We’ve all had those renters who will find just about anything to complain about. Rather than get all worked up about silly complaints and minor inconveniences, let’s take a step back and remember there are some people who you simply cannot please.
Here are some of the quirkier complaints we’ve heard about from owners and our take on how you can view them as feedback rather than taking offense right away. 1. “Your corkscrew didn’t work. I was unable to enjoy a bottle of wine with my wife on our anniversary.”
Would you like some cheese with that whine? Minor mishaps will always happen and some guests will find any excuse to “pour” on the drama. We know you take pride in your home and amenities, but you'd most likely have no idea about this problem unless someone called to report it. Your guests could have just as easily picked up a corkscrew and been reimbursed for the expense. 2. “My family was forced to rearrange your living room furniture to play Twister.”
You can’t always predict how your renters will use your home, and you may not be able to set up your furniture in a way that allows both television-watching and body contortions on colored dots. If your renters had to move your furniture for a wild game night, so be it. But, if this is something your housekeeper continually notices or it’s a complaint you hear frequently, consider rethinking your furniture layout. 3. “When we arrived, I gasped at the open bottles of ketchup and mustard in the refrigerator. As someone who brings my own personal packets of condiments to restaurants, I was deeply offended.”
Okay, it appears we’ve got a germ-o-phobe on our hands, but you shouldn’t stop providing these conveniences just because one person complains. These items should only cost you a few dollars, so if one guest throws it all away – oh well! Remember: while most guests will likely appreciate the provided condiments
, some might choose not to use them (or be downright disgusted). Your best bet is to communicate to your guests in advance about any food items you provide so you can prevent them from throwing anything away that the next guests might appreciate. 4. “Your oven burnt the brownies for my daughter’s birthday celebration.”
Really? The oven
burnt the brownies? This had nothing to do with the person baking them? Try to stifle any urges to challenge your guest’s baking expertise, and simply apologize for the difficulty he/she had using your oven. If you know of any nuances with your appliances, though, be sure to outline these in your directions to prevent this kind of “catastrophe” in the future.
5. “My football game isn’t showing on your local cable channel like you promised!”
Is it your fault that an out-of-region sports game was preempted by local breaking news? Of course not, but die-hard fans could try to blame this disaster on anyone. Be sure to tell your guests exactly what channels and cable service you provide so they have clear expectations. Also be sure to include stipulations about cable outages in your rental agreement. Other than that, just direct them to a sports bar! 6. “There’s something wrong with your lockbox. I entered the code but the door didn’t open. We’re just standing outside with all our bags.”
Well, did you try to turn the doorknob and push the door open?! Although you might be annoyed by the phone call or the fact that your renters are questioning your check-in process, just use this complaint as a cue to update your directions even more
thoroughly for those extra-literal guests. 7. “We found a raccoon in your garbage can on our way out for a hike!”
Well yes, that might happen when you’re staying in the middle of the WOODS! You’re probably very used to the type of critters that your home attracts, but keep in mind that this could be new to some travelers. Don’t assume that when a renter books your secluded cabin they’ll know exactly what to expect. You should outline information about critters and wildlife in your area in your rental agreement and directions, and if a situation arises, help your guests stay calm and rectify the problem. 8. “The garbage truck woke us up this morning.”
It turns out that as a single homeowner, you can’t control the sanitation system for your entire city! If you receive a complaint like this, politely apologize to your guest and remind them that trash collection is simply out of your hands. 9. “You should really send better directions. My GPS couldn’t even get us to your home.”
How many times have you told your renters that their GPS might not have the most accurate information, but they insisted on using it instead of your personal directions? Well, if you’re one of the lucky owners with a vacation home in a new part of town or an area lacking satellite coverage, you’ll need to communicate to your guests, not only the specific directions on how to get there, but also that they shouldn’t
rely on their navigation systems! Although your instinct might be to shout, “How did I get you lost if I wasn’t the one driving!?”, try to consider the ways you can improve your pre-arrival packet
instead. 10. “It rained on the firewood and we weren’t able to start a fire. That was the one reason we booked your home.”
Before you start pontificating on the principles of precipitation, try to find a solution for your guests. Tell them if you have backup firewood stored anywhere else or where they can purchase dry firewood and reimburse them later. In the future, just try to keep your firewood in a place that won’t get wet to avoid this kind of disappointment.
© Copyright HomeAway, Inc. 2010
Updated: December 16, 2010