Guest Emergencies: Expectations vs. Reality

On this week’s episode of Vacation Rental Property Management Experiences we are going to talk about guest emergencies. As I have said before, my partner and I own a Vacation Rental Property Management business in the Poconos. We are a full service property management company and our motto is “we do all the work so you don’t have to.” This includes 24-hour service and after hours emergency service if needed. I am going to guess that “emergencies” is subjective and translated on an individual basis as you will come to understand when you read further.

For those of you who have never been to the Poconos, it is a largely wooded area with mountains and houses scattered about. There are a lot of private communities where the houses are a bit closer together but nonetheless it is considered to be rural. There are farms that are scattered about as well. With a woodsy, rural landscape come wild animals and most importantly bugs. For you city folk, these are definitely not the bugs that you may be used to seeing. For example, mosquitoes here are literally like Pterodactyls. They are huge, they dive bomb you, they gravitate towards light and if you leave the door open, they will make there way inside and feast away (ugh!).

We had a guest in one of our homes last summer , who proved to be quite interesting. Aside from calling me, after hours, to ask for laundry products (we do not provide them) so that she could do her laundry in the house, she called me at 12:05 AM one night, in a panic. This was the conversation:

“OMG, OMG, there are bugs everywhere!! The whole house is filled with them!! They are flying at us! We can’t sleep in the house!!” Now we check our cameras from time to time to make sure that all is well (don’t panic, they are outside and the guests are made fully aware that the house is under video surveillance ), so we could see that they had propped the screen door open and left it like that for the better part of the day and that they had taken the screen out of the upstairs bathroom window and the kids were hanging out of it.

I didn’t want to minimize her panic, so I calmly asked her to provide a picture. She did. There were no seeums (pesky little bugs, prone to areas near water, especially in high humidity) and mosquitoes but the house was not overrun as she claimed. I told her to get the fly swatter and to kill them. I politely explained that she needed to keep the doors and windows closed, especially at night, when bugs are drawn to any light in the home. Needless to say she was highly insulted that I suggested that she use the fly swatter and kill the bugs. She was berating me, the house and anything that she could. She continued to assert that they were all over the house and that no one would be able to sleep there.

Knowing how fickle guests can be, especially with regards to reviews (see my blog from last week), I dragged my half sleepy butt out of my comfy bed and drove over to the house. When I arrived there, around 12:45 AM, everyone was up in the house, lights on, waiting in the dining room for me to get there. They were all huddled together like they were taking shelter from a storm. The guest who called me proceeded to take me to a bedroom where the bugs were. There were 4…4 bugs on the ceiling…..4! She was still panicked and at this time also crying and this is what she said: “You have no business renting this house when there are bugs in the area!! It never said anything about bugs in the listing! You purposely kept that out! You need to update your listing to include the bugs that are in the area so people know and can decide if they want to rent the house!!! I hope you are going to provide us some credit on the rental because of this!!!” (insert eye roll, jaw drop here). I was tired, aggravated and stupefied by what she was saying. I killed all 4 bugs and without saying a word, turned and walked out of the house.

So what constitutes an after hours emergency? I think that it is safer to identify what is not an emergency:

-Killing bugs

-brining you laundry supplies (it looked like she had brought all of her laundry from home and was doing it while she was in the house on vacation!)

– turning the jets on in the tub/hot tub. There are buttons for that, just turn them on.

-bringing you anything from McDonalds because you are drunk and cannot drive

-Doing a beer/liquor run for you because you are drunk and cannot drive

-getting you ice because you are drunk and cannot drive

-bringing over a propane refill for the grill because you are drunk, high and “just want to barbecue a snack man.”

-coming over to change the source on the TV so you can use the firestick

-calling in your cousin’s numerous “girlfriends” throughout the night

-Need coffee or an iron and ironing board because you “didn’t read the list of items provided”

-Need linens because you “didn’t read the list of items provided”

-Need to know where the closest dispensary is because you ran out weed

I am sure that there will be plenty more to add to this list but this is what we have experienced so far….again, insert eye roll!

Until next week, happy hosting and happy renting!