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A landlady’s life: Really settling in

In the third part of our series “From the life of a landlady” everything revolves around the psychologically important moment of arrival. The vacation has begun, but are you really there yet?

I remember very well a situation shortly after our official opening. The apartments had just been finished, everything was shiny and smelled new, we were so proud of what we had created. A woman, the second guest to book an apartment, greeted us briefly when she arrived, rushed past us into the apartment and rushed through all the rooms. We heard doors slamming and the toilet seat banging and wondered what was going on. Was this perhaps a secret holiday apartment inspector? A few minutes later she came out of the doorway with a serious look on her face and informed us that she had found parsley leaves in the sieve of the dishwasher and that with such poor housekeeping standards, we probably wouldn’t last long. Wham – my teenage daughter would say now. Direct hit, slam dunk.
While the woman valiantly got her suitcases out of the car – seemingly willing to spend her holiday in such an unkempt place – I saw in my mind’s eye the business that I had just started lying in ruins. I never imagined that my life as a landlady would be so difficult.

Today I know: It is the special moment of arrival, when expectation and reality collide, and where hunger, the urge to go to the toilet and hysterical children do not allow you to think clearly. Those guests who at that moment are thinking about the suitcases that have to be unpacked again and are wondering whether there will even be a supermarket open on a Saturday evening are not receptive to beauty at that point and are definitely not in holiday mode.
Other guests, on the other hand, may have looked forward to the holiday for so long, have told their partner over and over again about the great accommodation they have found by sheer chance and have raved about it to their work colleagues, and now – the idealised image does not match up to the reality of their arrival.

My colleague regularly tells me about guests for whom she can’t do anything right when they arrive. The parking space is too narrow, the stairs are too steep, there is not enough shelf space in the bathroom and then there is the garden …. didn’t it look different in the pictures?
Yes, and where is the washing machine that was promised? Keep smiling, I whisper to my colleague.

© Yaniv Knobel / Unsplash

A few days later, when I inquire whether the guests still find everything awful, a 180-degree turnaround: No, they are all super satisfied, totally nice, happy to have found such a beautiful place and are already planning to come back. What happened?

The first impression, for which you supposedly don’t get a second chance, doesn’t seem to be decisive for holiday accommodation. Unlike in interpersonal communication, where the brain quickly makes up its mind and is usually right, a holiday home often has to be won over first. By spreading around the personal belongings you have brought with you, you set your own tone in the place and with the first coffee on the terrace, everything takes on a new perspective. The long traffic jam on the motorway, forgotten; the last e-mail that couldn’t be sent, never mind; the forgotten sunglasses that were ready to be picked up in the hallway, too bad. Some guests only need a few minutes to really settle, others a few hours, in the worst case days. Good holiday homes can wait patiently for this moment.


Published: May 2022

3 Comments

  1. In unseren Lieblingshotels gibt’s am Empfang nach dem “Herzlich willkommen. Schön, dass Sie da sind.” erst mal ein Getränk und einen kleinen Appetizer / Brotzeit aus der Küche und man führt uns auf die Terrasse, die Sofas, etc. “Ich komme dann gleich zu Ihnen mit den Anmelde-Unterlagen…” heißt es dazu. 10 Minuten später, nachdem dann bei uns auch ein erster Teil der Seele angekommen ist, setzt man sich zu uns an den Tisch, die Sofagarnitur, etc. und erzählt erst mal ein Wenig von den Neuigkeiten im Haus, der Region, etc., bevor es dann zum administrativen Teil geht. Fazit: Wir stellen bei uns ein ganz anderes Ankommen fest. Wenn wir das Zimmer betreten, dann sind wir bereits (fast) im Urlaub. Vielleicht sind’s deshalb unsere Lieblingshotels geworden. Ich wette, das funktioniert (zumindest bei uns) auch bei Ferienwohnungen… :-)
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  2. Wirklich nett geschrieben. Aus meiner Erfahrung hilft ein nettes “Einführungs-Willkommen” ganz gut. Man bleibt vor dem Haus stehen, erzählt ein wenig von der Geschichte der Wohnung, und wie man sie hergerichtet hat, fragt dann nach dem Anlass der Reise, begrüsst maulende Kinder separat und führt die Gäste dann selbst durch die Wohnung. So kommen die gestressten Menschen erst einmal “runter” und sehen dann alles mit den den Augen des Vermieters ;). Natürlich gibt es immer noch Ausnahmen, manches Mäkeln sollte man dann nicht so schwer nehmen und als Anregung etwas zu verbessern optimieren. Viel Glück weiterhin!
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  3. Sehr gut beobachtet und schön formuliert, doch sind starke Nerven und viel Erfahrung für den Umgang mit solchen Gästen von Nöten. Viel Kraft und eine grosse Portion Humor wünsche ich Besitzern und Angestellten für die Zukunft.
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