What should an STR Guest do for you, the host

6 things you should expect they do, 3 they might, and a few you should never even ask for

6 things you should expect

It is NOT unreasonable to ask an str guest for the following 6 things. These are all things a polite guest would do anyway as it is becoming more and more common to ask for them.

Arrive and leave on time

analog clock sketch in black surface

Expect your guests to arrive and leave on time and stick to that. Same day turns are the biggest reason to have a specific check-in/out time but they are not the only reason. Your cleaning staff, maintenance people (lawn care, pool, handyman, etc), and even trash pickup probably works on a schedule. Missing a check-in or check-out time can interrupt any number of these folks. Sometimes even having a day or two between guests may be necessary to have appropriate repairs or upgrades made and you may need every second of downtime. An unknown late checkout or early check-in could cause a real problem in completing these kinds of tasks

If you can accommodate an altered time, communicate that to all of your teams that need to know, but try to do so as far in advance as possible.

Be wary of guests that are asking for booking several months out but asking to change check-in/out times. Be firm about your policies. If they are asking this early, prepare for guests that are going to be more demanding than others. Hope for the best, but prepare yourself. This type of guest, could, at last minute suddenly not be able to leave on time, etc.

Pile dirty linens, or at least towels

Some hosts may set the expectation to pile and sort all soiled linens, but do not expect an str guest to do this on their own. While some will strip and pile bed linens of their own goodwill, it is a rarity. If your guest is at least making a pile of bath linens then you are already one step ahead of the game so put it in the rules.

Load/run the dishwasher

This should be a given, especially if someone has had a longer stay in your rental. Loading the dishwasher at a minimum should be a no problem requirement and running it only takes a few seconds anyway so this too is something you should at least ask for.

Empty the fridge

Nobody should be leaving anything in the fridge, though from a cleaner’s perspective, this does happen sometimes. Leaving an item or two behind is one thing, but if you had an extended stay guest, emptying AND cleaning the fridge will simply take longer if a guest left a weeks worth of groceries.

Accept your guest limits

Remember this part of the list is about things a good str guest will do, an okay guest will do when asked, but a terrible guest may ignore. This heading is all about preventing the party. In fact, we have seen considerable evidence that allowing just two adults per bedroom does prevent parties. Houses that “sleep” far more than what their bedrooms allow will often get trashed. This is not to say you cannot offer an airbed or pull-out couch but putting two murphy beds in one room that already has a regular bed is asking for trouble.

TAKE OUT THE TRASH

It can be acceptable to leave some trash in waste bins. But it is not acceptable to find piles of trash, whether you have to bag it or not. So, set this expectation and have them take their trash.

leave a review.

Look at your guest’s history. See reviews they have left. If half of every review they have left is written in a negative light, don’t expect that your pristine and well-cared-for home is going to fare any better. We have seen poor reviews about pool temperature, shower size, an unclean oven door (drops inside the door BETWEEN the glass), and even reviews that said a house “should have had bacon available”. If they don’t leave a review for anyone…no worries, but if the only reviews they ever leave describe a horror story, don’t rent to them whether you need the booking or not. Encourage your guest to use your hosting software’s messaging system to discuss negatives and resolutions when possible.

3 Things They might do

post on social media
…Be creative when asking but don’t ask direct

close up photography of smartphone icons

If everything goes as planned you can encourage your str guest to leave a post on social media through a creative request. This may include something in your instructions or somewhere in your space upon arrival. ie; If you loved your stay in ____ city tag us in your social media so we can see what awesomeness you found. Alternatively, invite them to use a special hashtag. Leave that on a large tasteful blackboard (decor matching) that will somehow link back to you. #beachfrontsunsetslivehere #gettingawaynearcacti #worldsmostuniqueairbnb Whatever you do, don’t say “it would really help us if you would post about our home on social media”, because it could sway a natural post into one that seems fake.

Sign up for your email list

This is a HUGE source of future traffic for you. Curating your own list will negate reliance on short-term rental marketing platforms. This is something you can ask at almost anytime and directly more than once if you need to. Use a funnel, give them something in return for signing up and only send them relevant emails rather than general junk mail.

Read house rules

close up shot of a law book

Okay, we know, house rules are necessary but if you love to write dissertations, stop. Short and to the point…you will have their attention for a minute or two, but no more. We have seen directions to get into a home that was so wordy WE didn’t read it either. Learn to be concise, even the examples below are not concise enough to hammer home that very point. If you can’t seem to find the best words, send someone else what you have and tell them you need it to be as short as possible….use Fiverr, it is your friend. We have found that writing a nice heading with a link to more info is a great system. People will read a heading. Below are some examples.

Home sleeps booked guests only

We do not allow parties and as such cannot authorize more people to stay in our home than what has been authorized and is booked. We do allow short visits from local area friends/relatives provided that does not turn into a party of ANY kind. We do monitor this type of activity and certainly would appreciate a heads up.

Guest lockbox is gray (by walkway )

As you walk toward the front entry you will see a plumbing fixture to your left, on that plumbing fixture you will see two lockboxes. One of them is black, that is not yours. The gray one will have your keys in it and will need to be returned to that box as you are leaving.

Do NOt ask them to:

ACCOMMODATE you

This means DO NOT ASK your str guest to, deep clean anything, restock anything, purchase anything that should have been there when they arrived, leave early so you have more time to clean, or check in late because your home isn’t ready. These will all get you fewer and fewer stars on that review.

close up photo of person s palm

Hang out with you

Whether they are staying in your space for vacation, work, or to escape the in-laws, don’t bug them. This is akin to heckling a comedian. It just won’t benefit you. If you must communicate with them at all, mid-stay, keep it short and professional.

Leave a tip

This is simply off-limits. Some guests will do this, but your cleaner is likely going to benefit if it is cash and that is okay because your cleaner keeps you in 5-star reviews anyway.

SUMMARY

Not everyone is going to do everything you ask or everything they should. But it sure would be nice if you did not have to call the police because an str guest is throwing a rager at YOUR home. A couple of ways to prevent that include watching who goes in and out on that door cam you should already have, having a MINUT noise monitor installed that will contact security FOR YOU, and sticking to your guns regarding the total adults your space will sleep and disallowing gratuitous parties, sleepovers, and large unauthorized gatherings.

The great guests are going to do the things mentioned in our first list above without any prompting and those are the guests you WANT to keep coming back. House rules are necessary but may well never get read, whether your guest checked the box saying they did or not.

I hope you found some of this stuff useful, if you think we missed something, let us know and we can revisit the list or update it in the future. Thanks for stopping in!!

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