Are “You” Suitable for the Vacation Rental Business?

2986365-pictures-of-the-hands-of-a-person-tied-up-with-black-ropeI was going to write a completely different post today … however in light of the past couple of weeks …  I have decided to go in a completely different direction and get a very frustrating issue off my chest.   

My company, Vacation Rentals of the Desert is currently in the middle of our rental season … busy does not begin to describe this time of year.  In the midst of all the check-ins, check-outs and dealing with day to day business … I have discovered a few property owners who may not be suited for the business of vacation rentals.  Yes, whether you manage your own vacation rental property or you place your vacation home into the hands of a management company, you are in the vacation rental business and your vacation home is a business asset.  This business comes with an absolute responsibility to your paying guests and the costs in maintaining the vacation home during their stay.  Maintenance and upkeep are a necessary expense that you should expect.  An owner must be able to separate themselves from taking guest concerns lightly or personally.  Remember your tenants are not your “friends,” they are clients PAYING money for the use of your property AND they will have certain basic expectations.  Repairs, cleaning issues and replacement of broken items should never be up for discussion.  They are absolute necessities.  You should never be offended or take these issues personally when a tenant or your management company reports these issues.  If you cannot do this … you should not be in the vacation rental business … period.

This week I had an owner with a $9,000 vacationing guest tell me that she would not fix the dishwasher which broke mid-stay.  “The tenants can wash dishes by hand.”  My head begins to pound.  Another owner informed my office after welcoming a vacationing guest paying $6,500 that they were not going to spend any more money on their vacation property and that they would not repair or replace the telephone system that had stopped working.  Yet another owner, “I have decided not to install Wi-Fi service.”  This was told to us one week before the tenant arrived for a $3,400 stay which had been booked and paid for two months earlier with the promise of Wi-Fi.  Wi-Fi is a $30 service and a minimum requirement of Vacation Rentals of the Desert.  And now my right eye begins to twitch!  Can you imagine relaying this news to my guests … sorry, there is nothing we can do?

When in the business of vacation rentals you must realize that once your rental money is in the bank your responsibility does not end.  Expect to replace light bulbs, clear clogged toilet and drains, address leaks, replace stained sheets, repair broken appliances and sometimes all these repairs and replacements happen at the same time!  Things may cruise along for several months without a single issue and then out of the blue the garage door stops working!  Your vacation property may be a second home where you spend much of your time … you leave Sunday and your tenant arriving Monday calls to say the key doesn’t work in the front door or the kitchen blinds are laying on the floor.  We are constantly scratching our heads over maintenance issues that arise overnight … but just as you experience at your own home … things break, locks go bad, blinds and pictures and décor fall … it is just part of the expenses every home owner experiences in day to day life.  If you cannot separate yourself from taking guests concerns personally, if you are not capable of putting yourself into your guest’s shoes, if you are not prepared to repair, replace and make your guests happy, simply put … you should not be in the vacation rental business.  In my experience the best vacation rental owners have been previous “renters” themselves.  They tend to have a better understanding of tenant expectations.  When planning your next trip, consider a vacation rental home instead of a hotel.  You will learn a lot whether it be a good or bad experience.  Or, if you have ever stayed in a hotel and called the front desk regarding cleanliness, blankets, pillows, room temperature … you have a basic understanding of tenant expectations.

I will be speaking frankly to a few of our home owners at the end of the rental season.  One bad review costs my company money, future tenants, rental bookings and has a significant effect on our reputation.  Word of mouth travels quickly.  Ultimately being a difficult owner will definitely affect their property in future bookings!  It is only human nature to think twice before booking a “problem” property … once bitten, twice shy.  I want to shout in frustration … Please don’t tie my hands when I am trying so hard to make you money!

And so went my week … 

Despite these unfortunate challenges … we always find a way to make our guests happy!  Always!

 

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Comments

  1. I think the admin of this website is genuinely working hard
    in support of his web page, as here every information is quality based material.

    • Thank you for the comment Roseanna. I try to be honest and informative. It is good to know that someone is reading my posts and enjoying the content. This particular post was very direct … but I had an important issue to get off my chest. Hopefully it got to the people who could most benefit. Thank you again.

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