Just Clowning Around

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Bozos from left to right … Joaquin, Vickie, Mary, Trish & Kathy.

My first thought when I saw this picture was, “I Think We’re all Bozos on this Bus!” Funny how a comedy album from the 70’s immediately popped into my mind. It was the name of the album and the titled skit and if you are older than fifty … you may even remember this comedy troupe, the Firesign Theater. I just looked them up on YouTube. I guess my sense of humor was a bit different forty-something years ago.

Well, Friday I think we were all Bozos in this Office! Sometimes you just have to let your hair down and that’s what we did. Over the past few years we have hired a seasonal reservationist to cover our busiest months, October through April. This was Mary’s first year with Vacation Rentals of the Desert. She was an immediate asset and fit comfortably into our office dynamics. But the season passed swiftly and on May 1st we had to say good-bye to Mary … actually we said, “see ya later” since Mary is planning on returning in October. So we had the perfect excuse for an office luncheon, cake and … Bozo noses, to commemorate her last day.

In the vacation rental business you MUST have a sense of humor and find ways to blow off steam or else you won’t last through your first year. When most days consist of almost 100% customer service, it can be very stressful. We walk a fine line with three masters to serve … property owners, tenants and the vacation rental company itself. It’s not all about taking reservations … that’s just the fun part of the job. Once the tenants have arrived we spend a great deal of time answering questions, solving problems, scheduling repairs and replacing missing, damaged or broken home supplies ranging from measuring spoons to refrigerators, bath mats to pool heaters. One thing is for sure … we never know what the next phone call will bring. Below are just a few challenges that we faced … and the thing is that these are not out of the ordinary in this business.

  • A tenant calls two weeks before his arrival date to say he has just been diagnosed with cancer. He has been a repeat tenant for years and he’d like his money back. The tenant did not purchase travel insurance … and he is especially near and dear to our hearts! 

  • A tenant falls very ill just days prior to their departure date. They call to extend their stay but we have new tenants arriving to their property on the same day as their scheduled departure … and we are otherwise booked solid!

  • An owner calls to tell us that he is listing his property for sale. He agrees to let the current tenant stay but insists that we move the following month’s renter out. That particular month is March, which is the most popular month of the season and all of our properties are booked for the month … now we have the wonderful job of telling the fully paid tenant!

  • The A/C breaks down during tenant occupancy and needs to be replaced. Between ordering the unit, obtaining country club permits and scheduling a crane (it’s a roof unit), it will take at least four days to install. It’s over 110 degrees during the day and in the 90s at night … we have an emergency!

  • A tenant who insisted on having full range of cable channels for his three month stay, calls daily for assistance with the cable box. He keeps hitting the wrong button on the remote with throws the entire system off cable … who’s going to pay for all those trip charges?

  • It comes to our attention that an older tenant staying with us is not well and can no longer take care of them self … a very delicate situation!  

So vacation rental management … it’s a big job and a big responsibility. We are entrusted with our client’s homes, our tenant’s hard earned vacations and retirement dreams, and at the same time we are trying to keep owners and tenants happy, we must generate enough money to pay our overhead and staff. At Vacation Rentals of the Desert we are professionals, we take our jobs very seriously … but sometimes … we just have to put on a red rubber nose!

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