There - I said it! And, although they may not admit it, there isn't a bed and breakfast owner out there that would disagree with me!
A while ago there was a on-line forum discussion on pet peeves of b and b owners, and it was interesting to see how similar everyone's gripes were about their guests. Most complaints fell into one of two categories: cleaning up after guests and dealing with inconsiderate guests.
Under the disgustingly dirty category, common examples were:bed and breakfast owner
Hair - hair in the sinks, drains, tubs and showers; on the floors, in the bedding and everywhere else imagineable!
Garbage - believe it or not, not everyone will bother putting their garbage in a waste basket - dirty tissues and leftover food and drink are a prime example! Some guests will put recycling and regular garbage in the same container; panty liners and other sanitary products are just pitched in; I have even found needles and broken glass.
Toilets/bidets - clogged, not flushed, or used inappropriately (not all cultures are use to the fixtures seen in most North American/European bathrooms)
Bad smells - such as very dirty sports clothes, cigarette smoke (on clothes or from people who disregard no smoking signs, or smoke directly outside of the room right by the open window/door); heavy perfumes such as patchouli or musk and personal care products that use aerosol sprays. (These smells permeate the soft furnishings of a room and if not dealt with immediately can be very difficult to remove.)
Dirty shoes & luggage - very few people take their shoes off; most luggage is dragged along the ground and then placed on the bed, sofa or dresser tops - even when there are luggage racks available
Spills & wet towels - left on bedding, rugs, furniture, towels and tablecloths
Make-up and hair dyes - on pillowcases, facecloths, towels, and sheets
Under the incredibly inconsiderate area, common complaints are:
People who call late in the night to make a reservation or want a room
People who spend (what seems like) hours on the phone asking for details and then don't book, rather than reading your web site
People who argue with you about your price, or expect a discount because they are a senior, belong to AAA, they are on a fixed income, etc
Guests who ask for a special check-in time and then don't show up or call until much later...or show up even earlier!
Guests who arrive early and if you won't let them check in, still expect to be able to use a bathroom
People who want breakfast at a special time and then decide to sleep in
Guests who insist they need special foods (whether they have booked in advance or walked in off the street) and then decide they want what everyone else is having
Guests who bring other people into the bed and breakfast - i.e. booked a room for two and want four people to share the room
Guests who wake you up in the middle of the night because they want a cup of tea, need a bandaid or forgot to ask you for something earlier in the day
Guests who want to pay cash so they can avoid the taxes at check-out
People who go back to bed/out for a walk and are late checking out
So - are bed and breakfast guests really that bad?
It depends on your attitude, and how tired you are at the time; and how prepared you are to deal with the situation.
As for the cleaning issues, if you've had kids, here's a good analogy: think about when your child was a baby and had a REALLY messy diaper. It was pretty bad to clean up, but hey, that's what you did as a parent. Now - think about a time when you had to change someone else's kid with a diaper like that. You more than likely handled your own kid's diaper with a lot less trepidation, gagging and disugst than you did when it was someone else's kid!
When you apply that analogy to cleaning up after a bed and breakfast guest, it gives you a better understanding of why it can get so disgusting - especially when you do it day in and day out (90% of my guests stay 2 nights or less).
As for people being so self-centred, consider the fact that many people don't understand, or confuse the concept of a bed and breakfast being your home with that of a hotel with a 24-hour reception desk. In addition, they have no concept of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make their stay so enjoyable, so how can you expect them to know how their actions are going to impact on you?
So, what scares you the most about owning a bed and breakfast? I would love to know what keeps you up at night worried about making the move to owning a bed and breakfast? Leave a comment or contact me directly to see if I can help you get over that fear!