Are Your Guests Down in the Dumps?

Your vacation rental guests will create lots of garbage and they don’t want any hassle disposing of it. After all, the vacation rental industry goes to great lengths to persuade potential vacationers that this is better than a hotel or resort, but have you ever been to one of those and had to take your garbage home with you? Very unlikely. Nor would you expect to arrive at a resort or hotel to find bags of rubbish left behind by previous guests and be asked to put them out on garbage day. Yet, I still hear from guests that the owners of their rental homes have failed to make it clear how their domestic waste should be handled.

These are a few things to remember:

•Incoming guests should never inherit the garbage left behind by a departing guest. They shouldn’t be asked or expected to put this out for collection so think of another solution before you get that call on arrival day to complain about stinky bags in the garage or shed.

•Guests will generate more garbage per person than an owner. This is because guests purchase their needs only for the period of their stay – they don’t have the luxury of storing goods at the property between stays. They may need to purchase stock items and condiments that are normally only occasional purchases.

•Vacations are a time when people relax their diets a little, so there is more packaging material around what we might call “junk” food.

•Often, the property will be full to capacity in terms of number of people. If the vacation home can accommodate 10 people but the owners habitually only have 5 or 6 people in residence, they may not have in place the proper receptacles or roadside bins to handle guests garbage.

•Recycling rules vary greatly from place to place. It is vital to leave separation instructions that are readily apparent and easy to follow – otherwise, guests will simply assume that the procedures are the same as in their own town…which may result in their blue box being refused entirely by sanitation workers, who often adopt a zero-tolerance policy.

New York comedian Demetri Martin sums it up with this quote: “My plumbing is all screwed up. Because it turns out I do not own a garbage disposal” From our perspective this equates to guests making assumptions based on their own experience. As owners we need to take responsibility to inform and educate, and make it easy for our guests to deal with this part of their vacation.