Firstly let us be clear, this short blog is about common sense. About what is fair and what is reasonable, in a world that can sometimes appear illogical.
It is neither a threat, nor a warning. It is an example of what we do and why we care about our properties. It is a footnote on the importance of backing your team and backing yourself.
Between July and October 2020, we experienced a particularly acute and concentrated peak holiday season in the self catering sector. There was significant demand for our properties and the southwest region had a very successful if protracted season.
The overwhelming majority of guests understand the requirements for staying in self catering accommodation during the covid 19 pandemic. This includes later check ins, earlier check outs and generally keeping on top of the property whilst on holiday; all of which help reduce the transmission risk posed to housekeeping staff and ensure that staff can prepare the property safely for subsequent guests.
However as a company, we were tested on an occasion by one particular set of guests, who in no uncertain terms, were completely disrespectful. Disrespectful to one of our properties, but unforgivably disrespectful to our staff.
The outgoing guests for this particular property had made no effort whatsoever to care for the property. The party were quite willing to leave their flossing sticks on the bedside table, dirty nappies in the corridor, damage the fixtures and fittings and neglect all requests to leave the place as safe and reasonable as they found it.
In this scenario many owners and housekeeping staff will empathise; that moment when you enter the property and are simply heartbroken at the condition in which you find it.
At this point, full merit must be given to our housekeeping staff who executed their role to the letter. A full checkout inspection and photographic evidence was recorded and the matter escalated immediately to management. This is why we back our staff.
You would be forgiven for thinking this a matter of fact, open and shut case, and that the security deposit held by the company, would be justifiably retained and used to cover the huge expense now required to repair and prepare the property for incoming guests.
Incredibly, we were ultimately taken to a small claim hearing with a District Judge, when the guests felt that we had unreasonably withheld their security deposit.
Now to be human is to doubt yourself, but being taken on an unnecessary journey through the thorny English legal system is guaranteed to cause the most steadfast of us to question our decision making at some point. We felt that we had acted swiftly, responsibly and reasonably, out of respect for our staff and on behalf of the property owner.
The judge was in agreement and that we had, in fact, acted reasonably. A rare victory for common sense. The importance of backing yourself.
These are the joys of working in the hospitality sector. We love what we do, we care about our properties. We will always do everything in our power to ensure that our holiday stays are prepared on time and to standard.
More importantly perhaps, we aim to source and provide fantastic unique holiday stays, but we can only do this and act professionally on behalf of our property owners, by enforcing reasonableness and common sense!