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5 Types of Short Term Vacation Letting Problem Guests

  • 2017-07-11

Not too long ago, we shared some tips on how short term vacation letting owners can deal with problem guests. This article offered some insight into how to deal with potential issues that may arise. But how do you spot potentially difficult guests in the first place?

 5 Types of Short Term Vacation Letting Problem Guests

Like any business in the broader hospitality sector, vacation rental can be a minefield when it comes to guest relations. While the majority of your guests will more than likely be lovely to deal with throughout their stay, you can expect to encounter a number of difficult guests at some point along the way. From late arrivals to those who never want to leave, those with huge expectations that are impossible to meet, those who are rude and aggressive, and even the guests who are doing their best to get as many freebies as possible, we have rounded up some of the most common types of problem short term vacation letting guests that you may encounter at some stage.

Spotting a Difficult Short Term Vacation Letting Guest

Before we continue, it is important to note that even the most dreadful of guests should always be treated with full respect – no matter how hard it may be for you and your team. One of the many, many reasons to work with a dedicated short term rental manager is that it gives you the benefit of highly trained bookings staff as well as managers and guest concierge. You will therefore never have to handle an awkward situation. Instead, your rental manager will handle everything on your behalf.

With that said, what sort of problem guests are most likely to be encountered by you or your short term vacation letting management team? Let’s take a look…

  1. The Late Arrival. This is by far one of the most common situations. Essentially, this type of guest is not always difficult to deal with, exactly. It can however be frustrating when a guest is due to arrive at a certain time, only to arrive hours later. There are a few ways to get around this, most of them not too tricky. Have a look at our great mini guide on dealing with late arrivals that offers plenty of tips on how to handle this type of guest.
  2. The Late Departure. Guests who fail to check out on time are slightly more challenging. If you have made it very clear what time guests are expected to leave, it can be daunting to know what to do when they are still in their rooms long after the time. You could consider a late checkout fee, or you could state in your house rules and rental agreement that any guests who have not checked out by a certain time will be charged for another day. This rule will need to be clearly communicated long before your guests arrive.
  3. The Impossible Expectations. As much as you do your utmost to ensure that your guests have the best possible stay, there will be some guests that are impossible to please. These are the guests that typically complain about things far beyond your control. An amusing internet meme from a travel agent once famously shared complaints such as sand on beaches, foreign food in a foreign country and other such real life complaints. Ultimately, the best way to deal with this type of guest is to do your best, and try to handle complaints as politely as possible… no matter how preposterous they may seem.
  4. The Aggressive Bully. Even bullies love a good vacation. This type of guest should be approached with caution. While it is never a good idea to allow bullies to treat your employees poorly, they can turn even more aggressive, or take their perceived grievances to social media if approached the wrong way. Stay professional and calm at all times, so that your communication remains polite. It’s also a good idea to include a policy on racism, abuse and other bad behaviour in your house rules so that you have grounds to ask a dangerously aggressive guest to leave.
  5. The Freebie Seeker. Everyone loves a great deal. Be wary of guests who start asking about discounts right from the start. however. A number of freebie seekers are simply trying to get a better rate. Others may go to extreme lengths to avoid paying. There have even been cases of guests claiming to have been sick during their stay at hotels and resorts, only to magically recover when caught out. In the UK, this has become such a trend that Britain is considering a ban on inclusive holidays due to the high rise of holiday fraud. To handle this guest, be extremely clear in your communication on rates, refunds and discounts.


With the right short term rental manager, most of these guests will be handled professionally and respectfully. To learn more about working with a vacation rental manager, simply contact the Totalstay team today. We will assist with any questions you may have on short term vacation letting management, and help you get started.