Guest Management is hard. We have had 3 sets now and are still learning. Don’t get me wrong, we see having people come to stay as a privilege, but there is no doubt, guests in the house changes how life works. Guest Management is a thing.
- Eating. Some people eat breakfast. Others don’t. Some eat early, others late. Some break their fast in two minutes flat, others want to spend two hours doing it.
- Showers. For many people, showers are an essential ritual of the beginning of the day, others shower before lunch, dinner and bed.
- Some folk leave every door and window open, and others, the opposite.
- Some people like to plan, some people like to freewheel and improvise.
Such is life. When at a hotel, we all get on with what suits us. However, being a house guest is a different dynamic. Guests want to fit in, to go with the flow. They “don’t want to be any trouble.” Often, this means that the hosts are doing, not what they want to do, but what they feel the guests want to do. The guests are doing what they feel the hosts want to do. The result is that nobody is doing what they want to do. Out of a wish to be polite and accommodating, everyone is feeling a bit out of rhythm. “Awks.”
The key, of course, is communication. The trouble is, that everyone is being so nice and diplomatic, that seldom do people speak the truth.
Of course, I’m perfectly able to avoid all these issues. My default setting is to rise early, drink coffee and work. I can easily absent myself entirely from the morning routine, by having coffee early and going down to the office. This, of course, resolves nothing, placing the entire burden on Margaret. Tempting though.
I’m seriously considering a questionnaire, to be completed by all guests. It will need to be carefully designed, with multiple choice questions, designed to winkle out the truth, defeating attempts to answer every question “oh, I don’t mind”. I might need to get Belbin to design it.
This questionnaire, along with a detailed set of house rules will seem way over the top, but will make everyone’s life (well, mine at least) so much easier.
In the absence of the questionnaire, here are some sample rules, just around breakfast, if I was writing them.
- Breakfast is from 7 till 9. There’s coffee, tea, cereal and toast. If in season, there’s fruit too. Scrambled eggs or devilled kidneys? See *. Breakfast at ten? See *.
We use a Nespresso machine for coffee. We have a kettle. Need a latte or a teapot? See *.
When I say, give me a shout if you need tea or coffee, what I actually mean is “between 7 and 9, I’ll make you a coffee. If you need one at 0930, see *, if you decide to help yourself, rooting through my cupboards, I’ll shoot you with a crossbow.”
*: A mere 12 minutes drive away is a beach, with not one, not two, but three restaurants catering to every taste and budget.
I think that my rules will soon have breakfast tamed, leaving only, off the top of my head,
- Water management
- Doors and nets management
- Pool use
- Bill splitting
- Car usage
- Car parking
- Shopping kitty
- TV use
- Toilet use
- Meal planning
- Event planning
- Leaving and arriving
Blimey. Guest management is complicated.