Guests Behaving Badly? Not in Your Vacation Rental.

Astrid LindstromLeave a Comment

Cleaning up a messy vacation rental after a guest's party

Dirty dishes all over the countertops, water rings on the furniture, and garbage forgotten under the sink – we’ve heard every terrible houseguest story in the book. Fortunately, we’ve discovered a few simple tips that vacation rental owners can use to convert even the worst of these offenders into dream guests.

Communicate, communicate, communicate …

The shocking #1 reason why guests don’t obey your house rules? They don’t know about them.

You may have told your guests what you expect from them during the booking process, but it’s likely they’ll have forgotten all about those rules by the time they arrive. Make sure your guests have easy access to your house rules by printing up a little welcome book they can find as they walk in the door.

In your welcome book, greet your guests and make a simple, sincere request that they treat your home as they would treat their own. Remind them of any all-encompassing house rules such as not wearing shoes in the house, and tell them where to find important items they’re likely to need. (The WiFi password and the wine opener come to mind.)

When your guests feel that your property is taking great care of them, they’ll want to return the favor and take good care of it.

… in the right place and at the right time.

Many hosts make the mistake of communicating all their rules and requests in one place, where the guest will skim them quickly and promptly forget half of them. (Even remembering half might be optimistic.)

Instead, put only the most critical information front and center, and place little notes around the house where they’re most likely to be needed.

For example, you might place a note on the coffee table next to the box of coasters, asking your guests to please use them to protect the wood. If there are tasks you’d like your guests to complete before they leave, put that request in a place where they’re likely to see it right before they lock the doors – how about on the little tray where you’ve asked them to leave the keys?

Frame it!

Who wants Post-Its all over their luxury rental? No one. Instead, print your notes out in a nice, readable font and frame them in simple 4×6 frames. If you use the same color frame for all of your notes, your guests will start to keep an eye out for your instructions in each room.

The formality of the frames makes it feel much more like you’re offering helpful information, rather than leaving an irritated “Put your dishes in the dishwasher!” note from a passive-aggressive host. In a frame, your requests come across as thoughtful, carefully considered, and friendly.

Bonus: your frames won’t get grubby or need replacing very frequently, and you can easily gather them up and put them away when they’re not needed.

Strike a friendly tone.

The way you phrase your requests will go a long way toward encouraging your guests to follow the house rules. Try to keep it light, friendly, and welcoming, and always say “Thank you.”

Instead of this:

  • DO NOT leave the lights on when you leave the house.

Try this:

  • Please remember to turn the lights out when you leave! Our electric bill thanks you. (So do we.)

A bit of humor will go a long way. If your guests feel like they’re being constantly nagged by their picky mother-in-law, they’re unlikely to feel very enthusiastic about following your rules. If they feel like their friendly host made a polite request at an apropos moment, they’ll be happy to oblige.

Tell Us Your House Rules

What house rules do you have that renters just don’t seem to “get”? Do you think they might respond to a friendly nudge, or has that strategy not worked for you? What have you found really works to get your renters to treat your home just as you would yourself?