How to Appease an Uphappy Guest in Lieu of a Refund

    keep your vacation rental guests happySometimes, no matter how hard we try, there are just some times when something out of our control goes wrong and renters complain. Of course, the extent to which we try to appease a renter depends on the severity of the complaint/problem.

    For instance, if your housekeeper was two hours late getting your property cleaned and caused a delayed check-in for your renters, that might warrant a smaller gift than if the housekeeper never showed up and caused the new renters to clean the house themselves. Or, if your air conditioning goes out on the hottest day of the year, that situation probably warrants a much larger gift than if the fireplace was inoperable in July.

    No matter what the complaint, it's always in your (and your home's) best interest to try and keep guests satisfied. Below are few possible ways to make things right with your guests.

    Lunch or dinner on you Call a local restaurant and buy your guest a $25, $50 or $100 gift certificate (depending on the severity of the problem). Tell your guests that they have a gift certificate waiting for them. Just be careful, don't buy a $25 gift certificate for a restaurant where everything on the menu is expensive. You wouldn't want the gift to end up costing them a lot out of their pocket. Smaller amounts work great for breakfast restaurants, ice cream parlors or the local burger joint.

    Free tickets Offering passes for a round of golf, movie, theme park, or other attraction is another great way to make guests smile. Contact the local attraction offices and see if they will offer you any sort of a discount. You can also offer these incentives to attract renters during the off-season. Advertising a free round of golf might just be the determing factor that makes a renter choose your home over the next.

    A gift basket A basket of fruit, a bottle of local wine, box of local specialty chocolates, or even a full catered meal might be just the thing that would turn your guests' frowns upside-down.

    Free nights For problems that cause a moderate inconvenience to your guests, you might want to offer to extend their stay for an extra night or two for no charge (assuming the nights after their scheduled departure are unbooked).

    Free future stay For major problems, you could offer your guests a free stay during a time when you are generally not booked. This won't cost you much out of your pocket, except for power usage. Your guest enjoys a free vacation and you'll enjoy the chance to win your way back into their good graces. Whether you ask the guest to pay the cleaning fee is up to you, but if their original complaint had to do with something your housekeeper forgot to do, you might want to ask your housekeeper to comp it.

    A discount on a future stay If an entire free stay isn't in order, you could also offer guests a certain percentage off a future stay. For example: 10% off peak season, 20% off shoulder season, or 40% off low season.

    *Last Updated April 11, 2018

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