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Guest won’t leave What to do when a guest refuses to leave your short term rental on time transcript
Hey everyone. John from Vacation Rentals with John here. Today’s going to be a really brief episode, but I just had this situation happen, so I said, Hey, let me make a podcast episode. Maybe somebody can benefit from this, but it’s when a guest doesn’t leave in time. So your cleaner shows up, and they knock on the door. It’s way past checkout time, like your checkout’s 10, it’s 1120 and a guest is still there, not even looking ready to leave yet. So what do you do? Because this is going to happen to you eventually. People don’t always leave on time, even if you remind them in your checkout instructions. And we’ve talked briefly about this topic in a previous episode, but it doesn’t hurt to recap on some of the best practices. So you don’t offend your guests, you don’t get a bad review because you didn’t handle it right.
There’s really a couple of tricks that you can use to make this work in your favor and to minimize the amount of times guests actually check out late. So let’s get into it. So if your guests didn’t check out late, your cleaners probably frantic saying, I need to clean. I need to go somewhere else because I have a lot of jobs today. And you’re worried, Hey, how am I going to get these people out because I need my unit to get clean. Someone’s coming. What do I do? So the first thing you should do is contact your guests both ways, by the phone, by a phone call, physically pick up the phone, give ’em a call and say, Hey, I know it’s checkout time. Do you need a couple more minutes? Because if you need to pack and you need 30 more minutes, it’s completely okay.
But I do have someone coming in very soon and I need the unit to be clean and turnover for guests. Is that going to be okay with you? That’s the first phone call you should make. And if they don’t pick up, leave them a voicemail saying the same thing. Shoot them a text message and send the same message through the Airbnb or VRBO platform. Whatever platform you’re on, you want this documented in writing. You don’t want to lose your cool. You don’t want to say, Hey, I’m going to charge ’em fees. I’m going to hit them a late fee, a penalty. I’m just going to get really mad. You don’t want to do that because they still need to leave you a review. You’re still a host and sometimes people don’t follow rules to a T. This is a real world and not every time people are going to actually follow every single rule.
So you want to keep a level head, keep that voice and tone nice and sweet so you’re delivering your best hospitality phase and ask them kindly to check out so that you’re cleaning. People can go in and do their business, but if you do this nicely, they usually will say something like this. Oh, we woke up kind of late. Last night was really long. I’m so sorry. We’ll be out of there in a couple of minutes. Have your cleaner wait outside not to leave, because that’ll just create more delays if they leave. The guests will take longer to leave. You don’t want the cleaner right at the door, but they could wait in the car right by the side of the road so that the guests can physically see them there knowing that they’re trying to get in to clean but not rushing them. So they could take 30 minutes to an hour to pack up and leave. You don’t want to start the cleaning while they’re in there because you’ll really turn off the guests. Their stuff is around your cleaners trying to get in there with a vacuum, it feels very rushed, like you’re pushy and you don’t want that to happen. So it’s best to have your cleaner weight outside by the road, even if it’s the same day turn. You want to give them their space. You don’t want them in the same area. It’s just it’s not
Good. Keep the cleaner outside by the side of the road in the car, not right in front of the door, and let the guests have 30 minutes to an hour to actually gather their luggage and check out. After the guest is out of the house, a cleaner can go in and then start doing their business. Now, if the guest wants to stay till one or two and your guest is coming at four, you need to be a little bit more direct saying, I do have a guest coming at four o’clock today. I can’t grant a late checkout. They need to begin to start to clean soon. So do you think you can gather items and at least start moving out of the home in the next 30 minutes because they will have to start cleaning in the next 30 minutes. That usually will get an okay from them saying, okay, maybe they take an hour to get out, but at least your cleaners can get in 30 minutes and you’ve asked for permission for them to enter.
I do not recommend what many property managers do. I spoke to a property manager recently asking me about, Hey, should I just call the cops right now? I should just call the police and trespass them. They will never come back to stay with you. If you do that, that’s just you’re jumping the gun way too much. I know they were supposed to be out, but being at the point that you’re going to call the police to get them out, that’s kind of crazy and it is overstepping. But I’ve heard this from several different hosts that that’s what they do. And you can’t expect to actually get a good review from that or make a repeat guest or a friend. It’s never going to happen if you actually do something like that. And also the tone you take when you’re asking someone to leave, it really matters.
It’s super important. And you want to always deliver that kind of four Seasons hospitality, just like you’re working at a hotel. You want to do it with Grace because it will help you create a loyal guest. You don’t want to do this the wrong way. And I’ve seen it done the wrong way a lot because people aren’t very good with people. I mean, people, they get mad when rules are broken, but this is a business, and you can ask in much nicer ways, penalties, should you charge ’em a late fee? Well, you could put as a deterrent in your arrival instructions and in your listing info. Late checkouts will be subject to $150 fee, but actually charging that fee is kind of hard. Even if it’s in writing, you’re not going to get a repeat guess or a loyal guess when you try to charge ’em $150 or request for the Airbnb.
It’s just you can do it. You could push for it, but it’s a lot of work to do it and they just won’t be happy about it. So if you’re going to include some literature like this, you can do it as a deterrent, but I wouldn’t actually charge it. If your cleaners want to get paid extra because they have to wait an hour, they’re still going to finish by four, and if it didn’t actually delay the cleaning and they just have to clean faster, I don’t think you should have to pay more money for that. No, but remember, you want to secure two things. Even in this scenario. You want a great review from the guest that’s leaving and you want to create a loyal guest and hopefully have them come back. So with that being in mind, you definitely want to handle this situation with those two objectives, right? You don’t want to scare them off, you don’t want to offend, you don’t want to rush them out. It will get clean. They may take 30 minutes to an hour to leave, but
You don’t have to get all aggressive because if you get aggressive, it will show in your tone of voice and your messages and it just won’t help you achieve those two objectives. Before you even think about calling the local police force. Call Airbnb, contact them. They will message the guest that the reservation is over and that they need to check out. Involve Airbnb. They will help you. You can communicate with them, and Airbnb can communicate with them. If they just don’t want to leave, you can’t forcibly go in there and push them out. Don’t do that. You will have to, if you have a guest checking in at four, contact the guest checking in and explain the situation to them and offer them some form of compensation, whether that’s a half a night stay or reduced cleaning fee. And just explain human to human what’s going on, that there’s going to be a slight delay because the guests that left that morning checked out late and that you’re going to make it up to them.
But don’t try to make this like they get out, push them out. Don’t do that. You definitely just want to be a great communicator. Communicate with the people who need to check out now and then communicate with the people who are checking in same day, letting them know there will be delay and communicate with Airbnb so that they can help you remove the guests that are supposed to be out from your property. If you’re finding this content helpful and you want me to create more of it, please just leave a rating or review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. It helps me grow this podcast. And if you want to listen to more episodes and want to stay updated, please subscribe. If you haven’t joined the Facebook group, the link to the Facebook group, we’ll be in the show notes. I created it so we could network, we can make friends, and we could share things that can help everyone level up their vacation rental game. So hope to see you there. And until next time, friends, stay booked.
Vacation Rentals With John is one of the fastest growing short term rental podcasts. The show has been growing in popularity because of its no BS, to the point lessons on how to grow and operate a vacation rental. Join the facebook group. To listen to any of the past episodes, check out this page.