Despite being called as “guests”, travellers tend to treat hotels as their private domain where the rules are their own rules. But the sharing economy has changed all that with the advent of online accommodation platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway and FlipKey, which has diversified the types of accommodations that people can stay away from home.
It is quite common for guests to leave a review or feedback of the hotel they stayed at. Whether good or bad, the feedback will influence the booking decisions of people who are looking for your next holiday accommodation.
Travellers booking, for example, Airbnb apartments or short-term rentals or Couchsurfing spare rooms, will be considered as actual guests in someone’s home – which could mean staying with their host on some occasions. Property listings will include user reviews to help you make educated decisions. But you also have to remember that hosts can also review their guests, they also have the power to determine whether you have been a good or a bad guest.
Here are some rules to follow to help you be a good guest.
Read, not just browse through the listings
Being a good guest is not only about your behaviour but also about your expectations. Before you click on “book” make sure the property is the right one for you or the group you are travelling with. You can be misled by merely skimming the listing. For example, what does “can accommodate four guests” mean? Does it mean two bedrooms for two people each, or does it mean one bedroom for two people and two people sleeping on air mattresses in the living area?
Many alternative accommodations may not also offer the same features and amenities that we expect in hotels, such as wi-fi, towels, toiletries or complimentary breakfast. Any misunderstanding or unrealistic expectations about the space or amenities may not be a good way to start things off with your host.
If something is not clear to you, contact your host for clarification. You can also use this opportunity to establish rapport with your host even before your arrive at the property.
Having said that, don’t ask questions that are already available in the listing. Hosts welcome questions about local restaurants, activities and tourist attractions. Don’t message hosts to ask “is the property free for occupancy, or is it near a bus or train station. These details are already included in the property’s listings and there is a calendar to check for availability.
For example, if you are staying for just 24 hours in Brisbane, you can ask your host for recommendations so you don’t waste your time in an activity that you will regret later as a waste of time.
Be Truthful about your information
Be honest with your host about the exact number of people who are coming, whether you will be accompanied by pets, and other important information. You expect only true information about the accommodation, so your host also deserves to know what to expect from you.
Don’t ask to pay in cash
This request could be awkward for the host and start your relationship on the wrong foot. Airbnb-type accommodations have a “no cash” policy to protect both hosts and guests. Plus, it is much safer to pay electronically.
Let your host know the time you are arriving
Unlike hotels where there is front desk with a receptionist at all times, your host will not be around all day waiting to let you in. Be considerate by telling your host your arrival time. Similarly, keep your host appraised if you are running late.
If you know that you are arriving at a very late, ask your host if they are available to let you in. If not, consider booking a hotel room for your first night. You can transfer to your holiday rental the following day at a time when it is most considerate for your host.</li
Follow house rules
You will see a list of house rules upon arriving at has your holiday rental. Read the rules that the host laid out for guests and follow them. Usually, the house rules packet contains helpful local information such as good dining places, tourist destinations and activities.
Leave things the way they are
Hosts usually hire a cleaning service, but there are some that do the heavy cleaning themselves. Guests are not expected to leave the space in pristine condition, as there is a cleaning fee included in the price. Be considerate by making sure you leave items such as the TV remote and coffeemaker in their original place.
You are also saving yourself a dispute with the host over the condition of the property after your departure.In addition, it is bad form – very bad form – to steal items from the property. Stealing towels, bathrobes, hair dryers, etc. are illegal in hotels. The same rules apply in holiday rentals.
Don’t leave a huge mess
Most holiday rental rates include a cleaning fee. But just because you paid a cleaning fee doesn’t mean you don’t need to clean up after yourself. It is fine to leave beds unmade, but don’t make a mess of the kitchen if you decide to cook your own meals.
Show your appreciation with a note
Show your host how thankful you are for their hospitality by leaving a handwritten note, or even a small gift. It is a lovely thing to do and could even land you a good review.
If you intend on using online booking platforms like Airbnb or Air-rive, which offers short-term holiday accommodations, the feedback you receive will be important as you build your profile on these sites. Being a consistently good and considerate guest will allow you to easily seal the deal in any of the property of your choosing.