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I'd like some advice about whether I should politely ask some guests not to return to our home. After their third visit, I am just tired of dealing with them. On their first visit, their children left modeling clay residue all over the house, on the leather furniture, even in the beds. It took my housekeeper two extra hours to clean it all up. The next visit (I banned modeling clay) their child peed on the king bed in the master bedroom, so that had to be taken care of. The third visit, they ran their car into the garage wall, leaving lots of damage to the drywall, their child (again) peed on one of the quilts, a few small things were broken, and (again) the house was so dirty that it took two extra hours to clean. I know they will be OK with paying for the repair of the garage wall, but at this point I'm ready to move on. In addition to being messy and destructive, they are also quite demanding. Should I ask them not to return? If so, how would I do it? Thanks for your help.
No need to ask them not to return. They may get mad and leave a bad review. Just refuse to book them for future trips. You will always be booked no matter what days they want.
I agree with Sophie. Yes, I know, it's kind of a "Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow" kind of approach, but with the whole Mayan calendar thing, maybe putting it off will save you the headache completely!
Seriously, the difficulty will be next year when they ask to re-book. Thankfully, you have an out, a third party - your cleaning service. You may want to let your cleaning person know in advance that you will be using them as a scapegoat just in case, but that's exactly what I'd do - Tell the renters that your cleaning crew have asked you not to book the group again.
"While we appreciate all the business you have had with us through the years, our cleaning crew simply made it clear that they will not clean the house if we book it to your family. In their eyes, the problems with clay, bed linens, and other cleaning difficulties create an unacceptable burden in their scheduling and even their own personal safety. We hope you understand and wish you the best luck with your next vacation, no matter where you stay"
This arouses my curiosity. How best to construct a response so it’s not offensive. Presumably, they would be inquiring on available dates as shown in Owner’s calendar. And you tell them, sorry it is booked. They might take your word for it. Perhaps you just have not updated your calendar yet. But they can ask for an alternative date that is available, and they will once again be told it is booked too. It now then becomes obvious that something is going on here. If they are not getting the hint, you might play this game over again for another alternative date. The hint now becomes an obvious lie nevertheless a clear message that you don’t want them for any dates. Hopefully they swallow the bitter pill and move on.
Addendum: reading swiss-house response is the best one - less confrontational, direct and no beating around the bush, minus the silly games to play.
Swiss-house, I appreciate your answer. I am not going to start lying about our home being booked when it really isn't, but our cleaning crew does have a "nickname" for these people and would appreciate never having to clean up after them again! Maybe I will use that approach. Thanks!
This is tricky. It's probably too much to hope that they will be too embarassed to return, although they should be.
We would not just say "We won't rent to you," as that could be trouble. The idea of citing your cleaners may be okay, but we'd probably opt for the "unavailable" route. Do you do a damage insurance policy with them? That would work: tell them your insurance won't pay any more claims involving them. Especially after damaging your structure!
Maybe you could suggest some place else? However, we totally agree with you not renting to them again. Three strikes and you're out!
Um, I think that I would do the "honesty is the best policy". Don't say anything now and hope that they don't call/e-mail. But, if they do, I think I would honestly tell them between the bedwetting issues clay moulding and now an issue with the garage being damaged and having to be repaired, it is just too much for you to deal with going forward. That the time spend on repairs takes away from continuing to focus on the renting of the unit. That you must have guests that treat your home as you would personally treat it.
Can they give you a bad review? Possibly! But what could they say.......we rented three times and each time we damaged something the owner was upset. I think my response would be, and rightly so.
This is interesting, as I have a family in our cabin right now who has fit the mold of "no matter what you do, you won't please them". At their request, I set up internet access in the cabin just for them, we set out drinks, snacks, toys, glow sticks, puzzle books, etc. We ensured they had good previsit information/instructions/directions, etc. We really do our very best to take care of our guests and provide a very clean and elegant cabin. We have had great reviews and people really appreciate the "extra personal touches" we provide.
The current guest is the polar oposite. We received an Email with just about every last nitpicky thing you could imagine, including.
- Not geting more detailed instructions from the "guard shack" as she called it - This is a luxury gated resort with a 24 hour security gate.
- Having to set up the sofa bed(really? I never went into a hotel expecting the sofa bed was open)
- Wanting a code for Netflix(even though we are not subscribers and never advertised that we offer this)
- Mentioning she could not find the internet code she wrote down, but finally found her own note (So how is this my fault? And why mention this in an Email if she solved the problem?)
- Wishing the bathroom had more counterspace(as if I could go over and install a new vanity tonight), which of course all rentals in the resort have exactly the same counterspace.
- A single bulb went out in an 8 bulb chandelier.
- and so on.....
But of course, no "thank you" for the snacks/toys/puzzle books, etc.
I guess we have been spoiled since we had really nice guests before who were appreciative of what we try to do. Bu I guess you can't make everyone happy. I do however feel that I would not be too sad, if they do not return for a repeat visit. It is a good experience to see how others handle folks that may have not fit the "model renter". Just needed to vent. *sigh* I feel better now.
You want to know something?
Every now and then, a PITA comes along. This is yours. She is your classic Pain In The A_ _ -- that's what she is. You can not please this PITA. She'll be gone soon.
Hi there, I've been listing with Homeaway and VRBO for years now, but just getting into looking at all of the informative blogs on community, which is great. I came across this section of how to let a guest know they are not welcome back and I saw you post. WOW! You really go out of your way to leave extra gifts! I do leave a gift as well, but not all that you do! I leave each guest a gift certificate to use at one of our local businesses. I know that is really for a different blog. However, I wanted to let you know that I sympathize with you on the "thankless" guest. There are a handful out there that feel like they are entitled to everything and more. Did they think they were staying at a resort? Or renting a vacation home. I think some people think renting a home means they are going to be pampered. A guest of mine one time, asked if I would pick up a birthday cake and ice cream to have at the cottage for her upon their arrival. No problem, however, we live in a small, pretty town, on Lake Superior. We have to drive 1 hour to any major shopping, good bakeries, etc. So I get the cake she specified, ice cream and even brought out some darling party supplies including real cake plates that are very festive looking (none of which she asked for), and not even 1 thank you. After they left, I even asked her about it in my "thank you for staying" email and no response at all. Makes you wonder sometimes... As for not asking guests to return - Thankfully this has only happened a couple of times in 13 years, but one time a guest actually vomitted and didn't clean it up. I emailed them and said they weren't welcome to rent any of our cottages anymore. Maybe that's too blunt and I should've waited until my anger settled a bit, but...oh well. Another time a guest cut his leg on a broken beer bottle that he broke in our sauna. Did they clean it up? No, there was a trail of blood all over the cottage all the way up into the loft, on the bedding, ruining a couple of rugs in his path. He was also asked to not return again. I guess it depends on what was actually done. For families with children who have left large messes or damages, I have said - wow your children sure are active! I then charge them appropriately. That has only happened a couple of times, but the renters did take responsibility. Sorry I went on and on...
My response to renters from hell, or even inquiries that make me uncomfortable is " Our home is not available for that time". I'm not lying-- it's NOT available-- to them.
Wording can make all the difference! But, will a family that has rented three times be put off, unless they have a narrow time frame for their stay? They are likely to feel something is wrong, I know I would be suspicious to be refused after multiple visits.
There isn't an easy solution here.
I keep an email file (separate folders) for every guest. This makes it easy to keep all their emails together.
To avoid trouble in the future, when guests cause problems I make a change on the title of the folder (like; Smiths - DO NOT RENT).
If they ever contact me again I just do not reply - to either emails or phone messages. I treat them the same as scammers - ignore them until they go bother someone else.
My response echo's the above. Just be booked. I want to tell people off sometimes too, but I find it a lot better to ignore it under the circumstances. If you are consistently booked, they will eventually go elsewhere.
I just had some "super nice" folks stay and my house keeper said they basically partied in the house and left ciggarette butts in the garbage can. WHAT??! She was able to clean it completly and the next tenants did not complain of smells, so I am thrilled with her dilligence.
They were so happy and want to come back next year(but they couldn't bear to actually respect the place). Sheesh.
It's a popular week, so I will get someone else to rent. But after talking on the phone with them, I really had high hopes that they were going to be awesome.
I have no tollerance for disrespect or leaving cigarette butts in the can to potentially burn the place down.
Anyway, here's to happy renting and not putting up with BS!
Maybe I am an "avoider", but I do like the suggestion of just not replying to the rental request in the future. I see it as I see my primary business (I am an aromatherapist)...I was so happy when I arrived at the point where I could turn away clients I didn't resonate with. Part of it was financial, part of it was psychological. But, I am not in business, in ANY of my business, to deal with people who are dis-respectful, "drainers" (as I call them), or too high-maintenance. I am in business for myself, and that is one of the perks...choosing my clients.
So, you are not soliciting their business, nor do you respond to their solicitations. Let them go somewhere where their behavior is more easily tolerated and not such a headache to the property owner! My property is not for everyone...and everyone is not for my property!
I don't have the luxury of telling guests that "The Cleaning Staff" refuses to work with them ever again. My guests know that I'm the guy that mows the lawn, presses the sheets, manicures the landscaping, scrubs the toilets, handles marketing, answers the phone, and makes reservations. When a guest offends us (by trashing an apartment... smoking a cigar, and telling me that they thought the "No Smoking anywhere on the property" rule only applies to cigarettes... Complaining to me that "******* have stolen my favorite fishing spot"... Destroying 800 thread count cotton sheets, by wearing shoes and belts or god knows what to bed... Using our bath towels to clean their cars, or polish their shoes... Wearing so much cheap stale perfume instead of bathing that the stench still lingers in a unit months after they've checked out) they never come back.
They never come back, because I simply ignore them.
Rather than waste my time drafting a polite response, lying to them about availability, or entering into a discussion about what slobs they are, or how much damage they caused, I simply ignore them. I use the "Block Sender" feature on my email, and I let their calls go to voice-mail.
I'd rather have a vacancy than a headache.
I am with the no-reply-needed group.
Every once in awhile we get an inquiry that strikes me as somehow problematic. Sometimes it is scammy. You know the kind - they are looking for a place so unlike yours you cannot figure out why they have selected you and they want to know immediatelty where to send money, and whether you will take some oddball form of payment.
I just delete them from the inbox.
There is no reason to explain to any would be guest why you are not choosing to rent to them. Part of the hospitality business is not making people feel bad. You know these people. If you think they are going to sit and wait and wait to hear back from you, and fill up your email with questions about why you are ignoring them, then go ahead and explain to them that the down time and extra work required after their stay is both costly and exhausting. And you can add that you fear your cleaning crew will quit on you if you ask them to clean up after them again. With profuse apologies... sorry you are having this sort of repeat aggravation.
I think the key here is that you are the owner of this house and you have a choice as to whether you will rent to someone or not. You do not need to reply and you to not need to explain. If you know a previous guest has caused a problem, move on and ignore them.
I had this issue this year...A PITA trying to come back. This person was a nightmare - inability to follow the simple process of sending in a payment, late payments, then tries to get a refund because of bad weather prior to the weather/storm even happening. To top it off they left the place a complete mess!...It was simple, when they asked this year for the same week I said it wasn't available. End of story. If they respond as most PITAs will just don't respond - if it continues block their email.
I've had this exact situation. Here's how I handled it.
Honesty always...just find a way to be honest without confrontation...and while covering your butt too
While they are somewhat endebted for the wall (and feeling sorry, I'm sure) ask them for a favor. Make a nice request that they log onto vrbo and leave you a review for their last stay with you. Explain that a review from return guests like them is highly prized. Do it now while everyone is happy and on good terms. Don't be afraid to be gently pushy if they don't get around to doing it...remind them...nicely.
Once you have a review for this last time they stayed, you can fix the wall and forget about it all. When they finally do contact you for their next reservation, you can be upfront (with kindness) and explain that due to how they have left the house after their last couple of rentals, you feel they are just not a good fit for your rental...so sorry...etc.
End of story! They can't leave a bad review because they have already reviewed their last stay with you and because you have not rented to them again, they do not have a new rental agreement (which they would need to prove they stayed with you if they want to leave another review). If they do lash out with a review you will have no problem at all having VRBO remove it.
Trace!, I did have to chuckle a bit at this one.......I appreciate what you are saying, though. I don't think I could promote honesty, having them write a review and then cut them off later. Just seems a little less than honest.
I think from reading everyone's posts, it seems that the majority feel that renters should respect their property, and if they don't, they lose right to rent in the future. Additionally, it seems like the old saying, "Ignore them and they will go away" seems to fit. I personally felt drained and unappreciated after bending over backwards for a guest who was a PITA. I loved ruralvacationrentals term "drainers". Reminds me of that song "The world is a vampire......set to Dray-ay-ay-ne."(sorry couldn't help it).
I know we are in the "service industry" but that still doesn't mean you don't deserve common decency. My wife and I really pour our hearts into our rentals and when you get one of these PITAs, just move on and leave it behind. It is good to know that there is a community out here that we can share and comiserate with. Thanks to all who replied.
Ahh, however, All is true: they had a good time, they enjoyed the home and hospitality, let them document it. IT's just good to have the review NOT based on whether they do or do not get to rent and destroy again. Thank goodness there are lots of wonderful, respectful folks out there renting to counterbalance the PITAs.
I find that guests welcome ideas on how to be good guests for your home; whether it be use of equipment, (we offer kayaks and bikes for their use) mutual needs for check in and out times, etc.
And then again, I get to use one of my favorite expressions: don't expect a cat to be a canary: if a guest is a true dyed-in-the-wool PITA, save knocking yourself out and like you said unclebob, move on!
The next time you have guests that do not treat your house properly ON THEIR FIRST VISIT, do not allow them to rent for any further visits.
I would not have rented to this family after the first visit with modeling clay.
By renting to this family for a second and third time you have signaled to them that their treament of your home is acceptable. I'm assuming you didn't charge them for the additional two hours of cleaning following the first visit, or the cleaning of the mattress and quilt on the second and third visits (?).
I would recommend that any future renters that "mis-behave" on their first visit are automatically on their LAST visit.
You are being much too indulgent, in my opinion.
If you take action after a first visit you won't find yourself wondering how to discourage problem renters from renting a fourth time.
And, I would be honest with this family. After visiting three times they are likely to pursue the availiability issue; you'll be caught in a lie and have difficulty explaining. Better to be honest. Tell them you can't have them stay given all of the cleaning and maintenance issues that follow their visits. Or, you could consider charging them a large cleaning fee to cover the inevitable problems or, if you are very lucky, it could discourage their return. I'm not comfortable with the "not available" route. Given their three visits they must like your property and are likely to check your availability over time, non?
The best of luck to you!
I'm sad to report that a 3 yr. return group of guests won't be given their "perks" after they checked out today, though I will accept them back. BUT they've lost thier "Special Guest Status"
I normally offer returning guests a discount and waive our Damage Deposit, or reduce it, if they've been great guests. Today I had such a group checkout, and while they didn't trash our home, they did leave it in less than stellar shape.
But instead of ranting to them today I'll just (nicely) explain NEXT year, when they inquire, that this year's group (3 couples) was not of the calber we'd expereinced in past years. They won't get the big discount I'd offered, and they will be required to pay the full Damage Deposit.
We'll see how it goes.
Today's update on this group: I got an email from our neighbors ( next to our VR home) telling me this group was loud, parties late intothe night and had a dog. The dog was not authorized ( I do allow some animals, but charge extra and have a Pet Poicy that must be completed and signed).
SO, their follow up email outlined the problems, and I suggested that they look at other properties on a part of the Island that is a more "party type" area., if they plan a trip next year.
It'll be interesting to see if I get a reponse. If I get a bad reveiw, I'm ready to respond.
Breathe a sigh of relief that you decided you won't rent to them. To keep it objective and depersonalize the process, I have a meter in my head: call it a list of rules or etiquette book. If a guest crosses the line, there is a consequence, i.e. not renting to them again!
I just had a had an incident in which I could have charged renters about $25 off their cleaning deposit after they left. These were first time VR renters, so I thought that perhaps they didn't understand that they needed to leave our property like they found it (perhhaps they were thinking our home is like a motel) So I chose not to withhold money from their deposit for the simple reason that they were "newbies" and also fo the reason that other owners cite --avoiid a potential bad review.
###However, in the email I always send letting them know that their deposit was being refunded, I also let them know that according to our contract I could have withheld $25. Well I got a very apologetic email response from them in which the asked if they were not invited back. I replied by saying that if they wanted to return, we would need to discuss terms again over the phone to make sure they had a good understanding of what is expected. I indicated that if there were a next time, they will need to convince me that there will be improvement.
I doubt that this couple will ask to return, but if they do, they understand that it will be very conditional. Actually, I think by just by sharing the issues with them that were a problem, I was able to avoid a request to return without actually having to tell them they wouldn't be coming back.
Well, this is a follow-up post. I have to preface this by stating that I love my wife, but sometimes she just doesn't listen to me(God bless marriage - heh). Remember the PITA I posted about a few weeks ago? I told my wife NOT to send her a request for a review given that she was high maintenance and impossible to please. Well, the renter contacted her on the phone offering suggestions(as she stated that she was in the hotel business in the past). Since my wife felt she was "nice to her/suggested some ideas", she sent her a review request. When I heard this and stopped screaming, "NOOOoooOOOOooooOOOoooo(It sounded kind of like that bad idea George Lucas had for the Darth Vader inserted "Noooo"), I braced myself.
Well we got the review, and it was as I expected - an offhanded, partially complementary review.....She complained about feeling that the one bedroom cabin was just a bit too small for four people(well this is a one bedroom cabin), but admits that she never folded up the sleeper sofa, EVER during her stay - ummmm.....hello? Maybe that would give you more room ???? Of course she mentioned the no vanity space in the upstairs bathroom(which is standard in all one bedrooms within the development)....and on and on. But then in the end of the review she comments how great and acommidating my wife was and how she would definately come back or rent other cabins from us.......WTH????? I am working on a civil reply, and wanted your thoughts. I would have posted the draft, but this site will not allow me to paste outside text.
Within the draft I have addressed that :
- The one bedroom cabin is nearly 1000 sq feet(the largest in the local region).
- It would likely have given you more room to fold up the sofa bed.
- We went through extraordinary measures to accomidate her (set up WiFi just for her(at no charge), set up an XBOX with games(at no charge) and drove up to the cabin to hand deliver her items.
- All cabins in the area have the same pedistal sink in the bathroom, but will be budgeting to put a vanity in.
- Our cabins are updated/decorated far beyond the standard within our community.
I will be sleeping on it tonight, before I post it. This just irks me........At times it can be discouraging. But I will heed my own advice and move on. As a side note/chuckle. I put in the review, "If you choose to say in the future....blah...blah....." I am in full knowledge I will never rent to her again - not worth the trouble, complaints or lack of appreciation.
Sorry - Still needed to vent.......*sigh*
Be VERY careful here Bob. What you think personally and what you write in a public post must never be confused. The review and your reply should be considered Publicity for your home - not a forum to snipe (which is what your reply comments start to sound like).
Try what I did on a super nasty review: Pick out the GOOD things she said and say THANKS for mentioning how hard you work to be sure your guests are happy. That you are proud that your cabin is one of the largest and most up to date in the community and has wifi and xbox with games at No Charge - you get the idea. It may help to keep in mind that this review will only be important to future readers if you make a big deal about it. Keep it low key and friendly and move on....
And Bob, Always use spellchecker before you send anything - remember that your comments last forever even after you cool down and move on.
Point well taken. This is one of the main reasons why I put in my post "I am going to sleep on it", before I send it. I have revamped it already after taking a long relaxing walk up at the cabin. Nature does wonders for the spirit.
I didn't mean to snipe, but rather just vent. It is like anything in life, if you are passionate about something, put your heart into it and it is criticized, it hurts and emotions will run high. I certainly hope you can understand - I'm not a mean person at all.
I had to chuckle about the spell checker - yes......a GREAT suggestion.
Thanks for your thoughts.
I agree that sometimes when you "defend" too much it comes off worse. I would just focus on the positives that she wrote in your review and just ignore the rest.
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I agree with sfowner....you can practically take it word-for-word from what s/he offered in the comment! It will work for you...not against you. I would be using the same approach....it's a promotion for you in the minds of readers ....and a demotion for the guest's character! People easily detect a PITA from reading "reviews".
We would suggest you consider the pros and cons of not leaving a response at all. After all, she seems to have countered her negatives with her own explanations. Or, if you want to respond, definitely do as sfowner and twobitrentals have suggested and just make it a short positive statement without trying to answer all her complaints. Works well and others seeing it will remember only positives.
Stjvilla, I understand what you are saying about stating only the positive, but I would suggest that showing you are open to suggestions, and responsive to those that you think will enhance the experience of future guests, is a very positive thing as well. I had a similar situation with a guest who stated flatly that my sitting room furniture was not comfortable.
In the TV room we have a cushy leather sofa and a recliner that almost makes you want to sleep in it!, but in the sitting room we have a rattan love seat with cushion (it is a cottage...and I was trying to keep a cottage-like theme) and a beautiful natural wood rocker with cushion...granted, not as comfy as the den furniture, but that is not usually where you spend a lot of time. I did not address that comment, but he had also mentioned that he got a little chilly overnight (of course, he didn't mention if he turned on the heater or used the two additional space heaters), but I took his comment to heart and decided I should make additional blankets available in each bedroom. In the reply, I acknowledged his positive comments and thanked him for his comment on the temperature... and said that I would immediately address it for future guests. I think that is a win-win.
You are getting very good feedback, I think. When our guests remark on anything other guests commented upon that was not to their liking, it is usually to add their own impressions before the fact. People filter what they see. If they like your place, they will want to stay with you, and will think past any negatives posted. Not too long ago one of our guests posted a comment that it rained every night he was there and he disliked the sound of rain on the roof. You can imagine what future guests had to say about that when they called to reserve.
Good luck with this. Also, maybe you and your wife can re-think your practice of soliciting reviews. People can only read so many of them. If you already have a large number, request only from people who are super excited about your place and skip every one else. I say this in part because many of us in the business world are taught to give balanced feedback, mixing in "constructive criticism" with positive remarks. That kind of a review can make even the Taj Majal sound inferior.
This is really a no-brainer for me. I just tell people that we simply cannot meet their expectations. We can't meet their expectations if they think they can cancel on short notice. We can't meet their expectations if they think they can do damage without consequences. We can't meet their expectations if they want to add extra guests at the last moment and exceed our occupancy. We can't meet their expectations if they think they can smoke in the house. We can't meet their expectations if they think they can leave a dog unattended in the house and on and on. I tell them that we are not in a position to do something that goes against our policies. That said, we never hold ANY of a security deposit as I do not want to deal with the consequences. The best way of dealing with people that disrespect our rental is to put them on our "do not book to" list. If they call and I suspect someone is inappropriate for our rental or we cannot meet their expectations based on their questions, I just tell them that we have a tentative reservation for their desired timeframe, but will put them on the waiting list should we have a cancellation. It is very important to us that the "fit" is right. Which is why someone must call us in order to initiate a reservation. It is also why we do not use Reservation Manager.
We have dealt with the guest from H____ . She has tried using an alias to book, but I know her voice. She tried using a friend to book the reservation several times. This went on for about 10 years. She finally gave up.
So you do what you have to do. We have been in this business for over 15 years. You live and learn.
I totally agree with this. In fact, I just left my vacation home and the folks that were in there before me had left a bottle of doggie clean up under the sink. I called and asked if the dog urinated on the carpet and where that might be. She said oh yes, by the bed in the Master bedroom, but we cleaned it up right away. I said, well, you do understand that little babies crawl on this carpet right and that I will have to have it steam cleaned. Her response, but we cleaned it. I explained to her that spraying carpet cleaner over the top of urine may get up some of it, but unless it is steam cleaned properly it won't get it all. She was flustered and said well, you can have the dog deposit (I just thought, yes, I had planned on that). Now how many people happen to have urine clean up in their auto. My guess is that they had to go to the store and purchase it while it was soaking into the carpet. ARGH!
Anyway, long story short, kept the deposit, steam cleaned the entire house (just in case there was more than one doggie mistake) AND she is on my do not rent again list. If she calls, I will simply remind her that her dog urinated on the carpet and had I not been the next person to stay in the house that someone's little child may have been crawling through an unsanitary situation. So, based on that, I don't think my house would be a good fit for her family needs.
Just a simple and honest response. However, I DO keep deposits when there is obvious damage or unsanitary conditions. If they want to give me a bad review...I will respond with "truth".
That made me laugh!
You are probably right, so sad that folks with pets think that if they pet makes a mistake that it shouldn't be any big deal?
I also (if being honest) wonder about the adults....you should have seen the toilet and they were only there for 3 nights. It was one of those where when you started seeing things like that, you just had an idea of what their home must look like on a regular basis. No wonder they think it's no big deal.
I have to share a "pet" story. A year or so ago, we had a couple book a stay with their Chihuahua. I think the dog was 5 years old. But they said the dog used a "potty pad". So what the heck is a potty pad??? We now know. The couple came and stayed almost a week. They were an older couple and did not get around very well. So instead of taking the dog out to relieve itself, they just let it go on the potty pad. Well, the dog was a male dog and missed the potty pad again and again. What a mess!!! Thus, we had to change our policy of allowing dogs and did not allow dogs for 1 year after this experience. We had to make certain the odor was gone from walls and flooring. You just never know what you will learn. People will be people and most could care less about who stays after them.
FYI, for those that don't have a clue - a potty pad is a diaper placed on the floor - who knew???
I also have had this issue. One way is to simply not answer their inquiry at all. That is easy if they contact you by email. If you have been giving them a discount on your regular price - don't. Make them pay for property damage insurance if you decide to re-rent to them. That way you are covered for any damage that they do. You can also tell them that the week they have chosen is not available because you are giving it to a good friend.