Wednesday 30 September 2015


When the agency we use to promote our holiday cottage inspected our property at the start of business they gave a rating which depended on the facilities provided, the quality of accommodation and its location. They gave what I thought was a fair assessment. We scored highly on the accommodation and facilities but the overall mark was pulled down by traffic noise on the road outside the front door. The rental price advertised in their brochure and website reflects that assessment. It is lower priced than similar properties located in a quieter location. The photographs and the description accurately describe the location of our holiday home and its proximity to the road.

Despite all of that pre-consideration we had complaints via the agency from a couple who stayed recently. They didn't like the noise from the road. There is an adage that "The Customer Is Always Right." Well I'm afraid I think they should have taken the trouble to Read The Flipping Manual before booking. If they wanted a quiet place they should have booked elsewhere and paid the higher price.

The couple in question were so worried about busy roads they started their journey to/from their countryside home in the West of England at 4 a.m. in the morning. They travelled that early to avoid the heavier motorway traffic. They'd also wanted us to hand over the cottage earlier than the usual check-in time of 3 p.m. because they'd arrive in the area about 10 a.m.

If they were so concerned about the road traffic noise, they should have complained on arrival. In that case I'd have offered a refund, subject to agency cancellation fees, and I would have helped without delay to load their bags/dog back into their car where they'd parked on the yellow line.

Sunday 6 September 2015

Cycle Tour of Britain 2015

One of the joys of living in an area of great beauty and hills is the cyclists on the local roads. The lycra clad enthusiasts are a common sight on the roads around here, particularly in the summer. This week, on Friday, the Cycle Tour of Britain 2015 visits the Amber Valley and Wirksworth. In fact our usual route, and the alternate route, to the holiday cottage from our home in Belper follows the route of the Cycle Tour. 
For obvious reasons the roads will be closed to normal road traffic when the tour group passes through.  Unfortunately for us the access to the cottage will be closed in Wirksworth just when we normally clean the holiday cottage prior to handover to the next guest. We'll manage somehow.

Wednesday 2 September 2015


We've just had some feedback about the holiday cottage from a couple who stayed during July 2015. Bear in mind we get almost exclusively good comments from guests and have the documents to prove it. We don't charge premium rates. This couple were set up for a moan. From their comments you'd think they hadn't bothered to read the agents' cottage brochure or to even check the details on a web site. The descriptions in the brochure/website are entirely accurate. The things these people moaned about are clearly described/displayed in the documentation which they should have read before booking.

They moaned about the lounge window having frosting. The public street is just outside the window, the frosting is there to protect privacy and valuables. Not one single other guest has questioned this arrangement.

They said the garden was bare. We keep it that way, except several planters because we allow guests to bring their pets. Once again this is clearly shown in the advertising.  The rooms were "stuffy". Well I'm afraid that is the consequence of good insulation practice and it is oh so easy to open a window.

They said they were pleased to be home. Having read their review I hope they stay there and never again  trouble any other holiday home owners. Just there are review sites where guests can review their holiday accommodation I wish there was a site where holiday home owners can review the behaviour of their guests and be able to take a considered view on prospective customers. Maybe give their guests a Star Rating from one to five stars.Perhaps habitual moaners could be filtered out in future.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

It fell apart in me 'ands

We arrived at the holiday home this morning at 10:15 am to clean the place ready for the next rentals. We found the place still occupied by the most recent guests. The check-out time is 10 am as stated on the booking form and the Guest's Handbook. They needed to stay until mid-day as there was no earlier train.  We agreed to come back in the afternoon. Fortunately there's no new guests arriving today.

When we visited the cottage in the afternoon it was vacated, clean and tidy. We did however find a note warning us the control knob on the almost new cooker had fallen off when they were using it. They also warned the towel rail was broken in the bathroom. Unwelcome news, but at least they owned up to the damage during the stay, so we have a chance to fix it. The joys of renting a holiday home out to strangers. I've no doubt the damage was not intentional and we certainly won't charge them for the repairs.

Oh well I'm back off the the cottage, this evening, with my tool bag in hand. As I said earlier a good job we didn't have new guests arriving today.

Edit: It is all fixed now. Closer inspection shows the tradesman we employed to originally affix the towel rail used the wrong type of plug to hold the screws. He'd used the ones designed for for cavity walls, but in a solid wall. The resultant hole in the wall did not give enough strength. There's now some deeper holes drilled in the wall plus some adhesive filler to consolidate the crumbly plaster at the surface. The cooker knob was fixed with a few drops of Loctite thread lock solution.