Over the past 3 years, I’ve hosted thousands of guests from hundreds of cities around the world in the homes I manage. I’ve had an overwhelmingly positive experience, but a few very bad experiences. Nothing colossal, just very unpleasant. People lie, they bring more guests than they booked, they throw parties, they treat your home as a disposable commodity and then refuse to take responsibility for their actions. It can be quite anger-inducing and very disheartening, especially if you are someone who seeks to see the beauty and good in all people.
I’ve learned to look out for the red flags that may indicate someone will be a bad guest, I’ve learned what policies to outline in order to communicate my expectations for guests, and unfortunately along the way, I’ve let my heart become a little less trusting in the process. Some of this is called wisdom, some of it is cynicism, but regardless, I have developed a motto that I seek to operate by: “Treat every guest as a new guest.”
The quality of your hospitality and your spirit as a human being depend heavily on giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. I know, I know, you’ve been asked 300 times if someone can check-in early because they have an early flight. Why can’t people read the rules!? However, you must again put yourself in the guest’s shoes. I am not advocating that you ignore a guest’s previous reviews, by the way. Be wise, but is this the same guest who soiled your valued rug? Is this the same guest that threw the raging party a few weekends ago? Is this the same guest that had a laundry list of complaints at a property that doesn’t normally draw complaints? In all likelihood, it is not the same guest. Remember that. Respond again with the same generous patience. Be grateful you have another guest. Remind yourself this is someone’s vacation, which they probably spent many hours working to take! Be kind, be merciful, and tell yourself it’s a new day! Hospitality requires renewed kindness each day for the long haul.