Start a New Thanksgiving Tradition!

turkey-on-grill-corrected-728x444Happy Thanksgiving!

This will be a short post today.  I’ve brought a truck-load of work home that I need to tackle.  Our rental season is here, holidays are fast approaching, tomorrow we have a new employee to start training and everyone at Vacation Rentals of the Desert is busy, busy, busy!

wedding-chefs-4I’m hearing weather reports … up north, some states are getting not inches, but feet of snow already!  So here’s my sales pitch … we still have a few vacation properties, kitchens all decked out and ready for your family Thanksgiving holiday!  Our weather is perfect … in the 70s with lots of sunshine.  No snow to shovel or family to worry about navigating icy roads on their way to grandma’s house … we’re not bundled up in coats and huddled around the fire.  While you’re slipping and sliding around in the ice and snow we’re golfing, enjoying a morning swim or bike ride.  Thanksgiving is taken outdoors with a big fat turkey cooking on the barbecue and friends and family enjoying the perfect weather on the patio while kids play in the pool and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or football game are playing in the background.


The perfect Thanksgiving to some … skip the cooking and exhausting clean-up, and have dinner with the Indians … at a casino buffet.  This is what my family does every Thanksgiving.  We have many Indian casinos in the Palm Springs desert and most offer an amazing Thanksgiving Feast.  With one vegetarian, a couple of picky eaters, various degrees of dieting and at least three guys with voracious appetites, the variety, quantity and simplicity of a buffet is a no-brainer for my family.  Only down side is … no leftovers, however eliminating the stress and mess of cooking for a huge family is so well worth a trip to the deli if the urge for a turkey sandwich hits. 


So think about it … maybe it’s time for a new family tradition … something your family can look forward to all year long.  Give us a call, it’s not too late for this year or to plan for next!

I wish you all a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot!

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Will someone please turn up the A/C !!

This week our temperatures soared over 100 degrees!

At this time of the year, Vacation Rentals of the Desert encourages all vacation property owners to have their air conditioning units checked, serviced and filters changed to make sure their HVAC systems are performance ready.

One of the most challenging emergency calls I have ever received was in the month of July. The tenants arrived at the property at midnight only to find that the air conditioner was blowing hot air. I had “opened” the property the previous afternoon, turned on lights and the air conditioner so that the tenants would arrive at a comfortably cool home. All was working fine at the time I left the property … but by midnight when the outside temperature was still in the 90s, the temperature inside the property, with warm air blowing, was close to 100 degrees. Not a very happy “Welcome to the desert. We’re glad that you’re here” for our tenants! Fortunately I had many vacant properties available in the same gated community … however many of these properties had been shut down for the summer or had owners scheduled to come in and out. I first had to fire up my computer and check our reservation system for availability, then I grabbed a hand full of keys and garage door remotes for various properties and set out in search of a property that would be a suitable substitute. I got lucky … the first property I showed the tenants would work out fine … but since it had been unoccupied since May, it had two months of dust everywhere and the toilets and sinks needed to be cleaned. While the tenants unloaded their car, I rolled up my sleeves and about 45 minutes later had a property that would suffice until cleaners could be scheduled the next morning to do a “proper” job. I got the family moved in and settled and I finally returned to bed sometime after 2 .m.

The next day we called the owner’s air conditioning company and a technician found that the system was low on Freon and the filter needed to be changed. Had the system been checked in early summer the problem would probably have been caught and the owner would not have lost one week in rental income.

This occurred about 10 years ago … I am happy to say that I still work with these tenants when they visit our area.

This week we experienced a similar situation. In this case the tenants had been in the property for a full day and night. We received a call from the tenants a few minutes before our office closed reporting that the air conditioner was blowing hot air and making a loud noise. After going over to verify that the air was not working we contacted the owner’s air conditioning company. Of course the owner was charged for “after hours” service and the technician found that the Freon was low, the air filter needed to be changed and that the entire A/C system had iced up. Through quick response we were able to save this rental for the property owner but at a cost of about $500 for the emergency A/C service. Once again, had the recommended summer service been completed by the air conditioning company, this situation could have been avoided.

Desert Air Conditioning has an excellent FAQ page that may be helpful to property owners whose homes are in the Palm Springs area. Wherever your vacation home is located; in the desert, by the sea, in the mountains or in a metropolitan area, you should find a local air conditioning and heating company to service your system and answer any questions you may have on your particular HVAC system in your particular environment. Click here to go directly to Desert Air Conditioning FAQ page.

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Plan a Destination Event for Family or Friends!

mothers-daySo it’s Mother’s Day and your entire family wants to celebrate mom!

Time to plan the annual Mother’s Day Brunch?  …  Yawn!

You’ve exhausted the list of possible gifts … she has everything. But actually what mom really wants is your time! Time with the family … memories!

Next year …. why not plan a weekend Mother’s Day Celebration?

A great new trend in family and friend gatherings is planning a “Destination Event” and with the availability of vacation homes … it is oh so easy and affordable. I have noticed an enormous increase in multiple property rentals for family and friend gatherings. At Vacation Rentals of the Desert we assist in finding accommodations for many celebrations and events throughout the year. If you want to plan your “destination event” in the Palm Springs area, call me … otherwise here are a few tips …

1) Choose a Location. It may be easiest for everyone you hope will attend if the location is within close proximity to most members of your group. You may find a location in your own city or choose a resort area within driving distance.

2) Finding Vacation Homes: It is best to contact a vacation rental company that lists multiple properties in a particular area. Searching “by owner” listings such as VRBO or FlipKey could take hours, even days in talking to various owners and searching multiple addresses to find properties in close proximity. Save yourself the time and aggravation by calling a vacation rental company who can focus on your desired location or recommend the perfect area for your destination event, find the ideal bed configurations and provide information on surrounding amenities. For instance, Vacation Rentals of the Desert manages over 80 condominiums in Rancho Las Palmas Country Club in Rancho Mirage California. These two and three bedroom condos are ideal for family stays and can be very economical. In additional we often can find vacation properties next door to each other or within close walking distance. You can easily do an internet search for vacation management companies in your desired area or contact the Chamber of Commerce for a listing of companies.
3) Affordable: A two or three night stay at a vacation rental home can be less expensive than hotel rooms and has the added convenience of accommodating multiple families. You will also have indoor and outdoor living areas for large gatherings and space for your celebrations, parties and BBQs.

4) Creating Memories! How many birthdays have you celebrated at a restaurant? Can you remember how you celebrated Thanksgiving five years ago? What a great family event … pack up the kids and meet your entire family; brothers, sisters, mom, dad and grandparents at a beach or ski community … maybe at a National Park, the vineyards of Napa Valley or my personal favorite … Palm Springs! No matter what the event, you are sure to make memories to last a life time … and perhaps start a family tradition.
Think of the possibilities … birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, golf groups, ski groups … any holiday, any event … what a fun, affordable and memorable way to celebrate an event with family and friends.
And to all Moms out there … I wish you a Blessed & Memorable Mother’s Day!


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The Absolute, Number One, Most Important Detail … Cleaning!

Vacation Rentals of the Desert has sparkling clean propertiesThe following is rather blunt … but I am hoping it will be 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 … who made a sandwich, licked the knife and stuck it back into the jar?  These items are viewed as dirty 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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