Sunday 23 February 2020

Goldilocks and the three bears.

Last year, a few of the people staying in the holiday cottage complained that the bed mattress was too soft/thin. Most people didn't complain in the previous three years, though we did have one guest who complained the bed was too short, i.e. he was taller than most. We are happy to provide different beds, provided the guests are prepared to pay for the rental, storage of the normal bed, installation of special furniture for the week and subsequent reinstatement. When people book they are given our phone number, so I'm sure we can consider requests in advance. 

Folk should remember we are not the Ritz Hotel. We are half the price of the local Premier Inn and provide twice the space. Unlike many other places we also allow guests to bring their pet to stay free of charge. This increases our cleaning and maintenance costs, but  avoids the owner having to pay £10 to £15 in daily kennel fees.

In the cottage handbook, we invite people to let us know straight away if there are any facilities not working, broken or not to their liking so we can, if possible, address the issue. We even provide a free phone facility for such contacts.

Phone extension in cottage; free to contact owners

Anyway, back to the bed mattress. We saw a £600 memory foam double bed mattress for a respected and award wining supplier in a sale and decided this was the chance to tackle the "too soft/thin" mattress issue. We purchased it and had it delivered to our house, because there were people in the cottage the time. We allowed the mattress to "inflate" from it's compressed state for several days in a spare bedroom. I even tried it out overnight and found it to be firm but very comfortable. We shipped it over to the cottage, between bookings, and set it up on the bedroom. This was back in September 2019, since then during several bookings there were no complaints until now, the end of February. Today we heard from the Agency that the guests had not been happy. It appears to have been Goldilocks staying. The bed mattress was too hard, the sofa was not comfortable, the road was too noisy, they didn't like the Victorian brick paved back yard. In a contrasting event, a few days ago we were in receipt of a "perfect" rating from the previous guests.

Details of the road, outside the cottage, are made obvious at the time of booking. We are conveniently close to the centre of town on a bus route. A brief look at the map will identify the road as the main one through town The backyard is a shared backyard in a terrace of Victorian Quarry workers cottages, we cannot control what the neighbours do in their parts of the backyard.

I drove over to the cottage to collect the linen/bedding for laundry after their departure. On arrival, I couldn't get in through the front door, they'd moved a door mat from its usual position and it became tightly wedged behind the inner door. They'd left a bin bag of rubbish in the yard, rather than put it in the waste bin. That would be strong temptation for the local foxes, to tear open the bags and scatter the content. The guest had managed to burn a tea towel, no mention of this! When I checked the fridge, which we do after every stay, I found one of the plastic door shelves had become broken during their stay, with a bodged repair attempted using adhesive tape. It will cost us £18.82 to provide a replacement, but more importantly, why didn't they tell us there'd been a problem with the fridge door shelf?

Fridge door shelf - broken, with dodgy guest repair

It seems that owners of rental holiday homes should have a reverse tripadvisor website where we can rate guests, especially the keyboard warriors who don't tell us of issues during the rental. Given their comments have not been challenged on the agent's web site after discussion with us, it is clear that some action is needed. Perhaps we should remove the property from the holiday rental business, use AirBnB or go for long term rental. It would certainly take less of our personal time and add to the local housing stock in Wirksworth.

Edit: 26/2/20 
The replacement door component for the fridge arrived today, thankfully before the next guest is due. It is a good job I keep all documentation relating to the cottage and was able to to locate a spare part long after the original model had ceased to be retailed. When a white-goods item breaks in the cottage we don't normally have the luxury of waiting for repairs if guests are due, often we just have to buy an immediate replacement and dispose of the broken item.

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