last minute cancellations

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Lisa and Brad 3 weeks ago.

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  • #34320

    Its happened again!!! at the very last minute the wwoofer cancels. Excuses vary from I have just changed my mind to family to need to be somewhere else.

    The worse offenders seem to be American, female and vegan or vego.

    Maybe this is the way with the new wwoofers… they see this opportunity as an all expenses paid holiday and as they are doing us a real favour then changing their mind is really not an issue. Not a thought about the hosts. Cancelling the day before or just not turning up is , well the way it is.

    I would be interested to see if other hosts have the same issue and what they are doing to minimise the losses. In the mean time we will be eating vegan food for a week or so. Anyone for lunch?

  • #34404

    QT096
    Participant

    We send everyone to a blog with a questionnaire. Generally it’s the impersonalized bulk emailers or people looking for back up that don’t fill it out.

  • #34425

    Lisa and Brad
    Participant

    Hi
    The 10 or so WWOOFers we have hosted thus far we have only had 1 cancellation with a week’s notice.

    We start a an email dialogue with them and send a template of information setting out expectations. And like the earlier response – if their profile is blank we suggest they fill it in before we discuss things further. This then seems to weed out the ones looking for a free ride. If they respond after I send the standard information they tend to arrive on time.

    I also have now narrowed down that I only collect to meet the bus in the afternoon. We also start to let them know its us that is choosing them over others and kind of give them a feeling of vying for a space, rather than just being available. We can’t accept last minute arrivals – too difficult to plan and organise for our competing needs.

    We also say we are running a business and want to be able to leave positive feedback on their profile so they can find other WWOOFing opportunities.

    Possibly if we get a pattern of cancellations we would add to our template, “that if they cancel within a certain timefame or be a no show we will leave a 0 star review on their profile” – as yes, as hosts, we understand we are meal prepping, activity prepping and making amendments to our general commitments when we accept a WWOOFer. In my mind its very much a 2 way street.
    Lisa and Brad

  • #34971

    Hi
    I have been hosting for 20 years and mostly haven’t had no shows. Indeed my no shows have been people who organised to come too long in advance and who really had no idea what their trip was going to be like.
    But i am finding that the new web site is generating me more enquiries and that i am getting more requests who want to play the tune. I like to negotiate always.
    So i think the emailing or questionnaire thing good ideas though i won’t go to that. I do try to establish the relationship and preferably off this website. I find the message thing too clunky.
    What do you think of the message tool?
    And, nobody has left me feedback on here as yet – but i am interested to see how it goes if you end up with neutral or negative feedback. I am a couch surfing host as well and it is interesting to note that the one neutral feedback (no negative ones) on there comes up quite clearly and fortunately when you read it, it is clear the guy should have ticked positive but i must say i find it confronting to see the doubt it creates in my mind at least.

  • #34992

    QT096
    Participant

    We don’t do mobiles and there isn’t enough happening here to bring me to this site more than a couple of times a week. “Instant” messaging maybe a bit of a stretch.
    So far all but one of our messages have been impersonal, one cut and paste from his profile description. It’s the “off” season for the Wet Tropics so we have been politely responding with links to the blog/questionnaire. It would be nice if we could have an autoreply option for bulk emailers (like helpx does). I don’t think we’ll have the time to school spammers this winter, an autoreply option would be a plus for everybody.

  • #35383

    NM168
    Participant

    Hi all, I have been a host for 8 years (almost 80 wwoofers) and I don’t pre buy any extra food or prepare any meals. I tend to take them shopping when I pick them up, so I don’t have extra food in the house but some foods to suit their diet needs. That way, if there is a no show, I am not out of pocket.

    Luckily the only ‘no show’ have been people, who when I asked for their ‘Wwoof number’ (prior to the new website) made some excuse about using their good friend’s book, had a girlfriend who did not join or were actually wwoofing without joining at all. When explained they needed to join, I didn’t hear from them again. The new website makes it easy to confirm legitimate wwoofers.

    I also have a ‘Welcome to Glenshiel’ information sheet which, if email contact is made, I attach to my reply. I have not worked out if I can attach it to the new website messages yet, but can ask for them to email me.

    If wwoofers say they will arrive during the night, I direct them to the back packers hostel for the night and I organise to pick them up the next day when the shops are open for shopping, as it is a 40 minute drive to town.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by NM168.
  • #35385

    We haven’t had an issue with cancellations, but just this week we had a couple who were supposed to stay for a week or two, and after 2 days of work and travelling the area in the afternoons, they came home, ate dinner and at 8pm announced they were leaving. No explanation given. When I spoke with him the next day on the phone, I was told that they didn’t feel comfortable because on the first night when I came home from work, I didn’t make eye contact and then they were expected to do the dishes after each meal….

    Oh well, I hope they enjoy their stay in Australia and find what they are searching for.

    The other issue that we have are typically from young WWOOFs who contact the night before saying can we host the next day? Doe anyone else experience this and if so, how do you manage that?

  • #35659

    Lisa and Brad
    Participant

    Hi Heidi and John

    I would echo NM168. I started out with 2 pick up times from the local shops. I have now narrowed it to the 1 bus in mid afternoon. I shop once a week and generally store our meats, inc sandwich meats in the freezer, so for me its more meal planning. We tend to eat a lot of fresh fruit and vege, but I can buy that and milk at the local shops.

    We started “hosting” more like tourism and after a couple of WWOOFer stays realised they didn’t really appreciate it and never really became excited or really said thanks! So with so much to do in our daily lives we now kind of work out their interests in the first couple of dinner time conversations and talk about the 1 thing we will do that week. We then do it after work – towards the very end of the week. Its always local, so maybe 2 hours all up.

    I give them lots of options of walking/hiking around the farm to points of interest but so far only 1 or 2 have wandered any distance.

    The other main entertainment we focus on for them is walking up a hill to watch and photograph the sunset…kinda Uluru Sunset/Sunrise moment. We tend to do this mid-stay and encourage them to go back there again. They all become excited about this!! I am sure there is a place on your property for quiet reflection.

    I also let me know when I first meet them and am showing them around that “in a nice way” that I enjoy their company and chatting but don’t be upset if I have to leave the table at 8pm as I am studying. For me, it takes away the awkwardness of people expecting you to be there all night or finding a way to say goodnight. And gives me time to actually study, look things up, get some personal time, etc.

    Maybe in your intro with them, say upfront that you have meal planned for the week and based on distance to the shops you have done the weekly shop…at least that way it makes them think for a moment.

    With regard to the ring up kinda WWOOFer…we haven’t had any and only take WWOOFers who can manage their time and do some planning… For our personalities, I need structure and time to plan their activities and I need to feel confident they are wanting to work, rather than just find free lodgings.

    Hope this helps and other hosts provide words of wisdom.

  • #36218

    QT096
    Participant

    Re: The Dishes
    We specifically mention helping with dishes in our blog and still have had people who try and get out of their turn, leave half of them on the stove, tell us everyone in Europe has a dishwasher, begrudgingly do them, argue with us they shouldn’t have to do them. Even when you are clear and upfront it can still be an issue. That’s not you, it just is and you are not alone.

    Re: the Free Tourism Thing
    When we first started hosting we used to do a lot more chauffeuring and touristy things as well. But no one wants to spend money and there’s only so many times you can show up at the local winery for free tastings when your guests drink 3 times as much as they buy. It’s all very time consuming and frankly, there’s only so many times I want to do the same things over and over.

    We have a very different perspective now. Cultural exchange and living with an Australian family is not “free tourism”, it’s the day to day stuff. And we are very frank and share that perspective with our wwoofers who may have a different vision of what the exchange entitles them to. We invite them to things like footy practice, school recitals, occasional fishing and camping trips, local show, etc. Our son will usually offer to take them bushwalking or workout in the gym. There is tons to do in our area if you have initiative and are willing to spend a few bucks. For those who don’t and drop hints around driving them places we suggest they rent a car or spend their weekends off down at the beach. We also have a folder of trips and things to see and do in our area (white water rafting, scuba diving, skydiving, sea kayaking, etc) but generally it all comes down to $$$$$.

    Re: Last minute Wwoofers
    We don’t do it either unless we’re hard up or they have amazing skills that we can use at that moment.

    Re: Pickups and Food
    We try and get wwoofers to arrive on Mondays so we have weekends free. Only one local bus each way a day, occasionally we will pickup from a near by town but never at night, preferably in the morning which works better for us.I cook a lot in batches and usually have milk, bread, BOG, Chili or Cottage Pie filling frozen and ready to go if someone arrives before my shopping day. Things like jam, cheese, eggs, cereal, store easy enough to have extra on hand. We don’t do special diets or fussy eaters, doesn’t work for us with multiple wwoofers, our kids or budgeting/menu planning.

    Streamline your hosting so it works for you. Think of it as working ergonomically. Extra steps wear you out but don’t ensure that you’ve done the job any better and sadly it often goes unnoticed.

    Good Luck Peeps!!!

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by QT096.
  • #36305

    Lisa and Brad
    Participant

    All good thoughts!

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