Love thy neighbour and make sure your guests do too!
Working in the holiday rental industry and living in a tourist destination I have a high tolerance level to holidaymakers, but this summer season we have had some particularly bothersome renters, who would annoy even the most patient of neighbours (like me!)
Holiday rental owners have a responsibility to protect both the communities they live in and the local neighbourhood. And let’s face it, nobody wants the nightmare of turning up to do a changeover to find a wrecked home, after some particularly disrespectful guests have left their mark.
If you want to create a successful and long-term business out of your holiday rental property, you definitely don’t want to fall out with your neighbours. To ensure your renters love your neighbours as much as you do, there are a few things you need to prepare and communicate before they arrive. After all…
Happy guests + happy neighbours = a perfect combination!
1. Vet your guests
Part of our duty, as conscientious holiday rental owners, is to vet potential guests before confirming a booking. We have a responsibility to protect our industry; to stop holiday rentals gaining a bad reputation, by allowing unruly guests to stay in our local communities.
The type of guest you allow to rent your home, should depend on where you live, the type of property you own and the community you represent. If you live in a small complex or urbanisation, where a high percentage of residents are owners or year-round renters, it doesn’t make sense to accept a group booking of young party animals. That’s just not great for community spirit!
2. Share community rules and regulations
This summer a group of young lads stayed in our urbanisation, who decided to swim naked while young children were in the pool (including mine!); brought bottles of alcohol (no glass allowed) to the pool, and proceeded to get drunk every day by the pool, break furniture by using it as floating goal posts, and generally cause quite some havoc. Funnily enough, the other holiday guests didn’t want to use our pool and probably wouldn’t want to return. So, the owner who allowed this group to book their home, probably affected future bookings of other owners in the urbanisation. Vet your guests!
Your contract should include the main community rules that visitors must abide by, such as swimming pool etiquette, parking and noise pollution. And reiterate those rules on arrival in your welcome information. You can set out the information in a friendly and comfortable manner, rather than as a schoolmaster laying down school rules.
3. House etiquette
Guests will respect you and your property a whole lot more if you create a guest-friendly etiquette list. You could even create a fun list and frame it. Include green rules on water and air con usage, and a little reminder that you enjoy a happy coexistence with your neighbours and want to keep it that way!
There are friendly and fun ways to impart rules, which don’t put your guests off for future bookings! Here’s one I created a while back for an article on preparing an eco-friendly holiday rental.
4. Encourage them to meet the neighbours
I have a great relationship with my neighbours and am always happy to help visitors with anything they need to know about the house or neighbourhood. If you let your guests know that your neighbours are residents, it might instill a little more respect in how they treat the community, instead of arriving with the idea that this is a ‘pure’ tourist complex, where everyone is in ‘holiday mode’.
5. Highlight the law in your area
If guests know that a neighbour or community has the right to make a complaint against them for untoward behaviour, they may think twice about stepping out of line. New holiday rental regulations in Spain mean a community can complain to the police about a renter’s behaviour and the owner has the right to give them 24 hours notice to leave.
6. Guest ratings
The introduction of guest rating systems hasn’t been received with the greatest of enthusiasm by owners. Many of whom don’t have personal, face-to-face interaction with guests. However, over the long-term, if a guest profile can be rated based on how they treat accommodation, it could save you from having a bad guest experience. Something we definitely want to avoid.
I received a five star guest rating this summer, during a stay in Cornwall, and was so delighted to receive it, I was eager to continue to be a great renter in the future. Just as an owner feels when she receives five star ratings from guests.
Maybe I am feeling particularly disgruntled about having my peace shattered this summer, and, of course, I don’t want you to put your guests off! But the experience made me realise that responsible owners must take action to protect our communities and the reputation of our industry.
Before I go, I came across Noise Aware, a nifty little device that sends you a noise violation alert if your guests exceed the noise limit during designated quiet times. It’s noise protection for short-term and vacation rentals. What’s not to love!
Dive bombing by Elliot Moore