Learning Lessons

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Generic's picture
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People sometimes teach us how to treat others. And it drives me crazy. Had two nice guests at the same time, one from either side of the pond... the one from the other side of the pond was here and was ecstatic and left a 5* review. The one from this side of the pond left a 4* review. Yet, I had to translate for them my conversation with the guest from the other side of the pond, had to prepare a breakfast to deal with their dietary concerns, had to work and clean around them, had to step in a few times to help them, etc.

The lesson they taught me... no good deed goes unpunished. All that extra attention and I got 4/5. I'm tempted to reply to the review and simply point out that were are sorry they were disappointed with all our extra efforts we did for their stay. This 4* stings... and stings a lot!

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Morticia's picture
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Solo guest this weekend, about 75-80 years old. Used to come here with spouse, spouse now deceased. Does this loop once/year, going to the places they enjoyed together. What I learned - life goes on, you survive, you can thrive, people will be there for you if you let them.

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Anon Inn's picture
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heart

JimBoone's picture
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Okay, I'm odd, I think reviews are helpful, even negative ones as they educate me about how others see us. I think most folks actually read reviews and what folks have to say may bring more business than the number of stars or eyes, sure I wish they were all 5's, but folks base their reviews on different standards.

If a guest rates us on a scale between the worst and best place he/she ever stayed, I might not expect to be a 5 if they have stayed as some classy places during life. If a guest rates us on a scale based on price in our area I may rate a higher number as we try hard to be excellent and reasonable. I'm disappointed if I get a low score, sure it hurts and puts me in a down mood, but I also need to let that review educate me from the prospective of the guest and if possible solve the problem for future guests.

Yeah, you can't win them all, recent guest was unhappy that the cost was higher than last time, demanded a specific room that was an upgrade from the price quoted, then reviews the room as having an odor, but never said anything to us, uh well, you did demand that specific room. Still we used it as a learning experience to investigate if there was a reason for an odor other than any food brought in by the last guest.

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Innkeep's picture
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Here in the Midwest desert, reviews are few and far between.  My only 4* review on TA comes from a guy who was staying in a COMPED room.  Knocked me from #1 to #2 (of 2) B&B's in my town I was very philosophical though.  He is a world traveller who has been to more places than I can even imagine.  He rated me, a rank amateur, against all the other places he's been.  So I turned it around and think I'm standing pretty good next to lots of other places.

I know that's not the same thing as Generic who lives and dies by the review...

Arks's picture
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Innkeep wrote:

My only 4* review on TA comes from a guy who was staying in a COMPED room.

The old grouch! Says the rooms are very clean and well equipped, then gives the rooms 4 of 5. Says the beds are comfortable then gives sleep quality a 4 also. What does it cost him to give you a 5? Nothing! Makes me mad!

I have two 4's. One was because the city hadn't yet fixed the street light out front. I'm not as good as you and Kevin Bacon are at turning it around and feeling OK about it!

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All that being said - do you ever respond or reply to a review that is lesser than expected when a guest leaves a one that stings - esp. when you do go over the top, and they are so friendly and "happy" to your face the whole time they are here? I mean is it worth a response? I don't want to start a pissing match online...just want to be able to have a say...if it's even worth it...?

We recently had a 4* review from a guest with comments on how uncomfortable the room was and we were taken aback. Really?!? Did you have to give a 4* when you thought the room was a little stuffy on a 90+ degree day and the AC was cranking (plus you had a ceiling fan and a register fan - AND we asked how your room was...) and didn't think it had anything to do with the fact that you both are extremely overweight... (not being mean, just stating the facts...)

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Personally, unless it rips your place apart, if you don't reply to every review it's not worth replying to this one because all you do is draw attention to it.

Let's be honest, 4-5 reviews later it'll be on page 2 and no-one will ever read it again.

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Good point - I haven't responded to any (who has time!?) so I probably should just let this one fall to the bottom and not draw attention to it!

gillumhouse's picture
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Here is the problem - you did what you did expecting a good review. You just have to do because it is the right thing to do AND it IS what you do. No expectations. When you do things just because, it comes back in so many ways. People do things for you, leave fantastic reviews when you do not think you did anything unusual, leave a great tip, give you gifts just because. Do not take iot to heart. Some people just do not leave 5*, no matter what. Others leave 5* just because they want to help keep that rating up. Smile at the next guest and be yourself.

Generic's picture
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Honestly, never did it for the review. But when I saw the name on the review, I was really deflated. Much more than even a 3 star review from an idiot. Because I knew all the extra things that I did for them. You are right, I never had an expectation. But once written, it deflated me because it seemed to be so fixated on one thing, rather than all the things way over the top that we did. 

notAgrandma's picture
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We all sympathize with your experience. If every guest that I went out of my way for gave me a 5* review, I'd be #1 in my city on all of the review sites. I mean really, really went out of my way - numerous rides to the airport that's 30 min away, doing the occasional load of laundry, took a guest's camera to a repair shop once, drove guests who didn't rent a car to an UNESCO world heritage site 30 min away, even helped a military guest relocating overseas wash & drop off her car at the transport location an hour away! No 5* reviews from any of these folks. But I've received a 3* review bc I said one snippy sentence to a guest.

As you know, reviews are often more of a reflection on the reviewer as they are on you. Kindhearted, polite, generous people leave thoughtful reviews that recognize and appreciate your hard work. Jerks with chips on their shoulders nitpick and criticize petty items whilst overlooking their experience as a whole.

I know you'll draft an appropriate response to their review. I'd be tempted to say, "I'm certain you meant to give us 5* based on us doing a,b,c,d,e,f,g... for you" Laughing out loud 

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Generic's picture
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I haven't really decided if I want to reply, other than to say that I'm sorry they were disappointed with their stay... as a way of telling them that their review fell below what I was expecting from them.

Silverspoon's picture
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That is probably not the way to go.  Instead, turn their review into an opportunity to highlight all the wonderful extra things you did for them and comment that you are pleased they enjoyed their stay and appreciated all that you did.  The casual reader will only glean the positive things you say.  The jerk that left the 4* review will most certainly get the intent behind the words as a slap on the hand for their less than 5* review.

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Morticia's picture
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Silverspoon wrote:

That is probably not the way to go.  Instead, turn their review into an opportunity to highlight all the wonderful extra things you did for them and comment that you are pleased they enjoyed their stay and appreciated all that you did.  The casual reader will only glean the positive things you say.  The jerk that left the 4* review will most certainly get the intent behind the words as a slap on the hand for their less than 5* review.

Good idea! Sarcasm rarely comes across the way you want it to. It would sound petty to comment on the 4 stars with sarcasm.

Arks's picture
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Morticia wrote:

Good idea! Sarcasm rarely comes across the way you want it to. It would sound petty to comment on the 4 stars with sarcasm.

I agree. I recommend an approach more like, please let us know how we can earn that 5th star next time you visit us! Or, we hope to earn that 5th star next time you visit us!

Generic said the review "seemed to be so fixated on one thing." So it sounds like he knows what silly little thing cost them that 5th star.

Morticia's picture
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Arks wrote:

Generic said the review "seemed to be so fixated on one thing." So it sounds like he knows what silly little thing cost them that 5th star.

'Silly' being the operative word. Something that probably could not have been fixed because the guest was in the wrong place for what they wanted.

Generic's picture
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Exactly. And this weekend I have at least 2 vegans. Gotta get that soft tofu... great stuff to work with.

Lee2014's picture
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Generic wrote:

The lesson they taught me... no good deed goes unpunished. 

   That is not true.  It may look like it, but you got a reward of knowing you did the right thing with no regrets.  

   PS They liked the exhibit you told them about.  The only other lodging place they reviewed got a three eyes.

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Generic's picture
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I have lots of regrets. I could have just enjoyed the other guest without having to translate everything and be an intermediary. Smiling

Lee2014's picture
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   I'm sorry but don't let them destroy the rest of your week.  The came, they stayed, and they left....Yah!  Besides 4 eyes is alright, not the best but okay.

Anon Inn's picture
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Sorry about that sting.  May your August be sting-free.  heart

Morticia's picture
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Then there's the one 2 weeks ago who whined the whole 7 days she was here vs this week where the guest who was here for 8 days loved everything.

Neither is going to leave a review. But one left us a gift and a tip for the housekeeper. The other just left a bad taste in our mouths.

Morticia's picture
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Reply in whichever language they don't speak.

We were going out today to check out a new store. Guests were all set at 10am, until one got an emergency phone call from work. Then it was - we need this, we need that, no vacuuming, this is a million dollar deal.

They were very nice, but very clueless how things like printers and computers work when you're not home.

Housekeeper is twiddling thumbs waiting until they cleared out. Then, room already cleaned needs more service.

I did not get my after breakfast downtime. I'm just sitting down now. And, I didn't get to go out to the new store. 

So, why let the guests 'get away' with all this neediness? The person who needed the help is working on a project that, altho it has less to do with my heritage and religion, is necessary if we're to show future generations what is required to shine a light on evil in the world.

Arks's picture
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Makes you want to ask them, what can we do to earn that 5th star next time you visit? It's probably some little something you don't even realize.

Generic's picture
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Apparently another one that wants meat with every meal. I just don't do meat at breakfast very often. I get so many objections and it's really very few who actually want it. Between the religious and the vegetarians and vegans.

Anon Inn's picture
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Bacon, sausage or ham.  No meat in quiche or omelettes.   If its stand alone meat I can always leave it off for those who don't want it.  Carleton the Cat loves bacon.  I do ask in advance about dietary restrictions and preferences.  Yes preferences.  Happy to accommodate if there is advance notice.  Sometimes they just don't think until they see it on the plate.  

Generic's picture
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Enormous objections to anything pork related. Vegetarians, Vegans, Muslims, Jews, Seventh Day Adventists, etc. Heck, most of Hindu guests tell me vegetarian, since they don't want beef. I get a lot of the above. And most of the Europeans that I get don't eat meat at breakfast either. Romance language country guests often prefer sweet breakfast, I sometimes even get faces when it comes to egg dishes, though most try, since they are in another country. Bought a big box of sausages in the freezer... they moved so slowly that they actually went off... in the freezer. (We have a very varied population here with a lot of immigrants.)

It's likely less than 5% that want meat and as I said, they concentrate in one country. And they seem to like to complain about it. Everyone else is happy that I don't serve it. We even had one case this year when no one was any of the above... except it turned out that someone was flexitarian and didn't want meat at breakfast.

I serve a very different breakfast than most places and I'm known for it. And most people come here specifically because I don't serve a standard breakfast.

Worst case, of course, had they asked, I could have served them some cheese. And there are so many items with protein that were served... but they just don't realize that they are full of protein and sitting in front of them. We have peanut butter available... we served yogourt, chia pudding, granola, cheese, sour cream, even eggs... all high in protein... but they don't realize that. To them... protein is only meat.

Morticia's picture
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Generic wrote:

 To them... protein is only meat.

We get those people, too. Or, they only want eggs, because nothing else has protein.

Generic's picture
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Yup. And here is a list of protein rich foods for breakfast that don't include meat or eggs... yogourt, chia, oatmeal, cheese, milk, broccoli, quinoa, whey, soy and/or tofu, lentils, pumpkin seeds, Brussels sprouts, peanuts and/or peanut butter, spinach, avocado, etc. Of course, most of these people don't even know why or how much protein they need.

Maybe I should just put a vanilla protein shake on the table and see the complaints flow in.

gillumhouse's picture
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I served bread pudding or baked oatmeal -do not remember which) to my Vets one Vetersns Day and one woman said, "No ptotien? I need protien." (I did not serve meat that day. So I scrambled some eggs. And there was vanilla Greek yogurt on the side for whichever that entree was.)

Generic's picture
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Oatmeal too contains protein. So do the eggs in bread pudding. I would have sliced her some cheese... it's my go to "protein". Though, I'm starting to think maybe I should start having some soft tofu around and teach the next one what protein really is Smiling 

Soft tofu... the protein that you can hide anywhere, even in pancakes.

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