Last week I got a text from a guest that said, “you have a hole in your kitchen wall.”
Let me tell you what, that got my attention!
I immediately asked her where the hole was; she responded with “behind the dishwasher.” This made me a little confused. “You can’t see behind the dishwasher,” I told her. “How can you see the hole?”
This was her response. “Well I can’t see it, but I know it’s there. I left out a box of donuts last night and now it’s covered in ants, so there must be a hole for them to get in.”
It took everything in me not to laugh in her face.
Of course, if you leave donuts out ants are going to find them! Houses are never completely airtight; just because you see ants doesn’t mean there is a hole in the wall.
But it’s becoming increasingly common these days to deal with guests who seem to have lost all of their common sense. I’ve heard all sorts of stories. Guests who arrive at the completely wrong house and then complain that it wasn’t cleaned. Guests who can’t figure out how to handle a driveway and so drive across the lawn instead. Guests who can’t figure out how to unlock the door – or who lock themselves out of the house completely.
Seriously, where have all of these travelers’ brains gone?
I jest somewhat, but in all honesty, you’re going to encounter people like this. If you haven’t already, I promise you they’re coming. How do you handle this with grace and professionalism when it happens?
If a simple thing will make the guest happy, just do that. If they’re complaining about ants because they left their donuts on the counter, just drop off a can of ant spray for them if you can. Little things like that can go a long way.
However, I know that it’s not always going to be feasible to directly address a guest’s needs – especially if they are particularly needy.
In cases like this, it’s important to still be courteous and kind.
Tell them honestly but tactfully why you can’t help them out. Offer them a small refund on their stay if that’s appropriate and you feel comfortable doing so.
Many people aren’t looking so much for someone to solve all of their problems; they just want to feel like someone is listening to their problems.
So make them feel heard – no matter how ridiculous their complaints seem to you.
I promise you, this will go a long way. Some of the best reviews I’ve gotten have been from people who have had lots of problems during their stay. Although they had problems, I did my best to address their concerns while they were here, and that made them really happy.
People really aren’t as complicated as some of us make them out to be. Problems really aren’t the end of the world. Stupidity is overcome-able. Just take a deep breath, choose your words carefully, and remember that we all have our dumb moments ;). It’s not the end of the world.