It’s perfectly understandable that people want to try and save money during the current crisis, but there are times when it is really foolhardy to cut back on a vital service which can lead to unpleasant consequences if it is not carried out, as one owner had found out to their cost.
At HomeCareontheWeb.com we have a few rules that, after many years of property management experience, we know work in the best interests of our owners, their guests and the holidaymakers that rent our holiday homes. The rules are simple.
Like a hotel, guests can check in at 4pm and are required to check out by 10am. This is to enable cleaning to be undertaken in the event that one guest is vacating as another is arriving on the same day. Cleaning will virtually always be done on the day of a guest’s arrival to ensure that the guest arrives to a freshly cleaned property complete with newly laundered linen on the beds. Sometimes we may allow the guest to have the keys early to ‘drop off their suitcases’, explaining that the cleaning may not have yet been done.
When there is a delay of several days or even weeks between one guest leaving and another arriving, we always recommend a ‘departure’ clean immediately the property is vacated, followed by an ‘arrival’ clean for the new guest arriving where the property is ‘freshened up’ and terraces and windows cleaned thoroughly. Sometimes when a guest’s departure and another guest’s arrival occur within five days of each other, then a single intensive ‘changeover’ clean is carried out.
Owners never have to worry about remembering these events themselves, as all cleaning is automatically scheduled into our housekeeping system as a direct result of the owner having made an entry in their online personal calendar, or a booking having been made by a holiday guest through our HolidayRentalontheWeb.com holiday rentals website.
Whilst all such cleaning is vital to the health and well-being of the incoming guest, the ‘departure’ clean is perhaps the most important of all as it hygienically puts the property to rights – bins emptied, fridge disinfected, toilets cleaned – not to forget stripping of dirty sheets from beds and ensuring the linen and soiled towels are sent immediately to the laundry.
So you can imagine our horror when an owner wants to ‘save money’ and cancels their scheduled ‘departure’ clean when their latest guests leave. Despite our requests to the contrary on this occasion the owner was adamant that they did not want to pay for a departure clean – and this was in the height of our Spanish summer when temperatures often reach over 30º C!
About a week later the owner had one of their own paying guests arriving, and because the owner had made this entry on their calendar our system automatically scheduled an ‘arrival’ clean on the day of the arrival.
Unfortunately the owner’s guest arrived at our offices in the morning and asked for the keys. We explained that properties are not available until 4pm due to cleaning having to take place, however this guest said the owner had not told him this, and was extremely insistent about being given the keys. On this occasion we relented saying that as our check-in time was 4pm we could not guarantee the clean had been done, but perhaps he would like to deposit his suitcases and come back later. He said this was fine and that he understood.
You can imagine that after a week of leftover food festering in the fridge, crumbs over the kitchen work surfaces, grubby floors, piles of dirty bed linen and towels strewn about, and a swarm of ants having the run of the place, it was not a particularly pleasant sight for the owner’s guest to witness when he arrived at the property.
As it happened, however, this guest thought it fit to return immediately to the office and complain to us about the state of the place, claiming it was uninhabitable, filthy and smelly, and that he was appalled by our services! We explained that the owner had cancelled their departure clean a week ago, and suggested that he left it until 4pm to return to the property once the cleaning had taken place.
Our cleaning team went in as scheduled and reports were that they did a sterling job; the place was spotless again. However this guest had obviously already decided he did not want to stay there, as he returned with the keys just after 4pm without even visiting the property again. Once more he blamed us for the appalling state that he had seen the property in, and said he intended to get a full refund from the owner.
As we said before, it’s understandable that people want to save money. However it’s always prudent to think about the consequences of not performing a vital service, as it can badly backfire on you and you could end up losing more money than you save. Quite apart from the unpleasant circumstances that your management company has to suffer at the hands of your irate guest! Visit our website for more information on our property management in Spain