To make or not to make

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Every once in a while we have this debate. A guest told us that her bed was not made at check out and wanted us to know. The bed was covered up and looked "made" and had pj's so it was not fully made by the inn. 

Now we have DH and my debate going, and I have said if they make it look made and have personal belongings there I don't make it, and he said at every hotel he has ever been to they make the bed no matter what.

What say you?

 

*(Disclaimer - there is another room here that is very silimar to the "Amish" in appearance, and have their own pillows, and make the bed just like the other room did, with shams on top, but I don't touch it, to respect their privacy. Sure it is a diff situation, but as housekeeping would they know the difference?)

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We will freshen up if they leave by noon. On my to-do list is a sign for the door that says "Freshening not needed". That way, if they can leave and hang the sign on the door if they don't want us in there. It also indicates to them that we are not at their beck and call.

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Does anyone have signs for the guests to use for 'no housekeeping', or 'do not disturb'?  Or is that more of a hotel/motel sorta deal?

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Olga wrote:

Does anyone have signs for the guests to use for 'no housekeeping', or 'do not disturb'?  Or is that more of a hotel/motel sorta deal?

I think some people use those signs and if you make them fun I'd be ok with them. The plain old B&W 'Do Not Disturb' signs are not really for B&B's.

Caveat- some folks have found the guests will hang out in their rooms until 4PM and then flip the sign over and expect the room to be cleaned. I would have no idea someone was gone from their room and needed it picked up!

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 M ake a very personal one. On one side, "don't disturb" on the other side "I'm out from 12PM to 3PM, so tidy my room, please." That way, they can't put it out without having read that they missed the cut off time!

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Madeleine wrote:

Olga wrote:

Does anyone have signs for the guests to use for 'no housekeeping', or 'do not disturb'?  Or is that more of a hotel/motel sorta deal?

I think some people use those signs and if you make them fun I'd be ok with them. The plain old B&W 'Do Not Disturb' signs are not really for B&B's.

Caveat- some folks have found the guests will hang out in their rooms until 4PM and then flip the sign over and expect the room to be cleaned. I would have no idea someone was gone from their room and needed it picked up!

I wonder if they are made aware that housekeeping is only available between certain times?  I know in some hotels, the housekeepers are gone by 5pm ... earlier if all their work is done sooner.

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I had those signs at our B&B.  Our in-room books stated that daily housekeeping was done between certain times of the day.  Our guests got the idea that I was the housekeeper most of the time, so they seemed to get this concept of one person being spread so thin and made their rooms available during that window. 

However, we also did an evening turn down service.  So, if they had the privacy sign up earlier in the day and it was down in the evening, I could go in and empty trash, remove wet towels, and straighten the bed and do the turn down service.  They did not get the whole nine yards involved in the morning daily housekeeping though. 

We did have twice yearly health department inspections and daily housekeeping was an expectation of them for our permit.

I felt that this was the way to go with our housekeeping approach with the price point of our B&B and the service provided by the other B&Bs in our town. As innkeepers, everyone has to decide what works for them in terms of guest expectations, personal approach, and the inspections done by their locality. 

As a guest, I have expectations for cleanliness and a list of pet peeves, much like Maddy! 

 

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Even tho we do not have the do not disturb signs we do have a notice with 'important info' that lets the guest know we clean between 9 AM- 1 PM. So, if you're lollygagging around until 2 PM, no one is going to touch the room at tht point. I'm dead by 1 PM!

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Madeleine wrote:

Even tho we do not have the do not disturb signs we do have a notice with 'important info' that lets the guest know we clean between 9 AM- 1 PM. So, if you're lollygagging around until 2 PM, no one is going to touch the room at tht point. I'm dead by 1 PM!

Do people read the guest books that thoroughly?  Or just read the information they are looking for?  I myself sometimes just leaf through them.  We went away for 2 weeks this year, and I don't even think I looked at it (I think my other half looked at it though).

Would a housekeeping schedule on the back door or on one of those little stand up notices on a desk work?  Or would that just be adding clutter?

 

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Olga wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

Even tho we do not have the do not disturb signs we do have a notice with 'important info' that lets the guest know we clean between 9 AM- 1 PM. So, if you're lollygagging around until 2 PM, no one is going to touch the room at tht point. I'm dead by 1 PM!

Do people read the guest books that thoroughly?  Or just read the information they are looking for?  I myself sometimes just leaf through them.  We went away for 2 weeks this year, and I don't even think I looked at it (I think my other half looked at it though).

Would a housekeeping schedule on the back door or on one of those little stand up notices on a desk work?  Or would that just be adding clutter?

 

OK, here's the deal...some people read every scrap of paper in the room, some tell me there was absolutely NO information in the room about anything they needed.

SO. On the back of the door, just like a hotel, I have the check out time. Still get guests who are standing at the door, studiously avoiding seeing the sign with the check-out time, while I'm knocking on it at 11:30 tell me they had no idea check-out was at 11.

Ditto any other info.

I have those little plastic 5x7 picture frames like you would stand on a table in which I have a sheet with all the really important stuff- breakfast, WiFi, check-out, how to find us. I put this on the dresser on top of the guest book. Nothing doing. Had guests say they couldn't log onto the WiFi, they didn't have the pw.

I put both the book and the picture frame ON the bed. They have to move it, touch it, look at it to use the bed. Same problem. 'Oh, I didn't see it.'

So, you can do anything and everything but 95% of the guests are on vacation in more ways than one and they do not read. I just do it for those 5% who do read. Which reminds me that I have to update the room books this month.

Hey, I do it myself. I sat down in a hotel in Vegas and tried to log onto the WiFi there. No can do. I go looking for something that tells me how to do this and can't find it. FInally I look for a phone number to call and there it is...directions for how to get on the internet. Not WiFi.

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Its the first page on my guest information and it says on their welcome letter that the info is in your guest information and still am asked "do you have Wi-fi?"

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Maddie, maybe at check in you can just ask to see their cell phones and then put a sticky note on it saying "please read the in-room guest book first"

Hey worth a shot.  Because you know they never leave the cell phone, even when the rest of their brain is on vacation.

 

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Weaver wrote:

Maddie, maybe at check in you can just ask to see their cell phones and then put a sticky note on it saying "please read the in-room guest book first"

Hey worth a shot.  Because you know they never leave the cell phone, even when the rest of their brain is on vacation.

 

QR codes. Everyone loves to see what kind of prize they get by scanning the codes, right?

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Madeleine wrote:

Weaver wrote:

Maddie, maybe at check in you can just ask to see their cell phones and then put a sticky note on it saying "please read the in-room guest book first"

Hey worth a shot.  Because you know they never leave the cell phone, even when the rest of their brain is on vacation.

 

QR codes. Everyone loves to see what kind of prize they get by scanning the codes, right?

There you go, and the winner is....... how to connect to the Wi-Fi.  Duh if they could only read.

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 As far as our guests are concerned, we do not go in their room at all.  Total privacy.  Don't want that liability and relieves us of having to take the time to fluff their room.  I wouldn't want someone coming in my room while I went into town for the day.  I'd be wondering if they went through my stuff.  I'm just weird like that 

Now, we will sneak in to put the cleaned spare set of sheets back in the closet just so they are not laying around the laundry room...  But we just installed locks on all the bedroom doors, so the guests aren't expecting anyone to be able to get in.  We do offer a changed bed if they are staying more than 3 nights at which time we'll tell them that we're going in... 

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Do guests know there is no daily housekeeping? It is so strange that JB got dinged for not REMAKING a made bed and you don't make beds at all and seem none the worse for it!

We do clean the guest rooms everyday. Pretty thoroughly at that.

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I'm amused by this, because it's never been something that's been addressed.  We don't tell them that there's no room service... we don't say anything about room service at all.  I've never had anyone ask about room service or comment about lack thereof.  The only thing we discussed when we took over was when to change sheets.  We didn't want to have to change sheets after just one night and the previous owners said they only did so if they stay more than 3 nights.  (come to find out after the fact that they often didn't change sheets between guests either EEWWW - probably why there's not alot of repeat business from before our reign).

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Ok - I hear you all loud & clear.  I just had a discussion with the other Innkeeper and we completely agree with y'all.  If I was staying somewhere and came back after a long day to find my trash was still overflowing and my towels were still on the floor, I would not be pelased.  I appreciate the help to improve our establishment & the level of service that we offer.  We are going to start housekeeping immediately.  

I was not a big traveler and had never stayed in a B&B before starting to run this one.  So, I have a limited frame of reference from a guest's point of view.  I try to put myself in their shoes when considering things, but this had honestly not crossed our minds because we were adamant about not entering a guest's room... again I am grateful to this forum for showing me the way 

Thanks again!!  

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I don't fluff the room every day but I do let guests know what to expect. In our in-room info, under the heading Linens, Towels and Room Servicing, it says along the line of "Our aim is to be attentive to your needs without being intrusive" and explains that towels are replaced every other day or as requested, sheets are changed after three nights or as requested, trash is emptied etc... and to let us know if they would like their room serviced with more or less frequency. Basically, a two-night stay doesn't get the room serviced unless requested. 

On days when I will be in their room, I try to remind them after breakfast with a quick "I'll freshen your towels/room while you're out today". Some say don't bother but I do it more so they remember to put away things they don't want me to see. I'm big on privacy when I travel and so I try to give the same to guests.

Do what works for your situation and your market. Just be sure to let the guests know what to expect and give them the opportunity to have it their way if possible.

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Thing is though you don't have to do tons ie you could just do a quick straighten of the bed, top up tea tray (if you do an in room set) and empty all the bins (trash Can)- this wouldn't take long and it also has the added benefit of if they have left wet towels on the bed, trash can is over flowing, they have broken something, they have thrown up on something, stained something that you can get to it and fix/pre treat/ prevent stain from setting before it becomes a problem. Even if people say don't bother I go in anyway because I want to be sure there isn't one of these nasty surprises waiting for me.

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When my guests come down for breakfast I ask them if they need maid service. I then explain that while they are here we look at their room as being their home and we would not enter their home without permission. We are just asking if they want us to "do" the room because we are aware many people do NOT want anyone in their room.

A big reason we can do this is because we have never experienced the PITA behavior of wet towels etc with our guests (have never found problems after checkout). I do not know it is is because they are just nice and also neat or if me telling them we only enter on request tipped them that if there are wet towels on the bed they will be sleeping on wet sheets so they do not put wet towels anywhere except in the bathroom.

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K9 wrote:

Ok - I hear you all loud & clear.  I just had a discussion with the other Innkeeper and we completely agree with y'all.  If I was staying somewhere and came back after a long day to find my trash was still overflowing and my towels were still on the floor, I would not be pelased.  I appreciate the help to improve our establishment & the level of service that we offer.  We are going to start housekeeping immediately.  

I was not a big traveler and had never stayed in a B&B before starting to run this one.  So, I have a limited frame of reference from a guest's point of view.  I try to put myself in their shoes when considering things, but this had honestly not crossed our minds because we were adamant about not entering a guest's room... again I am grateful to this forum for showing me the way 

Thanks again!!  

K9 I didn't want to ask you that, but I suspected it to be the case. I really think you need to go and visit some B&B's...you will glean so much, listening to us here is out of context MANY TIMES. You need to see it in action.  Ask the powers that be to allow you to go some some of the innkeeping conferences, or training sessions.

The thing is, none of us know it all, I know it sounds like we do, legends in our own minds and all that, but this is a changing business...we gotta roll with the punches. Some standards are held throughout, housekeeping in one of them. In fact when there are inspection by either 1) state associations, or 2) Local they will ask about daily housekeeping, that is what it is called. 

Now if you want to do the spin, like BD mentioned, a) GREEN, reuse your towels, etc, or b) PRIVACY, then do that. But you need to let the guests in on it, either way.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

K9 wrote:

Ok - I hear you all loud & clear.  I just had a discussion with the other Innkeeper and we completely agree with y'all.  If I was staying somewhere and came back after a long day to find my trash was still overflowing and my towels were still on the floor, I would not be pelased.  I appreciate the help to improve our establishment & the level of service that we offer.  We are going to start housekeeping immediately.  

I was not a big traveler and had never stayed in a B&B before starting to run this one.  So, I have a limited frame of reference from a guest's point of view.  I try to put myself in their shoes when considering things, but this had honestly not crossed our minds because we were adamant about not entering a guest's room... again I am grateful to this forum for showing me the way 

Thanks again!!  

K9 I didn't want to ask you that, but I suspected it to be the case. I really think you need to go and visit some B&B's...you will glean so much, listening to us here is out of context MANY TIMES. You need to see it in action.  Ask the powers that be to allow you to go some some of the innkeeping conferences, or training sessions.

The thing is, none of us know it all, I know it sounds like we do, legends in our own minds and all that, but this is a changing business...we gotta roll with the punches. Some standards are held throughout, housekeeping in one of them. In fact when there are inspection by either 1) state associations, or 2) Local they will ask about daily housekeeping, that is what it is called. 

Now if you want to do the spin, like BD mentioned, a) GREEN, reuse your towels, etc, or b) PRIVACY, then do that. But you need to let the guests in on it, either way.

Joey's right.  

DW and I have gone to B&Bs whenever we have traveled and have done so for the past 30+ years.   If nothing else,  you'll take away a sense of what NOT to do, because many of them get it wrong.  

This forum is valuable in that we get to swap war stories and trade tips on how we do things.  Everyone has a different perspective and it helps to see a problem issue from other standpoints.   However,  experience is the best teacher. 

Concerning housekeeping,  cleanliness is paramount to most guests.   We don't give our guests an option for housekeeping unless they never leave their room their entire visit.   Even then,  I tell them at breakfast I'll be down shortly to collect trash and provide fresh towels.   You need to be able to verify that your room is still in one piece.

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Proud Texan wrote:

DW and I have gone to B&Bs whenever we have traveled and have done so for the past 30+ years.   If nothing else,  you'll take away a sense of what NOT to do, because many of them get it wrong.  

I think we've all been somewhere that totally missed the mark for whatever reason. So, yes, good to go out and see what's out there so you know first hand what makes you comfortable and what makes you think, 'Not this place, not ever again.'

I always find something new to do when I get home after we've stayed at a B&B. Sometimes the experience is good and I want to repeat it here for my guests. Other times it's awful and I want to be sure what I'm doing here is not what made me upset when I was the guest.

My traveling peeves (yes, I pack them in the suitcase for the trip!) are things like noticing that the vacuumer has never moved a piece of furniture to get behind it, dead bugs on the window ledges, fingerprint smears on windows and mirrors, basic cleaning in other words. I've got a whole list of other peeves that are pretty typical I would think- no heat/hot water/air, lousy shower, squeaky bed, noise transmission from other rooms, inn pets all over the place, cold/burnt/continental breakfast. (The continental only if I wasn't informed first that's what it would be.)

I've made some fairly big allowances when the innkeepers are really sweet and trying hard.

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I'm with the others on this K9. If you don't inform them, then they will expect it and will be disappointed when it doesn't happen. If you don't want to offer this service, then spin it in a way that's positive (privacy, treat it like your home, etc). Believe me, it WILL show up on a TA review at some point if you don't.

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K9, speaking as a guest, I would expect housekeeping daily unless I knew that there was none up front when I booked the room.  I would be unlikely to return or recommend a place that I found that did not provide daily housekeeping, especially if the rates were the same/higher than local hotels. 

As an innkeeper, I felt that our inn was no different than any lodging establishment when it came to daily housekeeping service.  However, I didn't disturb guest's personal belongings.  There were a very few times that all I did was change out wet towels and empty trash because the guest has their things strewn about.  That was the exception.

 

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K9 wrote:

I'm amused by this, because it's never been something that's been addressed.  We don't tell them that there's no room service... we don't say anything about room service at all.  I've never had anyone ask about room service or comment about lack thereof.  The only thing we discussed when we took over was when to change sheets.  We didn't want to have to change sheets after just one night and the previous owners said they only did so if they stay more than 3 nights.  (come to find out after the fact that they often didn't change sheets between guests either EEWWW - probably why there's not alot of repeat business from before our reign).

aye?

It's not room SERVICE, it's housekeeping. Unless stated it is ALWAYS expected in a lodging establishment. Big or small. This country or that country.

Absence of proof is not proof of absence.

I read your other post and thought you must have a nicely framed sign in their room saying "We want this to be your home away from home, and just like home you expect privacy dot dot dot and that's why we won't go into your room during your stay" if you don't then they think you are being slack. I believe you have the wrong idea, entirely K9.

And on the other note, YOU DO go in, when needed, and in fact if you saw something really wrong YOU WOULD CORRECT IT. Like a candle burning and melted wax all over a dresser...right?"

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 We still check the room even if a guest tells us they don't need us to do that. If we couldn't make up the bed for whatever reason, we want to check for problems like wet towels on the furniture or take out the trash so it doesn't get smelly, etc.

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We use to tidy up every room every day! We no longer do that! We have signs that people hang on their doors if they would like this service. Most Honeymooners skip on room tidies. If I went into a room where there is computers and clothes all over the bed, I do not touch it. sure as I do, some pita would say I broke their computer or stole something. Joey ask your DH if he would clear sex toys off a bed to make it for them! This has happened before! Nope not gonna do it!!! People sometimes really like their privacy and I'm ok with not making up their room. This will save a lot of time by only tidying rooms that requests it!

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Sex toys stay exactly where they are! (But it's hard to look the guest in the face after that!)

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Bob bob bob...If I mention anything in the rooms and he walks away, he won't hear it. I mention someone barfed, or missed the toilet or worse...he says don't tell me about it. You see unlike myself, where I get to/must interact with the guests ANYWAY, he won't.

Sometimes he doesn't even believe it, so your story...he wouldn't listen, he would say to me "Dont tell me!"

That is why I AM the INNside INNkeeper and he is the OUTside Innkeeper. 

This is why his opinion on this doesn't matter, I told him "I am also the head of housekeeping in this joint"  LOL

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Well that's not right! Lol! Next time he comes in from working in the yard and has something to say about it, tell him you don't want to hear about it! Lol.

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How do you handle the situation where you have been told to not touch the room but in walking outside you see they have all the room windows open and the A/C running?

I would love to skip room cleans on stay overs but this weekend was pretty typical- every light on in the rooms (multiple), water running in the sinks (multiple) and the A/C on in one room with the windows open. One room had a wet shopping bag on the bed. The colors from the bag bled onto the sheets. Had I waited 2 days to get to that, I doubt it would have come out. Another room had broken the blinds. We ended up NOT seeing that in time and had to move a guest to another room. We still haven't been able to replace that.

Still, I would love to not have to try to hire someone to clean if I could trust the guests to just do the right thing!

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even if they say don't bother I have the chamber maid go in and check just as a precaution - 9 times out of 10 its fine but the 10th is some kind of problem that needs dealing with.

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 The next question was for DH and myself. If I stayed at an inn and they had staff that didn't make the bed 'properly' or at all when I had it semi-made would I say something? No I wouldn't. I got fresh towels, new toilet roll even tho there was a spare, trash emptied, blinds opened and new chocolates...

          Case in point. Hotel near the beach. In my own room with two doubles. I took the two flat spare pillows from the next bed to use on my bed with my flat hard pillows, three pillows made a normal pillow. I made up the bed how I liked it before leaving, with the bedspread from CSI folded over the end and the blanket etc with sheet over it how I like it. Pj's near there.

Maid takes the two spare pillows and stuffs them back into the other bed that was not being used - yes I slept on them already, and makes it. Then makes my bed. Made me mad! Meanwhile there are still dead flies in the window sill...go figure.

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I havn't done it yet but im going to put into my welcome letter that says if you leave your stuff on the bed then you don't get it made then I have a position that I can say "well it does say in your letter that if you leave items on the bed you don't get it made"

I always say to my chamber maid not to do it as if something say went missing then it could lead to a problem.

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
I havn't done it yet but im going to put into my welcome letter that says if you leave your stuff on the bed then you don't get it made then I have a position that I can say "well it does say in your letter that if you leave items on the bed you don't get it made" I always say to my chamber maid not to do it as if something say went missing then it could lead to a problem.

DH mentioned this, and I said, What more for them NOT to read?

It is not a big deal, she may have just been telling me in case they (me) get paid for a job not done. I explained it to her. Will she go and write a review now? Who the heck knows. She was nice enough, I thought...Two other rooms did NOT want their rooms freshened. Period. So to each his own...

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I dont expect them to read it - just that I can say well it says on your welcome letter if you leave possessions on the bed we will not make it as we don't want to internfear with your stuff = thats why we havn't done it.

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Which is why we try to make it without moving things. Guests are sometimes surprised to find that the bed is straightened for them and everything is exactly where it was.

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Which is why we try to make it without moving things. Guests are sometimes surprised to find that the bed is straightened for them and everything is exactly where it was.

When I made up beds, I did the same thing.  Made it without moving things off the bed, or if I had to move them, I would replace them exactly as they had it (except on a made up bed). 

If a guest grabbed pillows from another un-used bed, I would make up their bed with the extra pillows included.  If they had jammies on top of bed, or under their pillow, I would fold up nicely and place them where they had it.  No-body ever complained. 

I would do as much as I could (in a reasonable time frame) so when they came in, they would be pleasantly surprised.

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We straighten the bed unless they specifically tell us not to. If there are electronics that would hamper making it, we don't. But if we can straighten the bed with the electronics in place and not touch them, we make it.

Since we had a guest who complained once that we didn't make the bed with their electronics in place we are more cautious. I would leave a note saying something like "Unfortunately we are not allowed to move electronic items on the bed for insurance purposes, so we could not straighten your bed. Please leave the bed clear if you want us to straighten it in the future."

That way, it's their choice.

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DH and I grumble about this to each other all the time. Since he's the bed maker (I know, I'm lucky!), I try to leave it up to him, but he won't touch the bed if it looks like they've even 'tried' to make it. If I see it, I ask him to straighten it out. If there are pjs on the bed, he would make it. Computer on the bed? Nope.

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 We never touched anything. Straightened up the room..whatever, if I could fluff the pillow, or straighten the comforter without touching their stuff I did that. We are not hotels. I would just say, we don't make up the beds if your personal items are on it.  That's it.

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Since I ask my guests if they want "maid service" I do not have a clue. I did work briefly in housekeeping at a motel in the area and their rule was - you do not touch guest belongings.

I think I would have - without moving the PJs, pulled up the sheet & blanket and fluffed the pillows, making the bed but not moving the PJs. And not putting the bedspread or duvet on.

Madeleine's picture
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Joined:
09/29/2011

I hate this answer...it depends.

If it's pulled up nicely and not just 'thrown together' then I leave it alone. I did not used to do this but I'm older now. If it's thrown together, then I will make the bed. If there is crap everywhere, no.

PJ's? I make the bed and put them back where I found them. An entire suitcase full of clothes? Nope, you're on your own.

One piece of electronics? I'll move it. Radio Shack on the bed? Nope, you're on your own.

IF a guest mentioned that something wasn't done the way they had expected I would tell them why...'It looked like you had already made the bed up the way you wanted it. We respect your privacy.'

(Tell YDH that this ain't no stinkin' hotel.)

Your guest was making the assumption that your housekeeper was slacking off and that you should know about it. Yeesh, JB, quit eating those bon bons in the afternoon!

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