18 Replies Latest reply: Nov 2, 2012 12:33 PM by darlapie RSS

    Another ODD request! Suggestions?

    msdebj Senior Contributor

      I had someone who's arriving in 2 weeks for a 4 night stay contact me today and request that I have our sheets laundered with a ceratin brand of laundry detergent, due to sensitivities.  They never mentioned this in any previous conversations we've had over the past 3 months.


      I'm at a loss as to what to do since my housekeeper does the laundry. She picks up the dirty linens when she cleans and doesn't return them until the next time she cleans. We have 4 sets of bed linens,  towels, etc. in our locked linen closet that she uses on a rotating basis. If I comply with this request she'll have to contact our current guests in residence to make an appointment to go in, get sheets and towels out of the linen closet, purchase this detergent, and rewash everything so she'll have it ready for the "special request" guests.


      Of course, I'll have to pay her an extra fee to do all of this.


      BTW, the "special request" guests live about 50 miles from our VR home and will be drivng, so I guess they could bring their own linens, but then I'd have to offer some kind of discount ( and hope that MY blankets, kitchen towels, etc. don't walk away when they leave) 


      Any ideas?


      Debj    .

        • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
          carol Premier Contributor

          I wouldn't bother the current guests under any circumstances short of an emergency, and this is not an emergency.   It's especially unfortunate the travelers didn't discuss this with you up front!


          Is it just one person or couple with sensitivites?  If so, could you buy one new set of sheets and launder them yourself or have your housekeeper do it?  I periodically buy new sheets, so it wouldn't be too much trouble to do that.  Of course, if you have 6 beds and they want all the beds changed, this would not work. 


          Alternatively, if you have a washer/dryer in the house, you could leave them a box of their detergent and ask them to re-launder everything. 


          Otherwise, I would just tell them to bring their own sheets.  If they ask for a refund, give them a reasonable one. 

            • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
              msdebj Senior Contributor

              Carol, well, I'm 1200 miles away, so buying new sheets ( I just bought all new ones in April for all 6 beds as part of my annual budget) seems a bit extreme to me.


              But, thanks for your input!


                • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
                  carol Premier Contributor

                  Ah, that could be difficult!!


                  So just tell them it's too late to accommodate them at this point, give them a few dollars off and tell them to wash the sheets themselves.   Suggest that next year you'll be able to do it.

                    • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
                      sophie Senior Contributor

                      Why  would you give them a refund of any kind? I would just tell them they are free to re-launder the sheets in the soap of their choice. I would leave the beds unmade with "your" clean sheets folded at the end of the bed and they can do what they please with them.


                      I think it was very rude of them to even suggest that you do this! They booked 3 months ago. They needed to ask BEFORE they agreed to book, not 2 weeks before and then place these unrealistic demands on you or your cleaning staff.

                        • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
                          New Member

                          I agree.  They should have asked if this would work for you BEFORE they booked the property.  I would recommend they bring their own detergent and re-launder the sheets or bring their own linens. I would not refund them any money especially if they signed a contract.  You may want to let them check in an hour earlier if you have your home ready for them.  That way they can wash the sheets and feel like they are getting something in return.

                  • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
                    crescentbeach4u Active Contributor

                    I have actually had this request as well but for when the renters return in February.  They said that the sheets had way too much fabric softener on them.  My wife and I went and checked while the unit was being cleaned and I must admit that they did have a strong clean, fresh smell.  I instructed our cleaner to use very little softener from that point on.  It is too late in your situation and the renters will have to adjust.

                      • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?

                        I would guess that it was a simple oversight on the part of the guests, especially if the person making the reservations isn't the one with the allergies.  A group of couples could mean that just one couple (or person) has the allergy and only mentioned it to the primary renter a few days ago.


                        The fact that they only live 50 miles from the VR should mean they are driving, and can / should bring their own sheets for that one (or all if it's important to them) couple.  It's not an unreasonable solution.  I wouldn't worry about losing the extra sheets - but if you can talk to the guests beforehand, suggest this solution to them on the phone and let them know that you just won't put sheets on the bed(s) they plan to use their own sheets on - and ask whether they would feel more comfortable bringing their own pillows and blankets as well.


                        Personally, we use nothing but Tide Free and Bounce Free on all our linens for this very reason.  I too have some occasional skin allergies, and find the fragrance free stuff to be much better for my skin.


                        (Extra note - I too wouldn't give a discount, especially if it was only one of the beds.  And even if they do supply ALL their own linens, including towels, I would be inclined to NOT give a discount still.  We recently gave a discount to a group that brought their own linens, only to realize that we didn't have on-site storage for the sheets, towels, blankets, and pillows that would normally be on the beds and in the bathrooms.  It took us almost as much time to cart them off-site and store them for a week, then cart them all back on site as it would have to strip, wash, and replace the ones we had in rotation.)



                      • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
                        Active Contributor

                        Our original thought was to explain why this isn't possible at this late date and ask them to bring their own sheets.  Or, probably better, as sophie suggests, let them bring detergent and wash the set of sheets and towels themselves.  Surely, not all 6 beds will be occupied by "sensitives?"  But even so, they can do their own washing.  And no need to give them any discount, although if you wanted to, you could have your cleaner buy that brand of detergent and leave it in the house.

                        • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
                          codcape Contributor

                          discount, have them bring their own linens and call it a day. 


                          i don't provide linens - if people want to rent from me they can bring them or rent them.

                          • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
                            sodamo Contributor

                            I think your 2nd paragraph pretty much spells it out. Send them that reasoning with your apology and either offer a very small discount or a gift card for their "inconvenience" that would be less than the hassle.



                            • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
                              Active Contributor

                              We actually keep a special set of linens and hypo-allergenic pillows in our storage for these kinds of guests. We've used them about 10 times and the guest is always super impressed that we have them on hand: they even tend to comment on the sheets/pillows in TripAdvisor and VRBO reviews. Granted, we also have a fleet of 9 properties so it's more economically feasible to afford the extra items than owners with just 1 or 2 properties.


                              If I were you msdebj, I would buy the special detergent (can your cleaning person pick this up if you are unable to?) and keep it on hand for special cases like these. I've found that making extra little investments in guest happiness reverberates well over the long run.

                              - M


                              • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
                                susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

                                Doesn't it make sense that these guests know they need to bring their own linens because of their allergies?If  possible, have your housekeeper buy the detergent for the use of these guests. They will probably need to use it for doing laundry throughout their stay. I'd let them know they need to bring their own linens, you've bought the detergent for their use and that you had your house keeper not make up the beds to avoid them having contact with a possible allergen. That shows you are going out of your way to accommodate them.


                                I see no need for a discount. You didn't advertise your property as allergen free. I'm lactose intolerant.  I've never had a restaurant offer a discount because I didn't get the cheese that was included in the price.

                                  • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
                                    thaxterlane Premier Contributor

                                    I agree with susan.


                                    Provide the detergent for their use during their stay.  


                                    Given they didn't mention their need until it was too late to make arrangements to fulfill their request, they should understand the situation.


                                    The "gift" of the detergent should be sufficient. 


                                    They can bring their own linens or launder the linens on arrival.


                                    I do not believe a discount is warranted in this situation. 


                                    FYI, my linens are laundered at end of stay by my house cleaners and I don't know what product(s) they use.  And my guests have never asked.  They're happy to have the beds made up on their arrival and to be able to depart without having to launder the soiled household linens.  I supply my guests with costco's kirkland brand for the majorit of household products they need for their stay, including laundry detergent.  Some purchase their own products; I find liquid soaps, detergents, and other products at the end of the season.

                                      • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
                                        msdebj Senior Contributor

                                        Thanks for all the advice! I spoke with the primary renter this morning and nicely explained the situation. I told her I'd have my housekeeper purchase her detergent and it would be at the house when they arrived.


                                        She was a bit pissy at first, saying they'd not been able to decide who was sleeping in what room so she didn't know if she had the right sizes of sheets.  Then she calmed down and said she did understand and that she would try to bring her own set of sheets.  I thought all was well.


                                        She called back and wanted to know about our bath and beach towels. Oh lordy!!! Could I tell her what color they were, etc. ( I assume so she'd know what was mine and what was hers, if she brought her own.) And what brand of bath soap I provide!  I have no idea- my housekeeper purchases liquid bath soap as needed for each bath during my high season turn arounds.


                                        (I have an allergy to certain dishwashing detergents myself, and would never think of asking a VR owner to buy a product I prefer- I purchase my own brand and leave it behind at the home. )


                                        I hope this is the end of this saga, but am begininng to wonder what i got myself into! Next thing you know she may want a special type of bottled water!! I have to wonder what she does when she stays in hotels or visits freinds and family.


                                        We shall see!!!

                                        Thanks again! Debj

                                          • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
                                            Active Contributor

                                            Oh good grief!  And this is a 4-night rental?!  Maybe they'll enjoy your nice new hangers? 

                                            • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?

                                              Quick question: do you have an owner-cancelation clause in your contract? 


                                              It sounds like these folks are getting close to the point where I'd invoke it.  At some point it becomes more worthwhile to cancel/refund and accept the possiblity that you won't find a replacement renter and will end up with an empty week. 


                                              Trouble up front has ALWAYS resulted in trouble DURING and AFTER in my experience.



                                                • Re: Another ODD request! Suggestions?
                                                  anja Senior Contributor

                                                  After reading through this thread, I was feeling as "swiss-house' just  expressed...and "the stijvillas"....{all this fuss for 4 nights}.  What's the actual stay going to be like?


                                                  In my view, if it was a real serious "heath concern"  then I doubt that the woman would have just forgotten  to mention this "sensitivity" to detergents when she first inquired.  {I've had  people ask me  to remove a bird feeder from a deck because of a bird allergy, and that was asked about in the inquiry stage because they saw the bird feeder in my website photo}.  Sure, people have sensitivity and allergies, but honestly...why did it take this long for her to ask?   And, really ....all the beds  should be stripped, re-washed and remade just because she can't  figure  out who,  in her party, will sleep where, until they arrive?  Nonsense.


                                                  She's a  PITA in my view.  Already.  Let's hope that her stay experience will be wonderful at your vacation place {I'm sure you have the confidence in your product and service...but she sounds, well...like a PITA, to me].  You have my "empathy" and my best wishes for  a successful vacation experience with this woman and her travelling companions.


                                                  I view this situation as someone who fails to comprehend the difference  between renting a private home  over a hotel room.


                                                  P.S. I do not think you should feel obliged to discount her for any reason, before or during the stay if she finds anything "not to her or anyone in her group's standard or preferences".  People like her need to understand, accept and appreciate what a private vacation home experience offers....or stay in impersonal hotels.