kitchen. “What are they going to complain about…?” I replied, “that they got exactly what they booked and paid for, or that I cleaned up the mess that they made without charging extra?”
They settled the bill … even accepting the discount we give to customers paying by debit card and left, not surprisingly, without goodbyes.
Now an apology for the mess at the time would have been appreciated but I guess that was too much to hope for. Had it been sincere enough I would probably have made up the other bed [oddly they never asked!], even at that time of night, despite the booking error being their fault!
So, for the benefit of future guests … the collective feeling of the accommodation providers across the UK and USA [based on my replies] is this … we don’t mind you dumping and crumpling your own gear but please have a little more respect for our items.
Which leads me to the title of this cathartic post … we have good TA reports (so far) and normally I’d be quite stressed about a bad one … but with the house for sale and us slowly running the business down to a more manageable level as we’re both busy with other jobs I’m rather more circumspect.
[Please note that the conversations are not direct quotes and I’ve altered some of it to protect the guests’ identities and shortened, but tried to keep, the general gist].