From 3 couples over four consecutive nights on our first weekend to a young new grandmother from the UK for 2 weeks in October … our guests are effortless, and in fact a downright pleasure, but the change over between reservations was way too tight and not fun.
Coordinating check-out and check-in times, running sheets and towels through the laundry, wiping down the rooms and polishing the bathroom, tidying the rest of the house, stocking the frig, being home to greet them upon arrival … the popularity really surprised us. And we have day jobs. While we like to keep our house pretty neat and clean, suddenly we found ourselves cleaning 3 rooms that we seldom used multiple times over a few days. It became a chore when it had to be done within a tight window defined by someone else. On the other hand, when we had a few days between guests to slip the tasks into our schedules the stress fell away. It didn’t seem like much work at all.
My solution … allow at least one day between reservations. It’s easier on us and on them if we can simply be flexible about arrival and departure times. We don’t need the money so there is no pressure to accept everyone and fill the calendar. Their planning and their entire stay should be as easy and enjoyable as possible. They just tell me the time to expect, there is no negotiating needed to make sure we can prep the rooms, we communicate by text as they get closer and in the worst case I could leave a key outside and have them call me when they arrive.
To minimize frustration by those looking to make travel plans, I now block out the day before and the day after each reservation on our calendar in addition to any dates when we’ll be out of town. It’s hard to tell someone no, even if you haven’t met them, so this way they don’t even inquire unless it already works for me. I also inform new reservations that I’ve done this in case they want to change their start or end date … I may be more flexible than it appears and this has come up a few times.
We’re feeling like veterans. After 6 months, we’ve figured out how to handle most situations that come up. Except. Except, handling conflicting date inquiries at the same time. Again, I have a hard time saying no. And, I didn’t. While overlapping requests have happened 3 times, the first two times only one request followed through. I was saved without doing anything. But not the last time. Most inquiries come from people new to the system and I didn’t fully understand how to use the reservation initiation and confirmation steps to help me navigate this. Tomorrow night we’ll be in the basement on an air mattress.