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5 Common Guest Complaints and How to Prevent Them

1. “The Property Isn’t Clean”

Cleanliness is by far the most common complaint. Sometimes even a sparkling clean rental gets complaints, but for the most part this can be prevented by having an amazing caretaker/housekeeper with an eye for detail. Ideally, housekeepers should have a comprehensive checklist that they verify after each guest stays. Here’s an example of a detailed checklist that will guarantee a spotless property.

Linens are also an important part of preventing cleanliness complaints. Studies have shown that guests are more likely to judge a property clean if the linens are a bright, crisp white, which clearly lets them see that there are no stains or dirt. White towels and bedding also make it easier and faster for caretakers to wash, being that they can combine all linens in a load together with bleach without worrying about discoloration.

2. “We Can’t Get into the Property”

Another very common complaint is travel-weary guests not being able to get into the property. This is caused by several things, including missing keys, the access code not working, or a faulty lockbox. Here at Rental Advisor, we encourage all owners to convert their old lock and key systems to an electronic lock. Gone are the days of hiding keys under the doormat only to be stolen, misplaced, or lost. It’s essential to send the key code to guests in an email or text before arrival, so that getting in won’t be in for a headache. Also, make sure that your caretaker has the updated code before each guest arrival. Here's a list of other instructions that are helpful for guests to receive before arriving.

3. “Something Isn’t Working”

Nothing is more disappointing for a guest than finding out that the heating isn’t working, the remote control batteries are dead, the WIFI is spotty, or that the shower won’t drain. These things aren’t always possible to prevent, but the key to reducing the chances is having regular preventative maintenance. Appliances should routinely be tested by the caretaker and items such as batteries should be left in an obvious spot (like a kitchen drawer). If something does go wrong, an apology and small gift can go a long way.

4. “There Weren’t Enough Supplies”

If you’ve ever stayed in a vacation rental with too few blankets, a lack of soap, or not enough dishware, you know how frustrating it can feel to be short on supplies. Guests expect their vacation property to be a home away from home, and If a rental isn’t fully stocked, it can easily lead to negative reviews. You can prevent guest frustration by always providing these items for your guests.

5. "It Doesn't Look Like It Did in the Photos

Guests will definitely be disappointed to arrive and find out that the hot tub featured in the photos has been removed or that the large sectional has been replaced with a futon. When furniture is changed or amenities removed, guests will notice and often see it as a “not as advertised” situation. If you do make changes, make sure that they are upgrades and are updated in the listings with new photos.

How to Handle Complaints

Remember, if you get a complaint, it's not the end of the world! Don't stress. Try to do the right thing and learn from each complaint.

  • If they couldn’t get a hold of someone about a property issue, sincerely apologize and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  • If there’s an extensive maintenance issue that prevents guests from enjoying their stay, refund their money and help them find another place to stay.

  • Reimburse the cleaning fee if your property wasn’t cleaned well before they checked in, and make sure the property gets thoroughly cleaned ASAP.

After all, happy guests = property success!

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