How Vacation Rental Owners and Tenants Relate

Bad-Hotel-Sundance-Vacations-300x189 (1)Finding topics for this blog each week can sometimes be challenging.  My goal has always been to inform, educate and sometime entertain vacation property owners and vacation renters.  Of course the content is often commentary and almost always is swayed by my personal experiences and opinions.  I attempt to put my readers into my shoes and hopefully give them a basis to form their own opinions surrounding their individual circumstances.  The fundamentals of owning or renting a vacation home are the same worldwide with the standard expectations of owners providing a clean, well maintained, honestly represented property at a fair price, and who are caring, easy to contact and take responsibility for issues that may arise; and in turn, owners expect well behaved, clean tenants who will also be respectful of their property and considerate of neighbors.  Sounds very simple, but with vacation rentals, and pointedly … vacation rentals managed by owners, you are working in an environment without any set rules or standards.   A hotel has industry and company standards that a paying guest can pretty much count on.  Now, in the sharing economy, you have individual property owners making up their own standards … and rules.  Taking into account how very different an owner may see their property, as I mentioned in last week’s post, where a property was advertised as “totally updated,” when in reality the last updates were made twenty years ago.  Many owners live a distance from their vacation home and rely on cleaning services which may at times be questionable, especially on a property where they know that it will not be inspected.  On the other hand, an owner may find more fault with the unhappy tenants than the cleaners, when cleaning deficiencies are reported.  I am not saying that all vacation homes that you find on VRBO or owner listing sites are bad … in fact the vast majority are excellent … I merely attempt to point out the variation in people, personality and their individual standards … and with the lack of oversight, the fact is …. there are some “bad actors” out there.

Today this blog is filled with commentary and personal opinion … but the commentary is based on facts that I have noted over the past twenty years and in this post, experiences of this past week.  Early in the week we received a call and then a visit, from a couple from England.  Their story was one we have heard countless times.  They arrived at a condo that they had booked through a listing on VRBO.  They were disappointed upon their arrival to find that the condo that was dirty.  After sitting unoccupied for several months, which is typical during our hot summers, the condo was dusty, dirty and full of dead bugs and cobwebs … just in time for Halloween … but they weren’t in the holiday spirt and I can’t say that I would be either.  The entire condo had just one window and that window had a broken blind that they had to climb up on a chair to open.  The bed was so bad that the husband, with a bad back, slept in the living room chair.  The towels were old, stained and frayed.  The one TV was of the old fashioned variety and not only was their lines through the picture, but the screen was so distorted that it cut off the actors heads.  But the biggest problem was that the property was advertised to have a walk-in shower, and what they found was a standard bathtub/shower combination.  This was a huge issue since the husband, with the bad back, is not able to raise his legs high enough to get into a bathtub.  After calls to the owner with no help on cleaning, which they did themselves, towels, which they replaced themselves, broken blind, which they just left open, old bed, broken TV … the very last straw was when they walked into the condo after a trip to the store, to find that the owner had entered without their knowledge or approval, turned the air conditioning up to 78 degrees and left a very nasty note stating that they were not to touch the temperature on the thermostat or he would deduct an additional $200 from their security deposit to cover possible cooling charges.   After finding this note, they called our office.  We were able to find them a perfect condo, the Taj Mahal compared to their current rental, and finally after arriving in the U.S. a week ago, they were able to start enjoying what was left of their one month vacation.  They received no money back from the slum-lord they had rented from, but refused to let it ruin their vacation.

Now I am fully aware that there are two sides to a story … probably more aware than you.  I see this behavior all the time and find ourselves smack-dab between owners and renters and rarely do the two see eye to eye.  However in light of the details shared by our British couple, and the fact that I have met many, many “bad actors,” I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to the tenant.  The bed could possibly be a matter of personal preference, the TV could just have the wrong screen setting … but an owner refusing to clean prior to a tenant arrival, repair a broken blind, replace old towels … and illegally enter a property without twenty-four hour notice … these are unforgivable, and makes me angry as it reflects on the entire vacation rental industry.  If this story is in fact true then it’s my hope that the owner’s bad actions will someday catch up with him … “what goes around comes around,” fingers crossed.  This, in my option is despicable behavior … and I see it constantly!  Other than a bad review, there is very little that a tenant can do.

There are also many challenges for owners.  A tenant may over occupy or abuse a property costing owners in repairs, replacements and in some cases, having to turn away potential or booked tenants to make the repairs.  Tenants may break city noise ordinances and cost owners significant fines or in extreme cases, the loss of their right to rent their property.  Owners who live a distance away face the problem of finding reliable cleaners and maintenance people.  Many will look for a management company such as Vacation Rentals of the Desert, but for some, there will be the overriding desire to avoid professional management fees.  With the growth of the vacation rental industry, we are seeing start-up companies pop out of the woodwork … seems everyone has “the next best money-making idea.”  Yesterday I received a call from a local owner who had signed up with one of these “innovative” new companies.  I won’t name the company, but I’ll tell you enough to recognize them if they call.  This company is located out of state, but offers to represent and manage properties worldwide.  Their management fee is 35% and they find local individuals to check properties and arrange cleaning.  Sounds reasonable on paper … but again there is a lack of oversight, and that is precisely the issues this home owner discussed with me.  He had a handful of rentals over the summer months (surprisingly), but upon his recent visit to the house he found that there was significant damage to the property that had not been noted nor compensated for before tenant deposits were returned.  The air conditioner had not been shut off between a couple of the renters and with temps over 100 degrees, this is a big issue.  In addition, small things like burned out lights and regular maintenance repairs had not been dealt with.  But what really sent this owner over the top, justifiably,  was that his garage door remote was missing, the battery removed from the garage door key pad, the motion detectors outside the garage door disabled, and his golf cart entirely stripped, batteries, wiring, etc. and an expensive set of golf clubs had been taken from a locked closet in the garage.  None of this was found or reported by the local manager or cleaning staff.  The owner found this upon his visit.  The police believe it is an inside job.   So … looks like we are going to be managing a new property.

These are just a couple of examples of what happens all the time … and it goes back to last week’s post on the sharing economy … people are people are people.  You just don’t know who’s on the other end of that phone or email.  As I said at the beginning of this post, sometimes this blog is more commentary …. sometimes I just share my personal experiences …  and sometimes I vent … so here I go.

The above owner with the broken TV, blinds, etc.  … maybe he’s not a slum-lord.  Maybe he honestly thinks that the property is wonderful.  What if the tenant called to complain and was confrontational and disrespectful and the owner took offense and decided not to lift a finger to make his tenant happy?  It’s not right … but it’s very human and happens every day.  This week we called an owner letting her know that the vacuum was broken and we needed to replace it.  She was offended and upset (I know, we scratched our heads about how she could have taken offence), but she finally agreed to replace it.  Side story … she thought she would save money by ordering the $90 vacuum from Target … but in the long run she paid more since we had to charge her to go way out of the way to pick it up (she ordered it for picked up from a store outside our city), then we had to bring it to the office to assemble and finally deliver it to the property.  Had she let us do this we could have bought the same vacuum from Bed, Bath and Beyond, two blocks from our office, used a 20% off coupon and with that 20% savings, paid our office for the assembly and delivery!  Another owner, several years ago, visited her property and discovered that the tenants had burned up her favorite spaghetti pot.  She wanted to cancel her vacation rental listing entirely, despite the $20,000 gross rental that she had generated over the season, and the fact that accidents happen.  She stated that the tenants “did not respect her belongings.”   I immediately went out and purchased a new $25 spaghetti pot, delivered it and the property remained on our rental program for several years.  Sometimes it’s just that one “button,” that one “final straw” that set people off.   Same for tenants … people will vent.  Unfortunately I had to call a future tenant this week and report the sad news that the property they had booked, was going through some “issues.”  Seems that at this particular country club the golf course is not owned by the country club or home owners, but owned by another party.  The golf course was sold, and when the new owner was told by the city that they could not replace the golf course with senior housing, they decided to just close the club house and let the golf course die!  Unbelievable!  Of course the home owners are up in arms.  Their property values have plummeted and most owners purchased within the country club because of the golf course.  Every single property looks out on a fairway … so this affects 100% of the home owners and this high end country club is “not so much” anymore.  So I felt I had better contact our tenants to inform them of the situation since it would have definite effects on their extended vacation.  The fact that it is now in the hands of the legal system, the future of the club is unforeseeable.  With all our properties booked during their dates, my offer of a full refund or significant discount, was countered by ugly accusations and a very, very unhappy client.  Totally expected, but what was I to do in this case?  It is never known how people will act or how people will treat each other on any given occasion.   So back to the couple above, who now have to decide what to do about their vacation … look out onto a dead golf course or move?   The wife insisted that one of the primary reasons she chose this property was to be able to play golf at that particular course and to sit and look out on a beautiful fairway with a gorgeous waterfall (no longer functioning, of course).  Once I calmed her, I told her that she should check with other vacation rental companies … not owner listed properties which would be more time consuming.  Many owner’s do not keep up their property calendars and a renter could spend days waiting for a response only to discover that the property is not available.  I advised she do a google search for local vacation rental companies, and call a reservationist who would have possibly hundreds of potential properties to offer.  This close to season, chances are that most of the properties will already be booked … but they may still have a few.  This would be her quickest and safest way to go.

Vacation Rentals of the Desert is a pretty old fashion kind of company.  Certainly we have all the new bells and whistles … state of the art website and software, massive advertising budget, including VRBO and FlipKey, (can’t do Airbnb … one day I’ll explain the various reasons why this is a bad idea), fully trained and professional staff, checks, balances and standards of practice.  These are essential to running a successful vacation rental company … but the one thing that makes us stand out is the way we handle business … clients, tenants, owners and their properties.  This is where “old fashion” comes in, and we live by these rules every day …

                The customer is number one

                Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

                Treat everyone with respect

                Treat properties as if they were our own home

                Listen and give everyone the benefit of the doubt before making a decision

                It’s not always about the bottom line

                Honesty in all cases

For some owners and some companies … it is only about the bottom line.  We’re very fortunate … our properties are not investment properties …  they are second homes.  So if we feel the tenant would be a bad fit, we look for someone more fitting.  If we have a past history with a “questionable” tenant, we pass.  This is why we do not handle Coachella and Stagecoach Fests rentals.  Granted … the vast majority of fest goers will cause no problem, but about 10% will be a problem in one form or another … and we cannot gamble with our owner’s properties or our reputation.  Here’s a good example:  Last year we had a group of friends staying at a property during Coachella.  They informed us that they were in their 50s and had no intention of attending the fest.  The second night of the fest the tenants were on their back patio at 2 a.m. talking and the neighbors called the police.  Next day we received a $500 fine with a picture of the Coachella Fest bus in front of the house loading up our renters earlier in the day.  The age and profession does not matter … after partying all day, reason quickly flies out the window.  Now this property owner stands to suffer stiffer fines in the future and possibly lose his vacation rental permit because of tenant behavior … and it may not even be the tenant we screend.  It could be an unruly friend that gets out of hand or someone that they met at the fest who had no place to stay.  Bottom line is that even if the security deposit is raised to cover possible ordinance fines, my owner is one citation closer to losing the ability to accept vacation rentals.  Ultimately was the money worth the citation not to mention the extra oversight of future tenants?  Next fine is $1,000 … you better believe I’m hovering … and is this fair to our “good renters?”  I’ve been told by another management company owner that you just have to know how to screen properly!  How do you screen people today, for their behavior after partying a full day or two in the future?  There is no way.  I hate like heck to lose the rental money during these fests, but as I mentioned … the properties that we handle are second homes and my owner clients are wary of damage, fines and possible animosity from their neighbors making their own visits uncomfortable.  Sometimes the juice is just not worth the squeeze.

On my drive home from the office last night I was listening to a discussion on NPR Radio.  They were talking about Volkswagen and how they’ve lost the public’s trust.  One of the fellows in the discussion was from a large advertising firm and when asked his opinion on regaining public trust he said he thought the company was “screwed.”  He suggested an ad campaign showing the VW board members being fired and a big explosion.  Pretty drastic … but this is how important trust is to a company.  A trusted reputation is a necessity for survival in the business world … now look at how much it’s going to cost Volkswagen, and all the money they spend may not change the public’s mind.  Further in the conversation they talked about the Volkswagen Bug’s initial ad campaign … back in the 60s, I believe.  Back in those days all the cars were big, long boats.  In those days of cheap gas, bigger was better and these big cars represented success and prestige.  Then here comes the little VW Bug.  The advertising campaign was simple, but brilliant … and it worked!  In magazines they ran a blank white page and in the very bottom corner was a photo of a VW Bug with the caption, Think Small.

Simple but brilliant.  Reflecting on how our company of 130 properties competes in the big sea of VRBO, Airbnb, and large impersonal cookie cutter vacation rental companies … if we were a big national company … I think our ad might look like this:  A blank white page with our Vacation Rentals of the Desert logo in the bottom corner.  The caption would simply say … A small company, striving to be the Very Best.

Photo:  https://sundancevacationsblog.com

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Spot Cleaning Carpets

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This week I want to talk about carpets again.

One of our rental guests called to report that she had tracked mud into the master bedroom.  Having found a bottle of carpet spot remover hidden in the back of a utility closet, she attempted to clean the carpet herself. The carpet turned blue. Yikes!

If you are a guest in a vacation rental home … please don’t use spot cleaners. If you own a vacation rental home … please don’t leave spot cleaners for your guests. There are so many variables when it comes to spot cleaning a carpet. The kind of stain, how long the spot remover has been sitting in the cabinet, the type of carpet, manufacturers recommendations and most important of all … making sure you do not leave any residue. Removing the residue is very difficult and if not fully removed, the residue will act like sticky glue, grabbing everything on the bottom of shoes and will most likely become a permanent stain. In many cases the carpet will look beautiful after professional carpet cleaning, but the spots will quickly return once people start walking on it again.  So the bottom line … saving a little money by spot cleaning may cost you the price of a carpet replacement!

Below are a few visual examples.  The carpet photos with the blue spots is the results of the spot remover our guest (mentioned above), used to remove the muddy footprints. We had our carpet cleaners immediately go out and do a thorough cleaning. Hopefully these spots will not come back.

The second set of photos is of a vacation rental property where the owners spot cleaned the carpet themselves. The carpet is pristine after professional carpet cleaning, however within days the spots return and they are appalling. This carpet will be replaced after this rental season. In the meantime we have laid down area rugs to hide the unsightly carpet.  Pretty nasty … huh?

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Cleaning Schedules … Not as Easy as You May Think

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Today’s post is short and sweet, however sweet might not be the right word …  

The majority of our guests at Vacation Rentals of the Desert are monthly.  This is because we host many of the “snow birds” that are escaping their cold northern climates for our gorgeous winter season.  So the first day of each month, November through April, are typically busy guest arrival days.  We actually have about sixty booked arrivals coming in the February 1st!  So to say that life has been busy these last few days, is an understatement.

Some guests will be arriving to properties that have been recently occupied, some have not been occupied since last April and some are what we call “back to backs.”  A back to back is a property where tenants are departing at 10 a.m. and new tenants are arriving at 3 p.m. on the same day.  For the properties that have been recently occupied; they are clean but have set for a period of time so they will need a touch up with dusting, mopping and patios cleaned.  We schedule these for a “pre-clean.”  For the properties that have not been occupied, we contact owners and arrange to do a deep clean with windows and screens.  Depending on the size of the property, this clean can take up to two days.  Then the properties that are back to backs will need to be cleaned in a five hour period of time … spotless before guests arrive.  Sometimes this takes a bit of magic … especially if there is a lot of laundry.  Three people can clean a property in no time flat … but laundry refuses to be rushed.

Needless to say, scheduling consists of a lot of phone calls and coordination.  The office staff contacts outgoing guests to see if they enjoyed their stay and whether they would like to return next year.  At the same time we will give them key return information and find out what time they plan to depart.  If they are departing a day or even hours early, we contact our cleaning service so they can schedule cleaners to arrive earlier than they would for a back to back cleaning.  We then contact all the arriving guests to wish them a good trip, give key receipt information and find out what time they plan to arrive.   Cleaners can then be delayed for late arriving guests.

Ideally cleaning is schedule just prior to guest arrivals, but even with several cleaning teams, it is all a matter or coordination and working around rain (which we had on Friday), repairs, carpet cleaning and then, wet carpets, etc.  Once the cleaning schedule is set into motion, one small hick-up can launch the entire schedule into oblivion.  I know I’m being a bit dramatic, but in the moment …. aaaawwww!

So here is what happened …. Cleaners were scheduled two days prior to guest arrival to do a full clean after owner’s departed.  A carpet cleaning service was schedule immediately after.   The cleaners show up at the property only to find that the owners are still there and have decided to stay an additional night … they are having such a good time.  I love, love, love these owners, and it is there home after all, but OMG, this started a chain reaction!  This one little change affected six cleaning teams that needed to be adjusted, about twelve property cleans needed to be rescheduled and me getting on my knees to the carpet cleaning service to beg them to squeeze us into their own busy schedule.  In addition the owners reported a few last minute repairs had to be fitted in and we had to contact the arriving guests to advise them that the carpets would be spotless … but may still be damp when they arrive.

The point of this post is not to whine and complain.  If you are a property owner with a vacation rental company, please know that your management company understands that you are the owner and that you have every right to occupy your property.  But also understand that coordinating cleaning and extended services will sometimes take some lead time.  Most vacation rental companies do not employ their cleaners hourly, or even exclusively.  It is of great importance to let your company know of any change or possible delays in your arrivals or departures as quickly as possible.  This is sometimes a difficult subject for companies to discuss with an owner … but it is extremely important.  Because of the last minute change of departure mentioned above, I will always be a bit skeptical when scheduling this owner’s departure cleans.  In the future I will probably check, double check and call them before sending cleaners.

I owe a big THANK YOU to Lesley Boniface, the owner of Crown Concierge of the Desert, for getting us through this past week’s cleans and one tiny little hick-up that launched her schedule into oblivion.  Crown is our cleaning contractor and handles 100% of our cleaning as well as providing our guests with excellent concierge services.  Without Crown we could not do what we do!  Hey Lesley … another February 1st is history!  Is it time for a glass of wine yet?

Have a wonderful Sunday and hope ya’ll are enjoying the Super Bowl.

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My Favorite Finds of 2014

Always+ElegantIt’s hard for me to believe that today I celebrate the first anniversary of this blog!  The year has flown by … and my family and co-workers do not seem at all surprised that I’ve had so much to say.  I, on the other hand, was not certain that I was up for the challenge … but it seems there must be a direct correlation between talking and writing, much to the amusement of my husband/editor who gleefully wields his editing pen every Sunday morning.  In other words … I have a tendency to go on, and on, and on a bit.
In researching topics of interest for Some Place Like Home, I have made some wonderful discoveries.  Most that I have yet to share with you because they did not warrant a full article.  So I thought it might be fitting in this last post of the year to share some of my favorite finds of 2014. 

 

 Joss & Main: https://www.jossandmain.com

8-Piece+Pierce+Comforter+SetLaurie+Sheet+Set+in+Teal4-Piece+Willard+Comforter+Set

Oh my goodness do these folks know how to make a bed!  Love, love, love all the wonderful bedroom collections.  Sheets, blankets, comforters piled high … pillows, shams … makes you want to dive in and take a nap.  If only every bed in every property we managed had such a luxurious and inviting look!  Property owners, this is exactly what you are striving for; this is the look that sells prospective tenants.  Makes sure to sign up for their emails; Joss & Main have frequent sales.

Restoration Hardware: http://www.restorationhardware.com

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If you can afford a good piece of furniture or two … I recommend this decorator quality store.  Their furniture, light fixtures and accent pieces work with almost any decor and are always the latest in style.  If the $$$ turns you away … use this site for décor inspiration, then try to duplicate “the look.”  My personal favorites … unique chandeliers that make a BIG statement and the fun industrial-meets-traditional-meets-shabby chic furnishings.  And, Restoration Hardware carries the very best spa/hotel quality bedding.

How to Insert a Comforter Into a Duvet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aviWdkOHDU4

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This is just “too cool.”  Ever struggle with stuffing your comforter into the duvet cover?  Even with two people this can be a total pain in the butt.  For years I bypassed beautiful duvets covers, settling for standard bedspreads to avoid the hassle of stuffing the comforter back in after washing.  Recently I learned that many luxury hotels have entirely eliminated the top sheet!  They make up beds with a flat sheet, then a duvet over a comforter and perhaps a coverlet on top … or not.  They wash the duvet covers with the sheets assuring pristine clean bedding.  I have a couple of owners doing the same thing.  My initial aggggggg was replace with an OMG when I saw this video.

How to Fold a Fitted Sheet:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-a2FR1iwqg

fittedsheetMy readers may remember an article I posted on July 27th titled “One of the Coolest Things Ever,” which included a video on how to easily fold a fitted sheet.  No more messy linen closet after watching this video (I confess … I watched it at least a dozen times). 

On Line Shopping

amazon.com, overstock.com, lowes.com, homedepot.com, costco.com, samsclub.com, ebay.com.

Anyone who knows me … knows I love to shop; but with other people’s money … not so much.  OK, sheets, blankets, dishes … they’re fine.  But when it comes to home décor like furniture, art, window coverings and even appliances … the pressure is on.   Most people have their own unique taste, budget and preferred manufactures.   I love on line shopping because out of town owners can easily make purchases for their vacation home on line and arrange delivery to the property, management company or in some cases, arrange for store pick-up.  The owner can make choices based on their own taste, at the price point they want and it takes the property manager off the hook.  Everyone’s happy!  I love to shop, I love to decorate … but honestly … owners want me to be doing what I do best … working in the office, filling their vacation home with tenants and helping them make money.

I’m sure there are many, many more wonderful finds out there ….. please share your favorites.

Happy New Year my friends! 
See ya’ll in 2015! 

 

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The Absolute, Number One, Most Important Detail …

958433      . . . . Cleaning!

As we approach the holidays and a great number of guest arrivals, cleaning concerns are in the forefront of my mind.  Vacation Rentals of the Desert gives owners the option of doing their own cleaning, using their personal cleaner or enlisting our cleaning service.  Thankfully most of our owners use our cleaning service who are skilled in the cleaning requirements of a vacation rental property.  For the few owners that choose to handle their own cleaning, we provide a list of requirements and will schedule an inspection of the clean prior to the guest’s arrival.  This system works well most of the time.  Many owners have very high expectations themselves … but for a few, we will unfortunately have an uncomfortable conversation.  Pointing out areas that are missed can be embarrassing for owners that have spent hours and hours cleaning, and they may take the news on a personal rather than professional level.  A couple of months ago I inspected a property after the owner had cleaned.  I always take my camera, and on this occasion it came in handy.  I probably took two dozen photos to back up our need for additional cleaning.  The issues ran from a dirty toilet to food drips on the kitchen trash container; a dirty coffee maker to crumbs in the bottom of the toaster oven, etc.  The owner was greatly offended and wondered “if he should not do vacation rentals in the future.”  After a heart-to-heart, I am hopeful that this owner will see that the cost of a professional cleaning is more than worth his time and trouble. 

So I felt that today I should rerun my very first blog post, dated December 31, 2013.  I cannot say it enough … You can give your guests a huge discount; you can leave them treats, theater tickets, gifts …. none of this, absolutely none, nothing, nada, period, end of story …. will compensate for a dirty property.  Cleaning is the absolute NUMBER ONE most important, not to be circumvented, never to be taken lightly, detail in running a successful vacation rental property!

Question:  You arrive at your hotel room, enter the bathroom, lift up the toilet seat and find yellow stains around the Porcelain rim.  What do you do next?  

I rest my case!

Please read on ….

 

Dec 31, 2013 

Vacation Rentals of the Desert has sparkling clean propertiesThe Absolute,

Number One,

Most Important Detail

 … Cleaning!

 

 

The following is rather blunt … but I hope to create an “Ahh Haa” moment for my readers.  As a vacation rental manager it is one of the most critical aspects of my business and may be the single most import advice I will ever share.

The absolute, number one, most import detail in a successful rental property … and I cannot stress this enough … is cleanliness!  Cutting corners by hiring a cleaner at a lower cost can ultimately cost you much more than a few dollars.  Once a guest has found one area overlooked they will certainly be looking for more and with a much more critical eye.  If the oversight is not addressed immediately this quickly progresses to a second problem … an unhappy guest who will not only give your property a bad review costing you future bookings but your guests will now be less forgiving of any of the properties shortcomings and most certainly will not become a repeat tenant.  All this to save a few dollars?  I will say this many times throughout my future posts … “It is very expensive to be cheap!”  My company,Vacation Rentals of the Desert, guarantees our cleaning service.  If an area is overlooked we immediately schedule the cleaners to return.  We have checks and balances to assure this does not happen but on the rare occasion when something is overlooked, our reaction is prompt and courteous.  There are many areas that may easily be overlooked by cleaners who are not trained in vacation rental cleaning such as organizing linen closets and under kitchen and bathroom sinks.  Identifying and throwing away undesirable items such as used bars of soap, dated or open dry goods, refrigerated containers that are open or are not in squeeze bottles.  Say you have an open jar of mayonnaise or jelly in the refrigerator.  To a first time vacation rental owner this may seem like a convenient condiment for their guest.  Now put yourself in the guest’s shoes … their thoughts … who made a sandwich, licked the knife and stuck it back into the jar?  These items are viewed as gross and definitely unwanted.

As a vacation rental manager or private owner preparing a property for guests, you must have the ability to look through your guest’s eyes and view the property on a less personal level.  Toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrushes and used shampoo fall into the same category.  These items are unsightly and give the guest an uncomfortable feeling of being an unwelcome trespasser.   I have found hemorrhoid creams, feminine hygiene products, condoms and even a set of false teeth in a jar under bathroom sinks, undergarments in bedroom drawers, personal letters and bills in desk drawers … this is definitely too much information (TMI) and can easily sour a guest’s vacation.  Ceiling fans, light fixtures, baseboards, screens and slider tracks, spotted shower doors, plumbing fixtures and windows … all are critical in presenting a clean and welcoming property.  The owner of our cleaning service puts it this way, “every surface must be touched and cleaned.”  This advice you can take to the bank … cutting corners to save a few dollars on cleaning will, not may, but will cost you future rental income and added stress in dealing with unpleasant guest complaints.   Is this worth saving $10, $50 or $100?

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